Saturday, 5 December 2009

I have an idea-join me!

Even though living our day to day life can be hard, even stressful and nerve racking at the best of times, we should come through with flying colours as long as we dress right, be polite to our neighbours, eat well but not too much, exercise regulary, remember the animal rights and global warming, our kid's collage funds and our pensions, and regular contact with family and friends. That's about it, I think.

I also know, I fail all this terribly most of the time. If I can achieve most of these tasks in one week, by Friday I will at least fall flat on my face on top of chocolate cake and complete non-educational tv-program where celebreties have to eat live bugs.

This week has been hard one, not just because I could not watch the last episode of mentioned tv-series, but because all real life plans seemed to fail on me. Again. This has sent me to dark moods, black clothes and to much cake. Even my polar bear husband has understood this, and kept his distance. Looking back, I know there should have been things I should have done differently and by concentrating only on my own problems I have selfishly shut out the outside world. This is the moment where my idea jumps in: as we are closing on Christmas, I've decided to make someone else's life easier, sort of Pay it Forward style. So hereby I challenge all of you to do the same. Let's spend the next 3 weeks quietly helping others, going the extra mile, either with concrete help, and/or prayers; just to make someone else happy! Let's just concentrate on others, the rest will follow. Leave your note of your good deeds on my comments, My 6 year old son will choose the Kindest Act (Remember child will see the truth) and I'll announce the Kindest Act on the last week of this year. The Kindest Act will win one of these mobile phone cases!

Remember treat others as you wish to be treated yourself and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. And as my son says "it's not about winning it about taking apart" !!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Yesterday I was The Mother of the Year. I woke up with joy and serenity in my heart, took dog out, fed my son, floated around the house like Stepford Wife, drove to school in car filled with mine and neighbours kids singing Abba (bear in mind this was 7.30 am) on top of their lungs, floated effortlessly around absolutely erratic Greek traffic without loosing my temper at all (which is a achievement itself, and I should earn a medal just doing the traffic without loosing my temper, as in a good day the National Road, and Iraklion town is like driving in a war zone), came home, did 3 loads of washing, baked and cleaned the house (even the cracks on floor tiles which can only be done in all fours!!!), had a power walk, picked son from school, took mine and 3 other dogs to beach for a run and after all that did some knitting to my Etsy shop. I know, I know, I did surprise myself with this all, but I knew I had talent somewhere! After all that family effort, I decided to accept my friend’s invitation for a girl’s night out –to go and watch New Moon in cinemas. Film did not do justice to the book, but hey, at least it was filled with pleasant scenes…

This morning I’ve returned to reality, I and son are still in pyjamas, house is a mess and I’m spending all of my Loving and Caring Mother time in Etsy instead. I did come across with few lovely items though, have a look to my fellow Finnish artist Karuski’s shop and especially to this handbag:
How funky is that! I just love it, the colours and the style and tone of it; it’s a prober ladylike bag, there to make your evening that much more pleasurable! It wouldn’t matter if you were in boring party, I’d be happy every time I’d just glance that bag!

I did give these as a hint to my hubby for my Christmas present, have a look at the other one at one9designs' shop, a fellow CAC member.
This stack of rings would also make my day! So basic, understated but so pretty.

I think hubby took my hints well. And at least I did show my true colours yesterday (today he is out and about, so my pyjamas can stay on, and all the rubbish can be cleared later), and by all books he has to show his appreciation somehow! Having said that, my Stepfordniness pops up only once a year, and it leaves even me in awe. I should spread the effort evenly for better results, but hey that would be too predictable, I like to keep him on his toes….

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Gingerbread men

I had a panic attack; Christmas is only 5 weeks away! In my mind I'm still living in October...hmm... This also means I'm only 5 weeks away from gingerbread men, cinnamon buns and chocolates...You can not eat them before, as it only spoils the Big Days! So on 24th (yes we celebrate Christmas for 3 days by Finnish tradition), on Christmas Eve, one starts to enjoy, and by 26th one can not face another gingerbread man for another year!

