Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A week in the New York City

Hello and greetings from New York! A and I were there last week celebrating Thanksgiving and touring around the city. We had the best time and I loved beeing in New York again.

We arrived on saturday the 19th, on the first night we just had a little something to eat and then went to bed early beeing tired from the flight and jetlag. On sunday we hit the Harlem and went to a Babtist church to listen some gospel.

It was the most amazing church event I've ever been to and that type of music cannot ever be heard in Finland. I was so amazed how captivated everyone was and I had so much fun. It was like beeing in a consert, the choir was absolutely fantastic.

On the next few days we visited the Top of the Rock, the Museum of Natural History, the Intrepid - an aircraft carrier that also has a Concorde and lots of other aircrafts.

We also visited the Staten Island with the orange Staten Island ferry and took a lot of bad pictures about the Statue of liberty. On the way back the sun had set and we were able to see a very nice night view of the Manhattan.

Then Thanksgiving came and we woke up way too late to get any good viewing spots for the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. But we saw the balloons! Those were huge and what we could hear the marching bands were amazing.

The parade was very long and we did not feel like standing and looking at the parade for the whole time so at one point we returned to the hotel where we saw rest of the parage from the telly. On the evening we had booked a table from a restaurant in Soho to have a Thanksgiving dinner. We had the traditional turkey and filling and sweet potato mash and as a desert we had pumpkin pie and everything was very good. I especially liked the sweet potato mash, it reminded me of the potato and rutabaga casserols we eat here in Finland over the holidays.

On the friday we wanted to experience the black friday in a big way and so we headed to the Macy's. And the people were definately crazy to go there to shop, just look:

They are nuts, or then all of them were tourists checking out the crazyness.

Here is a one final photo of the subway. We had a seven day ticket to the subway and boy did we use it. The subway and the easiness of moving around is clearly one of the best things there are in New York.

I could definately visit New York again and again, it can never bore me.

And on the trip A and I also had a dinner with two new blogging friends from the Blogging Your Way e-course. Thank you Nina from no. 40 and Santa from Homestilo for meeting up, I had a very nice time with you!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Packing for a vacation

I like to travel light. But I don't travel with only my passport and I do have some clothes with me but not much. I mainly like to travel light because I'm not a very strong person, I just don't have the strenght to lift up a heavy bag, or to carry one up stairs or pulling one behind me on a road. So it's a whole lot easier to travel light. Also I must admit that being small myself and that I usually wear quite fitted clother makes it much easier to travel light. A pair of my trousers takes up about third of the space A's trousers do.

Typically I would take a small bag with wheels. But to the States where we were leaving I had planned some shopping so I took  bigger bag to have extra room for the souvenir.

I have a notebook where I've written a general list of things I need to pack with me. I have there a separate list for summer trip, fall/spring trip and winter trip. Also I have a separate list for a cabin trip. I've had these same lists for years. The lists are not very detailed. For example the list just says I need to pack shirts, it does not say how many shirts and what type. Since I have this permanent list on a notebook I don't strike over the things I've allready put in the luggage, I can remember what I've allready packed and what I have not packed.

I try to make sure I have done some laundry before the trip so I can choose what ever I want, also I try to make sure all the clothes I choose go well with each other, so I don't end up in a situation on the trip where I have only one shirt and one trousers left and they don't go well together.

For a weeks trip I take one pair of trousers in the luggage. Then I take maybe two to three undershirts or t-shirts. I don't change my shirt everyday even at home. I also take one or two long sleeved shirts, one lighter one and one warmer one. I take underpants ones per day of travel including the day of return. If the trip is longer than a week I only take about weeks worth of underpants and then I assume I can wash them in between somewhere. Socks I also take one pair per travel day. Then I do take one extra pair of shoes, incase it rains one day and shoes get wet. I hate wet shoes. What else... For this trip I did not take a towel, since we are staying in a hotel. Well I do take soap and shampoo and lotion with me. I have these in travel size containers and store them in a ziplock bag for situations when I've taken only hand luggage with me. Also I sometimes take flip flops with me even to city vacations, since the hotel showers can be quite gross sometimes. Now we had booked a room from a fancier hotel, so I left those home.

