Sunday, 29 October 2017

Wreath from Natural Materials

Wintertime began today and it was wonderful to get to sleep one hour more and still wake up quite early. Yesterday it started snowing properly. Frosty scenery is now turned into black and white. Before Christmas decor and preparations I decided to make one last minute Halloween / All Saint's Day DIY. It felt like I have all the time in the world before Halloween. Then last week I saw some countdowns to Halloween and found out that it is actually on next week's Tuesday. We Finns have traditionally celebrated All Saint's Day and Halloween is relatively new phenomenon. On All Saint's Day people light candles on the cemetery and prepare a more festive dinner. Now Halloween decor is becoming more common. Even though Halloween feels a bit over commercial with all it's accessorize I think it is nice way to brighten up long fall and winter season. I used to start decorating Christmas on September but now I feel no need to be so early because there is this Halloween and pumpkin season. Last week I tried my first ever pumpkin spice latte. Spotted it at the local cafeteria. New phenomenons come into our lives little by little. After this Halloween and All Saint's Day week it will be nice to think about Christmas decorations. I have noticed that November always goes so quickly and then on December it will be Christmas all month. 

I gathered the materials for this wreath on Friday before the thick layer of snow came. After the autumn storms it was easy to find branches from the ground. Best part in this wreath is that you can easily update it for winter season by removing the leaves and adding some baubles or fake snow.

Wreath from Nature

You will need:

Pine cones
Wire (brown/copper)
Hot glue gun + glue
Paper yarn
Golden sewing yarn

1. Take half of the branches and stretch them into a loop. Tie the loop with wire. Attach some more branches to the loop loosely with wire.
2. Let the pine cones open in warm room over night. Then attach the pine cones to the loop by hot glue gun. 
3. Twine open some colorful paper yarn and cut it to small leaves. Sew the leaves to a golden sewing yarn by hand. Decorate the wreath with the leaves. If you want to create a winter look you could use white paper yarn to the leaves.
4. Make a hook from wire and attach to the wreath. Hang the wreath to a door, window or wall. 

Lets enjoy the last days of October and autumn before November and first winter season DIY projects!


Friday, 20 October 2017

Quilting Tutorial: Bohemian October

I took my autumn pictures just in time this week. Today when I woke up there was little bit of snow on the ground and trees were white. Sunshine and pure white scenery have given so much energy for this day and coming weekend. Today's quilted pillow tutorial that has deeper blue and purple hues doesn't feel too wintry at all. This is the second pillow quilting tutorial in this month. I hope you like quilting and sewing. I am so enthusiastic about making pillows and other small quilting projects. Now that winter is really coming, or arrived already, cozy pillows and blankets are the best way to decorate at home. 

This technique to quilt a block is easy. I have put quite many pictures of the process because I believe pictures tell more than words when it comes to crafts. I have made more detailed instruction on how to make the back piece to my previous quilting tutorial, so now I will mainly focus on making this block. Two main things you should remember when quilting are the 0,75 cm sewing allowance and that always after sewing iron the seams open before moving to second step. More tutorials, tips and inspiration on my previous quilting posts. The most interesting part for this simple quilted pillow comes from the unusual shape and fun tassels that finish the bohemian look.

You will need:
Cotton fabric in four colors
Sewing thread
Embroidery yarn
Cotton fabric for batting
Back fabric
Woolen yarn for tassels

Quilting equipment:
Cutting mat
Rotary cutter
Sewing machine
Embroidery hoop

Step 1. Cut 4 cm stripes from all four fabrics. Cut first about 4 stripes from each one (you will need more but it is easier to work with less at a time).

Step 2. Sew stripes together. Remember to keep same order in all stripe groups.

Step 3. Now you can choose. I preferred to sew these groups together to get a longer string. It will save material because the next step is to cut triangles with 45 degree corner. However you will have extra seams visible on your blocks. If you want to avoid that don't attach groups together but use shorter strings.

Step 4. Cut triangles with 45 degree angle. Cutting mats vary, but I had angles ready drawn on my mat so it was easy to follow the line and cut.

Step 5. Now you have two kinds of triangles that make two kinds of blocks. Collect the blocks and sew together.

When you sew parts together look that the stripes meet each other.

Make more blocks to have all parts for the pillow.

Step 6. Now sew blocks together as shown on the pictures. First sew blocks together to make three lines.

Then sew lines together.

Step 7. All parts sewn together. Now it is time to do the batting. Put cotton fabric to the bottom, then batting and quilt on the top of all. Pin layers together.

Step 8. Sew layers together by hand before you start embroidering.

Embroider the layers together with beautiful decorative stitches. Use embroidery hoop to make the work easier.

Step 9. Cut off the extra batting and make the back piece. See tutorial from here!

When the back piece is ready cut off the extra corners.

Step 10. Make simple tassels from woolen yarn. Attach the tassels, hide the yarn end inside the tassel. Put a pillow inside the pillowcase. I sew a basic pillow with the same shape using all batting leftovers I have collected during the years of quilting.

This cute bohemian style pillow goes well with faux fur pillow and luxurious quilt I have bought from interior decor shop one year ago. 

Hope you find this tutorial both helpful and inspiring. If so, please share on social media and /or tell friends on a coffee table. All your comments here on my blog and on social media warm my heart <3 If you got something on your mind you would like me to write about do not hesitate to leave a comment!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!  I am not saying winter weekend because I heard on instagram comments today that some have a summer, some enjoy autumn :D 


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

This is the place where I usually get lost

Yesterday I noticed how few pictures I have taken outdoors this year. During the winter season taking photographs is a bit more challenging. Camera works in minus temperatures (Celsius) but fingers don't. Smartphone is so smart it must feel that my fingers are freezing and shuts down. Yesterday I had great possibility to catch late autumn pictures in sunlight. I was surprised to notice that water had mildly frozen at the swamp parts. I had to skate through duckboards with my forest running shoes not to fell down. Autumn colors had mainly melt into brown and golden. After few rainy days green was dominant. 

