Mums’ sun-dried tomato marinade

Sun Dried tomato Pickle

Sun-dried tomato marinade from Chankwakwa

Mums’ Chankwakwa sun-dried tomato marinade is  a great weekend recipe that will add some zing to your week-end cooking.  Chankwakwa Sun-dried tomato and mango can be purchased in Sweden in the tropical food section of Yawama of Sweden.

Place 1 Pkt Chankwakwa sun-dried tomato in saucepan and cover with water, add 5 tbsp white wine vinegar and heat for 10 min. Drain tomatoes and place in jar. Cover with olive oil, 4 gloves of roughly chopped garlic, a handful of chopped parsley, or fresh basil or herbs of your choice. Add a dash of fresh chilli if you like for an extra tang. Your tomatoes are ready to throw into a green salad, are great as pizza topping or added to a hot stew.

My mum Dorothy has always been a lover of good food, a visionary leader and an entrepreneur. In the 70s she opened a restaurant serving traditional Zambian dishes. In the 90s she opened a bakery offering fresh-baked bread – a luxury at the time. Her most recent venture is a drying plant for both fruit and vegetable. Here both her and my dad, work with numerous small-scale farmers who provide fresh sun ripened produce, that is processed through their plant. Fair trade and ecological practices are at the heart of their production.

This is an old picture from the early days, when Chankwakwa first started training small-scale farmers on tomato growing techniques.

Farmer training

Farmers being trained on tomato growing with treadle pump irrigation systems

Read more about the work that Chankwakwa is doing with small farmers and their exciting product range which includes jams, sauces and soya flour here

A pink children’s room

Sugar and Spice and all things nice.

This beautiful bedroom has been styled and photographed by renowned DIY expert Wimke Tolmsa in the Netherlands. Yawama eco-friendly knitted cow adds a touch of  subtle pink to the pastel pink and purple accents that compliment this white children’s room. Do your kids love princess themes, fairy tales and enjoys tea parties then here you are to find some great inspiration for little details that would add some pink flavour to your children’s bedroom.

Pink details and hand-knitted cow in Girls bedroom

Pink details and hand-knitted cow in Girls bedroom

Take note of the pink wax plastic table-cloth to avoid nasty stains, pink tiaras, the lace curtains, shades of pastel paper lampshades, tea party cups and plates with and a tiny pink birdcage.


Yawama eco friendly knitted toy



Pink and purple details in a children’s room



Toy tea party for children



Bring out the safari in your kids room

Here are a couple of ideas where the use of subtle tones of olive-green can create an earthy safari feeling in your kids room or your library for that matter. Cute cuddly plush toys such as monkeys, elephants, zebras and or even the rubber or plastic varieties will add to the savanna theme.  Ultra trendy in Sweden at the moment are old school anatomy, biology and botany posters.  Fluffy rugs such as cow hide or sheep skin will add a more tribal vibe. A golden rule. Keep it scandinavian simplistic!

Yawama of Sweden Zebra cushion and our eco-friendly cow would just add to the authenticity of the theme. Maybe the dairy cow is questionable- but after all these are true safari creatures, hand made in Africa.

Olive green zebra cushion with knitted cow

Olive green zebra cushion with knitted cow from Yawama of Sweden

Olive green bedroom for kids. Source Pure and Noble

Shades of green from Skona hem

Olive green wall for a boy’s room source: ilovebokkie

Olive green from elledecoration Sweden

Know your European market

Who do you want to sell your product to?

Once you have established your business model, identified your key values in your organisation you need to understand your market before dashing off and purchasing products in what can easily turn out to be a fruitless affair. Trust me I am talking from experience. So study your market well in order to get you perfect marketing mix. Again I am focusing on products from developing countries to Europe and my references are from the home decor sector.

An excellent resource for understanding the potential that the European market has for goods produced in developing countries is the CBI Market Information where for my part the home decoration and home textiles category has played a significant role in outlining the potential within this sector. Other sectors include footwear, jewellery, fresh fruit and vegetable, cut flowers among many others. There is lots of reading here that will help you define whether your planned products should focus on low-end, middle end or high-end markets and information that will help you to understand value chains so that you can work on your pricing and product.

The price breakdown that CBI outlines within the value chain in the calculations below are general for textiles like curtains pillows within the home decor sector which can be confirmed from my personal experience with imports from Zambia and Southern African.

Value chains imports to europe from devloping countries source: CBI

Value chains imports to europe from developing countries source: CBI

Interior trends in Europe and Sweden

It can also be said that a general trend in Europe is the growing interest to know where and how their products are being made as can be seen in the increase trend towards eco and fair trade products which are perceived as inspiring and pleasing preferences. Consumers are searching for individuality and originality. Part of this trend includes an awareness of design, material and production techniques. The market for second hand and recycled interior products is also growing. These are all smaller nische markets. I will talk about the design aspect which I have perceived as one of the major challenges when working with products from small-scale producers in Africa in a later chapter.

Sources that can also be useful in order to study trends and markets for the home decor industry in Sweden include

Svenska moderådet – here you can subscribe to annual trend reports. The biannual leading trade fair for Nordic interior design Formex is an interesting event that will introduce you to products, markets and competitors. If you have a limited budget and can’t attend design fairs, a great place to start is att bloggers who attend these events.

