Monday, November 26, 2007

Little trousers

Some tiny trousers for a little guy I know ...

It's another pattern from Suuri Käsityölehti. The material is really nice, on the inside it's fleecy, on the outside it looks like terrycloth.

I made it at the sewing course with a Bernina which had a ton of decorative stitches programmed. I like the racecar feel of this one.

I like the practicality and cuteness of this pattern and the little details. There's also an elastic band with buttonholes at the waist, so it can be adjusted to any size you need.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

knit, purl, relax

First some good news, my sewing machine is repaired and I can fetch it from the shop! :-) It's great that it'll be here again to be used, because Christmas is getting closer (argh!) and I wanted to try out some ideas for ornaments.

As for showing some finished projects here, well, I don't know if that will happen anytime soon ... I seem to be in a strange mood, where I have so many ideas and desires to make so many different things that I keep starting new projects all the time ... Like now I felt like knitting something easy and relaxing and came across this pattern in Suuri Käsityölehti 10/2007.

The pattern is by Anu Harkki, who has also written a beautiful book on knitting and a great book of home projects that I've mentioned before. She has a regular column in Suuri Käsityölehti where she's presenting a relatively quick to finish and original knitting or crocheting project each time. It's targeted at teenagers mostly, I think, but I really love the stuff she comes up with. This shrug was just what I was looking for knitting-wise, although I'm not really sure how it will look worn by me. I'm strangely attracted to shrugs, but wearing them well is another story ... We'll see! I liked the grey in the picture, but when I went to buy the yarn, I couldn't bring myself to get it and went for my all-time favourite red. It's grey enough outside at the moment! The yarn is the one recommended in the pattern, Novita Mambo and I'm knitting on 8mm circular needles, because the bigger straight ones are such a strain, sometimes. My pictures don't do the colour justice, I'm afraid. (I really want to try and find a way to take better pictures in these conditions. It's frustrating. I've been told that for example the little girl's dress-apron is so much prettier "live".)

So, I've started a new knitting project before finishing my cardigan. That makes me feel a bit bad. But I have to say that I need some courage for the cardigan, since grafting (or what you call it ...) the shoulder seams hasn't had the results I hoped for. So I'd like to successfully finish something simpler in order to feel mentally prepared to open the seams again and start afresh with sewing together my cardigan! ;-)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

playing around

Since sewing is put on hold for a while outside of my sewing courses I'll show you this:

I made this while the machine was still working, there's some sewing on paper, stamping, there are buttons, fabric and magazine clippings. Quite a lot going on here ... It was fun to make! I just was going with the flow.

My crocheting progress has been quite slow, hopefully I'll be able to show you the caps I'm making next week. Have a great weekend! :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

involuntary sewing pause

My sewing machine's bobbin winder is broken and I am frustrated! I already ordered a new one and tried to exchange it, but it turned out that the new one doesn't work either, for some reason. Also I've been so eager to be sewing with a complete machine again that I overturned the screw and now there's no getting it out anymore! Oh the foolishness! Well, before I break the machine completely, I'll bring the poor thing to be repaired by more professional and careful hands than mine!

The frustration was going on yesterday, the sewing I was planning to do was slow and there was a lot of fighting with the machine, some earrings I just bought last week broke out of no account (will have to have those repaired, too ...), and the show I wanted to buy tickets as a present to was canceled altogether. Urgh!

But: I nearly got the little dress finished, just two buttons and buttonholes in the back missing! I think it looks really cute! It'll be most likely still much too big for the little girl it's meant for, but I think it's this kind of layering piece that can be worn all year round. I hope her mom will like it, too! (It's getting really dark here, so the pictures will be a bit dark as well for a while, I'm afraid. :-( You can get a better look at the fabric in the previous post.)

I also bought some more boyish fabric for the girl's brother, which I'd like to turn into a jacket. The dark one is dark blue velour fabric, very soft.

So, since there are no sewing courses this week and the home sewing has been put to a halt as well, I'll have to resort to true handicraft. Maybe quilting a bit? My quilt is patiently waiting to be finished. Or maybe crocheting some more? I've recently made a cap for a friend's birthday.

