onsdag 31 mars 2010

The pursuit of Happiness (it's a place?)

Micke had been feeling a little blue, and as far as I can guess it's because of the usual: the weather, work and all the home assignments he's supposed to do. So, when we saw the expansion box (collectors ed. mind you!) for World of Warcraft on sale (for 35 instead of 60€) in the store, while shopping for groceries, I said to him that we just have to take it. Bonus was, you got a week of free gameplay.

Yes, I was the one that said to the game-playing nerd to buy an expansion pack. Seriously folks.

So, Micke has now spent most of his time by his computer, but I think he's been feeling better. The gaming gets a little manic, but I personally take mania over depression any day. We'll see how it goes when he wants to buy another month of gameplay (which I guess is about 30€).... then I might have to put down my fists.

 Look, he looks so much happier! Even though it took all day to install since he had to download 2,5 GIGAbyte of patches for the game....

You got a free mouse-pad in the box, with a picture of the new playable region.

And you got a book! The Art of World of WarCraft. I read it while he was installing, and although I liked it, the book could have been more "from concept art to in game footage" and less "let's put a lot of cool art in a book", in my opinion.

So, we'll get to see if this impulse buy will come back and bite me in the ass later (after Easter) when his  free gametime runs out.

tisdag 30 mars 2010

Granny square blanket (Täcke av mormorsrutor)

I've been  making granny square patches since last November (2009) and today (30th of March) I finally crocheted a thin border around the whole blanket, and cut off all the tiny threads that I hadn't managed to "hide away" inside the crocheted squares themselves.

Oh boy, did it take time to make the whole blanket! One square in itself doesn't take that much time, but when you have to make 19 x 13 = 247 squares, then suddenly it becomes a PROJECT (notice the capital letters!). This blanket took a loooooot of time watching CSI, Lie To Me, House and other TV-series with Micke to get done. I think I've gotten the hang of "mom-multitasking": watching TV with one eye, keeping my hands busy with the PROJECT at hand, and talking with Micke during the commercials while crocheting.

What you need to make a blanket like this:
  • Patience (well, duh!). I planned the layout of the pattern I wanted to make on a paper before I started crocheting. It helped, because then I knew how many squares with a certain color I needed to make.
  • 247 squares:
    • made with double yarn (the gray squares are actually made with yarn that's light and dark gray)
    • crocheted with a BIG size 8 mm crochet hook
    • these took at least 40 balls of yarn (one ball weighing 150 g, meaning you're gonna need 6 000 g=6 kg yarn!), but if you crochet with only single yarn you'll get away with less. Much less.
  • To put together the squares once they're done, you can either:
Check out either the descriptions from when they did it on Strömsö (THE Finnishswedish life-style program), or check out how they did it on the Purl Bee. Either description is great, and there's even more to be found about making these blankets on other pages online. Just google "granny square"

This is what the whole blanket looks like.
I had to drape it over a sofa to show you how BIG it is.

This is how it looks from the "right" side.

And this is how it looks from the "wrong side".

Me crocheting the squares together. THAT part felt like it took forever.

Finally - it's done! What a relief.
 Only thing I now have to do is put it in the washing machine. And plan away on the next project.....

torsdag 25 mars 2010

Turku Open Air Market

Turku market square
Mon-Fri   8ish - 17ish
Sat   8ish - 15ish
(Yes, winter to summer, but not on Christmas day or when its more than -25 degrees cold!)
How do I pay:
With cash only!

If you like vegetables, fruits and other green product, and want to buy LOTS for a cheap price.... then visiting the open air market is a great idea. In order to compete with the local stores and keep Turku's market culture alive, the open air market often have more affordable prices for us students (sometimes even 1 euro cheaper/kg).

If you're lucky, you might even find the odd shipment or two of exotic fruits for sale. Salad, onions, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, apples and potatoes are the ones that are always found though. In summer you can find berries, in autumn mushrooms.

The great thing about the market is that at the end of the day the vendors clump together the day-old veggies and fruits into large plastic bags, and sell them for 1 euro/bag. So, if you're lucky,you can find a HUGE bag of tomatoes that are just ripe enough for that Italian tomato sauce you want to make.

onsdag 24 mars 2010

Pink breakfast

You are what you eat... therefore, breakfast sometimes needs to be taken to the limits! As in this prime example with semolina-porridge made with lingonberries (swe. mannagrynsgröt, vispgröt) and some cake-decor...

Start with porridge.

Add milk, look - it's an island!

Nom nom nom...
All gone :)

måndag 22 mars 2010

Making a necklace for my *Cinderella*-dress

What you're gonna need are:

1 necklace wire with screw-clasp *
~40 pearls (with a diameter of at least 1,5 cm)
~40 matching seedpearls **

*These can be found at e.g. Näpsäkkä in the colors blue, gold, black, silver, red, pink turquoise.... I love using them, since the wire makes the pearls fall nicely around your throat, and the lock is already prefitted to the wire.
** Make sure these are at least size 8/0, as smaller usually have hole that won't fit around the wire I've used here!

