Wednesday, 31 July 2013

One room per summer?

Last summer I had a project to renew the office, now I started to work on painting the bedroom. One has to have projects, doesn't one?

Monday, 29 July 2013

Front yard dry landscape garden

Last fall our housing cooperative had a pipe renovation going on on our front yard. All the pipe work was finished in the fall, but snow came really early last winter and the landscaping work got delayed. We had huge canyons on our front yard, but that was fine, on winter the areas are normally covered with huge piles of plowed snow anyway.

Before the pipe renovation we had three rhododendron bushes on the front yard and huge amount of narcissus bulbs there. I don't think I have a single picture from the front yard before the renovation because I wasn't planning to do much any changes in there. But when the landscaping got delayed I started to think that the things we had there were not really pretty or practical. Each winter the area is covered in huge pile of snow, some of it is plowed there and some drop from the roof. And each spring the rhododendron had suffered under the heavy load of snow. I had to cut broken branches from it yearly and the bushes just never really thrived in that place. Also the place is very hot and sunny during the morning and on the evening there is no sun at all. So when the landscaping started this year I had a new plan.

You might remember that I removed some soil from the front yard and moved it to the back yard to the raised beds. I did not need that soil in the front yard because I planned to make a zen garden inspired dry landscape garden there. The landscaping has been a long process since I first had to build the raised beds, create an area for them and move the soil. All my neighbours are quite finished with their front yards already, for me it's taken a bit longer. 

From the area I removed the soil from I spread a canvas that prevents plants growing through it (still don't know the name of that canvas). I ordered "some" gravel, about 1000 kg (2200 lbs) of it. I knew when I ordered it that that amount will be bit too much but it was way cheaper to order a giant bag of the gravel than ordering many small amounts.

The gravel came on friday and A and I moved most of it to the front yard on sunday. It has been really hot for couple of days and moving hundreds of kilos of gravel was a swetty job. But a job so worth it!

The gravel area of our dry landscape garden is beautiful! I love it! I'm not too sure what our neighbours think of it. Our front yard is very different to any of our neightbours now. At least our next door neighbour has been excited about my plans. When I told her my plans and that I would like to have a big rock on top of the gravel, she has been helping me find big rocks. I was first planning to order one huge rock, but because my neighbour found many bit smaller rocks that were quite a good substitute for the huge rock I've desided to use only these "small" rocks instead. She has been a really good assistance and consult for me. Now we have planned together what plants we will put there in the soil area that is still empty. She said that she has some overgrown Goat's beard plant at her cabin and I happen to like that plant a lot, so she will bring some from there and then I will buy some low growing evergreens and plant those on the curvy edge.

The planting will get a post of their own when that is done. But oh my how I love my dry landscape garden!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Cloth diaper sewing

Ha, I thought I had lots of posts prepared on the summer vacation and thought that those would last for ever. Well I run out of them allready. Actually not really... I have lots of posts written, just haven't done the things I've written about. That is a bit funny.

I still wanted to post something today, I know I have allowed myself to skip a day two, but I just don't want to right now. So I will show you some cloth diapers I made ages ago. I wasn't going to show these at all, since I don't think these are that interesting.

I told in the post about the knitted diaper covers that I've been reading a lot about cloth diapers. I had loaned a book Vaippailmiö from the library and in that book were some cloth diaper patterns. There were also patterns for the inserts and flat diapers.

I was super excited to make my own cloth diapers, so I collected a pile of fabrics and old towels from the rag pile and started sewing. At least the inserts and the flat diapers were easy to make. I also made two fitted diapers for a new born, but while I was making those I realized that it's not that wise to make too many of those in advance since that particular pattern might not be the best for our child.

But the flat diapers and inserts I could even make more of. If those are not used as I intended we can always use those as spill rags. I might make more of these flat diapers and inserts later, at least I have plenty of material.

I did also buy a good set of used cloth diapers, those were not very expensive and there were many different brands and styles so we can try those out and see if any of those will fit our kid nicely.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Terrace cradle

It is common in Finland to have children take their naps outdoors. It is considered healthy even in below zero temperatures. Lots of people use the prams for this purpose, some even have two sets of prams because of this. They have usually bought a very cheap prams and use those on their balcony or terrace. We could have done the same, but I had a bit different idea.

I wanted to make a cradle from a basket and hung that on the roof beams in our conservatory. From a flea market I found an oldish shingle laundry basket, it was in ok shape, one handle was missing and the corners were bit broken but it still felt sturdy. I got some straps, I wanted to buy white straps but for some reason I was unable to find any, so I bought black ones.

I removed the odd handle from the basket and made a cover for the inside of the basket. I used black sheet fabric just because the straps I had bought were black too. We had visited Ikea earlier where we had bought a baby mattress. I removed the mattress from the cover and cut it to the size of the basket. I also resew the cover of the mattress to the new size. Next I attached the straps. I placed two straps to go under the basket. Then I placed two straps going around the basket, one on the bottom and one on top. The places where the straps overlap I sewed on the wrong side of the horizontal straps pieces of the same strap, so it makes a groove for the vertical strap to go through. This way the straps stay on place way better.

I did a bit of load testing with weights, I placed in the cradle some weights and lifted the whole thing up from the straps. It felt really rigid, I had also thought of adding a plywood piece between the basket and the straps, but this particular basket does not seem to need any extra stiffening pieces.

I had two concerns. One was that if a weight or a force as illustrated on the picture would happen to come to the side of the basket would the straps slide on the roof beam and cause the basket to flip. The other was that also the basket could slide relative to the straps, the straps might stay on place but still the force may cause the basket to flip. Also both situations could happen simultaneously.

To avoid those scenarios I needed to fix both the straps going over the roof beam to each other and the straps to the basket. But I did not want to use any permanent fixing.

For the fixing on the top I bought two buckles, I did want to get metallic ones, but I was unable to find any in the right size and settled for plastic ones. Those were black anyway so they blend in with the black straps.

For the fixing point on the basket side, I actully did not do as in the drawing above but made a few stiches on the point where the horizontal and vertical straps cross each other.

Love the cradle basket, I would like to crawl into it myself. It really pleases my eye, the old basket and the industrial straps go really well together I think. Hope the kid likes rocking.

This basket cradle neither is my own idea, I have seen this type of basket cradle in some interior design magazine years ago. I have no idea which magazine it was and how long ago was it that I saw it. I don't have the image saved anywhere, but some ideas just stick to my head even though I have no use for them at the time.

Just realized I could link this to the Op-Shop Show-Off because the basket was from thrift store.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Coffee cups - gone

The decluttering I desided start and wrote about in the yapping about stuff - post is going slow, S-L-O-W.

Without the post from Christina over at Little Victorian and specially her post about simplifying their kitchen, I would not have decluttered even as little as I have now. Christina, you are an inspiration for me!

I was able to get rid off eight coffee cups with saucers and one creamer. I love the empty space on the second shelf. (I was trying to get rid off the two black coffee cups too, but I was not given permission to do that.)

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Mostly white duvet cover for the kid

Just when I said that I want to have lots of colours in our kid's sheets, well I need to take those words back. Because I made a white duvet cover for the kid. I just happened to have this sweet ribbon and wanted to use it somewhere. I had bought the ribbon from a thrift store years ago.

The middle part of the duvet cover is an old waffle towel I got from A's mom, the edges and the back are from the old sheets we inherited.

Also linking to Op-Shop Show-Off, because of the ribbon.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Sofaside wall lamp

Yay! I got rid of a floor lamp that had been on the side of our living room sofa and replaced it with a wall lamp.

I love things that are attached to the walls (or ceiling). I do not mind drilling gazillion holes to our walls especially when I can get rid of things that need to be kept on the floor. Also the floor lamp we had was not really of my taste and I bought this Ikea PS lamp to replace it. 

I fell for that lamp already sometime last year when I saw it the first time, but then I did not know where I could use that lamp. At some point this year I had started to think that the wall lamp could be good in the spot we had the floor lamp. I did not run out to buy the lamp but waited till I had something else to get from Ikea. Now after many months we finally had to give in and did need to get some baby gear from there so I at the same time bought the lamp.

I'm really really happy about the wall lamp, it has good cool light and it's modern. Looking at it from a distance makes it appear as it is attached quite high and it is, I just don't want to hit my head to it when I sit on the sofa or that any of our guests would hit their head to it.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Stimulating rag

I've understood babies could use some stimulating toys, something that they are able to touch (and chew) and the toy gives different feedback either in the form of feel or sound. I had some scraps of fabric lying about and decided to make a really quick stimulating rag from the scraps. I dug out my other fabric scraps and ribbons and got going. The fabrics on the rag have different textures and then the added ribbons also feel different to the hand. Also there are various colours, which the kid can also find intriguing.

We'll see how interested the kid will be of the stimulating rag, but anyway it was fun and very easy to make. 

This rag thing is totally NOT my own idea, I've seen similar in this book Sikksakk and also I have seen the ribbons used in lots of sewing projects for example in this blog Hupsistarallaa.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Raised beds for vegetables

I have long wanted a place in our back yard where to grow vegetables. For a long time I thought I do not have room for any vegetables, but actually once I started to think how we use our back yard and how things are placed in it I figured we do have room. With the vegetable beds I was able to even remove an area from our back yard where the grass had been really annoying to cut. 

It was an area with one apple tree and two black currant bushes which of other never really made any berries and the berries it made never tasted very sweet. I think that bush had grown from a seed and did not have the same good genes as the bush next to it. Also those bushes and the apple tree together with the mock orange bush "fence" were all planted not in a row but to a zig zag shape and grass grew in between them and that made the mowing of the lawn tricky and annoying.

