Wednesday, 31 July 2013

and the winner is...


Time's up - the draw is done and the winner of the first blogiversary giveaway is Maša! Congratulations Maša, check your email and make sure you send me your postal address in reply to it.

I hope you all enjoyed participating - I sure enjoyed reading all the comments and feedback about the first year of the blog as well as about the new look. Thank you everybody for leaving me all those lovely comments and thanks to everybody who entered!

PS. Can you quite believe that it's already August tomorrow?...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

neverending summer

Without many words, I'm hoping that the hot summer weather will last for a long time.





Friday, 26 July 2013

flea friday: fat lava score


It's always a lot of fun when me and the boyfriend go to browse the flea markets together. We found these two West German fat lava vases on a quick in-and-out kind of trip to one of our favourite spots. They came incredibly, irresistibly cheap - the total we paid could probably buy a coffee and a bun.

The cream one is by Strehla Keramik. I think it is slowly becoming my favourite out of the two, the more I look at it. It's kind of understated, the stripes are rather fascinating and there are really nice colours to discover when you look closer.


fat lava vase jug Strehla keramik 1304 cream stripes brown west germany german

Then of course, how could I not like the orange one - it has the classic 70s fat lava look, in typical colours. The maker of this one is Jasba Keramikfabriken. I almost remember someone in my family having a similar one in their home - it might even be my mum... I have to ask her.

Jasba fat lava vase N0021018 orange west german germany





The way this vase is decorated won't be to everybody's taste, but I'd like to point out that there's more to fat lava and its bubbling oozing decorativeness than just how it looks. It's really nice to handle these vases, this orange one for example has a smooth high glaze, a smooth matt glaze and of course that bumpy fat lava in between. It makes me want to read up on how all these different textures are achieved, but that will have to wait until another post.

For now, I let the pictures talk for themselves - we are going away for the weekend and I have packing (and washing up) to do still! I hope the sun is doing a good summer job too where you are - have a lovely weekend everybody!

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

Thursday, 25 July 2013

three-line thursday: dachshund bobbin by Sugarcookie

Wooden dachshund bobbin by Sugarcookie
This is something every crafter needs:
good embroidery floss holders
and at least one cute doggie in the sewing box.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

there's still time - giveaway reminder



 First of all, a big hello & welcome to the new Idle Needle followers!

Just a little reminder about the first blog anniversary giveaway that's running on here until the end of July.

I underline that for myself too - because it dawned on me this morning that up until now I had the wrong ending date displaying in the sidebar... what a silly self-defeating little mistake, but thank goodness, it's been corrected while there's still time. (Note to self: sometimes numbers are too important...)

So if you thought you have missed the giveaway, or you didn't know about it yet, head over to the first blog anniversary giveaway and enter via the widget!

And - as Tim Wonnacott would say - very very very good luck!




Friday, 19 July 2013

flea friday: the ZIK edition - plates from soviet Russia

This flea friday post is a little bit like a special edition in the short - it's all about my collection of Soviet plates.



I love that I am able to collect something while on a shoestring budget. The reason I like them is not just about their look.

They are also useful. In fact, every piece in the collection is a working plate - we eat from these every single day. Another reason I find them very easy to collect is that they are dirt cheap and pop up fairly regularly on the shelves of most junkshops and fleamarket stands. As a bonus, they seem to come in many different patterns, but mainly in blue and brown, so a collection of random pieces still looks like a set somehow.





Without exaggeration, I can spot a ZIK plate by a mile (6th sense?), but the easiest way to tell is to look on the bottom for the stamp - a sort of V-shaped pine branch sitting on top of the name ZIK in Cyrillic which reads a bit like 3NK.



From time to time, I try to research the maker and this particular series a bit more, but there's not a lot available online about them. All I know is pretty much from this article: ZIK is a studio of the Konakovo Faience Factory. The company was founded in 1809 and still exists. They produce tableware, figurines and tea sets in faience and utility grade porcelain.

I haven't been able to find any information about these actual plates themselves. The stamp of 'Made in USSR' in English suggests to me that they were made for export. The mighty USSR existed between 1922-1991 - I reckon my plates date from the 60s or 70s; one reference here to a similar looking plate from the 60s seems to confirm that.

That's about my ZIK collection in the short, but what about you? Do you like to collect old things that you can use in everyday life? Or do you prefer to keep your collections out of harms way behind the safe glass of a vitrine?


