Tag Archives: Finland

Weekend “project”

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You know what? I’m not going to start this post with the question about your weekend! I actually started writing it and then got a thought that it might be that almost each of my post starts with a similar question. I even checked and… there it was, always the same question! So, though I would love to know how you are doing and you are more than welcome to share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments (as always!), this time – no questions.

This weekend I decided that it’s finally time to put some flowers into out beautifully spacious but otherwise quite shabby balcony. We moved into this apartment only last August, and there really was no point in planting any flowers in the balcony, as the “winter season” here in Finland usually starts around the middle of August 😀 Well, ok, it doesn’t really start that early, only the school year starts and all the public transport changes into “winter timetables” and generally everyone gets out of the holiday mode and into the working one. But it’s really not worth getting busy with flowers so late in the summer because even in the beginning of September the temperatures outside (especially at night) might get quite low and the poor flowers would wilt anyhow. So though I was delighted at the prospect of having a huge balcony (it’s almost 10 square meters – or around 100 square feet for those, who live in another metric system – I’ve just measures it for the sake of this post!) and being able to spend time in it having breakfast, sunbathing or having a drink with my husband on a sunny evening (don’t laugh, the evenings are sunny here at summertime: on Midsummer Day sun in Helsinki sets just before 11 p.m.), but I left all these things for the “next year” and the balcony became a place to store all the things that don’t really belong at home but have to be here (like kids’ trycicles and scooters, outdoor toys and such).

So, to come back to this weekend after the long preface – I decided that it’s finally time to put some flowers into our balcony and start preparing it for all the nice things we will be doing there when the weather gets really warm (I know, I know, I said it’s already nearly summer here… but summer at this point means temperatures of some +20 C – and much less in the evenings). After a few trips to the stores – to buy flower boxes and the hooks to hang them, to buy soil (this was my husband’s job – I’m not a heavy-weight lifter myself 🙂 ) and to buy flowers (I made this one together with the kids – couldn’t have taken such a pleasure away from them, could I?) – and a lot of mess on Saturday evening while planting everything (the kids were included into this process as well… I guess I’d better not start describing that, because those who have kids will know very well what it looks like when you let a 5- and 2-year old “help” plant flowers; and those who don’t have kids won’t imagine it anyway 😀 ), here’s the result:

I fell in love with the pastel colored little buckets the moment I saw them! Aren’t they cute?! But the flower boxes were a dreary dark grey color – and in my mind this color is definitely not “summary”! – so I additionally bought some bright light blue adhesive tape and decorated the boxes with kind of “blue skies” backdrop against a “gray grass” (and – in the case of the hanging flower-pot – its “glue grass against the gray skies” 🙂 ). It took just maybe an hour to do this but I think now the flower boxes look much nicer. What do you think?

So, this is the start of my “balcony makeover”. It still needs a lot of other things like a few colorful rugs and some set of furniture. And, of course, I have a million sewing projects (like colorful floor cushions) in my head. But… one step at a time.

Have a nice start of the week all of you!

Free time: Sewing

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Hi! Today I’ll just jump straight into the topic: wanna know what my free time looks like recently? 🙂 Like this picture!

Yep, I’m all in the sewing activities – and I love it! Since I finally got my new toy – the sewing machine – I’m immersed into everything that’s thread, fabric, seems, cutting, measuring and sewing. Though I’m not doing much of actual sewing yet, because I decided that I’d like to learn how to sew properly. So – being a definite Type A and all in all a person in-love with books – I started from reading 😀 My bookshelf is now filled with books titled “Sewing Machine Basics”, “The Sewing Machine Classroom” and “Dressmaker’s Guide” that the Helsinki library kindly provided (they have such wonderful libraries and the whole library system here in Finland!!! I can’t even express how happy I am about that!). Apparently, there are so many things I didn’t even realise I didn’t know! 😀 Like different threads for different projects and what needle and stitch length and width to choose for what fabric, not to mention the different foots for a sewing machine and thread tension and… Well, you get the idea 🙂

It’s really not that I’m starting from a complete scratch – in my teenage years I even made a few clothes (like skirts and a blouse with straps and even a dress) and I actually wore them (so they weren’t really bad 🙂 ). But then I was sewing just from my own understanding and – really – just relying on luck: I made mistakes and I didn’t care much that the final garment didn’t look professional. But I made it! That was the most important.

