Wednesday 27 October 2010

I'm off for a trip abroad

This has been a busy time, making things not to be shown yet and preparing for an exciting trip to Germany. Exciting for two reasons: only this morning we heard on the news that the strike is over which threatened to cancel Finnair flights and we can travel in the afternoon as scheduled, and exciting because I'm not only meeting my sister Maija, but I'm also going to meet Suzie of Littlebusybee! We (Mr. K and I) are visiting the EuroBLECH Sheet Metal Working Technology Exhibition (can a girl ask for more?) and staying at Maija's house like so many times before. For tomorrow we have arranged to meet Suzie in Hannover! She lives not too far from there, so we finally can sit down with a cup of tea and meet face to face. We have been good blogging friends for over two years already.

Before the snow covers everything here for many months, I thought I could show you some before and after pictures of Mr. Kotkarankki's five-year project in our yard. Like I have mentioned in some blog posts and e-mails, he is building us a new terrace for coffee drinking out in the open air. This will be the path to the said terrace, picture taken last year when he started by removing the old concrete tiles (under the sauna window by the wall).

Here is the same area this week, with new tiles and new soil for a small lawn. We can't plant anything here because this is where the snow falls from the roof all winter and stays a little longer in spring. The first snow we had two weeks ago lasted several days but it is all gone now, and there have been sunny days. It is cold though, and the ponds in the village are for a large part covered in thin ice. The swan family and ducks are still there.

This is the newly paved area late this summer.

Back to last year: here it all started. The old concrete tiles are gone and Mr. K has started to build a very good foundation for the new terrace. Frost can make such tricks in our climate, if the foundation is not properly built. The old terrace had some dales and hills and no chance to place a table steadily any more.

This summer's picture is taken from another angle. Everything is built on level here, measured twice and some more (I was at the other end of the tape most times), and just waiting for the boards next summer. The black square you can see down on the lawn is the roof of the new pump house Mr. K built on top of our old well so we can get water for the garden hose and for the little spring to be built in the old round swimming pool he has filled with sand, on the right lower corner here.


All I have been able to do here to help was to make coffee and bring him bottles of cool mineral water when he was working during the hot summer days and evenings. Now it is time to put the hoe, showel and rake aside and concentrate on preparing the garden for winter. I'm grateful to have a lovely husband like Mr. K. I'm happy to go with him to the big machines at the fair and see how they cut and bend and weld and drill sheet metal, and be his interpreter and act like I understood something about the things. There will be a break in blogging (like that would be some news at the pace I have been posting in the last weeks) and a travel report will follow some time next week. I know it is not as interesting for you as a quilt show would be, but I'll do my best.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Softies for Mirabel 2010

For the fourth time already, Pip from Meet Me at Mike's is organizing a challenge to get toys for children for Christmas. You can read more about the Mirabel foundation here.

This year my softie is a modern toy, not to be specified as a bunny or a bear or a doll. The pattern is from Suuri Käsityölehti, a Finnish handicraft magazine. Like in the pattern, all materials are recycled except for the polyester wadding.

If you want to make your own softie, you can join here. Pip's blog has many links to free patterns and good ideas.

The Softies for Mirabel have been a Brown Owls project for me every year. Last year I made some knitted bunnies,  the year before I made a pig, and a hare and a kitten.

Friday 15 October 2010

First snow

The weather has changed. This picture was taken on October 1st, a sunny autumn day at its best.

This was the same tree this morning - no, it had not fallen on its side but blogger and I can't seem to find a way to show this one like it should be, - I only wanted to show that all the golden and red leaves are on the ground, covered with the first snow.

Last night I was waiting for the train just after 8 o'clock when the rain started to get colder and thicker. By the time the train arrived, my shoulders and cap were covered in slush. Ten minutes later, at my own station, it was already snowing, and the snow flakes got bigger and bigger. It lasted maybe 15 minutes only, but the night was cold and so the snow stayed on the ground until morning for the photos.

But it was still cold, and at noon our apples in the trees were still wearing white caps. 

