Monday, December 24

hyvää joulua!

Happy holidays!

Hope you all have a nice and relaxed holiday full of good things.

Saturday, December 22


On the darkest day of the year it was actually sunny here in Eastern Finland. I'm at my parents' for Christmas. No photos though, I was lazy and didn't go out. Instead I've been knitting a lot and sleeping enough for a change. The white hyacinth in my old room is in full bloom. Getting ready for Christmas...

Thursday, December 20

mr snowman

Hey Mr Snowman, where are you going?

I'm going to the North Pole to visit my friend the Polar Bear.

Hurry up so you won't melt!*

*The newspapers tell there will be a white Christmas only in Lapland. Right now it's above zero in the whole country.

Yesterday was another busy but happy day. My sister sings in a choir and they had a concert last evening. It was held in the Church of St Lawrence in Vantaa (real close to Helsinki), and it was nice to get to see the church as well - it dates back to 15th century and is really beautiful. The concert was good and it was nice to meet my brother-in-law's parents briefly.

After the concert I whipped up Mr Snowman for my nephew. Last year, when he was still a baby, I thought it'd be nice to make him a Christmas ornament every year, so when he's old enough to really get excited about Christmas, he'd have a small collection of ornaments all his own. However, last year I was feeling pretty miserable and dead tired right before Christmas, so the ornament idea didn't lead anywhere. I'm not promising annual ornaments, but I also bought him a stuffed mushroom ornament by Maileg. Cheating, I know, but I happened to see some Maileg ornaments in a florists', and they're really cute.

I've been thinking of making a different kind of hot air balloon for my nephew's room one day, and that plus seeing this inspired me. I made the top hat with the instructions at The Small Object. I'm fairly pleased, though maybe the ball should be something else than polystyrene - it has so many dents already, I wonder what it'll look like later.

Mr Snowman has a present for the Polar Bear with him.

The photos are best I could do without daylight - didn't have time to take photos today, although it was nice and sunny. Maybe I'll get better photos of Mr Snowman after Christmas...

Tuesday, December 18

cookie tuesday

I spent the weekend mostly sleeping. I felt slightly bad about it, as I have lots to do, but then I reminded myself I'm officially on a break. Funny how hard it is sometimes to just relax, even after waiting the break for so long! Anyway, now I'm finally in Helsinki, for a couple of days, and hope to see as many friends as I can.

Right now I'm baking cookies to give as presents for friends. I think I got the idea from Amy of angry chicken* (though I'm not as ambitious as she is and do not attempt to bake more than one kind of cookies, and do not have that many people to bake cookies for) last year. I like to give small gifts to friends, and cookies are perfect: suitable for student budget and you can't really go wrong with edible gifts, I think.
Last year I made cookies with dates, this year it's chocolate & chilli cookies. They're super delicious, which has probably something to do with the amount of chocolate that goes into the dough. :) I think I should've added more chilli powder though... (Well, I had to have a taste so I know if they're good, didn't I?)

Just took the last batch from the oven. Now I've got dozens of cookies to pack, so I gotta run!

*By the way, did you see those funny gift tags she made?
And I love Camilla's tags - I'm dying to use them, but I haven't got a chance to use a printer here.

Thursday, December 13

more frost

From the bus stop - didn't have time for better photos, 'cause there's my bus coming. :)

Today was a lovely, frosty day. I dragged myself out of bed and went to the last meeting of our English to Finnish translation course, and walked back home just after the sunset. Took a lot of photos, but alas, many of them are crap because there was not enough light for my poor Canon. (I'm dreaming of a new, better camera, but only dreaming a the moment...)

I've been waiting for this week to be over since it began, 'cause it means the end of the semester. Sure I still have tons to do (especially now I couldn't take all of the exams this week), but I plan to do nothing study-related next week. I'll do Christmassy things instead, like bake a ton of cookies to give away. Sorry to spoil the surprise for you, friends who are possibly reading this! :)

Let's see if we get a white Christmas this year. When I was a kid I didn't ever think of the possibility of there not being snow by Christmas, and that's why it's still a part of a proper Christmas for me. Though in the past few years there hasn't been much of it even in Eastern Finland where my parents live. Well, maybe I wouldn't mind green Christmas so terribly if there would be few sunny hours and frost, like today. That I can live with. Grey clouds and rain, not so much.

Wednesday, December 12


Kind of crazy that this was taken a week after the photos in the previous post!

