söndag 25 december 2011

Christmas Eve

Today we've spent a fairly typical Christmas at my parents: ate a LOT of things, played some boardgames and then ate some more on/off. Good thing I wore my new dress! It was suprisingly comfy 'to eat in'. I think I have to figure out a way to take it in even more or add shoulder straps, because it almost falls off me!

My brother Harald, Micke and then Birgitta.
She's one of my family's oldest acquaintances.
Harald - very typically - can't behave on a photo.
This is all the LEFTOVERS after we'd finished eating... Like my dad said; "[He] doesn't know how to cook for any less than 25 people at any given time".

So... this year's Christmas dinner left leftovers for at least 20 people.
Dad still had more "lådor" that could be put in the oven...
For those of you unfamiliar with the Christmas buffé of our family, then I can say it includes A LOT of EVERYTHING.
The years that me and Micke have spent in Turku - just the two of us - we haven't had leftovers for more that one meal after the "night of the buffé". After that, we've made pan pizza. Why? Because some traditions are meant to be broken, and 5 days of eating leftover Christmas food is definitely one of them.

Then, much much much later in the evening, we played the board game "Turtles". I found the "mutogen", so I won the game. Woopti-doo.

Just my biochemical unluck that I grew up playing games that were produced without a lot of spell checks. Or properly translated for that matter ;)

This game must be, what, close to 15 years old by now?
I see that the English version has some sort of contraption for
casting the dice

You move around the board, fighting "bad guys" (översatt till värstingar)
with your "good guys" (översatt til... wait for it...godingar!). After you've
defeated 3 bad guys with the same "mark" on them, you get to go to the center
of the board (the Technodrome) and battle Krang. If you win, you get the
Woo-hoo! I found the "mutogen".
I won :P
It's a totally ridiculous board game, but we at least had 30 min of fun playing it. After that, we played other things, but I forgot to take more photos. We actually also went to bed quite early...

lördag 19 november 2011

Crocheting Eorme

Finally - it is ready! My Eorme blanket. Since I am like everybody else that crochets and just hate to join done crochet squares, it felt like it took friggin forever to make.

Hello, my name is Eorme.
She made me wear fringes,
even though she hates fringes.
In retrospect, the most funny thing about this project is that it actually started out as a tunic.
Yes, a tunic.
But about halfway through (or up, as you were suppose to knit it from down to up) I just got fed up with the project, frogged the whole thing and put the yarn aside. This was during the winter of 2010.

Then, I read the book “200 crochet blocks” by author Jan Eaton, and thought that it had been some time ago since my last crochet block blanket. Thank you Linda for recommending it! The pattern I wanted to use is called "Fudge".
So, off I went to buy more yarn, and typically enough the Novita yarn company didn’t produce Novita Luxus Cotton anymore. It's like my Mom has always told me: "Buy enough and then at least two extra skeins the first time, because who knows..."
The few left-for-dead-yarns I found were definitely not in the colors I wanted. Typical. Only colors left were sunny yellow, light green and baby pink. Not when you want white, beige, light and dark blue. I did ask around.

Left-for-dead dark blue Novita Luxus Cotton.
Yup. Ecologically produced cotton.
The yarn you find in the SALE! bins
at e.g. Citymarket. What a shame.
So, Eorme is as large as I actually could possibly make it, which is about 1 m x 1,2 m. Not very big, but not that small either. Some yarn got left over, and those were enough to make fringes. And yes, I just hate fringes and tassels, but I thought that this time they would actually be okay. And they do look quite okay, at least in my opinion.

This is how big it is.
The trick with crocheted blankets is to start small and then do it assembly-line-style. Meaning, I crocheted ALL the centers first, darned in the ends, then started on the next color... It goes fast in the beginning, and then it sort of creeeeeeps along in the end.

I think I carried the small purse with the squares-in-progress around everywhere. I also crocheted nearly everywhere: train, bus, police station (trice!), at home, library, knit-along, at homehome with Mom and Dad, at Emmis's summer cottage...

