Saturday 29 November 2008

Blue moment

This was the view in the walking area in Järvenpää on Monday 24th:

And this was our yard yesterday, Friday 28th, at 2 p.m. when the sun was setting behind the trees. The lovely snow is almost gone.

On Wednesday I could see, where the mouse had gone in our yard. Little footprints and the tail's line on the soft snow.

I have been a little busy, finding use for some of the fabrics my sister P has kindly given to me when she moved to her present house, and some of my own leftover pieces.

I thought these little bags could be used to carry the high heels when fancy ladies are going to theatre or a visit, and they need to wear winter boots on the way there. Or they could pack a present in the bag.

I have been sewing other things too, but they are very secret!

Friday 28 November 2008

New award

A while ago I received this award from Miri, a quilting blogger I have learned to know through Vintage Thingies Thursdays. Thank you, Miri!

Now it is time to pass it on. The rules are as follows:

1. 5 people are allowed to receive this award
2. 4 dedicated followers
3. 1 new follower to your blog who lives in another part of the world
4. Please link back to the person who gave you this award.

I will give this award to these dear friends, in alphabetical order:
We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Finland, but every day I try to remember some things I can be grateful for. This year has brought me something new: blogging friends. I am grateful to have such good and inspiring friends in many parts of the world.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday 9

Time flies and it is Thursday again. A good excuse to show old things and hide the fact that I haven't finished anything I could show you! Coloradolady is hosting this fun with a Guest writer, and in her blog you find the links to other blogs participating this week.

This is an old Christmas angel made of rye straw. It is from my childhood home, and I took the picture in October when I was visiting my sister Maija in Germany. Looking at the picture now I remember that there used to be a halo behind the angel's head, made of gold paper. There were two of these, one must be from our maternal grandmother. The wings have suffered a little during all the years, but she is still shiny and beautiful.

This other, typical Finnish Christmas decoration is himmeli, also made of shiny rye straw. Our mother has made this for my sister, and she keeps it in the living room all the time. The himmeli decoration is easily breakable and needs to be stored hanging, so why not hang it so everyone can see it. In the old days the himmeli stayed in the ceiling until next summer, and a new decoration was made every year for Christmas.

This is all for this time, because all my own Christmas things are still on the attic neatly packed.

Sunday 23 November 2008

It's beginning to look like Christmas

On Saturday the Villa Cooper was all dressed up for Christmas. We had a little Christmas market in the garden, nine brave women in warm clothes behind their tables of christmassy crafts. I was one of them, and I can tell you it was cold! My feet were freezing, because I couldn't wear more than one pair of woollen socks with my flight socks, the shoes were a little too tight. It was only a little below zero Celsius, around 26 Fahrenheit, but standing outdoors in that temperature for five hours is cold. A very curious thing happened, though: I had a sore throat during the week and my voice was like a crow's, but today no more sore throat! Maybe it was all the hot tea and glögi I drank there. Glögi is a Scandinavian hot Christmas season drink, hot berry juice with spice like cinnamon and ginger, ofter served with raisins and almonds in the mug. Other versions include various amounts of alcohol.

Here is a tour around the house, tables being set up by the entrance:

Kitchen window and the wheelchair ramp built last summer.

View from the garden.

Big dining room decorated with christmas things for sale. Notice the modern version of himmeli straw decoration hanging from the ceiling. You can click all pictures for detail.

Christmas lights and angels on the windowsill.

Kitchen and candles.

Toy cupboard.

Little elves, tonttu, Santa's little helpers who will keep track on who has been good and who has been bad. They also make Christmas presents in Korvatunturi near the Arctic Cirle, where the real Father Christmas lives, like every child in Finland knows.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday 8

Suddenly it is Thursday again and vintage day. Coloradolady is now hosting this fun. Pop in there and you will find links to other blogs with vintage treasures.

Last week I showed you the contents of a bag filled with silk twists, and one little table runner with silk embroidery. Now you can see what else was in the bag .

This is a tea-cosy, with the embroidery started on one side. All these patterns are bought with the blue print on the fabric, and in most cases the sewing threads included.

This is a bigger tea-cosy, again from the early years of 1900.

This was supposed to be a collar for a lady.

The Rosy corner of a long table runner in broderie anglaise.

First they cut a hole and then they have to mend it with pretty stitches! No wonder this wasn't finished.

This was the best I could do with this black silk with Chrysanthemum embroidery in orange and rust coloured silks. A cushion cover.

And finally the project I'm considering to finish, as it uses cotton floss (more suitable for my hands and skills!):

It's a biggish coffee table cloth with over half of the embroidery already done. This could be a nice summer project.

That was all from my treasure bag. Next week I'll find something more suitable for the season.

The first snow

This morning we woke up with snow on the ground, and it was still snowing a little at eight:

It was not very cold, just about the freezing point so this snow will melt away. Today the sunrise in Helsinki was at 8.32, and the sun will go down at 3.39 p.m. In Northern Finland the sun will rise today at 10.36 a.m. and go down at 1.18 p.m. For a whole month still the days will be shorter and shorter.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Endless job

Since last week we have been trying to rearrange our craft room in the basement. It is very difficult, because my stash is overflowing and looks like this:

I filled box after box and the piles almost reach the ceiling. But look: nothing under my desk, it can be turned 90 degrees to give space for the new shelves.

