Saturday, 31 March 2012

Carry On

Remember the spring throw pillow? There was some leftover fabric so I decided to try and make a simple bag. I also incorporated some denim from another project as lining to give it a bit more strength.

Hopefully the straps will endure some proper weight. I carry a lot of books! The fabrics are even more vibrant in real life so it's not a bag for the shy, but at least you'll never forget it because who could miss this pop of colour?

More serious pink coming up as I finish my second pair of socks! After that I seriously need to vary my colour scheme.

Hope you're having a relaxing weekend!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Staff Meeting with Halonen

This evening I saw the Finnish documentary Rouva Presidentti (Madam President) as part of the film festival Artisokka.

I really enjoyed the film for what it was. It's not an in depth analysis or critique of the Finnish presidential institution or the current political situation, or even an account of president Tarja Halonen's professional achievements. Instead it's a humorous and humanizing film about the every day life of the Finnish president, and more precisely Halonen's life during her last year as president.

The camera shows you the moments you rarely get on TV, the less formal and stylized bits where you start to notice the people behind the titles. The nerves before an important speech, the awkwardness meeting foreign dignitaries, and the stress and fatigue after a long day. And it's not just Tarja Halonen. Almost all politicians end up looking human, because in the end, that's what they are, humans who live in a world of etiquette and procedure, a whirlwind of languages and cultures, under pressure and often in the lime light.

I can't remember when I last saw a comedy that generated as many laughs from the audience as Rouva Presidentti, and they were generous, sympathetic laughs, maybe because most of us could recognize ourselves in the people who are supposed to run the planet. Halonen also showed a light hearted side and her humour often made her rigid surroundings at ease.
A common comment after the film: "I didn't know she was so funny."
The comedic moments, often small details like looks, gestures and genuine reactions, were enhanced by the soundtrack and editing.

All in all, see it if you can. If nothing else, you get an interesting behind the scenes look at what your life could be like if you were the president of Finland.


Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A big cheer for my dinner

If all food could be this pretty! Some people say salads are rabbit food, but I think they're brilliant. You can put almost anything in a salad, fruit, veg, pasta, cheese, different meats (if you're not a vegetarian like I am) nuts and seeds. And with the right ingredients you can feel full for hours. Long live the salad!

Right, on this very random note, good night!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Home, Sweet (messy) Home

Hello peeps,

Soon off to bed. Knackered. I spent last night at my brother's house, taking care of my two nephews. It all went well and I enjoyed spending some time with the boys, but it can be hard to sleep properly when you're in a "strange" place with new noises. I'm looking forward to my own bed tonight!

Tomorrow I need to do some cleaning, my sofa has become a microcosm of my life. But a few more days and there won't be any space left for me!


Saturday, 24 March 2012

Artsy Brunch

Had a lovely brunch with friends this morning. We ate good food and talked about life changing plans. It's all so exciting and daunting at the same time. What are we prepared to give up to hopefully gain something new?

Back home I'm now sewing a pocket onto my denim skirt, then it's finally done. I can't believe it took this long! Although I did neglect it for well over a year ...

Later I'm off to a party, but before that I might cram in a nap. I really can't complain about my Saturday.


Friday, 23 March 2012

Colour Soup

I might have tattooed my fingers black, despite wearing rubber gloves. Hopefully the stains will rub off in time or I'll forever be reminded of my fabric colouring adventure.

Here's the dress before (a bit wrinkly):

And here it is drenched in the black colour. It got a bit messy, the colour not satisfied staying in the bucket, but after an hour the dress was ready to be rinsed.

I'd love to show you the end result but the fabric is still drying so it's hard to tell the final colour. For a while it almost looked dark green, which didn't make me happy because green isn't a good colour on me either, but now it seems to have turned to a nice grey. Fingers crossed!

Have a brilliant weekend!


Thursday, 22 March 2012

My oven - The diet coach

Good Morning!