Hereby I offer our family tradition for your service, make them and enjoy, just follow the lead of Lukas (shown on picture making them)
The Recipe for the Best Thin Gingerbread Men

You need:
200 g butter
2.35dl of sugar
1.5 dl of syrup
1 dl cream
7.5 dl of flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of cloves
1 tsp of allspice
0.5 tsp of ground ginger

Melt the butter in the same bowl you'll mix the dough in. Mix the baking soda with small portion of flour. Add the seasoning (ginger etc), sugar, syrup and cream to the cooled down butter. Mix the ingredients well together, to make sure none of the seasonings are clamped together. Add the baking soda mixture, as well as rest of the flour by gently mixing or even rather spooning the flour in to the dough. Cover the dough and the bowl with clean towel and plastic bag and leave it in a fridge to set until following day.

Day 2: take the dough to room temperature, put oven on to 190 degrees. Start moulding the dough, portion at the time with rolling pin, to a thin flat disc, press gingerbread men out with the mould of your choice, add men on oven tray and bake for 5-10 minutes until dark golden brown. Decorate if you wish, with icing sugar mix when men have cooled down.

Hint: moulding is easier when the dough is still cool

Hint 2: once baked, lay the hot gingerbread men on flat surface, on uneven surfaces like plates etc they’ll just turn wonky...

Hint 3: Eat plenty and enjoy!

Also, some knitting pictures as attached- latest customer orders, skull mittens and pink slippers.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Living with polar bear

This week has flown by! This is because it's been the first week since our move to new house, and we are all trying to find our bearings, and the tricks there is in the older houses. Also partially because I’ve really tried to study, and concentrate to this course about accountancy, with no luck I’m afraid…It has become clear that me and mathematics do not agree with each others.
I have managed to grasp the basics, but every time I try a new exercise I get confused. Why mathematics can not be as simple as on knitting or visiting the bakery- one chocolate cake, two chocolate cakes…. If you have any ideas how to help me with basics of accountancy, please feel free to contact me!

I have also finished off a few new orders, white ones made with traditional style, with Novita pattern, and brown ones with Garnstudio pattern and Novita yarns. I have concentrated all my efforts on these knits, as my dear husband, who has been a valuable asset (read a hand model for men’s gloves) has stopped smoking. This has meant that our 1st week in new house has been as pleasant as living in a zoo with wounded polar bear. Bless him, he is trying really hard, week 2 is nearly done, but I’m ready to attack him with 10 nicotine patches while he is a sleep, just to make our life easier...So if there is anyone out there who knows tricks to accountancy and grumpy husbands, please contact me urgently!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Greek lightning!

Just when I thought my lige was settled after previous uprooting and relocation, we're hit by Greek lightning!Ou landlord gave us 5 days to move out; his brother needed a home, our home. After four sleepless nights and attempts to find a new home we finally, on last minute found one (finding a new place which would accept a family with pets, and also one that we could actually afford was not an easy task)! Praise the Lord!

Our new home is actually better what we've had before, and after all the hassle with broken heater, knackered hot water boiler and no cooking facilities, we've managed to conquered the move and settle in! I missed last weeks blogg update, as I did not have access to internet either, obviously due to the move, so please accept my apologies re this.

Anyhow, I've attached a picture of our new drive/path into our new home. Poor Charlie the Dog gets tormented by local cats- they keep appearing behind our windows just to drive him potty!!

Amongst all these manic circumstances I've unravelled my stress levels with knitting, and here are my new items for our shop, Merry Berry Christmas socks, Clever Blue mobile phone case and also latest customer order for brown gloves, made with Garn Studio pattern Z-434, and Novita Nalle yarn.

p.s:When checked into Etsy, came across this seller InspiredbyMarie and item wood burned sign: Welcome to Nuthouse! Brilliant, that's what we need!!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

What a week! I think this has been the busiest week in this autumn; we had to find a new house, start packing, finish lot of orders and do my test for my Business studies. I managed to rummage through, and I do think I deserve a chocolate cake now! And a good old chunky slice too!

