Melisa's Blog

5 ways to create 'hygge' at home

 Here is a fact: According to the 2016 happiness report, Denmark has been declared the happiest, most contented country on earth. Being married to a Dane myself, I think I know why.

It is what I call the “hygge factor”. It is the philosophy or the mind set of doing absolutely everything in life in a hygge way. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single word to explain what hygge or hyggelig is but here is what the dictionary says:

 

hygge [n.]  [hoo-ga]

A complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.

 

For me the perfect hygge is Sunday morning breakfast with family: pancakes are sizzling, my favourite jam and the smell of cinnamon, feeling of cashmere socks and cosiness of my linen robe, the smell of the beautiful flowers and my favourite candles flickering gently on the table, the radio is on in the background and the giggles of my daughter and chatting goes on until late in the morning.

 

Hygge is feeling cosy, but in every sense: for body, mind and soul. Who wouldn’t be happy?

 

Given that 90% of the hygge feeling happens at home, here is 5 ways to create instant hygge.  But don’t forget, hygge is not only about the furniture. What makes it so special is the good company of family and friends and relaxed, stress free life style that it comes with it.

 

  1. Create a hygge corner

This can be anywhere at home but it has to be snug and comfy. Somewhere you can relax, read your book and have a cup of tea, perhaps by the window where you can see the leaves falling from the trees outside or squirrels playing or simply people passing by.

Checklist: A comfy chair, a table lamp, a cozy blanket, a sheep skin rug, a scented candle, a plant.



  1. Candles

Did you know that an average Dane (including my husband) lights one candle at least 5 times a week? That means putting the candles on almost every night while you are watching TV, at breakfast table or while having your bath. There is nothing more relaxing and soothing than a few flickering candles in the room.

Checklist: Tea lights (lots of them), dinner candles, one big scented candle (I love the St Eval’s Rosemary and Bay)

 

  1. Bring nature inside

This seems a bit strange but Danes love to bring nature inside their homes. Flowers and spring blossoms in the spring, washed out beach wood, shells and stones from the beach trip in the summer, leaves, twigs, nuts and all kinds of woody stuff in autumn. Last year, we collected pine cones from a forest trip at Christmas time and displayed them in glass jars with some fairy lights at home. Nu er det hyggeligt (Now, that's cozy!)

Checklist: Leaves, stones, twigs, branches, flowers, cones, chestnuts.

 

  1. Blankets

Who wouldn’t like the feeling of a nice warm and soft blanket to snuggle up with on the sofa. Stack of different blankets, maybe a wool or a cotton one, also a sheepskin on the chairs or as a rug on the floor to create different textures, just warms up the room instantly without changing the temperatures.

Checklist: A warm wool blanket, a cotton blanket/ throw, a sheep skin or faux fur throw.

 

  1. Lights

The room has to be lit just enough to see around but without any single light overpowering the others. The institutional establishment look is a no-no in a hygge concept. Denmark is famous for their lamp designs, so if you can afford it, it is definitely worth investing in a beautiful Danish lamp.  

Checklist: A lamp shade, a floor lamp, fairy lights, dimmable lights.

 

Decorating with Suzani

Suzani fabrics have grown from being an ancient tradition and type of textile in Central Asia (mainly Uzbekistan) dating back hundreds of years to be a focal point in modern interiors. It is not surprising to see pictures of suzanis decorating beautiful homes on the covers of magazines nowadays. But what are these suzanis and why has the world gone crazy about them?

History of the “Needle” 

The name suzani comes from the Persian word ‘suzan’ or ‘needle’. Suzani usually has a cotton or silk base for its cotton or silk embroidery, and its most common embroidery technique is the chain stitch.

Suzani Cushion Cover

In central Asia, suzanis are given to the groom as a bride’s dowry. Due to the intricate work involved in making them, it is common for the suzani maker (usually the mother of the bride) to sketch the design on to the fabric (this is why we sometimes see pencil marks on the fabric) and divide it among many women in the village or family who helps embroidered them separately. Once complete, it is sewn back together to create one large, decorative piece.

How to decorate your home with suzani?

