My New Life Guide Is Lotta Jansdotter's Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Living

I have loved Lotta Jansdotter for years and have written about her products at every opportunity. I wrote about her sewing book back in 2007 and her notecard book, labels and stickers back in 2010.

There is such a clean simplicity to everything that she does that I find so calming and simultaneously appealing.So when I discovered her new book, Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style, I knew I'd found my new life guide.

What I mean by that is adapted her philosophies and looks into my own life. While there are many similarities to our looks and homes, I am always looking for ways to improve, simplify, declutter and spend more time on the things that truly matter.

Lotta graciously lets us in on her home and office and shows us fantastic ways to decorate, design and entertain. But really, it is more a lesson about a way of life. In the introduction, she writes, "It's my aim to show you that living a stylish life does not require a lot of money. It simply takes some interest, patience, and a touch of creativity."

I really believe that  you can live a full life without spending a lot. It's like a lot of organizing books say - keep only what really matters and you will enjoy those few things so much more. So I am already on board with her on this one. I think I just need a little honing and maybe a little more Scandinavian touches throughout the place.

Lotta also says that for her, "home is not really home unless there is a bit of cooking involved," so she she not only shares some of her beloved recipes, but includes recipe cards at the back.

I think what I find so fascinating is that she lives in bustling New York doing all of these wildly creative, energetic things and yet, her home is a haven of serenity, calm and beauty. This, while she has a husband, 2 year-old son and a cat. It's not a pristine white on white penthouse where things don't get touched and/or moved. This is like our home - where people live their lives and get dirty and have laundry to do and garbage to take out. What a relief to find someone like us (because we all know that people like Martha Stewart has staff and is prickly about mess). Just look at her kitchen - things are stacked and stacked. It feels just like home, doesn't it?

She gives great advice about everything from covering your windows so they still let in light to using up wasted space with baskets and shelves. And now I want "tray slings" and to instill "Fika" and "Smorgastarta" in my life! - you're just going to have to get the book to find out what they are.My favourite part of the book is about her office. She loves it so much that she decorates and reorganizes it all the time. A woman after my own heart.

I know about 20 people that could really use this book and about 50 that would love it just for the beautiful wisdom and ideas within it, not to mention the photos. What a gorgeous gift this makes - both for yourself and for others. 

And really, giving yourself the life you deserve is the best gift of all. Which is why this is going on my permanent holiday and birthday gift list. Because this kind of joy should be spread all around!

Stephanie Dickison

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