Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In 2013


Above are some pictures of my inspiration/resolution/dream boards from 2013, that hang above my desk. I love doodling and having visual reminders of things I love, have done and wish to accomplish, so this works for me. I also love how I can rearrange and adjust things as the year goes. I can’t wait to make new ones for 2014, but wanted to document these before I take them down.

Some things that happened in 2013: I finished my thesis and graduated with an MA in translation, I travelled to Hong Kong with my father and brother, I got my first smart phone and a second screen for my computer, I got obsessed with Candy Crush, I got really in to audio books, my favourite book of the year was The Happiness Project, I loved playing The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, I started  doing daily walks and they helped so much with my mood and sleep, I visited friends and friends stayed with us, I decided to make traditions for holidays and enjoyed them much more, I wore shorts in the summer first time since my childhood, I decided not to strive for perfection and got so much more done, I rowed a boat for the first time in years, and I generally tried to enjoy things more, and I did.

2013 was a good year and I’m going to make 2014 even better.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

This Week - Christmas

This Week Christmas

I feel like this week’s pictures don’t really do justice to what a wonderful Christmas we had, but these are the pictures I took.

1. It was rainy and warm and snowless all the previous week, but then on Monday it started snowing and it was still snowy on Christmas Eve. We celebrate Christmas on the 24th in Finland. So we got a white Christmas after all. It all melted away on Christmas day.

2. I’m really happy how our Christmas turned out. I was complaining how I wasn’t feeling at all festive, until I realized that if I wanted something to happen, I should make it happen. And I did. We got a tree and hung up fairy lights, and I made a wreath, a snow lantern, a wintery pillow and some snowflakes for our windows. I also got a Christmas rose for our balcony. And I started a small collection of Christmas mugs. Now, I get jolly just thinking of pulling all of that out next December!

3. Jake worked morning shifts through Christmas, but after he got off on Christmas Eve we went to visit his parents. We had a lovely Christmas sauna and then a delicious dinner. I especially enjoyed the salmon and halloumi.

4. I made the dessert: banoffee pie. I also made these pecan chocolate chip cookies. Basically the two recipes I always make when there is a some kind of a celebration.

5. After dinner I went to visit the graveyard with Jake's parents. You can’t really tell by this picture, but it was pouring rain and we didn’t stay for long. The candles were making a huge hissing noise as rain hit them.

6. After we got home, I made Jake watch the Snowman with me, because we had missed it in the morning. The Snowman must be watched on Christmas.

7. I know presents aren’t supposed to be the thing about Christmas, but they are so much fun! I got some lovely ones, but probably the best was a book about Moomin amigurumi patterns I got from Jake's parents. It is amazing. I already started crocheting Hemulen.

8. As for Jake's presents, I made him this pillow that looks like a NES controller. I wasn’t sure if he’d like it or think it was lame, but luckily he really seemed to love it.

9. My cousin was visiting some family with her husband and two sons, and on Friday they picked me up and we went to do some shopping. We had a nice outing and I came home with a laundry basket (and other stuff). It’s weird how happy a good laundry basket can make you. Yep, I’m definitely an adult.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

This Week

This Week

Christmas is almost here! The pictures this week are pretty boring, but I’ve just been doing Christmas shopping and some DIY gifts and don’t really want to post pictures of those yet.

1. Someone had put up a tree in the hallway. It looks a bit forlorn there by the fire extinguisher. I love the effort though.

2. On Monday, the advent calendar offer for our local store was 24 rolls of toilet paper and 16 rolls of paper towels for 10 €. I think it’s a mark of adulthood when you get exited about cheep toilet paper. I also pretty much run there the day they had laundry detergent on sale. Yep.

3. In addition to making those Hama Bead snowflakes for our kitchen window, I also made this Mario mushroom for Jake. These would make fun Christmas ornaments. Imagine a whole tree with them!

4. Speaking of Christmas trees, I saw this one on my walk the other day. Someone had tied it to street sign in the middle of the road. it was decorated, too. It was so out of place I had to stop and take a picture.

