Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pin It and Do It #17: Felt house lantern

It's the end of October and the end of a wonderful Pin It and Do It -Challenge hosted by Trish in Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity. It's been so much fun! I wish I had more time to make everything but I didn't quite reach my goal of 8 pins.

This felt house lantern is the sixth pin I made this October but I have two bigger projects in process, one is a knitted cowl and one is my bookshelf makeover. I'll post more about those once they are finished.

This pin from was my inspiration. The original site is in Chinese but it doesn't matter because the source doesn't give any more information on how to make this lantern. From the photos I gathered that they use felt, cut it after the given pattern, hand-stitch all seams and then use some kind of startch to harden fabric. I assume there's a led light inside the lantern, otherwise those cute little houses would go up in flames!

I will definitely make these with white felt later but I had some red felt in storage so this is my prototype. Good thing is my felt is so thick I had no need for startch.

As you can see I didn't follow the original shape and after making this my tip is that it's actually better if you cut each wall separately, and the roof. It means more stitching but it also makes all seams thicker. With this one piece I still had to stitch the corners of this house to make the shape right.

And here's the final product with led candle inside. Sorry the photo is a bit blurry.

Just a reminder of other pins I made during this #PinItDoIt challenge:

Illustrated tote bag
Faux leather Christmas ornaments
Pine cone ball
Christmas table decoration
Baubel Christmas tree

I had a great time making these and I hope you've had a creative October too!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pin It and Do It #16: Baubel Christmas Tree

Pinterest is full of contemporary Christmas tree ideas so I decided to make one decoration that is easy to move and showcases different kinds of decorations. This pin was my inspiration, originally from Better Homes and Gardens.

The original pin was a DIY wire Christmas tree wall decoration but I had this wooden fan trellis that I thought I could use instead of wire.

It really does look like an ordinary fan trellis until you paint it white and turn it upside down!

Add some baubels and you've got a nice addition to your holiday decorations. I do think this needs some sort of a star tree topper but I didn't have any that would match these colors. I'll have to add it to my ever growing list of DIY projects to do.

It's such a shame to put this away to wait for Christmas but it is still a bit early to have these kind of decos lying aroung the house, right?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pin It and Do It #15: Christmas table decoration

I'm dreaming of a silver sparkling Christmas! It may even come true if I keep spraying everything I own with white, silver and glitter paint. I've pinned lots of holiday table decorations that are made with some reindeer toys, candles, pinecones, twigs and bottle brush trees. I'm definitely making some bottle brush trees later because they are super cute and I don't think any stores sell those here in Finland.

So I decided to make my own table decoration for Christmas and I used these pins as inspiration: this one from citrusandorange, this one from Design Shimmer, this one from CountryLiving (just look at those crazy decor prices!) and this one from hom-e tumblr.

I bought my little deer toys from BR-Lelut and Christmas trees from Sokos. Those trees were on sale for only one euro each! The only problem was this original color:

Lots of silver spray, spray glue and glitter shaking and the trees changed into more subtle color:

I really like how those trees sparkle in the dim light. Now I only wish I would've bought more of them! Oh well, one more reason to make those bottle brush trees later.

Just a reminder: This is the fourth pin I've made for the October 2012 #PinitDoit challenge but to keep track of the total of pins I've made I'll keep the original number in my headlines. I hope it's not too confusing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pin It and Do It #14: DIY pine cone ball

It's time to make more Christmas decorations! While I was at our summer cottage in April I collected one giant bag of alder cones because they are so small and pretty and perfect for crafts! So pardon my misleading headline but you could make these decorations with pine cones too. This pin was my inspiration, originally from Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures.

All you need is a styrofoam ball, a hot glue gun and some pine or alder cones.

If anybody knows a way to do this without burning your fingertips off, let me know. It was challenging.

For a more rustic look I might have left the ball as it is, but you know me, I paint everything white! So here's the finished decoration after I sprayed it white. I'm making another one too so I can use these as table decorations on both ends of the table. I really like this frosty look.

Just a reminder: This is the third pin I've made for the October 2012 #PinitDoit challenge but to keep track of the total of pins I've made I'll keep the original number in my headlines. I hope it's not too confusing.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pin It and Do It #13: DIY Christmas ornaments

I have an unhealthy obsession with faux leather and after I bought some in silver color I’ve been going through my pins trying to decide what to do with it. It is Christmas soon and it’s my absolute favorite time of year, so some DIY Christmas ornaments are a good choice, right?

You know when you think of something and it looks really good in your mind and then the result just looks a little too handmade? That’s been my problem this week. I thought it would be easy to make faux leather versions of some of the Christmas decors I’ve been pinning, but paper and leather are nothing alike. Or even fabric and leather. Or maybe it’s just my non-existent hand stitching skills?

