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December 11: Julpyssel


Pyssla is a Swedish word that I have always loved. It's one of those words that doesn't have a direct translation in English, although "to tinker" might start to get at the idea, or perhaps the British concept of "pottering around." It's the sense that you're working on something, but not necessarily with a goal in mind, just using your hands and mind and having a lovely time doing it. 

Pyssla is the verb and pyssel is the noun, and from that we get julpyssel, basically Christmas crafting. It sounds way cozier and nicer in Swedish though, just trust me. 

Julpyssel can involve a variety of things, from making homemade cards to candleholders, basically activities that get you in the spirit of the season.

One of my favorites, are the classic red and white hearts that are woven together and hung on the Christmas tree - or any bare branch that needs a little decoration.

All you need is two colors of paper (and if you only have white paper on hand, just draw some crazy lines on one of them to get some contrast), a pair of scissors and some glue or tape. Instructions are below. 

I think these kind of activities are important - even when we're adults. They force us to slow down, to use our hands to do something other than type an email or another text. Maybe your hearts won't turn out as pretty as you thought. Maybe you don't even make hearts at all. The point is just to pyssla


Find two pieces of paper of contrasting color.

Fold them both and cut a rectangular shape, with one end rounded. The straight edge should be where the paper is folded.

Cut two lines, so that the piece of paper is separated into thirds. Cut these lines about 3/4 of the way up, towards the rounded edge. 

The cut lines create "loops" in the paper. Weave the two pieces of paper together by placing the first loop of Color A into the first loop of Color B, then inside of the next loop, and outside of the third loop. With the next loop, do the opposite, so start by placing the loop of Color A outside of the first loop of Color B, etc.

This all sounds more convoluted than it is, and will make sense when you do it. FYI: the two pieces don't always weave together super smoothly, but with some maneuvering, you will get there in the end! Here is another visual that I didn't make myself but that is also helpful.

Cut a straight strip of paper for a handle and glue or tape it to the inside of the heart. Hang on an available branch.

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