Thursday, 8 December 2011

I 'Heart' Danish Christmas!

[This post is also published over at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In Denmark they say that "Jul er hjerternes fest".  That "Christmas is the festival of hearts".  And it's true - look around and you'll see hearts everywhere.  Gingerbread hearts, crocheted hearts, heart-shaped tree ornaments and...the ubiquitous Danish woven paper hearts, which you'll see hanging in windows or on the branches of the Christmas tree.

Are you ready to "jule" (yep, the Danes even use the word 'Christmas' as a verb!) and make some easy peasy Danish Christmas heart crafts?

WOVEN PAPER HEART
My dearly departed Danish father-in-law loved to make things out of paper and was a dab hand at the very intricate woven designs.  But be warned: in order to do paper weaving, you have to have nimble fingers, bucketloads of patience and Danish blood in your veins.  You're still determined to try?  Hmm, then I'd suggest borrowing a book from your local Danish library. Or try, for example, http://www.julidannevang.dk/klip/klip.shtml

But I'm going to show you the two-minute version - the cheat's version - as taught to me by my daughter, aged 9.  You'll need two pieces of paper or carton in different colours.  (Red and white, if you want to be really traditional.)  Mark out the shape (see below) and draw a line in the middle, up to the point where the edge starts to curve.  Cut out the shapes and then cut along the middle lines.
 
Turn the white carton at right angles and weave the first 'finger' through the red carton.

Weave the red 'finger' over the white and - hey presto - færdig (done)!  Just add a dab of glue or a piece of sticky tape, to stop the heart from falling apart.  Use blue tack (or, as Danish kids call it, 'pædagog-snot' = 'teacher snot'!) to fix them on your window pane.  Or add a paper loop, and hang them on the tree.

FABRIC HEART
You could, of course, buy these in the shops.  But the cutest/kitschest/most precious ones are, without doubt, those handmade ones that your little darling brings home from kindergarten, nursery or school.

Super simple.  Cut two heart shapes out of fabric.  Tip: if you use zigzag scissors, you won't have problems with edges fraying.  (Felt fabric is perfect for this job.)  You can make them any size you like, but hearts about the size of your palm work well.

Sew round the edges, leaving an opening for stuffing.  You can use a sewing machine or do it 'old school' with a large needle and thick thread.  Stuff the heart, then sew shut.

Add a loop at the top of the heart, so you can hang it up (on the tree, on a door handle, etc).  You can also add some beads, glitter glue, etc.  We went for the simple look and used this plain ribbon that says "God Jul".  Which, as you will remember, has nothing to do with God! ;D

So now we've made Julesnaps (Christmas Snaps), Æbleskiver (Danish Christmas donuts) and some Danish Christmas decorations.  I think we've got Danish Christmas covered, ikke sandt?

Glædelig jul!  Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

2 comments:

C-Joy said...

What perfect timing as we are currently studying Europe! We'll be making these in class today :-D

DIANE, DENMARK said...

Oooo, great! And don't forget to sit back with the kiddies and enjoy a glass of Christmas snaps when you're finished! ;D