Thursday, 1 December 2016

Hyggelig deer benches to fawn over

Tis the Season.

The deer benches are coming out just in time for Christmas.

Deer are very cool, especially well dressed ones like this splendid fellow.

Here on Paradise Island we're fond of deer benches.

Everyone who is anyone is putting on their antlers . . .

their furry ears . . . 

photo by Viki Reed Photography

. . . and their best red nose.

Eddie, my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate: A dog is not a deer. 

I know, but he's got such dear deer little antlers.

Eddie: A dog is not a deer. A gorilla is not a monkey. And by the way, here is a picture of me.

Of course we need a picture of you, Eddie. We always need a picture of you.

Now if you don't mind, I'd like to get on with the story. I want to show how deer are especially hyggelig. As they say in Denmark.

Eddie: What do I care what they say in Denmark?

Because the Danes are the happiest people in the world. And hygge is a real thing right now. It means . . . well, here, let me show you. 

This is my best friend Miggy's bed.

Eddie: So a bed with flannel deer sheets is hyggelig?


Also a bench made out of gingerbread.


It's all about being warm and cozy. It's homebaking for Christmas . . . 

. . . and making things together . . .

. . . and singing around the old joanna pianna with your family and friends.

As you may have guessed, Joanna is Cockney rhyming slang for piano.

Eddie: How many languages are we using here?

Sorry, Eddie. I guess this round-the-piano-down-the-pub thing might be more of a British version of hygge.

Eddie: Brygge?

Yes, enforced fun. 

Hygge is the word of the year. Just think warm thoughts about benches. Imagine them wrapped in cozy, stylish wool . . . 

. . . or snuggling up under beside an open fire.

The colder it is outside, the more important the hygge indoors.

Eddie: Benches on fire, Christmas puddings, dogs wearing antlers: I can't imagine where this story is going. 

Don't worry, Eddie, all will be revealed.

Eddie: Are any deer benches going to be revealed by any chance?

Of course but right now I'm trying to show some antlers. My best imaginary friend Miggy has a nice rack specially decorated for Christmas. 

Eddie: Is Miggy hygge?

Not really, no. She's more Scandi Noir I think.

Eddie: As this is a blog about benches, how exactly does Scandi Noir work?

Well, I can show you a frightening bench. It's uhyggeall sharp edges and menace. Quite the opposite of hygge.

Eddie: I thought Scandi Noir was dead. Spoiler alert: it was a Killing under The Bridge while Wallander chased through the tundra with a drink in his hand. 

Wow, Eddie, you're quite a kulturman. 

Eddie: Not really. I'm more of a kalsarikännit, as they say in Finland.

Drinking by yourself at home in your underwear?

Eddie: YOLO.

I'm moving on now if you don't mind.

Hygge houses are warm and snuggly with lots of sheepskin rugs and candles and cardamom buns coming out of the oven.

Here's a hygge house for you, all decorated up for Christmas.

Eddie: Looks good enough to eat.

By the way, I saw Lady Brassica down at the pop-up ice rink today.

Apparently she is decorating Drizzly Manor for Christmas with deer wallpaper.

Eddie: This strikes me as a first world activity.

Lord Brassica's horse Tonks doesn't like it.

In fact, he hates anything with antlers.

Eddie: These girls don't have antlers.

Look at the wallpaper, Eddie. The WALLPAPER.

Now we need to get back to our Christmas deer. 

And elk.

Moose are relevant too.

Eddie: Is hygge all about antlers?

No, but it's December and we're leaping towards Christmas. 

At the North Pole the sleigh bench is waiting to be packed.

The Santa stool is ready and waiting.

Eddie:  I guess a lot of people will be asking for benches for Christmas.

Yes, deer are very hyggelig so deer benches are a serious business this year. Now more than ever, hygge is a commercial proposition.

There are stacks of deer benches needing to be delivered on Christmas Eve.

Eddie: And guess who delivers them.

Yes, Christmas always features reindeer, of course . . .

. . . and as we have seen, also reindogs.

Eddie: A dog is not a deer. And this so-called reindeer is not a deer either. 

Now if you don't mind I'd like to get back to showing the dear little benches and various kinds of deer.

Eddie: This is an elk.

That's what I mean by various kinds of deer. It's a leap of the imagination. 

Eddie: You need to read up on the whole subject of cervines.

So far there is not one single deer bench shown. You've got deer ON benches, and you've got deer without benches and you've got an elk painted on a tipi, which has nothing to do with anything.

Sorry Eddie. I'll try to stick with deer from now on.

Here's a brilliant display of deer for you to fawn over.

Eddie: This is not a bench. It's a couch.

