Sunday, 27 November 2011

Christmas Parade

Yesterday I went to see the Christmas parade in town, as I had never been there before. There were elves, naturally, in their red suits.

There was an angel, or Lucia, or a snow queen, I couldn't tell which, but she was wearing white.

Animals were invited to march too, and so there was an alpaca, favourite of many children.

Next came many dogs walking with their owners, some very small ones came first

and some really big ones followed:

More tonttu elves, and a pig looking very satisfied as she was not going to end up on a Christmas dinner table. We traditionally eat ham at Christmas.

And finally there was the clipiti clop of horse shoes and ringing of bells as the most important person, Joulupukki, arrived

sitting in his sleigh with his Mrs Santa. They had put wheels under the sleigh as we still have no snow here in the Southern Finland. Santa was waving to children on the other side, so I didn't get his face on the picture. Anyway, he is the original Father Christmas, living at Korvatunturi near the Arctic Circle.

I had to take this picture of Santa's sleigh when he went to talk with the children. This is a very old Finnish ryijy rug, all worn out (the blue spots) by hard use. Rugs like this were originally used for warmth in sleighs and as bed covers with the furry side facing the sleeper. The wool yarn has been dyed with plants, and some colours have been harder on the wool than the brown and the pink. In this link you can read more about this traditional textile.

They lit the lights in the big Christmas tree at the square, but I will show it later when I can take a picture when it is dark.

Today I thought I should start my Christmas crafting, so I made this wreath for our door. By the time I was making the last quarter, I was getting the idea how it should be done. Next time I'll try to make a round base ring.

All sewing has bee so secret that I don't have anything to show you this time. Enjoy the Advent time and remember to take time to notice the nice smells of baking, the favourite songs you hear and the beautiful flowers and decorations starting to show up everywhere.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Stash Use Report for October, and Unicef Doll Show

I had totally forgotten to write my stash use report for October, because there was so little going on. I bought nothing, which is very good. On the other hand, I can only think I used 2.5 m for the Unicef dolls I made:

I always sew on the marked lines and cut after that, so the seams will not draw and the fabric stays nicely in place. The faces are painted with textile paints before sewing and stuffing so the paints don't spread. The clothes were made mostly in November so I will count the fabrics for them in this month's statistics. These two girls are going to Germany with my sister tomorrow, for her friend's little granddaughters. I guessed right, the girls love pink and red dresses.

My other sister wanted dolls for her own granddaughters, and as I was busy with making the other dolls, I promised to make them on one condition: She will paint the faces and sew the hair on the four of them. Look at her magic touch:

Here are all the new dolls in a group photo before going to their new owners near and far:

The dolls are made like traditional rag dolls, using recycled materials and leftover bits of fabric. Each doll has the Unicef logo sewn on their leg seam, and an identity card from Unicef, filled with the doll's name and details by me. The dolls can not be "bought" but "adopted", and each of them represents a real child who is helped to a better start in life with the immunsation against deadly childhood diseases which Unicef provides for them with the adoption fee of 20 € or more. The idea and the original pattern of the dolls came from Italy, and they are made by volunteers in France, Czech Republic and Finland as well. The other half of the identity card is a postcard, where the maker of the doll can add her name and address. The doll's new family can fill in the form with information of the doll's whereabouts and family, and send the postcard to the "birth mother". Usually the dolls are adopted at Unicef events or in their shops where school classes or handicraft clubs have delivered the dolls they have made together. The makers have no knowledge of the destiny of them and so the postcard is a nice thankyou for the maker. Inventing personalities and finding suitable names for the dolls is one of my favourite parts of creating a doll for Unicef. I keep a list of my dolls and try not to give the same name twice.

On my walk last week I saw floating rocks?

No, the swan family has returned after six weeks' absence. I think the parents have been taking the young ones around and showing them possible places to stay next year when they are on their own.

You can still see how the young swans are grey and their bills are not bright yellow like the adults. This morning we had frost for the second time, but the ponds are not likely to freeze over before it gets much colder.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Computer news and picture update

After long consideration, some waiting and two days of learning we finally have a new computer with everything needed, and I'm writing my first blog post here. There are some problems still: the laptop has no access to the internet like it should and used to have, and DH's email account has disappeared because of a misplaced password. I need the magic help of the next generation to get a photo editing programme (and at least two patience games  ;-)!). Luckily DD is arriving tonight from Berlin. She originally put up this blog for me, and has taught me almost everything I know about using a computer, especially the internet.

Maybe you would like to see some of the pictures I have taken since September? I'll show them anyway. About at the time when the computer crashed, I saw the most exotic butterfly in my life:

The Red Admiral. They are rare visitors in Finland. This one was warming itself on the sunny wall of our new garden shed.

We put up the bird feeder early in October, and the birds returned to our yard quickly. The first  portion of seeds was gone in a week, but as the Autumn has been unusually warm, the second fill wasn't needed until last night.

This squirrel has already changed fur for the winter, the reddish brown is only left in the legs. He was sitting in  our oak tree, apparently resting, and I thought he was just like me with my second cup of tea and newspaper, when I sit at the breakfast table alone after the men have gone to their duties: my nose drops closer and closer to the paper as I'm almost falling asleep again.

The trees had beautiful colours

but they are gone now.

I have played with yarn, not only knitting it but felting some too:

These little balls of yarn have been machine washed in hot water, rubbed a little to smooth the surface, and sent to Stephanie for her birthday some time ago.

With my PIF gift to Kaite in Australia, I sent a small fabric basket for her mother Coralie.

And look what she sent me in return:

The prettiest little daffodil pouch is handmade by her, and the cute house brooch is from Kaite. It is Spring down there, and daffodil time. Thank you, Coralie and Kaite!