Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back in Business!

After a month off my Etsy shop is once again up and running! The Christmas Craft Sales Gallery I took part in was a success and I'm already planning new bags for the Easter sale in April. I'm thinking bright yellow, light orange, leaf green, pale and bright pinks! But for now I'm treating myself to a late Christmas present and am currently working on a black little purse for myself. I free-handed the whole embroidery and proves the old Finnish proverb "well planned is half done" completely inaccurate.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have Yourself A Very Girly Christmas

I still vaguely remember what it was like to be a little girl on Christmas. Sitting by the tree in my finest frock, waiting for Santa to call over. It's truly a blessing to live in Finland. Why? Because on Christmas Eve Santa pays you a visit. He doesn't just sneak in while you're asleep, oh no, he actually comes to meet you in your own home and personally hands you all your precious pressies. BRILLIANT! Mind that, it can be rather scary. Specially if you are a girl of five. You've spent the whole day waiting for him, but when he actually rings the door bell, steps over the treshold and with the lowest voice you've ever heard booms if there are any nice children in the house, all you want to do is run under your bed and forget all about Christmas. 

But no, your parents invite the stranger in red to enter in. They offer him a seat by the tree and while he settles in you try your best not to scream. If you're lucky, he'll offer to sing you a christmas carol, which is perfect because it'll buy you time to get your nerves in order while the old man croons. But then, if he sings, you gotta sing back. Darn! (Hadn't I practiced this stupid song in day care, how come I can't remember the words now. Man, I gotta pee. Wish he'd give the presents already and bail.) The power of song however soon takes over and you feel more at ease after melodically abusing "Here comes Santa Claus". 

Soon as you've started getting comfortable with the presence of Old Saint Nick, he starts handing the presents. And you are reminded of why you had been waiting for his visit to begin with. PRESSIES! If you are really lucky, he'll got something in store for you to make the whole torture worth it. If I were a little girl of five or so, discovering a cute pink bag under the wrapping paper would totally make me appreciate the horrors my parents put me through in the name of Christmas.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wreath Bag in Black + a cry for help!

Since the reciever of this beautiful bag has already pre-inspected the work before me wrapping it up for Christmas, I feel free to publish a picture of it here too. Like mentioned earlier in a related post, I struggled with the theme for months. But it turned out magnificient if I may say so myself. I'm so pleased with the design I'm planning to make more of these, have already recieved one order. Only thing missing are the purse frames. I only bought one because I wanted to try it out first. But now I can't find them anywhere anymore!

If anyone happens to know where can I get great value purse frames, please help out :)

I'm looking for:
- purse frames slightly M-shaped (or straight)
- has to be sew-on
- steel color
- foldable handle loops
- plus if it comes with the chain.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Make it PINK!

There just isn't anything finer than a nice pink bag :)
Loving the mistletoe-theme so much right now I even combined it with a hot pink bag. And it totally works!Who says Christmas can't be pink?

I like the subtle interpretation of the mistletoe here as it's not too literal. I think I see it now as a mistletoe as I'm so focused on Christmas and all things Christmassy, but I believe come spring I'll just see it as a pretty pink bag with leaves and white pearls. Though hopefully it'll be sold well before spring :)



Happy Finnish Independece Day by the way :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Delicate Mistletoe

I'm full of Christmas spirit already.
I wonder if I hung this bag up would I get kissed underneath it..
Will definately have to test it at the Christmas shop :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Keeping busy

Ok. Wow. I'm bit blown away at the moment.  As mentioned earlier I'm taking part in local craft shop organized by the crafters' association in my new home town. It's a three week event running from the 1st to the 23rd of December and takes place in a beautiful old wooden house downtown.

Yesterday I found out that after the shop had been open for less than two days they had already sold three of my bags. Wo-hoo! Now the problem is that I only have five bags left to be sold. Gotta get crackin and strike while the iron is hot! GOTTA MAKE MORE BAGS!! :)


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sneak peek in Santa's bag

I've almost finished making this beautiful black and white bag, but since it's going in Santa's bag I don't want to publish pictures of the finished bag just yet. I simply had to share my thoughts on the process this point because I'm super-excited with the way it's turning out!