Here are my latest additions for the shop and the other orders, I’ve finished up this week as pictured, few socks men and kid’s as well as shawl for my dear mother. Thankfully she was here to help me out with day to day life. Bless her, she must have had a great holiday; I was either knitting, surfing in net or studying whilst she took care of the rest. Having said that, I have realised, that after the birth the her grand child I've lost my importance in her pecking order...

I have also come across this shop in Etsy (I know I know, I should have spent the time packing up and studying for the test, but girls gotta do what girls gotta do!). I liked this shop and had a giggle- the perfect Twilight t-shirt prints one can get! Not too girly, teenage and pink for us middle aged (I grimace as I write it down, I hate that word and definition of it….) fans! So of course I had to celebrate and treat my friend with one of these, she is the one who I can blame for my Twilight –obsession, and as she’ll be the one wearing it I’m the one who can have a giggle!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

New orders

This is my latest handy work, a pair of felted slippers which were made for my good friend Sirpa, as a birthday present. My plan was to decorate these orange beauties with gold, silver, and diamonds (all mentioned being authentic materials of course….hmmm in my dreams…and hers…) to match her beauty queen like appearance, but after a thought I decided to stick with more common material, wool instead, to match with the real world. She did like them, so mission accomplished!

I also received my first Alchemy requests-custom made requests, via Etsy. Hooray! I’ll keep you posted, but so far requests include gloves, mittens and few slippers. Brilliant! I’m also waiting for new stock to arrive. There will be new yarns like Puro, Huopanen, and Luxus Cloud to arrive to my shop listing!

I love making presents and orders, as whilst knitting stitch after stitch I also weave part of myself to them too. Orders are also fun in a sense, that the requested item my not match my taste and style at all, which sometimes is like opening my eyes to the world I did not know existed. One becomes so accustomed to daily routines and colour schemes one is used to, that getting an order with different view, with new colours and shapes becomes a learning curve. I also believe that in a process of doing anything artistic, hand made items, writing etc one becomes blind to the results and therefore to make the item, it’s better to stand away from it, so one can clean the act and open the eyes again for finishing touches. These are my words of wisdom for this week, take care and God Bless!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Knitting with Vampires

Hello again, and my apologies for late update!

We have all been ill; we have suffered in the fangs of one of the nasty flue bugs which has been popping around amongst our holidaymaker visitors and work colleagues. So beginning of last week was spent nursing husband (read: suffered from Extremely Lethal Man Flue) as well as son (read: The One Who Learnt from the Best Man Flue Sufferers), as well as friend who was here on holiday and of course last but no means the least, Me. I spent my illness-hours feeling guilty of not being able to knit until good friend passed me a book that just swiped me off my feet! And this happened totally against my agreement and better knowledge! Anna Karenina and Dorian Gray just flew out of the window as there were replaced by teenage vampires! So here by I confess: I’ve read all four of Stephenie Meyers Twilight series, and I’m completely hooked with them! This is embarrassing really as I’m not a teenager anymore, even though I wish I would be one if it would be an advantage in the eyes of Robert Pattinson, the one who plays Edward in the badly made film. Yes, I’ve seen already gobbled up the film too. And yes I've also visited the fan page.

After fever, snot and vampire filled week, I’ve returned to my true form as established mother, wife and knitter and I have finished another order for slippers, this is the one with new Novita Huopanen mix-yarn, as well as fingerless gloves made with Novita Nalle Marjaretki. Both orders just flew by- both yarns are such a pleasure to knit with! I can also proudly confirm I’ve made my first Etsy sale, my shop is, as well as I’ve received some new inquiries about custom made items, cardigans, slippers and gloves!! I like knitting the orders; these will keep me so busy my affection to Twilight has to stay at bay. At least until the new film is released…

