Sunday, November 29, 2015


December and Christmas itself can be very stressful. The preparations and planning can be particularly challenging if you feel like everything needs to be perfect. At our house we've often gathered most of the family for Christmas Eve – and we have a big family. Having all of us together is incredibly cozy. The farmhouse is buzzing with life and we love the atmosphere of it all. But to be honest, it's tiring as well – probably mostly because I have certain expectations of myself about what our house should like, which food should be served and what decorations need to be made. Because it's customary...

Last year we spent Christmas Eve in our small summerhouse for the first time. It was a very special experience. A lot of things are kind of a given when you celebrate Christmas away from home. Space is a little tight up there so can't fit too many people. There's five of us and then my parents along with my sister and her husband made it a party of nine. That's all we can fit this time of year. I couldn't clean, cook or put up decorations in advance here. We only just got there on December 23. We brought along a single Christmas decoration in the car, a string of lights and a few ornaments, mostly for the tree. We had planned and shopped for a slightly more simplified version of our usual Christmas dinner. Somehow it seemed alright in a different way to have everything be a little more relaxed in these surroundings. We actually ended up spending a lot of the time going for long walks, playing board games with the kids and hanging out in the hot tub. Here we were, out in the woods on the Himmerland peninsula, in 100 °F water under a clear and frosty sky on December 23, Christmas candies and glasses of gløgg in hand. What a life! On the day of Christmas Eve, I couldn't set the table in advance like I usually do. In fact, there was so little room that we couldn't even put the food on the table and we didn't have enough serving plates either so dinner was served buffet style in the kitchen.

We did spend quite a lot of time on one task: finding a tree. We planned to cut down a tree from our own large forest property. "It's full of Christmas trees," Lars said. "It's much cozier to cut down a tree from our own property." Turns out we hadn't really taken a very close look at those trees. They were all warped and crooked. We did finally choose one – which even that same night was named the world's ugliest Christmas tree, its branches long and poky with parts bare and overall very crooked. But it's a tree that we'll never forget and we've had some good laughs about it ever since. Somehow it took on a personality and we had fun with pretending that the tree shouldn't overhear us speaking badly about it or see us laughing at it.

So here's my recommendation to try spending Christmas in a new way. That Christmas was stress-free – it was all cozy family time. This year we're getting the whole family together again for big Christmas Eve. Only this time around, I've lowered my expectations a bit and intend to try to enjoy everything a bit more. I actually think they'll enjoy lending a hand to set the table and cook dinner after we all take a nice, long walk in the woods.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you! /Vivian

Monday, November 2, 2015

We do like this time of year

Christmas will very soon be here ... As always, the holiday season seems to be suddenly upon us. Once we turn the page to November, the days fly by so you just have to make sure to enjoy the moment. These next two months are an amazing, lovely time. We're surely mentioned it before but we simply love this time of year with everything that it entails. We're so excited to go out gathering things in the woods, visit market and go browsing in cozy stores; talking to people, shopping and finding inspiration. We can't wait to decorate inside and outside the house – to be creative and come up with ideas. We're looking forward to making decorations and planning sweet surprises in the form of Advent gifts, special Christmas presents or hostess gifts. To making and eating all of the delicious foods and heavenly candies. Spend time with friends and family that we may not get to see as often throughout the rest of the year.

You may think we get our fill of Christmas from work. After all, we do "Christmassy" things year-round. We're always working on new ideas, making new designs for Christmas decorations and coming up with article pitches. But that doesn't keep us from going nuts when we finally reach November – at home and at work! This results in lots of wonderful Christmas articles offering a wide range of inspiration, among other things. Dorthe's amazing Advent decorations really take the cake this year in our opinion. They're just so beautiful, unique and each with their own charm. They're each based on a color theme so you can find inspiration regardless of whether you prefer gold, copper, silver, traditional red or more natural tones. You'll also find inspiration for pretty Advent calendars in true Jeanne d'Arc Living style, which we dare say will thrill any recipient.

