The Home Tour Continued

Having covered the most important room in my last post, on we go for a tour of the less important rooms of our new apartment. As in the last post, I did not clean/put order before taking photographs. This is pretty much how it looks like on a regular basis in here. Of course the ad online didn’t advertise a sewing space. So what caught my interest instead was a picture of the following room:

Living Area – Includes kitchen, dining and living room

It seemed different from what is usually available on the market here. In most of the apartments we went to see, the kitchen was separate from the eating/living space. So seeing an apartment with an open floor plan was like finding a special snowflake. 😉 Add to that the sloped ceiling, which gives this apartment it’s spacious feel:

Living Area – View from the kitchen corner

Though I must say it looked a lot more coordinated furniture wise than these pictures. What can I say, it’s a work in progress. And if I wait until it’s finished, you will very probably never get to see it. 😀

Another unusual feature is the upstairs loft, which is visible in the second picture. The ceiling there is only 1.55m high and it therefore doesn’t count as living space. But when I saw it I immediately thought “children’s playroom”! In each of the three smaller rooms there is a ladder leading up to the loft:

Ladder To The Loft – This is the one from PHD’s office

Yes, three smaller rooms. Another unusual thing in Finnish apartments. Average apartments here have two bedrooms. I guess people looking for something bigger look for a house with garden. Since we don’t have time/expertise to take care of either house or garden, we were focusing on apartments. Which, as I said, are usually 2 bedroom affairs. This one has 4 bedrooms in total, which makes it an extra special snowflake.

It’s too big, to be honest, but it seemed quite impossible to find the goldilocks apartment with three bedrooms in the areas we were looking at. But of course we managed just fine filling all of the rooms! 😀

As seen from the picture above, one of the rooms serves as PHD’s office. The next one is going to be the bean’s bedroom, once he sleeps on his own (and once we stopped using it as a dumping ground…):

Bean’s Room

It has already changed a bit in appearance since I took these pics (in October). I try to let him have his daytime naps in there so he gets used to sleeping in there. I hope this will make the transition easier, once it is time.

The last room in this row is the guest room:

Guestroom

Just like in our last apartment, this was the room that was finished first. So if you will ever visit, this is what you will get. 🙂

All the artwork you can see in these pictures were done by my grandfather. He was quite prolific, though never found his own style. Therefore there are a lot of painting styles I could choose from. I love the works of his that focus on a few textured colours, like the one hanging in our bedroom:

Bedroom

The fact that both the chair and curtains coordinate with the painting is a happy accident. The chair itself is another heirloom from my grandparents.

I know I said that we didn’t want to deal with a garden. However, when this apartment turned out to have one, we didn’t really mind. Probably also because “garden” is stretching the definition a bit… Basically the back goes towards a wooded area, which gives us the green (now white) views of a garden, without much work involved. Conveniently there is also a terrace:

image

image

I truly love living here and consider ourselves extremely lucky to have found this gem! The only drawback is that I don’t ever want to move away… 🙂 (We are also very lucky to be living in an area where housing is still affordable. In Paris, Rome or even Zürich the same amount of money would have bought us something not even half this size. Granted, Jyväskylä is far from being as fabulous a city as these, but being the country chick I am, I even kind of prefer it this way.)

I hope you liked this tour of our home! And as you can see, there’s still space for guests, so come and visit while you can! 😉

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A Dedicated Sewing Space!

In my last post I kinda sorta said this post was going to be a house tour. But first I will stick to the most important room of them all. Now, if you read the title this will come as no surprise: it’s the sewing room! It’s the first time I have a room solely for sewing. (Which is not entirely true, as will be evident later.) But anyhow, since I’m the only one using it, it’s the room where I can be as kitschy as possible I want, as evidenced by the following picture:

wpid-img_20140822_164650.jpg

Yep, even the computer is pink

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep it this organised once I unpacked all the boxes and started sewing… Normally it looks more like this:

My Sewing Space – As it looks in use

My Sewing Space – I’m messy, what can I say…

Quite different, isn’t it? First of all, I had to give up the idea of being able to keep the sewing machines in the same spot and ready to sew at all times. I somehow only realised after moving that there is not enough space in the room for a cutting table. But luckily the cutting mats I own (they are connectable cutting mats from Olfa) fit exactly on the built-in tabletop. Even more luckily, the tabletop is at a perfect height for cutting. So I use the table to cut and sew (often at the same time).

