Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In the nick of time

Just before May is over... Here is my interpretation of a smock, for tie-one-on's May theme.



And a bad mirror self portrait.

I was inspired by this beautiful smock by Turkey Feathers.

I'm really enjoying Tie one on. It's a great way for me to experiment and practice making my own patterns. For this, I used a cotton fabric I've had for years. I've previously used it on a quilt and also Olga, the wee bunny I made a while ago. I still have lots of it left.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tuning a bag

The problem: I need a carry-on bag for airplanes.

As some of you already know, DH and I are going to China this summer. A while ago I was going through the things we need to take with us in my mind and realized I do not own a bag which would function as a carry-on bag on the plane. I don't use backpacks and currently only own small handbags. Ideally, the bag would also function as a bag in which to tote stuff around while sightseeing if needed. So, quite obviously I needed a new bag (right?). The problem is I have a very, very expensive taste when it comes to bags. And I don't have much money to spend on one at the moment.

The solution:

I toyed around with the idea of making one myself, but was concerned I wouldn't be able to make one that would be sturdy enough. Then I saw this at a local department store. It's just the right size, it's sturdy and has a good zipper closing and it's cheap. But in my eyes it is just not beautiful or cute or elegant or... you get my point. However, after some humming and hawing, I purchased it as I had a plan in mind.

A raid through my stash at home:

And a quick trip to a store to buy some lace trim.

The result:

An iron-on ballerina patch, some embroidery (the white strip goes all around the bag) and some lace. I think it's cute and I'm actually quite pround of it. I'm quite certain that after the trip the white bits won't be so white, the embroidery (especially the French knots) will be unraveling and the ballerina is peeling off, but I do not mind. At least, I'll have a nice bag on the trip.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Celebrating the winners

As Nicki already mentioned, Finland won the European Song Contest this year (we've never won or even done relatively well before). On Friday the band, Lordi, gave a short free (six songs) concert along with four other Finnish bands to celebrate. Neither DH or I are fans of the band nor really interested in the contest (we didn't even watch this year, given the complete lack of success in previous years), but we went along to enjoy the free entertainment and to see what national mass hysteria looked like ;) And I'm glad we did. I've never been anywhere with that many people around. It's reported there were 90 000 people.

Today, I received the stitching part of my Spring package from Melanie. She had gotten me a year's subscription to an online stitching magazine called The Gift of Stitching. I've only gotten the one issue so far, but it looks great! I really liked the vintage seasonal ladies and there seems to be a lot of entertaining articles along with the patterns. I haven't read it properly yet, as I'm waiting for DH to print it out for me (we don't have a printer at home). I want to enjoy it curled up on our sofa :) Thank you once again, Melanie! A truly wonderful gift.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The baking of a cake

In honor of a day off (Ascension Day), I decided to bake a cake. I chose Martha's Génoise Layer Cake with Rum Syrup and Whipped Cream Frosting (from the May issue). I halved the recipe, making only two layers. Oh, and I only did 1/4th of the Pastry Cream and Rum Syrup recipes and they were just the right amount.

I've never made a cake this way before. Mixing the egg yolks and egg whites separately and then combining but I'm sure I will try it again. The batter was truly beautiful during its many stages and the result was a moist and soft cake.

During the baking process, I noticed one major fault in my kitchen equipments. I don't have a round cake pan! Sure, I have noticed this before, but I never seem to remember it when I'm out and about. Only when I'm ready to pour my batter in it. Definitely something I need to fix. This time I used a star-shaped pan.

As you can see, the end result is far from Martha's polished cake. I totally suck at spreading frosting, so I went the easy way and didn't even really try. I feel it's best to practice when I have the round cake pan :)

Nevertheless, the taste is wondeful and I highly recommend this recipe.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Random finishes

I've had a lot going on lately and haven't really had time to do any crafting. Last weekend, I had a little time, so I made a top from the same fabric as the resent skirt I showed. I really liked this pattern (from the latest Moda), but it wasn't the best for this fabric. The top is very form fitting but the fabric isn't very stretchy, so it's a bit of a hassle to get it off. I used what I had left over from the skirt and that wasn't a lot so I had to do the back in two pieces. It isn't exactly haute couture but I still really like it. I've never used a pattern twice, but now I plan to do so. I have some stretchy jersey fabric in my stash that would be great for it.

