Wednesday 24 December 2014

Happy Christmas!

This is the final post of my Advent Calendar this year. It is time to concentrate on the family, traditional foods and celebrations. Drive safely if you need to go somewhere, remember your loved ones, feed the birds, have a rest, read a good book. Thank you all for coming by, thank you for your comments, thank you for being there and writing your lovely blogs. I wish you all a happy Christmas time and best of luck and craftiness to the New Year!

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Christmas Market 3 and playing in the snow

So nice to find a place to sit down after a long walk. Maybe she was put here waiting while her parents buy her a toy for Christmas in the stall behind her back.

After skiing and playing in the snow the children have such rosy cheeks, wet mittens and runny noses!

Monday 22 December 2014

Christmas Market 2

I thought you wanted to see more of the miniature Christmas Market in Jyväskylä.

Here is a craftsman selling traditional items woven of birch bark: baskets on the bench and on the ground, the little girl is wearing shoes called virsut  and in front of the bench is a woven rucksack. the little bundles of twigs are whisks. None of these are really used nowadays except for maybe the baskets, but antique ones may be seen as decoration.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Christmas Market

On Thursday we visited our dear daughter Kaija in Central Finland. This time the Craft Museum had a miniature Christmas Market in their window. Kaija took these photos as I didn't have my camera with me. Click to enlarge!

The Santa on the left is guarding the Salvation Army  collection pot, and the other one is there to meet the children and hear their wishes. The real Santa comes on Christmas Eve, preferably with his sleigh pulled by a reindeer or two along the snow. Cars and lorries are alternative means of transport when there is no snow. Santa doesn't climb to any roofs here because a) our chimneys are too tight for anyone, b) they are shut by two draught preventing shutters when there is no fire in the fireplace, and c) Santa leaves the gifts behind the door or under the tree while the family is having a meal in another room or still in the sauna or taking candles to the graves of their loved ones. He may meet families with young children, because the elves know when the family is at home and ready to meet Santa.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Christmas Lights

Our days are so short that I keep the little electric candles burning on three windows all day. This heart shape is my favourite.

Friday 19 December 2014

More Christmas

This time an elk-looking reindeer Rudolf with an angel friend Celeste and two little Santas Shorty and Skinny. Celeste's star on a stick keeps falling and her ribbon wings are askew, but they all seem like a happy little group.

Thursday 18 December 2014

A Finish and a Half

Here are the socks I started knitting in November when I could begin to move my arm again.

I used the multicoloured yarn for a tiny pair of Train Socks, here both socks at the heel flap. I did not reach my goal which was to make one pair every month for the charity, but they must have enough knitters without me to get socks for every new baby born in town this year. This pair is going with the big socks for a next year's baby.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Guarding Elf

This little elf with a big beard found a place at the round little window. Christobel the Angel used to sit there, but she claimed it was too cold for her, and also uncomfortable for her long legs.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Just over a week

At home we used to decorate the house little by little, starting with the Advent Candles, and the Christmas tree came in and was decorated on Christmas Eve. A real tree would not have lasted until January 6th in the warm house, with live candles and all.

I use this wreath for Easter as well, just change the ribbons and whatever.

Monday 15 December 2014

Ginger, cloves ...

...allspice and cinnamon. Can you smell the Christmas baking?

Can you now?

Sunday 14 December 2014

Blue Moment

Saturday morning at 9,  twenty minutes before sunrise. Using the flash I could make the snowflakes in the air visible.

Saturday 13 December 2014

Scandinavian Christmas once again

Two years ago we had a sew-along to make Lynette Anderson's Scandinavian Christmas quilt together. Melanie and I started it together, and some others joined us. I made the quilt using my own fabrics. I really had no place to hang it, and it was too small for a lap quilt for the nursery home. Then I got the idea of putting it to use in another way.

My sister P knew some ladies who raise money for good causes. The Zonta ladies' Fistula Project sounded like something I wanted to support. So finally my little quilt was the raffle prize at a larger Zonta meeting, and they managed to raise €420 or $530, which sounds like even more money.

Then two of the ladies came to thank me, and brought me all these yellow roses to lighten up my day. Happy End!

Friday 12 December 2014

Wool Socks

Villa Cooper's permanent bestseller product is handmade socks. They come in all sizes, shapes and colours. It's a well-known fact that hand knitted socks are the best ;o). Some people don't have the time, some people don't have the skills, and some people just don't like to knit socks. Almost everybody loves good socks. How lucky that we have so many ladies who have the time, the skills and the love needed to make a perfect pair of socks!

