Monday, 30 January 2012

Winter weather

We've had the best winter weather, there is nice amount of snow, sun has shined and it's well below zero. Best weather to enjoy winter sports and to air home textiles.

And about winter sports. A had an accident. He fell while downhill skiing and something snapped in his knee. One or more ligaments in his knee have broke either fully or partly. We hope it's only partly, if those are fully broken then he needs surgery. He will have MRI on monday so we'll know more after that.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Patch for trousers

I had a hard time figuring out what to post about today.  I have done only very small things lately. Nothing big and nothing spectacular. But I had a few things to choose from and chose 'patch for a hole in the trousers'. The patch is not my best work, actually it's quite hideous looking, but it works.

In places where lot of strain is directed at garments the glueing method I did previously does not work, eventually the glue gives in and the hole in the trousers returns. The place I needed to fix was the butt of A's jeans.

These jeans will replace A's work jeans which are in much worse shape than these are. For the patch I cut out a piece of fabric and rounded the edges. Then I pinned the patch on to the back side trying to keep the fabric flat. Then I zigzaged the edges.

Then comes the most important part. I zigzag the whole patch area so it's filled. These stitches are what is keeping the fabric in one piece and keeping it strong.

From the right side it looks like this. If you choose a thread colour closer to the colour of the garment and make sure the fabric stays flat all the time the patch will be almost invisible.

This type of patch is very burdensome to make by hand and if I couldn't have use a sewing machine I wouldn't have fixed this. But since the butt of A's jeans just and just fitted in the machine the patch was not hard to make. I could never fix my own jeans like this, since they are way smaller, also my jeans never break from the bumb but always from the knee, it's impossible to gather half of a lenght of the leg and then machine sew inside the leg.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

That's a plan

So I had a plan. I was about to remove all the wallpaper from the office and then paint the walls. I knew that the wallpaper in the livingroom which I removed few years ago was on very tight, so I thought I was prepared. In the office there are two layers of wallpaper, the rosy one and under is a stripy one.

I watered the wallpaper with a pressure sprayer (hope you know what I mean, I have no idea what that thing is even in Finnish) and the top wallpaper, the rosy one, almost slide off. I was able to rip it out in whole sheets. It was amazing.

Then I watered the old wallpaper, the stripy one. I watered and tried to rip the wallpaper off, but it was very stuck. Then I watered some more and tried to scrape it off, that didn't work. I even borrowed a steamer meant for removing wallpaper from A's parents'. That didn't work either. After one evening of work and messing around with the steamer, this is all that I had done.

That looks just pathetic.

Then I started to think that I need to change my plan. According to Benita you can paint over wallpaper and eventhough I trust her to tell the truth I still hesitate. So since the rosy wallpaper comes out so easily I will remove only that and leave the stripy one be. I will spackle the edges and some holes and then paint. I know I could just paint right over, but I'm still afraid that since the top wallpaper can be removed so easily that it will start to remove on it's own once I wet it with paint.

So that's the new plan.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Happy to do nothing

The start of this year has been really busy for me, because I started a new job and I needed to get a car and for some reason I've had lot of things on the evenings too. I'm not used to being busy, I normally have lots of free time and have time to do what ever I feel like. But now on the weekend I finally had nothing planned, so I pretty much did nothing, which was great. I went cross country skiing and watched a few movies and started to crochet granny squares. Maybe I'll make a blanket from them someday.

Friday, 20 January 2012


I was just wondering that have you ever seen grey sand? Because I haven't. I've seen black, beige, yellow, white and red sand, but I've never seen grey. I've seen grey stones and many of them, but not sand. Isn't that odd? I've also seen grey gravel. Why is there no grey sand? What happens to the stone when it get's smaller, does it reflect light in a different way so that it does not seem grey anymore?

Not that the grey sand is particulaly important, but I'm still thinking of making the dry landscape zen garden around the Teahouse and I've been checking some pictures of zen gardens and I noticed that grey gravel has been used in most of them. In miniature scale I would be using sand obviously, I even have the sand ready and will be using that eventhough it is yellowish. But I just started to wonder why I haven't seen any grey sand. Is there grey sand where you come from?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Things to do out of a Christmas tree, parts 3 and 4 out of 4

Hihey, a sequel to monday's post. Today I'm going show two more things I made from the Christmas tree.

Part 3

I made a very simple bouquet from the left over fir braches. I created the bouguet to a bowl and used a floral foam on the bottom where I could stick the fir braches. The foam is absolutely not necessary if a more upright vase is used.

Then just poked the foam full of braches. Nothing fancy and not difficult at all. And I ended up with a quite pretty and fresh bouquet.

Part 4
Hearth wreath

I also wanted to make a wreath, but I didn't want to make a round one, since I've made one allready. So for the upcoming Valentine's day (isn't a month from now an upcoming event?) I made a heart shaped wreath.