Sharing on Sir Thrift a Lot, and on Me and My Shadow.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

orange july

Orange is one of my favourite colours, and it's the theme for this month's Colour Me Happy!

vintage orange rubber squeeky toy dog Edward Mobley 50s 1950s 1958


To participate I decided to photograph one of my favourite orange finds: that rubber dog. It's one of quite a few orange objects I thrifted but definitely the only one that is so ugly it's beautiful... As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that saying is very true.

While we are on the orange trail; I promised to show the pattern of that pair of vintage orange curtains which coloured me very happy the other day. It is tricky to photograph, but after a lot of attempts I managed to take a couple of pictures where both colour and pattern appears correct and clear(ish).

vintage retro orange curtains thrifted 60s 70s floral wave linen weave pattern


They are waiting to be put up in the bedroom, I just need to shorten them a bit. I wonder what I'll do with the excess fabric? Right now, all I can think of is the obvious - cushions - but I feel that the orange cut-offs are merited to become something more exciting than that.

While mulling over that, I'm gonna go and see who else likes orange over at the Colour Me Happy get-together.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

giveaway - Idle Needle turns one!

Idle Needle turns one today. I thought I ought to give the blog a new look to mark the occasion as well as organize a little giveaway. So the new look is here, and the giveaway is on!






I love these serviettes so much that I end up just hoarding them, and never actually use them. But can you argue with that, they are so beautiful! I thought I share them with you as the prize for this giveaway - to accompany that virtual slice of blog-birthday cake!

But before we get onto the giveaway, let me say thank you to everyone who has been reading, following, commenting, in other words being an audience to my idle-needleings. Because of you lovely readers, I am really looking forward to the next year in the life of this blog. Here is to another year full of fun fleamarket finds, sewing needle wielding, recipe sharing and hopefully lots of friendly banter!

The giveaway

The giveaway is open internationally and will run until the 31st of July. To enter the giveaway, you need to be a follower of Idle Needle, then if you want you can earn extra entries on top of that. Enter via the rafflecopter widget below.

There will be one winner who will receive both sets of Marimekko paper napkins (or serviettes) shown in the picture at the top of this blogpost. Both sets are brand new, unused and unopened - just what I'd like to receive if I was the winner of my own giveaway!

Once the winner is announced, he or she has 48 hours to respond - if no response, a new winner will be chosen. Entries will be checked so please play fair! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This is a non-sponsored giveaway.

Friday, 12 July 2013

flea friday: bike trip finds

Last Friday I mentioned that we were going to check out a couple of new (to us) junk shops by bicycling there.

The bike trip was lovely. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too windy, and the air was full of summer scents like drying hay and blossoming meadowsweet. The junk shops didn't amaze us as well with their contents over all, but on the plus side both were very cheap and there were a couple of good things among all the tat. Here are the finds we biked back with.


Orange colour is one of my favourites and this pair of 60/70s curtains won me over at first glance. They are a bit hard to photograph in full size but as soon as I have acceptable results I will show a bit more of their great retro pattern too.

The green storm lantern is perfect for us with a balcony, especially for late summer evenings to provide gentle light. It looks unused, and I also like the fact that it was made in Czechoslovakia.


Under some heaps of boring brick-a-brack there was a pair of tiny Bodum espresso cups to be discovered. Ever since I found a Bodum teapot, I've been having half an eye out for other vintage Bodum ware in pretty colours. Again, we don't need any more coffee cups but these cost us literally a few cents, so why not.

I really liked the wooden trivet so I picked it up, and only at home I spotted a faded stamp that states it was made in West Germany. Couldn't be happier. In addition, I found a couple of soviet ZIK plates too, which I sort of started collecting this post onward. I've decided to make a separate post on ZIK so I'll show my plate finds later at that time.

To end the post, have a look at these snapshots of the bike trip: my bike at one of the stretches of the ride and that perfumed wildflower meadowsweet.


Have a lovely weekend, everybody!

(PSSST... Tomorrow the blog is turning one year old, so I'm going to have a giveaway!)

Sharing on Sir Thrift a Lot and Me and My Shadow.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

visit to Villa Mairea



The other week we went to visit Villa Mairea, Alvar Aalto's beautiful creation from the late 30s. I probably don't even need to write it down how much I'd just love to live in it.