There are a number of interior design bloggers in Sweden that are good to follow if you would like to keep up with the latest trends like Trendenser, Hemtrender, Husligheter,  Inredningsvis and stilinspiration.

Some of my very own personal favourites that promote more earthy country styles, eco friendly living, fairtrade, vintage and handmade include underbaraclara, kurbits, caisak, volanglinda, EmmasvintageMittlivpalandet, Att vara någons fru, and  Kammerbornia.

Interior design for kids room showing a blend of vintage, new and handmade  cow from yawama of sweden

Interior design for kids room showing a blend of vintage, new and handmade cow from yawama of sweden from Underbaraclara



7 days of garbage

This is powerful imagery with regards to our daily consumption portrayed by real people with their weekly garbage exposed. Photographer gregg segal wanted to portray the effects of our consumption on the environment. He states “Obviously, the series is guiding people toward a confrontation with the excess that is part of their lives. I’m hoping they recognize a lot of the garbage they produce is unnecessary”

7 days of garbage

7 days of garbage

Scandinavian vintage kids room

Will start the year with some inspirational pictures from Clara Lidströms nursery where the new and the old are blended in an eclectic mix to create an eye comforting, soothing yet playful room for her son.

Here are a few tips on how to get this Scandinavian vintage look into your childrens room.

  1. Vintage furniture
  2. Old picture frames and pictures. Embroidered, painted or prints.
  3. A blend of hand-knitted toys and crocheted covers.
  4. Hand woven rugs
  5. Wall paper ideas here
  6. Classic timeless lamp designs


Vintage scandinavian kids room

Scandinavian Vintage Kids Room from Underbaraclaras Värld

Pictures from flea markets

Handknitted cow and flea market pictures

old lamp

Old lamp

Old wooden chair

Old wooden chair

Clara says ” I want the nursery to feel warm and cozy, and of course play-friendly! The entire nursery is decorated with flea market finds and heirlooms. The rag rug is woven by my mom. The green child size wooden stool is a flea market find and the brown storage chair I had as a child. The grey wooden bed is from my husband’s childhood and the pictures are flea market finds. In the large gold frame sits a Mamma Moo-poster which I bought at the library and the embroidered picture with the Saint Bernard dog my grandfather’s mother made. In the green chair is also a nice cuddly monkey from Yawama of Sweden.”

For more ideas and inspiration on Swedish vintage interior decorating for kids see Empire Nordic and My Scandinavian Home and petit and small.



Christmas shopping in Umeå 2014

Would you like to do some genuine local  shopping with a modern twist then Eljest is the place you are looking for. Swedish design at  its best where designers, artisans and producers from Västerbotten fuse traditional designs and crafts with a modern flare amalgamating continental influences to create unique pieces of jewellery, pottery, clothing, jams and much more. This year Yawama Kids collection of adorable soft toys and cushion covers are among many other handmade products on sale. Our small but very competent team of designers Anna and Clara lidström both have their roots in Västerbotten.

Eljest pop up store pops up once a year just before Christmas offering a spectacular range of handmade products. Tomorrow Saturday the 20th of December, I will be at Eljest from 11,00-16,00hrs. Eljest is on the main walking street this year opposite Lindex. Please pass by just to say hi or browse through the amazing range of products. I would be happy to answer any questions with regards to Yawama of Sweden producers and products. As we say in bemba MWAISENI- WELCOME.

Eljest Cultural Gift Store

Eljest Cultural Gift Store

Local Handcraft from Västerbotten

Local Handcraft from Västerbotten

Ecological soft toys designed in Sweden and handmade in Zambia

Ecological soft toys designed in Sweden and handmade in Zambia

Yawama Kids Collection at Eljest

Yawama Kids Collection at Eljest

Stylish Batik Cushion Covers

Just before Christmas in anticipation of 2015 Yawama of Sweden launches a small batik range of monochrome black and white cushion covers for the modernist or the earthy interior decorater. Would you like to add an ethical twist to your Scandinavian look? These batik cushion covers should do the trick. These cushions are not just African inspired but they are handmade in collaboration with Yawama of Sweden by women in Swaziland at Baobab.

batik cushion cover

Baobab is a small enterprise employing 25 women in Swaziland. All the women and predominantly single mothers. Baobab provides the women with tools to adapt to the growing responsibility and the shift in women’s roles in communities. Baobab is a member of SWIFT (Swaziland Fair Trade), an organization that supports the development of the handicraft industry in the country.

Svart vit prydnadskudde

Batik cushion  leaves

These cushion covers have been created by skilled artisans through a tedious process. Hot melted wax is artistically applied in specific design to a white fabric. The fabric is then submerged into a dye bath, the wax acting as a resistant on the fabric allowing the uncovered fabric to be dyed. The fabric is then left to dry in the sun. This process is repeated layer upon layer. The wax is then removed by boiling the fabric and a unique fabric with a crackled effect is created. The dyed fabric is then cut and sewn into uniques pieces such as our batik covers.

Monochrome interior

black and white cushion cover