I used this pattern and altered it a bit, adding the earflaps and the flower. I also made a simple version in gray and am still thinking whether to decorate it in some way or not. When I've resolved that question I'll show you the results. I also started a simple navy and light blue striped beanie for my godson. I hope he'll like it! Will show you that, too, when it's finished. So, now I'm off to a machine sewing-free week. Let's see what'll come out of it!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Works in progress

It's been a while ... My sewing courses and a new (temp) job have been keeping me quite busy. But still I haven't got much to show for it, since I have so many projects in progress that I really haven't finished much/anything these days. So probably there will be one big "finished projects" post some time in the (hopefully not too far) future.

Here are some glimpses of two of my projects:

I made this using one of the stencils provided at the Ottobre design website. I want to make some nice totes out of these.

This is also from a pattern by Ottobre Design (from the 1/2002 magazine). It's going to be a little girl's dressy/aprony thingy. I think this one should be finished around next week. I'm so looking forward to seeing the result that it's hard not to fiddle around with it at home, but I want everything to be just perfect, so I prefer to wait and make it under supervision. After that I'll probably crank these out like mad, because I think the design is super-cute and also quite versatile ... But you'll see! ;-)

So, I hope I'll have some more stuff to show you next week!

Friday, September 7, 2007

delicious bread

Yesterday we made some yummy bread. We used a recipe by Jamie Oliver from this book. It's the one with cheese and basil.

The dough already looked "beautiful", as Jamie would say.

Instead of the recommended flower pots we used Teema coffee cups. I love that whole series. It's so beautiful, simple, timeless and versatile, the different pieces can be used for several purposes and they are oven-to-table and microwave- and dishwasher proof. So you can use the big dinner plates also as pie-forms and the cups as muffin or bread molds. (Well, the muffins would turn out quite big, but who'd complain about that?! ;-))

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Licensed sewing

This autumn I'm taking some sewing courses at the Helsinki adult education centre. I've mainly taught myself how to do sew through books and mere trial and error. Now I'd like to learn how to "properly" do things and how to take the most out of the techniques available to me. Yesterday was my first course, the first of two installments of a course with the topic "Get to know your sewing machine". It was very interesting and I learned some new stuff and got some inspiration. It was fun to play with the sewing machine and exciting to see how much you can already get out of just straight and zigzag stitch just by making some adjustments. The teacher also made us do this little exercise for a "Sewing machine driver's license":

So now I'm licensed to sew! ;-)

In terms of productiveness I've been sewing these new pillows for our dining chairs:

I bought these fabrics about 10 (!) years ago for my poor neglected quilt and they were left over and just been waiting to serve a purpose. I like them as much as I did back then and I think they go perfectly with the colour of the chairs.

I'm really looking forward to learning more about sewing!

Monday, September 3, 2007

New old trench

Summer is officially over here in Finland since there was the first snow in Lapland last Thursday. Down here in the south it's a bit warmer, but anyway it has been high time for me to finish my trenchcoat revamp.

I like it a lot. It adds a bit of colour to rainy autumn days.

To top it all off, I added a little fabric flower to the lapel.

It was made according to this fabulous tutorial.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Since I discovered my love for make-up, lipstick has been ranking high on my list. It immediately transforms the face and gives it a fresher look. For me personally I prefer bolder colours, but sometimes I wear also toned down lipstick or none at all (especially if I'm wearing strong eye make-up). Here's a small tutorial how to apply lipstick like a pro:

First, put a bit of balm or lotion on your lips, and after some time rub them with a moist terry cloth or towel. This gets rid of chipped skin in a gentle way. Re-apply a bit of balm.

Then line only the lower lip with liner (mustn't be too dark!). Apply several layers of the lipstick you chose with a brush. In between layers blot the colour with a tissue to make it last longer. To further prolong your lip make-up's life-span you can apply a bit of compact powder with a sponge between layers.

When you're finished you can line the outer rim of your mouth with a tiny bit of foundation to emphasize your lips even further. You can also apply some concealer at the corners of your mouth to "lift" them and put a smile on your face. For extra glamour you can apply a bit of colourless gloss under the bow of your upper lip. To avoid lipstick transferring to your teeth put your index finger in your mouth, close the lips around it and turn a bit. The superfluous colour will stick to your finger now instead of your front teeth later!

