Friday, 29 August 2008

Award, and new challenges

Suzie, the Little Busy Bee, has given me this award:




Thank you very much, Suzie! I have spent a whole week trying to decide who will get the award from me, and here is the final list of brilliant bloggers, all from our summer stash challenge group:

Amanda Jean - Crazymomquilts


Eileen - Eileen's Attic


Cheryl - Polka Dots and Rick Rack


Nanette - Freda's Hive


Nedra - Cactus Needle

It has been a pleasure to get to know these ladies and work at our quilts together this summer.

Now I have taken another challenge. Not officially, but I'm following the example of this sweet lady, and this one. Only I do my version of it. Firstly, without music. I perfer the sounds of nature to any music outdoors. Secondly, I have my walking sticks if I turn to the right and woods from our yard. They look like this, and they help me move my arms efficiently, give me support when my knee hurts and keep me in an upright position when it gets slippery. They don't look funny any longer here, everyone is used to seeing "skiers who have forgotten their skis at home".


This week I have been walking every day for at least 20 minutes. The good result for my first week is partly due to the fact that DH is in Lapland this week and can't take me to the train by car, but I try to continue the walks when he is back home. Which is after three days and two nights. Which makes me very happy and able to sleep well again.

On my morning walk on Monday I had the camera with me for little stops and to show you a bit of the surroundings here. The forest is dark and full of trees of various sizes growing very close to each other. I can't walk in this forest! I walk on the road, and I met a lady in red jacket probably going to pick mushrooms, and two ladies and a gentleman together walking a little dog. Ten cars passed during the half an hour's walk. Next time, I will go a little earlier so it will not be so crowded. I like to walk by myself.

And yes, when I turn to the left when leaving home, I'm going into the village and there I don't use the sticks unless it is really very very slippery.
EDIT later in the afternoon: after careful thinking I noticed DH comes home tomorrow night, after just this day, one more lonely night and one looong day.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Changing colours

The summer is ending. Today it has been raining all day, but I still went for my walk, wearing raincoat and rain trousers. The sound of the trouser legs sweeping the knee of the other leg reminded me of the woosh-woosh sounds of little kids wearing their rain overalls. I can even remember my own woosh-woosh, which was very embarrassing because I was a big girl, 7 years old. I didn't have to wear those overalls to school, only when I was playing in our own yard and sandbox. - I have been walking every day this week, and this picture of the changing colours in nature was taken on Monday.



On Tuesday I picked red currants in my FIL's garden. It was a bit late, usually I pick them when the school starts in mid August.



The berries were in perfect condition and one bucket not quite full gave me almost 5 litres of juice. If the weather is dry tomorrow, I may pick another 10 litre bucket of these. It is my harvest time; next I will start cooking apple jam.



Colours are changing in the kitchen, too. Remember the "stranger quilt"? I couldn't think of a suitable border and backing for that quilt from my stash, so I dyed one old sheet with Dylon:


(I also dyed two fingers of my right hand, because there was a little hole between the fingers of the other glove.)




This is the border fabric, the flash changed the colour. It should be 'deep violet'. I tried to make the border fabric a little darker by putting it in the dye 15 minutes before the rest of the fabric. The fabrics are now hanging on the washline, and tomorrow I'll continue with the quilt.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Challenge Quilt is finished!

There it is, hanging on the kitchen door railing like I usually photograph my quilts. It took me all summer but not all the time. The top and binding are from stash, backing and batting I bought for this quilt because I don't usually have them in my stash. All the stash fabrics are also recycled garments, mostly my DH's shirts. This quilt is for him. I'm still thinking about a name for the quilt, so the label will be added later.


The batting is 80 g/m2 polyester, like in most of my quilts. The cotton or wool battings require shopping trips to the "big world" so I have only used cotton once, for my daughter Kaija's hand-sewn Grandmother's Garden quilt.



Machine quilting in ditch was easy with my new sewing machine, the bulk of the quilt was no problem there.


