Catching up and Crochet Mood Blanket 2014

Hi all!

This year is off to a great start. I am a week into my very first practical training regarding the practical nurse degree that I am in the middle of. More on that a little later. ๐Ÿ™‚

We celebrate Christmas pretty much the same way everybody else in Finland does. We prepare all of the food ourselves (I think it’s close to a sacrilege to eat store bought!). I make potato and rutabaga casseroles (liver and carrot casseroles are also traditional Xmas food, but liver casserole is part of our everyday, and nobody in our family really likes carrot casserole), rosolli salad with hard-boiled eggs and whipped cream, gravlax, herring, mustard and rice porridge. My man J is the master at preparing the ham.

Herring and mustard from xmas 2012Christmas tree get its decorations by the 23rd, at the latest and this year was no exception. Usually the elves have snuck in one present for each kid the previous night (to keep the kids from bouncing off the walls waiting for Santa ๐Ÿ™‚ ). We start the day with rice porridge with cinnamon, sugar and milk. Then it’s TV time, the day is packed with shows that air every year and cannot ever be missed! ๐Ÿ˜€ After Xmas sauna and dinner, it’s Santa time! There have been times that we have been in the sauna and he has just left the presents under the tree, but this year we were lucky enough to be home and the man himself had also a few minutes to spare before heading to his next destination. ๐Ÿ™‚ Judging by the pressie piles, the little ones had been good all year! The rest of the evening is spent in PJ’s, playing with the whole family, eating some more, burning candles and just chilling.

On Christmas day we headed first to my parents’ house along with my three siblings and their families, and later to my in-laws.

New year’s was also spent @home making tortillas, casting the predictive tins, shooting fireworks. I was the first to go to bed, well before midnight (and it wasn’t the first time, either!) ๐Ÿ™‚

My predictive tinI hope this tin means that I get to work with old people, and not become one myself just yet!

So after the luxury of three week holiday, it was time to get back into routine. The kids went back to kindergarten and were greeted with very sad news of one of their teacher’s tragic and untimely passing during the holiday. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ They had a priest come and talk to the kids about it and answer any questions they had. I don’t think neither of mine really understood the real deal, though.

On a happier note, hubby went back to work as usual and I started my six week long practical training. I’m at an retirement home, taking care of those living in there. It’s very versatile and rewarding. It’s awesome to think that I can be a part of someone’s everyday life as it’s coming to an end. During the first week I mostly just got to know the people there, getting familiar with everyone’s names, routines and likings. I’ve done morning and evening shifts for now, and by the end of the week I had even gotten to deal with a few residents by myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ The best part of it all is noticing them getting to know me, and asking for my help. I think that shows some trust, and I am privileged to be worthy of that trust. I am looking forward to the next five weeks, the last of which I’ll be giving my examination, which I’ll be graded on. Exciting!

I’m taking part in the Crochet Mood Blanket 2014! It’s a granny square project that goes on on Instagram (#crochetmoodblanket2014) and Facebook (Crochet Mood Blanket 2014 group). So far there are almost 2,500 members on the FB group, and over 6,000 pictures under the hashtag on Instagram!

The idea is to make a granny square each day (or one a week) of the color(s) that best suit your mood on that day. Then at the end of the year (or sooner if one is using the join-as-you-go method ๐Ÿ˜€ ) the squares are sewn together (in a chronologic order) and ta-dah! you I have a mood blanket! At first I planned to make one square a week, but after the first day I was literally hooked and have been going at square-a-day pace. It’s so addictive! And to have a clear goal and timeline – as well as all of the support of both of the communities – makes it easy-peasy to actually finish this project.

A few grannies A few more granniesI chose “Queen Anne’s lace” from Jan Eaton’s book “200 crochet blocks” as my pattern. At this point I think I’ll be doing all of my squares the same, but that might change over the course of the year ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m using Novita’s Wool/Nalle as my yarn, and with a 4 mm hook, my squares are approximately 15 cm by 15 cm in size. I’m doing 10 in a row, and will be joining them with a simple sc join (with white). The blanket’s gonna be HUUUUGE! I might do one that’s 10 blocks wide and 20 blocks high, and then do something else with the rest of the squares. I might not.

