Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snowy in the summer kitchen

We've finally made a decision. It has taken couple of years, and this is now the perfect compromise - we both get what we want. This is about our summerhouse - he will get to add another layer of insulation, which will mean covering the beautiful logs from the outside, and I will get to paint the logs white from the inside. And oil the floor grey.

Don't know what to do with the yellowish (majorly ugly) pine doors, but it'll come.

Don't you agree that white and grey together with small black details are the perfect colors for a summer house? With a bit of wood? Because then you can just add whatever color, when you feel like it, without any investments.

I stuck today some cones into the little plates that hang in our summer kitchen - isn't it pretty ;)? My new favorite thing -  to take photos with clean (and untouched here in the wilderness) snow as background - never really quite understood how white snow can be...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Recycling flowers

DIY recycled flower arrangement

My husband turned 40 (goodness...) just before Christmas. And with that, he got a fair amount of BEAUTIFUL flower arrangements. One of them came with the sponge thingy, you know the one where you stick the flowers into when you make the arrangements?

It was made of red and white tulips, and green leaves, and was stunning until the tulips got tired. The sponge thingy had to be reused, OF COURSE, and the green leaves were also still in perfect shape. We also had some ivy in the garage, only half of the branches dead (I saved the pots from under the snow, and they didn't crack this year!!!). And from previous years - some small cones and dried mandarin slices in the Christmas decoration box. Some white flowers from the grocery store - and 15 minutes later I was quite happy with the result.  What do you think?

DIY recycled flower arrangement

I've had this hobby for some years, and I absolutely have no talent in it, but I just enjoy the end result at the dinner table :), as I don't enjoy peeking to the other side of the table through high flower bushes. Some photos of previous projects you can find here:

DIY recycled flower arrangement

kukka-asetelma, matala kukka-asetelma

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas traditions

Idea for these ginger bread decorations from

I promised last weekend to write a little more about the Finnish Christmas tradition - and then started to think about it. What is it really? What would be something that everyone more or less agrees with?

There is the meal, for example (seems to be very controversial now-a-days among the city folks ;)). The very traditional foods like carrot and sweet potato casseroles. The ham (actually deliciously salted ham, which I'm watching right now in the oven as I write ;)). The plum pastries. So many feel the food is too heavy, it is too much and too, I don't know, rustic, I guess would be the word to use. So they choose something from the Russian kitchen, or Italian, or French.

Idea for these ginger bread decorations from

We are done with the necessary preparations in this house - making and decorating the ginger bread cookies with the children being one of the first things. I am really bad at getting into any kind of Christmas frenzy - what doesn't get done just doesn't get done (that would very often be the Christmas cleaning ;), as people coming and going, it just gets dirty again anyway).

Idea for these ginger bread decorations from

It is still quiet in the house at 6 am, mommy enjoying her moment alone, like usual. Soon the house starts to wake up, and we start preparing breakfast - tasting the first slices of the ham with home made bread and mustard.

Then someone goes and buys Christmas presents (of course not on the last minute :), like never) and continues with the wrapping with the necessary hello about the missing scissors and tape and how on earth do you wrap anything shaped like this?? Ahh. Can't wait. But at noon we are done and watch the declaration of Christmas peace aired from Turku, Finland. Enjoy a glass of Gluhwein, followed by a traditional lunch - Christmas porridge made of rice. The one who gets the almond gets a small present to open already after lunch.

My guess for the afternoon is that some go running, some go out with the kids, followed by sauna. If we were in Finland, it would be church instead, but we decided to skip it this year. As we have 6 eager ones waiting for Santa, we hope he will drop off something here already when we are outside, so we get to prepare and eat the dinner without any too-eager children peeking out of the windows every 10 seconds.

Afterwards we lay on the couch beside our full tummies (and eat some more).

It has gone more or less the same way for 40 years, when spending the Christmas with my side of the family. And I absolutely love it.

My children just came downstairs and it is time to close this laptop now for some days. I wish you all a wonderful, peaceful Christmas. May also your days be merry and bright :).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Beautiful Christmas wreaths

Some magnificent Christmas wreaths in Ulriksdals trädgård...every year I decide to participate their wreath course, and every year I somehow miss it! But aren't these just magnificent?

My very favorites with the felt bow...

