Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Things I’d like to fix

I’m very happy with our new home. I think it’s lovely, clean and nice. But, there are a few things I’d like to fix, especially now that the spring light is illuminating everything.

  • I want all the yellowed doors painted white. Against the white walls, they look dirty. Also one door looks like some one kicked it, hard.

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  • I want all the doorsteps fixed and/or replaced. The floors the previous owners put down are lovely, but they didn’t finish the job and there are gaping holes between all the rooms.

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  • I want the living room wall painted white. We run out of time before Christmas, when my parents were here painting up a storm, and this sole wall was left brown. It bugs me every day.

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  • I’d like this mess hidden behind doors. This is all necessary stuff. Tools, clothes, biking stuff etc., but I just hate that it’s so visible. And it’s pretty much the first thing you see when you walk in from the door. Ugh.

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  • And I want these electric cords snaking around the apartment hidden. Those two white ones are our internet cables. Necessary, but annoying.

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Whew.  I hope that didn’t sound like complaining!

I’d like to think of it as more like a to-do list.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Playing: The Order: 1886

Last weekend while I managed to watch the whole first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, we also played through The Order: 1886.

And when I say we, I mean Jake played and I watched.

This might seem weird, but I love watching someone play video games. Not fighting games like Guilty Gear (blergh), but games with nice graphics, interesting characters and good plot. It’s like watching a good movie. I have very fond memories from my teenage years of watching my brother play Metal Gear Solid 3, and me keeping a list of the animals you were supposed to hunt. As you can tell, I was so cool.

Anyway I just love weekends when Jake has a good game to play and we sit on the sofa side by side, he playing and I knitting. And pointing out all the things he missed and telling what I think he should do, haha.

Anyway, I really liked this game (as a backseat driver). The graphics were beautiful and indistinguishable from the cut scenes. The story was good, and none of the characters was annoying. Amazing! And I love the Victorian era. And steampunk.

Jake bought it used, because a lot of the reviews said it was too short, and it was. I think it only lasted about 8 hours.

Still, a very good game and I really hope the sequel will be a bit longer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Computer screen for better sleep

I thought I’d share something that has been helping me lately.

I’ve had a bit of trouble falling asleep. I can sometimes toss and turn for hours.

I read that one cause might be that I spent my nights at the computer and apparently that blue screen is really bad for you since it tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime.

So, I Googled around a bit and came across this free program called f.lux. It’s supposed to give your screen a yellowish tone, which is said to make falling a sleep easier. I decided to give it go.

I love it. I was a bit apprehensive that it would give the screen a sort of pee coloured tint… you know, how lovely. But instead the screen gives out this lovely glow, like the sunset in your room.

It does distort the colours a bit, obviously, but not enough to bother me if I’m just writing or browsing the internet. If I want to edit photos or draw on my tablet, I can just turn it off. Or do those things during the day.

You set your location in to it and it then activates automatically at night as the sun sets.

I’ve only been using it a couple of days, but I think it’s working, and I have been falling a sleep faster.

It might be just an coincidence of course, but I also sort of love that soft glow in the evenings.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Second-hand finds: A wooden cactus

Just when I talked about not buying any decorations…

I went to the Red Cross second-hand store and didn’t really see anything interesting, until I saw this cactus. I just… What is it even?

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It’s wood. It’s about 21cm high. I think it might be hand made, but maybe not. The branches (?) don’t really fit perfectly. It is painted very neatly, but I don’t really know if I like the colors. It looks like it belongs either to a kid’s room or a Mexican themed restaurant.

I’m thinking of painting it white, but the last time I wondered if I should paint a flea market find white, I got a unanimous “no”.

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I think I’ll just stare at for a while.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Watching: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Ever since Pushing Daisies (my favorite TV-show ever) was cancelled I’ve been on a lookout for something similar.

I think I found it. It’s called Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

It’s upbeat. It’s funny. It’s smart. The characters are crazy, but loveable. It looks beautiful.

I love how the series is wacky, but nothing very bad ever happens. I hate surprises and with this series I feel like I don’t have to be tense about what happens next. I can just enjoy what’s happening. And what is happening is awesome.

I watched the whole first season in about two days. The episodes are short, so you can just watch one, do the laundry, watch another… Oh, it’s Monday, already.

Definitely recommend.

Bonus: 14 Life Lessons We Learned From “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Friday, March 20, 2015

Clean: Decorating

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A bit weirdly, since we moved into this house, I’ve tried not to decorate. At least, I’ve tried not to decorate just to decorate: put up paintings to have something on the walls, or buy items to fill the top of the chest of drawers or the bookshelf, or to buy furniture to fill our much bigger living room… Instead, we just painted the walls white, put the existing furniture in place and left it at that.