The trees were full of waxwings looking for food. Here I caught one picking on an apple (in the top right quarter). They fly in flocks and can empty a rowan tree of its berries in no time.

Here is an older picture of this colourful bird with a crest.

We put our bird feeder back just this week, when we could be sure all the migrating birds had left the country and only the winterhardy species remained. Tits, magpies and jays have already found it, and it is fun to watch them through the kitchen window. It is time to take out the warmer coats and scarves and boots. The garden table and chairs have been put in storage, and the snow showels taken out. I believe the snow will be gone next week, but there is no going back to lighter clothing and sitting outdoors. There is all the raking to be done once the snow has gone and the weather is dry for a couple of days.

Thursday 7 October 2010

New bag from Melanie's scraps

Last year sweet Melanie made this great Hearts and Flowers bag for me. I use it when I go to class, because it is so big that I can put my cutting mat and ruler in it, and there is enough space for my project and fabrics and scissors and threads and pincushions and shoes and so on. It is a very nice, BIG bag.

If you have a big handbag, you know how easily small items can disappear in its depths. Well, this bag is almost so big that I have to dive in it to search for my thimble. Luckily, Melanie included some leftover fabrics in the birthday present, and later she mailed some more, like 1½" squares, and some of that dark green fabric. For a long time I had various plans, I wanted to make a fabric basket (but got one from Candace),

 and I wanted to make a zipper pouch, but Suzie makes them so much nicer

so I really had no idea what I should do. I kept taking my scissors and pincushions etc there in a plastic bag in the big bag, and felt ashamed (it is, you mustn't forget, a sewing/quilting class). Then I noticed I kept thinking it would be nice to have a matching little bag for the sewing notions. First I joined the 1½" squares to make a ninepatch. I added borders, but  it was still too small to become a bag. It was a nice pocket for a bag!

I took the biggest piece of fabric to make the bag, and added strips of the other blue floral prints to make it wider. I cut 2" squares to make the bag deeper. I added a dark green strip to make it even wider, and used dark green to make the handles too.

Then I used some recycled pillowcase for lining, and added a green top to make the lining less visible. I had some cute buttons to decorate the top at the point where the handles are.

Now I can pack my presser foot and screwdriver and threads and bobbins in Candace's fabric basket, and my cutter and small scissors and measuring tape in Suzie's pouch, and pack them and my big scissors and small fabrics and pincushion in the new bag, and put it in the big bag with the cutting mat, ruler, magazine and big fabrics, and with the shoes in a plastic bag. No more diving!

I didn't use more than half of the scraps Melanie sent, so there will be a matching something some day.

The Sedum on our steps has turned red this week. I will move the concrete box under the steps before there is snow.

Sunday 3 October 2010

Stash use report for September

Suddenly September is gone, and I have hardly finished anything to get my stash grow smaller. Merely 85 cm of fabric has been transformed into something. This was the "big" project:

These are the true colours, the photo taken on the front door steps in September sun. There was much waste when I cut the printed parts only for the table runner, and I used some bits with no print on to get the size I wanted.

I have also used some scraps to finish a secret project, the pictures will be shown here later. This was naturally not all I have used for sewing, but I will only count the fabrics when the project is finished. My Raggedy & Friends quilt will still take months!

Happy news is that I have not bought any fabric in September. The total amount of used fabric is now 62.05 m in 2010, and I still have bought only 19.80 m. This means that the stash has been reduced by 42.25 m by now. I think I have reason to be proud of myself! Why is the stash not getting any smaller then? Well, I visited my mother yesterday, and it was a very nice visit. She didn't give me any fabrics, if that is what you thought. No, but there were two large plastic bags in her entrance hall, with my name on them. My little sister T had left them for me, filled with her old curtains and other fabrics. Thank you, T! I had to be sensible and pick only the cottons to keep. The rest is on the way to a charity shop together with all the children's raincoats and other things no longer needed in this household. You can see now that no matter how much I sew,  I still have mountains of fabrics to select from.

To finish I want to share with you one last rose I saw at the station this week. The picture of our garden colours refused to appear the right way, and I don't like trees growing from left to right, so you'll get the rose instead.