Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

New Year's is often the time of year when we all take stock of the year that's passed. It's also the time when we evaluate our expectations for the coming year.
It's been a busy and eventful year around here. Many positive things have happened and even more are on their way for 2013. Throughout most of 2012 we've been working on finding new suppliers, among other things. This is starting to pay off through lots of exciting new items – and we can't wait to present them all to you! The first ones have already started trickling into our warehouse and will be ready for delivery to the stores by January. These include the most amazing Tibetan lambskins.

Keep an eye on our website – it's going to be anything but boring!
Our first issue of the magazine for 2013 will be in stores just before New Year.
Here's a sneak peek:

Wishing you a Happy New Year – We look forward to writing more in 2013... /Vivian

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

We often receive various types of communications from you, the readers of our magazine. We are delighted each and every time that you take the time to write to us.
Sometimes you send us good ideas for articles or DIY projects. Sometimes you have questions regarding some practical matter or perhaps something that's got you puzzled. Other times you have suggestions for changes which you feel should be made.
No matter the reason behind your communications, we really, really appreciate them all! Every one of them. They make us happy, make us think and sometimes we get to see things in another light. We learn a lot from that... It makes us do our best at all times.

Certain communications leave a particular imprint in our memory.
A few months ago we received an email from a German boy – Marcel. He's just 16 years old and a big fan of what we do. That in itself is a bit extraordinary. But not only that...

With inspiration from our work, he makes the loveliest arrangements and then photographs them. Some of them were posted on our Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. We have to say that there's a natural talent!
A few days ago he sent us a short Christmas greeting, which included this photograph among others.

Don't you find this amazing? We do!

With this pretty picture, all of us here at JDL wish you a very Merry Christmas!/Vivian

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Time flies... and before we know it, Christmas is here!

Did you get everything done that you had planned for this month of December?

I'll go ahead and be honest and admit that I did not...

When the time approaches in November and December, I begin to look forward to all the things I plan to do this year. In fact I start to get excited while working on the articles for our Christmas issues in September and October.

There's no limit to how many Christmas crafts and how much candy and 10 different kinds of cookies the family and I are going to make. I'll also have friends and family over for both homemade gløgg – of course, made from good ingredients – and homemade æbleskiver, Christmas brunch and walks in the woods to gather supplies for decorations. We're also going to cozy up with Christmas movies and presents – they should be at least partly homemade and beautifully wrapped of course!

There's so much time and I frequently misjudge how much I can realistically accomplish.

Now Christmas is only about a week away and, well, there's a lot that I haven't gotten to... BUT – when I think about it, it doesn't really matter either. So far we've had an amazing November and December anyway.

Since we got snow here in Denmark a few weeks ago, we've made it a priority each day to take the kids out for an evening walk and a bit of sledding. Some days we've only been out for about 30 minutes, but at least we got out there – together! And back home with rosy cheeks and feeling wonderful because we were able to share laughs and enjoy each other's company.

I've participated in several cozy events with my lovely colleagues where we've made Christmas crafts and decorations together - although we did use STORE-BOUGHT greens this year because we didn't find the time to make it to the woods. But the decorations actually turned out great anyway, even though the greens and cones weren't gathered in the woods!

I've also managed to go shopping with my sisters, including a café break, without our husbands and children – something we've been wanting to do for a long time but never get around to. THAT has to become a tradition from now on!

So then this weekend I got to thinking about that whole thing about Christmas baking – it is really fun and cozy. Buying cookies from the baker's just isn't quite the same. The kids have baked pepper cookies with their grandmother as well as various other small cookies cut out with cookie cutters and decorated with green frosting. They're all made from the same dough... so maybe a bit boring in the long run.

My nephew is brilliant at making burnt sugar almonds, and my sister is great at making brown sugar cookies. One of my neighbors, who is also a good friend, makes the best crullers...

So it occurred to be that I'd be happy to give up some of our pepper cookies with green frosting in exchange for a small bag of each of their specialties.

Our cookie exchange is now a reality. It's all so much easier when you only have to make one kind.

