double, double, toil and trouble

for some reason, lately i’ve been getting or doing things in double. first there were the Tweedledum and Tweedledee dresses i made, back to back. afterwards, though i didn’t make two pairs at once, but i made a twin of my fave pair of boyfriend jeans. and now, these.

can you guess which ones i made and which ones i bought?😀

the correct answer are the dresses. (did you get that right?)

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the rib knit shirts were from H&M, i liked them so much i decided to get 2 of the same model!

as for the dresses, i first made the pink one using a super cheap tube jersey fabric, thinking that it would just be a prototype, so even if it fails i wouldn’t be too sorry about it. it’s 100% cotton, and it looks like interlock jersey, so it’s slightly thick.

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self-made dress and vest, H&M tights, shoes gift from my friend S, earrings from Metro Dept. Store – Jakarta.

i wanted to make a simple dress with these rib knit dresses as inspirations.

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images from various sources, i only remember Mango.com… sorry!

i wasn’t planning on using any pattern, but then i happened to come across this lovely & easy top pattern from Ottobre design woman 5/2016 magazine, pattern no. 5 (Vintage Lines), thanks to my colleague L who lent it to me!

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instead of cutting the front part on fold, i made it into 2 separate parts so that i could add the slit at the bottom. i added about 70 cm length from the waistline and sewed close the center front seam until about 22 cm from the raw edged bottom. the rest was done according to the original pattern.

it worked out so well, i just had to make another one! the so-called prototype dress became a real dress that i can wear to the outside world.

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the green jersey was of the same price as the pink one, also a tube jersey, and also 100% cotton, but it looks more like rib knit & is a lot thinner than the pink one. i started cutting the fabric at around 3 pm, and was done with the very last stitch at a bit after 5 pm.

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self-made dress, second hand belt from UFF, Indiska bracelets, Just Kulkith shoes.

of course i was too lazy to change the overlocker threads to another colour, so i used the same for both dresses: white. so what, right?😀

i really liked how they both turned out. sometimes i’m just too lazy to think of what to wear for work, or what to mix and match… with these dresses i just need to grab them from the closet and wear them like that (though i guess i have to use tights underneath for the pink one, as it’s quite transparent due to the light colour!).

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i think i have proven that everything good comes in twos. maybe one day they will change to be threes if i feel like repeating myself again, ha!

and have you noticed how i’ve been embracing solid coloured fabrics these days? i hope i will continue to surprise you.😉

PS. please excuse my tired face, i just had a long week of work and was having a pretty bad migraine when i took the pics.

new old hair

i’m not sure when it exactly started, but for years now i’ve had quite a lot of white hair. yeah, i’m sure you’ve noticed them in my pics.😀

when it started coming out, i tried picking them out. but then they started to grow everywhere on my head, so i couldn’t keep picking them out!

i tried colouring my hair. it was great… for about 2 weeks. the colour went away in the blink of an eye, and i was back with my white hair. i gave up trying to colour it, because no matter what brand i tried, the colour wouldn’t stay longer than 1-2 weeks.

so i tried living with them. it’s nice sometimes because though my face may look young (which means at work some customers may think i’m a junior) my white hair tells people that i’m older than i look. or so i hope, at least! :p but most of the time it bothers me because the white hair look so striking on my deep black hair! too much contrast, even for my taste.

so i then decided to do it the other way around: bleach my hair. i figured that if i bleach it, at least it will ‘forever’ be lighter coloured and there’s no risk of the colour running out after 1-2 weeks… because it’s not really colouring! it’s bleach! ha!

since i would be doing it at home, to minimize the risk (in case i turned too blonde… which is actually quite impossible) i decided that i needed a haircut first. of course that was also done at home.

hairbefore

the haircut result, before any bleaching.

i chose the same hairstyle i had 6 years ago, since i had run out of ideas on what other style i can do to my hair! so as you can see from the pic, the white hairs are quite visible… and that is just from the front. the sides are much worse and i will spare you the nightmare.

after doing some research, i found that DIY bleaching kits tend to make your hair turn yellowish, so i needed to counter that by adding cool colour to my hair. even though i had my doubts that my hair would turn any lighter than just light brown, i fell in love with the packaging of this Finnish brand KC Professional’s Color Mask and decided to buy the Pearl tone–which is actually meant for seriously blonde hair–before even knowing what my new hair colour would be!

