Sunday, 31 March 2013

March Journal day 31 and what did I learn?

So. Today is the last day of Journal March. It has been really enjoyable to wake up and check what the task was for the day and think about it.

Today's task was: What did you learn in March?

My learning is not at the deepest philosophical level, but an important thing for me.
I have truly had a very serious block for drawing for a good while. I don't mind it at all when I am sketching a  dress or a bag or even an embroidery, but drawing in order to produce a picture on a paper has been a no-go area for a good while. It has been good doing it this way; a set task, not necessarily drawing and just for my own perusal. I wonder whether I should push myself through a month of painting as well, hmm....I should find a place to chuck topics at me. Maybe not quite once a day, maybe twice a week. And I would not mind doing a month of papercutting as well. I have discovered I like it a LOT!

Maybe even that horrible cold was meant to happen. I had more time. Correct: I prioritised differently, as I had no energy to do housework and sewing and gardening and, and,...I gave myself permission to be creative without having to have a product in the end. 

Have a Lovely Easter everyone and I will be back soon. Maybe even today...depending on whether I am required to be the DUNGEON MASTER in the Elf Son's game. I take my role very seriously, you see.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

March Journal days 28-30 and Happy Easter Tree

Helloo!!! Went awol for a while. I have been busy with life, so did not get the pages uploaded.

Day 28:  Stain your page

..or connect the item with the correct stain. Too much of wine and too late, what ever. I had problems as I did not really do or eat anything which would have given good stains, so here we go with rather vague staining.

Day 29: A funny and an irritating idiom.

This clearly invited participation from the family and as I happened to ask, I felt I better take their advice, since they were in total agreement  about this. The first one is the irritating and the second one is the funny:

You might notice that we are on a "Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" kick here. Elf Son got the original radio series as DVDs for Christmas present and they have been played and replayed. He can fluently quote several aliens and certainly Marvin the paranoid android, so deliciously played by Alan Rickman. For those who are not familiar with the story the second quote is the equivalent of the first one amongst the  Shaltanacs. As it was such a mouthful to say, nobody ever bothered and they were the most contented inhabitants of the universe.

Day 30:  Scavenger hunt. Collect on your page:
  a yarn scrap
  a fruit sticker
  a piece of an envelope
  a (sticky)note 
 something round
 something green
 a bandaid

Aargh...I could not find anything really interesting. My note is from the bin...I was planning our train journey to York. The green is wrapping from one of the Elf Son's presents this morning. It's his birthday. This is the first time since his birth that the Easter Saturday is the 30th March. He was an Easter Bunny among many others. They had to open up an extra room or two that Easter on the maternity ward. What was special about Elf Son was that he was a boy. Most of the babies in that particular hospital that Easter were girls.

I could probably have sold that plaster in an antique shop, so old it was. We have some rather old stuff in our medicine box, which the husband rolls eyes about, but I keep, because hey, it will stick, won't it? The round thing is holes. The board is a bit of gaming counter board from "Dungeons and Dragons" game. Yes, he got that one. Thank you Vaari and Mummo! We have been playing the first adventure this morning and I AM the dungeon master, the evil one moving the monsters and knowing where all the traps are etc.

Here is HAPPY EASTER to you all. Elf son and I made an Easter/Spring tree yesterday and he decorated it with our Easter decorations. It was really easy to do. I used a bit of cello tape in the end to keep the strips of fabric in place. I did not need to tape in the beginning. This is a really good project for all the small scraps. ! saw the idea somewhere in the blogland and now humbly apologise that I did not take a note of where. So credit to whom it belongs.

Not great light, but I believe you can get the idea. A couple of detail shots to show you how easy this is.It looks best when not looked at this closely....

It's worth to let all the knobbly bits be under the wraps as this then gives you places where different things can hang from. I removed them from our first branch and that was not a good move.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

March Journal day 27

Today's task was: "Tell something using a map"

The text says:

I lived and worked here for over 3 years.
Under the map: Yeyo! Eo. Itakwenya? Iko.

