Friday, 30 November 2012

Snow and lights

It is snowing as a I write this post. Snow is the ultimate reminder that it is now winter. And since it's winter it is appropriate to put up some decorational lights and light the candles.

I've usually hung a string of lights to the livingroom, but since there is already the himmeli, glowing orbs and other winter decorations I thought of adding some ambiance to the office. I was planning to hang the string of lights better, but I placed it on top of the floating shelves while I was pondering how to attach it to the wall, but then I kind of liked the lights just randomly placed there on top of the shelves. So I left it as it was.

I must mention that I have spent a lot of time in the office after the renovation there was finished. I love the office. I'm really pleased with it, I'm really happy I can do my crafts there. Also the livingroom is easier keep neat when my craft stuff is not on the dining table but in the office. So redoing the office was a huge success.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Himmeli holiday decoration

Himmeli is a traditional Finnish holiday decoration. It is a mobile made from natural straw that is kept together with thread. It has been also modernized and now days Himmeli can be also made from plastic drinking straws or glass pipes and other decorations can be added to it.

I had wanted to make a himmeli for years and I even had bought a packet of straw long long time ago. This year I finally did it. It was not difficult to make the himmeli. I had assumed it would be more difficult since here those are thought highly of. This particular one took me only two evenings to make. In this site is a good picture set showing how to make the basic octahedron shape of the himmeli.

I needed to get more straw in the middle of my project, but the new straw I bought was a lot more thick than the older one. I'm a bit disappointed by the quality of the straw I got. The old one I had was beautiful and slim and the himmeli in those parts is light and airy. But the parts made with the newer straw are thick and heavy looking, nothing as nice as the slim parts. Next time I make a himmeli I need to be more aware of the quality of the straw when I buy it. Still I'm really happy I made one, I think it's beautiful.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Stitch markers

Wednesday I visited Piipadoo blog, they had been to a crafts fair and had taken some photos of cool knitting stuff. On few photos there were products from a company Succaplokki and they have an Etsy shop where they sell stitch markers and other knitting accessories. I did not have to browse long till I noticed that I would like to buy all their stuff!

But I contained myself and realized I can make stitch markers on my own and I also realized that I have all the equipment already in home to make them. I noticed that I was sort of irritated that I had not realized that earlier. I cannot even count how many times I've stood on the knitting accessories aisle on the local super market and pondered if I should buy the plastic round markers. But I never did buy those, I thought the ones in the super market were too ugly for what they cost. The Succaplokki ones are beautiful and fun though but those made me realize I can also do them.

I used some beads and wire I had at home. I still like the Succaplokki ones more, but at least now I have stich markers. I'm thinking of buying the owl earings from the company. I like odd earings, I have actually quite a collection of weird ones. I don't have radish earings like Luna Lovegood, but that would be just my cup of tea.

Also linking to My Creative Space

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Hair brush cleaning guide from a pro

My grandmother was a hair dresser, now she has been a pensioner for a long time but still she is the one who cuts my hair. I've never been to any other hair dresser in my life. Ever since I remember every time we visit our grandparents my grandmom has had a clean hair brush for us to use after the sauna and we visit there often, especially we did when we were kids. She seems to still have pride in her old profession which I highly appreciate.

My grandmother always used natural brushes and so do everyone else in my family. I have never learned to like the plastic or metal brushes, they hurt my scalp and tangle on the hair. I don't clean my hair brushes very often, at least not as often as my grandmom, but when I do clean them I clean them just as my grandmom does.

All hair is removed from the brushes using a thick comb. Then the brushes are washed, to do that I run luke warm water in a sink and add to the water some shampoo, soap or other mild cleaning product. I let the brushes sit in the soapy water for a minute, not longer because the wood might expand from too much soaking. Then, since I have two hair brushes, I brush them against each other to open the space between the bristles and get the gunk out. If you only have one hair brush, use a comb or hand to do that. Then I just rinse the hair brushes clean and let then air dry.

Also my grandmother always says that hundred strokes (or is it sweeps?) a day with a hair brush keeps hair looking healthy and clean. Oh and that everyone should eat chaulk, that according to her keeps hair looking good. I obviously don't do the hundred strokes a day, I only brush my hair before and after I wash it. I brush before with the red hair brush so my hair won't clog the drain and after with the wood toned one so the hair does not end up all shaggy when it's dry. And I don't eat chaulk either. But don't tell my grandmom.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Cruising to Saint Petersburg

From Helsinki can be taken a cruise to quite many cities. On the weekend me and my co workers got on a cruise which took us to the gray wet St. Petersburg. I did not carry the DSLR camera around with me on the cruise so I have pretty much no pictures of the ship, but to the city center I took the camera with me. Some of my co workers had never been to St. Petersburg, so we did some basic sightseeing that we could do in the few hours we had.