From a wire hanger and some additional wire I bended a heart form, then for extra sturdiness I attached two long fir branches on either side.

Then as I did on the earlier wreath I started making small bundles from the fir and attached them with thin wire to the base. When I reached the bottom I just thinned the bundles and took a few longer branches and placed them last. I hung the wreath to the backyard in the pergola, now we are able to see the wreath from the office.

Now, any ideas on what I should do with the trunk of the Christmas tree? :)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Things to do out of a Christmas tree, parts 1 and 2 out of 4

On friday I asked your ideas on what I should do with a Christmas tree that is so healthy and nice that it would be a shame to throw it in the trash. Thanks for all the replies, what I got from your replies was that it would not be odd to keep the tree or parts of it and that was exactly the thing I wanted to hear. So here are two ideas on what to do with a Christmas tree.

Idea 1
Keep the tree as a house plant

I wanted to move my furniture back in their own places, but the tree was hogging their space. That meant that the tree needed to be shrunk somehow which means that I needed cut it shorter. I chose a spot where many branches leave from the same level and saw half a feet under that.

I took a large glass jar and filled it with water and just placed the tree there, so it's resting on the branches. Added a ribbon on the top of the jar.

Idea 2 
Ice sculptures

Those are the things you need for the fir inspired ice sculptures plus different size buckets and containers and water. The ideas for the ice sculptures came from my now ex boss Tatyana (name changed). Tatyana sent me pictures of ice sculptures she had made. When I saw them I knew I could use some fir braches in them.

Idea 2a
Ice plate

I filled a pot lid with water and pushed five fir branch tips on the water in snow flake form. I left it outside to freeze for about 24 hours. After it was all frozen I removed the ice from the lid using warm water. I wanted to hang the plate on the wall so I needed to add a hole to it.

I warmed up a knitting needle with a tealight and melted a hole on the ice.

Then I added a ribbon and hung the iceplate in the conservatory.

Idea 2b
Ice lantern

There are a few ways to make a ice lantern, the most traditional way is to fill a bucket with water, freeze it for some time until enough ice has been formed on the sides and the top. Other style is to freeze blocks of ice solid and use them as a lanterns. I made both. I used a spice cake form on the last one.

For the more regular ice lantern I taped fir branches on the top of the bucket with duck tape.

I let both of them froze for allmost two days. It was about minus 6 Celsius (21 F), the water in the spice cake form froze solid and in the bucket the top was about 5 cm (2 in) thick. The sides were a bit thinner.

Here I am removing the lantern from the bucket (notice that I'm not wearing any shoes, you should! Ice water is... well icy). Then I cut off the pieces of the branches that poked out from the ice. And here are both of the lanterns.

Thank you Tatyana for these great ice ideas!


Parts three and four coming on wednesday.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Asking for ideas

I need your help. Today, on friday, is the day of Nuutti. That in Finnish folklore means that the Christmas peace ends and Nuutti comes and steals away the Christmas. Earlier in Finland it was a habit to dress up as Nuutti-goat with scary looking antlers and wander from house to house and make pranks. Anyway what this day means is that the Christmas is officially over. I have removed all other decorations except the tree.

And the tree is what I need your ideas for. What should I do with a tree that is in perfect shape and does not drop any needles but that would look dumb sitting in the livingroom in february?

We vacuumed last week, so over 7 days ago and I counted the needles that had dropped from the tree after that. Quess how many had dropped?

It was 14 needles, 14! This tree is amazing. It's the healthiest tree we've ever had. It would be a shame to throw it in the trash. So I'm asking your help. What should I do with the tree? Any ideas?

Should I put it in the terrace? Make a wreath out of it? Use it in the garden for covering up plants? All ideas are very welcome!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


When I saw the terrarium at the Brick House, I knew I had to have one too. Then I started to look for a glass bowl from the drift stores, but it appears that everyone in Finland either loves these big bowls and they don't give them away or that no one has them. Then I had the idea of asking a one for the Christmas and I got one.

Then I also got some plants, we had at home a cactus that was a bit overgrown. But also I did buy other plants, allthough much smaller plants than on the Brick House because I bet they will be growing fast and filling up the bowl in no time.

I harshly cut the long cactus in shorter pieces, A has once done that before and the cactus grew new roots in no time. I used a folder newpaper to hold on to the cactus, this invidual had such a long and stingy spikes.

I used cactus compost on the bowl and planted the plants. On top of the soil I sprinkled vulcanic rock sand that I had collected from Island. I know I collect the oddest things, but the sand was so beautiful and black. In the Brick House lava rocks were used and they look excellent also.

You see that I used two pieces from the long cactus, I'm not sure if the one that's from inbetween the long cactus can survive, but so far it looks kind of fun, I like it's shape, reminds me of a carambola. I'm ready to pick it off if it doesn't stay looking good.

