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!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pin It and Do It #7: Lace trim shirt

A couple of weeks ago I was shopping at Gina Tricot and found this lovely Juliette aztec top. Sorry it's all wrinkled here:

I really love that pattern so I bought it, and it was on sale for only 5 euros! Bad news is the only size they had left was XS and no amount of wishful thinking will squeeze me into an extra-small shirt. So, I knew I had to do some sort of makeover with this one, and then I remembered this pin.

The original picture is from Trash To Couture, and if you aren't already a regular reader of that blog, you should. She makes amazing, fashionable things from whatever old clothes she has. That blog is such an inspiration!

I didn't have crochet trim, but I had some sort of mesh lace fabric that I bought earlier from Eurokangas and I've been waiting to make something with it! I cut open those side seams, added a scrap of lace and sewed the whole thing back together. It took maybe 30 minutes but I have a feeling this will be one of my favorite summer shirts:

Hmm... Can I add lace trims to all my shirts?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: Doughnuts and rum

It's Sunday so it's time for my weekly wrap-up. The weather has been amazing so I haven't done half the things I thought I would this week. I've just been slacking, drinking iced tea on my balcony and reading old newspapers. Good times.

  • I visited Tampere, the city where I study and lived for many years. They serve absolutely legendary doughnuts at Pyynikki observation tower (Pyynikin näkötorni). Wikipedia told me that "In Finland a sweet doughnut is called a munkki (the word also means monk) and are commonly eaten in cafés and cafeteria restaurants. They are sold cold and are sometimes filled with jam (U.S. jelly) or a vanilla sauce. A ring doughnut is also known as donitsi."

The description above is somewhat true, but sweet doughnuts at Pyynikki are so much more than that, they are huge ring doughnuts with lovely cardamom flavor. I really miss those now that I don't live in Tampere anymore.

  • I've been planning some crafts projects so this week I bought a bunch of stuff from craft stores Tiimari and Sinelli. I can't really show you the items here yet, because I'm making something as a gift for someone.

  • While I was in Tampere, I also visited a great Asian store they have there, East Asia Mart. I wish I could do all my shopping there, they have an amazing selection and so many things I haven't tried yet. I bought lots of sushi supplies (more about this next week), some kimchi and different sauces.

  • Lastly, I finished reading The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson. I loved the book, the atmosphere of Puerto Rico in the 1950's and all those lost souls drowning their sorrows with rum. Then I had to rent the movie too, because Johnny Depp usually makes any movie worth watching and I wanted to see the storyline come to life. I have to say I was very disappointed. They had made some weird changes, combined some of the main characters into one and that way totally lost the focus. The main character, Paul Kemp (played by Depp) has in the book some major identity crisis, fear of settling into adult life and at the same time not achieving his career goals. In the movie Kemp is just driving around the island with his buddies, taking some drugs and chasing after the pretty girl Chenault. I felt that the movie lacked all depth the book had. It was a disappointment.

I hope you all had a good week!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pin It and Do It #6: Rock garden markers

As soon as I saw these rock garden markers on Pinterest (originally from this blog), I knew I would be making some myself. Such a clever idea, easy to clean and doesn't get ruined even if it rains. I happen to have many jars of stones that I collected as a child when I spent my holidays in Crete.

At one point I almost threw those stones away, because I was on a cleaning spree and I thought there's no sense in storing stones in jars. There's even less sense dragging those stones across the world with a heavy suitcase. I mean, a stone is a stone. Of course it's shaped by the sea and it's a memory of the place you've visited, but no more stones for me. I have plenty.

So, this Pin It and Do It -challenge gave me a good reason to make something useful with my stones. I used acrylic paint like the blog suggested. It's water-soluble when you paint but then dries quickly and becomes water-resistant. My tip is to use a small but hard brush, otherwise the color will smear. I wrote all texts and details with a permanent marker.

I wish it was June already and I could go to our summer cottage and plant all the seeds I have and then put these to good use. It makes me happy to know that I'll have a little piece of Crete in my garden this summer.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pin It and Do It #5: DIY dreamcatcher

While this rainy weather forced me to stay indoors, it also gave me some spare time to continue with the Pin It and Do It -challenge. I chose a dreamcatcher as my fifth project for the challenge. Here's the original picture by Fryd that I used as inspiration, although in the end I only used similar color theme and the rest was something different.

Before you scream "sacrilege!" I'll admit I couldn't be further away from traditional Native American culture. I've never seen a real dreamcatcher so this one is only my humble version of it.

I wanted the center net part to look like a spider web, and the decorations to look like feathers without using real feathers. I used translucent Cromático paper for the feathers, and it was a great choice. That paper is almost plastic-like and it was really easy to cut and then fold the way I wanted. The color selection they have is amazing and all colors really pop from translucent paper.

First I used transparent tape to attach the feathers but later covered them with pink sticker tape to make it prettier.

The circle was made from disposable paper plate. I cut the center part away and folded the edges towards center and then covered it with lace ribbon.