haircolourmaski just didn’t want to risk having to go out of the house looking like a freak (in case the bleaching failed) just to get a tube of this hair colour mask. isn’t it always good to be prepared? (plus it was on sale and was 7€ cheaper than usual, so with that kind of bargain i just couldn’t bear to miss it!)

anyway, for the DIY bleach kit, i went to get the extremest blonde set i could find. plus i have used this brand many times in the past, and they seemed to always work fine.

hairbleachif you see on the pic, the small images on the left, how black/dark brown hair’s result after the bleach should be (blonde enough), you would think it’s the perfect solution for me, right?

ah, except that you don’t know my hair’s structure. they’re quite bulky (like 1 string of hair is already very thick), and quite stubborn like the bearer herself. :p

the instruction says whatever happens, DO NOT let the bleach stay longer on your hair for more than 45 minutes. i, of course, obeyed this. the result, which i unfortunately did not record, was a somewhat reddish orange light brown hair. nowhere near the blonde that was shown on that packaging’s image, at least.

thanking the stars that i had bought the hair colour mask, i put it on right away. it’s basically like a conditioner: you put it (with gloves) on clean hair that has been dried by towel, and leave it for a while before rinsing it off. it says on the packaging that 5-10 minutes should do the trick, but i believe that is for blonde hair. since mine was a strange shade of light brown and i did want the reddish orange tint to go away, i kept it on for 15 minutes.

and finally, i was quite pleased with the result!

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this is as blonde as you can get, darling!

i would say that even when the DIY bleach kit was almost a total flop, the hair colour mask saved my day. it makes my new hair colour look much more natural than reddish orange, and i am still very pleased with the fact that my white hair is now almost like some highlights on my hair. they look like they’re meant to be here & there and to look that way. yaaay!

the Color Mask is something i would need to re-do after some washes. the tube i bought was a 200 ml size and i only used about 3 tablespoons of it for that first time. so far i’ve washed my hair 3 times after applying the hair mask to my hair, and this is what it currently looks like:

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still healthier looking than reddish orange!😀 i’m gonna see how long/many washes it takes until i finally would need to re-apply the mask, but i can warmly recommend the Color Mask product to anyone who needs healthier & more natural looking hair after a possibly disastrous hair colouring/bleaching experience.

and then, we’ll see which comes first: buying a new tube of the Color Mask or my hair’s grown too long that i would need to re-bleach it! oh, this vicious cycle.

my boyfriend’s twin

2 years ago i sewed my very first pair of (boyfriend) jeans. i have been using those jeans ever since, like, a LOT. they are still in good shape too, but i wanted to have another pair. i wanted to have another go at it, with some slight modifications.

enter my boyfriend jeans’ twin.

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self-made sweatshirt and jeans, Mango belt, unbranded socks, Bianco shoes, salmon pink earring from Indonesia Wholesaler store, purple tassel keyring from Morocco (worn as earring).

before we go any further, i just want to warn you that i am super proud of myself for sewing these jeans and thus please be prepared for the many pics in this post. :p

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anyway, i used the exact same pattern as last time, Named’s Wyome Boyfriend Jeans pattern. i made the leg parts below the knees slightly wider this time for more ease of wear. i also made diagonal seams from the side pockets down to the knees, just for fun. just like last time, i didn’t make the decorative stitches at the back pockets, because i wanted to save my topstitch thread.

now, for this pair, since my fabric’s colour is so pale, i decided that i wanted to have pink decorations: pink topstitch thread, pink buttons, pink lining, and pink bias tape (you’ll see them soon).

previously, instead of regular topstitch/quilting thread, i used the bear thread for my first jeans. i also used an old needle, from my late grandmum’s stash. and i also made a lot of mistakes while sewing with thick thread, like going back and forth at the edges for ‘locking’ the stitches, which is apparently a big no-no as it would jam your sewing machine! (no wonder my sewing machine almost died that time!) the correct way to do it, so i learned, was to just keep on going forward, leave long enough thread leftover at the edges, so you could then knot them by hand! clever!🙂

so that’s what i did this time, and i also used a brand new needle (regular 100/16, NOT the jeans needle because my sewing machine can’t take it for some reason). everything went so smoothly, i nearly cried from happiness!