Of course I wanted to include my Travelers Notebook in this as well, so I’m taking notes of the colors I’m using, along with the reasons why I chose those colors. It will be fun to look back at it in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mood Blanket notesAll in all, I welcome the year 2014 with open arms and have a feeling that it’s gonna be great.

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No time for nothing

This is getting really annoying.

I mean the fact that I only post for like, once every three months(!!!). This is the first time in my life that I find it hard to find time for the things I love. Stationery stuff, crochet stuff and Etsy stuff, even a lot of the spend-time-with-the-kids stuff, all pretty much on hold. Talk about BAAAAD conscience! Boo.

While I really like studying for becoming a practical nurse (and studying, period) and almost every subject is very interesting, I do not like the fact that it consumes all of my time, even some wee hours of the night at times. Being an adult student in an adult class means that we don’t have any “normal” studies that the kids’ class does (Finnish, PE, mathematics…) and the pace that we’re going at is very hectic. From last week until Christmas we have a major test every week, sometimes two – all of which have to be passed (and I don’t like bad grades, either!) before starting a six-week training period on January. That’s a lot of studying. A lot of not crocheting (except the little I have been able to do at school, you know, on those 5 % of the not-so-interesting classes… whoops). A lot of missing out on Instagram. A lot of disrespecting my Travelers Notebook (a big sigh right there!). A lot of saying “no” to the children. A lot of not blogging. Did I mention BAAAAD conscience?

On top of all that, I have a Christmas market coming up on 8th. A lot of not crocheting doesn’t really fit in that equasion. I’m attending with a friend of mine, who has her own life FULL of everything at the moment, but she seems to have an extra 40 hours in her day JUST TO MAKE STUFF! I can imagine our sales table being stuffed to the full on the other side and not so full empty as hell on the other. O_o

Some Christmas ornaments. I am pretty well stacked with these. And only these.

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Some other stuff I’ve been planning to make for the Xmas market

  • heart ornaments (big and small)
  • heart reflectors
  • flower hairclips
  • pot holders
  • what the hell am I thinking?!
  • S baskets
  • coasters
  • stuffed dogs

No biggie. Insert some panic laugh here.

Long time, no see

Uh-oh. Someone’s been the mother of all lazy bloggers. My apologies. On my defense, though, it’s been somewhat busy time for me. We spent a lovely week and a half at the family cottage, some 500 kms from home.

At the river My girl E My boy T

It was a total getaway for all of us, and every single one of us shed a few tears when it was time to go home. Because of the distance, it is not very often we get to go there. Usually once a year (twice, if we’re very lucky). I had some me-time there, and finished a crocodile stitch bag I started at the beginning of summer.

Croco bagI LOVE IT!!! My mother-in-law loves it too; I’m now making her one as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then things got a little exciting for the whole family (some more than others ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I got accepted into nurse school YAY! And with that, my five years of being a stay-at-home-mom were over. The kids started at kindergarten as I went back to school. Hubby’s life didn’t change much, except for the occasional pickings up from the daycare and participating a little more a lot more in chores at home. Well, I guess that is also quite a big change. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kids like the daycare very much. My girl E had some trouble at first, but it didn’t take long for her to adapt. My boy T likes it so much that it doesn’t matter what time they are picked up, he always yells at me for coming too early. “Mommy you’re stupid, you’re SOOO STUUUUUPID!” Gotta love him. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

T had another big change related to the daycare, a haircut. There is rule there that long hair must be tied up during meal times. The “girl stuff” wasn’t an option for a five-year-old’s larger than life ego, so off to the barber we went.

HaircutWhen I went to pick them up after his hair had been cut, it took me a while to realise that he was already standing in front of me! He looked so different. ๐Ÿ™‚

In my class there are 18 pupils – 17 girls and one lucky boy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The youngest is 18 yrs old, and the oldest is approaching 50. I should be a ready nurse in little over two years. The work situation here in Finland is very good and I look forward to stepping into the career world. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have had very little time to do any crochet. Always a little something, though.

mega basketA mega t-shirt yarn basket to store more t-shirt yarn…

20130909-122506.jpgA few pot holders.

So, that’s my excuse for not having been very active with my blog. A life! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Midori Traveler’s Notebook

In a previous post I plucked up the courage to go public with my stationery nerdiness (partly because not many of my “real life peeps” read this blog ๐Ÿ˜€ ). This continues.