5. And the most important news of the week! We got fast internet! The best that has been available for our building so far was 8 Mb, and now we got 100. And a Wi-Fi. Now my phone actually loads pictures. It’s amazing.

Hopefully next week I will have more exiting stuff to share!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

DIY Hama Bead Snowflakes


I’ve always thought Hama Beads were a bit, I don’t know, tacky maybe, but then I saw these snowflakes on Pinterest. So cute. Now I’m obsessed.


I had a bit of trouble getting started. You are supposed to construct them on the plastic base and then iron them through a baking sheet to melt the beads together. It took a few tries to figure out what to do. The first one I melted a bit too much and the second one I somehow managed to tie into a knot! Alright then. After that I was a bit more careful.


These two I made with a circular base.

And these with an hexagon.


I actually think I could have melted these a bit more, because they feel a bit fragile. But I hung them up on the kitchen window with sewing thread and they look very pretty and wintery.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Wish List


I have a few Christmas projects I’d  still like to share, but the days have been so overcast and dark it’s impossible to take bright enough pictures.

So instead, I though I’d make a little (imaginary!) wish list of things I’d like to receive this Christmas. None of these are things I need, just thought I’d fantasize for a bit. All of these are from my Wish List board on Pinterest.

1. Some kind of delicious smelling scented candle. I wish we had a Bath and Body Works here, their candles sound amazing!

2. Iroisie Soin Parfait BB cream. I had to give up all my make-up when I discovered I was allergic to Kathon CG. This sounds really good for a natural BB cream, and while I don’t really wear make-up everyday, it’d be nice to have some to put on on special occasions.

3. New sheets to start the new year with, like these fresh grey and white striped ones from Anno.

4. Patyka Biokaliftin remarquable cleansing oil. I use the oil cleansing method to clean my skin, and while sunflower oil works just fine, I’d love to try something fancier like this.

5. Rebecca Minkoff MAC bag. This a bit in right now (how horrible!), but it seems like a nice bag and just the right size for fitting in everything I need daily.

6. Cosy fur lined slipper shoes. I like these Ugg ones, but I’ve also been eyeing some from a Swedish company called Shepherd. I couldn’t wear them outside yet, but they’d be great once the snow melts. And they would be wonderful for travelling in! Cold airports and all that.

So there! And world peace.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIY Pom Pom Pillow


I’ve been making so many pom poms lately! This time on a pillow.


I saved a picture of this pillow from Living with punks ages ago on my DIY board on Pinterest and finally decided to do something like it.


I’m not much of a sewer, so instead I crocheted the pillow. I used the same pattern I’ve used for the bows in my wreaths, just on a larger scale. I also decided to sew the pom poms more tightly onto the pillow than in the original. It just seemed like a sturdier option.


I just love how it looks. I used a wool yarn and the combination of white crochet and pom poms makes it look so wintery and cosy.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

This Week


1. and 2. The weather has been zigzagging this week.  It’s been very warm and raining, and then cold and snowing on alternate days. This has resulted in some mighty slippery roads. I did a glorious flip on my bike and landed on my knees. A lovely picture of those, for everyone’s pleasure.

3. We went to see the second Hobbit movie on Friday. Jake got free movie tickets from work and we’ve been saving them for this. It was ok. I didn’t know Lee Pace was on it (I love Pushing Daisies), but his role was so creepy, even that didn’t save the movie for me. I did manage not to go to the toilet mid-way, which was a kind of a victory for me. And we got kebab afterwards, so it was a nice evening.

4. I got this mug as a thank you from our neighbours, for whom I did a small translation. That’s my professional career so far. Still, the mug is very cute. It’s the 2013 Moomin Christmas mug and the only festive mug I have so far. Very good for drinking glögg out of.

