torsdag 29 september 2011

I hate this day

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How on Earth am I going to cook things and bake a cake with my hand cut to shreds?

At least I got to experience the effect that EtOH has on raw nerve endings. Not to mention adrenaline rush. And I got to do some first aid. Yay...

Yup, oxygenated blood is crimson red.
Not lilac or dark red.
Check.
Keeping your hand slightly elevated will slow down blood
flow to the hand. And then you can admire the plasters.
Check.
Oh, and incidentally, I suck at writing with my left hand. Check.

tisdag 27 september 2011

Millefiori-technique with Fimo-acrylics

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Okay, first things first with this technique. You'll need a fridge, something to form it with (clay tools or thing you happen to have in your kitchen, like cocktail sticks and your rollling pin), and an oven. The mass needs to be heated up in order to become hard.

You can use many types of acrylic masses for this technique, since there seems to be quite a lot of brands around. The ones that seem easiest to find around stores here in Turku are Cernit and Fimo. However, there seems to be a difference between brands, regarding the plasticity of the mass itself. Fimo, at least, is much more temperature stable than Cernit. This means that the mass doesn't "smear" as much and doesn't get too sticky and get stuck to things (read: you, the tools, the sheet of baking paper you use to protect your table...). It also means that you can use it for longer without it becoming too "droopey" and ruin the thing you're creating.

It helps if you can put it in the fridge a short while before you start cutting into it for the Millefiori-pieces. It will ensure that the "tube" you're cutting from won't get distorted.

Oh, and be prepared to feel like a kid playing with Play-dough...

Since I didn't have enough mass to start making beads, I tried a technique in which you coat metal buttons with it and then put the Millefiori-cuttings on it.

Normal boring metal buttons getting coated with black.
Making the Millefiori "tube".
Close-up on the tube itself.
After you've placed the individual parts as you want them, you
roll the tube until it gets thinner.
The tube is the cylinder on the left, and the button has been coated
with cuttings. Use a real sharp knife for this. I used a craft knife, but I
would have preferred a scalpel. Oh, and it would have been easier if the
mass had been cooler.
This many button I had time and mass enough to coat.
I must say, the buttons I made look really ... well, psychedelic to be honest. My Mom would use the words "they cause you headaches".

Do you agree?

cont. Craft course

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So, only three "lessons" left in the course I'm taking. Weird to think it's soon going to be over. It feels like it just begun.

Today, I got to varnish most of my 'beads', and some buttons I had made at home last week while I was ill. Trying to stay still enough - I was shivering like a crazy person! - while painting small details on a surface that drank it like *snap*
Needless to say, you got some interesting "splashy" areas on some of the buttons...

But, the artwork aside, I think it's been fun trying to design something usable with the clay. Even though I'm clearly not a "clay person". I can understand the fuss, because you get to see very clearly how good you actually are at designing something with your own hands, but I don't think it's for me.

Painted, dry and ready to get varnished.
If you look really closely at the photo, you'll notice that the teapot leans slightly to one side. The bottom isn't completely flat. Whups.

I got some of the alcohol-based varnish on my fingers.
When I returned from trying to wash it off in the WC,
I noticed my hand looked like I had a yeast infection.
It did flake away, later. But it was weird.
The consistent red beads in the upper left corner aren't mine,
they belong to the woman sitting on my left in the class.
All the rest though, they're mine.
This was how it looked like at home while I was painting the beads
and buttons I wanted to varnish "in class". The beadboard helped.
A lot.
Now, all of the above are made with the same crafter's clay. It dusts slightly when it's completely dry, but it absorbs paint and varnish really well. It's slightly messy when you sculpture it, and your hands get really dry, but for a cheap medium it's actually really versatile.

I'll tell more about the Millefiori-technique I also tried out today, but that's for another post.

måndag 26 september 2011

Loosing your life (aka wallet)

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I spent yet another busy weekend in Kirkkonummi with my parents and Emma. Got to experience - yet again - how knitting on a train can make you tune out a lot. Like the screams of small children wanting to ride the mini train in the "childrens car". Yes, once again I just had to get tickets for a seat there. Thank you, VR.

Those are times when my mantra is playing overtime in my head.
"this will teach me patience...this will teach me patience..."

I had the same mantra playing sing along today at the police station, too. Oh, yes, some jerk or another nicked my wallet last Friday, and I've been having somewhat of a Monday riding my bike around town to "fix" this. Hence the headline if today.

When I lost the wallet, it had a total of 7 euros in it. That might get you a cheap lunch somewhere, but not much else. So that wasn't so bad.
What was, though, was getting replacement cards for all the lost ones. Kid you not, I've spent the last 6 hours trying to get as many of them back as possible. It cost me e.g. 40 euros to get me a new driver's license. 4 euros to get a new library card. All the other ones have been gratis, so far. But, I also had my birth contol pills in my wallet, so I had renew those too. They were really nice about that in the pharmacy. I had some cupons (goodbye cheap lunches) and 2 spare key rings I had gotten from Maria. No keys, phew! And not my student ID card either.