The reverse looked quite nice when I was fastening the quilt top edge to the railing: the light coming through the lighter pieces. In real life the backing is just brown and back striped lightweight shirt flannel.
Well, girls on the bottom part of the list on the right: this is the final week to get the job done! My name will move to the asterisk group today, how about yours? I'll be visiting the blogs and looking for signs of progress. Is it so that for each job to be done all the available time will be used? If I have a month to leave an application, I will leave it in the last week. If the apples need to be picked this week, I probably pick them on Friday. The last of August is next Sunday, so you better pick up your quilt top and make a plan how to finish it. And tell us that you have done it! Who would want to be without the beautiful, framed badge allowed only for those who finished the challenge quilt on time?

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Proud Mother

This weekend I have reason to be proud of my children. My daughter Kaija, who introduced the blogging world to me last winter and put up this blog for me, is now the Featured Seller on Etsy.

She mentions me in her interview, so readers have been pouring to this blog like never before! If you are one of them and would like to see the quilt she mentioned, you can see it here and on many post before. The Grandmother's Garden quilt was one of the reasons I started this blog; I wanted to get the hand quilting and binding done in about two months. Doing this part in public kept me going, and the quilt with the 2,226 little hexagons was ready for the spring exhibition of my sewing group.

Now I'm working on this other quilt with a public deadline: my summer stash challenge quilt for my DH. I have finished the machine quilting with my angelic new sewing machine and sewed the bindings on by machine. Today I have been ripping off the basting threads and darning in the quilting threads. Hand sewing the binding is something I like to do when watching TV.



This year there will be lots of apples. These red ones are so sweet that they are no good for jam or pie, I just have to eat them. DH is allergic and can't eat them, so I keep giving (recycled) plastic bags full of apples to anyone who happens to come by. Soon I will start cooking jam of the other apples.


The other child to be proud of today is DS1: he had his Master of Science (Economics) degree officially yesterday. No big ceremony there, just the paper from a clark; and he could finallly close the school doors for the last time.
The DS2 keeps surprising me constantly so that I can be proud of him every day in a smaller scale than of the bigger siblings ;o)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

My new bag

This is my new shoulderbag. I prefer handsfree handbags, and for many years now I have mainly used roomy bags like this:



It is made of natural linen, and the lining is the same brown checkered cotton as my Brownie apron. (I'll look stylish anyway, even if I forget to take the apron off when I go shopping!) The only thing wrong with linen is that it is not very durable. I only had my olg bag for three or four years, and a few weeks ago I noticed that there was a hole on the side that touches my hip. There had been something hard like a notebook in the corner of the inside pocket and this had caused the hole in the linen. This time I stamped me a little logo:



I also added a snap hook for my keys, and a little pen pocket. The mobile phone pocket has been in every bag, with the phones getting smaller the pocket is also smaller now. It closes with a loop and a button.



The shoulder strap length is adjusted by a knot. Sometimes I want it long, going across my chest and back, and sometimes shorter, to be worn on the side. There is also a big zippered pocket. This is a very good bag, and I made it for myself!


This is also a partial explanation why I still have no progress to show on my challenge quilt; I have other things to do as well. But I have been quilting too, and I'm sure the quilt will be finished by the end of August, like originally planned.


Yesterday when I announced the giveaway winner, I was tired after a very bad night and I totally forgot to tell you the results of the query. There were 27 comments but five people didn't answer the question, so 22 votes were given. Tigger was the winner here, 10 people thought he was the best. Eeyore gained much sympathy, 8 people liked him most. Then came Winnie the Pooh himself with 2 fans. Kanga and Roo together had one vote and so did Piglet. I was the only one whose favourite character was Christopher Robin.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Giveaway Winner

DH acted as official number drawer to find out the winner of a Winnie the Pooh - Marimekko eco bag and some sewing goodies. I had perfectly good pieces of an old envelope with numbers on them which I had used to mark my rows in the summer stash challenge quilt and some other quilts, so I only had to pick the numbers from 1 to16 (because that's all the rows I had numbered), and for the remaining numbers 17 to 27 the B series (1B etc) which I had made for the stranger quilt's right side strips. Clever, isn't it? The number he picked from his fishing hat was 8B, which means comment number 24, cpullum. Congratulations! Please email me (kotkarankki at gmail dot com) your postal address so I can send you the goodies. If I don't hear from you by Thursday the 21st, there will be another draw on Friday.