Thursday 11 December 2014


These are made of dried flowers, moss, twigs, cones and nuts. So pretty!

Wednesday 10 December 2014


Himmeli is made of rye straw for Christmas. It is a traditional Scandinavian ornament, and the name comes from the Swedish and German word Himmel meaning heaven or sky.

I have seen them made of plastic straws in bright colours but for me the original material is the only right one.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

The Tour continues

Special Christmas coffee cups and other hand painted china.

Monday 8 December 2014

Scandinavian Snowball Fun, finished at last

Sorry to interrupt your tour at the Villa Cooper! I have an important announcement to make: I have finished a quilt. I'm trying hard to remember if I have finished another one this year, but I'm afraid this is the first one.

It is the Snowball Fun quilt Melanie and I started together in 2012, she sent me the fabrics and I sent her the pattern, and we were going to make it for Christmas. Well, Melanie made it for that Christmas, but I finished mine on Sunday.

I had the three stitcheries almost done in 2012 when other things happened and I lost interest in the project.

We don't really have snow yet for good so snowmen are not around, but it is slowly about time to take out the Christmas lights and to start decorating the house.

Mrs. Snowman has taken her child Christmas shopping. I wonder what they will eat, ice cream maybe? Melanie is showing her quilt today too, so follow this link  and find out what it looks like!

The tour inside Villa Cooper will continue tomorrow.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Welcome to Villa Cooper

Some of you have been waiting for this Christmas tour.

The big dining room. This building is on the list of the museum authorities so the lights are about as they were when this was a family home. For a Sunday treat I give you a second picture, the Tiffany glass work and the elves on the right above the fireplace:

Saturday 6 December 2014

Independence Day

Today is our Independence Day. Finland has been independent since 1917.

Friday 5 December 2014

The Fox

Just the other day we spent some time watching this handsome fox with his prey at the edge of the woods.

Six magpies were flying around and waiting for some leftovers. The last time I saw a fox here was in the Spring 1982 when I was hanging up laundry on the line. We have seen footprints in the snow, but they usually don't show themselves.

Thursday 4 December 2014

Musical Elf

This old elf had just arrived when we came to watch the Christmas parade. Later he played his accordion and sang some traditional Christmas songs.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Marching Elves

Santa's little helpers in their red hats.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Day Two

Two angels were leading Santa's parade.

I remember the wire and gauze wings I got to wear for the school's Christmas play, impossible to keep straight.
If you are interested to follow a more artistic and not at all Christmas themed Advent Calendar, here is your link to my dear daughter's blog Paperiaarre. She will be showing her 24 boxes, one each morning until Christmas Eve.

Monday 1 December 2014

Advent Calendar 2014

It is time for my Advent Calendar, daily posts with a picture and little words. This will be the fourth one: I started in 2009, the next one was in 2011, then last year and now suddenly for the second year in a row.

The Christmas Season opening parade was yesterday in Järvenpää, Santa arrived very conveniently in a sleigh on wheels.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Coming back

Such a long time! I'm learning to use my arm again, reaching higher almost every day and trying new ways to do simple things like taking a plate from the microwave over my shoulder level. This is my third week without the sling.
Right at the beginning of October we had the first snow, it only lasted for a day or two.

Last week we had the first "real snow" that required shoveling and the plough trucks were out, and there is still some snow left. Winter weather requires winter crafts, so I have started a pair of socks in blue. I can only knit a few rows before taking a break, so the socks may just be finished on time for Christmas. I use a solid greyish blue and a variegated yarn in alternating rows.

During my long break from blogging I have been reading your blogs on the iPad my son borrowed me so I didn't have to climb upstairs to see my e-mails. That little thing was quite nice and handy, but sometimes I could not even open the comments section, and often the writing of comments was just not working. This is just to let you know that I haven't forgotten you.

A month ago the Villa Cooper celebrated its 110th anniversary, and we found it a great opportunity to invite the representative of the New Children's Hospital 2017 fundraising committee for coffee and home made buns so we could officially donate the funds raised during our bird themed campaign. The sum by then was €1,600 and we keep raising funds for the worthy cause as long as there are products left with the special price tags.

Last weekend the traditional Christmas Shop was opened at Villa Cooper, and I hope to get you some lovely pictures from it, with more light than this anniversary picture.

Sunday 28 September 2014

Autumn Break

This is the beginning of Autumn. See how bare the young aspen already are! They didn't even have time to change their colour properly.
The Summer flowers have been replaced by Chrysanthemums.

