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


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

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.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Confidence Overdose

House hunting was taken to a totally new level today. I wrote to the Editor of the local newspaper and offered to start a blog on my move and my 500 euro decoration project against the paper's help to find me a rental apartment. I knew they own several apartments, but those are for staff only. I got a message within 30 minutes saying, that they do not need yet another blogger. I cannot say I am surprised by the answer. I am just having difficulties to believe, that I really did write to them. It so unlike me. Yet it is so nice to know, that I have courage to execute silly ideas like this. I must have had an overdose of confidence from the job offer and good so.

PS: Yes. I am going to invest 500 euros only to furnish the apartment once I find something. I know it is next to nothing, but I believe that my imagination will compensate what lacks from my budget. 

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Stroke of Luck

I've been a bit housebound for the past few days. I accidentally left my overcoat to Jyväskylä with my keys in the pocket. I had a spare key for the house, but not for the bike.  It's with my sista, who's out of town for a week. Sure I've been able to walk, but who wants to walk once you learn to fly on wheels. Yesterday my friend sent the coat to Oulu by coach and I had to walk to town to fetch it. Of course it started to rain and I had no umbrella, so I had to find shelter from the nearest shop, which happened to be a secondhand book shop. To kill time, I checked their craft books and realised, that all had been written to the stars - leaving the coat, having to walk to get it and the shop right there when it started to rain. Otherwise I would not have popped into that little shop and find these old magazines.

Wonderful knitting patterns. This dress is on to-do list now. Too bad summer will end before I have finished it.

Crochet pretty shorts, it says in the heading.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Finding Plastic Instead of a New Home

Finding a new home is something I have been thinking every day lately. Quite naturally of course. What is not natural is that I have been working the minimum for the goal and distributed my pains almost exclusively on planning the decor of the place, which I do not have yet. The strange thing is that I feel very strongly that I shall find a nice place somehow.

So far I have posted a call for an apartment to Facebook and Twitter, made two phone calls, sent two emails and checked two Internet sites advertising houses for rent. I did not see anything of interest, but through the grapevine I received one offer for a studio far from town centre. I turned that down. I didn't want to commit to something I have not seen and which I know is inconveniently located. Let the search continue, or rather start first.

One reason for not looking for a place today was a party I was invited to this evening. A Tupperware party. Oh yes. Mi first eva. I went, because it was hosted by my best friend in Oulu. I never say no to her. Before entering the scene, I promised myself to purchase an olive lift only. The cheapest thing on the catalogue. Just out of courtesy. I am not a big fan of expensive plastic ware and prefer glass, china or wood. However, I ended up getting separate containers for salad and salad dressing accompanied with plastic cutlery. At the time of the selection, I was day dreaming of healthy home made lunches to take to work. My actions never stop surprising me.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Shoe Love And a Mean Bee

I am back in Oulu. The first task was to foster a dog for a day. She was so cute and had an impeccable taste on shoes. Here she poses with my ballet flat.
And then with the vintage find. Good girl.

She also stole fire wood from a pile I was was working on. It was amusing and made me laugh. I didn't laugh too long though, because there was a hive in the pile and I was stung by a mean bee. My wrist is now a painful balloon and it makes me howl like a miserable dog.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Jyväskylä is famous for Alvar Aalto architecture. These pictures were taken on the university grounds.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Cin Cin

We toasted with sparkling wine. Had steaks for dinner. Flushed BBQ down with nice red. We had an ex tempore party. I heard "Congratulations!" many times. I got the job. 

Menu my buddies created was veggies with Chèvre chaud, mushrooms stuffed with Roquefort wrapped in bacon and perfectly grilled steaks. It was so yummy. I was very happy. I love my friends. 

Monday, 18 July 2011


As crocheting has been the thing in my life lately, the more challenging pieces have started to catch my attention. In Jyväskylä my friend showed me her treasures - doilies and lace made by her nan. I cannot but admire the craft. Too bad the doilies do not inspire me as decorative items. I want to do them, but find it such waste to crochet something so pretty and labour intensive for storage only. I need to find new ways to use them before I set my goal to become professional doilster myself.