The process of me making bags is truly a slow one. After knitting and fulling the bags they might mull in the cupboard and in the back of my mind for months, waiting for inspiration to knock me off my feet before I start working on the embroidery. This particular piece was knitted end of the summer and has been a troublesome one. Inspiration had nudged me several times but not hard enough, and my feeble attempts to grasp the little scraps of revelation and turn them into embroidery had miserably failed until I gave up.

I'm not a bona fide perfectionist, but inspiration does need to whack me in the head good time for me to actually be able to produce something to be really proud of. And eventually it did! With the holidays approaching and all things christmassy going through my head the picture of a beautiful wreath appeared before my eyes. It was if the heavens would have opened and choirs of angels sung, trumpets sound and a halo materialized above my head when the inspiration struck. Heureka! OMG I can't wait to show you all how it turns out!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chirp Chirp!

I started working on this little pouch several months ago. I had given up on it and started working on it again many times to the point where the little bag was starting to get on my nerves. I don't know what it was, I just didn't seem to get it right. "The legs on the bird are too long, the beak is too pointy, the branches are too crooked." Sigh. So I abandoned it in the closet for two months until I had forgotten it even existed.

After the little creation had been hybernating in my Craft Closet (honestly, there doesn't seem to be a closet in this house that wouldn't fit that description) I discovered it again and looking at it with fresh eyes I actually could not understand why I had abandoned it to begin with! It was super cute and only needed a bit of work to be finished. Few more stitches here and there, added a zipper and the lining and listed it on Etsy wednesday evening. 12 hours later it was already sold!

Lesson learnt: The pieces that annoy you the most may be best left to hybernate for a while, even a long while, as in this case re-discovering it after months gave me fresh perspective and working on the item became fun again. I don't think it would've resulted this nice if I would've just pushed through the frustration, creativity flourishes in peace and calm and suffocates under pressure and stress.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Craft Show

photo by Zirpsis, source: virtual.tourist.com
This year for the first time ever I will be taking part in the local craft association annual christmas gallery, which is both a gallery and a craft shop. The gallery is held at Galleria Alli, a picturesque old wooden house, believe it or not, located right in heart of my new home town and features artists and craftsmen of all sorts around the Kerava area.

It's all very new to me, as I only heard a few weeks ago that my application to join had been accepted (should've applied sooner for more time to prepare!) and I'm now busy planning the price tags and info-leaflets and what nots.

photo by Zirpsis, source: virtual.tourist.com


The gallery opens on the first of December and will be open until the 23rd. I was thinking of only exhibiting some of my bags, so I don't have to close the Etsy shop altogether for 4 weeks, but we'll see how that goes. If you are in the area, do drop in! I will be in the shop my self for a few shifts (all the participants take part in also working behind the counter in turns), so if you want to come say hello, drop me a message to see when will I be in :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Dreams

Today I am dreaming of all things pretty.
I'm undecided between hard and soft textures, between fragile and tough.
But I'm a woman; I can do both!



All these lovely creations are available for sale on Etsy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

While waiting for First Snow..

It's supposed to be winter here in Finland. I guess winter is playing hard to get this year as we have not seen a sight of her yet. (I'm guessing winter is a "she", bitter and cold, yet mesmerizing in her fragile beauty.) It would seem she is keeping us on our toes in order to make a grander entrance when we least expect it!

While waiting for her to get her face on, wax her eyebrows or what ever she is doing while we anxiously wait, here's a little something to keep us in the mood for all things snowy and cold.

This little piece was, once again, knitted, felted and embroidered and features a cotton lining and a white zipper and is for sale here.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Berry Bag and other things lovely

Oh my.
Just this morning I was wondering if Santa might bring me a tripod for Christmas. I have no idea how pricey they are, but I'm guessing they don't grow on trees even at the North Pole, so I was wondering how much would it set Santa back.

Several hours later I was at a flea market, not looking for anything in particular and what did I find: a tripod. For just 15€! Bargain!


I've been struggling with my photos because I don't have the steadiest of hands and daylight is getting more and more scarce, with my limited skills it's really tricky to produce decent photos. Not anymore!


I just spent an hour playing with the tripod, re-taking some of the pictures and just marveling at the device, if I would've known what a difference using one has I would've bought one ages ago. It's deadly!!