Here's the finished dreamcatcher. I hope it helps me have better dreams by catching all the bad ones into that net.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: Tapas and rainy days

I decided I'm going to make a short wrap-up at the end of each week. If I have nothing to tell you, I'm going to at least draw some visual dream journal because I have the craziest dreams. A few nights ago I had a dream where I was hiding from a black bear and we don't even have those in Finland! Luckily we don't have polar bears either, even though some people think so. But enough of my dreams because this week I actually did something.
  • I met with my friends in Helsinki and we shared a lovely selection of tapas at Tapasta Bar. Their tomato soup is to die for. This is me wishing I could eat that soup for the rest of my life:

  • I was at our summer cottage for a few days, but the weather was really bad. I spent some rainy days indoors planning on what I'll be doing during the summer when it hopefully doesn't look like this:

  • We made some amazing smoked salmon that we ate with roasted potatos and tzatziki sauce:

  • Now I'm back home again and in a couple of minutes I'm going to write another post about my latest #PinItDoIt crafts project. Oh, and in case you were wondering, no birds had used my nesting material cage at our summer cottage. Boohoo.

I hope you had a lovely week too!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pin It and Do It #4: Marshmallow pops

The Pin It and Do It -challenge continues. This pin was my inspiration when I was thinking of something sweet and small I could give as a present to my mom on Mother's Day. The original picture was from Cakes&Sweets tumblr page.

I'm really not good when it comes to baking or creating some dessert chocolate mini gourmet bites. I like to buy that stuff from a confectionery and not spend hours trying to create something that looks like a blob of melted sugar. That's why I was bit sceptical with this project and I had no back-up plan. It was either going to work out or I had no present at all to give!

After I had already melted all the chocolate I realized I had nothing to stick those pops into. I rummaged through my closets and found a sponge I had bought for another DIY project. I wrapped it into silk paper and my tray was ready to go.

The process of making these marshmallow pops wasn't easy either. I think the chocolate was too thin so it was really messy and dribbled all over. Also I shoud've put those finished pops straight into fridge so the topping would've hardened faster but in the end it all worked out fine for a first try and I'm quite proud with the results! I'll definitely make more later (but never for a big group of guests).

P.S. My mom loved these. She couldn't decide which one was her favorite, but she usually loves hazelnuts so I'm guessing that was the most popular option.

Food love: Slow cooked oatmeal

Good morning! What better way to start the day than with some creamy oatmeal? I had an attitude problem towards oatmeal for many years, mainly because I had eaten the quick, microwaved, slimy porridge one too many times. Another problem was that after eating that, I was always hungry half an hour later. Not anymore! I promise you will never make a yuck face to oatmeal after really making it from scratch. And the secret is to use whole peeled oats. My oats are organic whole oats from Riihipuoti. Here they are before cooking:

First, boil some water. I used 7 deciliters, which is around 3 cups. Add oats when the water is boiling. Then lower the heat and simmer for an hour. If I had more time, I would've let it simmer with a lower heat even longer. When the water has disappeared, add 2 deciliters (0,8 cup) of almond milk and some cardamom. Stir until it looks good and creamy. Eat and fall in love!

Remember, everything tastes better when you eat it from a Moomin bowl Love.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pin It and Do It #3: Sewn paper garland

While I was helping my mother with our Mother's Day lunch preparations I decided to make some decorations for our table. I love paper crafts, so I decided to make this cute paper garland from Cocoa Daisy. I didn't have as many pretty papers as the original, but I was still happy with the result.
I didn't know you can sew paper. I still think I'll avoid it in the future if possible, because it was more difficult than one might think. All threads get tangled very easily and if you choose too thin paper you're in trouble. Good thing is that this garland is easy to storage: you can just fold it back and put it into envelope.

Happy Mother's Day

Today is the day to celebrate all mothers! I helped my mom with today's menu but I must admit she did all the hard work like cooked the pheasant. Here's the hand drawn menu I made and I'll write later about some treats and decorations I made as part of the Pin It and Do It -challenge. My godmother is a vegetarian so that's why we have two options for main dishes.

Translation of the menu:

Pheasant breasts in cherry sauce
Sweet potato mosaic
Zucchini chips
Sesame-yogurt sauce
Sweet potato mosaic
Pesto spelt bread rolls
Coffee and cake

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pin It and Do It #2: Asparagus with cheese and pine nuts

I just love asparagus. The best part of spring is that all the grocery stores are packed with piles of asparagus. Another great thing about asparagus is that it's really low on calories so I can eat crazy amounts of it! I restrained myself today though, as you can see from the pic below. That is a moderate portion.

This is also the second part for Pin It and Do It -challenge. The original recipe that inspired me is from Kalyn's Kitchen. I just went crazy with it and added more stuff than in the original recipe but trust me, all these flavors go great together!

My take on the recipe has asparagus, eggs, pine nuts, serrano ham (fried until crispy) and parmesan cheese flakes. Delicious!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pin It and Do It #1: Nesting material cage for birds

I am participating in the May 2012 Pin It and Do It -challenge. I have only recently started to use Pinterest but I'm already so addicted I could browse those pictures for hours and hours every day! This challenge forces us to actually make something instead of just pinning like crazy and then forgetting all the good ideas.

I visited our summer cottage in the beginning of May and birds here in Finland are just beginning to build their nests and choose the best ones of all the bird houses we have hanged. I thought it would be a good timing to offer them some nesting material.

My inspiration was this post that explains the use of suet cage nester. Only I didn't have a suet cage, so I decided to make one myself from twigs. Sooo... first I used cord that wasn't soft enough and all the knots I made opened later. Then I used jute rope to make this really environmentally friendly. Here's the finished cage.

The birds didn't show any interest towards this during those two days we were there, but I'll go back in a couple of weeks and I hope some of those yarn scraps will be gone by then!