We hope you'll really enjoy your Christmas preparations and have as much fun with it as we do. /Vivian

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lower your expectations

I recently attended a cozy concert where the singer shared his secret to a great life with us. The secret is to lower your expectations of everything. We had quite a laugh about this piece of advice that evening. But it’s actually stuck with me and I’ve since given it a lot of thought.
Because he’s right! Naturally, we shouldn’t do away with all of our goals and expectations – of ourselves, of each other and of life. That’s not what it’s about. But I actually believe that we could all benefit from scaling back just a bit. In the upcoming months in particular, many of us are given to being a tad too optimistic about the number of things that we can and should find the time for.

If we lower our expectations, we’ll be pleasantly surprised by anything extra that we’re able to do rather than frustrated with not getting around it everything that we want to do! Doesn’t that sound great? We might even find time for a bit of improvisation along the way.

There’s nothing better, in our opinion, than feeling like you have plenty of time – whether it’s time to visit an elderly family member, bake cookies with the kids, go shopping with a girlfriend or simply indulge yourself with a day of pampering. Time is the secret code that makes all the difference.

This weekend I’ll once again allow myself plenty of time to pack up our home as we’ll be moving in the next few weeks.

Much to several people’s surprise, I’ve been packing for the past few months – sorting, organizing and packing. As a family we’ve played loud music, danced and enjoyed each other’s company; come across old pictures and books from when the kids were still in pre-school and passed an hour talking about them and remembering; found old toys or craft supplies that had been stored away; allowed ourselves to take two hours out of the calendar and play with these things. We've had so much time to pack that we’ve been able to afford the luxury of calling it quits early before running completely out of steam and still feeling like we’ve had a weekend; drink coffee with a neighbor that stopped by, take a walk in the sunshine or whatever else occurred to us. It’s given us a whole new experience of packing up a house before a move than if we’d had to rush through it all in two days – and we highly recommend it.

So this weekend we’ll once again take our time and lower our expectations of how much we can achieve and remember to live life, too.

Have a great weekend out there! /Vivian

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Creative Time

Things sure are happening at a rapid pace outside right now. Fall is here and it won't be long before winter sets in around these latitudes. Some find it sad and, granted, some days are a bit too windy and rainy for our taste but there's something beautiful and really cozy about this time of year as well. We feel the urge to head inside and cozy up with candles, warm blankets and family time and to plan out our creative DIY projects for the upcoming winter season – for which we hope that this magazine will provide inspiration. We've got wonderful, creative fall homes, delicious fall foods and plenty of ideas for indoor pastimes, easy ones as well as more advanced projects.

One article that we particularly enjoyed working on was the one about painting madonna figures. It happens from time to time that a special sense of serenity presents itself when we're settled in working on a creative project and experimenting. We'll chat about which colors might go together to create the look that we're going for, try our way a bit, repaint and start over. We help each other out, offering each our own competencies. One person is especially good at combining colors, someone else has a special knack for patinating and yet another person is the expert at painting natural-looking faces. It's a really nice feeling when everything finally seems to form a synthesis and we achieve a result that we all feel is better than if we'd been working on our own. So we encourage you to share your hobbies and interests with others – either family or friends who share the same interests or sign up for a class or join groups online if you don't already know someone. Take inspiration from each other and help each other – it's one of the great joys in life. /Vivian

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Flowering Town Gate

Our company is located in a small town north of Randers, Denmark, by the name of Kondrup. The area is dotted with farms and the town is surrounded with fields.

Some of the farmers have put up a 6 foot wide section of flowers, almost like a living, flowering town gate welcoming each of us as we drive into town. The project is carried out with support from the consulting firm LMO, which specializes in farmers’ needs. Not only does it look stunning, they’ve also let us pick as many bouquets as we wanted throughout the summer.

Tonight had that true late summer feel to it – warm and calm – and Lars and I went for our usual evening walk along the gravel roads by our wind mills. At the end of the road, I picked this large bouquet of beautiful, pink cosmos. I’ll be able to enjoy that in our living room throughout the weekend and be sure to send a kind thought for the farmer.

