kitchen catch.

Wooden cutting boards from mouta design firm.

images via: mouta


on my christmas table.

My very favourite Christmas Cookies are simple and easy... and I have them almost every year!
Frosted Sugar Cookies - Perfect to bake with friends, and especially fun for little people to decorate.
Add a little lime for the perfect finishing touch...
Merry Christmas and God Jul!

Frosted Lime Sugar Cookies

you will need:

for cookies:

250 g flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

113 g butter

200 g granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons lime juice

for frosting:

460 g confectioners’ sugar

2 egg whites (***note pregnant women or very young children should avoid raw egg whites. Meringue powder can be substituted here.)



Preheat oven to 165 degrees (or 325 degrees for my Canadian and American friends) and prepare baking pan.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl with an electric mixer, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add flour mixture to bowl and stir on low speed until combined. Cover dough and chill for 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to and cut into desired shapes. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges just begin to brown. Cool on a wire rack and prepare frosting.


Sift confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl and add egg whites. With an electric mixer, combine ingredients. Slowly add water, a little bit at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

*makes about one dozen cookies


Let shapes dry overnight so that icing sets completely before packaging.

Food and Styling: Tara Ballantyne

Photography: Trine Thorsen


sweets anyone?

This week I have been outside of Oslo to shoot some yummy cupcake recipes at a lovely old farmhouse from 1928 - being renovated by photographer Trine Thorsen.
We baked and photographed…and styled and shot with Trines brand new camera... and in the evenings sat around the Christmas tree and wood fire to end the day.
It was a great adventure… using some old family recipes and experimenting and perfecting a few new ones. Elegant cupcakes are back!

Above is an image from the current issue of Norwegian magazine Maison Mat & Vin (see the credits list to find it!)...
Look for the new recipes and images in the upcoming issue of Maison Mat & Vin!

Styling and baking: Tara Ballantyne
Photography: Trine Thorsen


hang it.

Herman Miller Select 2010 Edition Walnut Hang-it-All


for your december hot chocolate.

Chocolate Dusted Meringues.

You will need:

2 large organic egg whites

3 ml (1/2 tsp.) white vinegar

3 ml (1/2 tsp.) water

3 ml (1/2 tsp.) best quality vanilla

1 g (1/4 tsp.) baking powder

pinch of finely ground sea salt

150 g granulated sugar

cocoa powder for dusting


With an electric mixer, beat together egg whites, vinegar, vanilla, water, baking powder and salt. Beat until mixture is stiff and forms peaks, but is not dry. Add sugar 50 g at a time, beating constantly.

Grease a cookie sheet. Place mixture into piping bag and squeeze out meringue into circles the size of 25 cents.

Bake in 120 degree oven until firm, approximately 15 minutes.

Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Makes: 3-4 dozen small-medium sized meringues

*tip: serve with coffee or hot chocolate, and float in mug instead of sugar!

Food and Styling: Tara Ballantyne

Photography: Birgit Fauske


hand made.

This weekend I was at the Julemarket here in Oslo meeting some very fantastic and interesting people! It was wonderful to see everyone on the weekend - browsing with friends and family and getting ready for the holidays.
Such a relaxed and warm environment to show my line of jewellery.

As always, I was amazed by the superior level of items hand made right here in Norway - and of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to squeeze in some shopping of my own!

A big thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello… and to the fantastic customers who will give some of my work a great new home!

Enjoy and God Jul!

Necklace : Tara Ballantyne
Photography : Annette Ørvelid


currently loving.

Paper + Craft - 25 Charming Gifts, Accents and Accessories to Make from Paper - by Minhee and Truman Cho.
A book filled with 25 unique paper projects by the founders of PAPER + CUP stationary company. You can find the book on Amazon, and more about PAPER + CUP here!


pretty paper.

Folded paper and fabric dresses by Amila Hrustić gather inspiration from Philosophy in the dress line entitled 'Plato's Collection'.
Out of Sarajevo, Amelia Hrustić and Vanja Lazić Design create some amazing sculptural creations.
Ordinary materials - in an extraordinary way!
(images via ameila hrustić)


cirque vintage.


These beautiful Vintage Circus art prints are handmade by graphic artist Katrine Kalleklev of Magifabrik.
Available in signed prints (A4 size) and art card format on Eple.
Katrine also creates custom website design and graphics - right her in Norway.
Check out her blog as well…some fantastic inspiration images!
(images via magifabrik)


christmas cakes.

Here's a preview of a story on white Christmas Cakes and Cookies from this months issue of Norwegian magazine Maison Mat & Vin.
I had a great time shooting with photographer Trine Thorsen this past year, and had the opportunity to share some of my favourite recipes!

Styling : Tara Ballantyne
Photography: Trine Thorsen


the sweetest gift.

You might remember a post that I made a while ago about a lovely old blue typewriter that I absolutely fell in love with at a Sunday market here in Oslo. I was able to borrow it from photographer André Skjegstad, and when I returned it I promised myself that I would look all over for one just like it.

I searched all over…. and seasons came and went.

Recently I joined my colleague and friend Trine Thorsen for a dinner at her beautiful old home outside of Oslo that she is tirelessly in the middle of refinishing. Out of nowhere Trine left the room, and when she returned, my eyes were wide with shock!
Trine had found a typewriter just like the one we had used the summer before… and she and Susanne Swegen had bought it for me as a gift! I was astounded. It truly was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have received.

I am so thankful to my good friends, and so very much in love with my new typewriter. I have been using it instead of my printer - writing recipes and shopping lists and notes…. It makes the most beautiful sound, and stamps the most fantastic text.

Styling: Tara Ballantyne
Photography: Trine Thorsen


i'm dreaming of a white christmas...