I wasn't at all stressed on Friday about it all (well, maybe a little about the birth control pills since I hate to have menstruation pains) but today kinda remedied that. With vengence.

Still, I must thank Emma, because she donated some materials for me to sew a new wallet on Sunday. I think it turned out real nice.

Tadaa! New wallet.
Emma called it "very renaissance".
It even has a cool lining.
I took Emma's sewing machine out for a spin; it was fun
to test one where you can sew decorative edges on things :)

Colors of autumn

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Pumpkins, nectarines and oranges.
So much orange :)
My autumn is different shades of orange - sienna, burnt, golden, bronze and pumpkin. Coupled with gray skies and yellowing leaves, it's not a bad color scheme.

What's your autumn colors?

fredag 16 september 2011

Eating lunch with mom and dad

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The saddest thing you can see, in my dad's face when he realised that I couldn't eat anything on the lunch menue. After he had already paid for it. But the kitchen chef here at the lunch restaurant, called "Lounas mania", was super nice and made food for me that didn't have paprika in it.

Here's a photo of Mom eating dessert.

Traveling by VR

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Today, I'm traveling by train to Kirkkonummi. The Finnish railway company VR has launched a new ticketing system, and so far a lot has been chaotic about it.

Look, you even get HUGE tickets! Apparently, they're only made for the interim period, but still.

tisdag 13 september 2011

Making a vintage (couture) dress from scratch

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For those who don't know it yet, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is one of the worlds museums devoted to design.

In 2007, they held an exhibition titled


The name makes it quite obvious what the exhibition was about, but what relevant here for us is the fact that V&A Museum keeps the sites devoted to past exhibitions open after the event itself is over. Thus, you can enjoy the free pattern of a vintage couture dress - written by the museum's designer.

[later edit: the link above is broken, but you can find the pattern here :) I put it up on my G Drive, but all the credit and copyright goes to brilliant designer Juliana Sissons who made the pattern for V&A in 2006]

Using the pattern made me able to create the following dress (see the photos). I had to modify the pattern slightly to fit my relatively flat chest and still fit around my hips (the pattern's size 10 was close to my shape, but didin't quite fit my bosom).

And I must say: thank you! Anna-Neah for blogging about (among lots of other nice things) making and sewing dresses. And admitting that the sky doesn't fall down even if something goes wrong while you sew. And that sewing with IKEA-fabrics is quite okay too :)

I used both IKEA "Rosmarie" and black "Ditte" for this dress, and a 50 cm off-white zipper. I pre-washed the fabric, so that it wouldn't shrink later. Thank you Maria for telling me about such things!

Look - it has lovely big pockets!
Don't mind me looking a bit emo - Micke acted his best
 "Daaahlin' - I'm photographing you fo' Vouge
 so you bettah pose!". 
Although the pattern only calls for a lining on the body
and not the skirt, I still made the lining with a skirt.
This way, I think I can add an under-skirt for it in winter,
and not have it itch me crazy.
Note to self: next time you should choose a fabric
with a more uniform pattern. I nevertheless managed to
fiddle with the pattern pieces so that I got one complete
rose on my back.
Next time, I'll use a slightly thinner cotton fabric, but other than that I must say it turned out great. Even though I poked a lot of needles into my fingers... Pins are such pests!

How much did this cost me? Let's see:
  • 9,88 euros for black Ditte (bought 2,5 m, didn't use all)
  • 14,28 euros for Rosmarie (bought 2,40 m, didn't use all)
  • 1,30 euros for the 50 cm zipper
Total of 25,46 euros.

måndag 12 september 2011

First crafts course I've taken in years...

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 ...and it's called "Modelling Jewellery". It's held by the Turku Työväenopisto, and is going to be held on every Monday until the 17th of October. In the course description, it says that it's about "The basics of three-dimensional plasticity, modelling unique ornaments and jewellery from different modelling clays and learning to combine multicolour clays."

This means I have 15 minutes to get by bike from this course to the one in Argentine Tango. Mondays are gonna be busy days for the following weeks. I noticed that it only takes me about 5 min (by bike) to get to tango practice from the house that this course is being held in, so it wasn't as bad as I thought it would have been. I mean, stressful.

Why did I want to take this course?

Because I wrote on my "Non-faves of 2011"-list that cernit-clay sculpting is a non-fave of mine. This way, I get to try out different types of clay/polymer modelling, and get to use more borrowed tools while I do it. Plus, I don't have to grime up my desk. Always a plus.
If it's one thing I don't like. It's. Getting. Grime. And. Needles. Under. My. Nails.

