Thursday, 30 July 2009

Vintage Thingies 35 - More Old Arabia

Last Sunday we had our traditional summer party (this was the second time!), Mr. Kotkarankki's side of the family was gathered to meet for lunch at our house. Their sister comes every summer from Germany for a vacation here, so summer is perfect for the party. I was too busy to photograph, but before I put everything back in place, I took some pictures.

This is where I served a salad of fresh potatoes, cucumber, cheese, green olives and fresh green peas. When I was little, butter was packed in it and covered with cold water to keep is fresh. It was not keept in the refrigerator but in a cupboard with dry foodstuffs, so it was not too hard for the bread. Beautiful butter "shavings" were taken with a wooden spoon and arranged on a small plate. This tub was manufactured by Arabia in many sizes, all with blue flowers. Many people collect them and pay high prices.

This other Arabia dish is much smaller. It is the right size when you make macaroni and cheese for one, or a bread and jam pudding for two.

And yes, that is my big white Iris damask linen tablecloth still on the table. We didn't use the napkins this time, they didn't look nice with the paper plates ;-)

Let's see who else is playing VTT with Coloradolady.
Next week I'll be on vacation, but I hope to see you in two weeks with new vintage thingies.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Award, yarn and summer harvest

Last week I received this award from Dolores . I'm honoured, because the text that goes with this award sounds very special:

The Karma Award: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kinds of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to some bloggers who may choose more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Because I'm not very good at choosing just some, and I have just recently rearranged my sidebar, this award goes to every blog listed there. They are all my favourites, and you just might find a very special blog among them. Take a look! If you are listed there, you can take the award from here and give it forward to your Karma Friends.

July is my busy month at home with little time for the important things like quilting and sewing, so I have been mostly knitting and crocheting in the evenings in front of the TV. Tour de France was excellent for more complicated projects, and the favourite shows like Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot, or Inspector Lewis (thank you Melanie for the Oxford background information!) work well with easier patterns.

I sent these to cheer Suzie up a little.

This went for AnneMarie, she is on holiday right now.

And this was made for Stephanie, who wanted to learn the Granny Square.

I really love this smocked washcloth pattern.

The summer days are getting shorter now and some of nature's harvest is ready to be used. Mr. K picked the first chanterelles of the summer:

With a small onion and two slices of bacon it was just enough to make two delicious portions on fresh bread:

The dessert was a tiny portion, but tasted like childhood summers:

Wild strawberries. We later found some more, maybe ten all together. Just enough to remember the taste.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Vintage Thingies 34 - Bowls

Earlier this week I told you about my favourite summer food. My favourite summer snack is a vintage meal of viili , a yoghurt type fermented milk product, served with sugar and possibly fresh berries or an even more traditional and vintage thing called talkkuna, which is a flour made of roasted barley, rye and peas. It is like a Finnish version of Müsli, very nutritious and easily carried to remote fields or forests for a meal. The bottle or jug with sour milk was kept cool in a spring or inside a wet wool sock. It was easier to transport than viili, and tastes almost the same.

Viili is thick like this, when you take a spoonful. If you mix it with the talkkuna flour, it will be more liquid and "ropy". What has this with Vintage Thingies Thursday to do, you may ask.

Well, earlier, viili was made at home simply by adding a spoonful of viili from your last lot to a bowl of milk, letting it stay in room temperature covered with a tray or a plate until the next day to thicken. Then it was kept cool in the cellar. The new portion was ready to eat when it was nice and cool, and could keep for several days. When my kids were little, I used to make viili in these bowls my mother had painted in 1946. I'm showing them upside down, because the decoration is on the outside only:

Each bowl is different. My mother probably had enough of repeating the same pattern for every dish after she painted her dinner service.

You can click the pictures to see the details. The manufacturer is Arabia, a Finnish porcelain factory which once was the biggest in Europe. - In the bowls you had a lot of the creamy, velvety viili surface to sprinkle with sugar. Therefore it was better than from the shop!

