Thursday, 31 January 2008

I need a little privacy

Yesterday it was snowing so much I couldn't get proper photos, but here they are, finally. This is a new I need a little privacy series.
(How unimaginative!) It's I need some privacy's little sister. These are smaller, gocco printed, and not so limited edition. That simply means that I have plans to make more of these, but I think the big sister wont be coming back, at least in the same colors. Good things come in limited editions. Or something like that.

Coptic bound, covered with linen, sewn with waxed linen thread. 96 off-white pages. 4.1"x4.1"x0.8" (10,3x10,3x2cm)

Plenty of arrangements are waiting to be done. I hate calling to customer service, no matter why I'm calling there. We should have our internet connection working pretty soon after we move, but I'm a bit stressed about it anyway. When we first got this connection it took almost two months to get it connected. Well, I'll be just a comment or email away for now. I'm cutting down my blogging for some days as we have a dear friend and her son coming over for a while tomorrow. I can't wait to see how B. has grown. We have already cleared the bottom part of our bookshelf :) Last time I saw him he didn't know how to crawl, now he's running I heard.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

We really are moving!

Yay! We got the second apartment we saw yesterday! Now that we have really thought about it, I think we both like it better. There's a lot more room, a balcony, many closets, and a lets-invite-friends-for-dinner kitchen. And then there's the elevator. We now live in the 4th floor and have no elevator. It has done wonders to my thighs, but I think I can live without that exercise.

The most exciting part is that we're moving in there in just a couple of weeks. We planned to move in the beginning of March, but in order to get the apartment we had to agree to pay the rent already from mid February. That's all right because it gives us a time frame of two weeks for our moving. A huge stress relief. So is the fact that we're moving to a house on the same street, only two minutes walk from here. I feel so happy and relieved. I love our new, big home already. (It makes me dream of a sofa... oh no...)

I had already given up hope on both apartment, because earlier today I found out that the first apartment was gone, and there we're so many people seeing the second one. I never imagined we could get it. Not only did we get it, I was told we were Chosen :D

Lovely mail today too: a t-shirt & postcards from aMuse. Forgive me not modeling the t-shirt myself, I didn't feel like a supermodel today. I almost never wear prints, at least not on shirts. I have one t-shirt with a print: green elephants, and the shirt used to be my father's back then when both men and clothing used to be really skinny. I decided to give the aMuse t-shirt a try. Printed t-shirts are going to be a part of my new life.

And then there was Japanese fabric from Karaku:

And then I bought some new linens too! The seller in the fabric store thought I was a bit nuts when I carried a linen bolt after another to the cutting table and asked for 0,6 meters or something from each. And the sellers always worry if I have considered shrinkage. I keep telling them that my books aren't machine washable.

I think I'll have some new books ready tomorrow. I'm trying to be really busy now that I still have a lot of free time. I'm most likely starting in a part time job in the near future, and of course, moving is always a hassle.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Charmfoundry & moving & pouches

I got lovely mail again. Everything was so pretty I needed to take pictures even before opening things up. (I've seen before that other people do that, but usually I'm too excited to leave things unpacked for a couple of minutes.) My postcard and magnet order from Charmfoundry arrived really quickly and it caused some squeals of joy. I hope these cards can soon be a part of our new home decor. We just need to find the new home first. We're going to go see two apartments today. Keep your fingers crossed for us! (I really don't want to move again, but there's no way we're staying here because of a massive plumbing renovation coming.)

Edit: We loved the first apartment, I really hope we get it. We'll see the other in an half an hour, I hope it's nothing close to the first, so we don't have to choose. That is, if we get the first one. I'm so excited!

Edit no 2: The second one was lovely too. A lot different, but lovely anyway. Both apartments have wide window sills. I would be more than happy live in either one. Now we just have to wait and hope for the best...

And here's the first batch of finished linen pouches. I have already made a couple more with birds, and I'm planning to make some more out of the fair trade cotton.

Saturday, 26 January 2008


My family can be quite interesting sometimes. My mother has now made it public that she's holding my buttons hostage. Buttons are things to be taken very seriously. Yesterday, when I was avoiding sewing zippers, I felt like making it clear that we're not talking about buttons in general but Buttons that are too pretty to be used and that make me feel like a princess. I don't care about diamonds, I just need buttons. Obviously I couldn't take pictures of the buttons held hostage, so I took pictures of my existing treasures. (I should have skipped eating dinner, now the last pictures on the left taken after dinner are much darker than the others...)

I did manage to sew the zippers in the end. New linen pouches will eventually end up in the shop & blog. Now I need to go cut some cover boards.... that means that new books are in the making too.

Thanks to all of you who popped in to read Karen's interview! I hope we'll be seeing each others later!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Interview: Karen Ruane

Who am I and how did I become the person I am now?

That is really difficult! I am wife to Paul, mother of Helen and James and very much my own person.
An unconventional, difficult childhood, brought out my natural determination and resiliance and I am very focused and highly motivated. At this point in my life, still young, as I was a young mum, my children are almost completely indepenent and I am looking forward to making my way in the world of embroidery with 100 percent focus and positivity. Being a mother informs my work totally so I guess you could say my role as a mother has brought me to who and where I am now.