I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. The clean surfaces, the bare walls. It feels calming, and clean, and easy. Tidying up is so much faster, when there are just a few pillows and blankets to straighten, and no decorative items to dust.

But… I do sometimes worry that our house feels too bare and not cosy and lived in. Maybe people come in and think “how boring”. Maybe I should have paintings and a decorated bookshelf?

But I don’t want to hurry and buy things either just to fill up the space. Ever since I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and got a rid of a lot of crap, I’ve felt this aversion to buying more stuff, knowing that in a short while it’ll just end up at a second-hand store, when I realise it wasn’t for me after all.

So, I’ve tried to curb any impulse buying urges, and just to stick to what I already have. Which, let’s face it, is plenty. There’s nothing new that we need. We have a bed, and plates, and clothes, and more. And maybe they aren’t the perfect plates and clothes, but they keep us fed and clothed (respectively), and having nicer plates and clothes is just extra.

There’s not really any point to this rambling, and I’m sure in a few posts I’ll tell about the new plates I bought : ) I guess, i just wanted to remind myself that I don’t need to buy anything, or to have a nicely decorated home. I can if I choose to, but I don’t have to.

My One Little Word for 2015 is clean. You can read more about it here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

DIY tinted moisturizer

This is a long ramble, if you just want the recipe, I bolded it for you (it’s a short one!)

For some reason I find it impossible to find a foundation/concealer/bb-cream/tinted moisturizer/any face make-up that suits my skin. I have tried a lot.

My skin just seems to be impossibly pale and dry to look good in anything available. Add in my allergies and I haven’t worn face make-up in years.

I have a pretty good skin, and being very low maintenance, don’t were make-up most days anyway. But on some days I’d like to be able to. You know, if there’s a wedding, or a job interview, or something else I’d like to look like I made a bit of effort for. And wearing make-up just makes you look more put together, and, most importantly for me, hides how horribly I blush when I’m agitated.

When I was a kid my father used to call me kalkkilaivan kapteeni, “captain of the chalk ship”. And I haven’t gained much more color since. On my ballet class, where there is a mirror covering one hole wall, I’m definitely the palest woman in the class. And this is Finland. Foreign companies add extra lighter shades to the make-up ranges just for the Finnish market. And I still can’t find one that suits me! Also, for some reason a lot of the pale shades tend to be yellow toned, which makes me look ill.

However, I finally found a shade that suits me. It’s pale. It’s slightly pink. It’s perfect.

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Everyday Minerals, Semi Matte Base, Rosy Fair 0C

The trouble is, it’s also a powder foundation.

Did I mention my skin is dry? It’s so dry. My hair never get’s dirty, because I don’t seem to produce oil. I don’t have dry patches on my face, my whole face is a dry patch.

Good news: my skin isn’t oily and I never get pimples. Bad news: put powder on it and I look like I put flour on my face.

But I think I have a solution.

Powder foundation + moisturizer = tinted moisturizer.

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This is working amazingly. The color is a perfect match for my skin. It’s moisturizing, so you can’t really tell I have make-up on. And it’s so easy. It pretty much just looks like my skin is flawless. Yes, thanks, I’ll take it.

I don’t really have an exact recipe for this. I just sprinkle about a half a tea spoon of the powder foundation on my palm, add about a pea-sized amount of my moisturizer, mix and just slather it on. Easy.

I though this might be helpful if, for some reason, there is someone else out there who can’t find their match in the available foundations. You can switch the measurements around depending on how much coverage you want.

