Saturday 28 August 2010

Raggedy & Friends BOM 2, Bird news

The Summer is coming to an end, evenings are getting darker and the nights cooler, and so the TV is also getting back to routine and sending less re-runs. There is time to sit in front of our favourite programs and spend the time usefully, with a knitting or stitching. Raggedy Andy tried posing for Block 2 of Kaaren's BOM Raggedy & Friends.

This is my block finished:

Red summer apples fall from the tree. They don't make good apple pie but taste nice just so to eat. I have two big buckets by the mailbox, with a sign OTA OMENOITA, Take apples! I'm pleased to see the buckets getting empty in a day or two. I take the last, bad ones to the compost and pick new buckets.

Our tomatoes are ripening in the sun. The tiny ones taste better than the normal bigger ones. We had 5 last night, sweet and delicious. Let's hope for more sunny days, there are SO many green ones still. Maybe I should bind the leaves so the sun can reach the tomatoes?

Coot Club news: In addition to the Whooper Swan family nesting in the village for the second year, I saw a new bird in one of the ponds. This is the best picture I could take; the bird was diving before I could focus on it.


It was big and almost totally black when I saw it in flight, and the next moment it was diving in the pond. It was swimming very deep in the water so I couldn't estimate the size too well. Mr. K asked a bird spotter friend what my bird might be, and he told us that a Great Cormorant has been spotted here. I had thought that impossible, as we are 50 km inland, and there aren't even any big lakes but only small ponds around here. Yesterday we saw the bird better - without camera, naturally - and it really was true. The Cormorant is not a welcome visitor (you can read the reasons in the Wikipedia link), but I don't think they will ever start nesting here. I prefer the swans!

Saturday 21 August 2010

Holiday adventure

This summer I have had a secret project going on for several weeks, and I was almost bursting not being able to say a word about it. But yesterday Melanie received her parcel and I can let my little friend Dick tell his own story.

Hello everyone, my name is Dick Callum and I'm the younger one of the D's in Swallows and Amazons. I'm interested in bird protection as a Coot Club member, mining and astronomy, among other things.
Mr. Kotkarankki made me glasses with some copper wire and his soldering iron, because I can't see much without them.

He also showed me a pigeon's egg shell that had mysteriously appeared on the  foot path he is paving.

On August 10th Mr. Kotkarankki and Auntie Ulla took me along to their holiday in Eastern Finland 30° 27' 08 E
63° 23' 28 N. I packed my rucksack and was ready to go!

In the mornings we had oat porridge with blueberry sauce.

Then Mr. K and Mr. M took me out on the lake in a rowing boat.

I borrowed Mr. K's binoculars to see the birds better.

This is the best picture I have of a diver. Is it a Red-breasted merganser? I think it was a female with three juveniles. They dived up the rapid.

This is Larus fuscus fuscus, Lesser black-backed Gull with black wings and back. Northern species.

We found an empty bird's nest in the woodshed.

Living outdoors makes a healthy appetite so between the proper meals we had coffee with slices of sweet wheat bread called pulla. This is the cooking shelter where we had all the meals except evening tea at 10 in the cabin.

At 10 it was too dark to fish - or watch birds - so everyone went to bed. I was sleeping in Auntie Ulla's top bunk wrapped in my blanket.

The trip only lasted 4 days and 3 nights, and after returning home I had to pack my things again.

I'm finally going to be with my sister Dorothea, who has been staying with Auntie Melanie for  almost 5 months already. Auntie Ulla sends her love to both of them. It feels good to go home, and I think Auntie Melanie will let us have some adventures on holidays too. She is not a normal adult, says Dot. Oh this sounds bad, I mean  she has a sense of adventure and humour. Dot had a nicer way of saying it, but I mean it is easy to love her, and she will not be mad at us very easily.

Thursday 19 August 2010

VTT 17 - Vintage swap and marking cotton

I almost can't remember when I participated in Vintage Thingie Thursday the last time. I have been visiting VTT blogs but just didn't have the time or the photos for a blog post of my own. Now I want to show you something nice I have received from a VTT friend. Some time ago Collette admired my old stitching patterns, and I sent her some translated copies of them. This week I had all this in my mail:

Have a closer look at the little napkins first:

Here is the folder for the iron-on transfers:

and the pattern sheet looks like this:

I love the clover pattern and will use it some day for a table runner or cushion cover. Thank you, Collette! Isn't it great that you can find new friends across the world just because you follow the same blog? Thank you Suzanne for hosting VTT!

Another new friend, Miri, is showing quilt patterns today on her VTT post, and marking cotton is mentioned in her book. I just happen to have a collection, nicely stored in a candle box by my mother. You can see in the photo (click to enlarge) it is thick cotton thread, not perlĂ© like perlĂ© thread but the same thickness, and can't be separated like embroidery floss:


I think this thread was hardly used for anything else but marking the monograms on towels, table cloths and bed linen.  Maybe whitework, I remember having an UFO . That is where my white thread is!