One of my favourite lipsticks is L'Oréal Color Riche Star Secrets in 703 Andie Carmine. It's a beautiful red with a bit of shimmer, but not too strong, so you can wear it all day long without any fuss.

In this picture I used 710 Penélope Red from the same line. A great bold and creamy red.

Have fun wearing lipstick! :-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Blue Teddy

The denim teddy is finished! I'm thinking about adding some personality by sewing some little patches on his body and head, though.

Also I did some bathroom decoration inspired by this great and beautiful book. It's only available in Finnish, I think, but the pictures inside alone are really inspiring. There are many fun and simple ideas to "tune" ("viritetty" means "tuned" ...) little things and areas of your home and wardrobe inside.

Well, adding some pics from magazines or whatever to your tiles with plastic book foil is quite a neat idea, I think. If you get tired of them you can remove them easily without leaving ugly holes in the bathroom walls.

Friday, August 17, 2007

some other little projects

Last fall I bought a trenchcoat that was quite cheap but keeps losing its buttons all the time. This is of course extremely annoying. So I thought that if I have to keep re-attaching the buttons all the time anyway, I'm going to do it properly and change the buttons completely. Yesterday I covered these buttons, since I love red and thought a little splash of colour wouldn't go amiss.

I think they look quite cute and can't wait to see how they'll look on the coat!

Also I'm doing this:

A nice way to use up those old ripped jeans and little scraps of blue fabric! I hope mine will be as cute as the ones in the magazine. The patterns and directions are from Suuri Käsityölehti 6-7 2003.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Some things I've been working on

My first adult-size garment, if you don't count scarves, hats and socks ... It's the Short Sleeve Cardigan, pattern #19 from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2007. I substituted the recommended yarn (which was not available here) with Rowan Calmer in shade #474. I had a look at the Rowan homepage and it seems to me like the colour is discontinued now. It's a really nice olive green, a bit stronger than on the picture. And I love working with the yarn. At first I had to get used to its elasticity, but now it's relaxed knitting and the resulting fabric is very nice, I think. And a top with a bit of stretch to it can't be bad, can it?

I've had some small trouble with the pattern, misreading it, forgetting rows and all other kinds of ribbing ... But now I've cast on the right front and hope that this plus the sleeves and the finishing will go relatively smoothly now.

The bag I've been writing about is nearly finished, I just have to sew the lining and attach the snap.

This sweater is for a friend's little guy, I gave it to her yesterday. The red thing on the front is supposed to be an "a", his initial. I used a pattern from this book. There was an English version of it at the library. It has some cute and timeless baby designs in it.

I've also been sewing something from this brilliant book. It's still a secret, since the result is on it's way to it's recipients. But when the package has arrived I'll share some pics.

I'll try to finish my WIPs first before starting something else, but I've already got my eyes on Tomten from Knitting Withoug Tears, among other ideas and daydreams of future projects. Also, I want to finally finish a small painting I've been working on ... Many plans, and hopefully lots to show you soon! :-)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Blueberry time!

AAAaaah! I love blueberries! And this mix with buttermilk is just perfect! The book in the background saying "Hyvä Kokki" (Good Cook), can only mean one thing: being a good cook is easy! Just get yourself some blueberries and mix them with buttermilk, grab a spoon and voilà! ;-) :-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Summer break

Well, there has been quite a long summer absence here ... But during that time the little gray cells have been working at some ideas for some things I'd like to make and try out. So, I hope there will be some nice things to see here soon to make up for the long silence! :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

summer birds

I just had to share these ...

Swans at sea:

And a family of geese on their way to the playground:

These make me smile! :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

crochet bag

My experiment with crochet is going surprisingly well, and my first project will soon be finished. I picked the "Fit to be tied" bag from Stich'n Bitch Crochet and chose a variegrated Finnish yarn. (Cocos by Novita.) The bag is working up pretty quickly and I'm already thinking that it could be another good idea for girly presents.

Here's the gauge swatch I made:

And here's the nearly finished bag:

I'm quite pleased! :-)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

First sock FO!

Yes, my first-ever-sock is finally finished and though it's not perfect, I'm quite happy with the result!

