Thursday 30 April 2009

Vintage Thingies 22

It has been a couple of weeks since my last vintage post, so it was time to pick up the camera, empty one cupboard, wash every item in it and the cupboard too, and take pictures. I was surprised to notice I had taken 70 pictures, but now I have a nice little stash of unpublished Thursday treasures for weeks to come.

Suzanne at Coloradolady is hosting this fun. She is having a 200th post giveaway also, so be sure to comment on her blog. She has given very easy instructions on how to participate, if you have something you would like to show us all.

This week I'm showing you two old jugs. The first one is in terrible state, but I love it. My grandmother had a similar jug in green, one size bigger than this yellow girl, and we used to have vanilla custard in it for pies or baked apples. She also had a small red girl for coffee cream. I vaguely remember they had polka dots on their skirts.

Our yellow Dutch girl jug was used for soaking paint brushes. When I found it in the tool shed, it was half full of sticky black fluid and some dry paint brushes. The edges are all chipped, and the inside is stained, the colours have faded, but I still love this piece.

The handle is her braided hair.

I wanted you to see I have a pretty jug, too:

This is a milk jug. I could use it as a vase, but I think the flowers on the jug would compete with the flowers in the jug.

This was all for this week. Go and visit all the blogs you find on the link list on Suzanne's blog. You may very probably find something you really like.

Monday 27 April 2009

April Block

This is my April block for the Country Calendar Quilt BOM by Ellie's Quiltplace.

I made the bunny of fleece and didn't want to use my machine for the applique. Inspired by the great tote bag Melanie made for my birthday, I used blanket stitch for the bunny and hand stitched the details as well.

Next weekend Ellie will publish the May block.

Saturday 25 April 2009

Granny Squares

This week I finished my first crochet project in several years. Pip from Meet me at Mike's inspired me to crochet granny squares, she is making at least one a day. I wanted to make a small banket only, to go with one of my Unicef dolls when I finally find myself in the mood to finish their clothes.

The dolls have been a long-time project with inspired moments and long periods of shifting the bag around. Almost all dolls are ready but their clothes are not. There are no patterns for their clothes available, which makes it more complicated for me. The clothes also need to be easy to take off and put on again, but no buttons are allowed because of choking hazard.

As you can see, the perfect outdoor photo background, snow, is finally gone and now I use the brown, mossy lawn instead.

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Bobbin lace once more

I just needed to share this sunrise with you. Last Friday April 18th we had some new snow during the night, and a little after six in the morning the world looked like this when the sun reached the forest on the west side of our house. The next day the new snow was gone again, but we still have some old snow in shadowy places and where it has been pushed from the driveway.

This is the second part of my Spring Exhibition report, concentrating on bobbin lace. I have posted about it here and here earlier.

This group has been working really hard and I'm showing you some of their finished work. The world map must have been difficult to make.

This is something more traditional, a broad lace at the end of a linen table runner.

This is where bobbin lace is done. My cushion - still misplaced - is of another type with a straight back edge and a roll for the pattern, meant for long lace rather than round tablecloths or very wide lace. The crocheted tie keeps the bobbins in their right position when the work is interrupted.

The teacher was kind enough to show us how the bobbins are held, two in each hand between the fingers. You can always click the pictures to enlarge.

Here some different types of work.

And finally another round little table topper. There should be a seam somewhere, I think, but I can't find it.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Brown Owling & Spring Exhibition

This year I wanted to try making a new kind of Softie for Mirabel, and earn my Brown Owls knitting badge at the same time. Now the bunny is finished:

He needs his scarf because we still have some snow and the nights are cold. This is a wild kind of fellow, he already managed to rip his pants and I used all my brown yarn for them: he has a pink patch to remind him to be more careful.

And up the apple tree he went! He will travel to Australia when I have made some company for him.

I have also crocheted my first Granny squares. Here they are damp stretching before I join them together. This is for my Crochet Badge, I hope.

On Saturday I went to see the Spring exhibition. My sewing group is the smallest group of all, so our corner was a modest one. Here is Hanna's textile art in the middle, she made a beach scene using different fabrics and threads and yarns, stitches, folds and embellishments. My ski holiday picture is on the right and my rag quilt on the left.