I am passionate about hand embroidery, the traditional techniques that have been used by women for centuries. Utility stitches such as running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch etc are constant features in my work. Why feels right, it comes naturally to me. I would love to be skilled in drawing and painting but the pencil or brush feel strange in my hands, the needle feels right. Initially I trained as a nurse but when I began stitching I knew it was right for me, so, with the support of my husband I took my degree and have never looked back.

I consider my best work to be the piece I made for my final degree assessment. 'Helens Cloth' was made for my daughter. I used traditional techniques of patchwork, applique and smocking with hand embroidery. This cloth is special as on it I have embroidered text messages I received from Helen, which I then rendered unreadable by smocking that part of the cloth. This was done to signify the special, private bond between mother and child. All the work I have completed since this cloth continues to be inspired by the role of mothers. Helens Cloth was the beginning of my current body of work and will continue to inspire future embroidery.

I have never been happy with the appearance of my hands, sausage fingers!!, and always wanted long slender fingers, oh and I have never had a manicure in my life!! But my hands are my most important tool. Being right handed, that one posesses the skill used in my making. My left hand though is also essential, I see it as an able assistant to the skilled worker, holding threads, steadying fabric, picking up pins etc. Having said that, they are probably the most neglected part of me, constanly red and chapped and almost always sore from stabbing my fingers with needles!

I don't really have any special 'websites' that I visit regularly for inspiration. I am constantly inspired by fellow bloggers such as yourself however and spend most of my internet time looking at the work of all fantastic creative people out there. My favourite blogs are yours of course, Camilla Engman, and Karin Erikson.
Also, any time I am on the computer I always, always listen to music here,
you can call me biased, this is my son James' band, but I am endlessly inspired by his talent and always asking, where does he get it from?

All above © Karen Ruane. Photos of her work are of 'Helens Cloth'.

Read more, see more: Karen's blog contemporary embroidery

What's new?

When you think you don't mind your fabric fraying a little in the washing machine, zigzag the edges anyway. I didn't know there could be that much lint and thread balls in the world. Luckily I was generous when cutting the pieces, no harm done. But the cleaning...yew.

While I pick lint from everywhere, make some books, sew some pouches and check out new apartments (yes, we're moving too, it seems to be the way to go in the blogland), I have a special guest to keep you entertained. I've met so many people through blogs that I'm really curious about. Because I'm too shy to ask questions just for the fun of it, I made up the perfect excuse: interviews. So every once in a while there'll be a little interview with hard questions for a lovely person.

The first to be interviewed was Karen, with whom I share the love of detail, and a lot more.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Things I was doing this weekend

I've been folding and tearing these:

...selling and making these (this is a new color-combo)...

...and somewhere in between of the above things celebrating Jonimatti's (that's my husband) 24th birthday. I even bought him flowers(?). I was thinking about taking a picture of the cake I made him, but it's too late for that now. We sure can eat a lot of cake. Fast. Just the two of us.

PS. Earlier this week I was helping my mom out with her blog. I'm so proud of her. I've got a blogging mom! So go see where I inherited my hoarding problem (and other things, too)!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Zippery things

There hasn't been too much happening in here in the last couple of days. I have done lots of things, mostly invisible things inside my head, though. I think I have mentioned earlier that I'm making pouches for my shop too. Here's the first batch (to be listed on Etsy later this week). Trees and birds in two different sizes: larger ones are 7.9"x5,9" (20x15cm), smaller ones are 5.9"x5.9" (15x15cm). Made from off-white fair trade cotton, lined with vanilla colored cotton.

I'm making more pouches from colorful linens, but those I'm planning to print with my dear gocco. If you have a favorite design you'd like to see in a pouch, do leave a comment! I'm having hard time deciding between some new and old designs. There'll most likely be something new, but I don't want to let go of the old ones entirely.

I had a refreshing afternoon walk and I couldn't resist the temptation to snap a couple of photos. Not very wintery in here anymore! It felt like spring outside to be honest.

That's Paavo Nurmi Stadium near our home. Grass isn't supposed to be that green in January, not even on a stadium field.

This is a photo from the city center. The river Aura is on the left.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Jelly Belly love

I'm so glad that I put a pic of me in the last post. This must be the first time someone says I'm a cutie!
Thanks to the everyone who said nice things about me, and thanks to everyone who left the less nice things unsaid :)

What made my day today was seeing Milla again. She's back from her long, long trip to Michigan. If I were more of a sentimental person I'd tell you all how much she means to me. But I have no idea what to say. So I say only this: If I had to choose between chocolate and Jelly Belly jelly beans, I'd choose Jelly Bellys. Milla brought me so much of my favorite candy that I think I need to learn how to hug her more. I'm not particularly a hugger, but right now I'm so happy to have her back.

Two newcomers to the I need some privacy series. I realized that red is a color little outside my comfort zone but maybe that's just one more reason to make more red books.

I love the spines of coptic bound books. Maybe it's because of being able to see through the book. There's nothing hidden.

New ideas are arising. I'm trying to stay calm and do as little as I can. These can be the last moments of being free from real work.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Me and Mrs Eliot Books

Today our postman rang the doorbell when I was brushing my teeth. Francesca shipped my order on Monday from the UK and on Wednesday morning it was handed to a sleepy girl in Turku. That's something I call speedy! I had been drooling over Mrs Eliot books for months, and finally last Friday night I made up my mind on which one to buy. Together was my choice. And what a lovely book it is! It's on a special place on our living room window sill next to the hand carved pike's head we got as a wedding present. (Moi Joonas!)

This is me on my way to the post office. