Saturday, 31 May 2008

Hot air

It has been very hot today, and I'm not very comforable with that. Seems to be age related, I used to enjoy the warmth and the sun. Now I mostly feel swollen and tired when it is too warm. I have been enjoying my new book I bought from Etsy here.

I wanted to show another picture too, but blogger only saved it lying on one side and not the way I wanted. The book is full of cute little projects, and the only words I can read are "Bag" on the front cover and "Bag" on the back cover. I will start something from this book when I have finished some WIF and have some free time to use on fun.

Last night, when I was playing patience on the computer because I had no internet connection, I heard a very loud noise from above (I'm on the top floor, under a tin roof). I recognized that sound from a couple of years ago and went to the window. The balloon on the right had just gone over our house. When I got out I saw that there were three of them, looking like they were going to land on the fields behind the woods.

It looked as if they were almost at the treetops, we could clearly see the people standing in the basket, and the flames which came with the noise, when they wanted to go a little higher. The weather was very nice for a flight like that.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Softies for Mirabel

This morning I changed the light blue button eyes of Mr Hare to less spooky ones and gave them both their whiskers. May I represent, Mr Hare and Flannel Kitty ready to start their journey to Melbourne. Flannel Kitty is made with Cherryskin's pattern of Calico Kitty, and Mr Hare is my own design.

Mr Hare has been hugging Miss Kitty so his tie is over his shoulder! He has a fluffy tail too:

Monday, 26 May 2008


On Saturday I received this Sweet home blogger Award from Ewa-Christine . I am honoured, as the award is for sharing, beauty, love and joy. I think I have just been writing a blog and commenting on other people's blogs. However, the very difficult part of receiving an award is to find five persons to give it to, because I don't think you can give it back or to people who have just received it. Even if they very much deserve it.

I spent yesterday and today thinking and reading blogs and decided to give it to the following bloggers:

Wendy from Snippets of a Quilter in Canada

Patti from Quilting is my Passion in Vancouver

Bricolagelife in Chicago

Blackcrow from little arty crafty crow in Tasmania

and Lara from Thornberry in Australia

Choosing only five and choosing all five was a very difficult task and I totally understand if you don't want to continue. And if you absolutely want to, you can give the award to more than five blogs. I just wanted to thank you for the time I have spent reading your blogs and seeing your pictures.

This flower from my garden is for all the other blogs I visit daily:

It is a fragrant narcissus, strong enough to survive my gardening. I had to be careful not to include any weeds, but the observant reader may recognize the wider leaves on the right. This last picture shows the limits of my gardening enthusiasm:

I have made the concrete box myself and this is the only flowerbed I can keep free from unwanted visitors for years.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Rhubarb Pie for Sunday afternoon coffee

Today we have lovely weather for a change. It is no longer cold, and when I took this picture of our summer apple tree there were some bees to be heard, too. Last year there were hardly any blossoms in the trees and we had a total crops of six apples, all with worms or other faults. I hope this year will be better.

This is how big my rhubarbs had grown:

And so I made a pie for a Sunday afternoon treat. It is cooling now so this will be a short post only.

Can you smell the cinnamon and ginger? I'll make a big pot of tea and will be back later when my DH concentrates on the Formula 1 in Monaco (he is downstairs though!).

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Pay It Forward, again

Remember my promise to Pay it Forward? I published the rules here and not a single person has commented. So here it goes, in short: I promise to send a handmade gift to the three first persons commenting on this, and all they have to do is publish the rules on their blog and make the same promise.

So this is your second chance. If you are interested to spread joy in the blogworld, do comment here or on the original post in April.

Apron and tablecloth

Today I finally finished this apron I promised to make for Kaija's birthday in April. It will look a lot nicer on her. The narrow stripes hurt your eyes only in the photo, not is real life. I'm in disguise here wearing a navy striped T-shirt; I really never wear blue. Well, almost never. Six years ago I bought a light blue linen blouse.

The DNP tablecloth has a binding now, but has not yet been ironed. I think I can count 2.4 m fabric used for the tablecloth (top, flannel and backing), and 0.9 m for the apron. I must make a bookkeeping system for my fabric diet!

Yesterday I also started a new project. My sister Maija e-mailed me about a competition in a Finnish women's magazine. They want ideas for shopping bags of recycled material, and you only need to send pictures and instructions there by the end of this month, not the actual bags. I already made one bag today, but I think I'll make an improvement to it before taking a photo. I have lots of ideas and recyclable/recycled material waiting. This will keep me busy for some time now, but I will not show my bags before the deadline. Who knows, there may be spies reading my blog and they could develop my ideas further and win the whole competition ;0).

