Friday, 30 April 2010

Bird news & mail in and out

We have been watching birds through the window and in our yard, listing the species from the beginning of the year. The list is 30 names long now. We also get to know some regular visitors, and occasionally give them names. There is this pheasant cock, arrived some weeks ago and now the proud husband of five hens. Naturally he must protect his ladies from other cocks.

They all seem to live in our cellar. We noticed some strange knocking from outside, and realized it was the pheasant's attack!

He is now called The Pheasant with a Sore Peak! There are three windows on ground level, and he sees his competitor in every window. Better let him feel my peak:

After the other guy was too tired to attack back, Sore Peak walked calmly away to have a rest.

Yesterday was this snowy morning, but I want you to see his handsomeness in this other picture taken on an sunny day.


Today I managed to take a picture of  the pied flycatcher, he arrived last Sunday. Clock the picture to enlarge, the bird is the black and white blur in the middle.

The bulb colony is showing signs of life, but it seems to take ages before I can even tell which flowers there are going to be.

This little beauty is called "blue lily of the east" is Finnish, but the Latin name Scilla is often used because it is shorter.

My dear friend Melanie sent me some lovely mail. I was expecting to have the postcard from her, announcing the new address of  Dot, the Unicef doll. Being Melanie, she just couldn't leave it to that, so here is what I had from her:

A book with knitting patterns for every  month of the year, a scent for the home, bubbly bunny chocolate (yam!), seed for my garden once it has thawed, and some designer hankies. Thank you Melanie! You are such a sweet friend.

My outgoing mail today was a second lot of chemo caps for the Helsinki University Hospital. Here are the newest ones:

This is the first lace pattern I managed to knit with a real pattern and not mixed up rows! I also made another star cap in purple, and added a flower fastened with a safety pin, so it can be worn as a brooch as well.

Finally a group photo of the five new caps together.

I just read that 580 caps have been delivered to the shops and persons in this area. On May 8th there will be a knitting and crocheting event at a mall in Helsinki. With that kind of publicity the number of caps will reach a thousand in no time.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Childhood revisited

Yesterday I was visiting my mother at her house all day. This is the place where I spent all my summers as a child, and it was my home from age 15 to 22, when I moved to a flat on my own. It has "always" been there, full of memories of happy summer days, winter holidays and finally the permanent home all year round.

I spent some time outdoors pruning her roses and clearing the dead leaves from her flowerbed. I felt like I earned a stroll around before making our afternoon tea. Come along and see what's around the house!
Here we are looking from the back of the house to the lake, still covered with ice and only the shoreline free for a goldeneye couple. My father had a birdhouse for them in a tree near the water. The log cabin on the right is the sauna.

The water is very low at this time of the year. The waves have brought dead leaves to our little sand beach, where my father taught me to swim.

This is a summer picture of my rock "ship" from the other side of the sauna. The little step with the green moss front made it easy to climb on the deck. At that time the spruce branch didn't reach down to my deck. I could sail far away and be back the moment I was called.

Behind the sauna is a wood shed, and in front of it one of the many birdhouses my father has built. He has carved the building year 1996 in this one. He was 81 years old at that time.

The forest around the house is full of big rocks like these:

This one looks like spooky character with green hair of polypody. The rhizome tastes like licorice, but I was always suspecting it could be not safe to chew too much of it.

Behind the carage and father's workshop is a mysterious jungle with a secret river. You can see a narrow bridge across this dark water.

The meadow between the lawn and the forest is about to get blue with liverwort. Where I live now, liverwort is rather rare. Here the wood anemone will soon cover roadsides and forest grounds, while in my childhood I thought of it as an exotic beauty.

Here a closer look, you may recognize this wild flower:

We had a playhouse, also used as a winter storage place for the garden chairs and tables. Here is a sunny summer picture of the building. It was painted white when we were little.


Now it is full of things in storage, so I can only let you see some of the loveliness. This old child-size cupboard comes from my mother's playhouse from the 1920's.


There were three little doll's buggies ready to take the dolls for a ride. I believe the red ones are from my big sisters and the light blue one belonged to my younger sister. I had a lovely wicker bed for my doll. The iron bed on the right was my mother's.


Can you imagine a lovelier window for the back wall of the playhouse?


I'm happy I can still visit the old playgrounds. Everything has grown smaller, only the trees are bigger every year. My feet still remember every step of the path from the front lawn to the sauna, but the path will soon be taken over by grass and flowers.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Just knitting and stitching

Finishing the big string quilt for the spring exhibition of my sewing class took so much energy that I have not started a new quilt yet. There are too many ideas, I think I'll just wait and see what tempts me next. Meanwhile I have been knitting  more of these:

The two chemo caps on the right are knitted with the same pattern, a star, started at the top, so it is easy to adjust the size while you go. On the left is yet another cap in organic cotton with the smock pattern.