Homemade rolls for breakfast, a splendid way to start the day. Next time I'll throw in bits of carrot as well, to give them a bit more colour. My oven is clearly trying to affect my diet, the savory foods turn out ok, while all my sweet baking becomes inedible. Should I be grateful or offended?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Change of colour

In my childhood home I found a dress that used to be my mom's. I can't remember her ever wearing it, but I think it's from the 80s so maybe I was just too young. I thought I could fix it up a bit, including changing the colour. There's probably someone out there who could wear this colour with style and pride, but on me it just looks like a baby has used the dress as a diaper.

Never having coloured anything before, I chose black, I thought it'd be the safest and easiest change. The dress is mainly made out of wool, but there's a small percentage of polyamid as well so it's uncertain how well the colour will stick. Because of the materials I also have to colour it by hand which is a bit time consuming. But I'm excited to see how it'll turn out!

I'll show you some more before and after pictures when all the alteration have been done. (Or after the colouring has gone terribly wrong ...)


Für Mich Soll's Rote Rosen Regnen

Good morning!

I had trouble falling a sleep yesterday. Maybe because I exercised my brain just before bedtime. Wanting to test my German listening comprehension I watched the film Hilde from 2009. It tells the story of German actor and singer Hildegard Knef who became a star after the second world war. In the roles you see for example Heike Makatash as Hilde and Dan Stevens as one of her love interests, although he's better known as Matthew from Downton Abbey.

It was thrilling to realise I could follow the dialogue without major trouble, despite the DVD not having any subtitles, although I have to confess, I did use the German subs meant for deaf people. Sometimes the characters spoke with a speed and vocabulary that made it hard for me to understand without also reading the words. But hey, I haven't studied or used my German since 2003 so I still think it's a rather good result!

I enjoyed the film. I didn't know much (or almost anything) about Hilde Knef before hand so it was an interesting new acquaintance. It's basically a story about survival, meeting your full potential and finding happiness even when you're not quite sure what it is and what it should feel like. It featured some of Knef's wonderful songs, and Makatash did a good job performing them. They really do look and sound quite similar.

I think this little experiment gave me a taste for German cinema and I'll certainly watch some more. It can only go up from here (I mean my comprehension, not the film quality)!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Which type are you?

I love people who are comfortable in their own bodies, no matter what hight, size or imperfections. I've spent several years striving to become one of them.

Going to the gym, or rather the changing rooms, I've found there are three types of people, and they all behave differently when it comes to changing their clothes in front of others.

  1. There's the Hider. I used to be a hider, doing everything in my power not to reveal any flesh. I had a system for changing the different pieces of clothing so that I never had to show unnecessary skin and always was the first in and first out of the dressing room. Being so insecure was very stressful and I usually avoided situations where I had to get undressed with other people.
  2. The Moderate. I like to think I'm a Moderate now, comfortable changing into my workout clothes in public. The Moderate doesn't feel a need to hide, but still gets dressed in a brisk and orderly fashion, respecting the people around her and their personal space. The Moderate is rarely insecure, but she wouldn't go as far as ...
  3. ... The Flasher. If a Moderate makes sure she has everything she needs before she undresses, the Flasher first gets stark naked and then begins do dig through her bags to find her change of clothes, towels, shampoos, deodorants etc. She takes ample time and space to dry herself, and isn't scared of bending, stretching and lifting to get that post-shower moisturizer everywhere. In the eyes of a Moderate, and especially an ex-Hider Moderate, this display of skin might feel a bit unnecessary.
There's nothing wrong with a naked body, everyone should be allowed to feel pretty naked, but in a public space you should also respect the space of others. The interesting thing is, the Flashers are rarely the skinny, fit girls, instead the Hiders or Moderates are just as often girls who seem to have the "perfect" bodies. It shows that you can feel secure, and insecure, in any size. Many of the flashers are older, voluptuous women, which indicates that you do become more comfortable with yourself as you grow older. And that's a comforting thought!

