Friday, 31 August 2012

What is there on the roof

Look there is a goat on the roof!

Hope I got you distracted enough to notice that I don't have anything to post today. Have a nice weekend.
(Pictures taken in Norway near Eidfjord of the roof of the Handergervidda Natursenter)

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Cooking crayfish

We have had crayfish parties for seven years in a row now, but never before had I cooked the crayfish myself. In the end it was really easy just as long as one has the heart to cook the crayfish, because those are cooked alive, like most crabs are. Check here for the recipe.

It is so odd how they change colour when cooked, first the crayfish is brown and immediately when they are sunk into boiling water they turn bright red. It's like magic. Sorry about the quality of the pictures, I used my cellphone to take these. Also I forgot to take any photos of the cooked crayfish so I had to use last years crayfish photos.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Winding a ball of yarn

I just few days ago learned how to wind a ball or yarn that runs from the center. I got an old book about knitting called Kutomisen käsikirja printed in 1946 by Pellervo-seura. Most books these days don't pay much attention to how to handle yarn, but that old one does and in that book I found instructions how to wind a ball of yarn that runs from the center. I hope I'm not stepping on anyones' toes by sharing those instructions.

First yarn is rolled over all fingers, a small piece of yarn is left hanging so the ball can be easily unwind later. When there is a small bundle the yarn is taken out from the fingers and then the yarn will be rolled over this bundle. To keep the ball loose thumb is kept between the new and the old rolled yarn.

The yarn will be rolled loosely slightly varying the direction until the yarn ends. The trickyest part is to keep the yarn loose and not tighten it over the ball.

Normally I've rolled my yarn so that it runs from the surface of the ball, but I've always found that to be so annoying, the ball rolls and jumps all over and tangles everywhere. I'm really happy I found a solution for that.

I loved the solution so much that I thought of rewinding all my yarn, but got to my sences. But I will wind all the yarn like this in the future.

Friday, 24 August 2012

I think we have some unfinished business

In the blog world there circles this challenge to show four unfinished projects in your blog. I didn't personally receive this challenge but Norsis from Hupsistarallaa challenged everyone to catch this and so I did. I found the idea of this challenge to be very appropriate in my blog and to actually any crafts or home improving blog. Also because I've been bit busy on the evenings (two crayfish parties on the same week!) and have not got much anything done, so it is great to have some blog post material just handed to me.

Here are my four

Yes it's supposed to be an onion bag and no I'm not on second grade. I had to laugh when I started making this. I think the onion bag was the dullest and ugliest craft one could think of when I was twelve. I was planning to keep bulbs on it, I tend to always have hyasint and daffodil bulbs after the holidays and early spring and then I have no place where to keep them. But onion bags are still, at least this one is, as horrible looking as they were when I was twelve so I might have to unravel this one.

Next one you have already seen. It's the lamp where from I removed some rust a while ago.

Those gloves I started on midsummer and almost finished them then. They are practicly done. I just nee to tie off the threads.

This chair we also got with the heritage. It had a horrible looking red plastic seat cover that was attached to it with millions of nails and staples. I removed it and this green black paint with a really sticky surface appeared. I'm not really sure what I should do with this. All ideas are highly appreciated.

Take up the challenge if you like, I think it's fashinating to see what everyone is working on. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Preparing old yarn for a new project

Some of the projects I do never end up being finished. Like a project where I knitted fronts to pillows. I was planning to have mine and A's intitials on the pillows and I did make those fronts. But once I had done them I realized I didn't like them, they were just not me. But yarn should not go to waste. I'm not a person to unravel knitwear bought from the store but if I've bought yarn I cannot just throw that away.

So these I did unravel and ended up with a pile looking like instant noodle. You should not use this noodle for knitting new things. The knit wont look good, believe me I've tried. The yarn should be coiled and then washed to get back the softness and original shape of the yarn.

I realized an additional function in my office stool. It is an axcellent tool for coiling yarn. I flip the chair around and spin the legs while I keep the yarn running through my other hand. It's unbelievably handy. I tie the coil from three places so it holds its shape while washing.

The coils then need to be washed by hand and hung to dry. I place a light weight through the coil so also the bottom part of the coil dries straight and does not stay in noodle shape. This time I used a short aluminium handle from a mop. It was just perfect weight.

