Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Swedish Woven Hearts...too pretty not to pass on

Oh, I'm not a bit Swedish, but I've long loved these woven paper heart baskets. For being so simple, they are so simply festive during the holidays. I can just picture them adding Christmas cheer on the prairie in Cactus Rose's favorite time period--the 19th century. A homespun craft made from materials close at hand.

Years ago, I helped a seventh grade class make them while I was a substitute teacher, so I know it can be done LOL. One one of my favorite places to visit on California's central coast, a little Danish enclave called Solvang, honors all aspects of Scandinavian culture, and the heart baskets appear frequently about town--especially at Christmastime.

In my first novel, The Outlaw's Woman, the outlaw (who of course is A Good Guy) snowbounds himself at gunpoint with a beautiful widow in her cozy Nebraska farmhouse in 1877. He wiles away the time until it's safe for him to escape and shows her how to weave them.

After he's long gone and she pines for him, she makes them to decorate her house when Christmas comes. I even made a few for a book signing.

They aren't all that hard to make...but it does take a little bit of practice. Called jhartkorgar, they'll be hung on the Christmas tree in Sweden and filled with candy or little gifts. Mini jhartkorgar can be strung together to make garlands for the tree.

Hilltown Families, a grassroots network for families living in Weston, Massachusetts, has kindly let me use their directions for this project. And Hilltown welcomes writers and artists to share their work...so check them out and see if your creativity is a fit!

(The directions uploaded a tad small, so click here as needed.)


Another fine site, Craft Ideas, has a template for making the sides of each heart.

And of course, you can construct them in pink and white for Valentine's Day.

Now, how about making a few woven hearts and hanging one on each of your neighbor's doorknobs on Christmas Eve filled with a tasty treat?

And on December 15, I'd be truly honored if you fellow Cactus Roses were to download my free online read, His Christmas Angel. In this short story, I spun off a character from my June 2009 release, Marrying Minda...and I hope you enjoy meeting him!

Merry Christmas to you all!

~Tanya Hanson


Loretta said...

I love the way you weaved the heart basket into your story. Thanks for sharing the directions. Can't wait to make this with my granddaughter.

Celia Yeary said...

Tanya--thanks for the sweet post about the hearts. Tt brought back memories of when I was a little girl. We didn't especially make the Swedish hearts and baskets, but we did weave strips of colored construction paper to make hearts and baskets, and envelopes for secret messages. If I had little grandaughters, I would make these with them. But I have all little grandsons, and although they love when Grandmother does an art project with them, they do draw the line at "girl stuff." I'll download your free read. thanks--Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Tanya--I posted on The Wild Rose loop and invited others to read this. It's so sweet, and makes me wish for a granddaughter--but never mind--I have the sweetest, most fun little boys in the world. I wouldn't trade them for anything. It's just that buying cars and trucks and Spider Man blasters and such just aren't the same as buying Barbies. Celia (I may make a Swedish basket by myself--I have some construction paper.) Celia

Lauri said...

Thanks, Tanya! I love these hearts and haven't made them in years! I'll have to next time my granddaughter is over!

My Free Read became available today!


Tanya Hanson said...

Yeah, Lauri, I'll tell everybody I know about your free read. I've really enjoyed the others I've read.

Celia, thanks for passing on the info. I meant to myself LOL. Our daughter just got engaged and we're heavily into wedding-planning and I'm pretty nutso already.

Thanks, ladies, for all the kind words. I've got a tw0-year old grandson and you can bet we're gonna make these baskets someday!

E.A. West said...

Thanks for sharing this! I've been looking for a fairly simple craft to do. The Swedish hearts are perfect and so lovely.

Paty Jager said...

Wonderful information and a fun project!

Thanks, Tanya!