But what kind of room has built-in cabinets at perfect height for working standing up? Well, it is a housekeeping room, that’s also why there is a sink in it. Which is, in turn, the reason why it is not solely for sewing anymore:

My Sewing Space – Plus changing table

We also use it for changing the bean’s diapers. Here in Finland it’s common to just wash the baby’s behind under the faucet instead of using wipes. Also, this particular faucet is ideal for such a purpose.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand. In the cabinets above the sink I keep sewing notions (green baskets), some of my yarn stash (kitschy self-made box) and Burda magazines. I hope one day to be able to have this level of organisation in the rest of the apartment…

Never going to happen! I mean, not even the other cabinet is as well kept:

My Fabric Stash – Overflowing, as usual

At least the fabric is divided by types. Plus, I managed to take advantage of the move and measured, labelled, photographed and made a database (using Memento) of all my fabrics and patterns. But I think I might write a separate post about this project (what worked, what didn’t).

The space was obviously already mostly furnished, I only bought an office chair with wheels and (finally!) a full length mirror:

Hello There Stash Overflow!

Perfect for helping with fitting (I hope). Even though I had hoped the same of Berta (my custom dressform), who is modelling a botched Nettie bodysuit and a Rae skirt (both to be blogged later). Well, that didn’t work. But a girl can hope, right?

Anyway, that’s more or less my sewing space. Not that I get to use it so much lately. I’d say we mostly use it for the other activity mentioned in this post. 😉

Next post: the rest of our home. Until then, have a good one!

Blogging Before the Storm

Attention, post containing mainly crappy phone pictures ahead!
(Plus, if you follow me on Instagram, this is nothing new, just a longer narrative to go with the pictures…)

Good day to you all! As you could guess from the long silence, I’ve been quite busy in real life! This is partly due to my nesting instinct, which kinda caused us to buy an apartment. (Though we were thinking about owning before as we were sick of our rent increasing by 50€ every year)

So yeah, we got our first own apartment! Needless to say we had a lot to do. But thanks to our super-awesome friends it took us mostly only 2 days to move most of our stuff. Well… they moved. I was just sitting there directing, as PHD (formerly known as PB) doesn’t let me lift as much as a carton of milk…) At least I got to cook for some of them!

Some of Our Moving Squad – Can’t thanks you enough!

For the first day’s helpers I just cooked spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce (in picture). For the second day I made my trusted risotto recipe.

That was 2 weeks ago and we have already settled in quite well. House tour to follow, but for now a sneak peek at my new sewing space (that got done first thing, of course!) 😀

My Bastion of Girlyness!

As you can see I also acquired a wool stash… -.- I was doing so well only buying yarn for the next project, but then my favourite LYS (local yarn store) had to go, close down and have a huge sale…! (Good luck to Paulina, the owner, who closed because she’s starting a new education!) Anyway, all the girly fabrics you see in the above picture were donated by a dear friend.

Apart from my fairly complete sewing space, pretty much everything else is on good course and the apartment already looks and feels like a home. So far we have hosted a dinner party (including the inauguration of the sauna), as well as the housewarming party a week ago.

But you might ask “why on earth is the blogpost named blogging before the storm?” Well, that is because the little one is due to make an appearance very soon. I’m already a few days over the due date, and my belly keeps getting rounder and bigger, as you can see:

Belly Picture! – Plus, the swirly top returns!

