Its that time of year again, my favourite time, not just because of the baked treats but also because of the ‘magic’, yes now we have children in the house the magic of Christmas is so alive. I am one for traditions and keeping these alive for my children as my parents did for me. So when I was planning for this years Scandi Market I wanted to add some new items to my ‘little taste of Norway’ collection, so I turned to ‘traditions’ as my inspiration.
The biggest tradition we keep is the Norwegian (Scandinavian) Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve (instead of Christmas Day) and this is still always spent at my mum and dads house all together, with a large pork roast and present opening before the stockings are hung out for Christmas Day morning. The focal point of these family celebrations still revolves around the Christmas tree as it has always done, it’s always a real tree with that wonderful christmassy smell and the decorations that adored my mum and dads house and the tree had been collected over the years and all have a little story attached to them, a large majority are Norwegian and now over 40 years old. To this day these same decorations come out year after year and my siblings and me always want to be there to help put them up the same way we remember from our childhood.
At home we like to prolong the festive season for our children, so our tree goes up at the start of December and our real Norwegian spruce is always hand selected by my daughter, its sometime wonky and a little short but its our tradition and she loves it. We tackle our Christmas tree decorating the same personal way as my parents, its our ‘tree of memories’. Ever since myself and my husband have been together we have added a decoration (or two) a year to our tree decoration collection, sometimes there handmade and sometime there a momento from our travels or events that have happened that year, but they are always personal to us and mark another year of making memories together. Our children now partake in this tradition and help select what decoration we will have, as well as adding there own handmade creations. We love sharing the stories attached to our decorations and telling our family story through them.
So for this year when I looked back at both suggestion feedback I had received but also what I wanted to continue creating for the ‘my little taste of Norway’ range I decided to find a way to make my sitting nisse (who have been part of the range form the beginning) into a hanging version. I hoped that maybe they could become peoples ‘decoration of the year’ and would add to their Christmas tree collection. I had received lots of comments where people told me that my nisse would be joining their family of nisses that they had been collecting for years, it was lovely knowing my nisse were off to join other nisses but also that there is a demand for new designs and collectable versions.
I started production early in the year again and for the most part the construction and templates remained the same as previous years (see my first Scandi Market blog post) except for the hats which were modified to accommodate a ribbon loop. After some trials and tweaks my new range of hanging nisses was born with all 6 designs being available in both sitting and hanging versions. Still being on maternity leave until October I saw every nap time as an opportunity to sew but with two small humans to keep alive and the new school run added to my daily routine I’ve started using any small opportunities like waiting in car park for pick up, as production time to ensure I can increase on stock numbers again this year.
As well as these new hanging nisse I had a special new nisse design I had to add to the set, last year we added a new little human to the family but he wasn’t born until late September and as I knew I’d have little time when he arrived I had done all my stock making in advance (see my making in a heat wave blog post). We didn’t know what we were having either and names had proved difficult so I promised he’d have his own edition as my daughter Ella-Maria has one named after her. This had meant we had been able to see his character come out over the year and give him his characteristic too. Although coming up with a new hair style to add to the set proved challenging but finally after a lot of hairdressing, Espen the Viking bear God – wild and adventurous was created, featuring a long beard, viking plait and moustache, he’ll make a great new addition to the family and i feel he might be quite popular.
Each year I also add some short ranges which I trial out to see how they sell and gather feedback to what I could do for following years. This year I add some small biscuit packs with Christmas pig peperkaker biscuits specifically for the children, some miniature hanging peg doll nisse houses and my New Koselig gift box (read about my Koselig boxes).
My final new addition to the range came out of our family holiday to Norway in May, where we joined in on the 17th May Celebrations for Norwegian national day. A day where traditions are displayed in the most stunning way in the form of national outfits/costumes called bunads. I wanted to somehow capture these and the heritage they represent, so started painting some peg dolls to represent bunads that had a personal connection to me and my family, theres said to be over 450 variations, I couldn’t do them all but I always like to keep my products close to my heart and personal. I managed to paint x40 peg dolls in 12 detailed designs and also made these hanging so that they could be used as Christmas tree ornaments as well (read more about my peg dolls).
As it has now become a tradition I took a stock photo before I loaded up the car for another Scandi market weekend and as I did a final stock check I took time to stop and look at all I have achieved over the past few years with ‘my little taste of Norway’ range and how with the purchases, support and feedback I have received for my creations, has enabled me to grow and expanded, so a huge thank you to all those who have given homes to the 2000 nisse i have made and shared the 900 bags of biscuits I have baked, its allowed me to share my passion for my Norwegian heritage.
This years Scandi market did not disappoint with regulars and new customers flocking once again to get festive at this wonderful market, it was a pleasure to be part of it all and share my story and makes with people. With the help of my husband and his building skills my stall received an design upgrade this year also and some much needed height to help provide hanging space for my new items. Once again my mother and one of my best friend came to support over the weekend, getting up super early and standing for hours, all to support me and my little business and for that I’m eternally grateful and words cannot describe how much it means to me, its too easy to forget those who keep you going on your journey so THANK YOU for always doing what you do!!
The new products introduced were a huge success with the peg dolls all selling out by the Saturday morning so these will be making a return next year with new design additions as requested by customers (read last years Scandi Market adventure). The new Espen nisse was also a popular choice and the hanging nisses flew off the hooks off to adorn Christmas trees everywhere and it was so lovely to hear that people do collect a new decoration each year like we do, it felt heart warming that they picked my nisses as this years addition.
There was even some time this year to take off my makers hat and take my children around the markets at dinner time to treat them to some traditional treats, Norwegian meatballs, cinnamon buns and yummy waffles which all highly recommend if you attended next year and want to try something a little different! but for now this is me done for another year, sending thank you’s again for all those who have supported a small business with their purchases and I look forward to what next year might bring.
God Jul and Merry Christmas 2019