Now the fact of making something myself is as important, but I’m older and I don’t really want to wear something that screams from a kilometer away: “Look, I made it myself! So what if it doesn’t look like much!” That’s why all the books and learning 🙂

But I’m not only reading, mind you, and I’m not writing this time to share with you the titles of my “study books”, but, rather, my first project 🙂 It’s extremelysimple, but it fulfills the main objectives for this moment: it let me try out my machine, it was simple enough to make in a very short time (time is something I would be glad to buy in bulk these days, but, I guess, most of us feel the same way, right?) and it brought a bit of color and spring into our home (about time!). So, here it is: just the pillowcases for our living room sofa pillows 😀

…and “after”

Sofa “before”…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I would not necessarily say that the new pillow cases generally look better on our sofa, but they do look better as an accent of spring. Right? What do you think?

Of course, now there is a whole row of projects already lined in my mind 🙂 And I will, of course, share them all with you in due time. But today I saved you a couple of pretty pretty pictures for the final – my birthday gift from a dear friend here in Helsinki.

Look at this bag! Can you imagine the patience that goes into making something like this? To sew all those “flower-buttons” on, and the embroidery and everything… Oh my… This woman is a real crafter 🙂

And that’s it for my colorful post today. See you next time!

Kierrätystehdas, or Recycling Factory, 2012

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As I’ve already mentioned in my last post, Sunday was a delightful day for me mainly for the reason of having visited the Recycling Factory event for the first time.

A lovely display by Florencia

So here’s the report about some of my moments there, as promised 🙂

Kierrätystehdas, or Recycling Factory, here in Helsinki is the largest sustainable lifestyle event of Finland. This year it was organized for the fifth time and I had the pleasure to visit it – together with some 10 000 other people. My friend and I spent the most part of our time in the Sales market – the part of Recycling Factory that united craftspeople, who use mainly recycled materials for the products they produce and sell. But there were also other parts of the event that we just didn’t have enough time to visit (us both having slipped away from our families for just a few hours): the Ilmaistori (or “Free of Charge” market) where visitors could bring items they didn’t need anymore and take whatever they needed, the panel discussions, runway shows and quite a few workshops (I brought home my “masterpiece” from a mosaic workshop 🙂 ).

EcoDesign: Oskari Nukarinen’s bedside table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the first time this year there was an EcoDesign competition. Unfortunately, I somehow didn’t stumble upon the winner design while I was there, but just look at this ingenious bedside table designed by Oskari Nukarinen for OplusMonG Design Ltd! It is very simple and minimalist but really so great. No more bedside lamps falling off bedside tables, right?

Pencil-clock by Design Airo

 

 

 

 

Ok, but here’s what I did stumble upon that really made my eyebrows arch and would have made me whistle if I knew how to do that: the pencil-clock by Design Airo…

Organizing board by a crafty girl from Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences

 

 

 

 

…and this amazing organizing board presented by a crafty girl from Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences. You know how you never can find pens or rulers when you really need them? Well, no more! And this would be useful for so many more things! You could even hang it in the kitchen and use it to store tableware. Should look fun!

Colorful lamp from Mum’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Recycling factory we met the warm and friendly women from Mum’s. We started talking as I asked permission to take a picture of the colorful lamp. They told us about their project: Mum’s products are designed in Finland and manufactured in South Africa, thus providing work for people there. It’s a really socially responsible idea, don’t you think? And their designs are real cute too 🙂

Bag by Globe Hope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing about good designs and sustainable products: what do you think about this bag by Globe Hope? Guess what it’s made of. I myself would never have even dreamed: it’s made of the hood that protected the Olympic Stadium’s tower during its renovation! This thing has such great history!

Soap dish by Think Today

Wristlets by Think Today

 

 

 

More recycling? Here are the wonderful little things made by Think Today out of left-over flooring materials. I fell in love with the soap dish.

It’s such a great design: you can open the snaps and the whole dish becomes completely flat, thus it’s very easy to store or to send to someone as a gift, for example 🙂 And the colours of this particular one!

Chalkboard-frames by Kimara Crafts

Postcards by Kimara Crafts

Magnets by Kimara Crafts

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really liked magnets by Kimara Crafts. The words on them are in Finnish and mean “remember” or “from the shop” or “when you have time” 🙂 There were also the beautiful and handy chalkboard-frames and these cute postcards in their stand. And lots of other great stuff (here’s their homepage).

Spoon necklaces by AddDrama!