Hanna's apron on the left, Maila's Tilda Christmas mail bag next, my aprons and bags and Hanna's loop bag on the right.

There was a short course using coffee bags to make pot stands or shopping baskets:

Finns are heavy users of coffee, so these plastic vacuum bags are available in large amounts!

There is also a pottery group:

And a mosaic group. I love that table!

And there was a photo album binding group.

Next time I will show more pictures of the bobbin lace group, they deserve their own post.

Saturday 18 April 2009

Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2009

How could I resist? I went to see Stephanie's blog and saw her Millennium quilt and read about this wonderful virtual Quilt Festival Amy from Park City Girl is hosting. There are nearly 250 blogs now as I start writing, so there will be even more when you read this. Prepare yourself with tea or coffee and enjoy a festival tour at your screen! All the links are on Amy's blog. I'm sure you want to join too!

My favourite quilt is this Grandmother's Garden quilt I finished last spring for my daughter. It took me parts of eleven summers from 1993 to 2003, when I joined the little hexagons together using the English paper piecing method, and a final intensive period from January to April last year.

It all started during a summer holiday at my childhood summer home where my family later lived all year round. I was spending some time there with my three children so they could have their share of the lovely peace of that place. Nothing ever seems to happen there, so I needed something to do with my hands. My family rarely throws anything away, and so I found loads of fabric scraps put aside to be used for rag carpets like this:

Instead of cutting fabric strips for the loom I started drawing card hexagons, cutting the fabrics and basting them together. My then 9 year-old daughter Kaija was my eager helper. She liked blue colours, so we concentrated on nightgowns, pillow cases and summer dresses in her favourite shades.

Some of the fabrics were worn, some leftover bits from my mother's sewing for her own mother and our Greatauntie Saima, herself, her four daughters and two DIL's, and her six granddaughters. At home I added some fabrics from my stash. The project went on for years.

Last year I started blogging to help me finish the quilt. This weekend last year it was exhibited at my sewing group's spring exhibition. The label is hand stitched, with translation here.

I hope the 2,226 little hexagons from our four generations of women will always remind my daughter of the skills these women have, every one talented in a different way. She is one link in that long chain of generations, and I'm sure the love for making things with hands will be passed on to the next generation through her.

Friday 17 April 2009

Yellow is the first colour of Spring

The first tiny flowers are showing their heads when the sun is shining.

In the morning the water is frozen clear like glass, but the thin ice will melt during the day, and freeze again during the night.

Alder trees are blooming by the frozen pond and their pollen is causing red eyes and runny noses to many allergic people.

My fashion model Kaija is one of them, so no heads to be seen here! This is my reversible apron I made for the sewing group's spring exhibition. Looks great, doesn't it? Sadly, an assistant is needed for taking off this flower of genius. There is an elastic strap on the back, so the apron will need to go over your head.

This is a more reliable way: long apron strings for the children to hang on. This is one of my recycling projects, a floral pillowcase. The plain fabrics and the ric rac are new.

I also made bags using the pillowcases. The floral print (recycled pillowcase again) is lined with new calico for reinforcement.

And there are two inside pockets:

The second shopping bag matches the apron, which is very nice if you forget to take the apron off when you leave home.

The last apron is made of a recycled tablecloth. The strings are again of new fabric, but the ric rac is what Melanie used for string for my birthday present, and the button for adjusting the neck piece is recycled as well.

Purple is the second colour of spring:

The exhibition will be tomorrow and on Sunday, I will try to make some pictures there, too.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Brown Owl Mail and Trying New Stuff

Today I had my membership mail from Brown Owls for this year. Lovely pins and keyrings, a baking recipe and a goccoed card from Pip in Melbourne!

There were also the rules of being a Brownie, and I liked two of them especially: 'Try new stuff' and 'Be a bit crafty'. I decided to be a bit crafty and start working for my knitting badge. I also like to combine tasks, so this knitting will end up for the Softies for Mirabel charity. The pattern is a Finnish version of the Australian Trauma Teddy, normally distributed via the Finnish Red Cross and never to be sold. I will show the finished bunny when the time comes.

