We Are Going To Sydney!

Just a quick post to announce that I’m going to be visiting Australia from October 1st to November 30th! I’m really excited and have already booked a sewing class in the Bronte Sewing Room. (Yep my sewing addiction strikes again!)
It would be great to meet (sewing) people! So if you would like to meet up, comment here or send me an email at lazylinchen@gmail.com.
I hope to see you!

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¡Madrid!

Warning: Picture-heavy post ahead

As mentioned in my last post, we went to Madrid! It was another one of PHD’s work trips, and again it was six weeks in total. We left from there three weeks ago and it was great!

We shared an apartment with the same crew as in Los Angeles, with the addition of PHD’s two descendants (one being the bean, the other PHD’s PhD student). Here’s some of us hanging out after breakfast:

Morning hangout with part of the #madrid #conferencefamily

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Unlike last time, we didn’t have any house parties, though. As you can see from the picture above, the apartment was quite small. In addition it was stuffed full of knick-knacks, which made watching the bean (who just started to crawl when we arrived) a pain in the behind. So, one of the first communal efforts was cleaning and child-proofing:

Other than that, the apartment was quite the find. It was located within short walking distance of Plaza Mayor, close to the metro station La Latina. Thus it was perfectly located to go explore the city with the bean. We mostly just went on daily walks around the neighborhood, but every now and then ventured into other areas. Here are some impressions from these walks:

Traditional vs. Modern Art

Plaza del Sol - So many people!

Plaza del Sol – So many people!

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Royal Palace – Plus some greenery

Unlike with other cities I hadn’t heard much about Madrid beforehand and thus didn’t have any expectations nor any clue what this city is like. So naturally I couldn’t be disappointed. Not that I could have been, anyway!

It was my second trip to Spain and the second city I was visiting there (the first being Sevilla, which is absolutely gorgeous!). We also went on a weekend trip to Barcelona on ascension weekend (maybe I’ll write about that as well, don’t know yet). What struck me in each of these cities was the amount of green there was. There are many parks throughout, be they small or huge. Thus, even when living in the center, as we did, the quality of life is great! The two parks that impressed me the most were the Retiro and the very new riverside park. Here are some of the things you can find in the Retiro:

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Retiro Pool – I have no idea what the monument is for

The Crystal Palace - Could be built in Rivendell

The Crystal Palace – Could be built in Rivendell

Inside The Crystal Palace - Gorgeous temporary relaxing space

Inside The Crystal Palace – Gorgeous temporary relaxing space

Statue of The Fallen Angel – Unique in the world, I was told

Of course there is plenty more to see in the park, it is absolutely huge! I retrospect, I should have spent way more time there and taken way more pictures. 😉

The other park that resonated with me a lot was the new Madrid Rio Park. To make a long story short, the highway that used to be beside the riverbank got put underground and replaced by this huge park. I think this is a freaking genius idea and should be adopted by every single city on the planet! Again, I didn’t spend nearly enough time in the park, not to speak of taking pictures, so these will have to suffice:

Futuristic Foot Bridge – Combining technology and nature in aesthetically pleasing ways

Loads Of Slides – Weeeee!

Of course I also thoroughly enjoyed eating out. After the long winter in fast and pub food city (officially known as Jyväskylä) I was craving something different. That something came in the form of tapas and pinchos, which I ate for lunch almost every day:

Today's #lunch in #madrid

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#latergram yesterday's lunch: #salmorejo in #madrid

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 Once I am back home in Finland, I want to start making tapas. I love how it allows me to eat many different things while still keeping the amount of food small. Let’s hope I can stick to that intention!

This post is already getting quite long, and I haven’t even mentioned the fabric shopping I did! I doubt I will have the time for a separate post, so I guess I will just leave that part out. Though, if you are interested in fabric shopping in Madrid, in the comments of my last post there is a very handy Google map with shop locations.

I had such a lovely time staying in Madrid, that I am sure to return (and hopefully soon!) We have more travel plans coming up, though, as PHD just got a research grant that will allow him to travel a lot in the next five years. So far, the plan includes a stay in Sydney in October and November. I would love to meet some folks there, so if you are interested, please let me know!