Sunday, December 9

tampere on a cold december day

Thursday was independence day here in Finland, so I had four days of which I meant to use effectively. Unfortunately the flu attacked with a vengeance, so I haven't done much. I have four exams next week (I meant to use the weekend studying for those) so I might continue being quiet... But after that I'll try to stop whining about the flu and blog about more cheerful things!
Here are some photos from last Wednesday. It was a lovely day, a bit chilly and the sun even came out for a little while. Sadly the snow is gone now.

There are a lot of buildings in Tampere city centre which have formerly been some kind of factories or mills. Nowadays there's only one cardboard mill working. When I first moved here I found it really odd there's a mill in the middle of the city! I do like all the old industrial buildings though, I think they are really beautiful. I wish people would think of beauty when designing modern factories, too...

Tuesday, December 4


From my window today. It snowed last night and today. I wish the snow would stay, but we'll be getting some rain later this week.

After lots of sleep I'm feeling a bit better, so I walked to the post office in the evening. It looked quite Christmassy with all the lights and snow.

Becky, these are especially for you and your family. :)

Monday, December 3

more from the weekend

A certain someone I know really likes cars.

I'm feeling pretty crappy, got a cold coming - all those clementines didn't help, after all. Even my new comfort food no. 1, Mövenpick's creamy caramel yoghurt, didn't help. Watching The Queen on dvd helped a bit though (Helen Mirren is amazing!) - since one of our teachers had recommended the film, I told myself spending the evening in bed watching it was almost like studying.

Sunday, December 2

greetings from helsinki

Edit. It's best to click on the first photo so you'll see it...

J and I shared the biscuit and I broke it in half before I thought of taking a photo. Nevertheless, I like the way how the shape of the biscuit is repeated in my latte...

Thursday, November 29

the love for three clementines

I don't know if my body is trying to tell me it needs vitamin c boost, but whatever the reason, I've been craving clementines lately. I easily eat four a night if I sit on my computer working; right now they're so yummy (I also love oranges, but they're so messy to eat - you don't want to do it anywhere near your laptop). They feel like mini suns really with their orange colour, and like sun, they make me feel better too!
In the past few days we've also seen the real sun here. It's lovely, and I don't even mind it being cold (or colder - later in the winter -7 c would feel not-so-cold). I just have to get warmer shoes, and I'll be all set for winter. Well, December is right around the corner, so I guess winter is in time this year - let's hope this will last.

Have a lovely and hopefully sunny weekend! My weekend will be filled with studying, but I might be able to squeeze in coffee with friends as well.

Wednesday, November 28

did i say i'd do nothing for christmas?

...Well, then I went and bougth the December issue of Livingetc magazine. In the magazine there are some recipes for making sweet treats to give as Christmas presents. I don't think I'd really like to eat the rosewater lollipops below, but they look so pretty, don't they? (There's rose petals in them!)

Some treats I do really want to try out (both making and eating): sesame & pistachio snaps, chocolate fudge and cranberry & pistachio white chocolate. Sounds yummy, doesn't it? Now I only need more time...

Also, I've been thinking of buying brown and light blue wrapping paper after seeing these pretty photos (the scanner hates me).

all photos Livingetc magazine

Monday, November 26

almost december

I just noticed the other day that Christmas is just around the corner. Ooops. This is really strange for me, since I'm someone who usually begins Christmas plans in October. This autumn a lot has happened, though, with me moving and studying full time (indeed full time), so maybe that's why I hadn't given Christmas another thought until now.

I decided I'm going to be all relaxed about it though. I tend to spend lots of time finding the perfect Christmas presents for everybody (not that I always end up giving The Perfect Gifts, mind you), agonizing over which kind of Christmas cards I'll make, and even thinking about a theme / a colour scheme for wrapping paper. I don't know if the last sounds like fun to you or just like I'm strange, but it's fun to me. But this year I'm letting it all go. I'll even *gasp!* buy the few cards I'm going to send - I did have a few ideas for cards, but all things considered (like the fact I don't know whether I'd find the right supplies and I have an exam or two for every week before Christmas) I think store-bought is the way to go. Helps me stay calm and relaxed. I hope.

Don't get me wrong, I like agonizing over the perfect wrapping paper & ribbon combination, I don't stress about Christmas in a bad way (though last year I did have some anxiety attack symptoms just before Christmas - I don't think that had anything to do with ribbon, though). Although I'm afraid I'll have a nervous breakdown if I ever have a family and a home to decorate for Christmas. Or maybe I just won't have any time to stress about things like that if I have kids.

...That doesn't keep me from browsing The Nice Package! Flickr pool though. There's a lot of inspiration for gift wrapping (I think everything from red felt flower is absolutely beautiful), you can see some of my favourites up there.

