Norwegian hearts

5th December

Even the kitchen Christmas
curtains have hearts ♥
Both in Norway and at home, Christmas time is filled with red hearts, they are just everywhere.  No one really knows why but it is assumed that it is to do with love and warmth and welcoming of family and friends within the home.  The Norwegians fiercely defend that the 'woven' heart comes from Norway but the Danes and Germans also claim rights.  In fact whenever you search for woven hearts on the web, Danish hearts flourish!  The first known woven heart was made by Hans Christan Andersen and can be found in the museum dedicated to him in Denmark, it was made in 1860, but it is known that they were made long before that.

More hearts in my kitchen
All Norwegian school children can make woven paper hearts and they have always been made to adorn the Christmas tree and are filled with nuts and raisins.  The hearts are made into little baskets and are hung on the Christmas tree.  I have made them for as long as I can remember and have taught many children and  adults alike along the way.  They can be fiddly to do, but once you have the hang of it, can be very addictive.  I prefer with most things to keep it simple and make only the straight plain weave hearts, but over the years people have become very inventive and skillful managing to include pattern with the weaving or weaving with curved edges or ones of different widths , this really is taking it to another level.  These woven hearts if filled and put on the tree quite often do not survive from year to year, they are only made out of paper after all.  It becomes another tradition to spend an afternoon or evening making these each Christmas season.

This is a great thing to do this year, take a coffee break have a go yourself and then maybe invite a friend or two or your children and have some paper fun. Anyone can do this and you will have a piece of your own Scandinavian home made decoration.  In Norway you can buy glossy paper especially to do this, called 'glanspapir', but you can try it with any paper of medium strength and pliable.  Decoupage paper might be good or even lovely good quality wrapping paper.  I have also made them with card and used them just on the mantel piece rather than as hanging baskets too.  In case you have not come across it, there is a fantastic on line shop, (they do have retail shops dotted around) and are found in most major towns in Norway, they are erm, well, Swedish, but hey ho!  Check them out at: 

A couple of good instructional web pages to visit to create your own woven hearts are:

Woven paper hearts with a crocheted heart bunting below
♥.  SCROLL DOWN and the instructions will be in English too!


But why stick to paper woven hearts when you can make a knitted one I say?  I just love this, although it does not look quite so good and becomes a little baggy if I put anything in it, so it is more of a hanging piece of decoration.  For a similar pattern for those of you into knitting this Christmas, have a look at:     (I think actually this might be the original pattern!)

or a crochet version, I might try this next, again, another to add to my wish list of things to create!

In our front room where we snuggle down on a winters evening in front of the wood burning stove which chucks out an incredible amount of heat, we have three wall lights that over the Christmas period cry out for being adorned, so what do I give them?  Hearts of course.  These were a very quick make and can be sewn either by hand or by machine.  Simple and effective don't you think?  At the moment I have some hanging up in the hall way too, just to add a splash of Christmas along the common thoroughfare.
Most Norwegians had only home made decorations on their trees, but as with all things in life we move forward?!!? Many have now beautiful shop bought adornments, I however, cannot bring myself to do that in its entirety.  So we have about 90% homemade on our tree and then about eight bought baubles of glass and glitter.  What are our home made decorations, can't you guess yet?  Hearts of course, red hearts!  Lots of hearts, many hearts.  These hearts are made out of trolldeig or as the English would call it, salt dough.  In the twenty years I have been married, we are only on our second set of home made trolldeig hearts.

Trolldeig (salt dough)

1 part salt: 2 parts flour: 1 part water
1 table spoon of cooking oil

Mix the flour and salt well in a bowl.  This is essential to ensure the salt will dissolve and allow for a smooth dough.

Next,in a separate container mix the oil and the water together, then pour over the dry ingredients.


Knead well for 10-15 minutes.   This too is important to ensure a smooth dough.  The dough should now be quite firm, a good test to see if it is ready is to roll it into a ball, if it retains it shapes after 3 minutes the dough is ready. 


You can at this point add food colouring to dye your dough, I do not do this and prefer to paint them with acrylic paint once they are cooled. 


Place it for best results in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge for at least one hour before rolling out. 

When ready create your Christmas tree decorations or any other shape either 2D or 3D.  Remember for hanging decorations to make a hole, I use a straw, to allow for the thread for hanging! 


Oven temperature should be about 80 Celsius. (175 Fahrenheit).  Depending of the thickness of your decorations and or 3D figures, drying time in the oven can be from 2 hours to 24!  Keep an eye on them, dry them on a pizza tray with holes in to allow for quicker drying.  Once cooled, decorate!


So What else can we find in heart shapes in a Scandinavian Christmas house,!
Waffles with locally caught salmon, home smoked of course accompanied by freshly made fragrant pesto sauce, of course in the traditional heart shape! 
Let's not too forget the pepperkake, has anyone made them yet?  Would love to hear if you have and better still to see some photos too!



  1. Right - now my snowflakes are finished hearts must be next! Going to try adapting your pepperkake recipe to a "diabetic" one with agave syrup and xylitol so I will let you know how I get on!! :)

    1. Ohh that sounds interesting would LOVE to know about the diabetic ones, would be great if that works, cannot see why not. I have lots of crocheted snowflakes that I whitetac onto the french doors every Christmas, so there will be a post about that at some point. Tomorrow's is all about cookies! You are so fast at completing projects!

  2. Right, THAT'S IT. I'm coming to yours for Christmas. Your tree looks beautiful and the hearts are such a lovely touch. Norwegians clearly know how to do Christmas properly.

  3. You are too kind. It is a dark country in the winter months and Christmas and the Advent leading up to it is importnat for many reasons, those white twinkling lights in peoples winders help light everyones way home and give light to an otherwise very dark month. Yes, they know how to celebrate!


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