Yes, but these decorative plates are deerlicious! 

Mr. Deer and Mrs. Rabbit are perfectly dressed for Christmas and they've already got their tree.

Eddie: This is not a bench, it's a chaise lounge.

I'm trying to find a dikdik bench to show you. 

Eddie: Did you know that dikdiks mark their territory with their tears?

Oh, that's sad. 

And speaking of sad, we can't talk about deer without mentioning Bambi.

Eddie: Spoiler alert: it doesn't end well.

Here's a lovely little Bambi of a bench. You'll be doe-eyed when you see it.

Eddie: This is a log.

I know, but as we've seen before, a log and a bench are not so very different. 

Remember the fire where His Excellency accidentally burnt my £20,000 designer log bench?

Eddie: Very hyggelig.

Let's hope we don't make that mistake again.

Eddie: Your readers are expecting to see some deer benches. You haven't shown any.

You're right, Eddie. I'm not out of the woods yet.

Eddie: Stop with the puns will you.

Sorry, Eddie. I guess you've herd that one before.

Eddie: I'm still waiting to see a deer bench. 

Alright, how about this one? 

Two deer stopped by woods on a snowy evening . . .

Eddie: This is not a bench though, is it?


Eddie, you're ruining the hygge now. 

You're getting your antlers in a twist.

Eddie: I doubt if these are antlers but at least it's a bench.

Wherever there are antlers there's bound to be a bench.

And wherever there are antlers there are bound to be deer.

Eddie: I'll bet this costs a lot of doe.

Enough with the puns, Eddie. 

Eddie: I'm just giving you a taste of your own venison.


Eddie: There are a number of problems with this post, which your readers will have noticed. That's if you have any readers.

I definitely have readers. They send me their lovely images, like this cute little reindeer stool.

Eddie: Very nice. But you need to take care.

Why? Are deer dangerous?

Eddie: The problem is, this story has wandered around like a stag party. You haven't shown us any deer for at least 14 miles.

You're right, Eddie. I've got rather carried away by hygge.

I need to get on and show you some deer benches. 

Like these Little Deer benches from Italy.

And this beautiful pair of chainsaw art deer.

Eddie: That's more like it.

Yes, and I'm just warming up!

Eddie: I guess you're feeling quite hyggelig in that sweater?

I am indeed. Now I need to look for a deerstalker's hat bench.

Eddie: Good luck, Sherlock. 

It's elementary my dear.

Just to keep the hygge vibes going, here is a beautiful garden deer bench.

Eddie: This bucks the trend of boring garden benches.

And this pair of wicker benches is great too.  

Eddie: These are not deer. They're springboks. 

They look a bit chilly. A little uhygge if you ask me. 

I'm going to ask Miggy's Mum to crochet a little something to warm up our benches.

And I'll knit you a hyggelig jumper, Eddie. 

You can wear it when you come round to see my deer wallpaper.

Eddie: Do I have to?

Yes, it's very hygge to visit friends and praise their Christmas wallpaper.

Eddie: I think I'm finally getting into the spirit of hygge. It's something like the German Gemutlichkeit isn't it? Or the Swedish mys. Or Norwegian koselig. Or what the Americans call feel-good factor.

You know I love you deerly, don't you? You're the kind of guy I can share a cardamom bun with.

Eddie: You should overpay me. I'm worth it. 

As they say in Denmark, Hyg dig!


Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without some brilliantly Christmasy benches. Last year we here dreaming of purple ones. For a more traditional Ding Dong Christmas though, see

The lovely Babychamp deer at the start of the story belonged to my dear friend Effie, who had no idea why I loved them. As Japanese people are very fond of benches, the deer featured in a story about Japanese benches a couple of years ago.

Tis the Season is the title of the first deer bench. Cajsa Lilliehook is a photographer from Portland. She runs a number of fashion and photograph blogs, such as It's Only Fashion in Second Life® Her column at Shopping Cart Disco called What I Like features art and fashion photos of Second Lfie from Flickr and fashion blogs. On Flickr I found her Tis the Season photo of a bench from December 2015.

In the Nathan Forget photostream  Ian's Antlers is an album of superb antler-wearing. There are brilliant moose, ram, deer, and other cervine creatures. Antlers 2 is the moose antlers and Antlers 8 the buck Both photos were taken in December 2011 in Denver, Colorado and Nathan has a whole album of beautiful elk photographed at his Christmas cabin in 2009.

The lovely dog in red antlers was photographed by Viki Reed in Nov 2012.  Viki Reed is a photographer from New Jersey. She is a former waitress, camel wrangler for Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular, comedy club employee, wardrobe assistant at The Public Theater, film and tv production staffer, writer and photographer who also has serious fine art skills. She has lived in New York (upper east side), Hollywood, The Valley (in LA), and New Jersey. She would love to live in the UK some day and would also love a studio to call her own.