My packing style is to first fold and then roll all the clothes. I think in that way they don't wrinkle that much and are easy to retrieve from the bag. In the picture you don't see my underwear.

Since I now took a bigger bag with me and the stuff I put in there did not really fill the bag up I was left with some empty space. The bag does not have many compartments and the clothes would just flow around in the bag and get all wrinkly. At least by the time the throwers are moving the bag to the cargo the insides are going to get all mixed up and I don't want that.

I think I was quite a genius when I came up with an idea of using luggage strap to hold the clothes in place. There is a hard sheet on the bottom of the bag and I pushed the strap from underneath the sheet and over the clothes to make a nice bundle.


Oh and by the way later I added a small umbrella and cell phone charger and camera charger in to the bag and some pain killers.

Friday, 25 November 2011

At the roof tile factory

When I started my teahouse building I did not have any specific plan on how I'm going to make it and I certainly had not made any plans on paper or calculated how much materials I would need. I just went to the crafting store and bought some amount of wood and some other materials. I thought I wouldn't need much materials at all and the whole teahouse could be built in less than 40 euro. Well I was dumb as a boot.

I had allready visited to the crafting store twice after the initial shopping trip to stock up on the wood and on superglue. The third trip I took there was to get more modeling clay for making roof tiles. Here are the tools I used for making the roof tiles. Knife for cutting, ruler for measuring obviously, jar as a rolling pin and glass sheet as a workbase.

Originally I had bought two packages of FIMO modeling clay, I was certain that would be way enought, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Then I made the mistake of mixing two colours, black and brown, I wanted dark brown roof tiles.

While I was mixing the first batch I noticed the mixing was lot of work. It was lot more burdensome than I had thought. The colour was fine though at that point, but when the roof tiles hardened in the oven they turned allmost black. I had been to so much trouble and then the end result was almost black anyway. Now I had done the first batch and did not want to start over so I needed to make the following batches equal. Also I noticed that from two packages of modeling clay I was able to make one fourth of the roof. Only one fourth!

Well I had started making the tiles like that and I was not going to back out now. So mixed up the next three batches of the clay, cut the straight tiles and hardened them in the oven. This took several evenings. Then I made arched tiles to go in between the straight tiles, I used my roof tile cutter with great success.

I draw a form for the arched tile on paper and formed the tiles on top of it, so I could get the tiles somewhat uniform.

Then I baked the arched tiles too. And here is how my roof tile factory worked like for many many days and I don't think the plastic smell is ever going to leave from the oven. Stay tuned for the tiling of the roof maybe next week.

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This post belongs to the series of posts for the I'm a Giant challenge by Emily Henderson. All my posts about the challenge can be found behing this link.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Winter decoration with string of lights

I showed you allready the glowing orbs, which were created with string of lights. Here is another string of lights idea.

Well the lights are from a store but what covers the light bulbs are "snowballs" I made last winter. I'm afraid I have no making-of pictures but I'll try to explain how I made them.

What you need is
  • waterballoons or regular balloons blown very small
  • yarn
  • wallpaper paste or glue watered down
  • somewhere where to hang the balloons to dry
What I did was to blow the balloons and then I rolled a good amount of white crocheting yarn on the balloon. I dipped the balloon to a cup of wallpaper paste and then took it out and wiped the excess paste off. You could also take a long piece of yarn and dip it into the paste and then roll it on the balloon like is done in this gorgeous blog post. I just did not want to guess how much yarn I would need for one balloon.

I tied a piece of yarn to the knot on the balloon and hang the balloons to dry. Next day they were perfectly dry and I poked the balloon with a needle and removed the scraps of the balloon by one of the holes there is left between the yarn.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Furniture and bedding for the teahouse

Like all house builders I too get excited about the interior design before the house is actually even finished. Which means I have been creating furniture and designing the indoors more lately.

