Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I'll Meet You On That Other Shore

This time a year ago I was in Jamaica. It was tough, but beautiful. The island touched me deep and messed my head. While there, never on earth, I could have imagined that in a year's time I was back in my native country. Return has been tough. Tougher than Jamaica. I had totally forgotten how it really is here. It is nice, but it is just a place. It is not the dream land I had started mistakenly to remember it. Reality has hit me hard. I am adapting again like in any other new place.

And I miss Jamaica.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Decor Train Coming Back Slowly


Despite feeling blue about my new job, my decoration project has started to live again. Too bad the October light is so little and dim, that pictures do not turn out nice. My pictures are not top quality in any case and now they are just gray blur. 

The dishes in the picture are betel containers from Papua New Guinea. A present from a very dear friend. The containers drive me nuts, because their bottoms are round and they do not balance, but I like them. They have no place in that famous flea market plastic bag sitting on the top shelf of my closet right now. 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Missing Sauna



I have not have sauna since I left the doll's house. There is a sauna in my building, but you need to book a regular weekly slot and use it only at that certain time. I am not a certain slot time chick. I never know what I want to do at certain time. I want to be free to use the sauna when I feel like and I may not feel like it at my dedicated time.

I so miss the sauna right now.

Did you know that "sauna" is the only Finnish word adopted into English language?

Things Are Not the Way I Wish They Were

I wrote the sentence in the topic before the long blog break. I had it saved in drafts,
as if I had planned to start a new post. I completely forgot about it until now when I came back. Sadly the statement is still valid.


Saturday, 29 October 2011

Life Lived and Shabby



Everything in my kitchenette is hand-me-down. The microwave came from a friend's mom, the boxes from an auntie and the faulty gravy dish from one of the nans. Mom's mom I think. The one I never met. The one who lived a scandalous life and left lots of silence behind.

My surroundings are filled with hand-me-downs and I like it that way. Lived, shabby and imperfect. Just like me.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Simple is Enough

The shrine introduced in the previous post was a mistake. After looking at it everyday over a week, I realised that memorabilia is clutter. I packed everything into a plastic bag and tucked it to the top self of my closet. It is there waiting to be moved to a flea market. Instead, two items found home from the ledge. Good so. I can rest my eyes on that spot again.

Long break in writing is due to lost decoration mojo. I lost it together with interest in my new job. 

Friday, 26 August 2011

Stuff Turning Decor

After years of trotting the globe, this is the first time all my stuff reside in one place. It is not a lot of stuff really, mainly memorabilia collected from different times and places. All packed in boxes and stored back at home. Half of them already forgotten.

Unpacking the boxes have revealed a mismatch of odd items. The oddest I collected to the kitchen's window ledge and made a little shrine. Never had one, or feel the need for one, but what else I can do? My goodness how knick-knacks can be confusing.

Russian dolls from childhood. The eyeless is a present from Sochi, the Soviet Union. The one with a blue skirt is a tea cosy. Under her skirt I keep my organic red.

Little girl in a yellow dress used to sit on my auntie's desk. Her cap is a cake decoration and adorned my graduation cake. The lady with a large head was made by my goddaughter in the kindergarten when I was in Asia. She handed it to me while I was on holiday in Finland. I left it behind and when my parents came to visit me, they brought it with them at her request. The trolls have heads made of sawdust. Definitely worth keeping.

Funnily walking Donald Duck has followed me from England to Finland. The chocolate box with kitchy wintry picture was my first nonsense-must-have flee market find from here. Viva la 20 cents. The ugly monster is a lucky charm from Japan. The vintage Echte Salzburger Mozartkugeln chocolate box was a gift from an elderly man in Salzburg, Austria.  I sang him the Edelweiss song and told how much I liked it. Few days later he came back with the box and said that he wanted me to keep it. Inside there are pressed edelweiss flowers wrapped in silk paper. When he gave the treasure to me he assured that the flowers were collected long before Edelweiss became protected. What a lovely old grandpa. The tea tin is just a tea tin.

