Saturday 27 April 2013

New quilt in process

Finally I feel like making quilts again. When I pulled fabrics for the Happy Scrappy Spring quilt, I decided to use the same fabrics for another scrappy quilt I have been wanting to sew. It is Lori Holt's Bee in My Bonnet Row Along that started last August, but the free tutorials are still available on her blog. I have finished the two first rows.

For a long time already, I have cut the leftover bits of my fabrics into 2½" to 1" squares, the biggest size I can, and tossed them all in a jar next to my cutting table. I was lucky: I needed 44 - 1½" squares in white for the butterfly blocks, and that was exactly how many I had in my jar.

The 4-patch blocks of the first row were cleverly sewn from 3" squares and cut twice after they were joined together.
The Spring is really coming here too. You can see our snow is almost gone, but we need warmer temperatures and some rain before there will be any new green to see.

The blackbird has started to sing, early in the morning and late in the evening is the best time to listen. We had a couple staying over winter, but they don't sing then.

I have seen cranes flying over the village on their way from the South, and Mr. K saw some swans already. The ponds are all still under ice, but seagulls have arrived to wait for open waters.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Munich, a touch of Spring and a happy end

After the weekend in small towns and at the fly fishing event, on Monday morning we took the train to Munich. The weather was warming up and the sky was blue. Here is the Cathedral, Frauenkirche, built in 1468-1488.
We were walking in the city centre, Marienplatz, originally a market place. I zoomed my camera to look at  one of the many gargoyles on the New Town Hall building. New is a relative word, it was built between 1867 and 1907.
Here is a picture of the building, and you can see how many people have taken their coats off as the day was getting warm.

The Glockenspiel was playing, life size figures of people and horses. You can read about the plays in the link.

We were not just tourists looking at attractions we had seen already, but we were on a mission: I needed some red (304) DMC embroidery floss. We looked for it in the big department stores, some of which actually had a fabric and hobby department. But all they had was Anchor floss, and no conversion chart like this link I later got from Melanie: We looked into shopping arcades in hope to find a quilt shop, embroidery shop, anything. No luck. Such a big, big, city, and they don't have a quilt shop where one could find it and have some fun, and they don't even sell red floss. And that was almost all I really wanted!
Then we walked past the Fishing and Hunting Museum, another familiar place we already visited twice.  

This time I didn't dare go in, the exhibition was about life with Wolpertinger! You can see how awful they can look. (Yes, they are all different.) They may have a hare's body with antlers, feet like a waterbird and maybe even wings.

I have learnt at the museum that they specialised in eating "North German soft sculls", and one can't be sure how well they know their geography. Finland is even more in the North than North Germany! You can imagine how I was scared when I saw this creature through my kitchen window just after arrival:

Brown and white hair falling out, and the ears look a little like antlers when you are scared, don't you think? Originally the Wolpertinger were made in the 19th century by taxidermists from parts of actual animals, as a joke to fool tourists in restaurants and inns.
After coming back home I went to Hyvinkää just 15 minutes away by car, and bought the floss I needed. For those who should need Anchor floss, the nice lady at the shop had colour charts and conversion tables both ways! I packed my new floss in my new kit Melanie made for my birthday, and it was packed full with a matching project bag, scissors, ribbons, pins and needles.
Pincushion, needles book and scissor holder.

All holders with stitched names.

Some of the books she brought - I have read one and I'm reading two at the moment. The most gorgeous mug for my tea. I feel all girly!

Now I'm prepared for the next row of Kaaren's Happy Scrappy Spring next week. Happy End!
The snowdrops were in bloom when we came home, and now most of the snow is gone too.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Little holiday away from the snow

Last weekend Mr. K and I visited the 8th International Experience the World of Fly Fishing at the Event Forum Fürstenfeld near Munich, like last year (but it was the 7th, naturally). Mr. K's sister lives quite near this place, so we had a chance to stay with her, visit the fair, and see Munich. DH is a fly fisherman, and I'm a keen fan. The casting demonstrations at the outdoor pool were the most interesting part. Again, Antti Guttorm from Finland was showing his skills and emphasising the importance of the left hand.
A man from the North Lapland, he was not afraid of getting his feet wet in the cold weather.
I have about 50 more pictures of the casting demos and the fly rods, but I believe you prefer the strawberry panna cotta we had with coffee on the exhibition grounds.
This is the church of the old monastery of Fürstenfeldbruck. The buildings have served as hospital, accommodation for school children, police training school etc.

