The Lingonberry Garden

A blog celebrating painting, design, folk art, Scandinavian-American heritage and everyday living.


A stunning summer in Norway... A grand tour of rosemaling and wood carving organized by Vesterheim, the Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. An incredible adventure traveling to see artworks from Norway's early days through meeting the artists and master craftsmen of today... I'd seen many beautiful old and new examples of rosemaling and carved pieces at exhibits and museums and in books I've collected over the years, but seeing them in person -- examples through the centuries -- in the natural countryside and regions they came from, created a whole new awareness and appreciation, so many more perspectives...

And after so much piecing together of family genealogies from Norway and Sweden, a chance to meet more relatives, see where grandparents had lived. And exploring so many regional folk museums with their many cabins and storehouses... walking through so many, seeing example after example of the similar styled rooms with their long dining table and benches, their corner cupboards and open hearth, the single bed against the wall, the wood buckets and pitchers and spoons, ale bowls and butter molds... Their craftsmanship, their art. On so many things. Noting the variations in the size or accessorizing and painting styles these cabins took on through the centuries...

All of a sudden realizing the experience is more than visiting a folk museum -- a realization that you've gone back in time -- you're sitting at the same tables your ancestors sat at -- you can close your eyes and you know what their rooms were like: the wood logs, the soot from the fire, the hand carved chairs and tables and beds. You can see and feel the wool they spun and dyed, the looms they used for weaving their cloth, the patterns they put into the clothes and blankets they made... All those names from the 1850's and the 1820's and the 1780's have walked in and out of these cabins, too. They maybe were in a different village, but this is their land, their countryside, too; they saw these trees and rivers and lakes.  The family history comes to life... It is a tangible connection.

Look for more follow-ups here and on our Lingonberries page,

Weaving...and so it begins

Found so many treasures of all sorts at the Scandinavian Festival of Southern California in April. The campus of Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks drew thousands of visitors for the  Scandinavian music and art, story telling, specialty foods and vendors, artisans with their crafts, and in the Viking camp, reenactors sharing aspects of the day to day life of long ago. Lots of new insights — and stories— all around. (This was the first year participating as a vendor there with our Lingonberries line.)

I was captivated by the weaving… Judith Gabriel Vinje got caught up in the spirit years ago volunteering with the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation for the festival. She was on the board and someone mentioned she might like to try participating in the encampment and demonstrating weaving. And she’s been doing it ever since… She ’s self-taught as far as weaving goes — “you can do it on your own, with all the books and videos and especially with YouTube now,” she said. She was demonstrating the inkle loom for band weaving and a vertical loom for larger weaving. So many stories just in the intriguing assortment of yarns and weaving tools and colorful array of woven patterns in the many weavings she had displayed.

Strike up a conversation with her, and you find her interest and knowledge of all things Scandinavian runs deep. She’s an award winning author and journalist, who has written for many publications, including the Norwegian American Weekly and before that, Norway Times in New York. She is also active in the Sons of Norway, presenting cultural programs for lodges on a variety of topics. Loved the chance to talk with her — and can’t wait to do more weaving!!

Of course, there is no such thing as "just weaving."  There's the study of designs and patterns, their history. The types of weaving -- the variety of looms and sizes.  Weaving for clothing and weaving textiles for the home. Weaving as art. And then there's the yarn. The colors, the textures. Cotton? Silk? Wool?  Llama or alpaca? The learning, the experimenting, goes on and on...

Just two days of the festival, but lots of inspiration…and so many things to explore…

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Recipes with a past

A grandmother's recipe book. The journal ledger is dog-eared and stained, the covers are separating at the spine... the pages inside brittle and yellowing. But the handwritten letters on the pages have their own strength, their own beauty. The recipes were lovingly remembered and written down over a lifetime. Saved... a legacy of tips and helps and how-to's among favored meals. Years and years since my grandmother's passing, the letters come alive.  Just seeing her handwriting, I see her; I  hear my grandmother's voice, I am surrounded by her presence... 

But the book has its mysteries. Layers and layers. Many of the recipes were from a time of wood stoves. There are few keys to time and temperature -- more often than not, the recipe will share the caveat, "cook until done".  Yes, there's been lots of learning-as-I-go.  And some translating -- much of the book was written in Swedish. Some I can figure out, but there are lots of recipes I don't dare try-- yet...