This is just a short post, but I need to show you what was the first I saw when coming home from the little holiday:



The last box had jumped down and half of the stems were broken. It just had to show the other flowers that they are not the only ones who dare jump (when I'm not there to watch!). These flowers could have lasted until late September, but now they are going to have to go and I'll buy some autumn flowers for the veranda floor instead. I don't tolerate this kind of behavior!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Back from Holiday

This is where I spent my short holiday this week like many times before. We go there with another couple. It is an old log drivers' cottage in North Carelia in Eastern Finland, a good 6 hours drive from home with coffee and lunch breaks. Nobody else around, no access by car, no electricity, no running water unless you run with the bucket; gas hearth and gas lamps.

Formerly logs were transported from the forest to the sawmills or cellulose works as rafts on the lakes and as loose logs downstream in the rivers and rapids. The log drivers lived in big cottages like this during the working season.





We even did the washing of the dishes outdoors, where there was better light and it was closer to the sauna where we heated the water. The little grey building in the background is the well for drinking water.






My husband P spent the time flyfishing, this picture is from the middle of a series of 14 pictures I took watching him follow a rainbow trout from the head of the rapids downstream. It was a nice 51 cm/20" fish. I went to invite him to afternoon coffee, but couldn't disturb his exciting moments. Instead I took the pictures. We were in no hurry there.






The weather wasn't all too bad, we could spend most of the daylight time outdoors. It rained many times, but after every rain was a little time without rain ;o). On Tuesday there had been no rain for a while so we ladies went for a little walk in the forest to pick blueberries. There were just a little of them, no fun picking three berries here and four there. On a good year you can pick a handful without moving your feet. We got almost one litre in a relatively short time, enough for four people for oatmeal for the two remaining mornings.



This last picture is taken in the evening on Wednesday, when we had a short moment of sunshine. The wind was still, the sun made the dark clouds behind the woods look even darker. This is our side of the shore of the lake Kattilajärvi ("Kettle lake") above the rapids.




I an environment like this I can recharge my batteries for the coming autumn and winter. A few days of simple life, getting fish, mushrooms and berries from the nature, hearing the rush of the water and sometimes a raven's cry. Back to basics. With the one you love. Who could need more?

P.S. You have until Monday evening my time to participate in the giveaway. Just comment on the post below telling me your favourite character of the Winnie the Pooh books.


Saturday, 9 August 2008

100th post and Giveaway

My few faithful readers will have noticed by now that recycling is important for me. And not throwing anything away because it can maybe used later for something. I have learned this from my mother and developed it further. Here is an example of her recycling. (You also know that I always wear aprons, so I naturally need many of them.) This much-used apron she made me used to be a fabric stretched to the wall by my and my baby sister's bed and cot so the wallpaper would keep clean and we would have nice pictures to watch. I have used the apron so much that the colours have faded and the yellow stains will not go away. The print is by Maija Isola and its name is Nalle Puh (Winnie the Pooh). The manufacturer's name was Printex, which later became Marimekko. Maija Isola continued working for Marimekko many years.







As this is my 100th post, I thought Marimekko's retro print Nalle by Maija Isola's daughter Kristiina would make a nice present. I sewed an eco bag using this fabric, and made it with just two seams and without cutting the bottom corners. This way you can rip the seams and use it for something else if you already have enough eco bags and never use plastic bags!






The bag can be folded into its own inside pocket so it will only take little space in the handbag:





Then I collected a little goodie bag from my stash: some lace, hand crocheted lace and ribbon, some embroidery threads, and some vintage darning threads (unfortunately not in this year's eurocolor for stockings), and some buttons in a Marimekko's Pirput parput tin box.



This gift will be sent anywhere in the world with nice stamps. All you have to do is comment to this post by Monday the 18th of August. To make it more fun, I would like you to tell me your favourite character in the Winnie the Pooh books, and any memories connected to this book, if you will.

If you are interested in quilting and giveaways, Jen of Crafty Giveaways is having a lovely giveaway until Wednesday the 13th of August. She is giving away ready sewn blocks for an Irish Chain quilt!