Suzan Bed Cover

With its bright, colourful flowery motifs, these magical fabrics are hardly subtle and that is what makes them so special and unique.

Using a suzani pillow or cushion covers is the quickest and most beautiful way to add a touch of colour to any room in the house.

For example, use them to liven up a dull sofa, scatter them on a window seat or place them on dining room chairs.

If you are lucky enough to own a bigger suzani piece, why not throw it over a bed with some matching cushions. I promise it will change the whole room instantly.

Scared of mixing patterns? 

I get it. It is not easy when it comes to buying such a bold, colourful decorative item for your house because you are afraid that it won't match with the rest of the furnishing.

So here is a tip: when it comes to mixing colours and patterns, the most important thing to keep in mind is the balance and harmony.

For example, if you are using a very bold pattern, consider using smaller patterns but similar colours to match on the other side of the room. With that said, avoid using too many different patterns all together. Don’t use a very bold wall paper or a colourful rug, if you have lots of other items in the room with strong presence. At the same time, just because you have a bold cushion on the sofa, doesn’t mean that everything else in the room has to be solid and boring.

Suzani chair

Whether you are ready to join the suzani craze yet or not, having just looked through the autumn issues of some of the big home decoration magazines, it looks like these magical fabrics will continue to be used by many interior designers as decorative elements as the years come.

 

Melisa

 

Selection of suzani cushion covers from my little wish- starting from £40.

 

How to Make Scented Stones

If you ever received a mylittlewish.com parcel in the past, you probably noticed that we put a scented stone in every package as a little thank you gift. We hope that this little fresh linen scented stone not only enhance your online packaging opening experience, but also something you can use at home.

Scented Stone

Scented stones can be used in the linen cupboard to give linens a fresh scent or around the house as decorative items. They are very easy to make and make great gifts any time of the year. They are very popular as baby shower/wedding favours or bunny shaped Easter gifts. At Christmas time, I make a big batch of Christmas scented stones to give out to my family as gifts and we even colour some of them and hang them on the Christmas tree.


SO HOW TO MAKE SCENTED STONES?
Ingredients: (This is enough for 3 big sized stones)
  1. 1 Cup of Plaster of Paris (You can find this online or any DIY store)
  2. ½ Cup of warm water
  3. Scent/ Perfume or Essential Oil (20 drops) (I prefer natural essential oils)
  4. Bowl to mix everything
  5. Silicon Moulds (Or if you don’t have silicon, use any mould you have..play dough moulds, ice tray, cake moulds..)
  6. Colouring (If you want them coloured other than white)

First off, mix the plaster with water until you have a smooth consistency. Then add the essential oil drops and the colouring (optional). Pour into the moulds. Wait for 25-30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, your stones are ready to use. The scent lasts about 2-3 weeks. After that, you can spray more scent or perfume onto the stone and it will continue to make your room smell wonderful.

Good luck and please leave me a comment below if you have any questions.

Melisa

 Scented Stone

The Wonders of IKAT

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know what IKAT was until I visited the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul last year. Beautiful colours and floral designs on IKAT cushion covers neatly stacked on shop windows attracted me first. I was so mesmerised by these magical fabrics that I remember spending hours in one shop trying to decide which covers to buy for my house.

One year later, when I started importing them from Turkey for my little wish, I learned how amazing and intricate the IKAT fabric making is and I want to share with you this magical process.

  

So what is IKAT?

The word ‘IKAT’ is actually coming from an old Malay word ‘mengikat’, meaning to tie or to bind. So to make IKAT fabric, the threads are dyed before weaving using a kind of tie dye technique   instead of printing or painting a design on after fabric is woven.

 To do this, the thread is wrapped onto a frame and the pattern is made by tying off small sections of the thread with plastic tape that will keep the dye from penetrating at these points. When all the dyes are applied to the IKAT yarns, the threads are sent to the weaving shop where it’s tied to a loom and skilfully put together to create the designs.