My grandmother came to America from Sweden in 1904 as a 16-year-old, beginning a new journey. For her first 12 or so years in this country, she worked as a domestic for families in New England. She became a cook. A very good one.  Little by little, I've been able to trace her history, following the clues left by the many postcards she collected in her early days in America. 

So, her recipes, her postcards are on-going projects... Chapters yet to be written.  I'm working on piecing together the clues, unraveling the mysteries. And now, her recipes are the inspiration for a new series of note cards for the Lingonberries line. 

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Notes from Nature

2015 is off to a good start.  Wrapped up last year at a great rosemaling convention featuring Andrea Herkert and Gayle Oram in November and got California Rosemaling Association's newsletter, California Rosemaler, out in December. It's got lots of photos from convention and a feature on author Kathleen Ernst ( and her ventures into the folk arts for her Chloe Ellefson mystery series.

I'm stepping away as CRA's newsletter editor ( after almost six years and 23 issues. It's been great doing the newsletter but 2015 is shaping up with some new goals and plans for Lingonberries. There are lots of exciting prospects ahead... New paths for exploring... New projects and always, more designs...

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City of Treasures

A part of New York's history

A part of New York's history

A return to New York City for a weekend. The city's out-of-the-box amazing-ness beginning with the lobby of the Hudson. Central Park, riding the subways, walking, walking, walking. The incredible architecture. The history.  A different sense of time. Stopping at Momofuku Milk Bar in Brooklyn for a quick dessert on the way to a ramen dinner.

Coffee...Swedish style at Fika

Coffee...Swedish style at Fika

Always so much to take in... The delis and bakeries, the carts with fresh fruit and the array of flowers for sale on so many streets... So many languages. So many people of all ages strolling and hurrying here and there. Excited to run across Fika on 58th Street -- was hoping to find a touch of Sweden... So many tempting Swedish pastries -- glad to find a cardamom roll and time to enjoy two cups of coffee.  Brought back memories of earlier days in New York with my Swedish and Norwegian grandparents

Two of the great bookstores -- Argosy and Strand

Two of the great bookstores -- Argosy and Strand

A great chance to return to two favorite spots: getting lost in time in the Argosy Bookstore, barely scratching the surface of its treasures, and savoring the art books and catalogs at the Strand. Both amazing and overwhelming. Both treats.

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Love The Blues


Some blues from our Lingonberries line spring collection. Fjord Blue design for the purse and cotton voile scarf.  And our Fjord Blue and Fjord pillows.

Sailing Through Spring


The year is sailing ahead --  we're adding new designs, new colors, new stores for the Lingonberries line...

Now you can also find us at:

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa

Scandinavian Gift Shop in Alexandria, Minnesota

St. Olaf College Bookstore in Northfield, Minnesota

Linnea Bakery in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Check out our Lingonberries page for a full listing of stores carrying Lingonberries items,

and follow us on Facebook:


New Paths for Exploring

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Hiking into the new year... the pace is quickening already -- with a hectic December and January. Got the last newsletter of 2013 out for the California Rosemaling Association ( -- lots of photos from a great rosemaling convention with Ruth Green and Judy Ritger -- and an interview with Mike Giaimo, the art director of Disney's hit movie, Frozen. Can't pass up a chance to highlight rosemaling on the big screen... Or that one of CRA's members, Rick Marzullo, was consulted for the movie's research and thanked in the credits... Love the movie and how it brings in so much of the traditional arts, architecture and cultural influences of Norway. Hope it will be a good year for rosemaling and exploring the arts.

Our Lingonberries line is now out of Aurea Vista -- they closed their doors December 31st, but the Lingonberries line will be carried in a new shop around the corner.  So lots of moving and things to get ready... Look for an update on SOL Shop on Lemon, 3850 Lemon Street, Riverside, CA -- opening soon!  Check our Facebook page for more updates,


Greetings that keep on giving

How many smiles have these vintage postcards brought ? Do you suppose the senders of these cards -- in 1906, 1910, 1912 -- had any idea their simple holiday wishes or everyday notes would have been lovingly tucked away and passed down through generations? Still bringing smiles to readers more than 100 years later? Or that the artists had any idea their work would be so sought after some 100 years later?