However, I still feel quite well and active. In fact, to the horror of my mother-in-law, I was still biking a week ago. I would still bike, but I finally got a bus card and just have been lazy… 🙂 Moreover, both our mums have arrived, and we just don’t have enough bikes for everyone. That’s kind of a pity, as I would love to see our mums get on a bike… }:-D

In sewing terms, I haven’t made much, due to the move and the most gorgeous Summer I could have wished for (yay heatwave and sun for one month straight!). But I am planning to do a roundup post on which me-made clothes I wore during this pregnancy, both maternity and non-maternity. Maybe I’ll throw in some finished knitted projects here and there. But for now enough on the updates! Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S: I got fed up a little with my Bloglovin profile (couldn’t disconnect it from Facebook), so have to claim my blog again. So here goes the claiming process: Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Summer Switch

Apparently someone found the switch to turn on Summer. On Friday last week I was still wearing my guilty coat and rainboots, it was raining and under 10°C. Then BAM! on Monday it was sunny all day (which currently lasts 18.5 hours) and 31°C! I’m not complaining, though! Together with the weather the plants changed:

Suddenly the Grass is Green!

This is a house close to the city center. I love how it contrasts with the green! And green there is plenty to be had:

Juicy Green!

It’s so nice to see this colour after the long grey and brown period we had. But that’s not all, there are even some trees in bloom:

Flowers!

Aaaah, if it stays this way, I am extremely happy to be here this Summer. But let’s not get my hopes up too high, on Tuesday it’s supposed to get to 10°C again. 😦 But until then I’m enjoying with all my might! Today we’ll have a BBQ, and I prepared some traditional Swiss BBQ side: potatoe salad! It’s not a BBQ if there’s no potatoe salad (even if the Finns don’t seem to be aware of this fact).

Potatoes Salad – Closeup

Preparing this is easy, if a bit time consuming. Basically you boil, peel and slice the potatoes, add broth, mayonese, mustard, spring onions, white vinegar (I use wine vinegar) and salt (if needed), mix well and let stand for a while to let the flavours get absorbed into the potatoes. Yum!

Sorry, gotta run, there’s a tomatoe salad still to be made!

P.S: my outfit is self-made, will blog later.

(Twinkly)Lights In The Darkness

The Jolly Season Is Upon Us!

Of course I have been complaining about the cold for way too long now. BUT! here are some things I actually like about this season of ever receding light. For one, the twinkly lights are out, and because it’s dark for most of the day, you can actually enjoy them longer! As you can see above, Jyväskylä isn’t really dark at “night” (this was taken at 3.30pm). Indeed it boasts being the “City of Lights“. Apart from the city center, there are many other areas that are illuminated, such as the “never-ending-bridge”:

Never Ending Bridge by Night

Or then, this organic looking sculpture in front of the natural science campus:

Illuminated Sculpture

I quite like that there is light beyond necessity. It kind of makes the city feel friendlier, but also kind of futuristic. There are many installations I haven’t discovered yet. Knowing that helps me keep an open eye for my surroundings, which is something that makes me appreciate them more. Yes, even in winter. Speaking of which: It has arrived! It was fairly warm for November (which means around 5˚C) and raining. So it was dark at night, and grey during the day. But then it finally snowed! One year ago I couldn’t quite understand the Finnish enthusiasm for snow. But having spent two Autumns here, I now understand what a difference the snow makes. Snow means that the light of the street lamps is reflected, and it is suddenly a lot brighter. Plus, there are other advantages, as I have pointed out before. This year, it’s still a lot warmer than last year, so we get the dreaded melting and freezing. As a (unokwn to me) Finn said on facebook: “You don’t know what fear is before you have been out today.” Pure ice, disguised by some freshly fallen snow.

But for me this is already over, I’m currently sitting in sunny and relatively warm Rome, waiting for the airplane to go to Switzerland.  However, I wanted to show you the beautiful lights of Jyväskylä before Christmas. Have happy holidays, if you celebrate them, otherwise:

Happy Solstice!

Being Back Home

It’s been a bit quiet here lately (except for the tribute to Voyager). This is largely due to an exam I had to study for. With that out of the way (I passed), I’m now back.  While I didn’t blog, I did sew, but that’s for another post. Right now, I thought I’d show a bit more of my (not so new anymore) home. First of all, I got some lovely gifts from friends and family in Italy and Switzerland:

Today Is Super! - Thank you again Seraina!

