Saturday, 31 August 2013

flu and its comforts

Back to school and the turning season seems to have a side effect on me - I catch a bug every time.

There were supposed to be some nice posts up this week, but instead of composing sentences and editing I was coming down with the flu. It's quite clear that this weekend will be spent with recovering from it, but hey at least I have my flu comforts to which I can turn.

I have a very nice camphor cream to help me breath and prevent that painful tissue-rubbed nose, there's of course Masterchef to watch, and I can slurp my hot pho or its lazy version the clear soup while trying to imagine the flavour combinations the competing chefs come up with during the program.

Hopefully I'll have some energy during the next couple of days to prepare some blogposts as well as a lot of clear soup...

I hope most of you don't have a bug to battle with this weekend but just in case you do, here is this super simple soup in recipe form to help you along.

Friday, 23 August 2013

flea friday: thrifty new layers

The season is turning - it's still reminiscent of summer but the coming autumn is tangible.

This week I thrifted a couple of outfits' worth of new-old clothes. A red and white checked shirt with pearly poppers, some high-waisted dark denims, a pair of snow-washed drainpipe denims, a mottled khaki top, a boucle wool jacket, and a silk scarf in oranges and browns. Everything goes with everything in this batch.

During the last few thrift rounds I noticed that my attention is turning from bric-a-brac to clothing more and more. I guess it's brought on by the change in the weather. Suddenly I have a long wishlist of items I would really like to find in the thrifts - all clothes and accessories.

I've been hanging on to a fashion page that I ripped out of a french magazine ever since that little trip back in January... I'd love to compile a similar look for the coming winter for myself. I'm hoping to find a nice and thick vintage wool coat, some great oxfords, and some nice tops to layer... I feel not a bad start, for now!

In other news, I'm enjoying my course quite a lot! A great group with nice people and good teachers. I ride my bike to school and and back every day. I decided I will cycle right up until about late October, when the ice starts taking over on the roads.

The restaurant day I mentioned went rather well - we sold most of our food, and got great feedback. It was a fun but very, very busy weekend.

This weekend I will take it totally easy, and quite possibly go and look for some outfit building pieces in my fave flea stores.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Saturday, 17 August 2013


I started a new language school again on Monday. It's nice to learn this hard nut of a language again in a group, in a structured manner. Also nice to meet friends from the previous course and nice to meet new ones too.

We went on an outing on Friday (yesterday) with the whole group including the teacher. It feels funny going on a school outing as a grown-up with other grown-ups, strolling around in small clusters, playing beach ball, playing language related games like searching for items on the shore and among the sand dunes after being given a list of new Finnish words.

I have to say the weather was just perfect for a seaside outing. The light and the colours were wonderful, beautiful, nurturing, calming. The steady but gentle enough breeze rendered the waves and the sand into tidy little rows. The sun was a light balm on the skin and the sea air a delicious refreshment in the lungs.

I felt so relaxed and happy, the conversation was flowing effortlessly - in that hard nut of a language. What a perfect day.

The perfect interlude to a very busy weekend, in fact. We are hosting a pop-up 'restaurant' on Sunday for restaurant day! We are making vegan falafel sandwiches, with home-made falafels, hummus and tabbouleh salad. I'm very excited, hoping that people will come and that the weather stays good.

Wishing everyone a beautiful, happy weekend too!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

the first sneaky peek...

The long-awaited sneak peek of the long time in the making Craft It Forward 2013 project.

Very enigmatic pictures I know - I don't want to reveal any more for now. All I will tell you today is that I'm doing something with these pretty fabric swatches. Some more clues coming soon!

Friday, 9 August 2013

flea friday: poppy plates by the Johnson Brothers

My favourite flowers are wild flowers. I grew up in the countryside surrounded by big natural meadows, which offered a lot to marvel at all spring, summer and autumn. If I close my eyes and think of summer meadows, I still see the delicate heads of poppies nodding among tall grass where the cattle and sheep hadn't been to graze yet, just a short stroll from my mum's house.

You can imagine how fast I fell in love with these plates when I spotted them in the thrift the other week.

I have no idea if they are vintage or not, but the colours and details in the decoration just swept me off my feet. I don't think I've ever seen such a bright red set against such a perfect duck egg blue background. If you wonder what they cost me - I had to part with a single euro for this trio, that was all.

I did my usual research and was particularly interested in finding out more about this Chelsea Collection King's Road series but couldn't squeeze any solid information out of the internet...anyone out there knows any morsels of info? If you do, please share in comments!

But hey, even without any knowledge, the poppies under my pasta keep me very happy all the same.

Sharing on A Living Space, on Sir Thrift A Lot and on Me and My Shadow.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

the museum of everything i like

In my previous post I promised to take you for a proper tour in my local heritage house.