You could fit a lot of crochet into that small black purse.
The small roundels above was what I crocheted while waiting in line the first time at the police station with my German friend Ette. She was getting some official documents, and I came along (it seems to be impossible to really get along with the bureaucracy in Finland as a foreigner, unless you have a native friend along!). This is how much I had time to crochet while we were waiting (25 small roundels... there's 5 in every pile).

måndag 14 november 2011


Ponder the phrase "..., if you want to."

I've been homehome (meaning, at my parents) the entire weekend. I spent some time with my parents, some time with Emmis, and some time with my own thoughts.

Me and Emmis went through the Arts and Crafts fair like two crafters who suddenly realized that there wasn't a whole lot for them there. I searched for some very specific thing, and not finding them left me slightly feeling like a sail without wind.

Since it was Friday, there were a lot of teachers with their
classes. I think there were both kids from elementary
and secondary school there. 
Either way, there were a LOT of people.
Best thing though, was that they DID have small workshops
with different themes. This was about using a potter's wheel.

This one was - I think - about different techniques
when spinning yarn. 
One thing I did notice, was that a lot of booths
had "ethnic" inspired crafts. The more color, the better.
Quite a contrast to traditional Finnish crafts.
I just grabbed a photo of the beads this small
company called Figulus had for sale. Really nice
people, so I do think I have to make a visit to their
shop sometime in the future. They do have an onlineshop too.
That was weird, to say the least. But if you want to make thing yourself, then you don't want to buy things someone else has already made. You want to buy the supplies, right?

I ended up checking out the books for sale, and I could have stayed there for a long long long time. Books are nice.

"You could make that yourself, but only if you want to."

Then, next day, we went to Ikea. With Emmis's lovely sister Anna's small family. We younger 'girls' babysat the 2 year old of the family, while the rest went hunting for a warderobe. They were successful, we were successful (no tears or tantrums!), which only proves that you need lots more than just 2 adults to take proper care of a small child. Hello, parents need some time off from their kids too...
And I still had time to get myself a thing or too before the check-out.

"You don't need to help, it's only if you want to."

Emmis also hosted a crafts party, but we had fewer people there due to influenza. Flu always stikes when it's the least welcome. During the evening, I made some paper earrings (my very own design) that Emmis will give her mother for Christmas. In exchange I got some yellow polka dot cotton fabric for making a yoyo-necklace.

Emmis had made some Christmas amigurumis, and had
them decorating the sofa table. These are the paper earrings.
I hope Emmis's mom will like them. If not, I'll make another pair in colors she can choose herself.

fredag 11 november 2011

Helsinki Crafts fair 2011

Even though the Crafts' fair in Tampere is the biggest Craft-related event held every year in Finland, I've only ever been to the fairs in Helsinki and Turku. Next year, if I get anyone to go with or get someone to go with me, I actually might go to the one in Tampere. But that will take slightly more planning on my part than going to the one in Helsinki: asking some friends and just take an early morning train.

This year, however, is slightly different.

Because this is the first time I've actually got a free ticket! I never win any competitions or lotteries, so maybe this is just my reward for having good karma. Nevertheless, thank you so much Sinelli!

Sinelli is one of the bigger Arts and Crafts stores found e.g. in Helsinki. And it also happens to be one of my favorites.

fredag 4 november 2011

Bad news

There's a lot of quotes flying around the internet that are somehow related to bad news and such. I will not quote any, because a while ago I heard someone say how "you can quote famous sayings and people all you want, but that doesn't make you any smarter".

This really made me more cynic. And I think it's bad, because I don't want to become a bitter and depressed woman.

But what I'm gonna rant about today is the fact that somehow bad news still always manage to come in triplicates.

First, I lost my laptop. Accidentally, but non the less still a big catastrophe. Especially since it will take a long time for me to get it replaced with a new one.

Then I heard that the group I dance tango in might not have locale for us dancers next year, and thus all that lovely group activity (all the boogie woogie, lindy hop and argentine tango) will cease.

And today, I found out that my favorite café here in Turku, Bossaliina, will also cease to exist. Which also means that our knitting circle Nekku will have to find another place for our meetings.