Here’s hoping that next year will see even more farmers taking advantage of the possibility thus enriching us all. /Vivian

Friday, September 4, 2015

Down memory lane

Some people love it; others hate it. To us, not knowing what the day will bring is mostly fun. The thought of every day being fixed and specified can seem almost frightening. There has to be room for improvising. This doesn't hold quite as true as it once did however. These days a lot of deadlines must be met in order for everything to run smoothly. It wasn't like that 11 years ago when Lonnie and I first started our small company. We used to meet up at Lonnie's house in the mornings. I'd bring my three kids so they could play Lonnie's daughter who was also at home. Then we'd sit down and talk about what we wanted to do that day. If the weather was good enough for taking photos outside – no wind and not too sunny – well, then we'd head outside to do flowers, small DIY projects or creative things that the children could be part of as well. If fresh asparagus were in season and they looked particularly great that day, we might do a piece on those. Other times we felt like going for a drive at random just to see what we might find. A beautiful garden or an interesting house that we passed on our way could be a potential article. And yet other times we'd go searching through flea markets or secondhand stores for ideas and inspiration. Sometimes we would end up spending all day right there by the kitchen table just talking about all of our dreams and ideas. We still try to preserve a bit of this impulsive work approach – at times to the frustration of our staff members. We know that but this is, after all, how the best ideas come about. When you're not under pressure and you let your passion guide you. Being creative on cue can be exceedingly difficult. So we often end up changing our plans. Perhaps one of us or one of our creative staff members gets a really good idea that simply must be realized right away. Some of the articles in this issue actually came about just like that. The article about using old brooches in your decor came about as a sudden impulse one day when we had actually gone to Lonnie's house for a different photo shoot. Using the differently colored green beans that I just happened to spot at a farm store was also on a whim. They just looked so pretty that I had to bring them back to the office – and then we just had to put together a piece about green beans that day. We hope you'll find plenty of inspiration – including for being impulsive – in this September issue of our magazine. /Vivian

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Creative candles

We occasionally have to wait very long and patiently when we develop an idea. Sometimes our manufacturers don’t work as quickly as we would like. That’s been the case with our new candles.

In fact, we’ve been working on making a collection of various candles and scented candles for a very long time. Now we’ve finally succeeded, and we think this collection with floral motifs is simply adorable for summer.

We’ve made a point of using only natural and pleasant scents in our candles. As always, all of the candles are decorated in our own on-site workshop by our creative co-workers. /Vivian

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It's almost summer

Here in Denmark the four seasons are very different from each other so we enjoy it to the fullest whenever we can spend time outdoors. During the summer months, most of us spend more hours outdoors than indoors if the weather permits. That’s why we went north for this edition of the magazine to show you – amongst other things – a wonderful Swedish summer home and a fantastic home in white in Finland. We also visit a Dutch home and a house in Germany – both of them furnished in a bright and airy style.

In this edition our theme is all about terraces “made in Denmark”. If you don’t have a garden or a terrace, you can find inspiration on how to enjoy nature up close and make a nice outdoor picnic. We show you some easy recipes for delicious food that you can take along to the beach or the forest. And for those rainy days that we probably won’t avoid completely we are offering you lots of ideas on creative indoor activities that can turn into the most wonderful summer memories or decorative elements in your interior design. We wish you lots of fun – and happy reading! /Vivian

Friday, May 1, 2015

Creating beautiful things in May

It’s been great fun preparing many of the features for this edition of the magazine! Long time ago I had the idea of creating some nice garden beds from scratch: I wanted to plan exactly which plants and colors to use, and I wanted to ask our talented graphic designer and artist Helle Routhe to make some beautiful bed drawings with watercolors. Lonnie is very good in the garden but I’m not so I really enjoyed getting some help along the way. I’d like to pass on these ideas to you. It’s impressive to watch a small grass area turn into the wildest and most beautiful garden beds that you can possibly imagine within a few months, and they look like they’ve always been there. A nice side benefit always included in our planning procedure is that you can pick these flowers and use them to make your own bouquets. But although this magazine is full of garden beds and flowers – that’s not all. Of course this edition also presents some exciting homes, inspiring do-it-yourself features and good food – and everything is inspired by summer. I particularly like the feature on English afternoon tea. Perhaps it’s because we borrowed my grandmother’s old flowered china that reminds me of old times when the summers were always warm and we’d sit in the garden amongst blossoming fruit trees. Just the thought of those trees makes me smell them again. Coffee was served in wafer-thin coffee cups and accompanied by lots of homemade cakes. We definitely recommend baking your own cakes and laying a nice table with a tablecloth and a nice bouquet of flowers from the garden or from the local flower shop. Even if it’s just afternoon tea on a normal Sunday afternoon or on a weekday – why not make it something special?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

That special feeling… almost like a fairy-tale

Once upon a time there were two woman with passion for a specific style which was one of their own…..