The Traveling Never Stops

The Traveling Never Stops

Though the blogging apparently does. Or should I say “takes extended breaks”? 😛 Again, usually I wouldn’t have written up this post 2 months after the trip (eeek! Where does time go?) But again, it was something special, so I want to document it. 🙂 After we got back home from Paris, we had three weeks of rest. We celebrated Christmas (at least the part when Santa Claus gives the presents) together with our neighbours in the common room. Then, for new year we went to Lapland. This was our third time (first trip here, second here), so we knew the drill: take overnight train to Rovaniemi, then 3 hour bus ride to Levi, where we met my family. This time we had rented a cottage that could accomodate all 8 of us:

The Lumovaara – Highly recommend!

Usually I would go to Switzerland for Christmas, and then spend New Year’s Eve in Italy. But to save the bean that stress, my family decided they needed to see how dark it can get in Lapland. Answer: it gets dark, but not as much as we expected:

Mid-day Sun – Just below the horizon

So day doesn’t technically happen, but there is a beautifully colourful sunrise that morphs seamlessly into sunset.

While there were some activities outside (not for me, mind you, I’m way too lazy 😀 ), we just enjoyed hanging out together in the evenings. My family got to know the bean and vice versa:

Family Hangout

Once we ventured out all together, to go on a cozy (if slightly cold) reindeer sleigh ride:

Reindeer Sleighing – In a Winter wonderland!

The bean came with us, wrapped up well in an extra blanket and inside my jacket:

Family Picture!

All of this was exceedingly nice, but the occurence that made this trip extra special was this:

Finally! Aurora Borealis!

Yep, three time’s the charm! Now I will never ever have to go to Lapland again! 😛 (Just kidding! Kind of…)

It was pretty amazing, even if it lasted only about 10 minutes. I’m sure, now that the pressure of having to see them once in my live is gone, I will see them quite often. 😉

Also, with that out of the way (just wanted to induce some jealousy 😀 ), I leave you with a picture from the bus trip home:

Sun Pillar – apparently a rare occurence as well!

Living The Fabulous Life Of…

…a mathematician’s wive. Why fabulous, you may wonder? After all we have our permanent address in the rather lovely, yet unglamorous Jyväskylä (thanks to mathematics). However, if you have seen the tab at the top saying “trips” you know that we are pretty much traveling all the time (this, too, thanks to mathematics).

I am quite a traveler (thanks to having traveler parents), but this time around I was extremely nervous. After all, it was the first trip for the bean, and by airplane! (I don’t enjoy flying all that much) I was so worried that I might even have cried on the first flight. He, however, seems to fit perfectly into our jet-setting live ( 😛 ) and fell asleep immediately after boarding. We were also lucky that the flight was quite empty and we were able to let him sleep in the car seat.

So where were we heading this time? If you read my blog recently, you know it was to the city that is widely considered one of the most glamorous cities in the world:

Paris!

Yes, it is true that the architecture (at least in the center), shopping and fashion is great here. Even the children are fashionable! But if you have ever spent more than 10 minutes in the metro, you know what I’m talking about when I say: “Paris stinks!” I might also have declared a few times that I don’t like Paris much. (I’m a country chick, so it was just too much (noise, filth, people…) for me). However, I actually liked our stay this time around! A lot of the enjoyment had to do with our accommodation:

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Entrance to Our Apartment Building

The place is in the 5th neighborhood (where the Quartier Latin is) and was found and paid for by the institution in which PHD was attending a research trimester. It is a convenient 15 minutes walk from said institute.

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View From The Bedroom Window

It felt like a secret garden in the middle of the city. We also got to know some lovely neighbours pretty much immediately after arrival. Two of them are a Finnish/French couple with a boy who is only 2 months older than our bean!

The weather was gorgeous and balmy 12-18º C most of the six weeks we spent there. Needless to say it was also day for a lot longer than back home in Finland, so I often took the opportunity and went for a walk in the very close by Jardin des Plantes:

Gogeous Autumn Weather – Soaking up all that sun!

