Friday, May 20, 2011


Saara, who blogs in Finnish about gardening, life and everything in between, has most kindly and flatteringly given me a picture and, apparently, a task to confess seven things. I actually hesitate to post these sort of things (not that I've had the occasion to before) because then I'll have to pass it on and suddenly we're at confession number one, which has a lot to do with my "comment on blogs you read week":

1. Reading other people's blogs makes me feel like a sweaty, creepy stalker.

Because I don't have many real life friends who blog, I have two options: One, pass this on to someone with lots of readers, someone who's probably already sick and tired of all memes and thinks "Oh dear lord, who is this nobody who thinks I actually care? Obviously my blog is great." Two, pass this on to someone with few readers, who will think "Jeebus, what is this pervert doing, reading about my life like this? We've never even met!" And I guess three, some sort of a combination of the two. You see? Awkwardness all around. The whole COBYRW was pure hell. It was like having to go through the entire neighborhood in your underwear, knock on every door and sing a song to them. I'm never doing that again!

Yet I guess I have no choice but to choose one of the above, because all other options - not accepting the acknowledgment or not passing it on - would just seem snotty and/or self-congratulatory. You just can't win. So how about I just tell you my favorite blogs and leave it at that? I don't actually have to go and tell them I creepily talk about them here behind their back, do I? Good.

JaanaMaa blogs about knitting, sewing and thrifty things in Finnish. She is so pretty and makes such awesome, inspiring things that when I found her blog I read it all in one sitting. Creepy, huh?

Needled belongs to a wonderful, wonderful knitting designer and I always feel refreshed and inspired when I read her writings about knitting history and hiking or look at her gorgeous photographs. I actually have a room in the basement decorated with pictures of her with her SO's face scratched out. (Too much?)

Okay, so there. Go stalk, it will be worth your while. On with the confessions, then.

2. I really, really, REALLY hate cooking.

I've tried the whole cooking, healthy eating yada yada thing. Okay, I lie. I've thought about trying it. But the truth is I'm more of a frozen pizza girl. If it wasn't for my finances, I would stay on that beautiful, greasy, carbohydrated path. Because of said finances, once again I've been forced to make food in my kitchen, the place I most like to use for watching other people make me food.

So I hate cooking, but baking bread, making hummus and eating all that with some smoothie? That's not remotely the same thing. I could easily blog about baking, but for some reason I find it really boring. Writing down instructions and recipes is so mechanical and rarely anything groundbreaking. Yet I just have to tell the world that I finally managed to bake the perfect ciabatta

I made these! Can you believe it?

I used this recipe (actually half of it) and I think I have now discovered the secrets of ciabatta:

1. Mixing the yeast in with cold water

2. Leaving the dough very soft

2. Putting a bowl of water on the oven pan with the loaves

Cold water means that the yeast does not really spring properly to life until in the oven. I let the dough leaven for two hours and it had maybe added a half to its volume. There were bubbles in it, but not many. Yet the loaves doubled in size once in the oven. I hesitate to add the softness of the dough to the secrets because I don't know how important that is yet, but that's another thing I did differently this time around. My previous attempts have resulted in very flat, dull loaves, nothing like the crispy plumpness of these specimens.

Srsly guys!

Another kitchen discovery this week has been the perfect flapjack recipe. (See? If I just link to other people's recipes, I don't have to write them out!)

3. I am not a morning person.

I wish I was, I really do. I'd love to be one of those people who rise and shine with the sun and get all sorts of shit done before the birds finish singing, but I'm not. I'm grumpy and slow and I'd rather sleep an extra half hour than, say, have breakfast. Enter flapjacks. I first encountered their chewy goodness during my studies in Wales. Packed with life (read: sugar), they are just the thing I like to stuff my face with on the train in the mornings. Or afternoons. Or nights. The recipe above made twelve separately packed snacks, enough for a week's worth of missed meals. I used butter instead of margarine, just cheap porridge oats and added some leftover chocolate muesli plus a pile of dried and chopped dates, apricots and goji berries. Delicious!

"We are food! No, really we are! Truuust uuuus!"

It's a beautiful evening outside, so let's save the last four confessions for another time. I want to get some gardening done before sunset.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Giveaway results

Well, it seems that I'm a little late with this, but somehow just didn't get around to writing this yesterday. Blogger has been a bit of a bitch lately and either did not post or just plain removed a couple of comments. After pondering it for a bit I decided to count the missing comments anyway because I still had all the notifications in my mailbox. If someone changed their minds and removed their comment themselves, they won't contact me and I'll pick someone else. Seems fair, doesn't it?

As it happens, Big Cat turned six yesterday so I wanted to involve him in the raffling process. Unfortunately he wasn't really that interested in pawing pieces of paper from a hat.

"FINE, I'll sniff them! The things you make me do..."

Next I lined the tickets on my desk knowing that they wouldn't stay there for long. Little Cat indeed meddled them within the minute, but only when I turned my back so I didn't get a picture. And she only dropped three tickets. Both refused to show any interest in my stupid tickets any more, so I gave up, put the pieces in a hat and picked one myself.

"I think there's something interesting happening outside."

(That's the finished but unblocked Roxanne mystery shawl, by the way.)

Now I had four winners, but how to distribute the prizes between them? Damn, I needed more paper. And hats. Both cats had found something more interesting to do, but after a very scientific process I finally have the four winners paired with four batches of yarn named by the number on the scale.