I walked through a short marked path suitable for evening walk. When the path goes to the rocks I usually don't know where it continues (lose the marks). Now there were new signs, but yet there is some magic in that place because I got lost again. In this part of Finland people use to say that if you get lost you return home. I think main point is that you are not lost in a severe way and you are able to follow your own tracks back home. Also our homes are in the forest. On the rocks I now where I am on the mental map I have constructed to my head. The place is familiar, I just don't know where the path continues. I went to this place with my friend once and said this is the place where I usually get lost. We got both lost that time. Good thing is that if I cross the rocks I know there is a running path and I have to turn left. 

Sun was setting at the lost place. Even when going through the most stressful time periods in my life walk to the forest has put things in right scale. Forest exists with no time. Yesterday I thought my trip took two hours. Turned out I was there four hours. Mundane problems begin to feel what they are, mundane. Forest is like space. When I look up to the night sky I understand myself as a small part of the universe. Forest has the same impact when it inevitably changes the seasons and moves through the years. Some of the years are here for me to see, some in past and future are not. It is a calming thought.

Have a good week my friends!


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Season of Vampires

When you have seen Twilight one time too many meaning you begin to notice it's flaws (happens after 10th time) it is time to investigate what other movies there are in the genre. Now that we have the season of darkness and frost at hand what better pastime than go through a bunch of vampire movies. In a broad daylight horror movies are just great exercise for stomach muscles but your reactions might change when the circumstances are right. When you look outside and see nothing but dark blue almost black sky it feels possible that such creatures like vampires do exist.

I don't much enjoy watching horror movies with too much ketchup and beetroot. My favorites are actually movies that use vampires as a style detail to tell an important story. Some of the movies I have listed today could be too heavy to watch without the fantasy element. It gives viewer a chance to take up space from melancholic atmosphere and go through thoughts the movie has brought up. Stories about school bullying, loneliness and the art of existence are important to tell. Reality of life is so harsh sometimes. If it would be put in to a movie there might be quite few people who could bear to watch. Therefore the best of vampire movies have at least two levels. They are fantasy movies telling a story about the world around us. I have listed six vampire movies that I think are interesting and worth watching. I am sure there are many great ones I haven't seen. You can leave your own suggestions to comment box so everyone can see. Because I personally don't like monster horror / action movies that much these are maybe more traditional drama.

1. The White Reindeer (Valkoinen peura) 1952
There is actually a witch / wereanimal / vampire in this film. Snow white fells as far as you can see and a woman left alone for long periods when her husband goes away. She begins to change to a white reindeer who temps men to their death. This film from 1952 has won Best Fairy Tale Film in Cannes and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film.

Director: Erik Blomberg / Writers: Erik Blomberg, Mirjami Kuosmanen / Actors: Mirjami Kuosmanen, Kalervo Nissilä, Åke Lindman

2. Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) 2008
This is a very rough story about school bullying with all it's shocking details. Also the contrast between real life horror (school bullying) and imaginary vampires is thought provoking. Young Oskar is bullied at school and he finds a friend from her neighbor Eli who is a vampire. Eli has got her terrifying secrets but still she is the friend to support Oskar in his unbearable situation.

Director: Tomas Alfredson / Writer: John Ajvide Lindqvist / Actors: Kåre Hedebrandt, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar

3. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night 2014
This film works in many levels. It it aesthetically beautiful and cool vampire western. The main story is poetic and very romantic.  What I saw in the movie was also a good description of loneliness. As the film's name says girl walks home alone at nigh. Streets are empty and the girl is a cold vampire.

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour / Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour / Actors: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh

4. Only Lovers Left Alive 2013
Bohemian vampires deal with philosophical questions. Rock musician Adam has lost his belief in humankind and sees things getting only worse. His wife Eve travels from other side of the globe to give him new hope. Best parts of the film were when this ancient couple look the world from their time perspective. Sometimes they give cool statements about the so called progress humankind has made.

Director: Jim Jarmusch / Writers: Jim Jarmusch, Marion Bessay / Actors: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska

5. Byzantium 2012
Byzantium moves in two time levels. Present day mother and daughter, who are vampires, move to a coastal town. They have made several moves during the past centuries and the daughter is beginning to seek some more permanent solution. She would like to have a connection to other people and tell her story. In the story she reveals her early life in 1800s and how they became vampires.

Director: Neil Jordan / Writer: Moira Buffini / Actors: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley

6. Interview With the Vampire 1994
In this 90s classic a melancholic vampire describes the down sides of being an immortal. His story is long and begins from 1700s when he was turned into a vampire without him knowing what are the costs of the life. This is on the list because I haven't yet come to a decision if one should take this movie seriously. It somehow has it's moments, mainly because it is hilarious to see Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Antonio Banderas in vampire costumes.

Director: Neil Jordan / Writer: Anne Rice / Actors: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas, Kirsten Dunst

View from my window is changing rapidly. Last time I looked there were beautiful autumn colors. Now it is turning grey and last night when I looked at the weather forecast it promised snow. I notice spending more and more time at home with no lust going out to the chilly weather. Movies, books and crafting seem like a good idea to spend time (always are). I have been coloring a new quilting pattern that would describe October moods. Fairy lights also seem like an excellent idea and on my walks I have seen many people decorate their balconies and yards with lights. When yellow and red leaves vanish we get bright fairy lights.

Have a Peaceful and Cozy Week my Friends!