I'm a bit disappointed, because I don't think my terrarium looks anything as good the ones in the Brick House. Maybe it's because my plants are smaller, or that the sand I used is not very interesting on the top. I hope it gets better when the plants grow.

Monday, 9 January 2012


Hihhey! It's finally freezing outside. It's been minus seven or so Celcius (15 F) today. I've been quite waiting for it to get that cold. Not only because snow is nice and ice is nice, but because it's the perfect time to defrost and clean the freezer.

Not that it couldn't be defrosted any other time but when it's freezing outside all the food that's stored in the freezer can be taken outside and then you have all the time in the world to clean the freezer.

Our freezer has a handy nozzle that can be pulled out so all the water can be drained to a plate or a container. It sometimes leaks though so it must be checked from time to time.

So I take the food out and remove all the baskets from the freezer and take them to the bathroom for a wash. I clean them with diswashing liquid and a brush, then I rince them. I leave them in the bathroom to dry, while the freezer defrosts and while I clean the insides of the freezer.

Done! Cleaning the freezer is pretty easy. Only thing that takes long is the defrosting, but while that happens I can do something else.

And incase you are interested in what I have there and how it's organized. I have prepared food on the top drawer, icecubes and yeast on the white tray. Then on the second drawer I have non cooked meat and vegetables and on the bottom drawer I have berries and some baked goods, like muffins and cakes.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Terence Conran - Storage, book

This is my first ever book review and I'm not sure but this might be the last one also, since I want to make this review only because the book is so good.

The book is by Terence Conran and it's title is Storage - get organized. I think the "get organized" text is a bit too big of a promise but othervise it truly is a book that tells you everything about storage. I once borrowed this book from the library and after that I've borrowed many more Conran books, but this is the one book that I've enjoyed the most. Then when we were in New York and we visited a Conran shop and I saw this book there I just had to buy it. I normally don't buy books at all, so that was quite exceptional.

In general Conran books are well written, they are neat and aesy to read, there are no useless nick nack info scattered around the pages. He writes full chapters and complete sentences which is extraordinary for an interior design book. The writing is very informative and he even states on the prolog that people shoud really read the book instead of just flipping through the pictures, which are amazing too.

What to me is inspirational in this particular book is that the variety of storage and styles and display is so broad. The writer does not discriminate any style or way to organize. Also in his writing I get a feeling that he has really done all the steps for getting organized himself and not just listing things he thinks might be usefull. Also when he writes about certain areas in the house he seems realistic and takes into consideration that people are different and enjoy different things. In other interior design books I sometimes get a feeling that the writer brings out his or her own opinion too much and pushes his or her ideas as the only truth. To me Conran doesn't seem to do that.

The subject of the book is very specific and maybe not for people who are not interested in organizing at all. But for anyone who wants to better their storage solutions or figure out new ways to keep their collections or displays looking nice this is an excellent book. To actually get organized, this book does not provide enough specific steps and for working on the organizing I'd rather suggest something like Simplify 101 workshop or the Apartment Therapy - Eight step home cure book.

This is a thick book and not the lightest read. This is most likely the only interior design book where I've learned anything. Storage is so tightly involved in the interior and making the storage work will affect your home more than any new furniture or design item ever will.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

First snow!

Can you believe that on monday we had our first snow! On the 2nd of January! We've only had slush before and rain. But now snow! Yay!!!

And lots of it!

Monday, 2 January 2012

The grand plan

 It's almost a year since I started to plan the office redo. It has not moved on at all. But now it's going to. I've discussed this with you before and you gave me some excellent ideas. This is the office floor plan now.

Here are also few pictures from the room, they were taken last spring, but the room has not changed one bit (except that I donated those big pillows on the bed just this saturday).

What we want from the room is that it can hold all the paperwork in the shelves, a computer station for A, a guest bed, a table for crafting and sewing and a chair for reading. Also I want it to be open and fresh and white. So here is how the floor plan will be.

And here is what we are going to do: Floorplan
  • Buy a Sesam wall bed mechanism and place the guest bed inside a closet (the grey rectangle in the floorplan)
  • Move the shelf on the small window wall closer to the small window (the yellow long rectangle)
  • Move the table against the big window wall, or even get a new table
  • Place a table board inside the shelf (the yellow rectangle on the top right corner) to create a computer station
  • Get a nicer looking office chair for A

Building, painting and sewing
  • Remove wallpaper and paint the room white or light colour
  • Make a closet for the guest bed
  • Paint the shelves white
  • Sew a roman blind for the big window or get a roller blind
  • Sew a slipcover for the chair

I want to thank Kattis for introducing me the Sesam wall bed mechanism. We are planning a trip to Stockholm this winter and are most likely going to buy the mechanism from there. How do you like my plan? Any gaps found? I know it's going to be lot of work. I especially dread the painting of the shelves, that is going to be very labourous, but I hate the shade of the wood the shelves are now.
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