Personally, I'm in love.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

5 things to buy in Finland

This is a bit of a different post from the usual stuff, but I was asked some recommendations on stuff to do and buy in Finland. I thought maybe some one else might find this interesting, too?
So, if you are travelling to Finland and wondering what you should buy, here are five Finnish things that I personally own and love, and think you might enjoy, too.
All of these are easily available all around Finland, in department stores and big grocery stores.
1. Moomin mug
My collection so far.
As you may or may not know the creator of Moomins, Tove Jansson, is Finnish. Hence, Moomins are a big deal in Finland. There are of course the books, but also all kinds of Moomin merchandise: toys, sheets, toys, towels, bags, cosmetics, coffee, candy…
However the mugs are a classic. I’m willing to bet that almost every household in Finland at least one Moomin mug. And a lot of people collect them and buy each new mug. There is one of all the characters, but also themed ones. For example, they release a new winter themed one each year (I personally collect these).
The designs are usually sold for a few years, except the seasonal ones which are usually available only for a few months, and then replaced with new ones. Some of the older ones have been auctioned for quite high prices, around 1000 €.
You can find these at about 10-15€, but some of the seasonal ones can be more expensive, such as the Tove Jansson 100 years mug last year, which was around 25€.
2. Finnhook
I try to use this everyday.
This one is a bit hard to explain, but it’s basically a massage pressure point thingy. And it's amazing. You hold the straight bit and use the hook part to find sore spots in your body and then just gently press on them. You can see a video on how to use it here.
This is hands down the best home massager I’ve ever tried. It actually works. You feel so light afterwards, that’s the only way I can describe it.
It also hurts. The Finnish name for this thing is Kipukoukku, the pain hook, but I guess they wanted to go for a different name for the foreign market. The first time I used it felt like I was all a sore spot, but as you use it more you’ll find less and less sore spots. I think this is pretty much a must if you do any type of sports or sit a lot at the computer.
There’s a plastic version in fun colors, but I suggest you get the wooden one. I find it feels nicer and sturdier. It doesn’t weight much and lies very flat folded, so it’ll fit easily in your suitcase.
You can find this at around 30€.
3. A Book
These are my two favorite (well-loved) children's books, but I don't think they are available in anything, but Finnish. They should though!
A bit vague, but buy a book you like! Finland has some great literature. There are classic novels such as Mika Waltari’s The Egyptian and Nobel winner Frans Emil Sillanpää’s Meek Heritage. However, I especially recommend Finnish children's literature. There are the Moomin books (of course), but there are also other wonderful children’s books you might never have heard of. A lot of books are available not only in Finnish, Swedish and English but in other languages, too. I suggest you head over to a book store and have a browse.
If you don’t know what to buy, I suggest books by Mauri Kunnas.  I think nearly all of his books have been translated to English and some are also available in other languages, for example, in German, French, and Russian.
The Canine Kalevala tells the story of the Finnish national epic Kalevala in a humorous way, depicting the characters as cat’s and dogs. Kunnas also has several books about Santa Claus (who of course lives in Lapland in Finland).
10-30€, depending on the book.
4. Fiskars scissors
Different colors for different tasks.
Another item that I guarantee every Finnish household has. Maybe you don’t think there is that much difference between types of scissors, but there is.
The classic Fiskars scissors are sculpted to the shape of the hand, so they are very comfortable to use. You can find different ones for left and right handed people. They are also very good quality and cut well.
The basic color is orange, but you can also find them in many different colors and patterns, including Moomin (of course). I have the orange ones and pink breast cancer awareness ones. I also have their craft scissors and nail clippers (not sculpted).
These cost around 15-25€ depending on the color and pattern.
5. Salmiakki
Mmmmmmmmmmm.
Ok, you can not leave Finland without having tasted salmiakki. I know it’s an acquired taste, but just try it, you might like it! Or at least shock your friends with it.
There’s a lot of different kinds, hard, soft, hot, mild… And there’s also salmiakki chocolate, ice cream, soda, alcohol, gum etc. I suggest you get a small box at first to see how you like it.
1-5€ depending on the brand , size etc.
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That’s just five things I came up. If you are a Finn and want to recommend something, or if you’ve travelled in Finland and bought something awesome, please comment below!
This is not a sponsored post (none of my posts are), these are things I felt I could genuinely recommend.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A few things for home

While visiting my parents I went to Ikea with my father and to a local shop called Löytötex with my mother and I picked up a few things. I’d like to think I got good things, things I will use and that’ll give my pleasure. But, time will tell.

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First a got some fake flowers. Now, I have to say I’m not a big fan of fake flowers, they do feel a bit tacky to me. But I’m not really a huge fan of fresh flowers either. They seem like a waste of money. A few days and they are dead.

Also, while I love our home’s color theme of white, white and more white, I have lately been feeling that a few pops of color could freshen things up a bit.

And, I feel like the fake flowers nowadays don’t look so fake as they used to.

That was a long ramble to say I got a bouquet of peonies.

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9,90€

And six pink tulips. Both were from Löytötex.

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1,90€ each

From Ikea I got these small plastic bins. We ate meatballs at Ikea (the gravy was amazing!) and at the dining hall they used these to keep all the cutlery, condiments etc. I think these will be useful in the kitchen. There were also larger ones, but I wasn’t sure I could transport them home on the train.

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2,99 each

I also got some cutlery. We already have some of these and they are my favorite. They are a nice weight and I love the clean simple shape without any extra decorations.

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7,99€

And last, but not least: I got a sheep skin! It’s so soft. And beautiful. And lovely.

When I got home I showed it to Jake and told him I was happy because I’ve always wanted one. He said he’d never known I did. Whereas when I showed it to my mother, her first words were “Wonderful, you’ve always wanted one!”. Haha, mothers know.

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24,90€, cheap!