I have also tried something new, transfering photos on fabric. I have shown pictures of this project here and here, and now it looks like it is finished. I haven't decided yet. You can click the picture to see better.

This is a picture of how I remember my school winter holidays, ski holidays they were called then, in the 1960's. We all went to our summer place for the week, with a big laundry basket filled with socks and mittens for the six kids. There was a big crate of oranges for snacks, and Mother made us hot cocoa (with the awful film on top, when I waited it to cool a bit), and lots of food. Socks and mittens were drying on every radiator, mountains of boots and shoes filled the floors. When we had found our dry clothes, we went out again, skiing like in the little picture three of us, or building snow castles, sliding down the slope all the way to the lake, maybe even fishing from a hole in the ice. The text in the big picture is a recipe for a soup my children named ski holiday soup when they were having one of their first school holidays at my mother's, and she cooked this delicious soup for us. It has become a favourite in my family. - The binding of this picture is from an original sock knitted by my grandmother at that time, worn and washed so much it can't be used any longer. Cutting the sock I found felted wool fibers inside and immediately remembered the feeling of wool clinging to my fingers from wet mittens. The mittens were stretchy only on the top side, the palm was soon felted to the shape of the hand from all the snowballs we made.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

More Easter goodies

Today we had the first mail since last Thursday, and this loveliness was there waiting for me:

It was from Suzie, who had been busy making sweet Easter surprises. There was the most beautiful bag with chickens printed all over, in many colours. I have used it already, and it packs nicely in my shoulder bag. There were chocolate eggs, brought by the bunny in the card, two funny fabric chickens made by Suzie, and more chocolate.

This closeup of the pretty pouch was meant to be the other way round, but you know blogger, sometimes nothing helps and the pictures stay the wrong way.

The orange-yellow potholders are knitted in a nice way, and they are very soft and lovely.

Did you notice the wooden decorations which were hanging from the strings? I will hang them in the decorated willow branches I had from the little witches on Palm Sunday. Oh how nice it is to have talented, crafty, sweet friends like Suzie!

Now I need to go back to my sewing for the spring exhibition on Saturday and Sunday! I hope to have some pictures by Friday.

Friday 10 April 2009

Old Easter Traditions and Nice Flowers

Twice a week I take the train to the next town, do my sewing related shopping in private, without darling Mr. Kotkarankki, (who, after all, is only a male,) have some Caffe Latte or a nice cup of tea (the niceness guaranteed now that I have this sweet tea wallet from Dawn, my Time for Tea Swap partner), and meet with him later to do the grocery shopping. This is the place where we shop, and my latte table is just behind the corner on the right, where I can see the florist's arrangements. I took these pictures recently, they are for Easter.

I really liked the feather wreaths. Mr. K might want to use some of this for his fishing flies.

Yellow is the real colour for Easter, isn't it?

There was also a big bunny hiding behind a pillar.

The old Easter tradition I wanted to tell you about is this special Easter dessert called mämmi. It is a originally from South-Western Finland, hundreds of years old traditional food of the Lent. The ingredients are water, rye flour, rye malt and salt, nowadays also syrup, bitter orange and orange peel marmalade. The water is first heated, the flour and malt mixed in and left to gain sweetness. Then the porridge-like mixture is baked in the oven for a long time. The result is dark brown and a little sticky. It is served cold, with sugar and cream as a dessert. Originally it was a clever way to meet the strict regulations of Lent food (no sugar) and still have a sweet taste from the malt.

You can see the little stripes on the box; originally mämmi was baked in the oven in boxes made of birchbark. Traditions change over the years, and now mämmi is made in bakeries, bought from the shop, and available refrigerated from New Year until Midsummer. Most people buy a box or two at Easter and serve it as a delicious dessert on Easter Sunday. Modern Finns have also protected the name and origin of our specialty in the EU, just like Feta cheese and Parmesan have been protected. Nobody can start cooking rye porridge in Spain or France and call it mämmi!