Here's the proof:



Ps. Santa, I already got the tripod. Please bring jewelry.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Probably the weirdest thing I've ever knitted

Do I even have to say anything?
....
Is there anything that I can say?
....
I just knitted a christmas hat for our Buddha statue.
And it ROCKS!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Browsing through Craft Fairs, part I

purple earrings from Korumetsä
The time has not yet come for me to be selling my goods at craft fairs, but thinking ahead I've started researching them already. Meaning: I get to go to ALL the craft fairs and browse through all the wonderful goods while actively convincing myself it's all for self-educational purposes (despite the fact I'm spending my time shopping rather than studying).

For some reason I've never really been to any of these events and attending one last weekend really made me wonder why. I felt so at home at the Kätevä & Tekevä fair in my home town Lahti it was unbelievable. The feeling of belonging going through the colorful booths finally convinced me this is what I want to do in future, I want to sell more actively, take part in events like this and find my place in the crafting world.


I had planned to take time and make notes while at the show, but instead I found myself running around like a headless chicken, hopping from booth to booth full of excitement like a kid in a toy store. One particular table got me ridiculously excited and did I even try keep my act together? I most certainly did not. The wonderful Korumetsä jewelry designed and made by Anna Karppinen made me giddy (Korumetsä -site in Finnish only, but some of her jewelry can be found on this site in English also: House Of Handmade ) The colors she uses all screamed my name, so I simply had to get these earrings! Glad there's more craft fairs coming up she too will be attending, I might just start collecting these!

When I got home from the craft fair I came up with a cute idea for displaying earrings at craft shows. I had a spare key cupboard that didn't fit the space I had intended it to fill, so voilá, I turned into a jewelry box! And how much did this invention cost me? One single euro. Cheap and pretty, just like me!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Winter Love

OMG OMG OMG It's the first of November! I'm now officially allowed to give our lovely little home a winter makeover! It's a bit early for Christmas decoration yet, but I like to celebrate the dark time of year by filling our home with candles and warm shades of red, balanced with a hint of white and linen. The cold tones of turquoise and blue are packed in boxes for the next six months and I'll dig them back up again after the long long winter, but now it is time for bright red curtains and off white throw pillows.

And yes, I'm a Christmas freak. I've started making Christmas cards in October (because making Christmas cards is the only excuse to listen to the Brian Setzer christmas album in October) and will most likely start adding holiday decor way before December.. But Merry Winter to one and all at this point :D

Meanwhile, I've started making little Christmas themed treasuries already.  I like it so much and was really happy to notice this morning that my "First Snow" treasury had just made it to the front page of Etsy, meaning all these gorgeous items just got a lot more visibility :)


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sakura Slippers

Konichiwa!
The cherry blossom (sakura) is Japan's unofficial national flower. It is also my official favorite flower. 

It's a delicate flower that blooms only for a very short time. For the Japanese sakura symbolises the transience of life, in other words: life is short, shit happens, not much you can do about that so stop whining.

Life may be short, but as long as you can find beauty in life it's a life worth living. If you're lucky, your daddy ordered a custom pair of pretty slippers for you, so you'll never need to look any further, beauty can literalily be found right under your nose (I mean not right under your nose, unless you're a midget your feet probably are a bit further down..). 

These slippers were made of Novita Huopanen unspun yarn and following the same good old slipper pattern I always use (found in Finnish here and in English as translated by yours truly here).

Domo arigato, Mr Roboto. (Dunno why but I simply had to end the blog post with that. Had to!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simple Teal Bag

I knitted and fulled this bag a few weeks back but haven't managed to attach the handles until today. I've been suffering from a cold past few days and apparently snot makes my brain too foggy to perform even the simplest tasks such as sewing on a pair of handles on a bag. I haven't used handles like these before and had been wondering what might be the best way to attach them securely. I googled and I googled and I googled a bit more. Maybe it was the snot, but what I found was of no help at all.

After trying a few different ways I decided to use thicker dark blue sock yarn to sew the handles on at the edge of the opening, about 1,5 cm from the edge. These are the stitches that hold the handles in place so I stitched these ones firmly and rather tightly.

I used the same unspun yarn I knitted the bag with to cover the stitches sock yarn stitches.The unspun yarn is there just for cosmetic effect and can be sewn on a bit more loosely. Unspun yarn alone does not have the strength to keep the bag in piece as it tends to break easy.