There's something magical about vintage postcards... they are a tangible link to history, tradition and culture... and just by their being here -- today -- they have an inherent  specialness...  I love these early printed  "signed artist" postcards by noted Scandinavian artists such as Jenny Nystrom and Aina Stenberg, among others. Vintage postcards are among my favorite collectibles -- and always add a special touch to holiday decorating and as special gifts...

These paper treasures are on display at Aurea Vista in downtown Riverside, CA, 3498 University Avenue, corner of University and Lemon. For more information see updates on our Facebook page,






On The Rosemaling Road

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Another great California Rosemaling Convention, this time workshops with Ruth Green and Judy Ritger, both Vesterheim Gold Medalists in Rosemaling.  It was a fun painting trip.  I love the projects: Ruth's Rogaland style floral design on a covered round box and Judy's Gudbrandsdal style design on a tine.  Also had the chance to take Judy's class in Kolrosing, another Norwegian art form, where the design is lightly incised into the wood then darkened with finely ground pigment (we used finely ground coffee).   Judy is also a VGM in wood carving.

CRA's annual event is always a nice venture into the Scandinavian arts. Lots of painting (this year in Sacramento, #26) and many painting tips shared. Good inspiration and catching up with friends and meeting new. We even had entertainment from the El Dorado Scandinavian Dancers who have a fun way of telling stories through their music and dances.

Got some pictures and notes for December's issue of California Rosemaler,

Now, back to work (and more painting!).

Look for more updates on our Facebook page,

A Downtown Setting


The Lingonberries line is now in town -- my Scandinavian-inspired collection is available at Aurea Vista in downtown Riverside, CA through December 31st.    We'll have our note cards, stationery, signed Scandinavian artist post cards from the 1900's - 1940's, ornaments,  cotton voile  and silk scarves, Norwegian-style rosemaling pieces (skis to plates and bowls and smaller wood items), as well as designer textiles: pillows, table runners and toppers, and totes and purses coming in. Check back to see what's new...            

Look for updates on our Facebook page:

Aurea Vista (                                                                                3498 University Avenue  (corner University Ave. & Lemon St.)                             Riverside, CA 92501

Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Postmark Tales

Simple notes.  Notes received in a new land, a new home.   Will you meet us Sunday at the park?  But sentimental notes, too — the birthday greetings from loved ones from a home and country far away. Each has its own story, a special  attachment. A reason for keeping. Cards marking new friends, new places.  Long distance messages from family, old familiar places steeped with memories. Cherished then. Cherished now,  generations later.

They are a treasure — the post cards alone are special, a glimpse into a past long gone. But together, they are a voice.  The story of my grandmother. The stories she didn’t get to tell me.  A window into a young woman’s early days in America… the beginnings of her new life.  A history that comes to life, card by card; the postmarks and handwritten addresses forming a GPS of her travels, her work, her adventures.  And she saved them all.  I’m listening.  I can hear her...  And I'll be sharing her stories...

Ethel Svensson, from Halmstad,  Sweden was born 125 years ago and came to America when she was 16.  I'm excited to honor my grandmother and her post cards with Postmark Traditions, a new note card set in the Lingonberries  line.   Follow up on our Facebook page,


Glad midsommar!  A Carl Larsson book, a vintage post card and Swedish dancers...  And celebrations everywhere this weekend, through the month... Enjoy!

Lingonberries in the Garden

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A sampling of the  Lingonberries line...  Where to find us? Our list of shops is now updated, with links to the store websites. To find them, scroll down on our Lingonberries page. 

Hmm. A summer day, a tall glass of lingonberry juice, and a chance to browse Scandinavian gift shops from Seattle, WA to Caribou, ME....

And, if you're near one our stores, hope you'll stop in and take a look at their Lingonberries cards or scarves or purses or totes or ???

We also post updates at

Spring's Blooming

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What could be better for welcoming spring than to be surrounded by Carl Larsson prints and daffodils?  Sue Lund's Jansco Showroom at the Minneapolis Mart was blooming with spring colors everywhere...  The Larsson prints are from Handcrafted For You Framed Pictures,  the table runner and pillows are in the Lingonberries line. Welcome, Spring!