Vintage Thingies Thursday is hosted by Coloradolady Suzanne. Happy VTT, have fun seeing all the vintage treasures.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Country Calendar July BOM

Today is just a short post, showing the July block I mislaid yesterday.

There it is, freshly ironed. The flowers were so sweet that I wanted to use very sweet colours, too. July is in Finnish heinäkuu, the hey month. Very bad time for allergics. I used machine appliqué, which is fast and easy.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Summer Joys

Simple joys of summer: fresh potatoes, fresh fish caught by Mr. Kotkarankki, butter and dill. Just imagine the best ever potato taste you remember, and multiply it by three if you don't live in Scandinavia, so you can have an idea of our fresh potatoes. The peel comes off by just pushing with the thumbs, then you rinse them and cook for 15 minutes. The same goes for your experiences with fried fish and fresh dill. Our herbs, berries, potatoes, everything is more aromatic because of the long days of the Northern summer. I could live at least a month on potatoes, fish and salad in summer.

This is a pikeperch or zander, caught by DH last week - I took the picture then, and we ate every crumb. It was delicious, and a welcome change from the rainbow trout we usually get from the supermarket. He was so excited when he caught this one, and a smaller one for DS1 that he had to go there today again. Fly-fishing with a two-hand rod in a big, fast river is for him like ... mmm... fabric shopping or quilting for me.

Because I was totally man-free today, I took the train to Helsinki. It was raining when I started my trip, but down in the south (50 km from here!) it was sunny and warm. This is the Esplanade park, where I took you at Christmas.

I walked my feet off, but I also noticed some beautiful details on a house from the beginning of the last century. I took some other pictures as well, but they need some background work so I will show them another day.

And of course I bought something nice, too. Some quilting fabrics just in case I happened to need them, some flannel for quilt backings, some cotton yarn and three books at bargain prices. In the top left corner is my new T-thirt.

After coming home I have already put the darker fabrics in the washing machine, finished my July block for the Country Calendar but fumbled with the picture so you will see it next time, and started sewing on the West Linn Bag designed by Stephanie. I'm using the charm pack she sent me a little while ago. This is the first time I have even seen a charm pack, so it is very exciting!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Vintage Thingies 33 - Aprons

Thursday is here again, Suzanne is hosting the VTT day. This week I am inspired by Stephanie, who showed her Grandmother's aprons yesterday with a lovely history of aprons.

This first one belonged to my Grandmother, Mummo, and it is a special purpose apron. I hardly ever wear this one, so it is all wrinkled from being kept folded away in my closet.

It is a handicraft apron, with a big pocket for the yarn ball and the knitting project on the reverse. The material is very smooth so the yarn ball can roll easily in the pocket during knitting or crocheting. It is also easy to shake off all thread ends from your lap.

The next apron my mother made for herself. In the 1950's and thereabouts it was usual to wear an apron when you served coffee to your visitors, but it couldn't be your everyday kitchen apron.

This one is made of a loose-weave wool fabric and decorated with a traditional Finnish stitching pattern in red and blue wool yarn.

The third apron doesn't belong to me, I just photographed it after having washed and ironed it. This one belonged to my late mother-in-law, and she has sewn it some decades ago. Now my sister-in-law and I sometimes wear it when working in FIL's kitchen.

All the other aprons I have are made for/by me and they are used all the time. They are too busy to be vintage yet.

Have a nice VTT, I hope you see many interesting things on the blogs participating!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A Cup of Tea and a Nice Book

Some sewing projects are getting ready. This is another anti-plastic bag recycling one of my sister P's pillow cases:

Today I have been working on these card wallets. There will be a removable string at the top edge for carrying the wallet around the neck, and some more buttons - recycled from quilt shirts - on the tapes to pull the cards up. Something went wrong when I was cutting the bisquit box cardboard, and the middle wallet is too narrow for a credit card. Naturally I noticed it only after sewing everything together.