Monday, 19 May 2008

Virtual friends materialized on my kitchen table

Today I went to the doctor and had an injection in my knee. It feels kind of awful and hurts half the day afterwards, and I am every time horrified to go there, but it really helps for the ache and pain for a long time. Today I just need to take it easy and not run up and down the stairs all the time. This scary and unpleasant day was rescued by this lovely mail I got from Ewa-Christine as a swap for the white silk spools I sent her last week. She really is challenging me out of my comfort zone to try something new, and now I have the material for it right here.

And last week the horrible weather day was rescued by this lovely mail from another blog friend, Karen. You can see better pictures in her blog.

It is wonderful to have found new friends at this age, friends who may live on the other side of the world, but still seem to be just a click away. It is very exciting to read and see pictures of the creative process of talented people. Very often I don't know how to comment, but I return to my favourite blogs almost daily. It is possible to find so many "kindred spirits" and writers who share the same interests. I learn a lot by seeing other people's work, and sometimes I just enjoy what I see.
Next time I try to show something new I have made, today I just wanted to share this with you.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

This too is how I recycle

I have been telling a lot about my recycling old clothes to quilts and bags and Uncicef dolls. But more often I recycle in the kitchen, many times every day. It is really just a choice between the bins, when you come to think about it. And of course later you take the contents to the right places. First this, it goes to the compost and will be covered with twigs and branches DH has chipped for me with his red chipping machine.

And the dirty papers, plastic bags and bottles, pudding cups and other materials including thread and fabric waste goes here, to be recycled for energy:

And the aluminium foils, glass jar lids and metal cans go here to be recycled as metals. Next to this bin I have another for glass.

Then I of course recycle the milk and orange juice containers to be used for the core rolls inside giant rolls of paper in the paper factory. In Finland 98 % of recyclable glass bottles are recycled (best result in the world), and I recycle all plastic beverage bottles as well, and get my 15 c or even 40 c back.

And that is not all: of course the clean paper like newspapers and magazines and envelopes go for making new paper, and the brown paper and cardboard are recycled their own way.

The last but not least thing to do is to avoid waste. One way of doing so is to use shopping bags instead of plastic bags. I have made this big shopping bag years ago. It is so big that it almost can hold our shopping. It will be so heavy that only my husband can carry it, and that is why I made it not feminine at all. I wanted to experiment with three-dimensional quilting, and if you look close enough you can see it was my first try. I somehow got confused when making the blue block and the corners are not right there.

Have a nice Sunday!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Something old

I had to look for something I had misplaced and I happened to find this unique design:

It certainly is my oldest UFO, started at a very young age well over forty years ago. (This is my way of hiding by age. My mother used to say she is over 28, when we asked how old she was. We knew she was a lot over 28 when our eldest sister was 18!) I vaguely remember sewing the pieces together in our little playhouse. We had sample books from a fabric sales office where my greatauntie had been working. There was always one bigger piece and then small colour samples of the same fabric. I have also used linen in different colours, they may come from a sample book as well or then from my mother's stash. As you can see, I didn't have a specific pattern and most probably no guidance either. This was going to be a quilt for my doll, but something prevented me from finishing it. Knowing me rather well I would guess someone critisized the quality of my work.

The same almost happened with this experiment with Disappearing 9patch when I showed it to my husband yesterday:

He had to ask whether the stripes were crooked on purpose. Well, they are printed and therefore they don't run straight. The whole set of prints has been waiting in my stash for many years to be used. I had to buy them because they were very cheap and it seemed a good idea at back then. Still I never really liked them and they didn't match any of my other stuff so I had to use them together. That's how I now decided to make a little tablecloth 85 x 85 cm for a summer outdoors coffee time. I have the top machine pieced now, and I'll put a flannel batting and a thin cotton backing to it tomorrow, and finish it with bias tape. Maybe I have learnt something over the years. At least the seams are a lot straighter. And maybe I can live with the fact that not everybody likes what I have sewn.

Today the weather turned from cold to nasty. We have already had such lovely days and spring was at least two weeks early. Today it has been hailing and raining and the grass was covered in wet snow, and so was I when I walked home from the village, because I didn't understand to take my umbrella with me. I'm still feeling chilly. Rain, rain, go away!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Mystery blocks

Last night I was watching TV and finished this:

I call this toy mystery blocks, because it can be turned around in many ways and different sides of the blocks come visible.

The blocks are all connected like the ones in Rubik's cube, but in a different way. Here you allways get all blocks with the same colour visible at the same time.

The mystery blocks are meant for small children who like to examine their toys and who still will enjoy finding the dogs or the faces again after they have disappeared. It can be very soothing for a bored mother as well!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Mother's Day

Today we visited my Mother and I picked her these flowers from her garden:

This is the place where I have spent all my summers until I was twenty, and lived there until I moved away from home at the age of 23 (the last summers I was working abroad for my studies).