My cameraphone images, although I tried hard and took plenty, just don't do any justice to the beauty and true spirit of this clever but full of warmth modernist building. So I show you the two best ones and urge you to see better portraits of this architectural gem, nestling among tall pines, and its truly stunning interiors here instead.

Friday, 5 July 2013

flea friday: a vibrant bunch

Summer and flea markets go hand in hand. Now that we have bikes, we can get around a bit more, and go further afield to visit junking grounds where we couldn't get to before. Today we are going to check out such two places but before I jump on my bike to do so, lets have a look at some things I picked up from the more local flea establishments.

It's always a pleasure to find colourful things with happy patterns - for decoration and for everyday use. I start with the decorative ones.


Although it's not old, I picked up this red wooden fish because its colour caught my eye, and its shape reminded me of kokeshi dolls. It's an instrument - the beater pulls out of its mouth and the hollow body makes a nice woodblock sound. Maybe a thing to turn to if all the music devices break down in the house but until then it's a nice splash of colour on the wooden window ledge.

The vintage fabric behind it has such a great colour story - the label described it as 'northern lights knit'. I just adore the combination of dark cyan, moss and apple green, sun and mustard yellow and the white.It's an interesting type of machine knit fabric and there's 2 meters of it. I would love to use it wisely. No definitive ideas yet, but I have been wondering about big floor cushions for a while...


Now, one thing we don't really need any more of is coffee cups. I couldn't resist these though, and they are big enough to be tea cups, so that's what I'm calling them. I really like their shape and they are my favourite thickness - thinish porcelain. I like picking them up by their dainty handles, like their translucent quality and the ridged detail.

The set as a whole has an eclectic look about it - the randomness of all the elements thrown together entertains me - very 80s greek borders and spirograph flowers with hypno middles arranged in a very retro 70s rhythm, applied on cups which have more of a 60s shape and the whole thing cast in porcelain. I love them. They are unmarked, but we think they are made somewhere in Eastern Europe.


Oh how I love finding Pyrex in nice patterns! I had to have this one with the cartoon vegetables. You can see my other Pyrex finds here and here. We use them a lot actually, not in the oven but in the fridge to hold salads, hummus and such.

Carrying on the vegetable theme, I would like to show off this old Jonelle fabric that I thrifted a while ago. It has an aged look about it, a nice and even yellow tinge- I reckon it was used as curtains. By the way, does anybody have any information about Jonelle? I have been trying to look it up but have found nothing concrete.


That's all for this Friday - let's hope today's junking bike trip works out well so I'll have some interesting finds to show next week too.

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

Thursday, 4 July 2013

three-line thursday: notknot pillow by Umemi

Notknot pillow by Umemi
Cushions and pillows come in many shapes and sizes.
While most make me sleepy, this tactile visually intriguing one really enlivens.
They are 100% Icelandic, yet the notknots speak my language to me.

Monday, 1 July 2013

radish leaf pesto



They say when life gives you lemons, make some lemonade.

I was doing pretty much that when I made pesto out of the lush foliage that grew in our recycled pots instead of the anticipated radishes.

The idea of radish leaf pesto arrived to me via the Mini Matriarchin blog, but because we are trying to avoid butter and cheese I searched for other versions, and based my pesto recipe on this vegan one.

I had about 3 times more of the radish leaves shown in the first picture, and used all of it in the recipe right down to the pink-tinted roots where the radish bulbs should have grown. It made two small jars of light, delicious raw pesto (all gone by the time this post goes out). 

We ate it with roast cauliflowers, over boiled new potatoes, and simply spread on a slice of bread - I can recommend all of these, they were all delicious ways to enjoy the pesto. Based on its flavour, which is a slightly spicy fresh green flavour, I can imagine it going well with gnocchi or in a portabello mushroom burger. Here's the recipe:

Radish leaf pesto

2-3 big bunches of radish greens
a handful of raw cashew nuts (or pine nuts)
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
juice of 1/3 of a lemon
a pinch of ground black pepper

Blitz all ingredients in a food processor until desired consistency. Spoon into small jars and consume within a few days. To preserve it a little longer (up to a week) pour olive oil on top of the pesto in the jar then seal well. Keep in the fridge in either case.


Thanks to Steph for the initial idea, and hope this recipe will delight with yummy results as much as it did in the above picture!
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