When the coils dried I had beautiful fluffy yarn again to use for another project.

Monday, 20 August 2012

The office tour

Hello and welcome to the office tour! The office is finally finished, at least I'm calling it finished even though there were a few things on the to do list that I am still left to do. Hover over the next three pictures to see the before picture. (Thank you Christina for the tutorial about the animation)

I couldn't be happier about the new office space, we have so much open floor area and I have plenty of work surface for taking photos, sewing, crafting and working with the computer. I now have the table higher than it was before so I can also stand while working.

I'm still so in love with my wall cubbies. I placed in them stuff I use most often. One of the clear boxes holds glues and other different tools. I have my sewing toolbox on the top cubbie and there is also some yarn. On display I have my tapes, so I remember to use them.

The door side of the room has A's shelf and the guest bed that I bought and attached the Sesam wall bed mechanism to. Now it takes so little space, I love it. I am still planning to build a closet to hide the bed, but I'm not hurrying that, I will build it when I have some time and motivation for it.

I was also planning to get a new office chair for A, but we have not find any that both looked good and was functional. Many nice looking chairs lacked some ergonical issues like armrests and the adjustments were poor. I might make a slip cover for the chair later.

The other side is mostly mine. The narrow shelf part on the right holds more of A's stuff. But most of the shelf holds my things. When I planned what I should keep in my shelf I desided to give some area to the unfinished crafts projects. So I added one wooden box and two baskets on the bottom of the shelf on the left. Now I'm happy to say those are mostly empty, but usually I have many craft projects going on at the same time and previously I had no place where to keep those so they just sat on all horizontal surfaces which did not look good.

Lastly, this is my view to the garden from my work space. I love being able to see outside while creating.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. I certainly did. 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Good apple year

I really wanted to show you the office already, but there are few minor details still unfinished like the cable to the other speaker and few things of A's are still on the floor. Maybe I'm getting too much of a perfectionist. But believe me it's a lovely room and I'd like to show it to you at it's best.

So... this year seems to become a pretty good apple year. So good that one of the braches in our apple tree broke under the heavy weight.

I actually left the brach still hanging there. There is so much of unharmed bark so the leaves and apples have stayed healthy looking and are still growing. I will cut the branch later in the fall.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

New soap from old soap

I've got to warn you before we go to the actual post that this could cause some disgust. At least it did that to me.

I have always liked soap bars more than liquid soap. I think it's because of the packaging. I don't like to buy plastic bottle every time I buy soap. I once even had bar shampoo, but that was a bit tricky to use so now I do buy regular liquid shampoo. But on washing hands bar soap works fine. 

Apparently I'm very cheap. Because who in their right mind would save small bar soap slivers. And I'm talking about very small pieces, some of the size of my thumb nail, just few millimeter thick slivers. I have hard time understanding why I saved them, because they disgust me. There is something about used soap slivers, they feel dirty, even though I don't think they are actually any more dirty than a soap bar that has been used once. But for some reason I wanted to save them to make a new bar of soap from them.

Now I had accumulated a small amount of them and I also had two bars of soap formed like an angel. Angels are not my cup of tea. I had had them quite a while, I got them as a present from a friend, but they never ended up next to the sink. I had once a candle that looked like a Santa Claus, I had big problems burning it because it meant that the Santa Claus head would be in fire and then melt. That was just too cruel. I think there is the same problem with the angel soap, I don't want to disfigure the angels by using the soap. I had no problem grating them though.

Here is a great video on how to reuse the old soap. I used that as a guideline when I redid my soap. But I grated my soap, so when I added water to cover the soaps I did not have to use as much of it and I did not have to wait more than 15 minutes for the soap to soften. Okey this is when it gets gross. After the 15 minutes the soap water combination looked like snot and behaved like snot. Yack. Really really disgusting.

I prepared some containers where I could then pour the soap. I had some metal baking forms and also two conserve packages. I just washed the later ones, but I did oil the baking forms to prevent the soap from stucking on them.

Then I heated up the soap water solution and it turned more runny and it was then easy to pour into the containers. I let the soap harden for a day and then tryed to take them out from the containers. The soap was easy to remove from the conserve packages but I couldn't get them out from the baking forms. So I popped the soap with the metal forms to the freezer for about half an hour, when the soap had hardened it was easy to remove the soap.