String the pearls on in any order you want them to be - here I put a seedpearl between each large pearl - then close the clasp onto the wire with a straight-nosed plier.

Ta-daa! All done and ready to use. And it took about 10-15 min.

Visiting the Turku Art and Antiques Fair of 2010


Me, Mimi, and a few other girls from her study program (art history) visited Turku Congress Center on Sunday. Reason: to ogle out eyes on antiques, crafts, and art. The fair was actually divided into three parts, and the one we spent most of our time (and most of our money too, heh!) was the area where the Craft-boutiques and -entrepreneurs had their stalls. People were displaying things they had made by weaving, knitting, cross-stitching, beading, sewing with leather and gods know what other things. There were people selling yarn for every possible use, and even a vendor selling the latest in sewing machines.

At one stall, where the girls from C04 were, I bought a knee-length skirt made from felt (100% wool!). It's violet, and I reeeeally liked the color. Just had to buy it. Mimi bought a white west at the same stall. Before that, I bought some yarn at Lankabaari's stall, so now I have enough to make that crocheted vest I want.

The main thing I had wanted to look at was - of course - the stalls where beadwork materials were sold. Oh joy! There was at least six stalls, and we visited every one of them.... buying a little from each one, of course. I finally found some glass pearls with a golden-ish coating that fit my yellow Cinderella-dress perfectly. Mostly I bought wire and string, though. I have enough beads to make what I want for a while now. Oh, I bought beads, but not as many as I perhaps COULD have :P

In the Antiques-section we saw many things, like all the old toys they had up for sale at this special event called "Wanhat lelut" (eng. ye oldie toys). I'm still surprised that I actually found something to buy there in the antiques section! Many vendors had old Arabia-porcelains up for sale, and I actually found the one me and Micke have some pieces from (it's the brown and white one in the picture beneath this paragraph). When we moved together, I had three plates of that series that I had gotten from my mom. I bought one, so now we have four, which is much nicer since we now have an even number of plates to set the table with. The plate cost 5€, but I noticed that the vendor had it on sale, as the other price tag on it said 10€. Of the same design as this series there's one with blue stripes (instead of brown), and the price for pieces of those were at least twice the price of the browns! Think - 18€ for an Arabia plate! I must remember never to accidentally break one of ours now...

Look, it's our Arabia porcelain!

After spending an entire four-and-a-half hours ogling at all of this, our legs were so tired that actually just SITTING in the buss back home was divine in itself. Still, next year when they hold this fair again, I'm so gonna be there.

torsdag 18 mars 2010

Stomach flu or something... (yes, AGAIN!)

It's funny how clear life suddenly becomes when you wake up at 5 a.m. and just *know* that eventually you're going to have to run to the bathroom to throw up. Your body is telling your mind - in no nonsense terms - that this will eventually have to happen. So you plead with yourself, you take shallow breaths, you DON'T think about food, picture a sea of calm white when you close your eyes and you try to hold on.... but then comes the point when enough is just enough, and you lurch/run/crawl to the bathroom. (This latter is sometimes done with various degrees of success... As evident that one time with Micke and the TV)

Since this happened early in the morning (hello! 5 a.m!), and I'm a generally decent human being, I didn't want to wake up Micke while I did all of this... activity. So, I left out the lights, and closed the bathroom door. He managed to sleep through all the ... activity ... and even the shower I had to take afterwards, because I felt like crap and was freezing like crazy. I even brushed my teeth, and sprayed the goddamn sink and toilet with Chlorine (!) to clean it, and still he slept on.

He did wake up when I accidentally walked into the door to our bedroom on my way back.

And he was so surprised that I had had to go and ... do the activity, because he hadn't heard a thing. And then he proved that sometimes sleepy people really are pigs, because he got up and went to pee, and then complained when he got back how the bathroom stunk. And how my breath was evil.


Well, now it's two days later, and although I'm pretty weak and shaky, I at least feel slightly back to normal. Micke said I looked emaciated (swe. tärd), because of the only-liquids-please-diet I had been "eating". All I know is that I'm quite hypoglycemic, but don't really feel up for eating solids yet. Let's see how dinner goes, then I might be back so normal.

torsdag 11 mars 2010

Kids at Turku City Library

Many daycare-group take their young charges to Turky City Library to lend books for the week. Some even stay for an hour or two to read. Here is a little group I managed to spot today. Some of the kids wanted to lend the books of the friends in their groups, so much fun are the lending machines!

You see, at Turku City Library, kids have two lending machines of their own. At the top hole, you show the "lending robot" your library card and punch in your code, then you get to stuff your books - one at a time! - into the hole. As soon as the "lending robot" recognizes the book, it does this funny beep to let you know it's all right to put in the next book. Every book you borrow falls down at the back of that top hole, and you can pick them up at the hole at the bottom of the machine when your done. If something goes wrong (usually it's that you punch in the wrong code) , the machine instead does a "dooh!" much like Homer Simpson. Hilarious!

tisdag 9 mars 2010

Some more sewing...

