Saturday, 29 June 2013

gardening big and small

Gardening is one of my favourite activities. Love the earth, love the buzz of the garden, the living vibes of plants.

Having no garden of our own we try to recreate some of the experience of it on our little balcony. The little green space has been evolving since its beginnings. Some with more and some with less success.

The cut-up water bottle idea turns out to have a fault - it seems to confuse the plants by exposing the roots to some light, in our case anyway. Growing in see-through pots seems to hindered the plants' development after a certain stage. We started moving the chards into shop-bought flowerpots and they are instantly showing more will to live.

The radishes remain in the see-through vessels, because root vegetable don't usually like being transplanted. It looks like their roots will never turn into radishes though - but I'm still happy because they are growing a lot of big leaves and I've been wanting to try Steph's radish greens pesto idea since I've read about it. (I'll tell you how the pesto worked out next week.)

I've got some yellow blooms too which are all refugees from somewhere else. A few weeks ago we went to a big garden to help out with some jobs. I weeded the overgrown border while boyfriend cut down a very old apple tree. I saved some of the weeded-out flowering plants from the bin to give them a new home on our balcony. They took to the transplant very well.

I hope that all of you gardeners are doing well out there and that you get a lot of enjoyment out of tending to your gardens, however big or small! Have a sunny weekend everybody!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

simple tea towels

Remember my leaning tower of idle fabrics?

I have begun to diminish its height, starting with fabrics I have the least dilemma attached to. Keeping ideas simple, taking on projects that will achieve a result in a matter of an hour. The prospect of instant results seems to keep the dillydallying and fretting at bay.

So I went and cut up a vintage cotton curtain and a little tablecloth (left over from this project) to make a couple of new tea towels for the kitchen. I asked myself why pay any money for new ones at all when it's possible to run them up in no time and with little effort? Especially when all the ingredients - namely cotton fabric, ribbon braid, sewing thread - are already there in my craft cupboard, not a cent needing to be spent.

To achieve a perfectly formed tea-towel, only a few assertive but very simple steps need be done:

1.) Iron fabric then cut it to ideal tea towel size with 2 cms seam allowance all around. To determine ideal tea towel size, copy the dimensions of a favourite shop-bought tea towel.
2.) Fold 1cm in, then the other 1cm in to form hem.
3.) Clip corners for a bulk-free fold.
4.) Pin in place the hanging loop: in the corner, or in the middle, with its ends folded under the hem. Vintage braid or ribbon is ideal, but a loop fashioned from the same fabric is very sophisticated too.
5.) Hem with straight stitch all around.
6.) Press perfect with the iron and then Ta-da!, enjoy the new-born tea towel, holding it up toward the ceiling in victory pose (yelps of victory can also be applied, to taste).

Riding the momentum of this glorious ta-da moment, you could quickly make another tea towel like I did.

Now having these brand new specimens, there is no excuse for not to quickly wash and dry all that washing up that's so nicely out of focus in the first picture...

But before I make you think of any outstanding kitchen chores, have a look in your craft cupboard in case you have all the ingredients for a tea towel so you could enjoy this quick project before doing the dishes!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

pinky rose june

Before the month finishes I shall post something pinky rose in the spirit of Colour Me Happy.

I've never been a girly girl so pink is not my forte, but I have been catching a glimpse of this hedge every day on my way to the shop and back, and it keeps me wondering about its strange and progressive 'variegation'.

Is it how it's meant to look like or is it a disease? Not sure but whatever it is, it produces a lovely shade of pink, don't you agree. (By the way, if it is a disease - I imagine it as a micro alien whose sole purpose is to make the worlds it occupies a rosier universe.)

Oh, and one more thing before the month finishes - don't forget that Google Reader ceases to be from July the first, so if you haven't switched yet just click the button in the sidebar to follow with Bloglovin' or sign up to email updates with the button above it if you prefer.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

sitting sun and the beat of summer

Local graffiti, sun rays participating as if sitting down... and a local fusion band - to colour in, to brighten and to flavour. Have a nice sunday, people!

Friday, 21 June 2013

flea friday: a big shaggy wool rug, a small corked pot and a couple of scarves in between

I show you some finds this week, of which some are big and some are small.

Starting with a sweet little 70s corked pot in tomato red from Carlton Ware. It's a small, lone spice jar - I announced it retired and it's now doing a great job just simply adding a splash of happy colour to our kitchen.

One day it'd be nice to find and adopt its taller brothers and sisters too!

Moving on - to two Finnish cotton scarves.

I wish the photo quality had come out much clearer... I'll try and remedy it somehow.
The bigger scarf is a mod-ish 60s pattern, from Metsovaara. The smaller blue one is a more modern Marimekko one which I have been wearing ever since!

I left the best for last!

A huge cut wool tapestry rug that we spotted together with my boyfriend on a casual flea shop visit, and after examining it we both agreed that it had to come and live with us. It could live on the wall too if we had a big enough wall space, but for now it's safe on the bedroom floor. Luckily our bedroom is just that, so we don't wear it out too much by walking on it.

One thing we don't agree on is its age. Boyfriend thinks it's from the 70s because of the muted yellows and especially the orange colours used. I think that it's from the 60s because of its subtle colourways, and because its modernist but soft geometry very much reminds me of Troika pottery. What do you think - does it look more 60s or 70s?

Sharing on A Living Space, on Apron Thrift Girl and on Sir Thrift A Lot.

