Forest Wood Rosemaling Art & Craft

Amanda's Rosemaling and Traditional Crafts (Husfliden)

Norwegian Proverbs (norske ordtak)


Some of my Rosemaling -My Rosemaling projects

It was a custom to have a saying to decorate the border of a bowl, 

utensil or piece of furniture in traditional art forms, especially

with Rosemaling in Norway.

Not only are the following words of wisdom, they were often a

small piece of social art history penned by the artist of the time.

- Alderen kjem ikkje aleine; han fører så mye med seg.

Age comes not alone; it brings so much with it.

 - Bak skyene er himmelen alltid blå.

Behind the clouds the sky is always blue

 - Borte bra, hjemme beste.

To be away is well and good, but home is best ( where the heart is)

 -Bedre bør du bær "kje i bakken enn mannavit mykje.

You can't carry a better load up a hill than much knowledge.

 -Ingen kan hjelp den som ikke vil hjelpe seg sjøl.

Noone can help someone who will not help him/herself

 -Gode ord skal du hogge i berg, de dårligere i snø.

Carve your good words in stone, the bad in snow.

Her er noen fine ordtak til Rosemaling.

 -The world seems so wide, when friends are far away.

 -Før stodeg i lunden grøn og høyrde fuglane kveda,

no er eg ein bolle skjøn of star på bordet for gledja.

Earlier I stood in the grove so green, listening to the birds singing;

now I am a bowl so nice, placed on the table for joy.

-Be happy every day then your heart will know no winter.

 -Velkommen mine venner. Welcome my friends.

On this  sending basket  (sendingskruv) from 1878:


"Tag kurven paa Armen og brug den med Nytte og Glæde.

Lad Giæsterne faa sig en Kringle naar de ere komne til Sæde.

Og rede paa Bord naar Venner er komne tilstede."

Take this basket on your arm and use it in a way that is useful and gives happiness.

Let the guest eat Kringle when they are seated. Lay the table when the guests have come.

This 'sendingskruv' from 1882 reads:

 "Naar du vil traktere din Nabo og Ven, tag kurven af Krogen.

Du er jo naar du bærer rætterne frem, Saa tapper som nogen.

Og dett Rare of Nette, med Rette kan hugen of Foden din lette.

"When you want to treat your neighbour and friend, take the basket

from its hook.

When you carry the dishes to him, you are as brave as anyone.

And this strange and easy thing (deed) can rightfully be said to ease

your mind and foot.

 -Det gror ikke til på veien mellon gode venner.

On the road between the homes of friends, grass does not grow.

 -Det er bedre å være foruten penger enn æere.

It is better to be without money than honour.

 -Vend andletet mot soli, so hev du skuggen bak deg.

Face the sun and the darkness (shadows) are behind you.

 -La denne bli i slektens eie, husk det god glem det leie.

Let this (bowl)... stay amongst kin, banish the bad and keep

kindness within.

 -Vær husets venn når du går inn, når du går ut ha samme sinn.

Be a friends of the house when you enter and the same when you leave.

My absolute favourite:

 -Lukka den rømer fra mannen som krev, men fyller med visdom

den handi som gjev.

Lady luck runs from the man who demands, but fills with wisdom

the kind, giving man. 

  -I livet lykke i hjertet fred, i hjemmet hygge og kjærlighet .

Luck in life and peace in the heart, comfort and love surrounding the hearth.

 -Fred med nabo, fred i hus, da smaker best det gylle krus.

Peace with your neighbour, peace in your home, then your beer will

have the best foam.

 -Ved å verne det gamle, både ute og inne, så hedrar du slekti og

fedranes minne.

By protecting/preserving the old both home and away, you'll honor

your family and them memory of your ancestors.

Kan du ikke være god, så kan du dog være det bedste du kan.
-Dansk Ordtak(If)you can't be good, then be the best you can.
 -Du kan unngå kritikk ved ikke å si noe, ikke å gjøre noe 
og ikke å være noe.
You can escape criticism by not saying anything, by not doing
anything and becoming nothing.
  -Du fanger flere fluer med en dråpe honning, enn ei tønne eddik.
You catches more flies with a drop honey, than a barrel of vinegar.

Mer Norske Ordtak

More Norwegian Proverbs

Mange bekker små gjør en stor elv.

Many little streams make a great river.

Bak skyen er himmelen alltid blå.

