Friday, 29 April 2011

Less action more pondering

It's been the theme of this week, pondering. I've consentrated on confirming what strong colour I need to increase in the livingroom and perhaps to other rooms too. I think I've got it mostly sorted out now.

How ever I did some action too. I did wash the sofa cushion covers and I decluttered the books from the livingroom.

Sofa cushion covers drying, I think they look like giant diapers
I was supposed to clean the whole livingroom and related closets. Instead I read a book, moved a bush at the backyard and thought about colours.

Books to charity
One could think I still have the whole weekend left to some action, but no! It's May Day eve and May Day, I don't have time for anything else than to drink sima, sparkling wine and eat donuts. Happy May Day!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Livingroom colour scheme

I feel like I should do the one room remedy from the Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan's book Apartment Therapy, the eight-step home cure for all the rooms in our home after this hybrid cure. I have so many big changes planned for each room. I'd like to paint walls, ceilings, shelves, tables, change wallpapers, fabrics, few furniture. I never thought that this cure would bring up that many needs for more change. And it is weird, because all in all I'm happy about my home, but still there are many things that need some attention. I'm not sure if I'm truly dissatisfied with the things I have, I think it's more that  I'm inspired when I see what everyone else is doing and it brings new ideas for my home too and I see that things could be better.

For the livingroom I've been thinking about colours lately. As Alana suggested I went to Flikr to check on rooms with white an brown decor and to se what other colours are used in those rooms. To tell you the truth I was very much drawn to images with very little colour, like this danish arrangement,  also this mostly white room1 and this mostly white room2.

I had to really push myself to open up images with more colour. But I did find some nice pictures, for instance this is quite nice, light and cheery, it has way too much stuff but the colours are good. Here is one photo of a room that is totally not my style but it has fresh yellow accent. I also fell in love with this picture, it is so crazy. I have no idea why I like it. The carpet is hideous, it's like grass, I don't like the chairs and it's way too bohemic, and I certainly don't like to look at tits all day long. But I love it still, it's so humorous. It has lovely accents of orange.

So can there be made any conclusions from the pictures? I seem to like yellow and orange, but in quite small amounts. Even in the mostly white room 2 is some orange colour. Perhaps orange is the way to go then. Now I only need to deside where to have that colour, pillows are a obvious choise. Curtains could be another, but that's way too much colour at one go. Paintings or art could also work. I also started to look for items in orange that we allready have in our home and I noticed that there is very little. These were all I could find, I'm sure there is more, I did not open every drawer.

It's said that textiles are the easiest way to add colour to home and I agree. That's why I immediately went to Etsy to find some fabric for pillow covers. Would you enjoy frogs or how about something more graphical or then beautiful birds or the classic elephant? Any other suggestions for colour placement, something that is easy to remove when I get tired of orange?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Why our home smells like chicken poop

It does really! The explanation is that I'm growing tomatos from seeds. I sowed them few weeks ago and they now needed more space.

To really get them in good start with the growth I added one tablespoon of organic tomato feed per pot.

The feed did not smell like anything when it was still dry, but after I watered the plants the chicken poop smell was obvious. The tomato plants are now in the office and so is the smell too. Bit of a farm smell inside, nice.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hybrid cure, livingroom

In Apartment therapy, the eight step home cure book by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, the week four is all about the livinroom. Here is the contents of the livinroom cure. I liked how scb did this and I'm going to copy her, so my comments are also in Italic
Clean up living room and any related closets. Will do
Repairs are being taken care of this week. Repairs are taken care on an ongoing basis, I will do repairs when I have the time


Declutter all books and media. This is certainly something I need to do, especially the CD's need this desperately
Cancel 75% of all catalogues you receive. What catalogues?
Empty Outbox. Will do


Confirm what you need to increase or decrease colour in each room. Our livingroom is mostly neutral, and it lacks colour, definetly something I need to look into
Identify what you need to increase or decrease softness in each room. I think this is allready good

Cook three meals at home this week. This will happen automaticly, we do cook quite often, nothing fancy though, but we need to eat something
Send out your invitation. Not going to happen, I have not planned anything, we might invite someone over but that we might do even without this cure

Also added to this, I'm planning to clean all windows, inside and outside, it's been so warm lately. I will also wash the sofa slipcovers. And I must take my grandmother's serger to maintenance, it's now sitting on top of our diningtable.