Spring was late in Germany as well as it is in Finland. Pulmonaria is one of the early wild flowers.

I have never seen such dark blue violas at home.

Travel report will continue in my next blog post and I take you to Munich for a walk.

After the trip I finished the carrot on the last block for my first row of Happy Scrappy Spring by Kaaren of the Painted Quilt.

Here is the row finished except for some applique that I will do later.


Tuesday 9 April 2013

A new project and some new houses

Mr. K has been building new houses again, for our little friends. If you click the picture, you can count four in the trees. One came to replace an old one the squirrels had used, and one of the old bird houses was damaged when we had to cut down some birches.
The morning after the six new houses were put in the trees and four other ones spring cleaned - did you know the birds make their own spring cleaning too? - I saw house hunters at four new houses. Here is a blue tit, he chased some great tits away as he was showing this place to his sweetheart.

This is a birch where we never had a birdhouse before, but it was obviously a good place, because there were many young couples interested to see the house. "A modern, compact house in a respected area", I think. An old birch would possibly have natural holes tits use for their nests. The titmouse went in and spent a long time checking the workmanship. I hope there will be happy families in all the birdhouses so we can enjoy watching birds during the non-feeding season too.

My new  project suitably begins with a birdhouse stitchery:

The first row for Kaaren's Happy Scrappy Spring ROM (Row of the Month) is almost done. Tonight I will stitch a juicy big carrot and add that block to the end of the row.

I'm using all kinds of scraps from my stash, recycling plaid shirts and whatever happens to please my eye. The light outdoors is strangely blue in the last picture, where my row is on the snow. Yes, still plenty of that on the ground, and we had some new snow on Sunday and Monday, to brighten up the world. - This quilt should be finished in the Autumn so I think I can find a suitable category for it in the Craft Olympics Sylvia is hosting this year.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Special treats and new challenges

We continue our sightseeing tour in Järvenpää. This is Halosenniemi, the studio and home of Pekka Halonen from 1902. He was one of the artists of the Golden era of Finnish art. Melanie introduced another local artist of that time in her travel report here, Venny Soldan-Brofelt. We visited her 150th birthday exhibition at the art museum of Järvenpää.

Because Melanie is such a fan of Villa Cooper, I wanted her to see the "sister villa", Sibelius' Ainola.

The roof of this home museum has been repaired during the winter and the place will open for the public again in May. The timber walls have been boarded over at an early stage, but you can see details like at Villa Cooper.

This is an earlier picture of Villa Cooper, the big dining room windows facing town.

Melanie brought me a suitcase full of girly treats for a birthday tea. I had asked her about scones and clotted cream, so she brought those too, along with strawberry marmalade. We ate the scones ages ago, but I tried the delicious ingredients on biscuits and on toast too. The marmalade goes first:

Yumm! Here you see the wrapping from the container ....

.. and read some history:

In exchange, we gave Melanie a chance to try a Finnish specialty, which could also be worth a Protected Designation of Origin, mämmi:
Mämmi is a traditional Easter or Lent food, made of rye, malt and water slowly baked in the oven. It has a porridge-like consistency and is served with sugar and cream. Melanie is either really well behaved or she just happened to like it, because after the test spoonful she had a normal serving like the one in my picture.
Now that the busy season with birthdays, Easter and Melanie's visit is over I have had time to join this year's Craft Olympics, now hosted by Sylvia. If you need deadlines (at the end of this year!), have UFO's (new category) and feel like having company when doing your projects, you can click the button on my sidebar and find the new rules for this year's Craft Athletes. Sylvia hosts both in German and in English. Be a good sport and join in! My other new project is a BOM at Kaaren's blog, The Painted Quilt. Happy Scrappy Spring only started yesterday so there is still time to join in and make a scrappy quilt with some stitcheries and some wool applique. I'm planning to make this quilt entirely from stash, preferably with recycled fabrics. The instructions for the whole first row are waiting! A button on my sidebar will take you to Kaaren's blog.