Friday, April 24


I've given up my resistance: spring is here, already whispering about the coming summer (I've even seen a chaffinch, which, according to a Finnish rhyme, tells you there's only half a month to summer), and I'm going to enjoy the spring as much as I can. For the past week the skies have been high and blue, and today, when I stepped out to a beautiful, warm spring morning, I felt light. Weightless. I felt the kind of levity I don't remember feeling in the past year, when the day before you stretches out full of possibilities; when there's a new season waiting around the corner, and you hope and know it's going to be a good one; a feeling of peace.
I'm going to carry that feeling with me.

Today's five senses from Helsinki

seeing - a friend I haven't seen in almost a year - she's always so full of life, and I adore it; flowers on the street outside the florist's; people sitting in the sun drinking coffee

tasting - delicious tandori salmon; beer, which tasted surprisingly good

smelling - fresh spring air; sea

hearing - my friend's tales about Tanzania; screeching of the rails when a tram turns

touching - my hair, it always feels so funny after a trip to hairdresser's, so I keep touching it; colourful flower pots in a shop

Saturday, April 18

fragments from the weekend

Now when sun gets up early again, it shines right in my bed in the morning, and warms my little room. So I was quite surprised when I pulled up the blinds on Saturday and saw a thin blanket of snow on rooftops and on the ground! I has been a mostly sunny but chilly weekend; I'd loathe to start
wearing my winter coat again, so I'm wearing layers to keep warm and hoping for the weather to change.

My weekend passed by mostly working on a text I can't seem to get right. It seems if I don't leave translations to the last minute (which is not advisable), I end up tweaking them again and again, never being quite satisfied with them.

But I've managed to squeeze in some reading, cooking, baking and jogging too.

And it's all better when done with a super comfy dress on. I've dubbed this my spring dress, and I'd like to be able to wear the dress without any extra layers, so spring, come on; how about some warm winds here?

Thursday, April 16

presents for little A

Last week I was going to sit in a train nearly five hours with a three year old. Even though my nephew is used to traveling in train, I thought I'd assemble a small first aid kit against boredom - not that he'd necessarily need it, but just for fun. And after purchasing a book, a small drawing pad and some crayons, I decided a bag to pack them in would make the small gift perfect.

I wanted to use fabric I already had (I didn't have time to go fabric shopping really, as I was going to travel to Helsinki the next day), and I wanted it to be fun, so he might want to use it later as his library bag or something. I also knew that if I'd asked my nephew, he would have wanted to be red, which is his favourite colour at the moment. So Tuesday evening was spent sewing rather than doing the dishes and packing for my trip, and this is the result (actually, I sewed the eyes and mouth of the caterpillar in train to Helsinki on Wednesday...):

Then there's the Penguin. This was made for A's birthday in February. I wanted to make him a soft toy, and a penguin was perfect, since he's lately become an avid fan of Pingu* - he even communicates like Pingu sometimes. Making this softie took some time, as my first version wasn't quite what I wanted it to be. But I'm fairly happy with the result, especially since this was only the second softie I've made with my own patterns, and don't have much toy making experience. A fact I'd ilke to change, if I only had time... Obviously the penguin pattern could do with some more tweaking; maybe my friend K's baby would like one for himself?

I knew from the beginning I wanted to use black corduroy for the penguin, and then I decided to use a patterned black & white cotton (with a little red) under his wings and tail. I have to say it was really hard to find those kind of eyes for him (although I think the eyes make him all better!). Here he's unfortunately covered in stuffing fibers, but I did brush him before he was given to his new owner.

All of these photos have been taken in a bad light and then tweaked, so sorry that they're not better!

*Even though this penguin reminds me more about the penguin in the Wallace and Gromit film The Wrong Trousers.

Tuesday, April 14


Actually I meant to post on Friday, but somehow there was so much to do I never published that post I had already started writing.

The weekend was a long one and included many many hours spent in trains, some of which were spent with my nephew; I first traveled to Helsinki and then from there to Eastern Finland with nephew A, to spend Easter with my parents, A and the Boy (who arrived later).

The weather was mostly grey, and Easter was mostly spent indoors, building houses with Legos and playing a game called Fortuna.

Came back to Tampere and lectures today, and I'm tired and feel somehow disconnected from the everyday life, like I often do after spending a few days somewhere else. But today I was really glad it's spring - so much more spring than in my old hometown, where there's still lots and lots of snow. Here in Tampere the snow's mostly gone, the streets have been cleaned from all the sand, and the evening was wonderfully light and there was a promise of warmer days and green in the air. And I have a piece of my mother's apricot tart waiting for me when I get home.

Let's play five senses Easter, shall we?

smelling - daffodils in a vase

seeing - a pair of witches Mum made probably before I was born; they have always been a part of our Easter decorations

touching - Legos; Easter grass; A's soft hair

hearing - all the amazing tales nephew A spontaneously spins for us on a daily basis now*

tasting - Mum's quark pie, which she makes every Easter

*"Once I was in a car crash. I collided with a really big truck. The truck was badly damaged. I was riding my tricycle, but luckily I was wearing a seat belt, so I didn't hurt myself. Also I had tied all my eggs (??) really tight with a rope, so they didn't break."

Sunday, April 5

on palm sunday

In Finland children decorate willow twigs with paper flowers and colourful feathers, then give twigs to their parents, grandparents etc. on Palm Sunday and get something - often chocolate eggs - for return. Some children go from door to door in their neighbourhood (kind of like trick or treating in the U.S.). Traditionally the twigs represent palm leaves, but this orthodox tradition from Eastern Finland has gotten mixed with the Western tradition: in Western Finland people used to believe that Easter is the time when witches do all kinds of tricks on people, and nowadays children often dress up as witches on Palm Sunday.

I didn't see any witches today, and forgot to get willow twigs, but a dinner party of sorts was a fun ending to this grey, rainy weekend. Miss J and miss R came for dinner and egg painting, and I kind of outdid myself by serving three courses. First we had soup made of frozen peas, very easy but very good.

The main course was beetroots with honey, rosemary and goat's cheese, with some carrots and barley.

And for dessert I had made a chocolate orange cheesecake. I was a bit afraid I'd be left with half the cake, but I needn't have worried - the cake was mostly gone when the girls left.

Friday, April 3

hello april!

Now it's so warm it's hard to decide whether to wear my winter coat (too hot) or spring coat (too cold). As a nod to spring, I have daffodils on my table. In the card I sent my friend J girls are jumping rope, another thing very much connected to spring in my mind. Even though I, who lived in a neighbourhood with few children of my age, never mastered the jumping rope. Oh, what a shame!

It's also Friday, so...

seeing papercut prints I'd like to have on my wall

hearing a surprisingly interesting examination of a doctoral thesis

tasting not-so-good dessert at the university café

smelling daffodils

feeling laundry ready to be hung

Wednesday, April 1

seeing yellow in Helsinki

These photos are from last week, Thursday, when I walked around my old neighbourhood in Helsinki. I didn't even realize it until later, that I had paid attention to yellow things...

That building in the first photo was recently renovated, and it's really, really yellow. If you look it when the sun is shining, your eyes almost hurt.