Here are some pictures of the before of the livingroom. In a way I'm very pleased with our livingroom, I would like to paint that ceiling white, to make the room feel larger and lighter. Atleast on winter time the dark ceiling makes the room seem bit depressing. Alana asked yesterday if wooden ceiling is standard here. I actually think it is not anymore normal to have a wooden ceiling, or if they are wood, they are still painted lighter. But our house is from the early 80's and at that time it was very fashionable to have a pine panel ceiling like this.

Dining table, picture taken from window side
Home entertainment unit, bookshelf and vitrine for glassware
I will not paint the ceiling during this cure, that is a major change and requires lot of time. But it's on the to-do list at some time in the future. From these two pictures you can see that our livingroom has lots of neutral colours, it is not following the 80-20 percent rule that Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan suggests in his book. His rule is that 80 percent of the colour in one room should be neutral and 20 percent strong colours, I would say our livingroom is 100 percent neutrals and now that I see these pictures it's obvious that this room is slightly boring.

Seating area
Piano, no one plays it, it is my sister's
With the white in the sofas and recliner the room seems fresher, but white either is not a strong colour, although I think it is not as neutral as all the brown. With all of this brown I'm having some trouble figuring out what strong colour would look good here. I know brown goes well with red, but I don't like red anymore (I used to, but I got bored of it).

Would you have some suggestions on colours and where to put it, I'd like something fresh and not too dark?

Monday, 25 April 2011

Cable mess

I made a false start on the livingroom cure on friday. I did not have interest to continue in the entry anymore,  my own stuff was fairly organized even before and I see no point going through A's stuff since I have never any idea what he considers important. Also I was eager to start the cure on livingroom and especially on cables. A loves all his appliances and we have plenty of those, speakers (all seven), subwoofer, xbox, telly, dvd-player, radio amplifier, even video, you name it, we have it. So you can assume that the cable mess is quite something.

Under our sofa, before
Earlier we used to have another sofa in the middle of the livingroom and one speaker was sitting next to it. After we sold the sofa we could no longer keep the speaker in the middle of the room either. We desided to attach the side speakers to the ceiling instead. And because we needed to make some changes anyway I desided it was a good time to tackle the cable mess once and for all.

Cables to the speakers on the ceiling had to be installed discreetly. We drilled a hole to the wooden valance and pulled the cables through it with help of wire.

Then we attached the speakers to the ceiling and pulled the cables to the speakers. This is the stage after the fridays work. See that cable hanging loosely near the ceiling?

Saturday was a shopping day. We bought lots of cable chutes (no idea if that is a correct term). I attached the cable shoots with double sided tape that came with them and also used some nails to make them more secure. The cable shoots now go behind that wooden valance and then down on the corner in the right. Here is a picture of in between. Looks pretty horrible, right.

In between, big mess
We were very lucky that we had long enough cables to run them first up then sideways on the ceiling and then run them down again. We only had to extent one cable and even that we had an extension cable to that we could just plug in.

On sunday was only left to clean up and put all the tools back to the tools cabinet. I'm really pleased and there are no cables under the sofa!

Behind the wooden valance, those cables seen here go to the speakers attached to the ceiling

After, so nice!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Happy Easter

I wish you all a nice Easter time, hope you can enjoy the long weekend.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Cleaning parquet

According to the Maxwell Gillingham-Ryans book, the eight week home cure, one is supposed to mop floors every other week. But I don't think that is important, in general I don't mop my floors more than twice or even once a year, I think that vacuuming is enough and if I want my home to smell extra nice then I mop, but as said that rarely happens. I have sometimes mopped the kitchen and bathroom, if they have spots on them. Now I did mop the entry anyhow.

I think this type of mop is commonly used in here for cleaning all types of floors. The mop has a microfiber cloth that you rinse in a soapy water and then twist very dry. Carpet floors in general are not very popular here. Atleast I don't know a single home with carpet floors. Most common is either laminate or parquet.

When I do mop I like to take all carpets outside and give them a good beat. Only this way I feel I can get the place truly clean.

Now the carpets are back inside, entry floors are clean and shiny and the place sure smells nice.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


I consider our entry to be huge, but compared to it's size, it does not actually have lot of convenient storage space. Our entry is a place we have to pass if we want to go from one room to another, so it means that the entry mostly has doors and openings to other rooms. And it means that there is not that much wall space there to have storage on. There is one closet, a shelf and a chest of drawers. This is plenty for us, but I do not know how a family of four could cope.