The pictures on top are from The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. I've never been too interested in churches but this one is worth the visit. It's unbelivably colorful both form the outside and from the inside. I love all the domes and the inside is covered with mosaics. The church is truly a work of art.

Walk past the Winter Palace is of course a must. We did not go inside the Hermitage museum since it's huge and it would take the whole day to see the exhibitions.

I am a bit sad the weather was like it was, since most cities in gray and rainy day just won't look as beautiful as they would if the weather would be sunny. When I was the first time in St. Petersburg over ten years ago, it was summer and it was warm and the parks were a amazing, green and lush. On the other hand it's sort of cool to get the wibe of the old Soviet Union, I can easily imagine a KGB agent walking on the dark streets. Like in a 80's James Bond movie where all the bad guys where Russians.

We were in St. Petersburg now only for few hours but with the cruise you can stay there for up to 72 hours without a Visa. It's a major saving to go to there Visa-free. Next time I go, I want to be there longer.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Undersized Urbanite

It's here again! The dollhouse contest! This time over at Little Victorian. Wohoo! The challenge last year was by Emily Henderson and she started it here (and never finished... but let's not mind about that). I enjoyed the last year's challenge a lot and made a Teahouse, which I still love.

This year too we can freely deside what we will make. House, shop, circus tent, what ever... and I will make... a zen garden in miniature. I have written about it before too. When the last challenge was extended I tought about making the garden allready then. But never got to it. So after thinking about making the zen garden for almost a year, I think I'm ready. Besides I like my Teahouse so much that I want to extend that idea and not do something totally different which will take attention off the Teahouse. So eventhough a garden is clearly not a dollhouse, it qualifies. It's miniature anyhow. 

The contest ends at May 8th 2013, so I should have plenty of time to get familiar how to make trees and bushes in miniature. Fun! Let's get started!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Bespoke a knit pattern

You can do it. Designing your own knit pattern that is. It's not difficult at all. Okey maybe it's not beginner level knitting, but not far.

You only need cross ruled paper (not necessarily sponsored), test knits, some common sence and a grafical calculator.

Kidding! regular calculator will do. Draw the whole pattern on a cross ruled paper. If it's a small pattern you can assume that the hight and the width of the stitch are equal, but if you want a bigger pattern you should check from your test knit what is the ratio between the hight and the width of the stitch. Therefore you will have to draw your pattern to appear quite long on the paper. In the knit it will look normal. You could also make a grid with excel that has the correct ratio and design the pattern on it.

Divide the total amount of the stitches on your knit with the amount on the pattern, you should end up with an even number, but most likely you wont. Then find out what is the closest amount of stitches that would give an even number. Adding a few stiches or removing some wont affect much on the size of your finished knit. Unless it's like really tiny, like a baby mitten.

By the way, yesterday I saw on the pharmacy a woman that knit, she was about my age. That was so cool, but not that rare. But few years back I saw in a bus a girl that was making a cross stitch, that was even cooler.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Two or maybe three tips for getting sleep

I usually sleep quite well. But there are times when I wake up in the middle of the night and just cannot get back to sleep anymore. At those times I use two tricks.

Write down what is on my mind

If I stay in bed worrying about something and cannot get to sleep because I feel stressed or if I feel I must remember to do something the next day I write that thing down. I have a tiny notepad and a pen always on my nightstand and when I notice my brain keeps thinking the same worrying things all over again I write those down. I don't need to put on the light or anything when I write, I know my hadwriting will look horrible but there has never been a situation when I have not been able to read it. And that is not even the point. I can remember without the notepad what I was thinking about, but writing it down helps me brake the loop my brain is doing and helps me let go of the thought and get to sleep.

Just noticed from the photo that I'm using the ugliest pen and notepad, got to do something to pretty those up.


Change the place I sleep

This is something I learned from my sister, apparently she has been using this trick quite succesfully for years and years. So if I cannot get to sleep but am not stressed or incase I've already done the first trick but it has not helped I take my pillow and blanket and move. Really. I go to the guest bed or on the sofa and sleep there. It's usually that I get to sleep quite fast after I've moved. Sometimes I don't bother moving very far but just turn my head to the foot of the bed. I do not know what it is about the change in the place but it just works.