Of course, it doesn't do much good to bitch and whine about all of this. Especially if there's something you can do to help.
I'm currently borrowing Micke's laptop, when he doesn't have need of it. And however much I loved sitting at Bossaliina - enjoying their tea and cookies and ambient fifties music - we must find ourselves another café. Even if it's hard to find a café that's open after 19 o'clock on a weekday here. And I already asked around a bit if some of my friends have some ideas as to places with locales that are okay for us to dance in. Since it's absolutely impossible to dance on stone floors with tango shoes... unless you like falling.

Somehow, in the end, everything might still be all right.
But I will still miss the cookies.

måndag 24 oktober 2011

cont. Craft course

Too bad that I was in Italy the second-to-last day the course was held. Actually, I missed the last day too, but that was because I had the flu... but the teacher suddenly had to call in for some sick-leave, so everyone else missed it too.

Which was so not what I wanted. I wanted to make more stuff, and see how the salt-dough pieces I had made turned out.

Anyway, today and next Monday one of the other teachers were there to supervise, so I went and got my salt-dough stuff and dropped off all the jewelry that I wanted to show in the course's own arts & crafts exhibition.
They're in the photo here under; some buttons (both in Millefiori-technique and in plain modeling clay), two necklaces (one without a lock because I've run out of nice ones...) and two pair of earrings. Not much, but the rest of my pieces were... not up to such a standard that I would like to show off with them.

In short - they're ugly. It's my technical term for things-I-did-something-wrong-with-when-they-were-created.

My contribution to the course's exhibition.
The exhibition won't be built until the 18.11., so I'll have to wait until then to go and see the finished jewelry pieces the other girls/women made.

onsdag 19 oktober 2011

Sorry for this...

...but SHIT!

Warm blackcurrant juice, meet laptop. Laptop, meet ZZZZZZIUMBCRASH!

And then, say hello to Mr Paper.

This was SO what I didn't need.

lördag 15 oktober 2011

Still coffin

There's this joke that goes like this:

...so the undertaker said: "I wanted to change jobs and become a chimney sweeper, but I just couln't stop coffin!

With this joke, I'm telling you folks that I'm getting back into bed. The way we're both coughing here at home, Micke and me, I guess it's only for our own good to just rest.

Thank the goddess we did have enough energy to go shopping for toilet paper! Now that - and more tissue paper! - were sorely missed for 2 days... You should see my nose; it looks like it has had a bad acid peel.

Drinking warm blackcurrant juice.
It feels like it (and tea!) has been on the
"menu" now for far too long.

tisdag 11 oktober 2011

Bracelet di Roma

While we were in the Vatican, we managed to walk pass and through every single souvenir shop/stop that they had along the designated route.

How typically Finnish: go on the tour and buy the souvenirs afterwards, not during.


But, we were graciously allowed to walk back - thanks to a really nice security guard - so I got to buy two rosaries (one bracelet for 3 € and one necklace for 8 €) for 11 €. Well, I'm not intending to offend any catholic prayer rituals here, but I bought them so that I could make my own "Roman prayer bracelet" when I got home.

I took apart both today made charms from all but 40 of the beads and the bigger cross, made a chain from 58 pre-cut jump rings and a toggle clasp, and made a bracelet.

My own memories of Rome and the Vatican, on one bracelet. Made from scratch.

The original design idea came I got from the book "Mastering the Art of Beading" by Genevieve A Sterbenz. A most terrific book I might add. The piece I got inspired by was one called "Bisou" (or 'kiss' in French), where the theme was a Paris-inspired bracelet.

These are, or actually 'were', the original rosaries.
Yes, I know, and Micke also commented that they
look like small eyes.
The souvenir "store" was really small and totally crammed, since it was the last store on the way out. While I looked through all the bead variations that they had rosaries in, I finally chose red. Because that red bracelet was the only one left of it's kind in the shop's upstairs, or so the nice nun behind the counter told me. I found a necklace in the same red variation downstairs.

Taken apart.
These beads I found at a 'proper' bead-store in Rome,
not in the Vatican. If you only knew the trouble I went
through to get them, and to even find some beads that would
match the rosary beads. I really like the small coffee pot.
Oh yes, this store (Kouki) sure was something... But that's a story for another time. But I did consider these beads, but they would have clashed too much in color.