Today Is Super! – Thank you again Seraina!

The book I got from a dear friend in Switzerland. It’s a diary with many cheerful and happy suggestions of what to do with your day and then record it. I just love the positive attitude, not to mention the stickers! I also got a colourful notebook with inspirational quotes from a dear friend from Spain, but forgot to take a picture, as it resides in my purse. Thanks Esti!

In the picture above you can also see these weird jewelery-like pendants. These are glass markers so you don’t accidently take someone else’s drink, themselves made of fused glass. Aren’t they fabulous? My mum gave them to me after she found them in one of my Granddad’s cupboards. My Grandma must have bought or gotten them when they set up home in the 1950’s.

This next one is from PB’s mother:

Does This Look Familiar?

Does This Look Familiar?

When I saw this motto in a coffee shop on O’ahu I felt that it describes my morning attitude quite adequately. I asked the owner if they sold it, but they didn’t. So it was a very nice surprise when I saw this hanging in our room in PB’s parent’s house! I feel very welcomed by PB’s family, especially because they know of my not so nice sides and still (miraculously) seem to like me. So grazie mille Maria!

I had briefly mentioned before leaving for the summer holidays that my Mamma had been to Ikea with me. Here’s some of our loot:

We Now Have a Kitchen Table!

We Now Have a Kitchen Table!

Somehow the kitchen didn’t feel complete. But now with a table and chairs it feels like a place I can spend time with people while cooking. And that makes it a perfect kitchen. The other item I want to show is in the bathroom, which is still far from being perfect. But here goes:

A Towel Shelf! How Exciting (not)!

A Towel Shelf! How Exciting (not)!

So that’s the apartment part of the renewed tour of the place I now consider home. What I also want to show, is the city itself. Now, that’s not so easy, as it’s more like separate and quite diverse neighbourhoods dotted among the woods. I’ve already showed the woods, so here are some impressions of the city parts I most visit:

Keskusta - The city center

Keskusta – The city center

This is the view on the main shopping street (foto taken a few weeks ago when it was still warm). I like how lively it is on sunny days. In that respect the Finns and the Swiss are the same: as soon as there is a beam of sun, everybody heads out, as you never know how long it will last. What I also like about the city center is that all the shopping happens inside malls. Why I like that? Simple: I just don’t get tempted to shop! So I get less unneccesary stuff and also waste less time organising and cleaning it at home. Win!

Next up, the “piazza” in front of the supermarket we shop at most often:

K- and S-Markets - Always neighbours

K- and S-Markets – Always neighbours

Functional is what is needed in this context, not beauty. I am, however, amazed that you would put this huge space in front of a supermarket (it’s not a parking lot). But that’s probably my Swiss self that is used to the lack of horizontal space. It feels nice to have so much breathing space. Usually, if there aren’t any houses, there are trees. So from far away the neighbourhoods look like this:

Our Neighbourhood - seen from opposite the lake

Our Neighbourhood – seen from opposite the lake

Today it has started snowing.  However, the ground is not cold yet, as up to Friday we had around 15°-17°C. So I guess we’re in for a cold yet slushy Autumn. Argh! But let’s hope I’m wrong. Let’s hope it will turn out like last year:

University Building - Designed by Alvar Aalto

Sunny And Colourful!

A Rant About Winter(s)

Kind of hard to believe, but I think about winter quite a lot lately. 😉 I have been known for expressing the opinion that “I don’t like winter!“. Well, I’m slowly changing my mind…

o_O right?

What the heck has happened? Well… This country is doing strange things to me, as you might already have read here and here. Want another example? I went and did PHYSICAL ACTIVITY in the OUTDOORS! I hardly know myself anymore. 😉 But, well, I found some advantages of winter here. Behold:

Look Who's There! - We have a lot of occasion to see the moon at the moment

Look Who’s There! – We have a lot of occasion to see the moon at the moment. I like!