That is the extent of my Kimaa knowledge. I did not have time/energy/talent to learn the language of the Maasai, it was enough to try to manage Swahili to an extent that I understood what was going on in official meetings around education. I could not manage it any more. Loads and loads of it is in my subconscious mind. When I hear Swahili, I know that I should understand what is said, but the meaning is escaping me like a rabbit into a hole.

Not much to say about the page, apart from that in my heart I am a Tanzanian.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

March Journal day 26

Today's task was to tell what annoyed you.

As I forgot about the Little My when we were asked for quotes, I decided to "borrow" her picture here today to illustrate the annoyed child inside me when:

  • My sewing machine stitches were pulling. I so did NOT want to do anything about it, but had to as my quilt sewing was going really wrong because of this. It was something rather simple as it tends to be.
  • The right side of my face was aching. I thought that I was through with my cold, but there is obviously one crooked and inflamed corner of my sinuses producing mucus and creating pressure under my cheek bone.
  • My lower back felt as if I had suddenly aged thirty years. It was stiff and hurt. Totally result of not moving as I usually do. Luckily a bit of stretching sorted it out.
  • There was no sun to be seen and the outside temperature is nowhere near where I could start with sowing seeds in my garden. Not even in my polytunnel. I think I have to give up and bring some pots inside to start my tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines in.
  • I got several bits of apple skin (I think) lodged in between my teeth. Had run out of dental floss and trying to use dental picks is action doomed to failure with my teeth. My teeth sit really tight, so using picks in between my teeth ends up with splinters in my gums.
On the other hand I was very pleased that I made a start on sewing the quilt. I am amazed that something with so small squares has come out of my machine. I tend to work with BIG strokes when it comes to quilts!

Monday, 25 March 2013

March Journal day 25

Today's task was to tick items on the given list, which were a part of your day.

Here is my list

I thought of waiting a bit to get "exercise"and possibly "a smile of a stranger" ticks, but had forgotten that Elf Husband has a meeting today and had to take our car. So no beach walk for Elf Son and I.

I had to put that cheesy grin on the cat's face. There are two cats going through our garden regularly and this is how one of them looks like. I like cats, but not when they are after the little birds. The black cat would definitely give this "Cheshire Cat" smile to a child, it's quite tame if child approaches, but legs it, if an adult tries to say hi.

I have just started on a new quilt, the fabrics and colours are far more traditional than my normal fare.  We will see what the end result is. I am not known for keeping to the plan, exactly.

It's so unseasonally cold here that the weather certainly is mentioned all over the place. I had to give some extra clothing to these girls in happy colours. Wonder what they had thought of the colours, had they had the chance of wearing them? (They are my great grandmother and her sister). Their participation in today's topic is a totally random thing.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

March Journal day 24

Today's task was: Glue Easter sweet wrappers on this page. If you don't have them, tell about the sweets in another way or ad lib something.

I must admit that we don't have any Easter sweets  in the house, nor are we going to have any serious amount, because none of us eats them. We like our sweet stuff all right, just not any coloured-gummy-sugary-things. We do like chocolate, but are quite discerning what type of chocolate we eat. Easter eggs seldom make the cut. I tend to buy our son one "Lindt" golden bunny, just to have something Eastery.

One thing we all might eat is Cadbury's mini eggs. Last Easter I wrapped them in foil to make edible mini eggs for my sister-in-law's Easter egg hunt! It would not have been much fun to glue the bag here, so I decided to design nice eggs. Of course they would be filled with the yummiest dark chocolate with different add-ons like orange and ginger. I like nuts, but don't tolerate them very well, so no nuts.