I had removed the bad tasting black currant bush earlier (there was a bit bare spot on the first picture) and then also removed the grass from a fairly large area under the apple tree. Once I had done that I covered the area with a cloth that prevents any plants growing through it (I do not know the name of that cloth in English, and can't actully remember the name of it even in Finnish). I had some bricks that were left over from our front yard renovation and placed those on the edge of the area.

For the raised beds I went to the lumber yard and had them cut me some heat treated wood. I built two wooden boxes from the wood. I did a bit of a mistake with the measurements of the boxes because I measured the area of the boxes with out the bricks, I kind of forgot I had planned to place the bricks to the edges. So the gap between the boxes became way smaller than I had planned and now the gap is really not as functional as it should be, but I don't think that is a big issue. On the bottom of the boxes I stapled some wire net to prevent any rodents from getting in and then I again added another layer of that cloth to stop the soil from running out. I think the first layer of cloth I placed was a bit useless but I did not want to remove it afterwards.

I made the boxes deep, because those are more practical that way. But that meant that I needed huge amount of soil to fill the two boxes. Luckily because of the pipe renovation we had on the fall and on spring they had finished the work and left the front yard bare because that is what I wanted them to do. I have a great plan for the front yard and luckily it does not require soil. So I took some soil from the front yard and moved it to the back yard. I also emptied the compost bin to the bottom of the boxes.

I think the raised beds I made are really elegant and I love the whole area under the apple tree, I also think the woodchips I added under the tree and on the sides of the boxes make the whole place look really finished. I need to sow some grass seeds on the empty spots and then the area is perfect. 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Summer vacation 2013

On our summer vacation we did not take any long trip anywhere abroad. That is quite exceptional, I cannot remember the last vacation we had took without any bigger trip. I must admit I was a bit sceptical if the vacation would feel like a vacation at all because we did not have anything planned. But in the end we did so many different things that the two weeks of vacation feels way longer.

Our vacation started on Midsummer which we spent on a friends' cabin near Loviisa. From the cabin we made car trips to Loviisa town and to Strömfors iron mill area. So even the first few days of the vacation were active. After the Midsummer we returned home and booked a trip to Tallinn for the next day. I had never spent the night in Tallinn so we desided to stay there for one night. When we arrived to Tallinn we were greeted with heavy rain. We walked to a crafts shop Karnaluks and our shoes were soaked with water and for the whole trip those just did not dry. It was unbeliavably humid and hot on those two days, like in a rainforest. 

We arrived to the Karnaluks craft store only an hour before closing time. I had read about that shop from many many craft blogs and knew that it was well equiped. But oh my it was huge! And not only was it huge but it was packed, there were shelves so close to each other that it was sometimes difficult to move between them. I wondered between the shelves and was so amazed that I could not even deside what I should buy. So of course the next day I had to return to the store with a shopping list I made on the evening. I spent at the shop a good two hours while A visited the Lennusadam. We did not spend that much time in the old Hansa town of Tallinn this time but visited lots of other areas. I had never realized how much there is to see in Tallinn, we could have spent there way more time than we now did.

After our Tallinn trip we spent one day at home and I was able to continue some projects on the back yard. Then we spent one day sailing. It was our first sailing trip together with our new boat, we had a bit rough wind and had some trouble with a leaking toilet seat, so the first trip we took was not very pleasant. Next day again I spent at home finishing some projects and A was fixing and cleaning the toilet at the boat. Then we took a short sailing trip to a close by island where we stayed one night at Gula Villan restaurant's pier. The wind was just perfect and we had a really nice evening at the island.

Then we took another sailing trip with a friend couple to other friends' cabin. Our friends had never sailed before and we warned them that it might be cold and rough on the sea even though at land it might feel very warm. But we had tailwind and on one point it got so hot that we were even able to dress only in bikinis while sailing. One night was spent at friends' cabin and on the next day we sailed back. This time we did not have tail wind and it felt colder, but yet the wind was just perfect, not too rough, and we had a very nice sail back home. Sun was shining all the time and the freckless on my face multiplied. Next day after the sailing we visited a friend's parents' strawberry farm and self picked lots of strawberries. Then we went to my parents' cabin.

At the cabin we warmed up the sauna and waited for something remarcable; my sisters return from the Netherlands. Yay! She is now back in Finland! We ate huge amounts of strawberries and chit chatted, had a sauna and swam in the lake. So nice to have her back.

Then we went to A's parents' cabin for one night. Again we had sauna there and swam in another lake and did some BBQ and ate toasted marshmallows. 

In a nut shell we visited four cabins, had one small trip abroad, finished one big project on the backyard, sailed for five days and met lots of friends and family. Nice active vacation. It couldn't have gone any better.
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