Entrance tambour left and right side, photo taken from front door

Here most homes have also an entrance tambour (shown above), I'm not totally sure about that term, but in homes where the front door goes straight out there is a small room in front of the door so that when you go out you first go in this small room and close the interior door after you, then you open the front door and warm air inside will not escape. I'm not sure if this is mandatory in all buildings in Finland but it's very common anyway. Even many stores have these.

I thought I could start the hybrid cure of the entrance by clearing all the stuff out in the open that just was misplaced and doing a basic cleaning there. I did not declutter a single closet or storage basket and I did not take out spring jackets or put the winter ones away. That I will probably do on thursday. But here are some before and after shots. (I cheated a little, the things by the shelf are going to charity, and I moved them away while taking the after shots, but they would not normally be there, so that's my excuse)

Before and after of the entrance after the tambour
On the peg board we generally have some coupons and postcards, things we like to be able to see often. 

Most stuff on the floor in the before is stuff that is going to charity
This shelf contains one of the most important organizing tool of our home, the paper slot. It is the white piece, with vertical dividers, that you see on the fourth shelf. It has slots for me, A, us both and for bills. It is where we put all the mail we receive that is not junk. In the landing strip (shown below) we can categorize everything and then we use the slots. From here we find all the papers actively in use and once in a while we go through the papers and throw them to either trash or put them to folders in the office. 

Before and after of the landing strip
This landing strip is a place that requires constant cleaning, maybe because we have to walk past it to get to any room we tend to leave there stuff that happens to be in our hands.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Violets by the door

Planted some violets by the front door. They are supposed to tolerate cold weather too.

The entry looks inviting again. Or do you think I have too much going on on the left side?

Monday, 18 April 2011

Sima - the official drink of May Day

May 1st is a big thing here in Finland. It's a national holiday celebrated as labour day and a day when people enjoy spring. Everyone in the metropolitan area will gather for picnic to Kaivopuisto in Helsinki. The official drink of the day is Sima (in Swedish mjöd). Sima is soda like, lemon tasting, very sweet, low alcohol drink.

To have some Sima to drink on the May Day, the preparations have to start from one month to a week before. If you ferment the drink in room temperature, it'll be ready faster and if in cold it will take longer.

What you will need for Sima is
- 3 lemons
- 0,5 kg (1,1 lbs) white sugar
- 0,5 kg (1,1 lbs) brown sugar or if not available then syrup (thick brown type)
- 1/4 teaspoon of yeast
- about 8 liters of water, of from about 3 liters hot water and 5 liters cold water (I don't know what measures you use in US or England or Canada, so you may use this converter, to make the units better for you)
- some more sugar
- few raisins per bottle

Also you will need a clean bucket, something for stirring, a peeler, a citrus squeezer, knife, teaspoon, small pot, sieve, used (cleaned) soda bottles for the drink, funnel and a scoop.

Start with scrubbing your lemons clean, peel the lemons so that you only get the yellow part. Put the peels on a small pot and add water so they are covered. Bring to boil and keep on low heat for about 10 minutes. While doing this, pour sugars to the bucket and add as much hot water as is needed to dissolve the sugar, I needed around three liters. Then add cold water untill the mixture is luke warm.

Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the bucket, add the peel water to the bucket, but before sieve the peel parts out. Add yeast, if you use fresh yeast dissolve the yeast first to a small amount of water.

Place a lid lightly over your bucket or use clingfoil, let the drink ferment till the next day in room temperature.

Next day you'll need to bottle your drink. Add one teaspoon of sugar and few raisins in the bottles. The amount of sugar is for 1,5 liter bottle, adjust the amount of sugar if necessary, but you don't need to be that precise with it. Fill the bottles with the help of a funnel and a scoop and close cap. Let the bottles sit again till next day in room temperature and then move them to some place colder like to the fridge or pantry or even outside.