I also finished the crochet belt I've been working on for a while. It turned out pretty well. I got the wooden buckle for free from a thrift store when I purchased a bunch of other stuff. The owner said he didn't remember when he would have last sold a buckle and was unable to come up with a price so he just gave it to me :)

Nicki - Thank you :) We had a saying here in Finland that hell will freeze over before we win the contest. I think from that you can guess how big a deal it is over here ;)

Sunday, May 21, 2006


On Saturday I went to Porvoo with the knitting club belong to. Porvoo is a lovely old town about half an hour's drive from here. During our free time I went walking in the old part of the town, shopped at the lovely little boutiques and had lunch at a wonderful little cafe.

The reason we visited Porvoo, besides it being a wonderful town, was a company that imports yarn from around Europe. We were told of future plans that they have and got to fondle all the new yarns that are going to come out next autumn and we also got a change to shop at their store (with a small discount) :) This is what I got:

Cotton yarn for a shawl.

Specialty yarn that I'm going to turn into a scarf for a competition I saw.

And lovely, lovely merino and silk blend in lace weight. For a shawl (or two).

While wondering around town, I passed a thrift store and saw this darling horse in the window. It was love at first sight and so he came home with me :)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Finally a post :)

The new camera is wonderful (Canon Ixus 55, for those interested), but it's functions are still pretty much a mystery to me. Here's a picture of a skirt I did last weekend:

I love it although it turned out to be a bit too big for me (the waist). From now on I will not trust the size charts in the magazines but rather measure the patterns themselves to choose a right size for me.

I visited Novita's (a Finnish yarn company) factory outlet and bought these cotton yarns:

They will be used on a striped sweater. I have this one in mind:

Ramona by Rowan.

I've recently discovered that the new Martha Stewart magazine, Blueprint, is out. Now, if only there was a way for me to get one. The free trial issue that they advertise can only be ordered to USA and Canada. In fact, even the subscriptions you pay for are only available to those countries. If anyone has read it, I would like to know if it was as good as it sounds! I love Martha Stewart Living and order it through a Finnish dealer, so if this new magazine gets good reviews I will have to ask if I can get it through them aswell.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An update

I am going to do a real post very soon. We just got a new camera and I don't yet know how to use it properly..

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Craft blahs

I'm having the crafting blahs. And it's not because there's nothing I want to do or that nothing inspires me. There are several reasons. I cut my left hand index finger a week ago while slicing bread (that's the finger that holds my yarn while I knit) and it's still not fully healed. My allergies are bad, really bad, and I'm just too tired most of the time to do any big projects (big meaning I need a lot of time to take everything out and to make progress) like sewing the skirts and dresses and quilt I have fabric for. Stitching is about the only option I'm left with, but I'm overwhelmed by the amount of WIPs I have and even more than that, I'm disappointed in myself for not managing to keep up with Sampler Mystery II. And I still have one model to stitch (I'm about half way) and as much as I like both of them, I'm just starting to really crave stitching something that has no obligation or deadline. Just today I was looking at the finished items we have in our home and realised I have three seasonal series where I have stitched one part of and would really like to get to the others soon. I also really want to finish Titania as I plan to have it framed and hung togehter with Adia (both by Mirabilia) which has been finished for years now... Oh well.

Here are my two new projects, both started some time ago. The white is the short Rowan cotton cardi I was asking help with some time ago. I finally started and have the front pieces finished already. This is the back. I'll tell you about the changes I've made when I'm done, but it looks to be going okay.

The pink one is going to be a simple crochet belt.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Craft magazines!

I am addicted to magazines and as you have probably noticed, one of my new favourites is Marie Claire idées. Well, a few weeks ago I found an American online shop that sells Australian craft magazines. I ordered some and got them this Friday.

I got these:

Quilter's Companion is a magazine that I discovered when I was in Australia and it is my favourite quilting magazine so I was thrilled to find them :) This one I got now is the issue that was published right after I left the country and it has the last part of the instructions for a gorgeous quilt. Now I can make it one day :) The other two are new to me. After a quick browse I can say I like them too, especially Homespun.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Some finishes

I've got my camera back, yay :) Here are some things I finished last week:

These were (again) inspired by Marie Claire Idees. I found the glasses at a thrift shop and used a glass paint pen to do the flowers. Really, the pen is a very clever invention :) So easy to use! Highly recommended. (You set the paint by putting the objects in the oven for a while.)

This is my beadless Odessa hat, from the February issue of
MagKnits. Fun and easy to do. I used the same Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk yarn as for my fingerless mitts (which I've used a lot!).