On the I'm a Giant challenge we were actually supposed to decorate a dollhouse and while I've been watching some telly I started to work on the furniture and bedding. So one evening I started to make futons (matresses) to the teahouse.

I know in Japan people most likely don't sleep in teahouses, but in my teahouse sleeping is approved. Then I ofcourse will aslo make pillows and and blankets. One cannot sleep without a pillow or a blanket.

For the tea seremony I made a low table. The tabletop is made of balsa and the legs are wood. I lightly painted it white.

And also to make the seating more comfortable I made seat cushions. It's from the same fabric I made my own pillow for the sofa.

According to Emily Henderson who's put up the challenge the big reveal of the finished house is December 15th. I have no idea what happens then, but I quess that is the day when I will post the final post about the tearoom and show you what it looks like with all the details.

Also the resident is moving in on the 15th and he will have a housewarming party and you are all welcome!

~ ~ ~

This post belongs to the series of posts for the I'm a Giant challenge by Emily Henderson. All my posts about the challenge can be found behing this link.

Friday, 18 November 2011

New lanterns in the conservatory

I bought new lanterns Mörkt from Ikea. To tell the truth I had ok lanterns even before, one was a bit too rusty and hard to open but the other ones were fine. I just got tired of them beeing so old fashioned and they were all different. I wanted something more uniform and more modern.

That's before, in that picture the lanterns do look beautiful though, it's taken last year in December. I really need to take a picture of the new lanterns in dusk too and with snow (wich we don't have yet).

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

How to make a (cookie) cutter out of a can

I needed a cutter for the roof tiles, I have to make so many of them and it would be a pain to measure and cut them all separetely. I created the cutter from thin aluminium that I got out of a beer can. We did not have any empty cans at home and since we don't drink soda or pop or whatever you call them I had to empty one beer can... on monday. The sacrifices one has to make for crafts, Oh!

So to make a cutter, I cut the can open, I use regular scissors to do that. If you have only a very nice pair of scissors that are beautifully sharpened, then maybe use some other tool for the cutting since the aluminium might damage or atleast blunt the scissors.

Cut out a strip from the can and bend one edge a bit over to make the edge less sharp, this edge will be the top edge of the cutter, so you don't hurt your hands. 

I made a very small cutter so I made it from only a one layer of can aluminium. If you require something more sturdy, cut out a wider piece and then fold and press it in half lenghtwise, that edge will be the cutting side. Then bend the two edges on the other edge over to make the edge where your hands will press the cutter. 

Then I form the cutter, the hardest thing is to keep the corners perpendicular to the egde, so the cutter will not get crooked.

I cut off the excess material and glue the flaps together, trying to make sure the edges are again on the same level. I've used two composite epoxy resin, not sure if that is the best glue to use if you are really making cookie cutters. Although I doubt the glue is going to leave any residues on the cookies once it's hardened. I read someplace that you could even staple the flaps together. I haven't tried that but it might work. So once the glue had dried I had myself a very nice roof tile cutter.

~ ~ ~

This post belongs to the series of posts for the I'm a Giant challenge by Emily Henderson. All my posts about the challenge can be found behing this link.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Small decluttering and organizing

I was quite busy on the weekend and also still a bit tired from beeing sick earlier. On friday we had a friend's wedding and saturday was then a bit tired day and I took a long long nap. On sunday it was fathers' day here in Finland and we visited my grandpa and my parents and also A's parents.

But I did manage to declutter and organize a few places. Inspired by the 28 days challenge to get home holiday ready by Simplify 101 I decluttered the food containers in the kitchen. We store the lids and the containers separately in two boxes in a kitchen cupboard.

For some reason we had way more lids than containers and I was able to throw most of the lids to the trash. Also I threw out some containers that were not as sturdy as I hoped they were.