Oh well, a few morning thoughts. I'm off to the gym now to continue the sociological observations, and work on my own body issues. I'm probably never going to become a flasher, but I would love to be a confident Moderate.


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Spring on the Sofa

Happy Sunday! My sewing machine is purring like a cat again and I celebrated by putting together a pillowcase I've been thinking about for a while. Just looking at the bright colours on my sofa gives me energy. Spring is here!

The front fabric is by Marimekko. I'd been looking at it for some time and finally got it -50% off!

The only "tricky" part was the back opening. I opted for a cheaper fabric in case something went wrong and had to get more, and velkro instead of a zipper, maybe because I'm lazy ... But it worked out well.

The camera is lying slightly about the colour, it's actually closer to green than blue.

I usually don't like pairing pink and red, but here there's enough white to keep it fresh, and for some reason I love the contrast between the front colours and the turquoise peaking out from the back.

Hope you're having a great Sunday! I'm really enjoying my days off, knowing I a have a job to go to mid April. Until then, I can do whatever I want. Wohoo!


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Revving the engine

In Australia the F1 teams are tightening bolts and changing tires to get everything up and running for tomorrow's first race. Here in Helsinki I'm doing my best technical work to make my darling sewing machine sound less like a combine harvester. Not actually knowing what to do, I've removed dust with a toothbrush and then squirted oil on every piece of metal. I also changed the needle. Tomorrow I'm going to see if all the work paid off. Hopefully both I and the Finnish F1 drivers will have a successful day.

My sickly co-creator:

The "engine":

The machine used to belong to my mom who bought it years ago when she had her own sewing company. At some point the instruction manual disappeared so it's mostly the "trial and error" principal for me. I wonder if you could find the manual online somewhere? Hmm ...

Anywho, hope you're having a great weekend!

Friday, 16 March 2012

My first Pair!

Just a last bit of sock-braging and then I'll shut up. Aren't they cute? Not even close to perfect, I messed up the second heel as well, but hey, they are soft and red and keep my feet all warm. I couldn't be happier!

I'm already longing to start a new pair. Maybe I've become a bit obsessed. But there are so many beautiful wools out there and I want to try them all! Now however, I have to get a grip and start working on my CV. A girl can't have fun all the time, she has to work as well!


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

One down - One to go

Ladies and gentlemen! May I introduce the one, the only, the imperfect but oh so cosy First Knitted Sock!

I can't say it was relaxing with all the counting, back tracking, fiddling with five different knitting needles and reading abbreviated instructions hard to understand in any language. But hey, I did it! (With a bit of improvising at the heel because I suddenly got lost and ended up with too many stitches.) No need to be perfect yet though, because guess what, I need to make another one. That's sort of the point with socks, they come in pairs. Hopefully the second one will be a little bit easier.

(For more info, see part one of my sock therapy below.)


Tuesday, 13 March 2012


I'm confronting an almost life-long trauma: knitting socks. Last time sock knitting was on the agenda I was still in primary school, and by the time I had finally finished my itchy black footwear I had already outgrown them. Not very encouraging.

Today however, I started on the first of a pair, spurred on by a lovely magazine with loads of cute sock patterns. I'm doing a really basic sock to begin with, but decided on a "stripy" wool to make it a bit more fancy and hopefully the mix of colours will hide some of the imperfections.

During a break I made a sweet potato and apple salad for dinner which turned out nice. Now I need a cup of tea before I start taking in the heel. Iik! There's a first for everything. (Or in my case, second.)


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Cake-fueled weekend

Back in Helsinki after a weekend of cake-eating and celebrating my dad's 50th birthday. It was a party with much action. The youngest generation, ageing from 2 to 5, took every opportunity to run around and play, high on sugar. It's rare that I meet so many members of my extended family at the same time, so it was really nice to have the opportunity to see everyone.

Now I'm looking forward to a night in my own bed and then a fun-filled week starting with a "gig" with the choir tomorrow evening.

Have a great week!