 If I have time and energy, I might blow some eggs and decorate them like this with papercuts and hang from some branches as our Easter decoration.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

March Journal day 23 on a Green Kick

Today's task was "Collect a Colour"

I was thinking some delicious teal, but ended up with a green kick as I could not leave papercutting alone after yesterday's foray into it. The pages came out quite differently from my initial idea of abundance, but that is how it often goes with me; the plan gets changed in making.

 You get to admire our very worn kitchen floor boards, too. I had a problem taking the picture as the reflective surface of the magazine pictures was surprise, surprise reflecting the artificial light I needed on this grey day. I had to cast my own shadow on the pages from a sufficient distance to allow enough ambient light on the picture. The floor was the best place to do it, so there.

Friday, 22 March 2013

March Journal day 22

Today's task was "Three dreams that came true"

 I liked this one. Just like Inari said in her post, it is easy to forget how many of one's dreams actually have come true. I could have chosen my husband and son, who actually top the list, but decided to go very materialistic.

I will ask my husband to help me to take a better picture, because several of the colours came out totally wrong. Edit: He's been. Now the right page is wonky, but colours are better. You get the idea, anyway. 

I decided to do something different today. I had seen some superb papercut art on the net and thought that I give it a go. I know that when you see a relatively simple looking papercut, it is more than likely that making it took a long time. Before the end result is reached many other shapes and colours have been tried. I need much more practise to get good at precise cutting, but this will do for today. This actually took longer than any of the other pages, believe it or not!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

March Journal days 20 and 21

I had a busy day yesterday trying to catch up with cleaning and other housework after doing nothing for over a week. I got to the day's task

"Send a postcard"

rather late in the evening and then took forever doing it. Instead of just using a postcard, I also made it.  I decided that I wanted to send a postcard to myself in the future, a year ahead. I hope that we will have a house at that point and that I am a landlady taking good care of the holidaymakers. That's why I have given  myself a title of "Holiday Hostess".
The idea actually came from a course I once attended. We had to write a letter for our future selves. The letter was written, sealed into an enveloped and addressed. The tutor then took them and posted them to us after a year. It was quite a nice experience.

As this was a postcard to the future me, I thought that logically I could use an old stamp. (That's my type of Moomin logic).
I wrote with a real old fashioned ink pen and ink. These were things Elf Son really wanted to have from a museum about a year ago. He also insisted on red ink, although I don't think he realised how pink it was. Unfortunately my handwriting with this type of equipment does not measure with the beautifully flowing old ladies' handwriting.

Today's task was: "Feet"

I think my page became almost like a postcard to my son.

I took a picture of our feet (he was complaining loudly) and wrote my piece. The end bit from "walking cheerfully..."is slightly modified George Fox quote. This is one of the things I would like to teach to my son.
Edit: I just noticed that I had written over over...blaahhhh. Of course there should have been only one over. Never mind!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

March Journal day 19

Today's task was: A list of things you saw today.

I am a bit early on this, but as I am still having my personal wrestling match with the horrible cold, I doubt that I would be able to produce anything later on. My list has things from the early part of today - I would have had to edit quite a lot, had I waited longer, as my list is both words and pictures.

Sorry about the picture quality. The colours don't show very well and no amount of hickery-pockery with the Photoshop helps the matter. If my Hubby has time tonight, I might ask him to have a go, he is much better and far more patient user of the PS.
The text of the pages reads:

  • Lots of birds feeding in our garden (chaffinches included)
  • Rain, rain, rain
  • More tissues that I care thinking of
  • BIG drawing by my son
  • This man to take his new office (on TV)
  • A great dream about a picture I painted

Can you recognise the  man in the picture?*

I apologise already for all the bird enthusiasts, I am not the most accurate drawer of the birds and certainly not ready to illustrate any bird handbook.

Of course strictly speaking I didn't see a dream, I had a dream, but I see a lot of images in my head and that is seeing as well as seeing with my eyes in my book. My dream was great, I just cannot remember how the picture looked like, only that it was mainly red and the technique I had used for the turquoise strip. Very annoying!

*He is Pope Francis I, although the picture is obviously from several years back. I like this picture of him, there is something very deep and very real  and poetic about him in the metro of Buenos Aires (I assume). He reminds me of Leonard Cohen for some reason.(In this picture)

Monday, 18 March 2013

March Journal day 18

Today's task was: Add a magazine clipping on a subject important to you.

 Health warning: Might be on the heavy side.

I was in trouble...I don't really buy or read newspapers any more.  I only subscribe to one magazine, but don't want to cut into it (Permaculture). I thought that there must be a newspaper or a magazine kicking around somewhere, I do occasionally buy them. I then found some Quaker journals and newsletters, so took an article out of them. I actually wanted to post an article about the impossibility of the current use of resources/financial models. Of course I could not find any. This little article caught my eye and I decided to use it. Although I don't personally involve myself in prison reform, I do think there is a lot to improve.  This is an example of an organisation doing it in a small way - human way with understanding and without judgement. (They are in Belfast).

The picture is a portrait of Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), a well known prison reformer and a Quaker. It was not a part of the original article. You might not care reading it, but if you read a bit, please read the quote from a young lady, who was prisoner herself, it's the last picture.

from the Prison Placement Officer's view:

 From a charity shop manager's view:

From an ex-prisoner's view:

Hope you have a nice Monday! As you see, the article is glued on a colourful background, that's my efforts for today's journal. I did like to play with the colours...

Sunday, 17 March 2013

March Journal day 17

Today's task was: List the pros and cons for an optional topic.

I was having hard time thinking of what to list. The obvious one was the one I chose, but for "artistic" reasons not nearly all pros and cons are listed on my page.

Here is the text, which might not be clear in the picture:

To buy a house... or not to buy ?

+ somewhere to live when retired
-  less financial flexibility
+ a dream come true
+ good investment
+ &- need to let the property
+ house prices down now
-  tie down to this place

I could add: scary, can we afford?, can we let it?, lovely project, like this town...and many more.

We don't really have houses like caramels here. The yellow and pink ones are a homage to two town houses in Denmark, which I have some connection to and the two others look more like the local houses. Although most of them would be built in sandstone like the brown one. You seldom see a happy door like the turquoise one in it, but I found one last week and immediately felt uplifted. I want to have a happy house door and window box as well!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

March Journal day 16

Today's task was: A confession or revelation about yourself.

I was not in the mood of revealing my darkest secrets or most personal beliefs, so I chose a funny fact!

If the text is too squiggly to read it says: "My tongue is far longer than this...
I can reach the tip of my nose with it.

Just as aside I hate, hate, hate this cold. I was feeling  half human yesterday, today I am back to a quivering mass of snot with heart palpitations.

I am SO glad about this challenge as there is at least something I can do and then go and see all the other participants' brilliant pages. If you are interested follow the link in the sidebar to "Hupsistarallaa" The days' task is there in Finnish and the links to them in the comments.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Camera Bag

 This is my camera bag. I made it because I don't like the camera bags, which look like camera bags.  I prefer them looking like "regular" bags. This one is decidedly a handbag.  I also wanted to have space enough to have my purse, key, phone and bus ticket. Sometimes I use my bigger bag getting around and then I only need the protection for the camera, hence the quick release buckles in both ends of the strap. The bag is small enough to live inside my bigger bag.

I used a black and white IKEA cotton canvas, which I like for its graphic quality and durability. I used the special plastic mesh, normally used for bag bottoms also for the front and back to give my bag stiffness and to protect the camera. There is also an extra interface padding on both sides of the mesh. Inside I have a bigger dividing pocket for my purse and a little one for my phone.

Under the flap is a shallow outer pocket, good for tickets and such. The flap closes with two magnetic snaps.

 To get away from the danger of the camera somehow rolling out of my bag, I have little narrowing straps with snaps outside the bag. This allows me to get the camera out easily with enough space to get my hand properly around the camera.