After 24 hours the soap felt quite soft still and I left the soap to dry on the kitchen counter for a few days. When the water evaporates the soap will get a more harder surface and then they are more easier to handle. Also the soap will loose it's volume quite a lot when the water evaporates, so make sure you make make a big enough soap bar in the first place so you don't end up with a bar of the size of the slivers. I actually think I could have used less water, I think the heat itself will melt the soap and mix it well. I assume the whole process would have been much quicker with much less water. But then I really do suggest grating the soap like I did instead of using big chuncks as in the video.

I don't claim that the soap I remade is pretty. It's actually pretty darn ugly. So I doubt I will inspire anyone to save up their soap slivers, but incase someone was already thinking of doing this he or she could get some hints. I think I could have used some food colouring like the video suggested. But it's just soap, not even the prettiest soap bar will look that pretty once it's been used couple of times.

The dark top on the soaps came from the glitter that the angel soaps had. I first freaked out that I had burned the soap water solution on the stove but then realized those were just the glitter that had sunk to the bottom.

But nice wrapping will always save the day.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Giant washi tape

Look what I got from work! Giant washi tape rolls, two of them!

I don't really understand why the washi tape is such a hit as it is now, but I had also bought few rolls of washi tape with big money. The tapes are seriously expensive.

At work I sit close by to the designers of the company and they have alsorts of interesting material samples just lying about. I admired these washi tape rolls to one of the designers and once she noticed how much I liked them she offered them to me. Apparently they didn't have any use for the tapes.

It is good to open your mouth from time to time and let people know what you are interested in.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Cubbies on the wall

Remember those cubbies I showed long long time ago? Perhaps not. Anyway these were part of the heritage we got some time ago. Since then the cubbies have been waiting for the painting in the office to be finished. That was a long wait.

I took out the shelves with cardboard boxes from the cubbies. The boxes were glued really hard on the shelves and  first tryed to rip the boxes off, but the shelf boards broke and I ended up throwing all the shelves and the boxes to trash. In the end I did not even need the shelves, since I desided to turn the cubbies on their side.

I drilled holes to back plate of the cubbies and asked A to hold the first cubbie on level against the wall. After I marked the places of the holes I drilled the wall and attached the first cubbie on the wall with srews. To level the second shelf with the first one I used books to hold the second cubbie on the wall while I marked the places to drill.

I think the cubbies are super nice and handy too. Here you also see my work surface. We had a table in the office before but I didn't like it's wooden colour, so I bought a new table top from Ikea and attached the old legs to it.

Now I have been filling the shelf (that you can just see in the right there) and the cubbies with stuff. It's unbeliavable that the office is almost finished!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Snow to water

I thought it was funny that we decided to have our summer holiday on a place where there is still snow. It was not really summery in the mountains of Norway. It wasn't even hot on the sea level, but warm. Which in a way is good. Car trips in colder areas are more pleasant than in hot ones.

The highest place where we visited was in bit less than 2000 meters (6500 feet) from the sea level. Up there were very litle anything growing. No trees, just grass. Because the fjords are formed like they are we drove up and down and up and down again. Our ears were popping from all the pressure changes.

There was still quite a lot of snow. In Stryn area there is even one ski center that is only open from spring to mid summer since on winter there is too much snow.

 Sun was melting the snow fast and we saw amazing waterfalls. And we saw those everywhere.

In Finnish we have a saying that "Small streams make a large river". Is there similar in English? I tried to google about it but couldn't find anything. Anyway the saying really was visible in the mountains in Norway. The closer to sea level we went the bigger the creeks got.

While we were looking for a cabin for the next night just south from Oppdal we accidentally bumped on river which was the scaryest but yet most beautiful rapid I've ever seen. It was called Magalaupe. It had huge potholes which were formed in the ice age and the water raged through deep grooves in the rock. I'm afraid our photos show no respect to the actually fearsomeness of the rapid. 

I made a map of the route we drove on our trip. Click on the Google map and you can zoom in. I marked all the places we spent a night in with blue and also marked a few of the best places with yellow.

View Norway 2012 in a larger map
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