 

*Images by Tim Stanley

This process gives the IKAT its blurriness to the design. I am sure you can imagine the difficulty the weaver has lining up the dyed yarns so the design appears perfectly in the finished fabric. The more colours and complicated patterns IKAT has, the more difficult it is to weave perfectly hence the blurriness. However, this gives the IKATS its characteristics and often valued more because of it.

Personally, I love the fact that none of the IKAT cushions are exactly the same and it has imperfections in the patterns. In my opinion this only shows someone put such an effort making this amazing fabric and only adds to its uniqueness.

So are you ready to join the IKAT frenzy? One word of warning though - you might love them so much that you start making other decorative decisions in your room based on your Ikat Cushions!

HAMMAM TOWELS - THE NEW AGE FAIRY

Wondering what’s this mysterious yet comforting hammam towels, AKA fouta, peshtemal towel or Turkish towel all about? Read on to know about this striped wonder.

Wonders of Hammam Towels

Hammam towel is a reliable flat woven Turkish towel. It comes with a hand-tied fringe, authentically made with Turkish cotton. Hammam towels are vibrantly colored, fast drying, easily absorbent and a vital element of the lavish Turkish bath (Hammam) experience. These are used as towels, innovative add-ons, decorative throws and packable travel towels.

Washing them is as easy as counting 1 to 3. Just throw them in a cold wash cycle and leave them in the dryer on low-medium heat. The best part is they just get better and softer with each wash.

    Versatility is Their Peculiarity!

    Once you try the traditional Hammam bath towel, you may never use a conventional towel again. Its signature comforting touch and attractive stripes adds to its trendiness. How can we forget that stripes are always in-vogue!

    You can use them in a variety of ways. Use them as bath towels, beach towels, pool towels, spa or gym towels, travel towels, guest towels, the choices are literally endless.

    I make sure I have at least one of the Diamond peshtemal scarvs in my bag during flights. You can rely upon this plushy friends of yours if something spills on you (if you have kids, you know what I mean) or if need an emergency blanket. Its large size is its biggest advantage so is its soft feathery touch.

     

     

    Let’s Beach about the Hammams

    You would absolutely love it! Their sheer size and quick drying properties make them perfect for beach visits. It feels like wrapping a bath sheet than a towel. It’s comforting and drapes you elegantly. By the time you reach home, all the sand and wetness is gone. It shakes the sand off like a charm while regular towels drag the sand along. And, that dingy, mildew smell that lingers on is just….ewww. It is very soft and it keeps getting softer with each wash, it’s almost magical.

    Best of all, stack 5 of them in your beach bag and you still have space for your magazine and a few other items. Go for Miami if you want to be spotted on the beach and Ocean if you want to go under the radar.

    Too Pretty to use as a Towel        

    Its gorgeous look, tussles, elegant stripes and detailing makes it too good for a basic towel. JUST LOOK AT THAT MARVEL…. the texture is incredibly soft and its size almost matches a fur blanket. It can be used in modern furnishing and as a throw or add-on to furnishings or recycled as rugs.

    It comes in various sizes and designs which mean it can be used as a tea towel or a hand towel as well as the really huge ones will make a perfect bed spread all year around. I use pom pom tea towels in my cloakroom as a hand towel and it creates an instant wow-factor especially when my guests around.

    Looks like a shawl, works like an All-rounder:

    It’s the Turkish legacy that eschews these attractive towels from becoming just a bathroom fixture. It was originally used in ancient Turkish Hammams and now we know why. It dries out within a jiffy and looks more like a scarf or shawl than just a towel.

    Who would have thought your cotton blanket would make a great table cloth as well. I use my giant diamond blankets as a table cloth regularly. They wash in the machine like a dream (seriously, who has time for dry cleaning?) and look amazing in the dining room too.

    Have Your Very Own Spa Experience at Home:

    If you have a big family then it is even more difficult to keep your towels dry and hygienic all day long. Let Hammam towels come to the rescue.

    I think the regular hammam towel is too thin for my liking during the winter months so I use Classic Towels, they are one side flat woven and other side terry towel. They save a lot of linen closet space and also are not too heavy on the pocket.

     

    They can be worn as clothing too, not a bad idea at all. NOW that’s one multifunctional piece of cotton isn’t it?