They had a dream about turning their lifestyle into their business. They wanted to inspire others who also had that same passion, and started a very small business with making cards themselves. They had to work very hard to get their business running. Nobody really did believed that much in their idea. Their strong personalities helped them to go on and following their heart and passion after all. Just to live out their dream.

After some years they produced their first book and impressed the people by that impressive piece of passion and beauty. Also a couple in the Netherlands saw the little company. Ineke and Erik Hoetjes shared that same passion for the style and soon the beginning of cooperation was born.

Time passed bye and more and more people where surprised bye this great new style. Next to several books, a magazine was started and also products of the same style offered one by one. Due to a lot of perseverance the ladies built slowly a very nice company. The magazine slowly got more and more readers and also dealers wanted to be a part of that special feeling that was created. Now after 10 years the dream reached another level. A Jeanne d´Arc inspirations house was built to honor the style Vivian and Lonnie created. It is almost like a fairy-tale.

The house is built to inspire and share with the customers, who also can stay overnight in this fantastic place. Here the customers can live the dream and passion for this beloved style to the full extend. The small farmhouse is situated in the middel of the Dutch fields next to an old forrest in the North east of The Netherlands. The quiet county side goes hand in hand with the beloved Jeanne d’Arc Living style, and being there makes all the normal day life fade away as soon you passed the old warn doorstep.

The style welcomes and surprises you like a warm breeze. All rooms shows a wide variety of great decoration of this style as it covers the whole range, from quality table to elegant curtains… Vases, a self designed porcelain range, lamps, sofa’s, linnen, its endles and great in harmony. Each room is different and shows you new idea’s and different product ranges, from fashion to paint, and…. it is all inspiring. The house is showing you that Jeanne d’Arc Living is not just a brand. it is a feeling... it is passion… it is a way of life… its the way of life like Vivian and Lonnie see it, and want to share it with you. /Vivian

Monday, March 23, 2015

We are very lucky people

At our office, we are so very lucky that we have our very own flower arranger. Every month, Dorte creates the most beautiful and fantastic flower decorations for our magazine. She is a creative soul and hates to see things go to waste. Last time we did an article about flowers, Dorte transformed the remains into the most gorgeous Easter decorations. And now these decorations are spread throughout our premises, much to the joy of all JDL employees. What a difference it makes to have such a nice little pot of spring flowers and a bit of hay and shells on your desk. It is highly recommended.

Happy Easter everyone…/Vivian

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The first real day of spring...

We wait and wait and long for spring and then, suddenly, it is here. The first real day of spring... 2-digit temperatures, blue skies, sunshine, chirping birds and you cannot resist going outside, coffee mug in hand, when you have 5 minutes. Inside, you feel happy and you know your co-workers feel the same way. It so happened today that our skilled editorial office flower arranger, Dorte, and I had to go shopping for spring flowers for an article about flowers. The first real day of spring at our location. It felt so good going to all the local florists, browsing. Everywhere we went, we met expectant and happy people shopping for flowers and plants for their flower bowls and gardens. We must admit that the desire to fill the car and get started ourselves was very strong. If the weather holds, we will have ourselves a weekend project or two. It gives me great pleasure to sweep the steps and plant flowers in a bowl or two... And removing that last string of lights is probably about time, too! Happy Spring everybody…/Vivian

Friday, February 6, 2015


Lonnie and I have developed a new ”craze”.....lately we’ve gone absolutely crazy with brown and black.

It all started during our work for ”Vintage Paint” last year when we painted a wall with a dark color and then added some brown wax. Lonnie is now painting the walls in her living room in the same way.

At the same time, more and more old textiles, hats, gloves and boxes in these colors seemed to pop up. I’ve even started redecorating my kitchen by adding black units and lots of rough accessories.

Yesterday we did a photo shooting and made a fantastic feature on how to use black and brown in your interior design just using vintage textiles and other bits and bobs. In our opinion, these colors add a very special feel to the home.

What do you think? Wanna join us on the black wave?