Tuesday, October 31, 2006

This is Halloween, this is Halloween

Although Halloween isn't a Finnish holiday (and my DH doesn't care for it at all), there's something very alluring, to me, about the black and orange color combination, the jack o'lanterns and witches at this time of the year. So I decorate just for my own pleasure. We did invite a couple we know for dinner, but they had to cancel. So there's no dressing up or wierd food this year.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Random things

Look look look! We have a new kitchen table and chairs! These aren't new (we got a great deal on a net auction site) so it has some dents and the paint has chipped of from a few places, but we don't mind (and anyway, we are thinking about touching up the paint as we happen to have some white paint). I like this sooo much more than the one that was originally in the house (the black-ish one). The kitchen feels so much brighter now! And the table is extendable. Great for when we have guests over :)

I'm drying some apple rings. These are my healthy winter treat. Perfect with my afternoon cup of tea (and a piece of dark chocolate).

I finished part four of this sampler mystery today (not that big of a mystery anymore, it finished in June, but I don't think it has a proper name yet). The last two parts are quite large (as you can guess from the large empty space), so it'll still be a while until I'm done. I'm going to do another Christmas ornament (or two) now.

And here's the finished Spooky Time by Lavender Wings. I think I'll sew it up into an ornament tomorrow.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I finished something!

I finished the stitching on this last Halloween, but only now got around to making it into a box. This was all a one big kit gifted to me by my (then) seasonal exhange pair. The chart is by Just Nan.

I've never done anything like this before with my stitching, but think it is a great idea and hopefully I get to do something like this again.. Perhaps I'll do one of Chatelaine's boxes :)

I've also finished the stitching on the Spooky Time freebie and was sure I had taken a photo, but I can't find it anywhere.. I'll take a photo tomorrow when it's light again.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Know what this is?

I didn't. Until yesterday.

I had my knitclub meeting yesterday and the teacher taught as something I had never tried before. Making hairpin lace (and that thing above is a modern version of a hairpin lace loom). It was so exiting to learn something completely new. And very strange, too. We all felt like little children with our looms and crochet hooks, trying to follow the teacher's instructions. Once you got the hang of it, it was quite easy. And fun, which is why I bought the loom.

The idea is very simple. You make long strings of loops, really, with a crochet chain running in the middle. And then you attach the strings together. Usually this technique is used to make scarves and shawls. I tried to look for a site that would have good pictures of finished hairpin lace things, but couldn't find any. But you can really do beautiful things with it, even if my try-out below isn't looking that attractive.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Saturday

This is what it was like outside. I stayed in, comfortably, and spent the day...

...finishing up this Halloween banner (shown on our ugly kitchen table, hopefully replaced soon).

...making meringues.

...making (and eating) warm rolls that have plenty of sunflower seeds in the dough.

...stitching and watching movies.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Holidays are coming

And I'm getting ready :) I finished stitching this year's first ornament yesterday (by Blue Ribbon Designs). I left the alphabet from the bottom out. And I used DMC instead of the charted Gentle Art Sampler Threads and Weeks Dye Works.

But I'm also preparing for another holiday. The one that is at the end of this month. I made this trio of ghosts after being inspired by a photo I saw in Marie Claire Idées.

And I started another small cross stitch piece. A Lavender Wings freebie I got with the ornament magazine:

Now I'm just waiting for DH to come home so we have our dinner and then eat this licorice creme brulee I tried. It's from the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. Granted, it doesn't look as sophisticated as Martha's, but I hope it tastes good nevertheless.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wonderful book

Yesterday I finished reading this wonderful book, Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts, and thought I should mention it here too. I found it to be very inspiring! Tasha Tudor leads a wonderful, old-fashioned life in a wonderful environment and has amazing skills in so many crafts. I was inspired to try many new things and there's still so many I can only ever dream of doing. (Can you tell I liked the book?)

You can find out more about her in the website her family has set up.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Shall we go for a picnic?

Because I finished sewing the quilt top today! This is a very simple design and didn't actually take that long to sew. Cutting up the squares and planning the composition took up longer. I used six-inch squares, so it is quite large. The material is mostly old curtains and bed linens and such I bought from a thrift store.

I'll wait for spring to put it all together with the batting and lining. And then all I need is a nice weather and a pretty basket :)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Update photos

Thank you for the nice comments on my last post! I think what I'm doing with this home is a result of years and years of reading and collecting decorating magazines and then browsing through them again and again. Some ideas have stuck to my mind or given me ideas to other things and just given me new ways to look at decorating. And I really love seeing pics of other people's homes in their blogs, for example. That's another inspiration for me. And, yes, I'm really enjoying it all and enjoying having this place to call my home :)

I've had a lovely and relaxing weekend so far. We had guests (and their new puppy!) over on Friday and yesterday we went out for dinner with another couple. I've had time to work on my WIPs as well. Here are update photos of the knitted vest and the stitched ornament:

Friday, October 13, 2006

Feeling crafty

...and the hallway vol. 2.

Yesterday I was feeling very energetic and crafty. While doing errands, I also picked up the things needed for this wreath. I've been meaning to do one for ages. (Tervetuloa means welcome in Finnish.) It hangs in our front door.

I also went ahead and did another project that's been brewing on my mind for a while. We have these two beautiful keys (one from the hallway's chest of drawers and one from our desk in our study) and we never use them, so I've been looking for a way to display them somehow. I've had the frame for year now and when it caught my eye yesterday, I knew what I would do. Today I hung it upin the hallway.