Two days later desk has been moved and six big cardboard boxes are temporarily placed under it. The pile of boxes behind the desk is also 6 boxes high.

The new shelves separate "my side" and "his side" of the room. I took the plastic drawers from our old freezer and folded my big clothing fabrics in them. I need someone to make me a frame for them like a chest of drawers. This is a long term project and a little frustrating, because there seems to be no space for sorting all the fabrics. I wish I had the inspiration, time and energy to use most of the stash!

As long as my dear old faithful Pfaff sewing machine is unavailable for use, I work upstairs with the Husqvarna.

I have made some Christmas things for the Christmas shop grand opening on Saturday this week at Villa Cooper. I will have a table for my stuff in the garden and I hope there will be others as well. The shop is being decorated for Christmas this week, and I hope to have time to take some pictures indoors on Saturday. Of course I also hope to be busy selling my things outdoors! So far the weather forecast is good and thre should be no rain or snow, but the temperature is around the freezing point and I need to dress very warm.

Last Saturday I was making Christmas cards with some mothers of special needs children at their club house in Helsinki. This was the third time for me "playing teacher" there, and it was great fun. Some mothers were making strings of beads to keep their keys, access cards or mobile phones easily available. That looked like fun, too. We had no Christmas music, but just being together and making christmassy things finally got me in the mood. My head is full of ideas I want to try, for the shop and as gifts, and still here I am sitting by the computer and blogging away valuable crafting time! Now I need to put me a rule: I need to have sewn something before I can come back to the screen. A small project all done, or a good part of a bigger one. I'll report my results when I show the vintage table cloths on Thursday.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday 7

Time seems to fly when you have too many things to do. It's time to show some vintage finds like I promised you yesterday. You can find more vintage when you go to Lisa's blog and click on the names on her list.

I have been emptying a cupboard in my sewing room (and hiding my desk under all that stuff). Mainly it was fabrics and UFOs, but there were also two great finds of antique/vintage material I had from my mother several years ago. The first was this cute little bag:

Inside was this bundle wrapped in old Christmas gift paper:

And inside were these silk twists:

And deeper in the bag was more, silk and cotton threads in many colours.

There was also an opera program with silk threads between the pages. The program was from 1938, the Gypsy Baron by Johann Strauss. Look at all the ads on the pages!

The bag has belonged to my dear great aunt S.

My mother has told me that silk must be stored in paper to protect it. Some silks have also been wrapped in fabric.

The round bottom part of the bag was stiffened with cardboard inside.

The other find was a small bag filled with unfinished (and even unstarted) embroidery projects. Here is just one colourful sample to keep you curious until next Thursday!

Now go and see what the other vintage thingies are this week. Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday 12 November 2008

On my desk on wednesday

Kirsty is showing every Wednesday what is on her desk. I have been working hard, and this is how my desk looks now:

I can't really get very near to the table, because we are rearranging our hobby room. The cardboard boxes almost reach to the ceiling. But when making the desk so messy and emptying a cupboard, I found something very nice I can show you tomorrow on Vintage Thingies Thursday.

Monday 10 November 2008

Elma 2008 Countryside Fair in Helsinki

On Saturday we went to a food and agriculture show in Helsinki. There was a hall full of forest exhibitions, information for city forest owners and for students considering studies connected with nature. In the forest hall we saw a little nature path with stuffed wild animals like this Lynx lynx, the largest cat in our forests:

This is wolverine.

And here is the Cygnus cygnus swan. I'm sorry about the lights above the swan, the people wouldn't take the swan down for me.

This is the Dryocopus major, or great black woodpecker I have mentioned earlier. They live near us in the forest. The tree trunk looks a little pitiful for this big bird; you usually see them in large old trees where they can find their food.

There were other animals, too, but they were difficult to photograph as the forest was dark like it sould be in real world.

In the agriculture hall were the usual horses, cows, sheep, rooster, hens and chickens. But there were also alpacas, imported to some farms from the South American Andes. They do very well in our cold climate. We didn't see the agility show of the alpacas, but we saw this modern version of hand carder. The alpaca wool was sooo soft! The lady told me there are over 30 natural shades of white, brown and black.

In the handicraft hall we watched spinning with a spindle, which I had never seen before. The Spinners' Guild had come to the fair to show their skills.

There was also a spinning wheel I had only seen in pictures before this.

And then the spinning wheel commonly used in Finland. My mother-in-law had one of these and she could use it as well. Too bad I didn't take the time and ask her to teach me how to spin.

In the handicraft hall were big and small exhibitors. One lady had this small booth with traditional Christmas decorations made of rye straw. Here is a table runner with linen warp and straw weft.

These straw mobiles are called himmeli (from the German and Swedish words Himmel for heaven or sky).

The decoration is almost impossible to transport or store without breaking it. In the old times a new one was always made for Christmas; nowadays you can see it hanging in its place all the year. Straw decoarations naturally belong to the harvest time, but many traditional forms of harvest decoration have been included to Christmas in Scandinavia.