Behind the clouds the sky is always blue.

Blind høne finner også korn.

A blind hen also finds grain.

I mørket er alle katter grå.

In the dark all cats are gray.

Smuler er også mat.

Crumbs are food too.

Den som sover synder ikke.

He who sleeps makes no sins.

For mye klokskap er dårskap.

Too much cleverness is foolishness.

Bedre dårlig kledt enn naken.

Better poorly clothed than naked.

Vennskap ender ofte med kjærlighet, men kjærlighet

ender aldri med vennskap.

Friendship often ends with romance, but romance

never ends with friendship.

My Rosemaling projects

Amanda's Rosemaling Projects.

From topt:

Rogaland style of Rosemaling. A design by an Australian artist, Jo Cavanagh that I painted in 2003.

Telemark - a Nancy Morgan design I painted in 2009.

Gudbrandalen - Shirley Peterich design I painted in 2007.

Rogaland - Vi Thodes pattern I painted in 2008.

Learn more about the fantastic Rosemaling heritage of Norway in an article about my travels:


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

1. Sunflowers on a chopping board/photo frame.

(Please email me at for full size image and pattern) or see image in the albums at this link:

2. Rosemaling design (please email me at for pattern and full size image)

N.B.:Please note that both designs have been copyrighted and if you wish to teach this projects to your students you have my permission as long as you credit me with the design and you do not live in my hometown. I only ask that you drop me a courtesy email first. You will be given permission. I would also appreciate some feedback in my guestbook as to how the project worked out.

Sunflower chopping board/frame

Paints: Jo Sonjas acrylic painting gouache

Wood: prepare as normal. Seal chopping board only on area where paint is to be applied using All purpose sealer. The chopping board can be left unsealed in the centre. This board is not intended for heavy duty use such as cutting and chopping tasks, but rather as a serving board for cheese and crackers, or to cut soft foods such as cheese. As a precautionary measure, keep food away from painted areas.

Brushes: Round #3 brush unless otherwise stated.

Country Checks on chopping board: Background colour medium blue ( Sapphire blue or French blue looks nice). Then using a flat brush and a fair bit of water make a semi-transparent mix of warm white and make alternating strokes 10 centimetres long along the border of the chopping board using the width of your brush as a guide.

Leaves: Antique Green
(can be made by mixing Green Oxide + bit black and warm white)
Tip or double load heavily into Pine Green to make a blended textured stroke.

N.B. Paint sunflower ar the rear including its centre first. Then follow with overlapping flowers at the forefront.

Alternate petals sitting behind, all in Yellow oxide (round brush)
Front petals are painted in Yellow light side loaded in Warm white.  Keep warm white to the outside edge of the petal.

Stipple with a round hog's hair bristle brush loaded first in yellow oxide, then raw sienna, and while this layer is still damp:-
Double-load raw sienna on your brush and one edge into brown earth. Begin stippling in an arc from one edge of the centre circle moving gradually across to the other side. The brown earth will form the shaded area of the centre and will diminish gradually as you stipple towards the opposite side.

Highlight the same way: double loaded hogs hair brush with Raw Sienna and one edge tipped in yellow light. Begin stippling on the opposite side to the brown earth.

Wipe stipple brush on paper towel to remove most of the colour. Do not rinse in water at this stage. When centre of sunflower is dry, stipple a little warm white on the dry hogs hair brush and tap a little on a very small area as a concentrated accent of warm white.

Add warm white dots using a stylus.

Tendrils:Pine green using a liner brush such as 6/0 or such as feels comfortable for you.

Seal with a water based varnish and enjoy.

Copyright Amanda McLaughlin 2002

Rosemaling Milk Carton Holder
Preparation and Finish as normal. Sealer  ( I used Jo sonjas background pot of Forest green then added some paynes grey and black to darken the colour on the second coat.  Red values: Indian Red Oxide and Burnt umber
Red Values: Warm white, Indian red Oxide and Burnt Umber
Blue Values: Ultramarine blue and Warm white
Green values: Pine green, Pine green and Burnt Umber, and Yellow oxide
Detail: Burnt Umber Warm white and Rich Gold.

Order of painting:

Scrolls first then leaves, finally flowers and centre last. Embellishments as you desire when all other areas are done.

Water/oil  based varnish to protect the item as normal. ( I used Final coat on this one)

copyright Amanda McLaughlin 2006