So, this is the finished piece.
There is a kind of symbolism surrounding the bracelet.
Firstly, I made it, just like I made my own memories of the whole journey.
Secondly, the charms all have symbolic meaning now: the "Rom"-charm made out of seed beads spells out the name of the city, the rosary-beads and the bead with the portrait of Pope Benedict XVI are of the Vatican, the large Murano-type beads remind me how I got lost while trying to find Via Dei Coronari and how I got hassled by the guy in the store, the coffee pot bead reminds me of all the great coffee we had (yes, as a tea drinker this is close to scandalous, but hey!) and the rest of the charms that I added from my own stash have bees (Pope Urban of the Barberini-family had three bees on his papal and his family's coat of arms) on them.

It really jingles as you move your arm, so it's not a silent piece of jewelry. But that is a good thing, this once at least, because the only time Rome was truly 'silent' as a city was between 5 and 6 a.m.

onsdag 5 oktober 2011

ANGST-parti coffee

Or tea, for me. If I drink coffee I get even more "angst" (or are those palpitations?), so I'll stick to tea, thank you very much.

Possibly the last post before we're heading to Kirkkonumi and wait for our flight to Rome.

Packing finally done

So, there's always some last minute detail to take care of... This time it was a small piece of sewn ribbon that held the rubbery-tie-down-strap in place on to of my backpack. Good thing I notixed, and sewed it back.

And no, that backpack isn't filled with just "my" stuff. It has all of Micke's too.

Tadaa! My blue backpack.
This is the second time it's going to Italy.
This is the strap (or whatever it's called) that broke.
I know, I know, the pink doesn't go with the blue
but pink ribbon was all I had in my stash.
So, tomorrow morning we'll all be in Rome, Italy. First time abroad with the "whole" family: mom, dad, brother and Micke. We'll see how it will turn out, but I'm already guessing that it will be super nice and perfect :)

torsdag 29 september 2011

I hate this day

How on Earth am I going to cook things and bake a cake with my hand cut to shreds?

At least I got to experience the effect that EtOH has on raw nerve endings. Not to mention adrenaline rush. And I got to do some first aid. Yay...

Yup, oxygenated blood is crimson red.
Not lilac or dark red.
Keeping your hand slightly elevated will slow down blood
flow to the hand. And then you can admire the plasters.
Oh, and incidentally, I suck at writing with my left hand. Check.

tisdag 27 september 2011

Millefiori-technique with Fimo-acrylics

Okay, first things first with this technique. You'll need a fridge, something to form it with (clay tools or thing you happen to have in your kitchen, like cocktail sticks and your rollling pin), and an oven. The mass needs to be heated up in order to become hard.

You can use many types of acrylic masses for this technique, since there seems to be quite a lot of brands around. The ones that seem easiest to find around stores here in Turku are Cernit and Fimo. However, there seems to be a difference between brands, regarding the plasticity of the mass itself. Fimo, at least, is much more temperature stable than Cernit. This means that the mass doesn't "smear" as much and doesn't get too sticky and get stuck to things (read: you, the tools, the sheet of baking paper you use to protect your table...). It also means that you can use it for longer without it becoming too "droopey" and ruin the thing you're creating.

It helps if you can put it in the fridge a short while before you start cutting into it for the Millefiori-pieces. It will ensure that the "tube" you're cutting from won't get distorted.

Oh, and be prepared to feel like a kid playing with Play-dough...

Since I didn't have enough mass to start making beads, I tried a technique in which you coat metal buttons with it and then put the Millefiori-cuttings on it.

Normal boring metal buttons getting coated with black.
Making the Millefiori "tube".
Close-up on the tube itself.
After you've placed the individual parts as you want them, you
roll the tube until it gets thinner.
The tube is the cylinder on the left, and the button has been coated
with cuttings. Use a real sharp knife for this. I used a craft knife, but I
would have preferred a scalpel. Oh, and it would have been easier if the
mass had been cooler.
This many button I had time and mass enough to coat.
I must say, the buttons I made look really ... well, psychedelic to be honest. My Mom would use the words "they cause you headaches".

Do you agree?

cont. Craft course

So, only three "lessons" left in the course I'm taking. Weird to think it's soon going to be over. It feels like it just begun.