The drink is ready when the raisins are all puffed out and they have rised to the surface. If you are in real hurry you can ferment the drink in room temperature in a few days, but you'll get better results if you ferment it slowly. (And if possible do not use Pepsi or Coke bottles, because they will give flavour to the drink no matter how well you clean them. I had no choise, these were all the bottles I could scrape up)

Enjoy with good friends and donuts.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Hybrid cure, kitchen

I wanted to clean the kitchen from top to bottom so I started out with emptying all the cabinets one by one and cleaning all surfaces inside them. I washed all the plates and mugs and glasses that had collected some dust over them. I did not wash the tableware we use often, they looked clean to me. I threw out old flour, condiments and dried out candy. We had some glasses with no pairs which I was able to put to the outbox, we still have some lonely glasses, but fewer now anyway.

After cleaning all the insides of the cabinets I vacuumed the ceiling to remove all the cobweb. Then, with the help of A, I moved the freezer/fridge to vacuum the floor underneath it and the coils from back of it. I also washed all the cabinet doors from outside and the walls. Then I vacuumed and washed the floor under the stove and the sides. Then I vacuumed and wiped the top of the light fixture and washed the curtains and hung them to dry.

I don't think I need to mention which is before and which is after
On this point I felt like the cleaning is never going to be finished. I had already spent three evenings solely in the kitchen. In a way I was very frustrated but on the other hand I felt really good on the things I had allready achieved. I desided to let myself slack a little and desided to postpone the cleaning of the oven and fridge to some other time. I had cleaned and defrosted the freezer already when it was still frost outside.

To finish the cleaning on some way I desided that my  thursday to-do list would include cleaning the outer surface of all the appliances, cleaning the tiling, cleaning the work and table tops. Cleaning the tiles and the space between them was a bit of a job so I desided to go with the non environmental option and chose a product designed for the tiles. So equipped with the bad smelling liquid, old toothbrush and a sponge I tackled the job, and I'm really pleased about the results, just take a look.

I think it turned out super nice, hope you see a difference here

Kitchen part of the hybrid cure is now officially over for me. Phew! I'm going to over to friends' home for the weekend. See you on monday!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Style tray

My style tray will consentrate on the bedroom and office because those are in most desperate need for change. What I would like to do is to insert pictures in this blog, but I'm afraid I will violate the rights of the photographers. So I'm very unsure how to do this. I'll just provide links to images I like and post few images of my own and couple from Chez Larsson blog, because she has written that she is ok with sharing her pictures.


Our bedroom now looks like this, what you see in here is how I like crisp white with old 50's to 70's furniture.

Taken from window side

Taken from the right side of the bed

Taken from the doorway

I'm more or less happy about our bedroom. I would like to change the wallpaper, but this will do, it's light in colour anyway. I do like the mirrored closets by the door and I love that old dark shelf on the foot of the bed. I also love the bedspread and the old sewing machine/table. The bed itself is comfortable too.

My dream bedroom would actually be a japanese style bedroom, with tatami floor and futon bed and with no or limited furniture, something like in this picture. But I know it will not work, where would I have my clothes and futon beds are quite hard, I do need something softer and I would not be excited to vacuum the room every other day. Also A is not very good in kneeling down, he always complains when there is a task that reguires bending down. I'm ok with that, I do most things on the floor level anyhow, I've never really learned how to use a table.

I'm planning to make a headboard so I'll need some headboard inspiration. I will make a very plain and minimalistic headboard, it's most likely going to be made from wood, covered with cushioning and white fabric. I really like this tufted headboard, but A was not that into it, he said that the covered buttons made it look old fashioned. It is weird that sometimes he has very strong opinions about decor. There is also this funky headboard that really makes me smile, but to me it looks like the corners of the pillows are going to rip when I'll lean on them. But maybe this headboard made of squares could be the headboard I can make.

Our bedside tables could also be smaller. The existing ones are dark colour and too wide. Lot of things fit inside there offcourse which is good. But on the other hand not that many things are needed to be stored there.I do like this bedside table shown in the Chez Larsson blog. But I do need sometype of door or drawer to it. All our stuff is not as nice looking as in Larsson residence.

From Chez Larsson

The office is the room I'm least happy about, it has no style, it's a mix of all things we used to have in our previous homes that we no longer like. This is a big room and perhaps because of that it collects all kinds of clutter from the other rooms. There is a guest bed in the office and that especially is a clutter magnet. There is also a armchair which has always something on top of it, so there is no chance of ever sitting on it, the chair is also very electric, I always get a electric shock after I leave it.