another difference this time was the fact that i have an overlocker! i did most of the seams with this, it really makes my life a lot easier.

i even put interfacing on all the correct places this time (i skipped that the last time and really regretted it), even though my fabric choice this time doesn’t really have that much elasticity. but anyway… i’m still glad i did it.

because this time i decided to line the waistband with a regular cotton fabric, which is also the fabric i used for the pockets.

it’s the paper doll fabric i used to make my coat many years ago. look how cute that came out on the jeans!

instead of installing 5 buttons as the pattern calls for, i used 4 this time. on my previous pair of jeans, i rarely even need to open/use the fifth button, that’s why i thought 4 is enough. and as if these details weren’t enough, i went the extra trouble to add one more tiny detail… bias tapes on the inside of the side seams! so that when i roll up the hem, you can see more pink on my jeans, mwahahaha!

anyway, i can again only praise the clarity of the sewing instructions of the Named pattern. everything was clearly written & drawn, i had no problem at all sewing these ‘complicated’ jeans.

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i only encountered one problem when sewing this, and it wasn’t even the pattern’s fault. somehow, when i was sewing the crotch edges using my overlocker, though i thought i was extra careful, i still managed to end up with a big cut right in the middle of the front part of the jeans! the overlocker’s knife got to it when i wasn’t looking, i swear!😦

because of this, i had to sew the crotch parts together quite a lot smaller than the original pattern, so that the hole would be covered underneath the seam, and i only prayed to God that i could still fit into the jeans. thankfully God was playing nice to me, and gave me my wish. the waist/crotch even fit much nicely and better than my previous pair of jeans exactly because it’s smaller!😀

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for attaching the upper parts of the belt loops to the waistband, i still had to do them by hand, because there was just no way that kind of thick layers of denim fabrics could go under my sewing machine’s foot.

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but i think they look alright! and of course i had to test the jeans while squatting… (yep, they’re very comfy!).

paleboyfjeans1i think i’m already falling in love with my boyfriend (jeans)’s twin. i just love everything about it, all the small details that probably will never be found out by anyone else but me (like who’s ever going to take a peek inside my pockets??) but just the fact that they’re there and that i made them myself is really something special.❤

now i just keep wanting to make more jeans! LOL… but i don’t think my poor old sewing machine will appreciate that. and girl, you are just about to cheat on your first boyfriend jeans with your second one, and already you’re thinking of a third boyfriend??😀 pfffft, stop it!

travelling without moving

“if i were to visit you later this year, would that be okay?” asked a friend of mine, V, some time early this year. mind you, we live half a world apart and hadn’t seen each other since 2010. and even then we only met for like 10 minutes. before i moved to Finland, we used to meet everyday, or at the very least every weekend because i was in a long distance relationship with you-know-who and she was single at that time. we accompanied each other in our singledoms.😀

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long time no see!

so of course you can guess how i answered her question. everything was just a crazy idea at that time, but after months of plannings and messages back & forth, it finally came: the moment she was finally here in Finland to visit me!

it was a short visit among the rest of her Europe trip, but we had lots of fun! it’s not everyday (not even every month, or year!) that somebody from Indonesia comes to visit me, and then i get to show her/him around. for me to talk freely in Indonesian and see the city like a tourist felt like travelling without moving… because i didn’t actually go anywhere, just experienced the same city/things in different ways, in ways a tourist would.

Marimekon tehtaanmyymälä (Marimekko’s Factory Outlet)

would you believe it if i tell you that all these years i’ve lived here, i had never once gone there? well, i made it my personal goal that we went there right away on the 1st day, because i knew she would just love it. and she did. i think she died a little there from seeing all the lovely things, LOL.

Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum

one of my all time fave museums/galleries. currently they show Choi Jeong Hwa’s Happy Together collection, which i really love, along with Ernesto Neto’s and Jani Ruscica’s collection. (there are other artworks by other artists as well, but the main/solo ones are what i previously wrote.)

we had a great time here, touching things, smelling things (yep, there’s an installation for your sense of smell!), and just being wowed by the fun artworks.