Sunset Glow - that was actually the direction facing away from the sunset!

Sunset Glow – that was actually the direction facing away from the sunset!

Winter Wonderland - things you get to see when you're about in Laajavuori

Winter Wonderland – The things you get to see when you’re out and about around Laajavuori (Jyväskylä)

As you can see these were taken while cross country skiing. It was my first try at it and I surprisingly liked it. Maybe because it went better than I had expected, but not without some sort of casualties:

PB and His Dad - I was the one with the camera, hence no proof of me falling (which I did)

PB and His Dad – I was the one with the camera, so there’s no proof of me falling, mwahahahaha!

But apart from beauty, and some slapstick fun, there are also very practical reasons to like the cold winters here:

Walking on Water - Ok, it's frozen, but still kinda cool!

Walking on the Jyväsjärvi – I hadn’t walked on a lake in 10 years!

The walking distance from home to university and downtown has gone down by about 15 minutes! Now I can just cut across the lake and be there in about half the time it usually takes. Yay!

But what makes the Finnish type of winter different from the Swiss (valley or city) type of winter is the snow. You see in Switzerland’s lower regions I experienced snow and temperatures mostly at just above 0°C. Of course it gets colder than that some days each winter, but for most of the season it’s around 0. Therefore the snow usually gets soft and slushy during the day, just to freeze over night and transform into a slippery icy coat. (The use of salt on streets and sidewalks doesn’t help much, as it only increases the problem of melting and freezing.) No wonder I resorted to walking during winter. Not much use, though, as I still used to fall several times each winter. Just by thinking about it I get that annoyed feeling again!

Here, however, temperatures are usually under 0°C, even during the day. The snow therefore stays in its cristalline form. It is, therefore, quite dry and pulvery. To me it’s more like sand than the annoying white slushy/frozen stuff I used to call snow back home. Apart from the fact that you can’t form snowballs, the other advantage is that it’s not slippery! So two of the most annoying attributes of winter do not occur here! I can happily use the bike (provided the snow isn’t too deep), which is what everyone does here. Remember that picture?

Wild Bycicle Parking - A Normal Sight After the Students Arrived

Wild Bycicle Parking – A Normal Sight After the Students Arrived

Here’s how the same spot looks like now:

Wild Bycicle Parking - 5 months after last picture was taken

Wild Bycicle Parking – 5 months after last picture was taken

The other day I even went out in my georgeous high heel overknee boots. They have very flat soles and in Switzerland I rarely wore them because of the aforementioned conditions. Here I was able to walk in them from home to downtown and back without much trouble (PB’s father used my bike while he was here). I slid maybe twice, but didn’t fall. I like this place!

EDIT: Well, kind of edit as I haven’t published the post yet, but anyway: Karma seems to be a bitch (I just don’t know yet what it was a bitch for). Just after writing the above I went out for dinner. As soon as I left the building I felt warm. The horror! This could only mean one thing! A glance at my new smartphone confirmed my fear: it was plus 2°C! I was unhappy.

The unhappiness started to increase as soon as I entered the city center. Slush! Grey slush! I was ready to cry. Only the delightful company that evening could lift my mood. That, however, lasted only until the next morning, when, as predicted, the streets and sideways were covered in ice. As was my bycicle’s lock. So I resigned to walking again. On the upside: I didn’t fall (yet).

On another, just slightly related note: I made a rug! As it’s in the shape of a snowflake, I thought I’d dedicate it to winter and hope he’ll turn up in all his cold glory again.

Winter Invocation Snowflake - let's hope it works

Winter Invocation Snowflake – let’s hope it works

I crocheted this according to the free pattern by Snowcatcher. I used a 15mm hook and two strands of shoelace like material. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn on the last 5% and had to buy a new skein (1kg). So now I have almost a whole ball of this left. I’ll probably make another rug, albeit a simpler one. Speaking of balls: While I was making this, AC/DC’s “Big Balls” was playing in my head pretty much constantly. Here’s why:

I've Got The Big Balls!

I’ve Got The Big Balls!