And the couple of wreaths indoors with fresh apples (like the sign above says). Wanted to post these even though the photo quality is really poor - my arm isn't healed yet, and when lifting my arm my hand really shakes...sorry about that :)!


kranssi, joulukranssi, kranssi ideoita, itsetehty kranssi

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas at the Cottage

How do you spend your Christmas? We have very specific (very FINNISH ;), more about that later during the week) traditions, but they take place a bit here and there. My favorite? At the summer house.

You know how it is so busy at the cottage during the summer with all the possible renovation projects and guests and this and that that you are almost thinking that it is good to get back to every-day life and rest ;)? Well, during winter it is not like that at all, at least not at our summer house.

We just basically lazy around all day - the biggest event being an occasional trip to the grocery store 10 km away. Or down-the-hill-with-whatever-equipment with the kids. Followed by hot cholocate, of course. Or starting the sauna (yes, will be posting some photos of the Finnish smoke sauna craziness in the middle of the snow when the time comes) - it takes quite a few rounds to get it from -10C (or less) to the needed +90C. Otherwise - we just ARE, eat too much chocolate - and wonder 1 week after why the favorite jeans are now so much tighter than before.

Today is officially the last day to take in orders for before-the-holidays deliveries...and I am actually quite excited. I haven't taken a whole week off since last Christmas, only a few days here and there, and I so look forward to winding down with the family and just BE.  You'll be hearing from me, for sure, but probably more photos of the Christmas-home-of-the-christmas-maniac-woman than anything else...

Really enjoy the last days, all of you :). For once, I can say I am almost done with everything already (thanks to my shoulder which kept me from working on the computer ;)), and that feels just wonderful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Now or never

Are you a now-person, or when-person? Or perhaps a never-person ;)?

I am a now-person, 100%. It just took me 30-something years to realize it (I will be using the 30-something still for many months to come...) A very good friend, with whom there has been excellent discussions lately, has helped me realize this. For me - when going gets tough, it really feels tough. And when life is good, it is really good. Heaven on earth.

Many, in my mind fortunate, people are able to think 'soon it is weekend..', 'then, during the holidays...', 'next summer I will...' and then they live through some boring or more difficult period or days or whatever thinking of the positive ahead. I completely lack that ability. I just don't have it. Never had. I live now, not tomorrow or next month. Or next SUMMER, goodness. That is like forever away.

My now-curse (or blessing?) has it's very positive sides, as well - I really, completely, can thoroughly enjoy THIS moment and get loads of positive energy from it. Any moment, and it don't need to be anything special. It can be a silly laugh with a 2-year-old when I have absolutely no idea what he is tryng to say (LAMA LAYTTI is for example Lightning McQueen...), a starry night, or a car ride with a warm cup of coffee. Sitting opposite the fire-place and crocheting (the moment I take as frequently as I can). 

A message from a friend I haven't really talked to for years, a call back, and after a couple of sentences she feels like my big sister  again (I have 1 real one, and many who feel like one). Having a lively discussion at the dinner table with the kids. Looking out the window at the snow, and seeing a waxwing (they somehow belong to the snowy scenery, don't they?) sitting in a nearby tree. 

And THESE would be the examples from yesterday only ;)

Also - I tend to forget negative things (too) quickly. Like arguments (all too often I need to ask 'why are you silent? Is something wrong? AAAAA, that....'). Or that kids have been sick. Or that there was something I was (supposed) to worry about ;).

I don't know, why I am like this. Perhaps too many plans changed or destroyed. Too many disappointments. Too many very difficult periods when you just sit down and remind yourself 'I really love life, all of it. I will get through this. What don't kill me, makes me stronger'. And - many many opposite moments - Long dinner with your best friends. Wonderful shopping trips with the best big sister ever. Seeing your son write his name for the first time. Having a glass of champagne in a luxury resort when the sun is going down. 

It all balances in the end, is my belief. Fortunately and unfortunately.

To you, all my dear readers, from under the blanket - I wish you many many small positive moments for today :)!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let it snow...

We sure have got our share of snow during the past week...beautiful, just beautiful...

Even right now, looking out the window from the corner of our couch (where I am spending the day with a little one who is sick, the winter season has REALLY started ;) ), it is snowing. It really looks like we are getting the always wished white Christmas...<3

These photos I took in Skogsbo gård last week - I really can recommend ANYONE wanting a moment away from the busy every day life to drop by and enjoy a cup of tea...the atmosphere in this place is amazingly calm. LOVE the place.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas wrapping paper project - part II

Some more images of our wrapping paper project, as promised - the printing blocks available from the store