Yes, the camera is a DSLR, but I do not need extra space for extra lenses for my holiday usage. It is the husband who takes the "proper" photos. (The camera in the bag is his, hence the very pregnant looking bag! Mine is smaller).My camera is actually a hand-me-down camera, which I shamelessly use as a point and shoot. I squirm a bit here, because there was a time, many moons ago, when I actually took proper photos as well. I have even developed my films and pictures when the work was still done on film and paper. Today there is a lot less hassle doing the developing on the computer. I do use Photoshop, but mostly I just cut and possibly give a helping hand with the light, which is often in short supply here.

Elf Husband noted that there had been a discussion on the photographic forum on this exact topic. Several lady photographers felt that the camera bag market was very male oriented in the design department. He suggested that I should market my handbag camera bags. That is not a bad idea...Any takers?

Ps. When I do not need my camera, I just use the bag as a handbag.

March Journal day 15

Today's task was: Collect shopping lists here (yours or ones you have found)

I had to take a dive in my paper bin. Luckily I remembered that I had thrown out my last shopping list from Monday just yesterday after I found it in my coat pocket. I started to think about the found shopping lists and had to conclude that I seldom see them left behind in trolleys or in shops. Actually, I don't see many people shopping with a list. Weird. I do write lists, but I also tend to remember them, once I have written them. Maybe this is what the other people do too. I do check towards the end of shopping that I have got everything. Notice: VitC and zinc! I woke up with a sore throat on Monday morning and tried desperately cancel the cold. No luck this time.

This shopping list was started by Elf Son, see the item written in biro; pine nuts. He wanted to make sure that I would not forget AGAIN. Pine nuts are an important ingredient for pesto, you see.

My shopping lists don't usually have artfully ripped edges, but it is not unheard of either. I could not have put more than one list on as my lists are this long. I don't like shopping and do it normally only once a week. (+the order from Suma wholesale once a month). I just picked up an order this morning and received 1kg of raw cacao nibs, so put some chocolate on the pages as well...

Thursday, 14 March 2013

March Journal day 14

Today's task was: What are your favourite things today?

I could have gone all deep, but decided to treat this as an "everyday gratitude meditation" and really think what makes me happy just now, having a stinking cold and here it is:

The small text is impossible to read from the picture, so here it is:
  • sunshine bringing the spring
  • latte made by my husband
  • sofa offering me comfort
  • internet to entertain me
  • books to read
  • BBC iplayer for tv&radio
  • blogosphere for company I cannot infect
  • well stocked fridge so I don't have to go shopping  
Now you might think that I went the easy way doing it on the computer, but alas, no. I had the whole thing planned in totally different style, antique pictures and letters searched and printed and even cut. I also used time on colouring a sheet of paper in prettiest spring green hues for the background with watercolours. And then I just needed to do it in this way! If I had had one of those dymo writers and dymo tape in delicious colours I would have used that. This is my DIY dymo.

The good thing about being unwell and doing this is that I have used some of my long forgotten  artistic muscles (although not all the products can be seen here). I am glad I decided to participate.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

March Journal day 13

The topic of the day:

Design yourself a badge of honour or a medal for something you deserve it from.

 I am still feeling like having cotton wool in my ears and every part of my body hurts. My brain can manage something like this, but not taking in anything new. I tried to read a gardening manual to spend my time productively despite the cold, but that was not a success. 

As you can see I have time in my hands...

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Beach walk meditation

Today I feel rubbish. Elf son has shared his bug with me and everything hurts and the only thing I want to do is to sleep. I had prepared this yesterday, so you can have it despite me being royally poorly. This is what Elf Son and I have started to do daily after he comes back from the school. We take a walk on the beach. Yesterday there was full drama of the spring tide, high wind from the East and snow clouds. We went anyway, it blows cobwebs away.

I am equally repulsed and fascinated by the foam from the sea. It was flying all over the place.

There were pretty shapes in form of seaweed on the sand along our walk.