Ateneum Art Museum

we came here on the very last day of her visit and barely made it before the museum closed. they currently showcase Alice Neel’s artworks which are just fantastic! there are also Finnish artists’ artworks in Stories of Finnish Art and Italian print artworks in the Great Rider collection.

we met up with my other friend, E. it was kind of surreal for me to actually witness my 2 friends from different parts of the world & different times of my life meeting each other!

Other Places & Foods

at first i had planned to introduce Finnish foods to my friend, but i guess that’s too idealistic… because to be honest, the best place to find Finnish foods is from people’s homes! meaning: i would have to cook them myself. and i was too lazy for that, LOL! so i scrapped that idea and just followed my tummy when it was time for us to eat.

i really enjoyed playing tourist as i get to do things i don’t normally do. and having someone you know getting excited over something you’ve been taking for granted allows you to see it differently, and gets you excited as well.

thank you for coming, V! hope to see you again real soon!🙂

PS. most of the pics here were taken by V and used by permission.

Tweedledee & Tweedledum

from Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City, we now move on to Alice in Wonderland, another fave story of mine.

every time i see fabrics that even remotely reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, i think my heart skips a beat. that’s what happened when i saw this jersey fabric from So Cute brand. it’s an Alice in Wonderland fabric without Alice herself.😀

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at the same time, for many years–i’d say about 8–i had been waiting for harlequin print fabric. i did find some before this, but they were too colourful and all the wrong colours, the fabric was wrong (stiff cotton), or then the print was too big. by some miracle, though, i finally found the right one this year: in the form of another jersey fabric. perfect!

i honestly wasn’t thinking of combining the two, until i washed them and they sat nicely on top of each other in my cupboard. what a lovely marriage, i thought!

at first i only planned to make one dress, using the same pattern i used years ago for my optical illusion stripey dress. but after cutting the pieces, surprisingly i still had quite a lot of the fabrics even though i only bought around 1 m of each fabric. so i had yet another crazy idea to make 2 dresses using the same fabric-combo, but different style. i did them both back to back, giving birth to them at almost the exact same time, LOL. ladies and gents, meet Tweedledee and Tweedledum!

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self-made dresses, Crocs boat shoes (left), shoes from Dappermarkt – Amsterdam (right), IKEA ceramic coaster used as background.

Tweedledee is based on pattern #121 from Burda Style magazine 09/2012. the original pattern’s front piece is actually double-layered: the side piece also covers the middle front part and then there’s another layer of just the middle part sewn on top of the side piece. that’s what i did with my stripey dress years ago, which looks fine but is always a little too heavy on the front because of that.

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so this time i cut the side piece’s middle front part off and did everything in just one layer. the result, even though i actually copied the pattern 1 size smaller than my current size, is a loose-fit dress. go figure!

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when i was done sewing Tweedledee, i thought it looks so much like a Desigual dress! well, So Cute brand is supposedly a sister brand of Melli Mello, which is kind of similar to Desigual, so no surprise there. to add a little bit of the ‘jester’ touch, i decided to sew colourful plastic stones on the neckline. i love the result!

Tweedledum is more of an ‘accidental’ child, haha! it means that i didn’t use any pattern, except that i laid down the fabric, put my Marimekko dress on top of it, and cut the fabric according to the Marimekko dress. and then i added the sleeves from some ready-made pattern, and decided to cut away a small triangle from the back side just to add a little detail.

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it was supposed to be a quick & easy project, but of course mishaps kept happening: i ran out of my good sewing thread, tried to sew it with another sewing thread of lower quality and my sewing machine got jammed, sewed the collar binding too loose which made the whole dress look ill fitted.

the next day as soon as the fabric store was opened i ran there to buy more sewing thread, ripped all the seams off the neckline and re-sewed the whole neckline after work (i think it was about 10 pm when i finished sewing the whole dress. sorry, neighbours!).

though the back side is still a bit weird (me & my great idea to do triangular cut-out!), i must say, i love Tweedledum as well!