I have finally been working on my summer stash challenge quilt again. I started stitching in the ditch and am now about 1/3 done. There is so much space between the needle and the machine on the right that it is a pleasure to work:



The two lamps also make it easier, and the spotty gloves. I will not finish the quilt before my holiday next week, because I need to wash and iron and pack, and clean the house; and the quilt would anyway be too big to take along to sew the binding during the holiday. We are going to a cottage with no access by car, and make the last bit by boat. I better take a small hand sewing project along, and a good book. I'll be back on Thursday night and need a day for unpacking and washing and ... and reading all your blogs. On Monday the 18th I will pick a name and find out who will get the giveaway gift. Take care!


Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Haunted boxes

I'm not much of a gardener. I plant summer flowers in these boxes and put them on the veranda banister, pick off the faded flowers and water them. That is all I need to feel happy. But I think the flowers should behave and not jump to the ground. This box made the 2 meter dive landing flower side down on the lawn:


I put it in the corner to avoid further diving. I lost two thirds of the flowers. This is how the obedient flowers look like (when they are really thirsty):



And these naughty ones did two dives. At the first time they even broke their box so I planted the survivors in three smaller pots. Two pots jumped down another time! Now they have to sit on the veranda floor for the rest of the summer. I don't know whether it was the wind or a cat who helped the flowers jump, but it has never happened before.


The summer is turning into autumn, it was really chilly this morning. The harvest time has started. At the end of July I made some cherry jam of cherries my sister-in-law picked. Now the birds have eaten the rest of the cherries. This afternoon when coming from the village I noticed that the raspberries in my father-in-law's garden were ready to be picked:



I went in and took a bowl, and in just a little time I had picked these for him:



They brought him multiple joy: first when I fetched the bowl and told I was going to pick him raspberries. Then when I came in with the berries and showed them to him. And the third time he was happily surprised when he came to the kitchen and saw the lovely bowl of raspberries waiting for him. He would never have guessed I had brought them just for him, and from his own garden. He will be equally surprised every time he opens the fridge and sees some berries, just for him.
My next post will be the 100th, and there will be a giveaway! On Monday I will go on holiday and be back on Thursday next week. I think Friday 15th will be the day I choose the winner.



Friday, 1 August 2008

Solar eclipse

Today I have seen a solar eclipse. In this part of the world, it was a partial one; the moon's shadow hid the upper side of the sun. We had a welding mask so we could look at the sun while having a noon coffee on the veranda before DH went fishing. This dear man showed once again why I love him so much. (First he told me how lucky he was having me making him sandwiches for his trip, not a common service among fishermen.) When we were having our coffee/tea and discussing the eclipse, he suddenly went in and came back with a cardboard and a pin. After a few experiments with the cardboard (too thick) he made us a camera obscura of a sheet of paper with a pinhole, and another paper where the upside down reflection of the eclipse was to see. He just knows things like that and is always ready to explain them to me. That's love to me.



Now that he is on his way and the sun is round again, I continue arranging the patchwork strips. I'm sure there has been a pattern planned, and it annoys me that I can't seem to get it right. It makes me wonder if there has been something wrong with the strips from the beginning and the quilt never finished because of that problem! This is one arrangement, very problematic in the middle part where the floor is showing through:




Like I told before, the strips are 8 patches long and 9-10 patches long. When I put a short and a long strip on the same row, it looks like this:





There are some extra long strips (two long ones on one row), and one strip will be left over. The repetition is not perfect, and here I just tried to make the dark pieces run diagonally across the quilt. The yellow pieces don't obey any rules. This arrangement makes me think there should not be sashings, but the quilt requires a border that will make us all say Wow! I have no idea what the border will be like, but (with your help) I will find it once the rows are together.


You are still welcome to make suggestions. I will not start sewing this before I have made some smaller projects. This is my 98th post, and I'm thinking to have a giveaway to celebrate my first hundred next week. Therefore I must sew something to give away. I already bought the fabric, washed it and today I'll spend the afternoon with some recorded episodes of Heartbeat and a hot iron. I love to watch British series like Heartbeat (60's in Yorkshire countryside) or Emmerdale (present time Yorkshire countryside). They are great for ironing or folding clean laundry, or hand sewing projects.