Friday, 25 September 2009

Rain, sharks and new yarns

It’s raining again. And we have another lot of visitors. It looks like Crete Aquarium will become the hot spot and saving grace for rainy days! It seems to suit everyone from Grandma to teenage cousins. This weeks picture is from shark section, they are just mesmerizing creatures. I can not get my head around the fact, that their skin looks so soft, and even, whilst glimmering with all shades of brown and grey, and in reality it is as soft as sanding paper…
I managed to finish off the second shawl, made with Garnstudio’s Drops yarn and pattern. I’m not 100% happy with it though, I think I’ll need to make it slightly longer to suit my customer. I’m waiting for her judgement re this matter. I also had a look into Garnstudio’s new yarn, Baby Merino. I’m glad to see baby yarns are not just in different shades of pink and blue, they’ve actually added some deeper colours on shade map too, even including black! I’ll have a look if I can get my hands on some of the new yarn shortly.
I’ve also started making a new pair of slippers, this time with Novita Huopanen mix, which is their superb felting yarn. This yarn is mixture of black and white, and so far it looks good. I’m waiting impatiently to see how it works when felted. I’ll keep you updated.

Monday, 21 September 2009

I have just finished knitting a pair of socks with Novita Nalle Marjaretki yarn. You can check the yarn and colours out in and my finished product as on picire in This yarn has same brilliant build in stripes as Novita sock yarn had already on previous season, but there is new added feature- yarn has been treated with Aloe Vera! The idea of wearing comfy warm socks, with healing effect is just lush! The added pleasure is that again yarn is not too thick, I just hate wearing items which would give me a claustrophobic heat stroke and sweat attack in a split second.
My son has just started his new school and thankfully he seems to enjoy it. I’ve simultaneously started my business studies, and have tried to divide my time between knitting, Etsy and studies. This has been surprisingly hard, after this somewhat lazy summer my body and mind has decided to defer to a state of coma! This has of course happened without my agreement and knowledge! I’ll now have to work hard to keep up, and avoid the afternoon stare, where I’m just staring a page of my school book, with only thing moving and growing is the dribble hanging from the corner of my mouth. But beware and shake with fear and awe, I’ll conquer the study books and Etsy one day! I’ll finish my blog for today with this brave note and start my new life by conquering the chocolate cake my hubby just brought in, fresh from bakery!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Thunderstorms and lace patterns

This week has been busy and full of rain and thunderstorms. They say there is normally not much rain in the summer months in Greece, but this week has proven it wrong, there's been 4 days of clouds, mist, coldness and rain. We've enjoyed it, but I can see the problem being there for tourists, when they've paid for week's sunshine filled holiday, and got only few days of glorious beach life.

I've finished one of my orders on this week, and I'm half way through the other shawl, lace pattern made with Kid Silk yarn and another GarnStudio pattern. I have more time to knit now, as everyone is hurdled indoors, away from rain, stucked in front of telly and boxes of chocolates and crisps.

We've also had a rare visitors from UK, our family is here for a week, which has meant they've whole heartedly entertained my son and dog, and I've whole heartedly abused this rare opportunity and turned into a statue like host, refusing to leave my corner of sofa for any other given reason than picking a new ball of yarn. To be honest I've also given in to few temptations, a chocolate ice cream was loudly calling me as well as did the few pizza slices. Not my fault by any means, I blame visiting family for it.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Riikka's week

This week has been busy, we've had some visitors, suffered in a small heat wave and also I've worked hard to promote our Etsy shop by joining in I love, Ravelry etc and in the mean while I've also tried to hunt down pattern ideas for my banana- silk yarn I've had in my stock since 1969 (approx of course...but that's how it feels and I do not like to leave yarns unknitted (is that a word)). So far hunt has been desperate, and unfortunately not that successful. But I'll be strong and conquer this matter eventually. Please let me know if you have some ideas for patterns or etsy shops!

I have also started with my latest knitting order, lace styles shawl. The attached picture is from the project being half way through. I've followed pattern by Garn studios, and also used their yarns for this as that was what my customers wished as we had to match the colour of yarn to her new dress. I do have to admit, shawl is stunning, I'm nearly done with it so will keep you updated. This project has been slightly hot to deal with, yarn is a mix of Cotton Viscose and Alpaca, and with this heat wave it has been a pretty good exercise to knit it, I sure that on my diet terms this means I can take second helping of chocolate cake!