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i guess you can’t really say that they’re midi dresses, but i’m currently loving knee-length skirts/dresses. they’re just much more appropriate for all kinds of things, even for work.

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did i hear you ask out loud, would i really wear these dresses to work? my answer is, yes i would. i know, i’m lucky to work at a place which allow me to wear all kinds of clothes!😉

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although in the story Tweedledee and Tweedledum never agree with each other, i think these dresses go along perfectly well together. at least maybe until Alice comes along.

PS. i just realized now after i finished writing the post that usually Tweedledum comes first before Tweedledee. sorry for the mix up, but i was too lazy to change the names/pics!😀

souvenir from Emerald City

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Lonkka batik dress, self-made skirt, earrings from Tekka Centre – Little India, Singapore, shoes from Dappermarkt – Amsterdam.

the first time i watched Wizard of Oz when i was small, though i hardly understood the story (i think i probably was around 5 and didn’t speak English at all), 2 things captured my attention: the ruby slippers and the Emerald City.

as i grew up and read the original book of Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, i learned that both of them were actually lies.😀 the ruby slippers in the movie were originally silver coloured in the book, and the Emerald City is not full of people wearing green clothes and buildings made of emerald, but instead they’re all white and you have to put on green-lensed glasses so that you feel as if you’re surrounded by emerald green colour.

but what can i say? i already fell in love with ruby slippers and emerald green as a colour, so even now i have a special place in my heart for these 2 things.

when we went to Singapore this summer, one of my missions was to look for cupro fabric. for some reason it’s still so hard to find in Finland, at least the type that is not for linings but for actual outer garment. if i do find some, they’re bound to be in boring colour like black, brown, grey…. so anyway, i thought there must be some in Asia. as we went to Mahaco Silk in Arab Street, that was my first question to the salesperson. sadly, it was almost like they never heard of it. i tried its twin’s name, tencel, but nope, they had never heard of that either. finally i said, “kind of like stonewashed silk, but cellulose instead of natural fibre.” it didn’t help, as i’m sure they really just didn’t have it. but they showed me the stonewashed silk… which were beautiful but too expensive for my pocket. the salesperson then asked if i would like the fake one that looked like stonewashed silk, but cheaper. since i came all the way there to get some fabrics, i thought then why not?

i asked for a green colour and thankfully, they had it. and it wasn’t just any green, it was exactly emerald green! as i decided to get it, i asked what they called that fabric. their answer was: “Hermes silk”. hmm… sounded suspicious, but whatever. i like the colour (my own dose of emerald green!), and it does have that kind of ‘washed’ texture. when i got to Finland and was ready to sew it, i decided to do the burning test, to find out if it’s real silk or polyester/other plastic fiber. the result: it’s NOT silk (nor anything natural/cellulose).

i have somewhat guessed it, so i wasn’t that disappointed. i think i was more disappointed that even in Singapore it was still hard to find cupro. i hope one day cupro for outer garments will be trendy enough to be found anywhere in pretty colours and reasonable price.

anyway, back to the sewing project! when getting the fabric, i knew that i wanted to make it as a skirt, though i had no idea yet what kind of skirt. after flipping around some old magazines, my eyes fell on this pattern #121 from Burda Style magazine 10/2013.

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image borrowed from BurdaStyle.com.

the pattern is actually more fitted for wool and other fabrics that have more body/stiffness, but since i couldn’t find anything else, i thought i’d give it a try.

emeraldskirtdetail1of course what happened next was my sewing machine chose the right time to have its own mind. i put the setting on almost the most loose stitch as possible (as i usually do for flowy/drapey materials) and used a new needle so that it would be as sharp as possible, but still the stitches are so uneven i was ready to pull my hair out. ugh.

it was almost like every nightmare i had of working with solid colour fabric became real: uneven stitches (i can see ruffles everywhere), the waistband seams and the skirt seams did not match. i kept telling myself that since the skirt is supposed to be asymmetrical, it shouldn’t really be a big problem that the stitches are uneven.

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i don’t know what to think. i guess from some angle it looks okay, from some other you can clearly see the mess.