This was all from me this week, there is a list of links to other VTT posts on Coloradolady's blog.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Home again from the holiday

We have spent a lovely time in a log cabin, and what is more important, outside of it, because the weather was very nice for most of the time, and the little rain on Wednesday morning only made the air fresher. This was maybe the 10th time I joined the fishermen on their little holiday in Eastern Finland. Earlier posts with more details are here and here and here. I love the peace and quiet there. The household chores are different with no running water or electricity, but everyone's appetite spices the food we cook there, so even the simplest ingredients make a delicious meal:

What could taste better than a rainbow trout smoked a few hours after it was swimming, served with fresh potatoes and  a salad of tomatoes and onions, outdoors, as soon as the fish has cooled a little? Enjoyed with local rye bread with butter and fresh cold water from the well?

Every day we saw some tourists rafting down the seven rapids on a 16 km (10 miles) stretch. Rubber boats were a more frequent sight, but they never disturbed us for long.

Mr. K was a happy fisherman, spending almost every waking hour at the river. The fish were lazy eaters because the water was so warm.

After three days and nights it was time to pack our things in the boat again and cross the river to our car for the long drive home. I'm happy to know the cabin is already booked for us in August next year.


Between sleeping, eating and dishwashing I had time to stich the pictures for my Raggedy & Friends BOM. I thought I could use buttons for the eyes of the dolls, but all my buttons were too big, so I'll do some more stitching to finish the block before the block 2 is published on the 20th by Kaaren of The Painted Quilt.

Now I have so many blog posts to catch up, but I'll visit you as soon as possible. It was great to have a holiday, but it's also good to be back.

Monday 9 August 2010

Harvest feast and a new beginning

At the beginning of the Summer I started my little vegetable patch, and in the past weeks we have finally enjoyed our harvest of sugar peas ...

... and lettuce, and radishes ...

... but the tomatoes are still  green, they had a very rough start in the chilly early weeks of June.

Yesterday we had our traditional (third time already!) summer party/lunch with Mr. K's brother and sister coming to their childhood neighbourhood and meeting all together. The sister lives in Germany so these meetings are something special for them all. We had a lovely but hot day. Lettuce, radishes, parsley, dill and mint came for the vegetable bed, and everything was home made: Two salads, gravlax (fresh salted salmon) by me, two kinds of herring, smoked whitefish and smoked char (from the market place, FIL brought these), smoked ham and smoked venison were the cold dishes, and only the fresh potatoes were served hot. We had a big freezer problem, so we skipped the ice cream for dessert. Later we had a giant raspberry cream pie with coffee. In the evening, when the guests had all gone home, there was the most amazing thunderstorm. It cleared and cooled the air just a little, but today's wind has brought cooler air to this corner too.

This is the beginning of a new quilt, a block  I'm prepared to finish when I'm not cooking or washing dishes or sleeping:

It is the first block for my Raggedy & Friends BOM quilt, I will stitch the pictures in the solid white squares. The next block will be published on August 20th, so there is not much time left to finish this one.

Now I really must go and pack my rubber boots and toothbrush for the holiday. I'll see you next week!

Sunday 1 August 2010

Stash Use Report of July, soft-brained sewing part 2

It is time to look back at July and see the changes in my stash. I made several visits to fabric shops, and I even bought some fabric on the internet. That was 1.5 m, two secret fabrics. Then I bought 0.3 m of striped flannel for another secret project to be revealed in August. In Turku on the wedding anniversary trip I bought 0.75 m of green flannel, and I have already used it for another secret project you will see in September. Then I needed 2.9 m of solid green cotton for the backing of a secret quilt which will be revealed next month too. Finally I bought 1.5 m of unbleached calico for the Raggedy & Friends BOM project by the Painted Quilt. That adds up to 6.95 m of new fabrics. I also bought 1 m of upholstery fabric for our kitchen chairs, but I don't count it a) because it didn't go to stash, I used it immediately, and b) it wasn't for sewing, I used a stapler. Here it is:

At first I thought I have hardly sewn anything last month, but look at my list:
- finishing the Unicef dolls and their clothes: 0.5 m all from stash
- Between Charming Friends quilt: 3.5 m scraps and backing all from stash
- soft-brained summer dress 1.3 m, all from stash
- the secret green flannel project: 1.75 m in all, 1 m of which from stash

I have used 7.05 m fabrics, so in spite of all the new fabrics my stash was reduced by 10 cm, 4 whole inches.

The summer dress didn't finish smoothly. I managed to sew the wrong side of the zipper to the dress at first so the reverse of the zipper was visible on the right side of the dress. I went to wash my face with cold water and got the zipper right with the second try. After that I thought is best to baste the bodice hem in place before top stitching around the bodice.
This July has been the warmest ever in Finland. The last two days have been pleasantly closer to 25 C than the record 37 C. I'm looking forward to cooler days with a clearer head and more energy for crafty things.