 This bag is the second in my series of more down to earth purses. I love it, the color is so rich and beautiful, I found it didn't need any embroidery at all. The dark wood handles work so well with the teal, I thought adding embroidery to it would be like adding salt on bacon, completely unnecessary. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Simple Bag with Heart Embroidery

Most the items in my little Etsy shop are said to be rather pricey. Indeed they might be, but the price does not only include the materials (yarn, embroidery cotton, handles, lining etc) but also the work that goes into these beauties, and believe you me, detailed embroidery does not create itself. I get it that I should have items in my shop that would be a little less valuable too, it makes sense to offer more range in both colors/themes and price tags too.

Lately I've been designing bags with a little less detail, bags of more subtle beauty. Offering items with smaller price tags does not mean to me offering items that are of poor quality, simply beautiful pieces with well thought and simply executed details. If I may say so myself, I think the shape on these bags is pretty in itself, plus I love the rustic texture of fulled wool. Elaborate embellishment is not necessarily needed to make these creations beautiful, the shape and texture itself make them pretty. Keep tuned for more bags of simple elegance..

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wet felted table cloth and coasters

Last weekend I took part in my second felt class and like last time, concentrated purely on having a good time, getting inspired and messing around. Among a few not so succesful projects I managed to produce something relatively usable too, to my own surprise at least.

Here's a set of coasters together with a little table cloth in colors we have in our kitchen/dining room at the moment. I'm fairly new to using blue in decor but have totally fallen in love with it during the last 6 months. It all started from the Stockholm Blad  curtains from Ikea, for a reason still unknown to me, they were screaming my name and I just had to get them. The coasters I made are a little clumsy and funky, but think they go well with both the curtains and the Taika -mugs in the picture, designed for Iittala by Heikki Orvola.

The Taika dishes have grown on me little by little, but now I'm dreaming of replacing them with a few items from the 24h Tuokio collection, a new design from Arabia by Heikki Orvola and Helorinne & Kallio. This is pure madness, I tell you, as I have my cupboards full of Vanilla Tableware from Pentik.. But even still.. In a perfect world I'd have room enough for a million complete sets of tableware, one for each mood I'm in, so I'd always have just the perfect set for each occasion.. Though right now it wouldn't make sense to buy more ceramics in blue and white, as in just nine days I will be changing all the curtains, table cloths and cushion covers in the house to match my winter color scheme (I don't have Christmas curtains with reindeer or dancing Santas, but even still my bf wont allow me to change colors until the first of November the earliest, and oh boy do I intend to change them the moment the clock strikes 00.01 on that day!) Oooh I can't wait to dig up all the red, white and linen..


But a few more words on the felt (as this post was supposed to be of them and not of tableware). I used a pre-needled felt cloth as a base and decorated it with blue (remotely) leaf like patterns. First I needle felted bits of blue wool roving to the base, not attaching them completely but using the needle just enough to keep the wool in place. Then I wet felted them and to finish tossed them in the washer (cause I was feeling lazy). They are not fancy at all, as you can see the table cloth is lumpy and uneven, but I'm still pretty pleased with them (mainly because they go with the colors).

Huzzaah, great achievement indeed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Handles

Ordered these wooden handles last week from Hong Kong through Etsy and huzzaah, they arrived earlier this week! That was fast! I had had my eye on them for ages, but as there wasn't a lot of info on the products listed I had been a bit doubtful whether or not to order. At the end I just took a risk knowing only that they were made of wood (not very specific) and that the surface had been treated with spraying (what exactly, who knows..) I ordered 5 to start with and they truely are gorgeous! If I manage to squeeze more info out of the seller regarding the manufacturing process (it's all about sustainable products these days!) I might even order some more. GORGEOUS!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Exchange

A friend of mine has taken up knitting after X years (we decided it best not to count them precisely, as the result would force us to admit the cold fact that time is passing by and we aren't getting any younger).

The other evening she called me with sincere enthusiasm in her voice to ask how does one make a cable twist. I instructed her to my best ability over the phone but we agreed that her next question regarding something a little more complex for a newbie-knitter (reinforced heels) called for face-to-face tutoring.