Friday, 9 March 2012

M for Magna cum laude approbatur

Hello peeps!

Today's piece of good news: I got a respectable grade for my thesis and can now breath easy. It's really over!
I'm considering making the text into a "book", but I'm not sure it's worth it. I don't think I'll ever want to see it again, let alone show it off to other people. But who knows, maybe I'll feel better about it later on ...

Anywho, hope you're all having a great Friday evening and have nice things to look forward to during the weekend!


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wednesday check-in

Hello! It's midweek again and I've returned home from another fun choir practice. I'm really going to miss it when I move. Any tips on singing groups in the London area that let people like me join?

Blogposts are supposed to have lots of photos, and in lack of a choir pic, here's another prototype made from my raincoat fabric. It's a hopefully water-resistant passport cover.

I hope I didn't destroy my sewing machine making it because now my darling is acting strange. Fingers crossed some oil will perk it up and stop swallowing fabric.

Have a nice evening!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

No John Nettles

Coming home this evening I was met by two policemen at my building's front door. They wanted to get inside but didn't have the door code. I let them in. Climbing up the stairs, carrying my groceries, I was followed by the police. I couldn't help wondering what they were up to. One of the officers said to his colleague "I've never been here before".

It should probably be comforting to know that the police don't frequently visit my building. It did occur to me though, on the way up to my floor, that they might actually be going to my flat. What if something had happened to it during the day?
Slightly nervous I turned to my door, and luckily the police continued up another floor. From upstairs, I heard a man, clearly waiting for the cops say, "I haven't been inside yet. I haven't touched anything."

What could have happened? Vandalism? A break-in? There would probably be more "action" if there had been some kind of violence. But I didn't see an ambulance or a Chief Inspector a la Midsomer Murders. I guess I'll never know what happened, and maybe that's for the best.

No crime dramas on TV tonight ...


Sunday, 4 March 2012

For all those beauty secrets

Ready, steady, craft!

This morning I visited the Helsinki arts and craft fair with my grandmother, and we had a great time. Over lunch we talked about all the lovely things you can make yourself, and how knitting, crocheting and sewing is still very much "in fashion".

Filled with inspiration I grabbed some of the leftover fabric from my raincoat and made this small makeup bag or purse. The yellow lining is perhaps a little bit intense, but like I've said, I'm mad about colour right now.

Now I need a nap, or a cup of tea. Or maybe a nap and some tea? Ah, Sundays.


Saturday, 3 March 2012

Bloody talks

Rikke Schubart talking about the Nordic horror heroines. Still from the film
Fritt Vilt 2.

Today I attended a seminar about Nordic horror film. Now if you've visited my blog before, you might know I hate watching horror movies, I've been discussing the fact for example here. Still, I really enjoy listening to people's thoughts and ideas about the genre. What makes them tick?

The three speakers, from Finland, Sweden and Denmark, talked about Nordic nature as an important part of the narrative, Nordic vampires and the heroines in Nordic horror film. The "North" seems in many ways to put its own spin on the genre.

I'm still not going to watch scary movies, but it's nice to know a bit more. And I have to say, it's wonderful to finally be able to go to these events feeling you belong, or at least knowing that the things you learn will be useful in the future. I can engage with my love for film and TV without thinking it's a waste of time, an indulgence of fanciful dreams.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Thursday, 1 March 2012


As alway this time of year, I'm addicted to bright colours. While watching former Finnish president Tarja Halonen bid farewell on TV, and Sauli Niinistö officially becoming the nation's president, I sewed together this potholder. I love having scraps of fabric at home for extempore projects. And look, even my nails happened to match!

For lunch I tackled another food product I'm not too confident with, beans. Since I'm moving to Britain soon I thought I'd better get used to it. (They seem to have beans with almost anything at pretty much any time of day.) It turned out rather well and as usual I'll be eating it for several days. I don't know how to make small portions!

Hope you're having a great day. If you're feeling down, try some colour!