This disappointment called for a nice cup of tea and some light reading. The Hearty tea

looks like this:

There are tiny candy hearts in it, and summer berry flavours. I pampered myself with the 80-year-old teacup I have shown earlier here. I took my tea out, and because it was windy - it always seems to be nowadays - I chose my current book instead of the magazine. The Miracle at Speedy Motors, by Alexander McCall Smith. I don't like bush tea like Mma Ramotswe, but I like her a lot.

Last night when Mr. K came home and was closing the door, he called me to see and hear something we don't usually see.

The baby hedgehog was making loud noises like Kääh, kä kä kääh, kä kä kä kää-äh, like she was saying "Wait for me" and "I'm hungry", or "I need some milk NOW".

She tried to get to her mama for milk, but the mama was too busy to let her. Maybe it was time the little one learned to eat solids.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


The past few weeks have been full of reasons to celebrate something. In Finland we celebrate the "Name Day" like a small birthday. All (almost all) names are listed in the calendar, and so everyone will know whose day it is. When I was at work, we used to buy pastry to our closest colleagues on our name day, and many jobs have a tradition of bringing candy for everyone when you celebrate. Usually no gifts are given. The name day can also be a reason for visiting friends, you can just phone and ask if they will make coffee if you bring some ice cream. When I was young it was expected that the family was prepared to get visitors on short notice.

Mr. Kotkarankki and I have our name days only five days apart so we usually celebrate them with one cake on the weekend closest to one of the days. I baked this strawberry cake last week for us:

On Friday it was Great Auntie Saima's name day (she passed away over 40 years ago), and my sister Maija happened to come from Germany for her summer holiday on that day. She came to see us with her husband on their way to our mother's house. We had some cake and coffee, and celebrated Saima, too. My brother-in-law proved right something Stephanie quoted during the Time For Tea Swap about men and tea cosies. Well, he wasn't even alone in the room.

Today we had another strawberry cake for our wedding anniversary, and on Tuesday we celebrate not only the French Revolution but the day we first met, which was 30 years ago. To avoid getting too many calories Mr. K will go fly fishing for the day and I will skip cooking lunch and have just some salad instead. I hope to sew something too. I have only been making things I can't show yet.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Vintage Thingies 32 - Old Pattern Folder

Thursday is Vintage Thingie day, and Suzanne is hosting. For some reason I have problems with Mr. Linky blog posts, and after a few seconds "Internet Explorer cannot show this page". If I manage to be very quick, I may be able to add my link to the list. I hope you have better luck!

Old patterns for Sewing, Schmelz, Floss and Batik. I was lucky last week when my sister P gave me this folder:

The authors seem to be Finnish, and all text inside is in Finnish and in Swedish. The inside cover text says : Bought in Iisvesi June 3rd, 1939 Heljä Elina Korhonen. This name is then crossed out and the new owner's name is written there.

There are eight pattern sheets, over 20 patterns in all.

I loved this little bag drawing. The pattern is in natural size, but this drawing shows the completed purse with a metal frame. The instructions tell to use black or white silk, all lines in gold, and recommend colours for the flowers. This is a sewing project.

But can anyone help me with this one? The pattern is for a small light tablecloth used on top of the big one that covers the table surface, and the technique is Schmelz. I know the German word schmelzen which means to melt, thaw, smelt... Even my mother couldn't think of a handicraft technique where something is melted on the fabric, except for batik, but there are different projects for batik in this folder.

Let's dig deeper. This little picture shows the finished Ball Cushion, I thought it was more interesting than the pattern drawing alone; you can see a part of it on the right.

There were also two patterns for a round shirred cushion. Embroidery on silk. There are no suggestions for the stitches to be used, just the colours.