5. I wrapped some presents today and I hate to say this but I’m so bad at wrapping.  You’d think I could be decent. I mean, I craft, I crochet, you’d think I could work some paper and tape, or you know, make those fancy stylish packages with hand painted polka dots and pom-pom decorations, but no. I produce oddly shaped lumps with tape on odd places, because I accidently brush it against the paper then can’t remove without ripping the paper and have to leave it there. Merry Christmas, have a lump!

6. Jake skipped lunch at work to queue for PlayStation 4. 500 € that thing cost and there are practically no games for it either yet. It came with Killzone, so that’s what he’s been playing.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Crochet Snow Lantern



We live in an apartment so we don’t have a yard, just a balcony. So, I had this amazing (in my opinion, of course) idea that I’d make a snow lantern, like the once we used to make when we were little, only instead of snow I’d use yarn and polyfill and then I could keep it inside! Using a led light of course, this thing would catch fire like nobody’s business.


Crocheting the balls was the fun part, just make a basic amigurumi ball in the size you want. Trying to assemble it or even trying to pile it for a second, so I could see how it was coming together and estimate how many more I still needed to make, was the part where the balls kept rolling on every direction and I lost my temper. Whew. But I managed it! And I think it looks so nice. I like how it is minimalistic and even quite sophisticated as far as Christmas decorations go, but also cosy and fun. I can see myself pulling this out every winter for next 50 years, without it looking tacky.


I sewed all the balls together, and it is really sturdy. I could throw it across the room and not do it any damage. But if I were to do it again… I’d use a glue gun. And just try to control my throwing impulses. Also, I love crocheting, but definitely the easier route would have been just wrapping Styrofoam balls with yarn and gluing them together. Ah well, all that ends well!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

This Week


1. This week we celebrated the independence day, so most pictures are about that.

2. It’s getting freaking cold in here. I know, I’m Finnish, shouldn’t I be used to the cold? No. You have to get used to it every year and when it suddenly is 10 degrees colder than yesterday, you just want to stay indoors and whimper. Come spring, today’s –14 degrees will feel pleasantly warm, but now it’s excruciating.

3. I made a cream cake to serve on independence day and was terrified it’d be horrible, especially since this was my first time making an eggless cake. But everyone liked it! I know half the world seems to think a good cake is dry with butter cream frosting, but I think it must be an acquired taste. This is probably an acquired taste, too, but I like a cake moistened with orange juice (a bit like tres leches, only with juice), and layered with whipped cream, strawberry yam and banana slices, and topped with more cream.

4. We don’t own a car, so Jake’s grandparents kindly took me to buy a tree, so I wouldn’t have to lug it by foot. It took me well over an hour to fluff and assemble it properly, but it was kind of fun and the tree is so pretty. I put up just Christmas lights on it and will decorate it nearer to Christmas.

5. I had to include this picture, because my expression is kind of priceless. Jake’s parents and grandparents came over for coffee and cake on independence day and it was so nice.

6. After it got dark, Jake and I walked to the graveyard and it was so beautiful with the snow and all the candles.

7. I lit up a candle for those buried else where as none of my family is buried here.

8. In the evening I watched the president’s independence day reception. it was kind of boring, but it is traditional! And I had hot cocoa and Jake’s grandma’s cinnamon rolls to munch on.

9. On a none festive note, our local grocery store is doing this advent calendar thing, where everyday there is one item on a huge discount. On Friday it was mega bags of potato chips for 1 euro, but because it was a holiday, it continued on Saturday. And Saturday's item was 1,5 litre bottles of soda for 99 cents. We stocked up.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Independence Day!


Today is the independence day here in Finland and, being on a bit of a wreath kick, I decided to make an (independence) wreath for our door.


I was inspired by this tutorial on Bleubird blog. For colours I chose three different shades of blue and two different shades of white. I didn’t have a wreath base, so just cut two rounds from a pizza box and wrapped them with blue yarn to make the base more sturdy. Once I had a mound of pom-poms and was running out of yarn, I started to tie them onto the base. Then realized that I didn’t have enough and had to make some more. The wreath takes a huge amount of pom-poms, but they are so much fun to make, I didn’t mind.