Engraved spoon necklace by AddDrama!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the real sophisticated things: what do you think about these spoon necklaces by AddDrama!, huh? I loved them. Especially the ones with embedded crystals and the most delicate engravings. Who could have thought that spoons can be so charmingly beautiful!

Delicate little aluminium plates and spoons by Latimeria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just look at the designs by Latimeria! Those delicate little plates with tiny spoons – they’re made from aluminium! And the bigger spoon is from steel. I don’t know if you’re able to see that not only one part of it has this beautiful purple colour to it but there’s also a soft light blue strip on the handle as well (argh, I so need to learn to use my cumbersome but real good camera!..). The lady at the Latimeria stand told us these wonderful colours appear when processing steel with different temperatures. Interesting!

Steel teespoon by Latimeria

And, of course, all this are only teeny-tiny grains of all the things that we saw – and didn’t have time to see – at the Recycling Factory. But I’ve already loaded you with more photos than is reasonable, havent’ I? So… enjoy them for now, explore the homepages of the crafty companies and people to find even more great designs. And I’ll be back next time with a short post on the workshops that took place at the Recycling Factory.

Have a great day/night (depending on what part of the world you’re in 🙂 )!

Oh, what the hell!..

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Hi 🙂

Huh, it’s that simple, really… You know, having a blog is in some way exactly the same as having a friend. It’s so easy to talk/write when you chat on a daily basis – when you know every detail of each others lives there are so many more things you can discuss and share. But when you talk only once in a while, the range of available topics seems to shrink incredibly, you no longer know what to talk about to your best friend, and hence end up talking even less… because it’s awkward, isn’t it? As my own best friend (whom I really talk too rarely to lately… sadly) once put it: when you chat rarely, at some point the amount of details and small things to share just becomes too great to cover everything, so then you turn to the “big things” – but big things don’t happen that often in life, do they?

For us (at least up till now) the trick to getting back on track – as with most cases in life – is quite simple: we start talking again 🙂 Someone says “Hi! How are you doing?”, the other says “Fine. How are you?” and we roll from there. So I really REALLY hope that the same thing will be true with this blog of mine. It’s really been two full months since I’ve written last. With my last pair of wristers and my promise to show you all (is there anyone left out there, by the way?) the sweater that’s been torturing my mind for a while. But then I’ve knit the sweater, I tried to knit a phone case that I actually started to hate someway in the middle of the project but couldn’t make myself undo what I’ve already done (it’s still there, half-finished in my drawer)… then came Easter with all our travels (as we live in Finland currently and all our relatives are left in Lithuania, we do travel each holiday) and the kids’ birthdays (both my little ones were born in April), and then – spring, and with spring – my usual aversion to knitting and love for sewing, decorating, writing and what-not. Sooo… the time passed, the pictures of my sweater remained untaken (though I gladly wear it), and with every passing day the blog seamed to grow more distant. “It’s been so long since my last post. Everyone thinks all this venture is dead anyway,” I told myself. “And what would I even write about? I don’t knit anymore, and I so pompously announced in the beginning that I’m making a business out of knitting! I’m a disaster…” Oh yes, it wasn’t merely “I don’t know what to write about”, because I actually do – there are millions of things I’d love to write about. But none of them is related to making a business out of knitting wristers. That’s the problem. I’ve actually been embarrassed…

But for maybe a week now I’ve been feeling a real longing for  . I find so many wonderful, inspirational things every day, I have so many plans – I want to share all that! I want to have a place to share my joy that comes from the little everyday things I do with my own hands for my home, my kids or myself, I want to have conversations with you, guys (so please feel free to write comments anywhere and everywhere you feel like writing), I want to be part of the blogging community and I want this blog to be not only about knitting wristers but about all beautiful things out there in the world and here in my life.

And yes, about the business part: I haven’t given up yet 🙂 Although I admit I had (and still do, maybe) a lot of doubts about knitting wristers for sale, but I haven’t given up on this idea completely, and I still entertain the idea of having at least some small “side job” of selling handcrafts – be it wristers, embroidered pillows or hand-drawn greeting cards 🙂 So, it’s coming… sometime. But until then, as I want this blog to be alive – and I really WANT it to be alive, screaming and kicking – I will take the pleasure in writing about whatever I feel like writing.  So there… 🙂

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And now about that sweater of mine 🙂 (you thought there won’t be anything about that anymore, didn’t you?) Here it is.