The girl with nose and antlers was photographed in Dec 2015. It's in the photostream of  Shena Tschofen (pronounced Shay-na, not Sheena.)  Here's what I know about Shena: she's originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and now based out of Montréal. She graduated from the National Circus School in 2016 and has been on tour with Cirque Éloize's new production, SALOON, as a musician and acrobat. In her free time she can be found knitting, enjoying the outdoors, or making puns in multiple languages. 

Eddie is my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate. If you've seen much of Benchsite you will know what a problem Eddie is for me. He has ruined helped me edit the post about my swimming bench and the Blue Monday benches.  He interfered with stepped in to help with the Orange bench mystery. However, he has a habit of setting his own agenda with the benches. Look what a mess he made great job he did on St. George's Day . And as for my Red benches in February? No wonder I was very grateful seeing red, and not just for Christmas.

Hygge is indeed the word of the year in the Collins and Oxford dictionaries. There are more than one and a half million #hygge posts and zillions of hygge photographs on Pinterest. So many hygge books have been printed that you can reasonably expect to receive one for Christmas this year. For a detailed analysis of hygge and its various cultural meanings, see Charlotte Higgins in The Guardian November 22, 2016. She goes so far as to suggest that the Danish hygge has been hijacked into a commercial frenzy that turns hygge into something far less cuddly than it sounds. 

Flannel deer sheets are everywhere this year and for some reason I find them hard to resist. Along with the sheets, of course, you can get the matching bedside table and lampshade, and cushions that look like they've come from a Scottish manor house. I strongly suspect that all this deer-themed stuff will have a limited life after Christmas.

A gingerbread bench? Brilliant! IKEA have cracked it. The gingerbread couch is one of their hygge-inspired gingerbread house furniture pieces from Christmas 2016. You cosy up to it, then you eat it. What could be nicer?  ikea-gingerbread-house-furniture__1364324118146-s3

Making the Empire Christmas Pudding is an artwork by F C Harrison produced for the Empire Marketing Board sometime between 1926 and 1939.   For the really curious, there is the full list of ingredients in the Benchsite Christmas post at

The women spinning are from the Nasjonalbiblioteket (National Library of Norway). The image is a Christmas postcard (Julekort) from around 1894 by artist Aadne Stray.  For more lovely Norwegian folkart and photographs see

Cockney rhyming slang is complicated but yes, the word for piano is Joanna, which more or less rhymes, in the same way that hygge rhymes with cougar. For some beautifully tuned piano benches see

Lady Jessica Brassica is happily married to Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly. Lady B and her daughter-in-law are what you might call competitive in the fashion stakes. For many years Lady Brassica modelled for Studio Joop from Overbearing in Holland but now she has her own fashion house - Studio Ballyfrumpy in County Offhand in Ireland

The bench in smart grey knit is by Shannon Robalino, previously of California, now living in the UK.   It's part of a set of benches across England using local breeds of sheep to make the wool and knit by local people. Benches are set in the countryside as usable public art. They were all brought together for the Shipley Lates night on crafting in 2010. What a great project! You can see the whole flock of benches at 

I covered burning benches last autumn and there are quite a few benches on fire, one way or another, on the internet. The burning bench shown here is by Valentine Svennson from Stockholm. Photographed in 2003, it is one of several fires in his Retro collection. I'm not going to ask whether Valentine started the bench fire.

Nov2874 has some lovely photographs in his Ride Around the Countryside album, including the burning log in the fireplace, photographed in 2014. I am pleased to say that this log is not the expensive designer log bench I purchased in Japan. Phew! That's twenty thousand pounds saved then. For the full story of log benches, see  Warning: this story also contains cake. 

Of course you knew that the brilliant shapely girl with coloured lights in her antlers is not Miggy. She's Second Life AvaGirl Deerlicious, featured in the photostream of Lilac Niven back in December 2013. Lilac is from The Netherlands and is owner and designer of AvaGirl at 

The shark-like bench is by the well-known Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who died this year. In June 2011 it was exhibited at the Mobile Art Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. There it was photographed by Jacqueline Poggi from Marseilles. Jacqueline gets around the world and takes fabulous photographs of art and architecture. She knows how to capture a beautiful bench when she sees one.

The prettily decorated little gingerbread house is a Christmas decoration at a shopping mall in Porto Alegre in Brazil. I saw it at

The Rudolph deer crossing sign was a key component in David Ashleydale finding a nearby geocache.  David is a web developer from Oakland, California. That's Brina looking intently for reindeer.  