I have also worked a little on the vintage embroidery and bought the missing floss for it. I also noticed that the floss I'm working with now can't be the original, as there are bar codes on them!

In the centre the flowers are a little bigger. The three little dots will be stitched with the orange floss I just bought.

This is a group of flowers in the corner:

The new variagated floss I'm using for the flowers in blue, red and yellow is a little brighter than the original one, but the green is almost the same. Tomorrow I will show this to my mother and ask her how the edge should be finished. I have seen tablecloths like this with lace, but also with a folded edge with mitred corners on the reverse and a row of hemstitch like here:

I have not much fabric outside the drawn pattern, so lace may be an option.

The spring is really taking time to arrive: last night it snowed again and the snow lasted on the ground almost until noon. My daffodils are still in good condition after four weeks:

(I took the picture a week ago, but they looked the same today. With the snow and all.)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

VTT 12 - Enamel Brooches

This week I want to share with you some of my favourite vintage jewelry inherited from the family.  I have heard that three items make a collection, so this is the enamel collection!

The first brooch is a blue butterfly from my already famous Great Auntie Saima. I have had this since my school days, and already then a bit of the blue was missing. Later I must have dropped the brooch on the floor, causing a more severe chipping.

I don't know if it is possible to have the enamel repaired, I must find out. The metal is silver.

The next item is a romantic set of a brooch and three buttons. I'm still only dreaming of sewing a white blouse for the buttons.


The last brooch is a large one. My mother had received it as a gift from her parents when she was only 17, and she gave it to me 26 years ago, when my daughter Kaija was born.

There is still space for her name. Mother wants me to pass the brooch on to my daughter when she has a daughter.

This was all from my jewelry box this week. Maybe we will look at old sewing patterns again next time. More vintage treasures at Coloradolady's blog here. Happy VTT!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Spring news, and tour of Villa Cooper

I came back from my training course on Friday night, but housework has kept me busy all weekend. Of course I had a flu all week so I was not allowed to enjoy the pool, but it was nice to have all meals cooked and served, and decided about, by professionals, and it was fun to meet the other "girls" I learned to know six months ago.

Sunday morning we had some new snow. We still have some of the old snow, but the new snow is all gone.  If you click to enlarge this picture, you can see the hare leaping away on the snow about in the middle.

The snowdrops had grown a little:


At least some of the 500+ bulbs survived:

As you can see, the spring is not taking any giant leaps coming to Finland. No need to start any garden work yet, because the ground is either still frozen or far too wet. This is a perfect time to concentrate on fabrics and yarns! I have knitted one more chemo cap and worked on the ancient UFO embroidery.

On Saturday I took my paperwork to Villa Cooper. It was a sunny day so I decided to take some new pictures, the big trees in the garden make the villa usually so dark inside.

This is once again the big dining room:


Many of the members make and paint cups and pots of all kinds.


Felting, both wet and needle felting, are popular crafts.


Some more:


They make jewelry with glass, beads, leather and other materials:


Hand made cards are popular, too.

Under the stairs is a closet for toys and other children's stuff.

The next new look for the villa will be created in about a month when the summer exhibition is built. I hope to make some pictures outdoors as well.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Spring will come

This week has been busy with family stuff, but I have been able to finish some knitting for the Chemo Cap Campaign:

This is a tiny one so it will probably end up in the Children's Hospital. Suits well, as I used baby yarn for it.
I used the same smock pattern for a yellow cap in organic cotton, and finally I took my favourite ball, the Sugar 'n Cream I had for Christmas from Stephanie:


Yesterday I mailed this lot to the local campaign office:

I started knitting yet another cap because I found a new, nice, lacy pattern in one of my old magazines.

This past week has been  good for the spring, we have had rainy weather  but also sunshine and wind. This is how the garden looked yesterday:

The moles have been active under the snow blanket! There were about 10 little noses of our hundreds of narcissi to be seen, but also the very first flowers:

The snowdrops sometimes come through the snow, but this year's snow was so fluffy with no icy layers - because the temperatures kept under freezing point all winter - so it melted faster than usual. I will be away next week for the follow-up week of last October's training. I look forward to the pool, and Nordic walking, and meeting the other "girls", but not so much to the weighing and tape measure and new tests. See you all in a week!