Monday, November 2, 2015

We do like this time of year

Christmas will very soon be here ... As always, the holiday season seems to be suddenly upon us. Once we turn the page to November, the days fly by so you just have to make sure to enjoy the moment. These next two months are an amazing, lovely time. We're surely mentioned it before but we simply love this time of year with everything that it entails. We're so excited to go out gathering things in the woods, visit market and go browsing in cozy stores; talking to people, shopping and finding inspiration. We can't wait to decorate inside and outside the house – to be creative and come up with ideas. We're looking forward to making decorations and planning sweet surprises in the form of Advent gifts, special Christmas presents or hostess gifts. To making and eating all of the delicious foods and heavenly candies. Spend time with friends and family that we may not get to see as often throughout the rest of the year.

You may think we get our fill of Christmas from work. After all, we do "Christmassy" things year-round. We're always working on new ideas, making new designs for Christmas decorations and coming up with article pitches. But that doesn't keep us from going nuts when we finally reach November – at home and at work! This results in lots of wonderful Christmas articles offering a wide range of inspiration, among other things. Dorthe's amazing Advent decorations really take the cake this year in our opinion. They're just so beautiful, unique and each with their own charm. They're each based on a color theme so you can find inspiration regardless of whether you prefer gold, copper, silver, traditional red or more natural tones. You'll also find inspiration for pretty Advent calendars in true Jeanne d'Arc Living style, which we dare say will thrill any recipient.

We hope you'll really enjoy your Christmas preparations and have as much fun with it as we do. /Vivian

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lower your expectations

I recently attended a cozy concert where the singer shared his secret to a great life with us. The secret is to lower your expectations of everything. We had quite a laugh about this piece of advice that evening. But it’s actually stuck with me and I’ve since given it a lot of thought.
Because he’s right! Naturally, we shouldn’t do away with all of our goals and expectations – of ourselves, of each other and of life. That’s not what it’s about. But I actually believe that we could all benefit from scaling back just a bit. In the upcoming months in particular, many of us are given to being a tad too optimistic about the number of things that we can and should find the time for.

If we lower our expectations, we’ll be pleasantly surprised by anything extra that we’re able to do rather than frustrated with not getting around it everything that we want to do! Doesn’t that sound great? We might even find time for a bit of improvisation along the way.

There’s nothing better, in our opinion, than feeling like you have plenty of time – whether it’s time to visit an elderly family member, bake cookies with the kids, go shopping with a girlfriend or simply indulge yourself with a day of pampering. Time is the secret code that makes all the difference.

This weekend I’ll once again allow myself plenty of time to pack up our home as we’ll be moving in the next few weeks.

Much to several people’s surprise, I’ve been packing for the past few months – sorting, organizing and packing. As a family we’ve played loud music, danced and enjoyed each other’s company; come across old pictures and books from when the kids were still in pre-school and passed an hour talking about them and remembering; found old toys or craft supplies that had been stored away; allowed ourselves to take two hours out of the calendar and play with these things. We've had so much time to pack that we’ve been able to afford the luxury of calling it quits early before running completely out of steam and still feeling like we’ve had a weekend; drink coffee with a neighbor that stopped by, take a walk in the sunshine or whatever else occurred to us. It’s given us a whole new experience of packing up a house before a move than if we’d had to rush through it all in two days – and we highly recommend it.

So this weekend we’ll once again take our time and lower our expectations of how much we can achieve and remember to live life, too.

Have a great weekend out there! /Vivian

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Creative Time

Things sure are happening at a rapid pace outside right now. Fall is here and it won't be long before winter sets in around these latitudes. Some find it sad and, granted, some days are a bit too windy and rainy for our taste but there's something beautiful and really cozy about this time of year as well. We feel the urge to head inside and cozy up with candles, warm blankets and family time and to plan out our creative DIY projects for the upcoming winter season – for which we hope that this magazine will provide inspiration. We've got wonderful, creative fall homes, delicious fall foods and plenty of ideas for indoor pastimes, easy ones as well as more advanced projects.

One article that we particularly enjoyed working on was the one about painting madonna figures. It happens from time to time that a special sense of serenity presents itself when we're settled in working on a creative project and experimenting. We'll chat about which colors might go together to create the look that we're going for, try our way a bit, repaint and start over. We help each other out, offering each our own competencies. One person is especially good at combining colors, someone else has a special knack for patinating and yet another person is the expert at painting natural-looking faces. It's a really nice feeling when everything finally seems to form a synthesis and we achieve a result that we all feel is better than if we'd been working on our own. So we encourage you to share your hobbies and interests with others – either family or friends who share the same interests or sign up for a class or join groups online if you don't already know someone. Take inspiration from each other and help each other – it's one of the great joys in life. /Vivian

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Flowering Town Gate

Our company is located in a small town north of Randers, Denmark, by the name of Kondrup. The area is dotted with farms and the town is surrounded with fields.

Some of the farmers have put up a 6 foot wide section of flowers, almost like a living, flowering town gate welcoming each of us as we drive into town. The project is carried out with support from the consulting firm LMO, which specializes in farmers’ needs. Not only does it look stunning, they’ve also let us pick as many bouquets as we wanted throughout the summer.

Tonight had that true late summer feel to it – warm and calm – and Lars and I went for our usual evening walk along the gravel roads by our wind mills. At the end of the road, I picked this large bouquet of beautiful, pink cosmos. I’ll be able to enjoy that in our living room throughout the weekend and be sure to send a kind thought for the farmer.

Here’s hoping that next year will see even more farmers taking advantage of the possibility thus enriching us all. /Vivian

Friday, September 4, 2015

Down memory lane

Some people love it; others hate it. To us, not knowing what the day will bring is mostly fun. The thought of every day being fixed and specified can seem almost frightening. There has to be room for improvising. This doesn't hold quite as true as it once did however. These days a lot of deadlines must be met in order for everything to run smoothly. It wasn't like that 11 years ago when Lonnie and I first started our small company. We used to meet up at Lonnie's house in the mornings. I'd bring my three kids so they could play Lonnie's daughter who was also at home. Then we'd sit down and talk about what we wanted to do that day. If the weather was good enough for taking photos outside – no wind and not too sunny – well, then we'd head outside to do flowers, small DIY projects or creative things that the children could be part of as well. If fresh asparagus were in season and they looked particularly great that day, we might do a piece on those. Other times we felt like going for a drive at random just to see what we might find. A beautiful garden or an interesting house that we passed on our way could be a potential article. And yet other times we'd go searching through flea markets or secondhand stores for ideas and inspiration. Sometimes we would end up spending all day right there by the kitchen table just talking about all of our dreams and ideas. We still try to preserve a bit of this impulsive work approach – at times to the frustration of our staff members. We know that but this is, after all, how the best ideas come about. When you're not under pressure and you let your passion guide you. Being creative on cue can be exceedingly difficult. So we often end up changing our plans. Perhaps one of us or one of our creative staff members gets a really good idea that simply must be realized right away. Some of the articles in this issue actually came about just like that. The article about using old brooches in your decor came about as a sudden impulse one day when we had actually gone to Lonnie's house for a different photo shoot. Using the differently colored green beans that I just happened to spot at a farm store was also on a whim. They just looked so pretty that I had to bring them back to the office – and then we just had to put together a piece about green beans that day. We hope you'll find plenty of inspiration – including for being impulsive – in this September issue of our magazine. /Vivian