Second Trip to Lapland

As promised, a post about our extremely short trip to Lapland. We left Jyväskylä on Thursday night and were back on Sunday morning already. Therefore we didn’t do much besides travelling. We took the (insanely comfortable) night train from Tampere to Rovaniemi, where we were supposed to immediately take the bus to Levi. Due to a combination of misunderstandings and our lacking language skills, however, we missed it and had to wait for 4 hours in Rovaniemi. So we went to see if the places we visited last year were still there. And they were! Here’s just one example:

The View over the *mumble*joki – Less frozen this time

This place is rather special to both of us, because last year I got this there:

A Ring!

But soon we left and caught the bus, as we had booked a night in a glass igloo! We were hoping for nice weather (read, clear skies), as we were hoping to finally see Aurora Borealis. But, the forecast had not been good, and as you can see skies in Rovaniemi didn’t really raise our hopes. But on the way to Levi, the town nearby which the igloos are located, the clouds suddenly vanished and we were driving to a most beautiful and rather long sunset (forgot to take pictures, though -.-).

When we arrived at our accommodation, we were very warmly greeted by the staff (even though we were more than half an hour late and they had to wait for us). The igloo itself was surprisingly spacious, warm and luxurious (it even had a rain shower!).

Glass Igloo From the Inside – Cozy, yet spacious

We booked a “superior igloo” and were a bit disappointed to be in the third row (also because the igloos were rather close together). It wasn’t a problem in the end, though, as we could see almost the whole northern sky. We went to walk around a bit and went close to the first row of igloos:

First Row Igloos – Including view and happy PB

I guess you would have to buy the even more expensive package to get those, and when we were there it seemed like they were not occupied. After that we went for a nap, and when we woke up at around 9pm we saw Auroras! Very faint and low on the horizon, but nonetheless! The photos didn’t turn out, though, so you will have to take my word… We were watching the lights dance across the horizon sitting in our warm and cozy beds until about midnight, when the sky began to cover up again. Perfect! That way we didn’t have to feel guilty about sleeping and we had a restful night’s sleep. It was the right decision, too, as when we woke up the igloo was covered in snow.

After checking out we went to see what Levi is all about. It turns out not much, thought there are several skiing slopes and lifts.

Levi Hill Slopes – From below

Having grown up near one of the (in my very biased opinion) most beautiful skiing regions in Switzerland I wasn’t that impressed, but there was definitely more snow than there is currently in Switzerland. The town itself consists of two main streets with the usual touristy shopping and restaurant options. Architecturally it looks just like a village you would find in the Alps:

Chalet Style Hotel – Felt right at home

As there was not much to see and we weren’t interested in either shopping or skiing, we soon left again for Rovaniemi, where we were to take the night train back. While walking town around a bit we came across this:

Arctic Swimming Contest – *shiver*

They had made a big hole in the ice with a 25m competitive swimming area. As we were passing, they were giving the medals and I could hear that some competitions were for 100m! I was shivering despite wearing very warm clothes. After dinner it was already time to leave Lapland and  head home.

Even though we didn’t do as much as last time and even though we stayed a lot less, I loved our trip! Of course seeing the Aurora had a lot to do with it, but it was also the reason for the trip:

Yup, We Did It – We got registered!

This was not a wedding as such. We went and had our registration at the maistraatti (register office) with our witnesses (two close Finnish friends) and their kids. After that we all went for dinner and that was it. Our families weren’t there and we didn’t exchange rings. All of that is for the big celebration we are going to have after I finish the thesis and have time enough to organize. This time it was just for the two of us.

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Making Clothes Again

Yep, I sewed. I finally managed to get myself out of my slump. Maybe it helped that the sun had been shining for three days in a row. Or maybe it was Tasia’s post on her bra making class. Or the fact that, despite the sun, it is still too cold to wear my “swirly top” (as nishiink named it) on its own and I needed a white layering shirt. Anyway, I made two garments, taking full advantage of the fact that PB was out of town, and my newish (and empty) cutting table:

Ikea Hemnes Daybed + Door ( – Handle) = Cutting Table – Ideal height for lazylinchen

First, I made the aforementioned layering shirt, using BurdaStyle pattern #112 from the February 2010 issue (I had previously made a pyjama top with it, so didn’t have to trace). Re-making things is a good way to get me sewing, I should remember that more often. The top is nothing special, it’s just “cake“. I was joking recently that I mostly sew cake, not enough frosting, which results in a mostly gray and navy and very boring wardrobe. Anyway, the top has a boatneck and raglan sleeves and is therefore perfect to be layered under the swirly top:

BurdaStyle magazine top #112 02/2010

It was very easy to put together, all in all it took me maybe 2 hours (with breaks for youtube inbetween).