My my. Can you imagine my shock, when I looked Edelweiss out from wikipedia just right now for this post and discovered that Edelweiss became a protected plant in Austria in 1886! Bloody old man! Nothing in this world can be trusted. Not even lovely old grandpas. I have treasured a crime from 1992!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

New Home

Home is far from being ready. Few boxes are still unpacked, no pictures have been hung on the walls, textiles are either non-existing or waiting to be sewd into pillow and bed covers, but things are finding their places. Slowly, slowly.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Bike


I got it! A new bike. It looks like an old lady, but functions as a young athlete. It flies me to work and back, nineteen km per day, five days a week.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Drop out

all i need is your love baby ♥
Picture from http://weheartit.com

What a day. I did something I probably should not have done, but cannot undo it now. I started a language course, which turned out to be unsuitable to me. A way above my level. I foresaw frustration, boredom and inability from my part to learn and decided to drop out from the first break. I apologised the teacher before departing and explained how I had overestimated my level. It had not occurred to me, that dropping out like this would hurt the teacher's feelings, but it did. Next time I'll last a bit longer and drop out quietly to ease the pain. A lesson learned from this training.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Moving

The new bike is here. It is yellow and lovely to pedal. It was a good and sturdy buy.

Next I'll need to decorate the place and there's no way I can make it within the planned budget of 500 euros. To be honest, I have used it up already on tools I shall need for my decoration DIYs, paint, van rentals and sumptuous meal for friends to thank them for the help, support, furniture and kitchen items they so generously helped me with. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Peaks and Valleys

Life is peaks and valleys and I am certainly peaking now. First I got the job and now an apartment. Together they form a jackpot.

And...it did not stop there. A friend called and offered a house full of furniture, appliances and kitchenware. I was stunned. The family needed to empty an apartment of an elderly relative.

Then another friend called and told her good news. She got a job in Africa. She wanted leave her car with her goddaughter, who wasn't sure, if she wants to maintain it. She then asked me whether I could take the car for three years' loan, if the goddaughter didn't want it. I do. I do. She will let me know later. 

In this peak everything falls perfectly in place. It might be a good time to start the diet. 


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Artic Roses

There is a park in Oulu, where people spend their time. There is a playground for children and a cafe for adults. People go there for picnics and walks. It is frequently used as a backdrop for wedding and graduation pictures. I have also seen an open air play and heard an impromptu concert there. I love it and people of Oulu seem to love it too and we all know it by its name - Ainola.

For such a northern park Ainola has an amazing rose garden. It is truly amazing, because of our latitude. All possible colours flourish there in square shaped benches.

They even have roses with freckles there.

Monday, 8 August 2011

One Piece

The granny squares form a one piece now. I still need to strengthen the corners, as I want my blanket to last as long as possible. It will travel to my new home town with me, though eventually it will be property of the original natural dye artist.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Bike Love

The themes of this summer have been the kitchen garden and biking. I have not used a motorised vehicle, if the place has been reachable by bike. I am not an exercise oriented person at all and I love the fact that on bike I never feel like I am doing something physical.  I just love that way of moving about. All the bike rides I have done this summer were done on wheels on loan. I don't own a bike. This will change now though. I need to buy one as soon as I shall move to a new town.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Finding an Apartment

It is time for an apartment hunt update. I still don't have a place, but I have not been idle on that front. So far I have placed two net ads and filled three applications for associations with rental apartments. I still need to send one to town's administration. I have also written to the local newspaper, as I told earlier, and also to the Lutheran congregation. I have changed my status lines in Twitter and Facebook to reflect my house hunt and thus pleaded to my friends to extend my hunt to their friends.

I am still homeless, but I trust my prospects. So far a friend of a friend offered me to rent her boyfriend's studio. I turned that down, as it was quite far. Based on my internet ads I have received two emails and one phone call telling of a vacant apartments. One of them was far again and I turned that down too. Right now I am on my way from Oulu to view a place and shall view another tomorrow. I am sure the dream place is waiting for me somewhere.

I have not been idle on the decoration front either. Yesterday I almost wrecked my 500 euro budget with a sofa/daybed. I just fell madly in love with it and was very sad to learn that the American vendor does not ship bulky things internationally. On the positive note, I am still within the budget in decorating my non-existing new home, though I wanted that daybed real bad.


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Oulu Castle

There used to be a castle in Oulu. It was build in 1605 by a Swedish King Johan III, who was our king at the time. Back then Finland was a part of Sweden. The castle was blown away in a huge explosion caused by a lightening. It set the gunpowder magazine aflame and BOOM!!!! This is all there is left of the real UleƄborg.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Oulu Last Summer

With my departure from Oulu nearing, I went out to town with a camera just to shoot anything. While organising the new pictures, I came across last summers Oulu shoots.

Rotuaari - the walking street. Last year I saw this troupe performing there with tons of energy.

This year Rotuaari has been a place to be avoided due to the construction work, which has turned the town's centre into a huge muddy hole. I am sure I shall appreciate it next winter, when I can walk there carefree during my Oulu visits. The piping and draining will be re-installed in the way that the heat from the hot water pipes will keep the street ice free throughout the winter. Hooray! Urban Planners are cleaver folks I must admit.

