Monday 30 December 2019

Happy Holidays

This is the 15 meters tall tree on the marketplace in Järvenpää, with new decorations. Photo taken before three in the afternoon when we were getting the last groceries for Christmas a week ago. The sun rises at 9.23 and sets at 15.22 today. The day is one minute longer than yesterday. Tomorrow will be two minutes longer than today.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Day 24

Merry Christmas everyone! See you next year.

Monday 23 December 2019

Day 23

Baking day. On the left my version of an English style fruitcake with raisins, apricots, cranberries and almonds. On the right "Snow Queen's Spicy Cake" with cardamom and lemon, waiting for the icing sugar dusting.

Sunday 22 December 2019

Day 22

My new warm winter beanie, a "mummopipo". Granny fashion. Alpaca wool yarn together with a wool/acrylic mohair style yarn. Just waiting for cold weather to come back.

Saturday 21 December 2019

Day 21

Cheerful grey socks for someone who wears black.

Friday 20 December 2019

Day 20

Christmas socks.

Thursday 19 December 2019

Day 19

Baby size socks.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Day 18

I have an old fashioned advent calendar, no chocolates, just tiny pictures.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Day 17

Feed the birds! This is oats for the bullfinches and yellowhammers.

Monday 16 December 2019

Day 16

Finally, the first duffel coat is ready to wear. Mr K. made the buttons I showed some days ago. The hood required so much material that the remains of a felted, worn out cardigan were not big enough, so I made a collar instead. I'll be wiser with the next one!

Sunday 15 December 2019

Day 15

Once again, we had some snow, and then we hadn't.

Saturday 14 December 2019

Day 14

We were at J.S.Bach's Christmas Oratorio concert in Helsinki again. Taking photos was not allowed during the concert, so all you see is the empty grey steps where the choir was to stand next. It was wonderful, as always.

Friday 13 December 2019

Thursday 12 December 2019

Day 12

On the twelfth day of December my dear husband gave to me these. Just a few days ago he showed me a hazel grouse in a birch tree. Partridges need more rural surroundings than their cousins.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Day 11

Race horse on his way back from training.

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Monday 9 December 2019

Day 9

 Anne Marie's Nine-Patch Challenge from 2011.

Sunday 8 December 2019

Saturday 7 December 2019

Day 7

We had a little snow and frost over night, and we popped out without coats (not sewn yet!) to feel the fresh air.
Roger wanted to try if the ice on the garden pond was good for ice skating.

Ooh that silly little boy! He can swim, but if the ice breaks, the water is literally ice cold, and it is hard to get back on the slippery ice. Fortunately he is very light, and I managed to cast the other end of my scarf to him and drag him back to firm ground.

Safe again! Time for a nice cup of hot strong tea with two sugars, maybe three for Roger.


Friday 6 December 2019

Day 6

Today is Finland's Independence Day.

Thursday 5 December 2019

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Day 4

Good morning!
All four kids finally have their PJs and nighties. I used vintage materials. Susan's and Titty's nightgowns are from used nighties. Roger's top is from a leftover scrap from PJs my mother has made for my brothers when they were little. It was just three little scraps, so I used new solid fabric for the bottoms. John's striped PJs are a tribute to my mother. In her style I managed to make both the top and the bottom from a sleeveless PJ top she had made in a small child's size from obvious leftover scraps. She had cut  the parts sidewise, piecing the facings, and had added a narrow binding around the short cap sleeves (see bottom edge of John's PJ top). I just had to turn the top sidewise to cut the bottoms from its back, make John's top back with a center back seam and use a different fabric for the underside of the collar. The collar top also has a seam in the center. Needless to say we all slept very well!

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Day 3

Common redpolls, Acanthis flammea. They came for a short visit with families, almost a hundred of them.

Monday 2 December 2019

Day 2

  My favorite flower of the season.

Sunday 1 December 2019

Day 1

Christmas opening, Mrs Santa with her horse and the sleigh on wheels. They took people on a little ride too.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

New Quilts, Good Bye Splendid Sampler

Back in 2016/17 I was struggling with the Splendid Sampler QAL, making two new blocks every week. Or at least almost so. Here are some of my 100 blocks waiting for assembly.

Mid March the same year I had managed to create two halves of a king size quilt, each with 10 rows of 5 blocks, and borders on three sides. I was hoping to quilt it like that on my own machine, but the task seemed overwhelming, and so the top halves found their place at the bottom of my unfinished quilt tops.

Finally this Autumn the idea came to me to make smaller quilts by some rearranging of blocks and making new borders. This was the bottom left corner with one vertical row rearranged to make the quilt rather long than wide, 4 x 5 blocks, and a new border in brown added.

Top left corner 5 x 6 blocks as it was, with original borders added where there were none.

Bottom right 5 x 6 blocks of the original arrangement, just borders added to match the existing ones.

And finally the top right corner with similar changes as in the other smaller quilt.