Decorated Cinnamon Cookies

This recipe will make
about 40 cookies.
You’ll need:
1 3/4 stick (200 g) Butter
1 3/4 C (350 g) Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla Sugar
• 1/3 C (85 g) Sugar
• 1 Egg

Crumble the butter with the flour and add cinnamon, vanilla sugar and the egg. Knead the dough until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Meanwhile, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes using whatever cutters you have on hand. We used a star-shaped cookie cutter for this recipe, but you could use a glass or the like if you don’t have any cutters. Once the cookies are cut, transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 °F (200 °C) for 6-8 minutes. The cookies are done once the edges are golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, decorate with icing.

That's one more thing crossed off the list/ Vivian

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wellness – The Natural Way

Now that the cold has really set in throughout Denmark and the snow covers the landscape like a thick blanket, I can't wait to go away to our summer house for the weekend!

The woods are an amazing place for taking long walks, watching the snow fall quietly and feeling the frost nipping at your nose.
The quiet seems magnified when the snow muffles all sounds and the only thing your hear is the creaking sound under your boots.

 Photo from the January 2013 issue of Jeanne d'Arc Living Magazine

Before we head out, we get a fire going in the wood stove so the house will be nice and warm when we return with red cheeks and fresh forest air in our lungs.
This year we'll also be starting up our new outdoor bath, which heats the water to 100 °F.
We had it installed this summer and have already gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it.
It is especially amazing in the evenings when it's dark out and the stars are bright.
The subtle sounds from the woods are pleasant and relaxing.

But I'm also looking forward to experiencing it at wintertime – running through the snow and jumping into the steaming hot water.
It must be a really unique experience to sit there when it's freezing out...

  Photo from

Don't forget to enjoy the season and nature by going swimming og sledding or taking a walk in the woods... It's so beautiful out there!
Or how about grabbing a flashlight and heading out for some “after dark” sledding down a nearby hill? That's been our "evening walk" for the past few days – and the kids love it!
Then we're all happy and tired in a good way when we get back home and snuggle up on the couch to watch the Christmas special.

There will be plenty of time to accomplish all the practical tasks. Being together is what's most important this time of year...

Happy December / Vivian

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Didn't get around to making an Advent wreath yet? Then here's a couple of quick ideas!
Both are from the magazine, in which we visit Eva's beautiful home.

The really easy version is to make an arrangement like this one.
Find four candle holders – they can be different sizes and shapes but of the same material.

Place them together in a bowl with a bit of green and other decorations and 'voila' – you're ready for a cozy Advent time.

This next one takes a bit more effort but still comes together quickly.
Buy a lichen wreath at a farmers' market or from your local florist.
Place it on a nice platter or a display, like here. Decorate with Christmas balls, a ribbon and four candle holders. It doesn't take long, and the result is stunning.

The word 'Advent' comes from Latin 'adventus', which means 'coming'.
So Advent means that something is going to happen or come – the birth of Christ.

We light the candles in celebration of the approach of Christmas.

Happy Advent /Vivian

Monday, December 3, 2012

Snow flurries

Winter has found its way to JDL, and the Christmas spirit is spreading. Although we’ve been working on Christmas for the past 6 months in our workshop and the editorial office, it’s a very special time now that Christmas is getting close and snowflakes are falling from the sky.

Last Thursday some of us made beautiful Christmas decorations, wreaths and Advent decorations under Lonnie’s expert guidance. We also got the first snowfall of the season on that same day here at JDL. And we’ve gotten lots more since then! Love it :)

In our workshop, next year’s Easter collection is underway. There’s plenty to look forward to – everything looks beautiful. Dorte has done it again. She’s made the most amazing collection of Easter decorations for your home. You can already see most of the items on our website I hope you’ll show it a warm welcome when it arrives at your local retailer.

The perpetual calendar has arrived here at JDL as well. It’s already become a huge hit, and it’s sure to be found under many a Christmas tree in many homes. It’s the perfect place to keep track of all the important dates in your life – a treasured possession for a lifetime.

Snowy greetings from Jeanne d’Arc Living / Tina