The metal elk bench is one of a series of historic local benches seen in Pomeroy, Washington USA. What a joy to see a tiny town investing in such interesting and useful benches. For more Wild West benches saunter on down to

Tigloulou's photo albums show that she is very well travelled but her special place is Chamonix in the Alps. She photographed the lovely sleigh bench there in February 2006.
I get high on mountains too; see my alpine bench adventure at

Lisa Parisi from Virginia creates imaginative footstools of all sort, each with individual attention to the details: matching fabrics, shoes, and embellishments will bring a smile to your face. Of course children love a special seat of their own - the Cat in the Hat, Disney, animals, sports, even a reindeer footstool and a Santa one too. Because so many of Lisa's footstools are purchased for adults, she's now offering a larger size footstool that is 16 inches high and 16 inches in diameter.

The greeting animals are apparently in front of a new stadium in Savannakhet in western Laos in 2011. The French photographer is Chaoborus at

Coco de Paris is a mixed media designer whose world is a fantasy of prints which feature original artwork, some vintage ephemera, some illustrion, some reality, some past, some future, and a lot of imagination. Every creation is unique, involving hand painting in acrylic on a different page of antique paper, complete with beauty signs through time (spots, corner bends, uneven prints, old grainage, wear and tear, etc). The deer sitting on a bench and deer discussion artworks are printed with Epson DuraBrite Ultra Ink which gives high performance print quality and longevity. The genuine antique paper comes from the famous Parisien magazine La Petit Illustration, a French literary journal of the 1920s.  One of Coco's three etsy shops is at and the website is at

The Elk tipi is at Big Sky Tipis where my husband Mungo and I camped this year in East Sussex. In a lovely field near Herstmanceaux, it would have been a great time except that 1) I had a broken foot and 2) it never stopped raining. Don't let that put you off; Big Sky Tipis are brilliant.

On July 12th and 13th 2008 the city of Hanover hosted the Rugby Seven European Championship where Stefanie photographed the bright yellow Springboks cap. If you're a rugby fan, you will know that the Springboks are the South African team and they are serious about their rugby. Stefanie lives in Lehrte in Germany and works for Deutsche Bahn, the German Railways. She has an obsession with reborn dolls and shopping for them, dressing them and, of course, taking photos of them. Looking through her photostream, I'm not entirely sure which of them are real babies. 

At Daykamp Creative Design and Illustration in Massachusetts, everything is designed by Nicole Anguish (what a great name!) Nicole does innovative gig posters, holiday art prints and cards. Some of her delightful designs feature deer, like the one reading a newspaper on a bench. She also does a Christmas card of a deer with baubles strategically placed. The Daykamp etsy shop is at and the website at

Kelly S in Brighton does fab and funky extraordinary home decor. Her Fab and Funky etsy shop is crammed full of fabulously loopy antiquarian book prints and bone china plates such as Mr. Deer and Mrs. Rabbit on their green chaise lounge. There are deer aplenty in smoking jackets, ski jackets, fencing gear, and sporting a wide variety of strange things in their antlers. The wall of funky bone china animal plates shows the whimsy and magic of the artist's delightfully Fab and Funky imagination.

Eddie often refers to the marvelous book Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker (2016, Flatiron Books). A dikdik is a small antelope that lives in the bushlands of eastern and southern Africa. It's a sad animal fact that dikdiks mark their territory with sticky black tears from the preorbital glands near their eyes. 

Bambi on a bench was photographed by Tracy The Astonishing back in 2008. What's astonishing is the number of travel albums Tracy has in her photostream.

Wales is one of my favourite places in the world so I was delighted to see WelshHeirlooms from Blaenau-Ffestiniog. The shop owners, Jacqui Goodier and David Allen, deal with collectables, art, and antiques of various kinds. The little deer sitting on a log is a Sylvac deer in a log posy dish, made in England, and in perfect condition.

As far as I can tell, Keepps resides in Switzerland. He or she has a nice array of beautifully photographed benches, including the log bench with the broom, photographed in Gstaad  

I like wall stencils and Cindy at Innovative Stencils carries a large selection of nursery and kids' room wall decals, as well as an ever-growing selection of tree and forest decals. I've used her pretty birch tree wall stencil, which can be used with or without the two deer. Vinyl wall decals are a quick and an affordable way to redesign a room and Innovative Stencils also carries a selection of damask stencils that can be used on walls, fabric, cakes and almost anything else.