These four lap size quilts joined the Paper Dolls quilt to keep people warm when they go out in wheelchairs or just want to take a rest and feel the nice flannel backing and look at the pictures of cupcakes and coffee cups, flip flops and flowers, and pincushions and sewing machines, and all kinds of stars.

It feels good to have this finished, and to have done it in a practical way, all materials from my stash and no problems with the quilting.

Friday 8 November 2019

Night at the Library

This week Auntie took us to the local library for an adventure with the nice librarians and a bunch of soft toys. Over 30 of us were there!

Dogs, teddy bears, baby dolls, a piggy, an octopus, a snake ... we had such fun. Roger and I played some football with the other boys .

There was a little campfire, and all guests could have some tea by it, or hot chocolate. We were given tea as we are British.

I think some grilled sausages there too.Titty was cutting some Christmas spirited bookmarks with the help of the librarians. Her photo is at the end of this set. We were also shown how all the machines and printers work, and how to look for a book by its title or by the author.

A whole set of photos was made with us alone. The Instagram text here says that we are Unicef dolls and inspired by the characters of the Swallows and Amazons novels.

Here am I with the Finnish translation of the first book about us.

Susan with a matching color book cover.

Titty with a book matching her quilt - the librarians knew without saying which quilt belongs to each of us. Aren't they clever?

Roger with Auntie Ulla's Finnish edition of Swallowdale. The other books have not been translated into Finnish.

Finally there was a good night story before we all cuddled under our quilts and blankets for the night. Some monkeys needed a banana before they could sleep.

All those links are to the photos the library published on their Instagram. The library ladies sent these photos to Auntie today for this blog post. And here we are ready to be taken home on Thursday afternoon.

It has snowed a little again, and it is not at all so dark even the days are getting shorter by several minutes per day.

Everyone who stayed the night at the library could take home a certificate stating that and telling a little about the visit. There was also a list of recommended reading for children at different ages. It was a good list, and we have seen many of those books here on the bookshelves too.

We also got a paper photo of the whole group so we can remember our new friends. We had a very good time. The librarians asked if we would like to come for a longer time in the Winter, so that many people could meet us, and we agreed with pleasure!

On behalf of the Swallows

Monday 4 November 2019

Touch of Winter

A little while ago I took one of my Unicef dolls, John, out for a walk and to run some errands. We saw trees full of rowan berries.

There were lingonberries in the forest, perfectly good even after some night frosts. They get a sweeter taste after a frost bite.

On the following Sunday morning a week ago it started snowing a little. This willow was the only tree or bush with leaves, all the trees were naked.

By six in the evening the landscape had changed white. The snow remained for several days but is now almost gone again. We have minus degrees so it feels like the Winter is coming. Up here we have four proper seasons, but we have names for the "between" seasons as well: autumn winter, spring winter, spring summer and autumn summer. This is definitely autumn winter until we get proper snow and proper cold weather, and the calendar says it is December.

Friday 18 October 2019

Finally a quilt finish

Sometimes plans and schedules are very useful. Some other times they are not. Example: Last year and the year before I managed to sew several quilt tops with the thought that I will worry about the quilting later. This way I had five tops neatly folded waiting for the final steps, and I had decided to finish them in the order I had stacked them, with the light blue and brown Log Cabin quilt on top. 

When the inspiration came, I layered it, pin basted it the way I'm used to doing, and started machine quilting it on my machine. And so the inspiration went away, and stayed away. The backing puckered and loose corners of the backing were caught in the quilting, and there were big folds really on the backing, so every one of my first 4 to 5 quilting lines had to be unpicked totally. Long lines, diagonally across the whole width of the quilt. A very uninspiring job for me at least. I still haven't unpicked everything, and so my quilting projects have been standing still for a long, long time. Only a couple of baby quilts have been started and finished during this time, bypassing the queue of unfinished quilts.

This month I decided to forget my plans and work on any of the quilts whenever I felt like it, all the way to the finishing touches or just as long as it was fun. This was the first quilt that 'spoke' to me, and today I donated it to be used as lap quilt for wheelchair users. The pattern is Paper Dolls by Loft Creations.

I had added one row of dolls in both directions and a narrow horizontal sashing between the rows, and borders to make the quilt suitable size for the use intended. Layering,basting, quilting, binding it - everything went smoothly and without any problems at all. Just like it should be every time.

As the days are getting shorter and colder I spend less and less time outdoors and enjoy the feel of warm wool in my hands instead. I played with this easy pattern and knitted three different pairs of socks.

Then I wondered how on earth the slouchy socks were knitted in 3D, and had to try that pattern. The answer is knit and purl stitches arranged in a certain way. Fun and fast!

I had lots of soft merino wool left from the chemo cap knitting, so I used up the bright pink in this bubble hat with a curly pony tail,

and some of the blue, green and yellow in this more traditional striped one. Both have found new owners by now, I hope.

It has been a beautiful Autumn with brilliant colors, but now the leaves are falling, most trees are almost bare. I think I need to concentrate on warm coats for my Swallows so they can continue their adventures outdoors. Enjoy the Autumn colors if you have them, or the new leaves if you are on that side of the world.