Hotel de Ville - the town hall. Oulu is a very nice town, but it is impossibly ugly. Despite the up coming Rotuaari success, the Urban Planner cannot rest. There is a lot to do to improve the looks. However Hotel de Ville is pretty.


Oulu has many nice little parks, but somehow many of them are insignificant. You rarely see people spending time in those. I cannot even recognise them by name. The most popular ones, where you see people sitting on the benches, having picnics and sunbathing are the ones with known names. Here´s a sample of one I hardly ever see anybody doing anything, but using it as a short cut. Please, don´t ask for its name.

Emptiness of the streets is another feature of the town.

And lastly, but not least, a sight typical to the area and to all of Finland. A well maintained pine forest. Despite its industrial feel, I find beauty in it.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Granny Blanket

A granny blanket has been a work in progress for quite some time. It was started in 1983 or 1985, when my sister experimented with plants as dyes. She dyed app. 100 g of wool a colour and ended up with a challenging palette of greens, browns and yellows. The yarn waited for someone in the family to get an inspiration, as we never throw pure wool away. Few years back I started an ambitious empty-all-the-left-over-yarn-baskets project and came across my sister's girlhood experiments. I decided to do what people usually do with an odd amount of odd colours - granny squares. It has taken me a long time to come where I am now, as I have spent the past decade in the tropics and crocheted only during the holidays at home. Finally, last winter a blanket started to take a shape. It will still need few final stitches, but I am slowly getting there.

Friday, 29 July 2011

I Came Home And All I Got Was This Yummy Cake

My niece returned from a language school abroad. I baked a carrot cake to welcome her back home from the first solo trip. The text on the cake was in English with translation in Oulu dialect. Just in case she forgot it in the midst of heavy sunbathing studying and partying practicing.

I found the recipe from Auntie Monica's Guesthouse blog (in Finnish).

Here's the deal with slight pimping and few modifications:

4 large organic carrots (grated)
100 g crushed almonds
0,25 dl coconut flakes
4,5 dl organic flour
3,5 dl organic cane sugar
4 organic eggs
a tin of crushed pineapple
2 dl organic olive oil
3 ts cinnamon
1 ts cardamom
2 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda

Icing:

400 g butter cheese (e.g. Happy Cow)
3 dl icing sugar
juice of half a lemon (or according to your taste)

Decoration:
50 g tube of icing gel

Mix oil and eggs. Add all the dried ingredients mixed together into oil/egg mix. Then add grated carrots and drained pineapple crush. Bake for an hour in 175 C. Mix all the icing ingredients together, apply the paste on top of cooled cake and write your message on it with gel icing.

I pimped my cake with as much organic ingredients as I could find from a local supermarket. I would have gone all the way minus butter cheese*), if possible in Oulu. This is a strange town in organic sense. Against it's 140 000 inhabitants, it has zero whole food stores. Butter cheese is my personal preference. Some like cream cheese better. With the latter, you may not need so much icing sugar. Messaging on top is not compulsory. It is a bonus.

*) I would have opted for organic butter cheese, if it existed. I minused it form the list of organic ingredients, because I assume that no such a thing exists. Otherwise it would not be called processed cheese by its other name. Right? This might be a wrong logic and if so, I would be happy to got this one wrong. 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Story of a Police

The brass man in the picture is Oulu's market police. When it was erected my dad told me, that back in olden times there used to be a Commissionaire on the market, who looked like the brass police. He also wore a uniform and had a big belly. However, the sculpture does not commemorate him personally. The Commissionaire was a kind of half guardian half security of the market and he knew everything what was happening there. The Oulu bus station used to locate on the side of the market and the Market Guardian had a habit of climbing onto every departing bus to see who was leaving the town. In my dad's story, he used to get on just before the departure, browse around, say: "Well, well, let's see who's here" and get off. He would also meet all the buses coming in in order to see who was entering the town.

My dad was a wealth of stories and by his stories I have geotagged my surroundings including the police in question.

I pictured the brass police earlier this summer while waiting to meet a friend for coffee. It was our first meeting in Oulu. We met few years back in Helsinki, though we are both originally from Oulu area. In two hours I'll meet her by the police for the second time. 

PS:Thank you for the inspiration Freckled Nest. Lovely idea.

Shall Miss You Loves Too

More produce from the garden. Food home made.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Shall Miss You My Love

It is going to be tough to leave the apple of my eye - my kitchen garden - behind.

The first hint of tomatoes turning red, made me to dance around the porch.
Baby vegs showing their might a bit after midsummer.
A bit of rain and lots of sun shine and almost over night they looked like this.
Now the garden supplies me my daily salad.