Storming the Minneapolis Mart

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Neither wind, nor sleet, nor snow deterred most of the shoppers at the Minneapolis Gift Mart this last week.  I was ready --  hat, gloves, scarf, coat -- anxious to get back to Jansco's showroom and show my Lingonberries line.  (Definitely thankful for the hotel and gift mart shuttles so I didn't have to drive in the snow for the 6 days I was there...) 

But once inside the Gift Mart, there was no mistaking that spring was coming.... 

It was a fun show -- so much to see, so little time...  Buyers rushing in and out,  some I'd met at the August show,  meeting others for the first time...  New shops to get to know.

Lingonberries is adding homes in 9 new shops in 7 new states.  To me,  one of the benefits of being a small business is that each shop does feel like a "home."  This shop, This town. This state.   There's a kind of shared sense of community -- I want to know that store and get to know the people who like it ... 

As a designer, you want to hear, "I love it. That's perfect for..." 

That's the goal. You want your creations to find a good home, and to be a valued part of it.

Quilt Magic

So glad to meet Minnesota artist Jennifer Patterson at the Road to California Quilt Show. Loved her vast array of quilts -- they're traditional quilt block patterns she creates into jewelry from clay. I like to hear the stories behind the artwork -- makes the creations even more special. She started out with soft sculptured dolls doing local craft shows in the early nineties, but a few years later she was introduced to polymer clay. And the magic began... One thing led to another, and the focus turned to "Quilted in Clay."

There's a many-page profile of Jenny and her techniques in the August 2012 Polymer Cafe magazine. Her work has become so popular now that she and her husband, Bruce, are on the road much of the year doing shows all over the country, and keeping up with store orders for her pins, necklaces, bracelets, charms, earrings and Christmas ornaments. A number of PBS stations in the Midwest are showing a video feature on Jennifer and how she creates her polymer art. You can see a clip at

The Pattersons are committed and invested in the arts and education -- and it's part of their life on the road, too. While I was talking with them, a little girl, maybe 6 years old, came up to their booth, reminding them she'd been to their booth the previous year. They gave her a mini-quilt on a neck ribbon -- a gift to her along with a message to study hard in school and get A's and B's.

In Minnesota, they support a program to get children involved with sewing and quilting. Children are given a gift and encouraged to bring back a project they've completed when they visit the next time. Bruce said at one of the events, there were about a dozen proud, smiling kids when the doors opened, bringing an assortment of hand-made projects they'd finished. The kids were rewarded for their efforts -- but I think the givers were smiling and pretty proud, too.

It was a fun booth to visit, and a great interpretation of quilting.

See more on the Quilt Show on our Facebook page:


Just the beginning


Swatches of fabric -- the hint of a design, a splash of color -- no telling just looking at it what it will become... So many possibilities...

The New Year Starts

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A new year...always anticipation of things to come...   A chance to build on the past and welcome the present,  design for the future...  Each day a gift. New adventures. Challenges. Opportunities.  New ideas. More ways to make a difference. More caring, more sharing.  More growing and friendships.  More smiles all around.  Wishing you 365 memorable days, each with its own special gift.

A Toast

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Thank you to all who've supported our Lingonberries line this past year. It's been a fun and exciting year having our Scandinavian-inspired folk art gift items go from design stage to store windows in shops across the country. We're happy to have our purses and totes and scarves and table runners and pillow covers find new homes -- and start new traditions.

A toast to those stores celebrating special anniversaries in 2012: Swedish Kontur, St. Peter, MN celebrating 50 years;  and 40 years for Stabo Scandinavian Imports in Fargo and Bismarck, ND; and Iverson's Scandinavian Imports in St. Louis Park, MN,  also celebrating 40 years.

We're also happy to be carried by The Little Viking, Temecula, CA;  Vanberia, Decorah, IA; Vaer Saa God, Forest City, IA;  Holsen Hus, Sioux Falls, SD;  Scan-Dolls, Inc., Maple Grove, MN; Valley Troll, Glenwood, MN; Brad Nelson Designs, Knife River, MN;  Monica's Scandinavian Imports, Caribou, ME and Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle, WA.

Wishing a Happy New Year to all !