Our winners are:

Kasia - 74 g
Julie - 155 g
Lori - 62 g
 Ambrosius - 76 g

Congratulations! Send me your address to and I'll get your packages on their way. I think I'm going to give the skeins a bit of a wash before sending them because honestly? Cat hair everywhere, plus a general thrift store rule even though they came in a sealed plastic bag. I need to block that Roxanne anyway, so I'll save you the trouble.

I'm actually already working with the yarn and leaning more and more towards cotton in my analysis. It will make a lovely light warm-weather shawl indeed. It's not a shawl I'm working on, though. Ten points to anyone who can guess what these are going to be! Cheating with my Rav projects page does not count.

I knew I had that 1,25mm hook for a reason. Okay, it's not even the smallest...

Thank you for everyone who commented with their ideas and pleas of cake! A line formed pretty quickly here and I actually ended up wishing I'd eaten more myself. Oh well, there will always be more cake. Maybe I will share the recipe at some point, I tried to do that last time but got bored.

So three months of public blogging have gone by. When I started I didn't really define what I was going to do and why.

After years and years of intent I finally went and sold some of my crafts at Ofelia market last year. It was exciting and I got asked about having a website/blog/online store a lot, so I decided to put at least one up. My friend Malike, who was there with me, came up with the name as we both share a love of the sea and its treasures, and gave me permission to use it. A website is in the works and it will feature both my crafts and my work as a translator, animator and graphic designer. All are things I do for a living - some more, some less. Right now this blog exists for me to document and share the stuff I make, and maybe in the future to promote places I'm going to be at or possible shop updates. Who knows. The main purpose is to raise my self-esteem as a crafter and remind myself that yeah, sometimes I actually do get shit done and some of it is actually quite nice and really? I have a pretty cool life.

This year is going to be different from the last few and let me just tell you that's a very promising thought. This blog is part of that. Three months is not much, but it marks a spot. Makes you keep digging for the treasure.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blue Monday, or, giveaway week for adventurous souls

Since my mother is now safely wrapped inside her new Holden shawlette I feel safe to post pictures of the finished thing. I'm very pleased with it, it turned out so pretty and I just love the yarn, which is a limited colorway from Little Red Bicycle (Tandem Sock in Dagon). 

I guess I shouldn't have used the "thrifted treasures" title so soon because in all honesty that is a pretty big part of this blog. Browsing pretty things is, for me, a big middle finger to stress, hurry and being poor. Thus, after last week that was dominated by a big rush-job and me being so tired that I left a bag of yarn on the train, I somehow ended up splurging a little bit.

Used to hold a skein of yarn instead of the arms of an innocent bystander, for all of you not in the know.

In all honesty I bought an antique yarn swift last summer, but it's missing a somewhat vital component, the screw that keeps it attached on a table. A post about all the little projects I have lying around with the innocuous "I'll fix this bit and then..." labels attached to them is for another day. At least I now have something to model that missing screw on, and I paid a fraction of the retail price for it. Besides, it will soon come very handy.

Because I also bought a bag of cobweb weight yarn, nearly a kilogram altogether. It's not quite as insanely thin as the last one, but close. Again I have no idea what the fiber content is, but I'm guessing cotton. It's squishier than the last one that I suspect is mercerized, but not squishy enough to be wool. I did a burn test, but it told me nothing, really, except that it's organic material or rayon.

There's black yarn. 

Also in the picture: my IKEA scale, very useful for everything from baking to knitting to weighing kittens.
There's gray yarn.

Also in the picture: a sheet ripped by a kitten and destined into the sewing bin

And then there's a whole bunch of different shades of blue yarn.

Very dark, purplish indigo. 
A more greenish and duller shade of blue.
Bright, deep blue.
Very close to the last one, but a bit darker and duller.
Blue really is not my color. And since a week from now this blog turns three months, which obviously is a big fucking deal, I've decided to hold a giveaway worthy of such a milestone. Do you want my ridiculously thin blue yarn of unknown fiber content?

This is relevant also because I decided to overcome my stupid blog shyness and comment on all of the blogs I follow this week, starting today. So, comment on this post and tell me what you want to make out of 62-155 grams of maybe cobweb maybe cotton yarn. I really could use the ideas because apart from making a summer shawl/scarf from the gray yarn I have no ideas for the black yarn except a gazillion pairs of fancy lace stockings. After a week I'll pick up names from a hat or something and mail one of these batches to four people anywhere on this planet. And unlike all the fancy pants giveaways out there, not many people actually read this blog so you might end up with all four of them! How wonderful! Or not!

Let me repeat the rules:

1. Comment on this post.

2. Tell me what you would make out of 62-155 grams of mystery!yarn.

3. If you have a blog, put the address in the comment, I'm easily amused.

4. You have until May 16th midnight Finnish time to comment. The winners will be posted on May 17th.

5. Feel free to celebrate your own "comment on the blogs you read" week if you are as awkward as me about it.

I'm going to finish this post with a cake. In the last couple of weeks I've made 45 liters of mead, over 120 doughnuts, three cakes and some ginger ale and this is the only picture I have to show for it. It's also entirely mine, my own, for me to eat. I had that slice and now I'm full. Cake, anyone?

Chocolate cake with cream, mascarpone and cherry filling and chocolate frosting. Yum!