And the sea and the sky were showing off.

I wish I could give you the sound of the sea. My sister wrote a while ago about walking on the beach as an antidote to the overload of sounds of the modern life. I think she was after stillness. The beach was not still at all today, but it was not stressful either. The pounding sea has a natural rhythm and sounds almost like white noise, easing my mind into peace, into a natural meditation.

We are so lucky living near the endless empty beaches.

How do you de-stress?

March Journal days 11 and 12

The day 11 task was: "What did you eat today?"

I had to wait until I had had my dinner and then I worked in the evening, so there was no light to take pictures of my journal. Had I known the topic beforehand, I would have chosen something else for my top ten. Now it is very "veggie" two days in running.

Today the task was "A quote you like". Well, being greedy and not willing to decide between a real quote and a proverb I clued them both into my journal. In my mind they are also interconnected.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Birdie Skirt

I started this skirt over a year ago. It is made of wool suiting and lined. Unfortunately I have also managed to put some weight on, so the fit was not as good as I hoped. As I have on the other hand decided to get back at least where I was a year ago, I will adjust the skirt as my mass reduces. 

Yes, I am standing on a chair in a bad light, but what can a girl do? I am not exactly a fashion blogger and do not intend to be.

I had the idea of embroidering some folk inspired grasses and a bird in grey in order to not make the skirt too screamingly folksy. In the end I added the yellow bits as the grey alone was too boring.

I used an old invisible zip in dusty olive green. I don't have the special presser foot for this type of a zip, but I managed. In the picture I have "opened" the flaps a bit, so you see the "wrong colour".

Sewing this skirt was one of those moments when I realised that I have come some way as a sewist. It did not daunt me at all to line the skirt. It would have done a few years back. In the back there are only three bits of embroidery. (Sorry about the picture, just could not get it right)

This is how it looks on me from the side/back. (Says she twisting dangerously on a chair in front of a mirror!)

Any clothes sewing done in your end? Leave a link, I would love to see!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Journal March day 10

Here is my top ten list. I could choose any subject I liked.

I really, really struggled, because it felt as if I was choosing guess that was the point. I LOVE vegetables, full stop. I think the only one I don't especially like is okra. And I am fully aware that not all the guys on my list actually qualify in the strictest sense. There are both mushrooms, which are not even plants and a few other items which would really class as fruit. It's only a journal!

March and My Journal Days 1-9

I decided to join the journal challenge hosted by two Finnish bloggers Terhi from Hupsistarallaa and Inari from Ikomi. The tasks in English are in Ikomi and in Finnish in Hupsistarallaa. I did not get to do mine in time, so I have been playing catch up. You will get daily updates from now on, but in this blog post you get all the NINE first days worth it, today's comes a bit later.

My decision to participate was driven by a wish to discipline myself to take a pen to the paper daily. It really doesn't matter what the result is, but it is important to do it to encourage the creative flow. AS a bonus I might even get back into drawing, who knows!

Day 1. A front page for your journal. I am not journal writing type of a person so here are my feelings and my page:

Day 2.  Introduce yourself.

Day 3. How do you feel waiting for spring?
I am so predictable.

Day 4. What do you need today? What do you want today?

Day 5. Write a message with letters cut out of magazines. I don't have many magazines and not really any I would like to cut. Sooo. I dived into my craft treasury and found a Russian language newspaper I got as a packaging material in something I bought from ebay. The magazine is published in this country.
On the left is the print I used for my Christmas cards year before last. I called it "The Communist Fox" for fun.

Day 6. If money and space wouldn't limit you, what would you collect? That's not difficult to guess, is it?

 Day 7. What did you do a year ago in March?

Day 8.  Collect five random sentences from blogs you read today.

Day 9.  Add a recipe you would like to try or have been looking for.
 I have fancied the idea of making my own proper chocolate without too much sugar a LONG time. Maybe this will spur me into action.