But speaking of wardrobe staples: I made my first bra!

Ohhh Lulu Jasmine Bra – Nautical style

It’s not my first time sewing underthings, as I made quite a lot of cheeky panties already (it’s a great free pattern and sooooo comfortable!). But this was my first try at a bra.

Ohhh Lulu Jasmine Bra – Back view

As with the cheeky panties, the verdict is: sooooo comfortable! I used the Jasmine pattern from Ohhh Lulu. It consists of only three pattern pieces and is insanely easy to sew. I used some jersey remnants from my gray layering shirt and a shirt I never blogged. I slightly changed the pattern layout as I wanted to have chevrons in the front. For that I cut the fron center panels on the bias instead of on the straight grain. I also used some ribbon to cover how I attached the straps:

Ohhh Lulu Jasmine Bra – Back detail

I attached the straps in the back last, because I didn’t have the rings and doodads needed to make an adjustable strap. But to be honest, it fits so well I wouldn’t even need the straps. So next version is going to be strapless. While this looks rather nice, I also wanted to make it completely reversible, just to see if I could. So I did!

Ohhh Lulu Jasmine Bra – Reverse side

This side is admittedly less exciting, but I am proud nontheless that it worked! And that’s also the reason why I didn’t put in any bra closure (though I had one).

Ohhh Lulu Jasmine Bra – Reverse side back view

I am blogging this a week late, but I just needed to share! I see many more of the bras in my future life, as I really started to detest wearing underwire bras. This is comfortable and still gives me enough support. Plus, it’s a great project to use up those scraps! But enough said for now, I’ll be back soon with a post about our second trip to Lapland!

Still no Sewing – But a Recipe

While my tiredness has passed and my “cutting table” is finally rid of the mess, I still haven’t brought myself to use it. But instead, since I do cook almost every day, I thought I’d share another recipe with you. And also with me, because I tend to forget how I make this and have to painfully dig out the memory with an intense hypnosis session… (Hahahaha! Just kidding!)

Anyway, this recipe involves one of my favourite vegetables: Swiss chard. It is, according to Wikipedia, extremely healthy and full of all the good things like vitamins, minerals, fibres and even protein. I like it because of it’s mild but erathy taste. One of my Grandma’s used to grow it in her garden, and hence we had it often at her place. She only used the stems of it, though. So for a long time I thought the leaves were not edible. Turns out I was very wrong. Not only are they edible, they’re equally delicious as the stems, but a bit stronger in taste. The only drawback of this great veggie is that it’s highly seasonal (Spring). And that I havent seen it in supermarkets here (doesn’t mean much, though, as I wasn’t here last spring, also the fact that it has a Finnish name (lehtimangoldi) gives me hope).  So why am I publishing the recipe now? Well, because I can! 😀

And because I just found the picture from last time I made it:

Swiss Chard Gratin

I know, I know. Another Gratin. I just love this stuff! The recipe is based on one I found in the Swiss cookbook “Vielseitige Gemüseküche” by Betty Bossi. The book doesn’t have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), so I guess it’s only available in Switzerland. Which is a pity, because, let me tell you, Betty Bossi is a (fictional) cooking goddess. She single-handedly changed the cooking habits of Swiss people. Unfortunately most of the cookbooks are only available in German or French. Which is why I don’t feel too bad in publishing this recipe here (plus, it’s and adaptation, so there!). If you understand either French or German, or both, I suggest getting one of her books (or check out the website, there are also free recipes). If not, there is one available in English: The Swiss Cook Book (Amazon link).

Swiss Chard Potato Gratin
Serves 3-4, depending on hunger levels

Ingredients
250ml (1 cup) of water
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1kg Swiss chard, leaves removed and sliced in thin slices, stems peeled and cut in 5cm pieces
500g potatoes, peeled and cut in slices
50g smoked tofu (or bacon) diced
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter or oil
180g sour cream
Salt, pepper and ground muscat to taste
2 Tbsp grated cheese (Greyerz is best, but use whatever you like that melts nicely and has a bit of a taste)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 220°C, grease a casserole dish. Then bring water, salt and lemon juice to a boil in a small pot. Add chard stems and potatoes and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until slightly soft, then drain. Meanwhile, sauté the onions and tofu (or bacon) in the butter in a large pan for about 1 minute. Add chard leaves, stir and contiue to sauté until they start to wilt. Season with salt, pepper and ground muscat. Add the sour cream and bring to a boil. Add the softened chard stems and potatoes to the casserole dish, cover with the chard leaves mixture. Sprinkle with the cheese and gratinate in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until the cheese has turned golden brown. Serve still hot.

P.S: yes, I’m still supposed to be working on my thesis. D’oh!