I already cast on the second one and they are going to be the softest comfiest present for someone's feet! :-) Right now I have the ambition to buy the yarn in lost of delicious colours and make some nice socks as gifts for all my girlfriends ... Let's see how that comes along ...

As if that wasn't enough of a plan, I also bought "Stich'n Bitch Crochet" and am already eyeing the "fit to be tied" bag as a future project.

I still have an unfinished object lurking around that I have to get to first, though. Anyway, my crafting mojo seems to be on the up at the moment!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hello Sushi!

If you like sushi and have never made it yourself up to now, I've got good news for you: It's easy!!! I had my first try at making it, inspired by beautiful pictures of bento boxes like this. (In this context I even like the Hello Kitty design!) I used a small book on sushi and improvised some of the fillings.

I made two norimaki variations (the smaller ones), one with cucumber and one with cold smoked salmon and avocado. The bigger futomaki ones are filled with japanese omelette, smoked salmon, fresh shiitake mushrooms and cucumber. As you can see, they are readily arranged with wasabi and pickled ginger.

Of course they don't look perfect, but I think pretty good for a first try! It was a lot of fun making them, and also preparing the vinegared rice (sumeshi) and japanese omelette. What I really like about this is that you don't really have to use really fancy fillings. Ok, the nori sheets, the rice and wasabi are fancy, but you can just fill your rolls with cucumber and egg and whatever else is appealing to you. In the book there were also versions with canned tuna and even frankfurters! So even though they might not be too authentic, those versions give a lot of space for experiment and catering to your own tastes! Well, I'd recommend trying it anytime!

I also found a nice page on bento boxes. This is really an amazing lunch culture, and somehow I feel that it would be nice to have lunch looking like this, for instance, every so often, even if you're eating at home. It just looks like so much fun! Well, maybe that could be my next venture into japanese food culture! :-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oil painting experiments

My first experiment with oil colours. I think for that it looks quite good. I got the inspiration from this. Of course it is nothing as beautiful as it, but one can dream, can't one? ;-)

Here is another one, I really like the effects even a beginner can achieve with oil colours. I also love the "unfinished" look. Anyway, it is a lot of fun!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

napkins and tacky crafts

Somehow I've always considered découpage with napkins utterly tacky and was almost annoyed with it at it's height of fashionability some years ago. People couldn't seem to stop themselves from covering any old thing with sticky napkins! Now I am one of these people ...

Yes, I did it ... I covered an old plastic plant pot with napkins in one of my favourite Marimekko patterns ... And I'm not even ashamed of it. I think it came out really well. Somehow looks kinda cute, doesn't it?

I got the idea from a Finnish crafts magazine (Suuri Käsityölehti, No 4 2006), which is really fun to read and always has some good ideas, but one of my favourite features is that they also publish one or two Rowan patterns in each issue. Now I only have to learn how to read Finnish knitting patterns ... ;-)

Monday, May 7, 2007

bittersweet knitting

I haven't been knitting for a long time, but long enough to understand, that it is more a "mindset" than a hobby. It gets you into a certain mood, the rythm is relaxing and exciting at the same time and it is amazing to see a ball of yarn turn into something more or less wearable. The process of knitting is so esteemed by most knitters, that some have no scruples ribbing whole sweaters and reknitting them just to get the absolute right result. I'm not that cold-blooded (yet), but this cute little ball of yarn was still yesterday my first-ever sock.

It was ok, but not really perfect, and that annoyed me so much, that I was sure I'd never be able to wear it without a nagging little voice inside my head. So, there was just one option. Starting over again.

Let's see how it turns out this time ...

(If someone cares to know, the pattern is "Spa Socks" from Knit.1, Spring 2007. The cuff with button band is knitted first and then after binding off the buttonhole part, the sock transferred to double pointed needles and joined for knitting in the round. The yarn I'm using is Novita Samos in 125.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Spring and May Day

Spring has officially arrived! May Day (or "Vappu", as it is in Finnish) is the true beginning of spring here. The weather was really sunny but chilly yesterday and several people were wearing gloves. Above you can see people wearing their student's hats and overpriced balloons for sale in the city centre.

Another proof that spring is here. This picture was taken last week and makes me feel optimistic, even in the face of the grey and rainy weather today! A good start into spring for everyone! :-)