Eddie's right in saying that the amazing antlers-in-a-twist bench is not actually antlers; it's spaghetti. The Spaghetti Bench is one of a series by Pablo Reinoso, a French-Argentinean artist and designer. Starting in 2006, Reinoso used public benches, which are anonymously designed and travel across cultures with an out-of-time, old-fashioned quality, as a starting point for his reflections . . . These new creations have multiplied and found homes in very diverse places. The fabulous benches can be seen on his website at

The leather bench resting on deer antler legs is a fascinating and unusual design from Old Goods, a Dutch company run by Raymond van Bijsterveld Jr.
based inside d’Olde Poort in Ulft, Old Goods has an eye for detail and is continuously on the hunt for interesting items, sourced from all around Europe. In their atelier they restore or modify items when necessary, but also work with old materials to create their own unique designs.

Rick Owens's Tomb Stag Bench was made from white civec marble and moose antler in 2012. An American fashion designer, Rick Owens (born 1962) began his first furniture collection in Paris in 2007. Tomb Stag Bench is not the only work Owen has done using antlers. He has made stools, benches, and other sculptures using antlers. His Pair of Stag Benches (2006) is one of my favourites.

The Take Care Deer sign was photographed by Ozzy Delaney in 2013. Ozzy has a vast collection of photos from all kinds of places and events. His bizarre signs have appeared on Benchsite before

Chris Lewis is a web developer from Seattle who has a brilliant Things Crossing album in his photostream. Something - an elk or moose or deer, is going to be crossing this Nevada road for the next 14 miles.

The Little Deer stools are by designer Onar Cobanli in Como, Italy. Born in Istanbul in 1984, Onar studied design in Italy and got a PhD for his research into design competitions. He has featured in many magazines, including Milano Mod in April 2012 (that's him on the cover).   Onar Cobanli's company is, which has the most amazing range of products I've seen, including more than 100 benches, chaise lounges, sofas, and chairs.   

The brilliant cardigan-wrapped chair is called Chairwear from  Originally from County Cork in Ireland, Claire-Anne O'Brien lives and works in London producing textiles for furniture, space and product. Specialising in constructed textiles, material properties and textile technique are explored through hands-on experimentation. With a sculptural approach, Claire-Anne investigates form, construction and scale through textiles. Shows include London Design Festival, Milan Furniture Fair, Wool Modern and Spinexpo. In 2011 she received the Future Makers Award from the Crafts Council of Ireland.

The Sherlock Holmes shadow behind a bench was at the Baker Street tube station in London in 2007; perhaps it still is. The photographer is Valerie Lam, who is from Toronto.  

I love chainsaw benches and there are benches aplenty at  The bench of two deer heads was made by chainsaw artist Richard L. Hamilton from his company RLH Wood Sculptures in Altoona, Pennsylvania.   

The beautiful bronze garden deer bench is a sculpture from Fine Garden in Orlando, Florida. It is one of their many elegant garden benches made in the USA.

On the Wicker Paradise blog it's all about wicker. They love the Springbok Benches made of outdoor wicker - who wouldn't!   I saw the Springbok benches in various places, including their Flickr photostream at   But sorry, I didn't find the designer or who makes them.

Keeping warm is quite a thing here on Benchsite. We love it! Miggy's mum lives here in Fribble-under-Par and occupies various benches in the town and on the beach. Last year she organised Knit Bomb Thursdays so that we covered all the Paradise Island benches just in time for winter. And it does get cold here. Our benches get frozen   See how we keep them woolly warm at

The Christmas house at the end of the story is simply beautiful. Melinda Stuart is a retired historian from Ontario, Canada, who has lots of architectural photos in her photostream.  It's the Vance house at Christmas 2015. The Vances live in Buncombe, North Carolina and the thing about the Vance's Christmas house is that it's low key, a reminder that in the early 19th century the holiday was not yet celebrated in the Victorian way that we do today. There is no decorated tree or commercial activity. Gifts were few and handmade, if they existed.

Deer are not the only animal benches here on Benchsite.  In fact, we have a whole Ark of animal benches. See which ones Noah saved. If dogs are your thing, you’d be barking not to have a look at
  Maybe you prefer cats? If so, there are plenty of purrfect feline benches for World Cats Day, as well as more than a few cats playing pianos. We've got farm animals too. The Cream of Bovine Benches.  How about some Baaaaaad Sheep Benches?  There are sunny bunny benches for Easter and poultry benches which are no spring chickens.    We've had horse benches for The Year of the Horse and goat benches for, yep, The Year of the Goat. We've got Great British Birds and even creepy crawlie insect benches for National Insect Week. And monkeys? Of course we have monkeys; Eddie has made sure of that. It's not just The Year of the Monkey. Oh no, we've had plenty of Eddie's monkey business

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