There's something amazing about being in an old house filled to the brim with wonderful vintage items, and to be able to see back in time and feel the spaces in which people spent their home lives in long gone days.

The date of those long gone days is the 1940s and 50s (I got that wrong in my previous post...). In this museum-like space nothing is like a museum, nothing is behind glass, nothing is cordoned off.

There are not many pictures of whole rooms and spaces - I got lost in the beautiful details, you see. I still hope that the virtual tour of beautiful details will be interesting enough.

I've been thinking about why it feels so special to visit such a heritage house and to be able to walk around among those rooms full of old objects. The first thought that came to mind was that being a flea market treasure hunter, my thrifty soul relishes being in rooms full of perfect vintage finds and feels right at home.

Then on further thought, I think I might have found the answer: all those items that I covet and am interested in, the vintage pots and pans, chairs, linens, wall hangings and nicknacks are there in their original context, together. It is rather special to see any of them in flea markets when they turn up (and even more special if they are affordable). However, in their true environment, together, they tell much more of their full story.

If you are not a flea market or vintage enthusiast I hope you will excuse all the gushing and the tremors of awe that may transfer from my writing. I really feel I stumbled upon a big treasure house... the museum of everything I like.

There's another great thing about this heritage house - in their shop they sell reproduction vintage wallpaper, made to order. I hope one day I might be able to have a reason to go and purchase some. Here's a few that I liked, from the piles of big books of samples there.

And one more thing - there was this little guy roosting high on top of an enamel lid above the kitchen range. He is so charming in his perfect home-crafted potholderness, that I decided to make one soon, once I have finished other on-going projects.

I hoped you liked the tour! By the way, what name would you give this potholder rooster? He looks so full of character that he really deserves a name! :)

Monday, 5 August 2013

mellow yellow august

I'll be early this month joining the bevy of the Colour Me Happy-ists, matching the month's yellow theme with the perkily coloured barn of the local heritage house.

It's a big old wooden house in the middle of the old town, preserved lovingly in its original state, filled to the brim with period vintage from the life of an average 1920-3040-50s Finnish household.

I'm posting a full separate feature on it in a couple of days, on Wednesday if you are interested - until then here is a little teaser of some details from the living room, the kitchen and the bedroom:

Apart from yellow barn walls, I'm also going to show you a yellow tassel in-the-making. Early stages, very early stages...I cannot believe how slowly I have been going with projects all spring and summer - I have vowed that this month I'm really getting down to business in the crafting 'department'.

Friday, 2 August 2013

flea friday: a rusty old thing and how it brushed up

The other day we went back to one of our favourite indoor flea markets to have a better look at a fat lava floor vase that I'd seen a couple of times in one of the booths on previous occasions.

After discovering that the vase was badly cracked all the way up from the bottom, we were on the way out when I spotted this lonely old pestle&mortar set standing among much shinier but less interesting items.

I picked it up and noted how nicely it fitted into the hand. Apart from the rust it had crude but never the less lovely cast iron details. Holding it I remembered all of a sudden that my grandparents had a very similar one, and let me play with it in the sand pit sometimes when I was a kid.

As usual, it didn't take me long to take a shine to an old unloved item that had some meaning for me, especially when it went for very cheap. I also thought to myself that I'll make this into a little restoration project. After spending a couple of hours on it once back at home, this is what I ended up with:

To be honest, more often than not I like preserving old items in their patina-ed original condition, as I believe it adds to their appeal. However, when it comes to this much rust on such a beautiful object, I prefer to get rid of all that corroded patina to put a stop to the iron being slowly eaten by it. I'm almost certain that the old cast iron is thankful for the treatment and will even develop a new, more healthy patina with time as long as we look after it properly. That means no washing with water at all, and a rub-through with vegetable oil every now and again.

The way I restored my cast iron pestle&mortar involved a throw-away fine emery fingernail file with a raspier and a smoother side, a whole sheet of superfine sandpaper, some almond oil, paper towels, a piece of cloth and a face mask to filter the air while filing and sanding. 

The nail file helped to get off the rust, the bits of chipped paint and the caked on patina. The superfine sandpaper was used to gently clear up large surface areas including the inside of the cup, and to reveal more of the shiny cast iron. The almond oil fed and helped to clean the iron - I applied it generously then wiped over and over using paper towels. Once the wiped off oil showed up clean on the paper towel, I gave both pestle and mortar a buff with a piece of cloth to soak up any excess oil and that was it.

Please note, this method of restoration is only good for cast iron, and not suitable for other types of metal. If you need to restore cast iron cooking pots or pans, the method is a bit different - it involves an overall more careful treatment and baking the item.

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