Also, Lili, my parents’ dog, loved the sheep skin. Once I got her to stop trying to bite it, every time she came up to my room, she’d instantly jump on to my bed and lay down on it.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

RIP Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett’s was the first book I read through in English. I think it was Mort. I was in art school studying to be a comic book artist, before I decided to switch to translating. It was a big deal for me, reading a whole book in another language.

I’ve since read all his books. Several times. I love the humour, the wit, the nonsense, the observations. I think Wyrd Sisters may have the best description ever about being drunk.

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My favourite of his books is Witches Abroad. I used to travel quite a bit with my grandma and my aunt (and my cousin!) when I was younger and it was exactly like that.

I kept hoping he’d write one more about the witches, they were always my favourite.

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Rest in peace.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hey, I’m Back

I spent a week at my parent’s place in Central Finland. It’s always nice to visit places and get a bit of perspective in life.

And it’s nice to spend time with family.

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Dad,

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mum,

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brother,

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and this little munchkin.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Currently working on – a honeycomb blanket

Every time I finish a blanket I think “never again!” And yet…

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Here we go again.

But this time it’s not granny squares, or crochet! I’m actually knitting something.

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Each cell is worked in a round, which will make this quite a thick blanket. I’ve also seen these filled with polyfil for puffier look, but I thought flat ones would make a more useable blanket.

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It’s just so nice to do something that is a at the same time small (each honey comb cell in this case), and something big (the final blanket).

Don’t ask why honeycomb, by the way, I’ve just been weirdly obsessed with honey and bees (and honeycomb), lately.

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Contrary to what you’d usually want to do with a yarn project, I made an effort to buy from different dye lots. I really like the subtle variation from one cell to another.

I still have no idea how to join all these when the time comes. I really hope I’ll find a way that looks good and doesn’t ruin the whole thing. Any ideas?

Books I Read in February

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Marie Kondo: The life-changing magic of tidying up – I loved this so much I read it twice. I read it, then re-read it straight away. Such a good book if you are interested in de-cluttering your home. I think I’ll write more about this in a separate post, with pictures from my closet etc.

Sarah Wilson: I Quit Sugar – I’m not going to quit sugar, but I do feel better the less sugar I eat. I was a bit disappointed by the text part (rest is recipes) of the book, it was quite short and there wasn’t as much research and information as I had hoped for.

Richard Adams: Watership Down – One of my favourite books of all time. I have listened to this several times, ever since I was a kid and my parents used to play it on long car rides and before bedtime. I love everything about it.

Cheryl Strayed: Wild – This book was intense. I usually read before bed, but I couldn’t read this one, because I just kept reading and wasn’t winding down at all. Good. Intense.

Haruki Murikami: What I talk about when I talk about running – First book I’ve read from Murikami. I hate running, but liked the book nonetheless. It dealt with a lot more than just running. And I did feel the urge to start taking longer walks.

George Orwell: 1984 – Ugh. Why are all the classics so depressing? Is there an upbeat classic? And they are always so well written, you just keep on reading against your will and feel miserable. This is right up there with my arch nemesis One Hundred Years of Solitude as the most depressing books of all time. I felt so bad I couldn’t sleep and had to pull out a children’s book for my next read.

Ritva Toivola: Hunajakarhut, jääkarhut – Some books just make you happy. I really love children’s books, because nothing really bad ever happens. I think some of the best Finnish literature are children’s books (I mean books for about elementary school aged kids, this one has 120 pages, so it’s not a picture book, even though it is illustrated), and Ritva Toivola has several good ones.

Monday, March 2, 2015

White walls

When we lived in our previous apartment, a rental, we had the most horrendous wall paper. It wasn’t big patterned or colourful (except in one room, mine), but it was this pale 80’s wallpaper, which had a pattern you find mostly in old men's long johns. I used to dream of the day I’d have my own house and I could have pure white walls.

So, my number one priority when we moved in to our new home, was to get rid of the wall paper and paint all the walls white.

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The worst one was what is now Jake’s game room. It had this hideous burned orange wallpaper going on (above), and my parents spent a good day ripping it out.

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And another few painting it. Isn’t that like a completely different room?

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There was also a brown entry, which we painted grey. Mum vetoed white as too impractical, with all the muddy shoes and clothes. It’s ok, I like grey too.

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The bathroom was painted with the same brown colour, and painting it white made it feel so much cleaner and bigger.

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There was also panelling of light wood in the kitchen with had been left unpainted, and it clashed horribly with the dark window frames and floor. It was painted white.

There were also a few pale purple accent walls (behind my bike mess, on the right). The wall in my room was painted white, but the living room still needs to be painted. But it also needs new crown moulding, so we decided to leave it for later.

All the other walls are now white! I just love it. I think it’s going to be my new motto: when in doubt, go for white.

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