Thursday, November 22


After sitting non-stop at my laptop, taking breaks only to go sitting in class, I start to feel that my Jules chair isn't that comfortable, after all (but it was best of the cheap chairs, and ok really if you don't sit all day). One project down, and I-don't-want-to-think-how-many to go. As usual, I didn't start early, but I'm unusually relaxed about it all - maybe I'm finally embracing the fact I'll never do anything until I have to, and probably do better work under pressure. Or at least I do it faster. Maybe I could attend some 'Embrace your inner sloth' -course?

I hope I'll have a chance to go to Helsinki this weekend. I've got a gift certificate for a yarnshop in Helsinki, and I have to use it before December. Also got some other things to take care of there. And I miss this guy.

On the other hand, I know I'll probably get more things done for my classes if I stay here - we'll see.

Photos that have made me happy lately:
this by Jay Waldron (found him via Abby; I like so many of his photos... the light & atmosphere in this one)
and this by Sannah Kvist

Hope they make you smile too!

Monday, November 19

too tired to think of a title

This is what I've been doing, so nothing special going on here.

I've also been getting Christmas food cravings - I already bought Annas Pepparkakor (they are the best store bough I've found) few weeks ago, and the other day I was craving for glög (kind of mulled wine) and the dish very close to rice pudding we eat in Finland usually on the Christmas Eve (or at least, my family does). It's less sweet though, no vanilla, and we eat it as the main dish, hot & sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. And we call it porridge. Must sound crazy to everyone who's used to rice puddings... Traditionally one almond is put in the porridge, and the one who gets it will marry in the next year / get lucky some other way.

Maybe it was the snow that got me thinking of glög and all. It's all gone now, though - well, I don't have to decide whether to get winter tyres for my bike or just stop cycling. But just today I was thinking of my nephew, who's going to be two in three months (already! can't believe that) and then I realized how near Christmas is. Better do something about it. No self-made presents this year at all, but maybe Etsy will come to help!

Now I'll stop babbling - here are some links for you to look at while I sip glög and try to get back to work:

I found Kris Atomic's blog just today. I like it even better because the first thing I saw was lyrics from a song I like. :)

And she reminded me (one of her posts did, that is) about Robert Ryan. I've been in love with his beautiful and amazing work for a while, but didn't knew he had a blog too. And here's his shop.

Have a good week, y'all! (As I'd say if I spoke with Southern American accent. That's what I've been studying about. [by the way, just last week I was told I write American English and speak with a British accent. Hmm.])

Saturday, November 17

svea choklad

This tin is a flea market find, from Helsinki in October. It's really beautiful, with all kinds of butterflies round it (everyone's different, and there's also their species in Swedish and Latin), and quite large - about 22 cm in circumference. I probably found it only because my friend J was with me; he seems to have good flea market karma. Some people do, they always find something nice - like miss A, who is the queen of fleamarket finds - and some don't. I don't usually find anything special, or maybe it's also the fact that I want the stuff I buy be too special for it to come home with me, cheap or not.

On the lid it says 'AB Svea Choklad Norrköping'. Does Svea Choklad still exist, Swedes out there?

I still don't know what I'm going to keep there - but clearly that should be something really nice.

Friday, November 16


On my way to university, I pass a park with a small pond in the middle. I think the park is one of the best things of this neighbourhood. When I walked through the park on Wednesday, the pond had just began to freeze.

Today it was covered with snow.

Thursday, November 15

i meant to do it, really

I found this badge in Helsinki a while ago. It says something like the title to this post and ...that's me. In addition to being very good at procrastinating, I've got a really bad memory. So bad it terrifies me to think what I'll be like, say, 40 years from now, when I'm over 60. On the other hand, I can always blame not sleeping well as the reason for my short term memory loss (and it indeed is far worse when I sleep too little - how do you cope at all, mothers with little kids?).

We have winter now! Yesterday it was a lovely day, sunny and frosty, and today it snowed! Not much, but it's like everything's coated with icing sugar. And it's not so dark with snow all over. I better finish knitting the woolly hat I started on Sunday.

Another good thing, I now have working internet connection! First I put off getting one, and then it didn't work, but thanks to a girl in my speaking practice class, with I managed to make it happen without having to go back to the shop. Yay! It really makes things easier, and no more late nights spent at the university's computer centre.

Tuesday, November 13

after a terrific weekend...

...I'm trying to catch up with all the work. And phew there's a lot of it! Mostly the work's interesting, though, so it's ok.