Thursday, 20 June 2013


It's the year's longest day tomorrow - which means 20 hours of daylight and 4 of inbetweeny dusk in the land of the midnight sun.

I've been collecting around-midnight scenery from our late walks and from the kitchen window since this post.

 Have a wonderful midsummer's night whether you celebrate or not!

Monday, 17 June 2013

loose threads of Idle Needle

I sit down to sew and instantly I get hesitant. I think too much. I ponder too long comparing options and avenues. Get fascinated by unexplored opportunities. I loose myself in research. I get carried away in the planning stages and think about ideas in detail. I look into the eye of the sewing needle to focus all those run-away thoughts. Thread the cotton through. Stop and hold it. But where do I really start...?

Sometimes I need a little push - just go with the program and start it anyway. Sometimes I need a bigger push - doubt sets in until the pressure of time passing by and the tension between idle hesitant hands and a racing head overwhelms and tips the boat into action.

Am I afraid of bad results? I know that I want the perfect result, which is of a very obscure definition by any means, and in any case it is very difficult to see when a project is in the in-between stages of work-in-progress. I got to remind myself why I like crafting and just accept the nature of my own creative process.

I can say that I get more pleasure out of coming up with ideas, I feel I can be free then. Putting those ideas to the test by making them up is what twists me into knots. This is why I have such a neat pile of pretty fabrics, many full sketchbooks but not a lot of clothes for example...

My catch 22 is that I know the remedy to my pains is more crafting, less thinking...! 

Friday, 14 June 2013

flea friday: sunny yellows

In my general experience, a quick nosey around the junk store usually ends up in at least one item for the kitchen. It's either because the kitchen is very easy to find things for, or because our kitchen is still quite basic (meaning one frying pan, only two saucepans, only four of each type of cutlery, etc, and a big bottle of washing up liquid...).

Funnily, I've also been finding kitchen things in bright yellows, and all of them most of them <as Bodum is Swiss! edited 05/04/2014> with a connection to Germany. I also reckon they are all from a similar era, from around the 70s.

I think this little teapot is from Bodum - it has no marks but has all the details that point to it. It probably had a sticker somewhere on the glass once that washed off during the years.

Then there was this set of mandoline slicers in popping colours shining out from a dusty old box, and I thought we can definitely give these a new home. The grip proudly states that they are a product of West Germany. The knives are super sharp (still, after all those years of use), and that's great but slightly terrifying too. Even the cashier lady at the junk shop commented that these are lethal for fingers. Don't worry, I said showing off my hands complete with the full set of digits - my mum had a set and we used it all the time as kids... Having said that, I am very very careful when I slice my veggies, mandolines are unforgivingly sharp.

Next, an absolute joy. An old Dr Oetker kitchen scales that found its new home with us too. It's a cute little simple one, perfect to measure out lentils and rices for our staple dinners. I love watching the dial turning smoothly as I pour the grains into the measuring dish. The measuring dish also becomes a cover when the scales are not in use.

What have you thrifted lately?

Sharing on A Living Space and on Sir Thrift A Lot.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

the first of many

...of summer cycle rides, that is.

Before a trip to the nearby nature trail, we cycled to the park with a sandy beach by the river to lie about and catch some sun and taste some summery flavours. We try to avoid milky stuff so it's either ice lollies or chilled fruit for us instead of ice cream.

The local nature trail is humble but very pretty, with a clean breathing forest and all the beauty of nature you can wish for 15 minutes away from town. The weathered wooden path at some point spurred me to trot my fully thrifted summer look as if on a catwalk.

We carried on down to the river, to cross it by cable ferry. Never been on one of those before, it was simple but great. I'd like to go back again when the waterlilies are blooming. There's a lot of (for us) unexplored pretty places around this town, gotta go explore while the weather is good!

Friday, 7 June 2013

flea friday: steelwing

terässiipi retro vintage bike polkupyörä joonas oegland
 In the radiosilence of otherwise busy-busy, there has been a little thrift shopping here and there as I hinted earlier. Out of all the retrolicious flea finds that I'd like to share I'm most excited about my most recent one, it is every bit a dream come true!

It's a bicycle! A good old, sturdy pushpedal bike that has been on the wishlist for a while. I don't mean that I had been wanting this exact very one - I just wanted a nice old ladies' bike with the right age and look, in good working order, at a bargainous price.

Then this quirky beauty winked at me from the corner in a big basement of a junkshop and was a love at first sight - it ticked all the boxes and some more.

terässiipi vanha logo
It is a Terässiipi, a Finnish brand, from the 1970s. Terässiipi literally means steelwing, which is kind of cool, no? My specimen has the wholesome look of an original, with all the trimmings. A sticker tells me that the frame was made by Joonas Ögland in Norway for the brand.

I love everything about it: the grey pleather seat with chunky white stitching, the chalky white handlegrips and pedals, the matt green frame, the electric blue chainguard. The tires were gray too, but alas the rubber was disintegrating and had to be changed. My steelwing comes with a beige basket at front, a built-in lock at the back wheel and a spot of brown rust here and there, which in my opinion only adds character. The bell has a fair bit of it, but despite its rusty looks it has a very clear, bright chime.

Most importantly, this bike glides like a dream - no wonder it is called steel wing.

I'm hoping for many adventures and pleasant pedaling - I will show you some more photos from our first little trip next week.

Sharing on A Living Space.
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