I had to get out the sewing machine once again, this time to patch some of our clothes. It's amazing how easily H&M-clothes get either holes, loose threads or drop their buttons. Talk about clothes for only one season, jeez!

Micke had cut away a washing label tag on one of his T-shirts, and since he did it in a hurry he cut away both the tag and some cloth to spare. Ergo sum, a hole! How typical.

After this sewing - which was easy! - I decided to finally sew together all the parts I had already cut out for a bag made out of crocheted 'granny squares' (swe. mormorsrutor).The squares are made out of 3 different shades of brown, and sewn together with the same yarn that's used in the last 'round' on the square. I really like the colors, although they're not exactly "spring colors". It was supposed to become an autumn bag, but.... *lazy*

The only thing I don't like about the end result are the handles. They don't match the rest of the bag, I think. I'll have to fix that some other day.


Hey, and if you want to read more about using granny squares and crocheting techniques, you can check out this page :)

måndag 8 mars 2010

Apparently, 'people' are forgetting how to cook from scratch...

... at least according to an article posted in todays Hufvudstadsbladet. I tried to find the link for it on Hbl.fi, but I couldn't find it except on the pages where you could read the whole web-newspaper. So I'm sorry for breaking copyright and all that, but I'm still posting it here. Sorry, Hbl!

(to read it, click on it!)

See the first and second paragraph? In the first, they're discussing the fact that more and more people buy foodPRODUCTS when shopping, and not food that has to be prepared from scratch. In the second, they're discussing how the availability of ready-made meat has made people forget how to prepare meat (I assumed that they mean everything from choosing the right meat for the dish, cutting it, and finally to prepare it right).

Are we truly going downhill with this? (says the girl who has gone the other way and always wants to prepare everything from scratch...) Are people really not acquiring the skills needed to cook? I suppose you actually CAN live and survive in the our Western world without cooking nowadays (!omg!), and I get that not all are virtuosos in the kitchen, but come on! When you can't make your own meatballs anymore, you buy your fish soup in an plastic bag, and you get your onions and veggies pre-chopped from the freezer....

Apparently, the future in cooking is now.

:::   Written a few hours later:    ::::

And so, because of this (I guess) I'm spending this International Women's Day preparing dinner (with pork chops) for my boyfriend. Just the thing women wasn't supposed to do today, right? Slave away in the kitchen for the men of the family. But I've never made pork chops before, so it's a response to the text above!

lördag 6 mars 2010

I've decided to put all our books on LibraryThing

And it will be a HUGE weekend project. Because I calculated that we must own close to 350 books, and if (and that's a big IF) you manage to find all the Swedish ones online you might still not get the right covers for them. That would mean uploading covers for the ones lacking, which will turn out into a mini-photo shoot.

But still, I think it will be worth it. If someone wants to buy us books in the future, they can check online if we already have it. Which is kinda smart, I guess.

And if we, for some reason or another, need a complete list of all we have (insurance reasons or so?) it will be easy to print one out.

tisdag 2 mars 2010

Creationism (pun intended!)

Although last week was a bit depressing, there were some bright moments to be found. Besides celebrating the twin's 22nd birthday during the weekend, I managed to have Mimi over for some creative sewing. She needed some alterations done to a jumpsuit she'd bought from H&M for next to nothing. She's like me when it comes to H&M - if you manage to find something you like, you almost ALWAYS have to do some slight alterations to it. Not everyone is a size 0 / size 32 and thin as a twig.

I think the sewing went quite well, and she was real happy about getting it done :) The suit is this one-piece thing, and although it fit her to a T around the hips and legs, it was too wide up around her chest. I took away about 5 cm, and then it fit her perfectly. Here she's checking out the finished result in our hallway mirror.

Thing is, she freely admits that she considers my skills on the sewing machine to far exceed her own, so she gladly lets me do alterations to her clothes. So far, I've helped her with two red dresses, two pair of pants, and the jumpsuit. And putting new lining in her winter coat. Now THAT was a project, and it took all day.

Besides doing some creationism (hah!) on the sewing machine, I also managed to to some chores around the house. Been letting the cleaning-craze into the apartment again, and boy did it need it. It just proved - once again! - that as soon as I'm not feeling OK (depressed, sad or stressed), not much gets done around the house. I know it, Micke knows it, and that's just how it is.

Oh, and I went to the library yesterday. I noticed a lot of people using the library to study for their entrance exams; one girl was reading Galenos in one of the big yellow chairs. Didn't look to comfy, since that book weighs a ton. Good thing it wasn't Grey's Anatomy, since that book is both heavy and large.

I found yet some more craft-books on jewelery-making, and some artzy books about is too. The books in the "500 -series" (500 necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets) are particularly good, with large enough pictures for you to actually see small details.
Well, I guess that was about it on the news front here. Only thing I have yet to do today is take the train to Kyrkslätt for a quick visit at both my parents and at my ex-scout organization's meeting place.


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