Taken from window side

Taken from doorway, here you see the guest bed and A's side of the office and his shelf

Taken from foot of the bed, here you see the armchair and my side of the office

What I would need is a place to do sewing and crafts. The guest bed is hardly ever used. And the shelves on the office are packed and busy looking, those could use some doors. I also really dislike the floral wallpaper. I do want to incorporate the colour white to our office more. The office table is the wrong colour of wood, I'd like it to be white or dark wood. I hate my office chair, it is just too plastic looking. I would love something like this toledo stool. I would enjoy Chez Larsson look in our office too.

From Chez Larsson

What I can do is paint the shelves and that chest of drawers, I can make new cover for the armchair, so it will look similar to this, and I could change the wallpaper if I'm up to it. I could also get doors to the shelves, which are very old Finnish design and luckily still in production.

Determining my style

In words I would say my style is simple, crisp and combines of the midcentury modern and organic modern, defined in the AT, the eight-step home cure book by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan.Organic modern is said to be asian influenced, and I do like asian style, but I would go without all that bambu. Midcentury modern then uses elements of the Californian and Danish, like molded plywood and prefab houses. I do like plywood and prefab houses look nice to me. What I  would incorporate to this style is also some Finnish design. For example these mugs or this shingle bag or this what I call a Cleopatra lamp.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Apple blossoms

I pruned our apple tree earlier, perhaps two weeks ago. I took one branch inside and look it's blossoming!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hybrid cure, week one & week two combined

To catch up on Alana and scb I'm going to combine the week one and week two of the hybrid cure. I know it's pretty ambitious, but I'll try. My hybrid cure will contain following tasks, in italic are the week one tasks:

Make a complete list of repairs and solutions
Vacuum and mop floors

Fix one thing in your home
Clean your kitchen from top to bottom and throw out old food

Remove one item from your home
Clear Space for an Outbox

Buy/get fresh flowers
Determine your style

Find one new recipe and cook one meal at home
Choose the date for your housewarming.

There are other things on the Maxwell Gillingham-Ryans book, the eight step home cure, like running you hand on every wall of your home and sitting in a place where I would normally not sit for ten minutes, I've tried those out before and no offence Maxwell but I did not understand the point of those. I'm also not going to get a water filter, according to some studies the tab water in Finland is if not purest but one of the purest waters in the world.

On sunday I made a To Do list on a separate page of this blog, see here. That includes all the repairs I will need to do on next few months.

Moday was a kitchen cleaning day. Here is what my kitchen looks like before.

Picture taken from the doorway

Picture taken from the window side

Picture taken near the stove, and that wall is not actually blue, it's more like green and I hate it, it's too dark. Wish it did look like it does in this picture. I'm planning on painting it again, with colour called coconut butter.

I'm fairly happy with my kitchen (except that wall), it's light, clear and all storage is hidden. The whole thing is made in 1981 and it's not been renovated since. Only thing we did when we moved in was clean it and changed the handles of the cabinets. Those had plastic handles that had turned yellow by sun light and they were hideous. I'm very pleased with the look now, many have even asked if we renewed the cabinet doors, but no we did not.

On monday I cleared all the upper cabinets, cleaned them and run the dishwasher three times to wash all the dust from the mugs and plates that we use pretty rarely. For a household of two we have collected a large amount of tableware. I've been cleaning for hours and now the kitchen seems worse than it was before, there are glasses and kitchen utensils on the table waiting to be taken to donation and also handwashed plates and glasses everywhere. So no after pics this time. Maybe later on the week.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Ancestors and us

I put pictures on the picture ledges! Who would have known? But did you quess that I would put mine and A's family tree in there? I bet you didn't. I scanned mine and A's old photos from family albums and reprinted them. There are still few more photos to scan and print, mainly from A's side. (FYI: My boyfriend did not want to be called Boy, so now on he will be called A)

I had many frames at home, but I did not like their colour, so I spray painted them white. The smell was so hideous that I had to do that outside and almost froze myself. Here is my spray painting station on the terrace.

I was bit unfortunate with the painting, as you see I did not really get a nice finish. The paint under the new paint started to wrinkle. Not all frames acted like this though. Some ended up good and others, well the old paint dissolved to the new paint and I could not get them white, no matter how many layers of paint I put on them. They are now slightly yellowish, even though they were golden before. Kind of frustrating.

But I can cope with small flaws. I'll get totally new frames if these start to bother me. 

My father's mother's father and his home. I love old black and white pictures.
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