I’m already thinking about other colour combinations to try. White and different shades of red, with a green bow. Or all white with a red bow.


I know that in some countries independence day is a huge party with fireworks and stuff, but we are just going to burn candles, eat cream cake, visit the graveyard and watch the president’s independence day reception.

Happy independence day!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DIY Spruce Pom-Pom Wreath


As a first step in my Christmas Spirit project, I decided to make a huge wreath for our front door, so you would feel a bit festive every time you came or went. I had seen this adorable pom-pom spruce wreath on Pinterest and wanted to do something similar.



The pictures are a bit washed out, especially the bow for some reason, but I think it turned out very pretty.



I bought a fake spruce base, then made a bunch of pom-poms from left over yarn. While watching YouTube, pom-poms are a great mindless project. I chose a pastel colour scheme based on what I had. I crocheted a striped bow for some extra interest. I fiddled with the placement a bit and then when it looked about right, sewed everything in place, to make sure that every time someone slammed the door there wouldn’t be a cascade of pom-poms. Though a cascade of pom-poms does sound lovely.


I have to add, I had to pluck a few spruce bits away after I hung it up on the door as they were blocking the peephole a bit. Something to consider if you are making one.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

This Week


1. The snow melted away again in the beginning of the week. Then it snowed again, and now it’s snowing some more. I don’t really like winter (good thing I live in Finland!), but even in my book snow is allowed in December.

2. More sweets. I went to the store and saw that Kinder Buenos were on sale. It’s Jake’s favourite chocolate so I bought him 12. He got super exited and went back to get a whole box. We have a few chocolate bars here!

3. Jake and I have been playing the new Mystery Case Files. These are so fun to play together. Though we always fight on who gets to hold the mouse.

4. Jake bought the new Zelda game and has been playing in bed before going to sleep. He claims there is no volume control in DS. Right.

5. And I’ve been reading this book on Second World War. It’s very interesting and very horrifying. Jake was chatting with a friend of his who works at the library and I went to look for something to read. When I came back he asked if I couldn’t find anything thicker.

6. For a few years now (I don’t know how many), I haven’t really felt very exited for Christmas. I mean, I’ve wanted to feel exited, but haven’t. So this year I’ve decided to try my darnest to feel festive and exited. Operation Christmas Spirit commence! I’ve started some decoration projects, convinced Jake that we need a full size Christmas tree and bought some presents. And downloaded a few Christmas apps for my phone. I thought, even if I don’t get a full on Christmas this year, if I start now and add a few new decorations and traditions each year, in a few years I can just pull out existing decorations and feel festive by the power of nostalgia. I hope. Anyway, I’ve already finished a few projects and will be posting them soon!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DIY Lip Balm

How to make your own lip balm, it’s very easy!

DIY Lip Balm Imaginary Wardrobe

I’ve been making my own lip balm for a few years now. Mainly, because of my allergy to kathon cg and my atopic eczema, I couldn’t find one that suited me. When you make your own you can really tailor the ingredients for your own needs. The recipe I use is from Design Sponge and it has worked very well for me. I usually make half the recipe, which makes about 4 tubes.

I ordered some new lip balm supplies last week and decided to try them out. And while doing so I thought why not document it a bit, so next time I can remember what I did and what to do differently.

DIY Lip Balm What You Need Imaginary Wardrobe


  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. beeswax
  • 3-5 drops essential oil of your choice (optional), I used tea tree oil
  • flavourings and sweetener to taste (optional), I used vanilla and honey
  • grater and a cutting board
  • a heatproof cup, I like this because it has a handle and a spout
  • a tablespoon
  • empty lip balm tubes