Now my apartment looks like something between a spaceship and Santa’s workshop. I have leather scraps all over the place and while it certainly is “bling” it’s not the sophisticated metallic look I was after.

Anyway, I started with this pin of fabric tree decorations as my inspiration. I can't seem to find the original post but that picture is from Designhund. I love silver faux leather as it is, but I decided to add even more sparkle with some sequins. Oh, and dotted ribbon! You can never have too much dots.

The problem with this one was that I can't stitch hidden seams so I had to turn this inside out to hide the seams and the other seam is just wrinkled and ugly. I need lots more practice!

Because I wasn't happy with the first deco, I tried to make something without seams or sewing. With this pin in mind (from How About Orange) I soon realized that  faux leather is too soft and won't hold the shape like paper would. This sorry excuse for a baubel is my result.

The third deco I made is a variation from the first one. Round shape should be easier to make and this time I used a sewing machine and sew the seamline on right side of deco. I filled these with absorbent cotton.

I'm not too thrilled with these results and I certainly won't be making enough of these to decorate a whole Christmas tree, but maybe once I learn this technique a bit better I might use these as gift tags? I like the idea of faux leather and sequins, so I think I'll try to make some sort of garland too and see if it looks any better. Just wait and see!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pin It and Do It #12: DIY illustrated shopping bag

What is this I see? An update on this blog? I'm happy to say that I'm back with somewhat regular posting schedule and I'm ready to make some of the 4000+ things I've pinned on Pinterest! I have a new laptop, I'm trying to learn to use the new version of GIMP and I'm super excited that Trish from Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity is hosting another Pinteresting Challenge. This challenge ends October 31st and since I'm already a bit late with starting all this I better hurry up!

Please note that this is the first pin I made for the October 2012 #PinitDoit challenge but to keep track of the total of pins I've made I'll keep the original number in my headlines. I hope it's not too confusing.

So, the first thing I decided to make was an illustrated shopping bag and it was inspired by this pin. The original picture is of a tote bag with potato stamped triangles. I love the look and I might make something just like that in the future, but lately I've been pinning dozens of pictures of illustrations and patterns, so they inspired me to make my own hand illustrated bag.

I started with a plain white fabric bag (no, I didn't make it myself) and used a black textile marker.

First I made a rough sketch on paper to see how to scale things and then I just took the pen and began to draw. I wanted this to be black and white but some color details might be fun too? After I finished drawing I let the ink to dry and then ironed over the picture to make it waterproof. Next time it rains I'll see how successful I was ;) All in all this was a really fun and quick project and I'm thinking some people will get my hand illustrated bags as a Christmas gift this year!

Yes, the other side is just white. I didn't want to draw this same picture twice so I'll have to wait for another inspiration to strike. I hope you are having a good week and lots of fun with both Pinterest and this Pin It and Do It -challenge!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up: My laptop is dead

Happy Midsummer! I'm sorry to say that my laptop has died and I'm in the middle of nowhere at our summer cottage with no access to any kind of technology. I don't know when I'll be able to update my little blog next time, but I hope it will be sooner rather than later.

We had a lovely Midsummer celebration here and I made us a midsummer pole because we are close to the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland so I thought we can get away with it. I've eaten more sausages than I can ever dream of and I'm trying to get back to some kind of routines and normal eating again.

Enjoy the summer! I'll be back with a recovered laptop as soon as I can! You can read more about Finnish Midsummer from Lonely Planet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Food Love: Tempura Cauliflower

Basically anything tastes good if you coat it with bread crumbs and fry it in olive oil. This recipe of tempura cauliflower discs is no exeption. I've never fried cauliflower before, I think I've only used it in salads or made it in oven in some vegetable casseroles.

In the original recipe the cauliflower discs are deep fried but I fried them in a pan with slightly less oil and I used Asian Panko bread crumbs instead of batter. This is no diet food. See how those florets sizzle in oil?

The crispy discs really are delicious with soy sauce. When reading the recipe I thought that soy sauce is a bit boring option for a dip, but those flavors go great together. This is definitely one of my summer favorites, and easy to make!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: Bookwormish behavior

Not much has happened this week. We built a raised bed for our garden, visited Kauhava summer market and bought some delicious lemon buns.

The highlight of my week was all the reading I managed to do.  I can recommend all these three books:

The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough. I love history and all the great tales, and this book tells a very detailed story of the Trojan War. Who knew Odysseys was such a sneaky man and the mastermind behind all things? This book manages to make war look glorious. Interesting story from several viewpoints. There must be some truth to all of this, at least I want to think so.

Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith. Oh how I love Mma Ramotswe, the lovely and traditionally built lady detective from Botswana. Her wisdom makes me smile, even though this book didn't have as much storyline as I would've hoped for. Even the new cases in No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency seemed to be much like the earlier ones. Still, it was a good summer read. Now I really want some cake and bush tea.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows. Potato Peel Pie? What on earth? The description of this book didn't make much justice for this book, it was way better than I imagined. I was afraid this would be some lame love story based on letter exchange but it was an interesting peek into history. This books tells about a little literary society found on Guernsey island during the Second World War. I can't reveal too much, just read this book. It gives a lot food for thought and describes war horrors in a heartbreaking way.

More book recs next week!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pin It and Do It #11: Nail house number

It has rained for almost a week here at our summer cottage so I haven't been feeling very crafty. All garden projects are on hold but I decided to continue with the Pin It and Do It -challenge on my own. The official challenge was in May and now I'm making these just for fun because Pinterest is such a great source of inspiration!

My dad built our summer cottage 20 years ago. The house has been without a proper house number all that time, so it was time to make one. I found this great idea for house number via Pinterest, originally from blog Lotta Agaton.

All you need is some nails and a hammer. This is great anger management too. Just saying.

Use a bigger nail to mark the places for smaller nails. This makes hammering easier and you will have somewhat straight rows of nails.

Start hammering from the middle of each number and then move to make the outlines. Make sure all your nails are in place. It's difficult to hammer some missing nail into the center of the number afterwards.

Here's my finished house number plate. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to paint those nails darker later. Maybe some contrast would look better? It would be fun to make some texts with nails too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Food Love: Nectarine Crumble

I was craving for oven apples the other day, but it reminds me of autumn and I decided to make a crumble with nectarines instead. I'm forced to cook all my foods on the grill while I'm at our summer cottage, and with this dessert it's a must. Grilling gives this some extra sweetness and flavor.

Combine sliced nectarines, muscovado sugar, cinnamon, rolled oats, butter, cashew nuts, honey and a bit of water in a casserole foil container.

Grill until caramelized. I served this with vanilla soy milk but some coconut milk would've been good too.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: In Full Bloom

I love these first weeks of June when everything's in bloom at our summer cottage. I've been just sitting on the porch and taking in all this beauty.

I love all these flowers but Forget-me-nots are my favourite.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Food Love: Frozen yogurt pops

I was so happy last week when I was finally able to find a frozen yogurt pops mold from Lidl. Those molds are not easy to find, I've been looking for weeks and they've been either sold out everywhere or not yet in stock for summer.

Without much planning I mixed together what supplies I had in my kitchen, so my first ever frozen yogurt pop was a chocolate-strawberry one. I used natural yogurt, cacao powder, honey, strawberries and a bit of vanilla extract.

I don't use white sugar (ever) and for me the blend was fine. It's frozen yogurt so it's supposed to taste a bit tangy, right? My mom said those pops tasted "healthy", meaning she would've wanted some sugar with that. All I can say is if it tastes good after you've mixed all the ingredients in the bowl, it will taste good frozen too.

Another thing I've been trying to cut from my diet is dairy, but I didn't have any soy yogurt in fridge so this time I made these with natural yogurt. The problem with soy yogurts here in Finland is that they are usually sweetened, and like I said I try to eat as little sugar as possible. We don't have Whole Foods or other fancy stores here, so the selection is limited. But if I make a vegan version of these pops in the future, I'll let you know.

Next time I'll skip the vanilla extract, because I couldn't taste it at all. If you're not used to the slight bitterness of raw cacao powder, you might want to use sugared one. And if we had any fresh strawberries in Finland I would've used them, but now I was forced to use frozen berries. Still, these were super yummy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: After one nautical bachelorette party

This week was all about one day in particular, because a good friend of mine, Erika, is getting married this summer. A bunch of us threw her a very nautical bachelorette party yesterday. We spent the day at rainy and windy Helsinki, but had a fair amount of red wine to keep us warm.

After some surprise wake-up visit, a lovely brunch at Fanny, garden games at Kaivopuisto and coffee, cake and quizzes at Cafe Carusel, we were ready to own the nautical part of the day. We took a ferry to Uunisaari island, where the day continued with sauna and some bridal shower rituals.

There was a bachelor party going on in the other sauna next door, and someone had their wedding right across our sauna cottage on the same island. That was a bit weird, but surely not as weird as them having a wedding and watching from window how Erika was sprinting back and forth in only her bikinis belting out the names of her exes.

After some primping and prepping we took the one-minute ferry drive back to mainland and had a dinner at Glöd Bar&Grill. I had this perfect tender braised veal brisket with Vitello Tonnato sauce and spinach salad for starters. The meat was so tender it literally melted in my mouth. It's hidden under the sauce here so you can't really see it but believe me, it was amazing!

I chose bouillabaisse as my main course and it was good but nothing unforgettable. A bit too salty for my taste, and it came without a spoon. Maybe it's fine dining to eat soup with a fork these days? All in all this was a really good experience and I hope to eat more of that veal some other time.