Today, I got to varnish most of my 'beads', and some buttons I had made at home last week while I was ill. Trying to stay still enough - I was shivering like a crazy person! - while painting small details on a surface that drank it like *snap*
Needless to say, you got some interesting "splashy" areas on some of the buttons...

But, the artwork aside, I think it's been fun trying to design something usable with the clay. Even though I'm clearly not a "clay person". I can understand the fuss, because you get to see very clearly how good you actually are at designing something with your own hands, but I don't think it's for me.

Painted, dry and ready to get varnished.
If you look really closely at the photo, you'll notice that the teapot leans slightly to one side. The bottom isn't completely flat. Whups.

I got some of the alcohol-based varnish on my fingers.
When I returned from trying to wash it off in the WC,
I noticed my hand looked like I had a yeast infection.
It did flake away, later. But it was weird.
The consistent red beads in the upper left corner aren't mine,
they belong to the woman sitting on my left in the class.
All the rest though, they're mine.
This was how it looked like at home while I was painting the beads
and buttons I wanted to varnish "in class". The beadboard helped.
A lot.
Now, all of the above are made with the same crafter's clay. It dusts slightly when it's completely dry, but it absorbs paint and varnish really well. It's slightly messy when you sculpture it, and your hands get really dry, but for a cheap medium it's actually really versatile.

I'll tell more about the Millefiori-technique I also tried out today, but that's for another post.

måndag 26 september 2011

Loosing your life (aka wallet)

I spent yet another busy weekend in Kirkkonummi with my parents and Emma. Got to experience - yet again - how knitting on a train can make you tune out a lot. Like the screams of small children wanting to ride the mini train in the "childrens car". Yes, once again I just had to get tickets for a seat there. Thank you, VR.

Those are times when my mantra is playing overtime in my head.
"this will teach me patience...this will teach me patience..."

I had the same mantra playing sing along today at the police station, too. Oh, yes, some jerk or another nicked my wallet last Friday, and I've been having somewhat of a Monday riding my bike around town to "fix" this. Hence the headline if today.

When I lost the wallet, it had a total of 7 euros in it. That might get you a cheap lunch somewhere, but not much else. So that wasn't so bad.
What was, though, was getting replacement cards for all the lost ones. Kid you not, I've spent the last 6 hours trying to get as many of them back as possible. It cost me e.g. 40 euros to get me a new driver's license. 4 euros to get a new library card. All the other ones have been gratis, so far. But, I also had my birth contol pills in my wallet, so I had renew those too. They were really nice about that in the pharmacy. I had some cupons (goodbye cheap lunches) and 2 spare key rings I had gotten from Maria. No keys, phew! And not my student ID card either.

I wasn't at all stressed on Friday about it all (well, maybe a little about the birth control pills since I hate to have menstruation pains) but today kinda remedied that. With vengence.

Still, I must thank Emma, because she donated some materials for me to sew a new wallet on Sunday. I think it turned out real nice.

Tadaa! New wallet.
Emma called it "very renaissance".
It even has a cool lining.
I took Emma's sewing machine out for a spin; it was fun
to test one where you can sew decorative edges on things :)

Colors of autumn

Pumpkins, nectarines and oranges.
So much orange :)
My autumn is different shades of orange - sienna, burnt, golden, bronze and pumpkin. Coupled with gray skies and yellowing leaves, it's not a bad color scheme.

What's your autumn colors?

fredag 16 september 2011

Eating lunch with mom and dad

The saddest thing you can see, in my dad's face when he realised that I couldn't eat anything on the lunch menue. After he had already paid for it. But the kitchen chef here at the lunch restaurant, called "Lounas mania", was super nice and made food for me that didn't have paprika in it.

Here's a photo of Mom eating dessert.

Traveling by VR

Today, I'm traveling by train to Kirkkonummi. The Finnish railway company VR has launched a new ticketing system, and so far a lot has been chaotic about it.

Look, you even get HUGE tickets! Apparently, they're only made for the interim period, but still.

tisdag 13 september 2011

Making a vintage (couture) dress from scratch

For those who don't know it yet, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is one of the worlds museums devoted to design.

