Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm Officially Vintage

In etsy you can call item vintage if it is over 20 years old. So let me present you an original vintage fabric from 1990, my old curtains and a cushion cover remade to a baby quilt! I remember when I chose the fabric with my mother, I thought the black and white text fabric was so cool! And now it is all fashionable and trendy again, so I made a baby quilt of it to my nephew. I also had this idea that when he is older he probably thinks it is cool to have baby blanket made from my old vintage fabric, but then I realised that in years to come it is quite unlikely that he would think his aunts old cushion cover is cool :)

Isn't he cute!

It is funny though how the older kids at my daughters school use same kind of clothes that we used when I was about ten - neon colours and all. Now that the 80's and 90's vintage look is so in I'm thinking is this the time to make my childhood dream come true and dress like one of the Bangles in the Manic Monday video? When it came out I was only seven and too young for the look, but I did think that when I grow up I want to look just like her.


Completely unrelated to the above,  I got a lovely email from Cath who had been at the Festival of Quilts and had taken a photo of my quilt! I am so happy to have the photos! Really made my day.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Festival of Quilts

At this very moment my quilt is hanging at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham! I started working on this quilt a year ago. I first made the fish and then slowly build the rest around it. I used the Ruth B. McDowell's piecing workshop as a guideline.


I'm so happy to have found her book. Thanks to her method I can work in a rhythm that suites my brain. I can separate the creative work and technical work. With her method almost everything is possible and there is so much room to grow that I will need a life time (or more) to master it, but that is fine because I love the process of it! It is like magic for me.

Number 85

The fish is inspired by tattoo art and the image of the koi-fish has been in my mind for years. During the making process I really tried not to over think it, just follow my intuition.

There was of course some last minute panic. When I had made the last stitches and tried to hang the quilt, it did not hang straight! During  the whole process it had not crossed my mind that that could happen. Thanks to internet I found a solution that worked liked magic: quilt blocking.

Blocking my quilt
And of course I forgot to take pictures until the very last minute when the lightning was all wrong and my husband had already packed his camera lenses for our vacation. Lessoned learned for the next time!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Olympics are over and there is more time for blogging. It was the first time I could watch sport with my children and that was so much fun!

My creation
London has been in my mind in other ways as well. I'm reading Virginia Woolf's Night and Day and found the following description in it very amusing :

"...and then Mary left them in order to see that the great pitcher of coffee was properly handled, for beneath all her education she preserved the anxieties of one who owns china."

So that is my china that you see in the above picture. During our vacation I took one day "off" and when to Helsinki all by myself! My program for the day was to eat lunch in some nice cafe and visit one museum or gallery. I had never been to the Design Museum, so there I went. You are not allowed to take pictures there, which was a shame, so I took photos for you of my own collection of Finnish design. If you are Finnish and I guess especially if you live abroad you will have some of this stuff at your home. And as it turns out, I have plenty. Most of it are, very appreciated,  presents.

I also visited three handmade shops. I really need a cover for my phone so I thought it would be nice to support the handmade and buy one from those shops. It was very disappointing. All of the covers I found did fit my phone, but where not particularly well made, had all the same simple Velcro closing and where not firm enough to give proper protection. No innovation what so ever and at least for my taste, nothing that gave me the impulse to pay the extra money for the handmade-factor. When there is no additional design element added to the product (which of course is a matter of taste), I start to think that I'm paying for the fact that it is handmade by western hands.

That is something that I have been thinking for a long time - how we talk about handmade like the rest of the sewn stuff would have been made with big factory machines when in my understanding most of it is done by people sitting behind sewing machines. Just like us. Of course if it is done here in Europe I know that the working conditions are good. It is also a local product and supports the local economy. But I can't help thinking that I kind of want the people in Asia to be able to keep their jobs as well and be able to support their families. As you can see - shopping is not easy for me.

Back home I added a new item to my china collection.
My cup
(photo from instagram. I'm piecesoffab there if you feel like following)
I have always been a mug person and have been drinking my coffee from a Iittala Teema mug as long as I can remember (see the top right photo on the photo-mosaic). But when I saw Carolina's coffee cup I started to long for my own special coffee cup with a saucer. I saw this one in a regular boring suburban department store close to our house and loved it, but I thought I want to buy the cup in some place special. When we came back from the vacation I saw it again and though, what could be more special in this time of my life than a coffee cup bought from a store which excellent cafe I visit regularly with my children?

You could only buy it as a set of four cups in four different colours. The whole set cost me seven euros. Especially after visiting the Design Museum I have a whole back story for my Teema mugs, but nothing for this made in china -cup. I wanted to see if I could find something on the internet and I did! The collection is called Veronica's Garden, which was not mentioned anywhere on the packaging. What I could not find was how the design came about and who design it. Since I don't know I choose to believe that it was made by someone who's dream came true when she got the chance to work for Topchoice and design this cup. I also found out that it is actually not a coffee cup, but a tea cup.

So what did I buy? A story (my special cup from a special place), a functional/quality cup (can be washed in a dishwasher, my suburban definition of quality;) and design that for some reason appeal to me. What it comes to the phone cover I had the story but the functionality/quality and the design elements where missing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Strawberry Crazy Love

My creation

I'm back from the summer holiday from my home of origin Finland. As I only spend two to three weeks in Finland during the summer, I never know what part of the short summer I get. This year we were very lucky to catch the peak of the strawberry-season. When we arrived one liter strawberries cost 5 euros and it dropped to 3 euros during our stay there. I have learned from blogs that in some warmer regions the strawberries belong to the spring, but in Finland it really is the taste of summer since they don't ripen before end of June, begin July.

The Finnish strawberries are grown outside in the sun and are sold fresh on the market or on little pop-up shops outside of supermarkets. You buy them fresh and in large quantities. They taste ten times sweater than the berries that are grown in greenhouses. Last year we spent the whole summer in the Netherlands and the thing I missed most were the strawberries.

What many people do is to buy a couple of carton boxes seen at the first photo and store the berries in their freezer. Since that is not an option for me I make jam. I love jam making! I use a special sugar for making jam that has pectin in it. I like to use that although my jams don't need to be as jelly-like as they prefer here in the Netherlands. I guess it is just what you are used to. The sad ending for my strawberry-story is that I forgot to pack the jam-pots with us, so there they at my parents house. I hope they enjoy them :)

We also bought souvenirs, a juicer and an apple peeler/slicer. I'm looking forward to making our own apple juice and cider. We are already making liqueur out of our own blackcurrants, very exiting! Our one and only shrub had a really good year this year.

Another exiting thing that I have not seen for years were the wild roses called midsummer roses. I love the ones in my garden with their big  flowers, but the simple beauty of these wild ones is amazing thing to witness as well. It was really hard to take good pictures of them, but I think you get the idea.

Midsummer Roses