After posting a couple of photos of my planner on one of the lovely communities I’m privileged to be a part of, I had a request for doing a blog post on it. So here goes; a journey inside my Midori Traveler’s Notebook.

When I first saw one of these (a little over a year ago?) on one of Crazy Suburban Mom’s awesome YouTube videos, I was still using a Filofax. It was going not so well; I hadn’t really figured out the perfect system for me and I wasn’t using it effectively. So when I realised that there was life beyond Filofaxes – and beautiful life, I might add, I just had to dig deeper. A little googling led me to Patrick Ng’s Flickr feed and blog – a point of no return.

I found an online store in The Netherlands that carries a lot of the inserts, and regularly ooh’d and aaah’d on their site. It took me over six months to finally make the decision to get one, and I was very pleased that my husband wanted to treat me and pay for it (I guess sometimes it pays off to have patience loud sighing noises and eyes glued to the computer screen). I chose the brown one in standard size and a bunch of different inserts (I’ve since ordered some more of the ones I like and taken out some that I don’t like to use that much).

The Traveler’s Notebook has an elastic band which runs along its spine. That is where the notebooks are attached. There are various ways to fit more than one notebook in. Mine currently holds 5 (two of which are on the same elastic). The TN comes with one plain notebook insert, many many others are available.

It took me a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it, but when I had figured out the order of the notebooks, it’s been all smooth sailin’ ever since. I have not looked back on other planners.

So without further ado, here it is:

Cover

The front cover. Thick, beautiful, superb quality leather that will only get better with age. All the scratches show love and only add to its character. I use a Pilot Coleto and a basic ball point on the go. When I fill the pages at home, I have various other pens that I like to use.

IMG_4902Mine’s quite the chunker! I like it.

Front cover insideThe inside front cover. I bought a packet of stick-on pockets for my TN, there are three different ones in the pack. Here you can see the credit/business card stick-on and another one on the bottom. They stick to the leather really well. I keep a tiny yearly calendar with Finnish national holidays in the bottom pocket, because the Midori calendar is obviously Japanese with Japanese holidays. ๐Ÿ˜€

Here I store some stamps, kids’ photos, a few of my business cards and some random papers. The photo collage on the cover of the Kraft file used to be in my personal Filofax. It was a pretty good size in here, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I love my Kraft file/business card insert. It holds a ton of stuff! I put both of them in the same elastic, and it works like a charm for me. I also stuck my Leuchtturm pen loop in the credit card insert (didn’t want it on the leather in case I wanted it removed). Some things I keep in there:

  • Some more of my own business cards
  • Some more stamps
  • Kids’ tiny drawings
  • Arrow paper clips and Oli clips
  • Other people’s business cards
  • Important info
  • Index flags
  • Stickers!

IMG_4948On the back of my Kraft file I have put a Moomin comic strip. It says:

Excuse me Mister, but I have just found a large and dangerous BOMB!”

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I love it. And I love the navy blue color of the diary insert. That’s next y’all. I decorated the first page with some stickers (’cause I looove stickers! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and there’s also a bit of personal info that I have covered up here.

Yearly and monthlyThere are both yearly (2013 and 2014) and monthly calendars, which is great. I don’t make any markings on the yearly calendar, because I like it clean and simple. I only need it to look at anyway. The monthly calendar is for birthdays.

Here are a few ofย  my weeks (can ya tell I like sticky notes?!) ๐Ÿ˜€

IMG_4953IMG_4938 IMG_4955 IMG_4956 IMG_4957I don’t color code, the different pen colors are just for my amusement and eye-pleasing ๐Ÿ™‚ I like to decorate with washi tape (as do quite a few other people) and stickers. I write down to do’s and appointments and regular routines beforehand (naturally), but I like to add some things later. Feelings, funny stuff, sometimes the weather, what was on TV… And I take up every excuse opportunity to add a little washi or a sticky note, a ticket or a receipt (who doesn’t?!).

IMG_4958 IMG_4959Then I have a Kraft paper insert. At first I was gonna use it as a weight loss diary, but at the moment it feels like that’s going south big time, so I think I’ll just use it as a general brain dump. I love the eco-feel of the paper.

IMG_4963 IMG_4960Finally I have my absolute favorite insert – the light weight paper. All of the other Midori notebooks have 64 sheets of paper, the light weight has double that. You can see from the photo that there is some see through, butย  z e r oย  bleeding – even with fountain pens. The paper quality is so excellent!

