Hello, hello! Halloween is right around the corner. What a great excuse to get crafty! Plus it's getting quite chilly out there, so some indoor DIY activities for the kids come in handy now, too.
Sewing, painting, cutting, gluing, drilling... I love any sorts of crafts! So anytime I move cities, one of the top places I like to spot are art & craft stores. Oslo has luckily quite a few of those, but unfortunately, as anything else here, they can be quite expensive.
In today's post I'd like to share my favourite ones in case you're new to the city and don’t yet know where to find all your DIY supplies:
What’s YOUR favourite craft shop in Oslo? Any cool DIY project you’re working on for this Halloween?
It's not only frozen pizzas and barbecues that Norwegians have happily integrated into their culture, other typical American traditions have also made it all the way into the land of vikings. The spookiest night of the year reached Norway some years ago, too. Halloween is slowly becoming a tradition, that many Norwegian kids look forward to every year.
How do Norwegians celebrate Halloween?
It's most popular amongst young children, probably below the age of 12. Many of them dress up in costumes and go around their neighbourhood collecting candy. It's more usual to see this in the suburbs, since there are more kids than in the city center, plus it's safer for them to walk around. So, if you live outside Oslo in a children friendly neighbourhood, you might want to store up your candy jar before October 31st. Oh, and of course teenagers love Halloween, since it's a good excuse to party, dress up and have fun.
Do schools celebrate it?
Not really, from what I've heard. Children at school get to learn about all saints' day, but not really about Halloween. So maybe, just to be safe, don't send your kids to school or barnehage all dressed up in funny costumes, unless they tell you to.
I'm personally not very familiar with Halloween either, since it's a pretty new phenomenon in Spain, too. We never celebrated it when I was a kid. But looking back, I really enjoyed to dress up as a child, so I'm pretty sure I would have loved it. I think the costume part is great fun for kids. It allows them to become someone or something else for a little while, it helps them lose their shyness and even the sense of ridicule, play and explore.
And the candy part, well, excluding the sugar, I think it's pretty nice to to be able to walk around with your kids and their friends and knock on your neighbours' doors. I mean, when else do you actually get to knock on their doors otherwise here in Norway? As a foreign person living in here, I think any excuse to socialise is valid ;).
Are you planning on throwing a little Halloween party or attending one?
I've prepared some Pinterest inspiration boards that you might want to have a look at:
Tell us! How do YOU celebrate Halloween in Norway?
In case you didn't know about this yet, Norwegians are craaazy about their wool! They even have a song to confirm that. But jokes aside, it's actually a quite handy way to survive the winters here.
You know that association game when someone says a word and you have to respond with the very first word that pops into your mind? Well, not so long ago, if you would have said "wool" to me, I would have definitely replied "itchy". Maybe this is a "southern mom" thing, but if you are one of those who associates wool to an old cabin sweater or an itchy blanket, please join me with a big WOW when I tell you babies here are basically wrapped in wool during the winter. They wear wool bodies, wool undershirts, wool tights, wool socks, wool hats, wool pyjamas and they would probably wear wool diapers if these existed. But, guess what! It's smooth as kitten and, of course, warm as an lamb.
I have only spent one winter here and that was enough to turn myself into a wool lover. I have to say, it took some time until I understood how to dress my baby properly during the coldest months. But she made it through her first winter here (yay!), which tells me I didn't do that bad after all :). I think most moms are anyways never really a 100% satisfied with what their children are wearing, and will always suffer in case they're too cold or too warm. But that's in our nature, I suppose. The first time Thea wore a wool body I felt like she was going to melt! So the next day I went back to cotton, and ended up worrying the whole day in case she was freezing.
So, just in case you feel as lost as I did when I first found myself at minus a lot of degrees, here are a few tips that might help you get through the coldest months:
How to dress your baby in wool?
If you felt identified with the 'too warm - too cold' dilemma, you might be happy to know that Norwegians have a very handy 'three layer rule'. They recommend to dress babies in a wool body, a second layer (wool or fleece) and a thicks jacket (usually an outdoor overall). And of course, let's not forget some thick pair of socks, gloves and a hat. But you know your child best. You know if he's usually warm or cold, if he has a tendency to sweat more, etc. So trust yourself and listen to your inner mamma instinct that knows best what your child needs.
And if I'm using a baby carrier?
I remember, when I used to wear my baby in the sling, I never had a thick jacket on her, just a wool body, a sweater, thick wool socks and a hat. The sling would act as the third layer plus the contact with my body kept her really warm. The few attempts to add a jacket on top of that, ended up with little Thea roasting in there. They also sell some sort of jacket extensions, which is basically a piece of fleece fabric with two zippers to make your winter coat larger so your baby or baby bump fit underneath. It looks like this. Or if you prefer, you also have baby carrier fleece covers, which I think are specially useful on windy days.
Where can you buy all this wool?
Wool clothes are quite expensive compared to cotton or other fabrics. These days, you can find wool bodies, leggings, socks, etc. almost in any store that has a children section here in Norway. But it's important to check the quality and make sure it's not too thin, both because it has to keep your baby warm and because it should last at least the whole season. Which stores would I recommend?
All these stores are very handy, but the best wool resource for us so far has been farmor! She's been great at knitting blankets, sweaters, hats, socks, overalls, dresses... which have been super useful, plus have the added handmade value. So, if you have a Norwegian bestemor with good knitting skills, you already know what you can request for Christmas!
How to wash wool?
Wool is quite delicate and expensive, so I try to was it less frequently, even though that's really hard with baby clothes. But when you wash them, make sure to use a wool program, which lasts and spins less than the usual programmes. Also, wash them at low water temperature (I wash them at 30º max.), use a special wool detergent and make sure you separate dark and light colors. And because the washing cycles are shorter for wool clothes, you'll find it can be quite a challenge to remove stains. Well, no worries! There's this amazing stain remover that you can get at Clas Ohlsson called Galltvål, which works great on wool!
Do YOU have any wool related tips? Any favourite wool brands? Please, share!