In 2007, they held an exhibition titled

The name makes it quite obvious what the exhibition was about, but what relevant here for us is the fact that V&A Museum keeps the sites devoted to past exhibitions open after the event itself is over. Thus, you can enjoy the free pattern of a vintage couture dress - written by the museum's designer.

[later edit: the link above is broken, but you can find the pattern here :) I put it up on my G Drive, but all the credit and copyright goes to brilliant designer Juliana Sissons who made the pattern for V&A in 2006]

Using the pattern made me able to create the following dress (see the photos). I had to modify the pattern slightly to fit my relatively flat chest and still fit around my hips (the pattern's size 10 was close to my shape, but didin't quite fit my bosom).

And I must say: thank you! Anna-Neah for blogging about (among lots of other nice things) making and sewing dresses. And admitting that the sky doesn't fall down even if something goes wrong while you sew. And that sewing with IKEA-fabrics is quite okay too :)

I used both IKEA "Rosmarie" and black "Ditte" for this dress, and a 50 cm off-white zipper. I pre-washed the fabric, so that it wouldn't shrink later. Thank you Maria for telling me about such things!

Look - it has lovely big pockets!
Don't mind me looking a bit emo - Micke acted his best
 "Daaahlin' - I'm photographing you fo' Vouge
 so you bettah pose!". 
Although the pattern only calls for a lining on the body
and not the skirt, I still made the lining with a skirt.
This way, I think I can add an under-skirt for it in winter,
and not have it itch me crazy.
Note to self: next time you should choose a fabric
with a more uniform pattern. I nevertheless managed to
fiddle with the pattern pieces so that I got one complete
rose on my back.
Next time, I'll use a slightly thinner cotton fabric, but other than that I must say it turned out great. Even though I poked a lot of needles into my fingers... Pins are such pests!

How much did this cost me? Let's see:
  • 9,88 euros for black Ditte (bought 2,5 m, didn't use all)
  • 14,28 euros for Rosmarie (bought 2,40 m, didn't use all)
  • 1,30 euros for the 50 cm zipper
Total of 25,46 euros.

måndag 12 september 2011

First crafts course I've taken in years...

 ...and it's called "Modelling Jewellery". It's held by the Turku Työväenopisto, and is going to be held on every Monday until the 17th of October. In the course description, it says that it's about "The basics of three-dimensional plasticity, modelling unique ornaments and jewellery from different modelling clays and learning to combine multicolour clays."

This means I have 15 minutes to get by bike from this course to the one in Argentine Tango. Mondays are gonna be busy days for the following weeks. I noticed that it only takes me about 5 min (by bike) to get to tango practice from the house that this course is being held in, so it wasn't as bad as I thought it would have been. I mean, stressful.

Why did I want to take this course?

Because I wrote on my "Non-faves of 2011"-list that cernit-clay sculpting is a non-fave of mine. This way, I get to try out different types of clay/polymer modelling, and get to use more borrowed tools while I do it. Plus, I don't have to grime up my desk. Always a plus.
If it's one thing I don't like. It's. Getting. Grime. And. Needles. Under. My. Nails.

I already thought, while putting things away today and heading out in the hallway to wash my hands how "I should definitively take a nail brush with me next time". And how I had wanted to have this and that and goddess where is my jewellery kit when I need that specific tool in it. It felt like being a pain in the ass, except I didn't say anything out loud. I'm just gonna take it one, as it comes.

But next time, I'll come prepared... *oh, I'm so terrible*

I made things that are supposed to be strawberries (left) and acorns (right).
Neither looks like what they're supposed to be.
Yes, I didn't do many during the 2 hours the lesson lasted.
Tried using different textures, but just generally fooled around.
The second and third bead from the left is actually a small tea pot
and a tea cup. I hope the handles won't fall off as they dry.
Hmm.. this photo is really grainy. You can't even see how I
tried to form a mini "Angry Birds"-pig from the clay (right corner).
And a cat. And a "Tiny Wings"-bird.
Next week, we'll paint these and varnish them as they've dried. Then, we get to try out salt dough. (Back to pre-school...) I can't wait to get to start using more plastic-containing clay...


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