Some of the patterns were copied on separate papers and used for projects. I can hardly imagine myself making any of these projects, but I like just having the folder and keeping a part of handicraft history safe.
Happy VTT everyone!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

New and Lost Crafts & We Have a New Friend

Since I started making a granny square a day in May I have not stopped crocheting. I made 80 granny squares (and may make some more), I crocheted washcloths and potholders. I keep buying yarns, because they don't count in my fabric diet. This is my newest potholder; the other side is in the darker pink. I found the pattern through the potholder swap I have been following on Candace's and Terri's blogs.

Last weekend my daughter Kaija was in London, and she found this book for me:

Lost Crafts. Now I can learn about making rope, laying hedges, making corn dollies, milling grain, fishing with creels, brewing beer, making clogs, weaving, building with wattle and daub, thatching and wheelwrighting, just to mention some. I took some lovely pictures, but blogger wanted to show them all the wrong way round, so you can only see the cover. Melanie seems to know about all these things, but soon I will have some knowledge of my own! The back cover says this book is perfect for browsing, daydreaming, inspiration or action, and I think it is just that.
And now to our new friend. You can see him in the next picture, in the middle area. Click the picture to see better!

A fearless blackbird has made friends with Mr. Kotkarankki first, and today he accepted me as well. Mr. K has been working on an expanding project to create us a nice place for afternoon coffee/tea in the garden.

The old place was here but the trellis was taken down long ago, the Clematis didn't survive there, and it is not nice to sit there so close to the street without some kind of fence around us. This will be the new place, too, but with lots of changes. I will show you later how far we get this summer.

During the last days Mr. K has been taking down the bushes and weeds from this impossible-to-maintain-nice slope, and the blackbird is ready to take the delicious worms. When Mr. K has filled the wheelbarrow, the bird changes places with him so he can take his dirt or bushes away.
The bird has never before had such easy access to nourishing food!

We know it is not the right season to move around bushes and bulbs, but now is the only time he can work on this project. If the plants survive, they will be planted again in their new places when the landscaping project is so far, and if not, we need to buy new plants. I re-planted over 300 narcissus bulbs today in boxes to wait for September, when they can be planted in their new places. They have experienced this some years ago, too, so I believe many of them if not all will make it to the next year.

Friday, 3 July 2009

New Lanyards & Moving Along Week 4

Making the lanyard last week was easy and fun, so I digged deeper in my stash and found more plastic buckles.

I made one without the removable part, too. Now I need to buy more of those metal snappy things before I can make more of these. I just hope our customers will find the lanyards useful. They should, I think, because you can hang the mobile phone, keys, camera, access card and even a wallet round your neck and don't need a handbag or a skirt with pockets. Or trouseres with pockets.

I have been moving, too, especially last weekend at the fair and museum and cemeteries. This week has been more quiet, because something went wrong with my knee injection and it (the knee) has been like a football but achy, too, what footballs are not, as far as I know. Anyway, I consider my walks done for the 4th week of moving with Pip.

This is where I walked last week, too. This is the path through the woods I can take when I go to the village centre.

This is cow chervil (Anthriscus silvester) growing aog the path:

A spooky tree stump further away, now in broad sunlight waving at me.

Two-leaved maianthemum. The Finnish name oravanmarja means squirrel's berry. There will be small red berries later.

The next photo was taken last night at ten. The trees seem darker than they were, but the sky is just like it really was, with the clouds reflecting the sun. The sun set about 45 minutes later. It is dark for about 1 hour and 20 minutes in the night, and the twilight lasts almost 2 hours. According to the definition it means there is enough light for outdoors work during dusk. I can understand why tourists may find it difficult to sleep here during the summer. My sleep is much lighter than in the winter, and the warm days we had made me tired. Today it rained a little and the air cooled down to 16 degrees C or 60F. It will be a good night!

I will leave you with these peonies from our garden. We have never had so many before, they often make many buds but they will not open. I'm glad I took the picture yesterday, because today's rain will make the big flowers so heavy that most of them bend all the way to the ground.