We've also made other progress in decorating the hallway. I bought this bouquet of dried lavender yesterday and today I found the pitcher from a sale bin. It smells wonderful, not too strong, just a lovely waft whenever I walk past.

This is something that DH did. Well, he drilled the holes for it :) I bought the bracket from Indiska and I got the ball as a gift from my mom (it's from Pentik).

Still lot to do though...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Rotation plans

Well, sort of. Trying to get my stitching in order, I realized I shouldn't do a rotation based on hours or days or so, but to simply be stitching for as long as I enjoy a project at any given time. Having spent an enormous amount of time thinking about decorating, and more recently that our hallway could do with another stitched piece, I came upon the idea of doing my rotation according to rooms. Now, as I am also wanting to decrease the amount of WIPs I have, I started by dividing my WIPs by rooms they will be in when done. Of the 13 large WIPs (yikes!) that I have, 6 are for the bedroom, 4 for the living room, 2 for the study and 1 for the kitchen. (Some of these are seasonal pieces meant to be rotated and some are going to end up as pillows and such.)

None for the hallway! So, then I went through my charts and divided the ones I most want to stitch at the moment (so not all of my charts) again by the room I intend to put them in. Out of the hallway ones I chose Mirabilia's My Lady's Garden as the one to do next.

I showed it to DH and he approved of the design, but not of me starting anything new. He said, and I quote, "we need to have you finish something first". Fair enough. But once I have finished something, say for the study (I have an existing WIP for this room), I'll be starting this. And then work on it for as long as I feel like and then move onto a piece for the kitchen and then the living room and so on. And once I finish something for a room, I can start a new one (when that room comes up again in my "rotation") IF I don't have anything already started for it.

This doesn't include ornaments and other small pieces which I can start when the mood strikes me :)

On other decorating news, we did get the thing up on the wall and already the room looks so much better!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

First sign of Christmas

It came, it came!
Back in August, I preordered this years Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. And today it came! And now I'm feeling all Christmassy. I also got the Strawberry Garden chart that I was pining after in April.

One of my October goals was to stitch an ornament so I chose one from the new mag (I just love starting projects from magazines that have just arrived!) and already picked out the floss and the fabric. I don't have the ones used in the original, but I just picked DMC colors that I think look good and are suitable. The ornament I'm doing is A Christmas Wish by Blue Ribbon Designs.

P.S. Today seems to be a day for blurry pictures, sorry about that. And I have no idea where my banner has gone! Need to fix that.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dare I post this

I've been debating with myself whether I should post this picture or not. As it's not pretty.
This, I'm sorry to say, is our hallway. One corner of it. And, as you see, it is a mess. An ugly mess. I had been planning to have a white hallway, but we couldn't find a suitable rack to hang our coats and such from. Seriously, we've looked from countless places with no luck. And generally, I don't mind waiting and searching for just the right product. It's just that everytime I walk in the door (or walk through the hallway) this mess kind of subconsiously affects my mood.
On Saturday, I was really getting frustrated and we set out again on our search. And we saw a beautiful one, but it wasn't white. After thinking about it over the weekend, we decided to change our plans and create a warmer toned hallway. So today we drive over and buy it along with some other accessories and come back home eager to install it all only to find we do not have the right kind of screws! Well, what's one more day. Hopefully tomorrow I can show a more pleasant picture.

Friday, October 06, 2006

On my way

Yesterday I listed my goals for this month, and today I can already show you some progress! I bought yarn for the vest and already started knitting it. I know, I know... I wasn't supposed to buy new yarn in a loooong while. I so suck at sticking to my goals. But, I realized that a vest is something I really, really, wanted to make for this autumn/winter and that I had no yarn for it (all the yarn I have is, believe it or not, earmarked to a specific project), so I just had to go shopping.

Above you see the yarns I'm using and this is the pattern I'm making. It's from last year's winter Vogue Knitting.

I also got a skein of Novita's self-striping yarn to make a pair of socks. Only when I got home with it, did I realize how perfectly it matched the new armchair we just got! And when I showed it to DH, he also pointed out that the dress I am wearing today (vintage Marimekko) is also similarly colored (and striped!). I guess I'm really feeling autumn-y at the moment.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

October Goals

There are so many projects I'm doing and want to be doing, I feel myself getting very confused, and especially lately, as a result of it, feel like I never accomplish anything. I've decided to try to give myself monthly goals, to better keep to the right course.

For October I want to do the following:
Knit a vest
Knit a hat
Stitch Sampler Mystery II part 4 (almost there already)
Stitch something relatively small with an autumn/Halloween theme
Stitch at least one Christmas ornament
Sew the top of the picnic quilt (I'll leave the quilting for spring)
Sew a skirt
Crochet at least a bit on the tablecloth that's been a WIP for ages

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Little things

I've been suffering from a flu lately. I'm one of those persons who, with just a mild temperature and a runny nose, feel really really bad. My feet ache, my head feels like it weighs a ton, my eyes water and my brain turns to mush. And I'm very tired. We had our house warming party on Saturday and, while it was a lot of fun, didn't much help me in getting better. I think I'm on the mend now and have had enough energy to stitch a bit (still working on Sampler Mystery II) and to knit while watching tv. I decided to work on another long-time WIP, the Sunrise Circle Jacket and it's going quite smoothly. It's displayed below, quite cleverly, on our new living room carpet, which is so very wonderful. I keep walking on it just for the pleasure of walking on it!