DIY Lip Balm How To Imaginary Wardrobe

  1. Start by grating the beeswax. Measure it by lightly patting it into the tablespoon, don’t push or the lip balm will be too hard. If you grate too much, that’s ok. Just put it back to the bag and use it next time!
  2. Add grated beeswax and coconut oil to the heatproof cup.
  3. Warm the mixture in the microwave. Keep a close eye on it, because the coconut oil melts in a few seconds. Stir so that the beeswax melts faster, then heat and stir more as needed. I’d say about 30 seconds total.
  4. The mixture should look like even honey coloured liquid when it’s ready. There should be no beeswax chunks floating there. Now is the time to add you extras if you want to. I use tea tree oil. This time, I also added vanilla and honey flavour oils and some sweetener. I’d never used those before so I only added a few drops each, and I have to say I can’t really notice them at all. Next time I’ll add more.
  5. Pour the mixture into the empty lip balm tubes and let them cool for a bit. They should be usable in about a minute, at least if you live in a cold country like I do. There might be some overflow, but just put the caps on and wipe them clean.

DIY Lip Balm Imaginary Wardrobe

You’ve just made your own lip balm!

DIY Lip Balm Imaginary Wardrobe

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This Week

1. Jake finished with GTA and now he is playing Arkham Origins. I really like watching people play. I’ve been making a lot of pom-poms while watching, more on that later.

2. In the beginning of the week it got frosty and pretty. I really like this about Finland: well paved, quiet roads in the middle of forests. This autumn I acknowledged to myself that I don’t really care for music and got into audio books instead. I’ve been listening through all the Harry Potters. I just finished the last one and don’t know what to pick next.

3. Mid week, we got some snow, and the kids, or maybe the retirees, of the apartment building made a snow man.

4. I came home from ballet class and Jake asked if I was thirsty. He had bought me 12 cans of PepsiMax! We never buy cans, so it’s felt quite luxurious!

5. I’ve also started on glögg. It’s time. I love glögg. I don’t know if I should call it mulled wine, but it doesn’t have any wine in it, just juice and spices.

6. I ordered a bunch of different kinds of flavour and fragrance oils, empty lip balm tubes and bees wax. I’ve been making my own lip balm for a few years, but have never tried any extras. I got honey and vanilla flavour oils and a sweetener for lip balm making. And then some scent oils: cotton candy, winter wonderland, vanilla, honey, blueberry and honeysuckle. I already tested the cotton candy by mixing a bit into my fragrance free body moisturizer and while it smelled a bit odd in the original bottle it did smell just like cotton candy mixed in to the moisturizer. I can’t wait to experiment more!

7. It’s been a cold, snowy and sunny day. Fresh air is the best.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This Week


1. I thought I’d document this incredibly unhealthy and frankly weird grocery haul we did. I wish I could say that this was a rare occasion, but no, we pretty much eat this kind of crap everyday.  Future Riikka, I can feel your horror. Anyway, we bought (most of this was on sale btw): a packet of Dumle donuts, two ready made spaghetti meals, a frozen kebab pizza, an avocado, 15 eggs, 9 Tupla chocolate bars, laundry detergent, spinach, rosolli (a kind of cooked salad you eat at Christmas, I love it) a packet of chicken patties, two Magnum ice creams (white chocolate for Jake, almond for me), yarn (always yarn) and a cucumber.

2. I had a random fever on Monday, and felt a bit off for a few days. I drank a lot of Finrexin and vitamin-C. I absolutely swear by vitamin-C if you feel like you might be coming down with something. Blueberry is my favourite flavour, you can have it hot or cold.

3. They had put up the Christmas lights in front of our building. It actually looks kind of depressing, because it’s so dark, but once we get some snow I know it’ll look lovely.

4. There is chicken kebab available here now, and I really wanted to try it. It was raining quite heavily, but I managed to convince Jake that we should go get some. I got this wrap thing and was huge, the size of my arm, and so delicious. I managed to eat half and I’ll have the other half for lunch today. Can’t wait!

5. How do you take pictures of your nails? I’ve been loving this nail polish I mentioned last week. It’s Mavala Diamond Powder and it’s just so pretty.

6. Jake, with his lovely moustache, playing GTA. I made this larger cloud for a project my cousin is doing. I wasn’t sure it was the size she wanted, so I used Jake as a prop and send her this picture.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Blueberry Quark Pie


Jake and I have been dating for three years today! Is three year dating anniversary a thing? I’ll spare you all the sappy talk, but I did make this blueberry quark pie (Jake’s favourite) to commemorate this occasion. Woohoo!