The rowans are full of berries. That was good for our apples, no need for the bugs and worms to attack them when they had enough of their natural food in the forest.
I have crocheted half of my granny squares for my cardigan. The other half must wait until I can use both my hands again.
Another baby thing knitted, to go with the Princess Estelle's cardigan.

I'm prepared for the weeks with idle hands:
Here is about half of the books I have kept waiting. Some of them are too big or heavy to read in bed, some were just new hand-me-downs, and some especially borrowed for this special occasion of having the chance to read all day long. About a dozen of the Elm Creek novels are waiting on the shelf for me to I finish the triple volume that comes first in the series.
This is it, dear friends. I'll be back some time in November or so ... keep posting about your lovely projects and I will visit your blog when I can. Comments I can't promise for quite a while.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

The little indie artist and her victory of sorts

I'm upset! My daughter's work has been copied and put on sale by Anthropologie. Please visit Kaija's blog Paperiaarre here  and see with your own eyes. Her journals have been copied. She has also given a link to another case of copying by this firm, so it seems to be their habit to look for beautiful things on Etsy, Pinterest etc. and have them made in a cheap labour country. As little as it may mean to them, I have written an e-mail to Anthropologie and given my opinion about this. I can be as biased as I want; they have wronged my daughter! - I didn't have time to finish this blog post last night, and I'm glad to tell you that meanwhile the issue is resolved and the big company has offered to withdraw their copied journals. Naturally they don't admit they have copied anything, so maybe it was their supplier who did it.
 On the knitting front, I have been working on a multi-coloured baby blanket. 
Here it is all finished. Knitting on the circular needle makes it easier for my hands and arms, as the weight on the blanket rests on my lap instead of on the long needles and my hands.
Speaking of hands and arms, in a week I will start a long break from all things crafty, and also from writing in any form. I will keep reading your blogs, I hope, but can't comment for a while with my good hand immobile in a sling. The sling thing causes a dressing problem I didn't have 8 years ago when my other shoulder was operated on. It was against the Summer, so I just altered a few tops so I could step in through the neckline. This time I need something against the cold as well, so I took another step as a designer and made a poncho:
The lining is there to protect me from wind, and I even added an interfacing for extra warmth. Now I'm knitting wrist warmers to give a final touch:
Today is Autumn Equinox and the days are getting shorter so fast that you really notice it: 40 minutes in a week now. The temperature has dropped close to freezing point for the day as well, but at the end of the week we can expect some +15C days. Warmer clothes are needed, summer dresses can be stored away for eight months at least. Enjoy the colours of Autumn, the fresh air, and cosy evenings in the warmth of your home. 

Tuesday 16 September 2014

"Designer" socks and various birds

You may remember the fundraising for the New Children's Hospital 2017 we have been having at the Villa Cooper? I'm very happy to tell you that my Happy Scrappy Spring quilt was finally sold!
I made this quilt designed by Kaaren of The Painted Quilt, and she kindly gave her permission to sell the quilt for the worthy cause. A member of our club was the buyer, and I can be sure the quilt has found a good home! The nice sum of € 350.00 was added to the fundraising account.
My original 25 birdy coasters have all been sold and I have had two custom orders since then. Making the last one of them, I decided to use up all the linen fabric I had left for the background so there will be a dozen or so new mug rugs for the hospital project still available. We decided to keep our project going as long as we have items left.
Speaking of custom orders, I knitted a pair of socks for Mr K. to keep his toes warm in the waders. Those shoes let the cold water through, and only the sock part of the waders keep his feet dry but not necessarily warm.

I have seen his technical socks designed for the left and right foot and using different materials, and took an idea from them:
I made a stretchy part on the sole after the heel to keep the sock from creeping towards the toes like my socks tend to do in my wellies. The top of the foot part is in rib stitch as well to make the socks fit like a glove. (That would be really stupid though, nobody has toes as long as fingers. This must be seen as a figure of speech.) The bottom of the heel is flat and smooth so nothing will put pressure on his baby soft skin.
Mr K. has added a polycarbonate roof to our terrace. The project is nearly finished, just missing the boards to cover the triangles at both ends.

I'm enjoying my favourite time of the year: sunny days with just room temperature or a little cooler, fresh little wind, the smell of apples, many flowers still in bloom, the swans teaching their young cygnets to take off and land (is it 'landing' in water too?), and the first cranes preparing their migration to the South. Yesterday I saw a flock of about 50 cranes getting arranged to their typical V formation.