I had a super social weekend (even more so considering that I usually spend my nights alone at home - don't know that many people in Tampere yet). Miss A, whom I've known for 21 years, most of my life that is, came from Helsinki for the weekend. Together we met two other friends who went to school with us, it was great fun!

A and I didn't have very specific plans for the weekend, but walked about town in a touristy way, and visited a couple of cafés. One of them was Café Europa, which I love for it's atmosphere and huge café au laits. It feels like I'm in some weird movie when I'm there (I'm thinking Jean-Pierre Jeunet). They've got old, mismatched furniture, walls painted in strong colours and comfortably dim lighting. A concept that feels really unique compared to all the sleek, modern coffee houses. (Liivia posted some photos from Café Europa recently.)

Thursday, November 8


In November it's really dark in Finland. The days get shorter and shorter, there's no much snow yet and if the sky is overcast it seems like the day doesn't really break at all. This is the time I tend to weary of all the darkness and start hoping for snow - which in Southern Finland won't stay for a while (Though I love the sea in Helsinki, I hate the fact that living on the coast means there's less snow in the winter - in Eastern Finland where I grew up they often get the heaviest snowfalls of the country. Let's see if moving a bit inland helps...).

On the other hand this is the perfect time to stay put, drink hot chocolate or tea with honey, wear woollen socks and make yourself as cozy as you can.

This evening I will attend an exhibition opening in the Verkaranta centre for arts and crafts. I've never been there, but have always thought it looks great (the building's a former dying plant). The exhibition which opens today is by a group of seven young textile artists, Rajatekijät (link in Finnish only),two of which are my friends. I'm sure it'll be a fun evening! Plus, having no life in Tampere outside the university, it's exciting to get to dress up a little and meet people. Now I better hurry up!

The crazy matchbox is from Åbo bar in Helsinki - they have (or at least used to have) a mega-sized enlargement of the photo on the wall there. Should go see it sometime and get some new matchboxes.

Monday, November 5


memorial plaques in Malmi cemetary, Helsinki

Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday, November 4

first snow in helsinki

I've managed to catch two first snows this fall :) - one in Tampere and now in Helsinki. Me, sister and nephew took a little walk to a cemetary near their home. Chilly but beautiful.

Friday, November 2

colourful friday

Today is the birthday of P,one of my dearest friends. Tomorrow there'll be party, I'm looking forward to it since P&M throw the best parties. Or maybe they just know the nicest people.

Happy colourful weekend to you all!

Wednesday, October 31

can I have some larch cones with my tea, please?

there's me in the spoon, again

Today the clouds broke. First there were glimpses of blue sky amid the grey tufts of clouds, and then - the sun came out! It was like a miracle after yesterday's gloomy weather - there seemed to be no daylight at all, and continuous rain. I'm feeling better, thanks to sun and a good night's sleep. (Good, since I hate to complain even here - I do complain to friends too but feel bad about it afterwards.)
It was a perfect day to take gazillion photos (um, maybe 40 or so) of a mug and larch cones or to go for a walk. Didn't have time for the latter, but it was nice to bike to a meeting in the afternoon sun.

Camilla seemed to have a pretty good day as well. I love the top photo.
Hope something made you smile today too!

...or maybe I'll just have a stem ginger and lemon biscuit. Thank you.

Monday, October 29

helsinki part IV

street art in Kallio, Helsinki

I had problems with uploading photos in Blogger, so this post and the one before are a bit late. Despite the photos in the last posts, the sky's been mostly gray. Just plain, even gray. Which tends to dampen my mood a bit. But then I'm not a really cheerful person - sounds worse than it is! It's not that I'm unhappy; maybe I'm just melancholy by nature.

I thought I'd have lots of time for walking around and taking photos in Helsinki, but the week flew by. I had the chance to meet many friends though, which I'm really happy about. It was really nice! Luckily the distance doesn't have anything to do with how important your friends are (and with those friends who live in Helsinki, the distance isn't even that big). Maybe with some friends it'll even be a good thing, reinforcing friendship even more. Still, I do have a feeling of not really belonging anywhere at the moment. It'll take some time, I guess.

This recipe is probably the funniest thing I've seen pasted around. There's a lot of street art (or whatever you want to call it) happening in my neighbourhood in Helsinki and I did some 'collecting' last summer with my camera. I'll show you more later.

Saturday, October 27

helsinki part III

Helsinki railway station (1904-1910, architect Eliel Saarinen)

Friday, October 26

helsinki part II

leaves on a grey day