Jenny's week

I've been teaching (antenatal classes) in Exeter this week where I took the opportunity of going to FibreFest at Coldharbour Mill which was fab. I bought some gorgeous silk from KnitWitches (who are actually based about three miles from me) and am now wondering what to knit with it. Works in progress -- lace christening shawl, knitted bag, lace shawl, bamboo socks, jumper for husband .... ulp -- think I need to finish something before I start another!

Friday, 28 August 2009

New Slippers

Let me proudly present; this is the last order which I’ve just finished. 3 pairs of slippers were an order and extra 2 for our new Etsy shop-Knit Matters. All except one made from Novita Huopanen and Hahtuvainen, felting yarns which are such a pleasure to work with. The purple pair was painful though, customer wanted to have ladybird decorations, and after several attempts, even after working with Fimo; I only managed to create a red pizza or wonky black dotted skull with legs, which had my 6-year old son and his friends in hysterics. After this encouraging encounter I decided to keep ladybirds simple and decorative only... With the other ones I’ve tried different things with, Fimo buttons/bases etc.

Welcome to Knit Matters!

Due to family circumstances we had to relocate, and I’ve just landed in the island of Crete, which itself is not a bad option at all, but it also meant I had to leave my dear friends and knitting club behind. Knitting club was up and running only for a short period, as me and co-founder in club and Knit Matters Jenny, decided to act on behalf our dear hobby only about a year ago. Because I can not take part of our club’s weekly meetings, we decided to meet up this way instead, by updating our progress and this way keeping in touch. This would also allow me and Jenny to keep up with Knit Matters together, and brag about latest yarn purchases as well as knitting orders we’ve finished.

So let me introduce my part of Knit Matters; My name is Riikka, I’m 33 years old and I’m from Finland. I’ve been knitting since I was 11 (the basic’s in knitting and other crafts are taught to us in primary school), but I do have to admit after being forced to knit a pair of woolly gloves, where the end result was stunningly bright pink yarn (think 80’s) with tears and snot covering the finishing results and other glove being 3 times bigger than other, I swore not to knit ever again. This oath lasted until few years later my older sister waltzed in to our kitchen wearing a stunning hand knitted jumper, which of course I wanted to have! More importantly I wanted to learn to make one. So after quite many painful attempts and endless advice from both, my mother and sister, I finished off my first jumper and haven’t stopped since. I now-a-day knit whilst watching TV, sunbathing etc. I use all methods, crocheting, knitting, felting and due to my first experience with gloves made from synthetic fiber which created so much static electricity I could have saved lives and sell them to survival kits all over the world (did I already mention being part of girl scouts also) I use only natural fibers and good quality yarns. I’ m most well known from my slippers and cardigans, I love wearing them, hence my obsession with these items.

I met Jenny, the co-founder, in Wales few years back, and if I though my life was over taken by stacks of yarn and new patters, I was now overwhelmed with the endless supply of ideas, yarns and patterns she had! No need to mention we became good friends very fast. We set up our knitting club, took few orders here and there and also decided to set up Knit Matters as Ebay shop, selling Finnish Novita yarns and ready made items. My relocation changed the plans completely, so here we are with out new plans, brand new Etsy shop, blog etc.

The reason why we stock Novita yarns and why we love them is fairly simple. Yarns are excellent quality, and the yarns are also reasonably priced. I hate setting my eyes on a cardigan pattern and finding out that the yarn options will send me to the brink of bankruptcy and divorce (my dear husband has given in to the fact that house is covered with yarns, knitting needles, pattern books, all merrily covered in woolly fluff, but even he has set some limits to my bad habits). Novita yarns have been around for the last 80-years, which also mean yarns are made for usage, they are durable, most are machine washable (hooray!) and they last very well. Everything a mad knitter needs!