I know, I know, these are so not the best pictures in the world. I just hope they’re not the worst! (though that probably is a possibility as well 😀 ) But I promised to share and this is all I have for now and if I don’t do this NOW, I will again be waiting for “when I have more time to take proper pictures”, “good lighting” etc., and the blog will continue to wither. So, here it is as it is.

I actually really love this sweater! It doesn’t look exactly as I imagined it will when it haunted me in the beginning of the year, but it’s very cosy. I knit it in two weeks (that’s a record for me! 🙂 ) and I basically haven’t taken it off for half of March and the bigger part of April. Now it’s a bit too warm to be wearing it under my raincoat and too cold to be wearing just the sweater, so it got some well deserved rest. But I still hope I will be able to find opportunities to wear it before the fall.The great thing about it is those short sleeves. I know they might look doubtful on a sweater knit of such thick yarn, but they so work – I can be warm and not too warm, the wool (it’s 100% wool) breathes, everything fits perfectly and all in all it’s my favourite sweater in the world now. And I’m so happy with that self-made knit “label” that says “IeVa”! 🙂

If you’re interested, I knit the sweater combining parts of two DROPS patterns (here is the one I took the idea of a ribbed waist from, and here is where I took the cable pattern from) and used DROPS Alpaca yarn.

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So, that’s it for today. See you soon!

Beginnings

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It’s probably a cliché but still – what better time is there to start something new if not right after the New Year? Well, maybe some 30th or 50th birthday would do nicely but I don’t want to wait for those and I needed a kick in the butt NOW, hence the start right after the New Year.

What was the kicking for? For finally engaging in something I’ve been secretly and openly dreaming, thinking and wishing for a very very long time – to start my very own creative journey into the handcrafts world and stay there! So here I am, starting that journey from this blog of all things. But why not? Sooner or later I will need some outlet for all the ideas I’m now bursting with anyway.

Actually I’ve never thought about myself as a particularly creative person. And probably that was my first and biggest mistake, because by thinking I didn’t have enough creativity I just never concentrated any energy on bringing it to a focus and using it for something (and believe me, I know how to concentrate!). But I’ve come to a time in life when I need to choose my “occupation” for the next few years ahead of me and I remembered my lifelong dream. Now is really the perfect time to do something about it!

All my life I’ve been hooked on one handcraft or another, riding on wave after wave of passion for knitting, beading, crocheting, crocheting with beads, making beads, felting, weaving, sewing… you name it. Every time I see some new knitting or beading technique, I lit up with the desire to try it out; I can browse the handcraft supplies shops and especially e-shops for hours and hours (the only competition for them might be bookshops, but even there I get stuck in the handcrafts section); and I always always have some craft project underway (well, usually maybe two or three projects). So I decided to use this passion and this energy for something both fulfilling, exciting and useful – start selling my handiwork. And as soon as I started seriously considering it, my mind just started bubbling with ideas for all the possible beautiful things I could make and hopes that somewhere out there I could find people who would be happy to own my creations. Talk about not being creative!

Maybe this start wouldn’t have been so sudden and “serious” if not for my brother who tried to convince me that there is no way to make a living off the handcrafting, that it’s only an occupation for wives of rich husbands – the husbands can support the family and leave their sweethearts to pursue their dreams that cost a lot and don’t bring any profit. But I don’t believe him and so I set out to prove him (and quite a few others who told me the same thing after I broached the subject) wrong. And this blog will be a kind of “travel journal” to document everything from the very beginning: my creative ideas and their end results (and all the “behind the scenes” in between); my successes and failures (I really hope for only a few of the latter!) while spreading the word about what I do; my life trying to balance this exciting adventure, my studies (I moved to Finland only a year ago and I’m now devoting insane amounts of time to learning Finnish), my family (I have a husband – who supports this endeavour, by the way, although I think he secretly hopes that when it doesn’t work out I’ll find a real job  – and two lovely little time-consuming monsters called kids), and my home (I still am a stay-at-home mommy until this whole thing starts to pay off); and all the other things that will go with everything else.

Please, feel welcome to visit! To read, to chat, to look at nice photos (hopefully I’ll get a hang of using my “fancier” camera soon – maybe I’ll have to write about that as well), to advise… maybe to criticize a little. Because I really hope and will do my very best to achieve success that will both enable me to live my dream and enable all those that believed in me to say with poorly disguised pride: “I know her from the very beginning, and I always believed she’ll do great!” And I intend to write about the path to both these great things here. So come!