My heart aches every time I leave this house, because I know it will not be there forever for me to visit. My mother is 91 and lives there alone. She is very healthy and cannot imagine leaving the house. I can understand her view. On a beautiful day it is like this:

This is the sauna by the lake. I think this is a lot like paradise. There are about a million photos taken from this spot, by all of us who love Rantakoto. This is the newest, taken today.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

You'll never guess what this will be

This is what I have been doing this week:

It is not a big project, so I decided to rotary cut the pieces for two while I was at it. I like to have a hand sewing project for the evenings in front of the TV, and the sewing machine projects are reserved for the daytime when I'm alone in the house.

This is this morning's situation: I had to pick up both the long blue seams, because I wasn't thinking right. Happens a lot with this project, especially when I have done it by machine. But the result will be funny, and this time I have really suitable fabrics. The thing I'm making is for children, and I usually have less bright colours. Maybe the sun caused this, but most probably the fabric with the faces I wanted to use. I had to buy bright colours to go with it, and then I found the fabric with cats and dogs as well.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Only old projects to show

This weekend I had my embroidery threads out from the box to make the label to Kaija's quilt, and that inspired me to renew the flowers on this:

It is a seat cover for my son's chair in the kitchen, and during the years the flowers had nearly faded out. I have replaced one of the hearts earlier, the original one was made of old fabric and the constant wear and washing had caused a hole in it. This is a part of a pattern I found in an American quilting magazine, I just picked my favourite parts and put the flying geese around it. I'm not satisfied with the geese's flying route now, I think they should all be flying around the quilt in one direction only. Maybe I should pick up the magazine again and make covers for the other chairs as well. I like making small projects to try out new ideas.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Grandmother's Garden, final episode

Now I have given the final touch to Kaija's quilt. I embroidered a label and sewed to the reverse in the same corner where my signature is on the top. The name is difficult to translate, since we can build terribly long words just putting nouns together, but it means an afternoon or late morning coffee outdoors in Rantakoto, my mother's house. And the text goes on: 2,226 little memories of four generations of women in Grandma's garden, for Kaija, with love, Mom

That's it. And I damp stretched the label, Karen. I thought the writing would look nicer if I didn't iron it. I had to wash away my pencil marks and get rid of the needle holes of the name of the quilt from the first try when I used a different thread which was too thick. It turned out really nice, I think.

And look what was growing in our garden, morels:

I cooked them in fresh water for ten minutes and rinsed and cooked again for ten minutes in new fresh water. Then I'm going to deep-freeze them and hope to get more morels when we get some rain and the ground gets warmer. I'm going to serve them all later this summer when we have a big family dinner.

As you can see, DH and camera are home again safe and sound! And I'm happy.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Working hard for Fabric Diet ;o)

Today I have been lonely and busy. I can't sleep well when I'm alone, so this morning I woke up at six and couldnt fall asleep any more. By eight I had had breakfast with two newspapers, washed one machine full of laundry, taken all heavy coats to the attic and started ironing. I don't want to be this effective. I'm so glad my DH is coming back tomorrow!

After I had taken the train to the next town to do some shopping and come home again, I made a mini wallet like these:

Only without the string to hang it around your neck. It is for any ATM or credit card or key card. The mini wallet protects the magnetic stripe from scratches. You just pull the tape or string which comes through the button hole, and the card glides up. I got the idea from the Quilting Arts Magazine last year. Not a very big finished project for my Fabric Diet!

And because I don't have new pictures to show, I'll show something I have made some years ago. This is a set of needle book, scissor holder and thimble case. They are made according to some Victorian patterns but I tailored the scissor holder to be perfect for my Fiskars embroidery scissors. I also made a hexagonal sewing box, but don't have a picture of it available. I was taking a course to make them, and I gave the first sewing box to Kaija. At that time she had so little sewing stuff that she could keep it all in that one box.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Little treasures

Today I have been planning and thinking about new projects. I know I should be making the bags I have been wanting to make, but the fabrics I intend to use to the light bags ended in the big cardboard box under all my new plastic boxes when I was rearranging my stash. And because I already made two bags, it would be fun to start a different project. These pictures are from that energy filled organizing day. This is my sewing machine:

As you can see I have very little space on the left, the edge of the table is next to my thread box corner. My serger is on the right taking some space, and further right is a set of drawers. I can't move the other machine more to the right, because there is no space for my feet. The sewing machine is a Pfaff with a built-in walking foot, which I love. I have never tried a big walking foot you can buy separately for some machines, but I'm very pleased with the little one in my machine.

These are some of the silk threads from the original Kotkarankki sewing box (see my very first post). My daughter arranged them for me when I got this new box with little drawers to keep the threads. I have used some of them, but mostly I just enjoy having all the beautiful and shiny threads.