I already thought, while putting things away today and heading out in the hallway to wash my hands how "I should definitively take a nail brush with me next time". And how I had wanted to have this and that and goddess where is my jewellery kit when I need that specific tool in it. It felt like being a pain in the ass, except I didn't say anything out loud. I'm just gonna take it one, as it comes.

But next time, I'll come prepared... *oh, I'm so terrible*

I made things that are supposed to be strawberries (left) and acorns (right).
Neither looks like what they're supposed to be.
Yes, I didn't do many during the 2 hours the lesson lasted.
Tried using different textures, but just generally fooled around.
The second and third bead from the left is actually a small tea pot
and a tea cup. I hope the handles won't fall off as they dry.
Hmm.. this photo is really grainy. You can't even see how I
tried to form a mini "Angry Birds"-pig from the clay (right corner).
And a cat. And a "Tiny Wings"-bird.
Next week, we'll paint these and varnish them as they've dried. Then, we get to try out salt dough. (Back to pre-school...) I can't wait to get to start using more plastic-containing clay...

"You have the sweetest blog"-award

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My first blog award - thank you so much Garnhamstern, this made my day so much brighter :)

And, since you've gotten it from Linda (who I also considered worthy of the award), and I really wanted to give it to folks who hadn't already got it, I thus choose the following bloggers as recipients:

Ikomi // Inari
because she just knows how to uses colors as she writes, and takes the loveliest photos. It's a pleasure to read her texts. Plus, I like the layout of her new site. (envy ++)
miiamaria // Maria
because she proves to me time and time again that even though life is at times tough, you have to focus on the good it still brings. If there was a bittersweet award, she'd be the queen recipient of it. And I so enjoy reading the (oh so rare!) texts she writes about different handicrafts. (awe ++)
Waenthoronien // Tove
because she writes like I would want to write. Fast, furiously, just pouring it all out, so that not every little detail is analyzed in the text itself. Her blog is actually one (if not THE one) I've followed from the beginning I truly started reading blogs. I don't think she realized how funny her texts (and lists!) at times actually are. (envy ++)
and last
Temumriken // Lisa
because there is nothing more sweet than to notice how alike people can be, and still be so different. Her texts make me smile, as well as think about things. Most often, they make me question something. Mostly an attitude towards something. (think ++)

So, you get to choose a few new recipients of the award, as well as answer three questions when/if you accept this award. My answers are found here below:

1. Favorite color?
Tough one, makes me feel like the knights in that Monty Python movie about the Holy Grail. You know, when they're about to cross the Bridge of Death:


I know, I know, that was no real answer, but the all the colors generated from photons on our retinas are beautiful.

2. Favorite food?
Ever since I became a food allergic and lactose intolerant, I must say that that describes food that doesn't make me sick. Otherwise, I'll happily confess that I really like nectarines. I used to like eating Thai- and Indian-foods, but alas - no more due to my allergies.

3. Where do you want to travel?
Back in time would be cool. But, since that's not allowed, I will say that if I could visit Iceland again sometime in the future, then I would be happy to see it's harsh beauty once again. Especially the botanical garden in Akureyri.

onsdag 7 september 2011

I Heart Breakfast

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today at our breakfast table

-"Did I tell you Ida said we [girls] should get together for an arts and crafts party?"
-"No, you didn't."
-"Oh, well, I was thinking of hosting it, and let folks use whatever they want from my stashes. That way, I'll get rid of some materials I haven't used up yet. Is that okay by you? I'll get more room for stashing stuff in the book case that way."
-"Only thing I mind is the mess you'll all create as you do it - there'll be needles, yarn, glue and paper clippings all over the place. I don't mind you guys doing stuff, but I just don't like the mess you leave in the living room afterwards..."
-"... but I'll clean it all up afterwards....!"

lördag 3 september 2011

Advantage

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Early morning adventure in our kitchen.

Mikael is going to be away with the boys for the entire weekend. They went to the Aland Islands, to Mariehamn. There, they're going to hold a product demonstration for the thing they've been coding on the whole summer.

I hope it goes well for them. *holding my thumbs*

Meanwhile, I'm going to take the advantage of being able to hog his computer. I want to have use of his big screen, because then I don't have to stress my eyes so much while I'm writing. Since I have a ton (actually just 21) of non-written blog posts I want written, I'm guessing it might take all day. Maybe all weekend.

But that's okay, I'm going to take it slow, and otherwise just enjoy the weekend.

Hope you too can take advantage of something at home (like an unoccupied couch, or being able to knit in peace, or finally getting to hog the TV remote), and treat yourself to some laziness! You've earned it too, I'm sure. I know I have :)

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