EDIT: I enrolled to a lucky draw organised by Beautiful Mess blog hoping to win a gift card to Threadsence. So many pretty things to see in both sites. I wish me luck in the draw and wish you to try yours too. Just follow the Mess' instructions and voilà.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


It's time to reveal a secret. I was interviewed for a job. I didn't want to tell it to anybody, as I find it so unpleasant to answer to what-happened-questions when I do not get the job in the end. I haven't got this one either, but cannot help, must tell someone. The interview went well, I feel. They'll let me know soon.

There aren't many pictures from the trip, because time was scarce after the interview. What ever little time I had, the weather was bad and so are the pictures too. However, before the train took off to Jyväskylä, I went for a walk and found myself taking pictures of wooden buildings dangerously thinking that such would be a lovely place to live.

It was raining and shining when I walked around and suddenly behind one corner I saw it - a double rainbow. Could that be a sign?

Friday, 15 July 2011

Rugs, Train and Rain

Yesterday I did what I promised. I washed the rug. I took it to the rug washing pier of Oulu river. Those are provided by the town's administration. I packed a bucket, brush, environmentally safe soap, a little nephew and some money for ice cream with me and took off on a bike. My nephew turned out to be a real rug brushing pro and did the most of the washing. I lifted water from the river and pictured the process. The stripes in my rug are bright again.

Right now I am in a train. A little domestic trip to Jyväskylä has started with a detour to another Finnish town. I see lots of trees through the train's window, but took a picture only when they appeared horizontally. It was the only time rain did not smudge my view too bad.

I wonder if my rug will ever try in this weather. I left it spread stripewise to the backs of four chairs on the porch, but nothing tries in this weather. It is so humid. I should know this, as I am carrying a luggage full of yesterday's wet laundry. Summer night did not work its usual magic last night.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Taming a Rainy Day

Strawberries and Schiffer.

And crocheting a new rug while watching good old Hercules Poirot solving yet another mystery.

Come a sunny day and I shall take off to Jyväskylä and turn myself into a travel blogger for a while.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Vintage Find

The best find this summer was the new pair of 70s clogs.
The are comfy and nostalgic and quite unbelievably they waited unsold in the shop for some odd 30 years for me to grow up, study, get a degree and start to make my own money.

Hmmm. I see, my rug is in desperate need of wash. With these pictures it just jumped to the top of my must-do list.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Oulu After the Heat

A heat wave swept over Oulu and over two weeks the arctic town was tropical. As always, the heat was followed by thunder and rain. I had rainy day's coffee on Oulu's half pretty market place.

The market place is half pretty, because on two of its side it has beautiful old warehouses turned into shops and restaurants.

On two other side it has concrete and cars. The nuclear power plant like construction is Oulu's theatre. I fail to see any beauty in it. Next to it sits equally ugly the main library.

Since it was a rainy day, I managed to picture some of the many rowing boats people keep by the Oulu river. On a sunny day they are on the river.

The wooden boat has not sunk by neglect. It is filled with water to swell the wood. If a boat becomes too try, it starts to leak through the planks. To fix it, it is filled with water and let to absorb enough moist to seal the cracks.

Monday, 11 July 2011

A Rug

As I mentioned, I started to crochet a rug while in Helsinki.

I finished it as soon as I got back home and I love it. Though, I did not love it when I had to pack and carry two extra kilos of rug yarn (rug yarn? I am term guessing here) in my luggage. The rug made its first Mianna Moment appearance in a previous post.

Rug crocheting was so much fun that I started a new one. Shall introduce it shortly.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

At Home

So nice to be back in my own mess.

What is not so nice is that my camera has started to malfunction and there is no camera repair shop in Oulu. I must send it to Helsinki and that means no camera for a long time. I push the date forward, take blurry pictures and try to teach myself how to photoshop. Tough.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Pendolino took me home from the capital. Just after the main railway station, the train passes an area called Birdsong. 

The expanding train track have eaten up the area and some of the villas are pretty close to the trains. I took few hasty shots through the window of fast moving Pendolino to mark the end of my Helsinki holiday.

So long Helsinki. Hello home.