Blueberry Quark Pie


100g butter

3/4 dl sugar

1 egg

3 dl flour

Mix together butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour and mix until smooth.

Grease the pie pan and pat the dough in.


500g quark

1 dl sugar

2 eggs

4 tsp vanilla sugar

Mix all ingredients together.

250g blueberries (frozen or fresh) + some sugar to taste

Spread the blueberries evenly on top of the crust. Pour the filling on top. Bake for about 30 minutes in 200° Celsius. Sappy writing with leftover dough optional.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

This Week

1. Very autumn like weather this week, rainy and warm.
2. I made some actual food this week. We bought a whole salmon (with head and all) and I actually managed to cut it and bake it. I made mashed potatoes to go with it and it was delicious!
3. Jake had a Guilty Gear meet-up in Jyväskylä, so I spend the weekend by myself. Here he is leaving with the spare mattress, a suit case and an arcade stick. The best part is that you can sleep in the middle of the bed, the worst being slightly scared all the time.
4. I bought some random things this week: a fake spruce wreath for a DIY project, a small house shaped lantern (I want to collect a whole village of them), some sparkly silver nail polish and a pair of super comfy slippers.
5. New gum! The flavour is “Polka Mint” and it’s my new favourite. So good.
6. I love these Viidakkomuumi sheets. They are part of the Moomin line of Finlayson. They are quite expensive, but sometimes you see them on sale.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

This Week


1. Jake still with his beard (and pizza!) before Movember started. With just his moustache I think he looks like somebody’s uncle. Only a month left!

2. I added wrist weights to my walks. I already wear a weighted vest of 9 kg. Can you tell I try to get everything out of my walks? I never run because a plastic surgeon said in the news a few years back, that he could always tell which of his patients run by the sagginess of their skin. Whew! That’s my excuse now!

3. Weekly sauna. We don’t have our own, so we use the shared sauna downstairs. We have it booked for an hour on Thursdays. Saturday would be more traditional, but there was no available time then. Nothing makes me feel so thoroughly clean as a good sauna.

4. I finished reading this book on how Mona Lisa became so famous. It was quite good. I prefer reading non-fiction in bed, because it’s interesting, but not gripping. I mean, I can put it down after 20 minutes or so and not read until morning because I must know what happens next. I’m looking at you Harry Potter.

5. Eating pizza in front of the computer and watching a new episode of Kill Arman. Although I had to stop eating, because there was quite a lot of talk about feces.

6. The snow is gone and it’s been raining a lot instead. I love rain, so all is good!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Italian Apple Cobbler


I have no idea if this actually has anything to do with Italy, but that’s what the recipe called it. What I do know is that this is the easiest, the very best apple pie I’ve ever eaten. It’s soooo good. The recipe I’ve linked to is in Finnish and I don’t know if I’m allowed to post a translation on my blog, if you want it just send me an email.


I made this last night and asked Jake if he’d like some? His reply: only if he could have a piece that had neither apples nor almonds. Well then. I’ll just eat this all by myself.

WP_20131102_004Super good with some vanilla ice cream. And coffee.

Side note: speaking of ice cream, in American movies they always eat it out of a jar type of container, I think it’s called a pint? Straight out of it with a spoon mostly too, which to me seems very unhygienic, sort of like drinking milk straight out of the carton. Over here ice cream mostly comes in square shape and you cut pieces with a knife. Just thought I’d share that!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another Granny Square Blanket

Nothing much to say about this except that I love it. And that I think I must make another. These are so much fun to make, even if they take forever. It’s both a small project: crocheting one square takes no time at all and is very portable, and a huge one: sewing all the squares together takes forever and takes up half the sofa, or the floor.
Here’s my first ombre one. And the original idea is from Muita Ihania.
EDIT: You can find the pattern here.
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