I could also mention a third trick, which might only aply to me since I'm a lousy eater (especially if I'm home alone). But if you can't get to sleep because you are hungry, EAT something! This is something I notice doing regularly. I go to bed feeling a bit hungry then can't get to sleep and mull over for a long time if I should go and eat something then I give up and walk to the kitchen and I eat a ryecrisp, no butter or cheese or anything, just the ryecrisp. Then I walk back to bed and fall a sleep immediately. I have no idea why I keep pushing off the eating, it's dumb. What tricks do you have for getting sleep?

Friday, 9 November 2012

Wood carrying basket by A

Last year we were invited to a wedding, the couple requested a wood carrying basket for a present. Instead of buying one A decided to make one for them.

So he got thin plywood and some round lath. The instructions on how to make one came from a book Strömsö.

Following the instructions A wet the middle part of the plywood and then started bending. He did have bit of problems with the plywood braking slightly from place where happened to be a knot. We later thought that the bending would have gone nicer if he would have used so called aircraft plywood, where the quality is better.

The basket was left to dry for a few days.

The plywood discoloured from the areas where it had been wet most and since there was some braking in the plywood that A had to fix so he decided to paint the basket white.

And why am I only showing this to you now? Well... we forgot to take a photo of the finished wood carrying basket. Then last weekend before the Halloween party we visited the couple's home and finally took the photo of the basket. And we were so happy to see it's in use and in front of their amazing fireplace.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Bottling wine

The actual bottling of wine does not really differ in anyway than bottling cider, but the preparations are a bit different. In my opinion making cider is whole lot easier. And cider is a lot better too. If I was the one to decide I would have made only cider from the whole batch of apples. But A likes wine. So we made that too.

On wine it is not important to keep an eye on the gravity level of the juice while it's fermenting. The wine is left to ferment until there is no sugar in the juice, which can be noticed from the airlock. No bubbles will come through the airlock anymore. At this stage the wine is siphoned to another bucket for the first time to get most of the dregs out. Then what is left from the yeast in the juice is killed. That can be done with Potassium Metabisulphite or Potassium sulfate which is mixed in with the juice. After this the juice needs to be shaken agressively to get all the carbon dioxide out from the juice. The shaking is hard work. It's really difficult to get a hold of the bucket that weights almost 30 kg and shake it. I cannot do it for more than two seconds at a time. And that is why A does it. Sorry to have no picture of the shaking, that would be a fun picture.

After vigorous shaking a clarifier is mixed into the juice. Now the bucket should be placed somewhere high to stand so it's easy to siphon after 24 hours. Then it's siphoned to a bucket.. again. Can you already see why I like making cider a whole lot more? 

Apple wine is usually quite sweet, but we wanted to have some of the wine quite dry and also made two other batches sweeter. You could just add sugar to taste or you can measure with the gravity meter to gain the right sweetness. 

Did I say we bottled the wine... I should have said that we bagged the wine. We were unable to collect that many wine bottles and we were also lazy so we bought wine bags. You know those things that are inside the cardboard wine tetras.

We still haven't found any place good enough to store the wine, but unlike cider apple wine does not really require much maturing. So let's get drinking!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Halloween costumes

We were invited to a Halloween costume party. It was on Saturday, so not actually on the Halloween. We did not have any costumes ready so I made them for us. A wanted to be a reaper and I wanted to be a spider. We had an old black duvet cover home that we do not use so I made a cape for A and legs for me. I made them really quick with the serger. The legs are tubes that I filled with wadding. I made loops for the wrist and the elbow where the legs hung from. That way the legs moved when my arms moved. I think those were quite clever. Here is a bad picture to illustrate the movement of the legs.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Decluttering containers

I was going to tell you how to bottle wine, but since I'm going to see a musical today on Thursday (when I'm writing this) I don't have the time to write that post. I want to make sure I don't forget any essential step from the bottling.

So instead I will show you the decluttering of containers I did few days back. I have a bad habit of keeping every single container and box. And the result of it was looking like this.

I'm able to throw away containers and boxes but I need to see them all before I can decide on which to keep and which to throw away. So I took all of the containers down on the floor and started categorizing. Cardboard boxes there, round containers there, really small one here and so on. I threw out lot of tiny containers and especially round ones. I prefer square ones, the round ones tend to waste more space than the square ones do.

Then I put everything back. I should have maybe decluttered more since there is really no room for anything new and things can be a bit difficult to put back. It's bit of a tight fit. But nonetheless it's progress and the laundry basket fits into it's right place on top of the cabinet.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...