Bonytt Magazine
Bonytt Magazine
Bonytt Magazine
White Christmas

I love white… and even more I love a white Christmas!

Just in time to get into the Christmas spirit, this Tuesday morning at 8:40 am stylist Susanne Swegen will be live on TV2 breakfast television to talk about a fantastic new design for your very own Christmas Calendar….
...so grab your morning coffee, and be sure to tune in!

Susanne Swegen is a fabulously talented interior stylist and designer in Oslo Norway - and I am very fortunate to have her as one of my colleagues. She works with countless magazines and always has a fresh, clean take on the Christmas season… my favourite!

Just in case you happen to miss the show, or are looking for some more beautiful and simple Christmas ideas… you are in luck!
Susanne has published a wonderful book entitled "white christmas" with lots of tips and tricks for a simple and graphic Christmas… and has a few of her favourite holiday recipes too!
To have a look or to get yourself a copy, just click here !

Photography: Trine Thorsen and Sturla Bakken

(images via swegen.com)



The colourful invitation has arrived, and has been designed by the very talented illustrator and artist Cecilie Ellefsen!

This years Designers eget Julemarked will be held on December 4th and 5th at DogA in Oslo.
The Julemarked (...or Christmas market for my English speaking friends) is a wonderful place to stroll around on a lazy weekend with family and friends.
I visited my first Christmas in Oslo... and discovered lovely handmade items designed right here in Norway - so special!

For the first time, I will be packing up my designs and bringing them with me to my little half a table for two days.
Standing instead of shopping (..but I am sure I will figure out a way to be buying things at the same time...)
I hope very much to see you there!
(images via julemarked)


Sara Paloma.

Beautiful Sara Paloma pottery available on Etsy.
(images via sarapaloma)


november recipe.

Chocolate, Orange and Almond Biscotti.

Note: Biscotti can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for up to one month and enjoyed as soon as defrosted. The biscotti will be hard and crispy even after being frozen - and is perfect dunked in coffee!

You will need:

250 g flour

100 g ground oatmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

6 tablespoons butter, softened

100 g granulated sugar

75 g brown sugar

2 large organic eggs

zest of one large orange

75 g almonds – roughly chopped

150 g milk chocolate bar – cut into chunks


Mix together flour, baking powder, salt in a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl with an electric mixer cream together both sugars until fluffy.

Add eggs, butter and orange zest.

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Add chocolate chunks and almonds to dough and mix well.

Flour hands and a work surface, and shape dough into a loaf (about 10 cm wide and 25-30 cm long).

Place dough on a cookie sheet.

Bake in 165 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Remove loaf from pan and reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees.

Cool loaf for 15 minutes.

Cut loaf on the diagonal into slices. This is a rustic biscotti so be sure to cut slices thick to avoid slices from crumbling.

Return biscotti pieces cut side down onto cookie sheet.

Bake slices at 150 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until dry and firm.

Biscotti will harden and become crispy as they cool.

Makes 1 dozen biscotti.

Food and styling: Tara Ballantyne

Photography: Birgit Fauske


a black and white garden.

I am always looking forward to the Chanel show at Paris Fashion Week (well… at least through images). This past October, Chanel walked the spring 2011 collection through the most elegant black and white garden at the Grand Palais.
Soft pale colours with light tweeds, ribbons and feathers, beading and fine details were all on display.
Thank you Mr. Lagerfeld.
I am now counting the days until spring.
(images via fashionology)


new neckline.

I have been working on some neckpieces for the coming winter that can double as a scarf. I tried this one yesterday, and it worked quite well over my wool coat.

You see, I love army green outerwear... but I am more of a black coat girl. So I went for something in the middle of the two, and it and was quite ok!

Made from material I dug around for in Canada, mixed with some black and white pom-poms from a trip to Copenhagen.

Photography: Birgit Fauske


the city I once lived in...

Located in the Saguaro Forest in Phoenix Arizona.

Designed by architect David Hovey and developed by Optima, this home (as well as the many others developed by Hovey) are some of the most amazing low lying, mountain perched, raw material, surround engulfing structures I have ever laid eyes on.

That was a mouthful.

Fortunately I have been able to view some of Hoveys work up close, but unfortunately I am not the most articulate of architectural critics.
However, I will say that I truly appreciate the way Hovey makes such a beautiful connection between the outside and the inside of a structure. The broad expanses of glass and methodically placed fenestration make you feel like you are outdoors when you are really not at all…

And the raised dining area on this building is so incredible to me.

I have learned that the desert can at first appear lifeless, but produces some of the most vibrant colours in its sunsets, and holds a unique and special feeling when you are open to discovering it…

….So much more than the cowboys and beans and toast than I imagined before I did a bit of living there.

I am so inspired and excited by the way Hovey respects and works with the land on which he develops, instead of just placing a mass of building materials on a beautiful piece of land.

On rainy days like today, I take a moment to remember my desert filled life and my beautiful friends that I have left behind, but will always keep with me.

Oh, and suggest that you consider a warm sunny holiday there!
(images via optima)

farm in the city.

On my wish list, and my favourite 'china cabinet' of all time.
Of course, it's more fantastic work from Skujeniece.
(images via skujeniece)


Villa Malla.

Foto: Joacim Jørgensen

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling and working with talented stylist Susanne Swegen out on location. We drove out to a lovely old lighthouse property that has been refurbished into a beach and restaurant - Villa Malla. It is located on the Hurum peninsula near the Oslo Fjord, one hour outside of Oslo by car and 30 -40 minutes by boat.

This week we will return again to get a 'summer feeling' even if it is nearing below 0 degrees outside….
Perhaps we will bring our winter hats and enjoy a cold drink on the beach beneath the palm trees… but more likely it will be a warm Chai tea by the open fire place in the dining room.
Wonderful either way!
(photos via dagsavisen, heli wing)
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