Our party continued to nightlife and by the time I got home I had stayed up for almost 20 hours. If that day wasn't a good kick start for Erika's married life, I don't know what is. I hope she enjoyed it even if we embarrased her a bit!

I leave you with this food for thought from Glöd.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pin It and Do It #10: Hanging herb garden

This is it. The end of May and the end of Pin It and Do It -challenge hosted by Trish. I'm so glad I saw that banner on Pinterest and I'm so glad I took the time and made some things I've pinned. Creating something is the best form of therapy, it relaxes and activates you at the same time. Or maybe it's just doing something you love.

I've had times in my life when I didn't have any spare time to do anything for myself. I didn't even think about myself. It was all work and no play. I didn't do anything creative during those two years and it really affected my mood. I was like a robot.

After that experience I've learned to value my free time. Nobody will waste my time without my permission. And it looks like I learned the hard way that no amount of money will make me as happy as creating something small, even if it was a little bow or a handwritten envelope.

So enough of this rambling and let's get this show on the road. Or to the end of the road, because this challenge ends here. My final #PinItDoIt creation was a hanging herb garden. Again, a simple idea but one I wouldn't have thought of without Pinterest. I've pinned many pictures as inspiration to my Garden ideas board. The wall I made here was a combination of many pins.

Here's what I started with. I had a plain corner on my balcony and a brown trellis.

I knew I wanted this hanging herb garden to be white, as I wish all my furnitures and interior design would be. I guess that's called Scandinavian style. I call it white all over. I won't bore you with the details of how I hammered some cans because lillys & lollipops already has a great tutorial of how to make a hanging tin can herb garden.

I don't know why but I've never upcycled tin cans into any crafts projects before. I'm sure I will use more of these in the future, I can definitely see the appeal. As lanterns, maybe?

After some hours of hammering and painting, I give you the result: My white hanging herb garden. It turned out just the way I imagined, I'm so happy!

Thank you Trish for encouraging us to make things we've pinned. I know I'll continue making my pins even though the official challenge has ended! It was so much fun, let's do this again!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pin It and Do It #9: Nautical medal brooch

I was supposed to post about my vertical garden wall today, but as all my projects, it seems to be more time-consuming than I thought. So I'll give you the nautical medal brooch instead.

Some of the inspiration for this brooch came from this pin. The original is from CelessaBazaar's Etsy Shop. I love all things nautical! I wanted my brooch to look like a medal but have some vintage edge. It really just formed this way based on the supplies I had.

The striped ribbon is from Sokos, the lace ribbon and frames are from Tiimari and nautical charms are from Sinelli. I painted those charms white with acrylic paint because I wanted them to stand out from the frame. I also added a little bead and a safety pin to the final brooch.

All aboard!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pin It and Do It #8: Hedgehog pincushion

Now that I've been actually sewing something for a change I noticed that I desperately need a new pincushion. The one I had was literally over 20 years old (I made it when I was 10) and it was a hard, small lump. I think I broke a couple of pins when using it.

Thanks to Pinterest, it was easy for me to choose this awesome little hedgehog pincushion for my next Pin It and Do It -project. You can find the amazing tutorial here or visit alsn's Etsy shop if you don't want to make your own pincushion. On a sidenote, you have no idea how hard it is to write hedgehog when English is not your first language. There's something about that word that just turns into gibberish when I write it...

I had bought the fabric already a couple of years ago from Eurokangas. I often buy some fabrics and think I'll make something and then forget them or think they were the wrong color or pattern. With this fabric I loved the color but I didn't like those people figures. I knew I would be using the striped parts only.

I had a couple of problems while making this pincushion. The first problem was those little ears. I may or may not have attached them the wrong way twice. Three-dimensional conceptualization is not my forte and I was too lazy to follow the tutorial step by step. My bad. The second problem was the fact that this pincushion has to be actually handstitched. I re-read the tutorial and couldn't believe that sewing machine was a no-no with this one but it is, those pieces are just too curvy.

I'm not sure when was the last time I handstitched something. Maybe around the same time I made my one and only pincushion. My stitches really look like crow's feet, I have no idea how to do them properly. I had to make a double seam every time to make it all stay in one piece. I used fabric scraps to fill the cushion.

I made those eyes and nose from wooden beads and tail and ears from lace ribbon. Oh, and I added a wristband as you can see. I always wear pincushion on my wrist when I'm sewing. The original tutorial said that making this hedgehog would take an hour. Ummm, yeah. I'm not going to tell you how many hours I stitched this but hopefully my new pincushion will last for 20 years like my previous one! It was worth all the hard work though because I think it looks really cute.

P.S. I don't have a liver problem if you're worried about my skin tone. That's just the energy saving bulbs I have on because it is 11 p.m. here now. YES it took me ages to make this pincushion!