So that was the decluttering, then on saturday I did some organizing too. In the office A has a chest of drawers where he stores all types of junk. I have no clue what he has on three of the drawers, but on the fourth, on the top one, he has office supplies. I had organized the top drawer once before, but I now wanted to organize it again because I had bought from a drift store earlier two cutlery holders and wanted to use one of them in this place.

I was hoping I could have decluttered some of the stuff inside the drawer while I organized it, but according to A all the things in there are usefull and needed regularly. For example he'll most likely need six pencil sharpeners simultaniously...

Friday, 11 November 2011

Some organizing of the crafts stuff

I've been a bit sick this week. I did not feel too bad and often when I have a cold I don't get much fever or anything, I just feel tired. Since I'm hardly ever really sick I find it hard to just sleep or lay down all day. That's why I usually do something while I'm at home. This time I did organize one craft stuff box that's in my crafting cabinet.

I took the box to the livingroom where I could sort the stuff while watching telly, and where I could also lay down on the sofa if I felt tired. I took everything out and then sorted things.

I was able to find few things to trash and few things that I will be taking to the charity.

This time I wrote on the gift bags I have inside the box what they will contain. The bags were quite handily each a bit bigger to another, so I was able to line them up and wrote the content on the top of the bag. I'm a bit amazed I had not figured that out before.

So the one in the back contains stickers and stamping things, the one in the middle has beads and other materials and the one in fron has all sorts of ribbons.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Glowing orbs - Replicated decorational idea

Have you read the blog The Art of Doing Stuff? Well you should, Karen who writes the blog and does occasional videos, is so funny, so so funny. Check it out, it's funny!

In a video of hers you can see some glowing orbs, those are also featured in this post. Those look amazing. On sunday I went to the city of Hämeenlinna with two friends of mine to visit a store, Metsänkylän Navetta, which sells allsorts of old stuff and also those round glass shades. I bought three beautifull, but dusty, shades.

Then I also needed to buy string of lights. I had a few at home allready but not enough. I bought lights that can be used indoors and outdoors, because on summer I'd love to transfer the glowing orbs out, they look so great on Karens backyard and I'm sure they'll look great on our backyard too.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Roof structures

I have allready told you that I've had some difficulties with the roof on the I'm a giant challenge. And I'm still having difficulties with the roof, but atleast the roof structures are now done. Phew. What was most difficult was to find the perfect glue that would hold the wood pieces together.

I started out by building the general structure out of site and afterwards moved it on place.

At first I used hot glue, 'cos I thought it would be easy to use because it hardens so fast. Well, it wasn't any good, it did not attach well and it was too bendy. When I tried to attach the middle supports, I managed to break the whole thing. Argh!

Then I tried super glue and that just sucked right into the wood and no glue was left on the surface to actually work as glue. Also tried two composite epoxy resin but that was just too difficult. Then I had nothing else to use but the regular wood glue. On the end it was the best eventhough it dried so slowly that I had attach one or two pieces at a time and then take a 15 to 30 min break.

When I had the main structure done I lifted it on the teahouse and glued it on.

The traditional shrines and teahouses have a curved eaves and I wanted my tearoom to have similar type of roof. After lot of thinking and some consultation from A, I figured out how to make the eaves. I glued two pieces of balsa wood together in a 90 degrees angle, so I got both of the directions on the final product equally strong. Balsa is wood where the strength of the wood is very different depending on the angle of the fibers in the wood.

I cut out the forms of the curve of the eaves with crafting knife and glued them on the roof structure.

There you see the basic form. Then I attached the roof laths where the roof tiles will be placed on.

So, there you have it. A finished roof structure. Now left to do are gazillion roof tiles and to put them on and then the actual decoration of the tearoom. Easy peasy.

~ ~ ~

This post belongs to the series of posts for the I'm a Giant challenge by Emily Henderson. All my posts about the challenge can be found behing this link.
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