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what i couldn’t achieve on the seams, i tried to make up for on the hem. again, i did it by hand, and i think it looks pretty neat.

emeraldskirt4the pattern needs 22 cm long zipper, but i really wanted to use this 16 cm lace zipper i had because i think the black and gold colours fit well with emerald green. so i made the waistband longer so that the edges overlap with each other and i could add hooks on the part where the zipper doesn’t reach.

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one more rant: i can’t believe how hard it was for me to capture the actual colour of this fabric. i had to edit the skirt colour in all these pictures just to get it right, because otherwise they were either too blue or too pale.

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but now for the positive side: it’s really not that bad in real life as i keep moving around.😀 (yeah, i always tell myself that whenever i make horrible stitches.) and the main thing is that it’s emerald green! it matches my earrings! i feel like i’ve visited the Emerald City and brought back some souvenirs. *snick* ah, how nostalgic. now all i need is to find a replacement for my ruby shoes (used to have a pair from Zara but they got ruined from the rain puddles after 7 years of use).

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plus i read somewhere that midi skirt and emerald green are going to be big trends for the next season. now, for once, i’m ahead of the trend!😉

my summer holiday 2016…

… has ended. i swear, if there’s any 4 weeks in a year that goes by too fast, they’re always during the summer holiday! pffft.

here’s a quick recap of all that was done, minus the trip to Singapore because that one already had 3 separate blog posts.

Summer cottage, re-painted

as usual, we went to my husband’s grandparents’ summer cottage. but this time we went there with a mission, and i don’t mean to have fun: we had to re-paint the main building and the warehouse building next to it. don’t get me wrong, painting is fun (yes, even painting a house), but the part that was tough was the preparation. first we had to brush, brush, brush off the old paint & green moss with a mini metal brush, and brush them some more until they are evenly non-coloured…. and then and only then we could start painting. huffff! we were so busy, we didn’t have time for pics on the brushing, but there are proofs of the painting! (plus my fashionable country-side get-up, ha!)

seeing the result & the scenery around the cottage, i suppose it was worth all the work, and i can only say: thank goodness the paint ran out in the middle, otherwise we would still be working there!😀

on the last pic, though the 2 buildings are quite far, i hope you can see the result of our paintings. if you compare the colours of the building from the first 2 pics while i was painting them and this last pic, you can clearly see the darker paint… and how lovely it is painted, right?😉 we managed to do the staircases too just before the paint ran out.

Newcomer

my mum-in-law and her husband lost their dog 3 years ago. we had been trying to persuade them to take a new one for years to no avail, but suddenly when we were in Singapore they made an announcement: they were adopting a cat!

H is a bengal cat and he is very shy. i don’t remember now how old he is, maybe around 2 years old? at first when we came around for a visit, he didn’t want to come near us and only hid under the sofa. but after a while, he realized we posed no threat, took a nap beside me, and even let us pet him.❤ welcome to the family, H!

Pie experiments

summer equals fresh berries here in Finland, and there’s really nothing better than Finnish strawberries and blueberries! i have always been fond of strawberries, so of course a strawberry pie was called for.

i used 1 liter of strawberries (yep, that’s how we measure strawberries here, by liter), and in my opinion i could’ve put some more!😀 the best way to eat it (the Finnish way) is with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, of course. it was quite successful, except that the crust was too thick on the sides–or maybe it just needed more strawberries, like i said. but the taste was superb!

we planned to make another pie after successfully making this one, to give to my husband’s granddad. but this time we decided to try the blueberries, because he happens to love blueberry pies. and so, the experiment began again.

for the blueberry pie, i used 600 grams of blueberries and just a very small amount of sugar. the first pic shows the pie before baking, and the second pic was the result! it was an even better success, and my husband’s granddad loved it.🙂 for Finnish blueberry pies, it’s also good to eat them with hot caramel sauce. mmmm….

Turning 35 (!!!)

can’t believe i’m already halfway through my thirties! but anyway, there’s always a reason to celebrate, and my choice of celebration this year is sushi. AGAIN.

woot! they were gone in 60 seconds.😀 just kidding, of course it took longer than that, and i did not finish them all by myself!

flamingo

being 35 doesn’t have to mean being old & boring, right?

that is all we had the time to do this summer holiday. didn’t i say it went by so quickly?