I use this as my journal. I don’t write every day or even every week, just when I feel like it or something has actually happened.

I love the well-used and -loved feel the light weight notebooks get when the pages are written full. I love the bumpiness when I stroke the paper (and I do that a lot!). There’s nothing better than a notebook filled with love, stories and memories.

I just love it.

IMG_4964At the inside back cover I have one more stick-on pocket, which currently holds a few Moomin stickers.

IMG_4967I’ve stocked up on some inserts. There are four light weight inserts, extra elastic bands and a repair kit, double-sided stickers, a grid refill, a blank one and a plastic zip envelope.

So there you have it!ย  I hope you enjoyed a peek in my beloved. ๐Ÿ™‚

Secret second life

As some of you may already know, I have a secret second life as a stationery nerd. I love notebooks, stickers, washi tape, sticky notes, pens, stickers, paper and the lot. Not many people in my real life know this and I have chosen to keep it that way, since I don’t think they would quite understand it.

I like a lot of the cute stuff, which is very hard to find here in Finland (and I don’t mean Hello Kitty and Disney), so because of that I have had to search elsewhere. And I have found a lovely community of people whoย do understand me and the object(s) of my affection! ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s a heap load of blogs and YouTube vids on stationery, Instagram accounts, FB groups… and if one’s active, a lot of swapping opportunities.

Hallelujah!!

one of my favorite things to do...

one of my favorite things to do…

Fed up

Our computer jammed a couple weeks ago and it is pissing me off being without one. Blogging with an iPhone is not my favorite thing to do… I hope it doesn’t take too long to get repaired.

Sigh.

Something for me!

I started this rug over a year ago. It was always the one that was in the way, because it was going to be for me and not for a customer. Finally last week I was at a point where I didn’t have anything lined up.

I had a small “ran-out-of-yarn” problem situation at the end, and wasn’t able to make the edging the way I had originally planned, but turns out it looks great as it is!

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This photo was taken 59 weeks ago (Instagram knows everything!). It was only a little short of four rows from being done this whooole time! Well, better late than never, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

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And here it is, all finished and pretty!!

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A bonus detail pic. I love the edging – it’s simple (like me!) ๐Ÿ˜€

We had a girls’ night out last weekend, and I think every girl in the planet can relate to the “god-this-hair’s-a-mess-what-am-I-gonna-do-with-it?!” –first world problem… So a quick browse through Snapguide and I had this:

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It was one more option to have, and at the end it wasn’t the chosen one. I like it though, and I’m sure I’ll find a time to wear it, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jump around

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The trampoline paid for itself the minute they got on it! Those happy faces!! โค

Hookin’

First things first, sorry for the long pause here. Been hookin’ hookin’ a lil sum’n sum’n. No time for postin’ postin’. Yea I know that’s the lamest excuse there is, but I couldn’t figure out a new better one!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s a bathroom set for a customer. I love the turquoise color! She said she has a lot of dark grey in her home, and I think the turquoise will fit perfectly in there. A nice pop of color. Happy happy joy joy about this one.

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A red one for another customer.

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The ladies who ordered these, are neighbors. I only found out about this when I was making plans with the turquoise lady to deliver her set (and hadn’t started on the red rug yet). We agreed that I would deliver them that same evening, after my son’s track and field practise. Enter a big buck idea: “Why don’t I be very fast and efficient and make the rug during the practise!” And so I did tried. And failed. By one round. But still, it was some sort of a record for me. YAY for me! Plus I got some bonus points for “maintaining age old traditions and doing it with the wrong hand” from another kid’s grandmother sitting near me at the practise. YAY for bonus points and age old traditions!

Cushion update and some doggies

I’ve not been lazy but actually working hard… On everything else but this cushion. I have now finished the first side of it, and due to a few real things to crochet orders it is now time to put it on hold for a while.
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The back side will be a little different, with a larger white granny square in the middle and smaller colorful ones around it. Can’t wait!!!

Meanwhile, yesterday I had a few spare moments to whip up a couple of Scottie dogs for my boy T’s kindergarten teachers. Annaboo’s House is to thank for the pattern.

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I think they’re very fit for the occasion! Cute, handmade, they make a great keepsake and a memory and they are what a child would like to give (and they were a fabulous stash buster, too!)