We agreed I would go over and help her with socks and other projects and she would make me dinner in exchange. Huzzaah, said I in my little mind, as I'm always hungry and never say no to good food (hence the muffin tops)! This arrangement suited me fine; I'm an eager reader (=drooler) of her delicious food blog, Martan Keittiössä and knew I'd be a fool to decline.

While she prepared dinner (breaded chicken tits with cheese I can't remember the name of, whole grain rice and tarragon carrots,) I sat on her sofa flickering through the book she had used to get back into the groove with knitting. I couldn't believe my eyes, it was the same elementary school text book I had when I was a kid! Time has done no credit to the illustration which even back then looked horribly retro.

Seeing the book after X years (still not feeling like counting) brought back so many memories. Mostly unpleasant though, I hated knitting in school. Hated with a passion. I was terrible at it. Yet now I couldn't imagine life without it. God only knows what skills I'll develop X years from now. If I've learned how to knit I can do anything!

(PS. anyone wishing feed me, please contact me immediately!)



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple Blossoms and a Butterfly

 Oooh, finished another bag last night!
It's fairly girly, naive even, but then again, the customer ordering it was 6. Fingers crossed she'll approve!

I really like the apple blossoms, they look so nice against the fuchsia background I'm thinking I might try embroidering something similar on the pink slippers I'm working on next.

I love autumn, it's such a beautiful time of the year but these colors totally make me wish it was spring!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

World's Largest Crochet Quilt



When there's a chance to go see an attempt to break the world record for the largest crochet quilt I naturally jumped at the chance. My bf will probably never stop making fun of me for this, according to him I'm a total yarn nerd.

I didn't take part in this project as I *hate* making granny squares. They are quick and easy to make, but darning the ends, oh boy that's tedious! And don't let me get started on joining the squares, yawn! But in respect for all the patient crocheters around the world I simply had to see this.

In Helsinki, Finland, local womens organization Martat alongside with the largest yarn manufacturer of the country Novita and craft teachers union were covering the stairs of Helsinki Cathedral with thousands of granny square quilts yesterday. The quilts were made my hand by volunteers around the country and gathered together by the said organizations. According to MTV3 news there were 3800 quilts, consisting out of 152 000 granny squares, covering the stairs. They actually managed to get together 7800 of these quilts, but couldn't fit them all on the approx 50x28m stairs! Mental!


The separate quilts were joined together with cable tie for the occasion and will be donated to various charities after the event.

Friday, September 30, 2011

What will I be dreaming of this weekend..

I'm addicted to Etsy! It's full of gorgeous handmade and vintage items. You can also waste time creating beautiful Treasuries, your own little treasure boxes of items that tickle your fancy, like I have done! It's fun, it's like being the editor of your very own magazine!

Here's two of my hand picked treasuries, collections of all the beautiful things I will be dreaming of this weekend, all found on Etsy:





Thursday, September 29, 2011

Embroidery Transfers On Felt? Bah!

Iron on transfers pattern from FrenchKnot.com
 As mentioned about a month ago, I received a custom order from a 6 year old. In between working on less demanding projects I've been since thinking how best make what I had been ordered. The thing is, I need to embroider a butterfly. Bugger! Insects aren't my forté. But I found lovely embroidery transfers free online and bought an iron on transfer pencil (2,5€ at Lankamaailma Nordia) and was eager to give it a go. I thought instead of transferring the entire piece I'd test the pencil first with just the butterfly.

 And ta-da; here's a picture of how it turned out:









                                     Did absolutely nothing! :D




Embroidery - Day 1
I had a gut feeling it wouldn't work on felt, but surely it had to be tested. I had been avoiding starting this project in fear of messing up (I put WAY too much pressure on myself when it comes to custom orders) and was rather discouraged and disappointed even though I had predicted it wouldn't work. I tend to get like that, afraid of trying something in fear of failure. But nothing left to do but just face the music and start stitching away!

I was so cynical and so sure nothing would come out of me attempting to free hand a butterfly I was pleasantly surprised when with very little effort I managed to "sketch" out the insect last night!

Today I added a bit of color and will keep working on it before moving on embroidering flowers on the bag, just thought I'd share what I'm working on at present. I think this might just turn out decent enough :)