On other occasions I would take a stroll along the Rue Mouffetard (5 minutes walking distance from our temporary home). I forgot to take a picture (D’oh!), but here is one from Wikipedia:

Rue Mouffetard – Full of scrumptious food places

I very often had lunch at the famous “Au P’tit Grec” (to avoid the huge daily queue I usually went at around 11am or 2pm), or took a quiche from “La Maison des Tartes” for dinner. Even though there was a kitchen in our apartment, I very seldom cooked. There were just too many restaurants and take-aways, as well as bakeries, that I had to try. I mean, look at these delicacies:

Cheese! – Cue Wallace and Gromit

Or these pieces of art:

French Confectionery – NamNamNam!

Not to speak of the cafés:

Parisian Breakfast – En famille

I ate so well during these 6 weeks that it was quite the clunker to come back to the Finnish supermarkets and their limited Winter selection. 😦

On the up side, I now cook again, which is something I really enjoy! We are already back since the beginning of December, and I have found a new enthusiasm for cooking, very probably thanks to the things I got to see and eat in Paris.

So that’s it from Paris. It only took me 1 month to write this post… -.- So, even if I can’t make up a snazzy ending to this post, that’s it for now! Have a good one!

An Unusual Amount of Plucking Up Courage

An Unusual Amount of Plucking Up Courage

We (yes, that’s the royal we 😉 ) interrupt the usual program for a bit of sewing fangirling. This is going to be long-winded, so be warned!

The ones who know me IRL will probably know that I spent the last 5 weeks in Paris (more on that in a future post). A Finnish friend had made me aware that there was going to be a DIY expo (the Salon Créations & Savoir-Faire) during this time When looking at the vendors, I saw that Deer and Doe‘s Eléonore was going to be there. I love her patterns for many reasons, so of course I had to go! So on the first day of the expo I strapped the bean in his carrier and off we went! When I got to the booth I plucked up all my courage and asked for a picture:

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The lighting was horrible, hence the grainy picture. Eléonore on the other hand was lovely, despite being very busy! Of course I bought some patterns (as well as some fabrics from Les Trouvailles d’Amandine, with whom she shared the booth). I hope I will present a finished garment combining the two sometime soonish.

Anyway, now following Eléonore on Instagram, I found out two days later (from a comment on one of her pictures) that there was going to be a sewing meetup the week after. Of course I wanted in on the fun!

Finding information about it was not very straight forward, but nothing an information specialist (a.k.a librarian, a.k.a. me!) couldn’t find out with a little bit of digging. Once again I plucked up all of my courage and asked Lladybird (who the meeting was organised for) if I could join. She quickly pointed me in the direction of CarmencitaB, who kindly let me join.

So once again I strapped the bean to my front and got going. We were very warmly greeted by our host (who, I found out, had just won the French Sewing Bee!) and got a personalised bag of bags and goodies. It turns out I wasn’t crashing a small and private meetup (phew!), as we were 25 sewists from 9 countries:

Spoolettes in Paris. ❤️

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I didn’t take a single picture during the whole day, hence I took the above picture from Carmen’s (our hostess’) Instagram. But if you’re interested, Julie (of jetsetsewing), Charlotte (of englishgirlathome) and Freya (of handmadebyfreya) already wrote up posts about the meetup with lots more pictures. It would be too long to mention all of the people who attended, so I won’t. 😀

Of course, as seems to be usual at such meetups, we had a lot of fun fabric and notions shopping and socialising. We started off in the Sentier, followed by tea in the Maison Sajou, and ending at the famous Coupons de Saint Pierre. I did not get so many fabrics, as I made the “mistake” of buying 3 meters of wool coating in one of the first shops I entered. It was so heavy that even the thought of buying more was just too much! However, this gave me the opportunity to socialise with the other sewists without much distraction.

All the while the bean was behaving really well, either sleeping or watching his surroundings contentedly. Only when we stopped at the Maison Sajou, where we had been invited for tea, did he start to get restless. The reason turned out to be a full diaper, which the owners kindly let me change on the counter. After that he fell asleep pretty quickly again, so I could shop at the coupons sale quietly. I did get some more fabrics there, the offers were just too good to pass up! So in the end PHD had to come and help me carry everything home. 🙂 The others went for dinner, but by that time the bean was more than a little tired and rather cranky, so we headed directly home.

The next day those of us who were still in Paris and didn’t have to work (some had just come for a day…!) were invited to Anna Ka Bazaar, which is extremely cute!

Anna Ka Bazaar – photo is from their website

Again I didn’t buy so much, but this time the thought of having to bring all that fabric to Finland kept me in check. Also once again, at the beginning I kinda forgot to take pictures, so I’m once again very thankful for Instagram:

This time from Anna Ka Bazaar. Reminded by the taking of this picture I once again plucked up my courage and asked the other ladies for pictures, having regretted not taking any with some of the other sewists the day before. However, these are just for my private viewing pleasure. 😛

So, my first (and probably only) organized sewing meetup was very enjoyable. I have, as is wont to happen at such occasions, met a lot of new people and have found a lot of new to me blogs. Now my blogroll and Instagram just got a lot busier!

51 Posts! + Giveaway

Giveaway is now closed.

It turns out my last post was my 50th! Yay! But I only got aware of it after WordPress alerted me to the fact. -.-

Anyway, I wanted to celebrate that with you, dear readers! For those of you sewing people: stay tuned, there’s a giveaway for you! For you interested in food I will give a very delicious (though equally easy) recipe at the end. Those of you who read this out of nosiness (hi soul-mates!), there is some nosying to get done as well, as I will share some holiday pictures from Sicily and Switzerland.

But beware, this is going to be lengthy and picture heavy.


First, Sewing People:

In my last post I promised to write a bit more about the outfit I wore in those pictures:

Summery Outfit

Both pieces are from patterns by Deer&Doe. The top is their (FREE!) Plantain t-shirt, while the shorts are the Chataigne, view A. At first I was a bit underwhelmed by their Plantain pattern. But as I saw more and more versions popping up, I liked it more and more and finally caved. I mean, it’s free, what could I lose?

Deer&Doe Pantain Shirt – Customised even further

Nothing, that’s what. Especially since I used a small piece of fabric from my stash (ca. 1m), that had arrived cut completely off grain, and that got even worse after washing. So making this shirt was going to be a muslin, wearability optional. I chose the size that corresponds to my current bust measurement (which is… different) and it fits really well, even throughout the shoulders (I was worried it was going too big). I didn’t put any effort in this shirt whatsoever. You can see (if looking closely) that, apart from the off-graininess, the neckband is uneven (I didn’t pin) and I didn’t finish either sleeves nor hem and just let them roll. I also tested some stenceling I wanted to try for a while. I used a stencil from Ed Roth’s Stencil 201 and some textile colours I had laying around. In the end the shirt turned out quite alright, and I already used the pattern for a different project I might or might not blog at some later point.

Now the shorts are quite something as well. I (thought I) needed shorts for our short trip to Sicily at the beginning of June. Obviously none fit, so I wanted to make some. I had bought the Chataigne shortly before finding out I was expecting. At first I thought I was going to postpone to next year, but then I stumbled upon Gigette’s version. Genius in it’s simplicity! I made view A, though (she made view B), as I had traced that. Like her, I just replaced the waistband fabric with jersey and followed the rest of the pattern quite faithfully. (One tiny thing I changed was instead of sewing the cuffs by hand, topstitching them.)

Deer&Doe Chataigne – Maternified

I cut the size that corresponded to my measurements, and I’d say they fit as they should. I wasn’t too sure about the length, so lengthened them by 5cm (which I then removed again). I was also worried if they would flatter my slightly stumpy legs and shapely thighs.

Deer&Doe Chataigne – Back view

After asking the honest opinion of my mother-in-law and sister (who are both delightfully ruthless), I’m happy with them. The fit is quite comfortable, and they don’t do too strange things in the butt area. They accommodate my belly and fit well with my wardrobe. In the end I am going to postpone another pair to next year, but this time I’ll try the non-maternity version. (There’s some more thoughts on the pattern’s review, if you are interested)

 

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY: I have accidentally bought two of this short pattern, so want to give one away. Just leave me a comment saying that you want the pattern and how I can contact you. Giveaway ends on Monday June 30 2014.

 


Now, Nosy People:

For you less text, more pictures. If you read the previous section, you know that I went to Sicily in the beginning of June. The occasion was to look at wedding locations and sample some of the restaurants. In both respects we succeeded. We looked and sampled. However, we haven’t decided on anything yet. But we got to see some nice scenery:

Sunset View From the Parco Degli Ulivi – Almost all of the Aeolian Islands were visible

But wait? Aren’t we already married? Yes we are, but we want to celebrate with family and friends next Summer. So, since we are not very good planners, we need to start now.

In food news, we got to eat the most delicious sicilian food at one of PHD’s (perfect husband and dad (soon…)) aunt’s. Seriously, I’d be happy to have her cook the wedding dinner:

Caponata Siciliana – The best!

Marinated Zucchini – Garlic, olive oil, vinegar and parsley

Melanzane a Bocca di Lupo – Probably the tastiest eggplant recipe ever!

Unfortunately I forgot to ask the recipes for any of these. I was busy eating. Don’t judge, okay? But I will share another really tasty Sicilian eggplant recipe at the end of the post.

Apart from viewing and eating, we did some driving in an original 1972 Fiat 500. Or at least we tried to:

The Joys of Vintage Cars – Fiat 500

Unfortunately it was rather cold, so the shorts I made were of no use. I could live with that, but we weren’t even able to swim in the sea… 😦 And then, when the weather started to be more characteristic, I left for Switzerland. Which was uncharacteristically hot. But I was totally fine with that, as I got to experience some new outdoor restaurants, like this one:

Frau Gerold’s Garten – Mixture between urban farming, hipster hangout and beer garden

I love these types of alternative city spaces and wish there’d be something similar here in Jyväskylä. Ah well, maybe I’ll find some this summer (seein as I wasn’t here in Summer before).

Apart from visiting friends in all corners of the German speaking Switzerland, I mostly hung out with my mamma at home. I mean, I grew up in a busy (in Summer) tourist town. There must be a reason so many people want to visit, right? I guess I know which one it is:

The Jungfrau – Half hidden behind the trees

Yep, this is the view from my balcony. Not half bad. On holidays that is. I prefer flat countryside for everyday living. Good for me I’m back in Finland now!


 

Finally, the Recipe!

Today’s recipe is a Sicilian classic:

Penne alla Norma

Pasta Alla Norma

Ingredients (for 4 people)

350g pasta (penne or rigatoni are best)

ca. 500g eggplant (aubergine)

1 small onion, diced

1 can (450g) pelati (canned tomatoes) or 500g ripe fresh tomatoes, diced

100g ricotta fornata (can be replaced with ricotta salata or a little parmesan or pecorino), grated

salt to taste

Preparation

Wash the eggplant, slice it in thick slices, sprinkle with salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Wash and squeeze the eggplants thoroughly, then fry in a little olive oil until golden brown, let dry on some kitchen paper and cut in strips. In the meantime sauté the onion lightly in a little olive oil, add the tomatoes and salt to taste and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package. When the pasta is ready, add all the prepared ingredients and sprinkle the ricotta on top. Eat immediately.


 

And that’s it for now. Longest post I ever wrote, but covered all of my three main topics. See you again when I announce the giveaway winner!

Back From Switzerland

On Monday PB (who needs a new name now) and I came back from a week on (sad and happy) family business in Switzerland. Although the trip had been planned already at Christmas, it turned out differently than expected. It was, nonetheless a good trip. When we landed we were amazed at how green everything was! It was also exceptionally warm (20-23°C) and everything was in bloom.

Blossoming Cherry Tree

This beautiful cherry tree is blossoming in the graveyard where my Grandma, and now Grandpa, are buried. This was on my Grandfather’s funeral day (hence the sad part of the trip). He had died one month before his 90th birthday, which had originally been the intent of this trip. It was such a stark contrast from what we had left behind in Jyväskylä:

Jyväskylä End of March – Very sunny, but the lake was still frozen

This is going to sound cheesy, but it was a comfort to me that on the funeral day nature showed all the force of renewal. It helped me let go and not feel guilty for being happy during the remainder of the trip. After all, it was my birthday only four days after the funeral. The sun was shining again in all its glory and it was a lovely 22°C. We spent the day eating, chatting and enjoying Spring.

Family Picture – Next to lake Thun, where I grew up

So it was a very bittersweet trip. To me it showed that while one life came full circle, many are just beginning and others, like mine, are in full swing.

Now I am very much looking forward for Spring to “explode” here in Finland too as it’s my favourite Season!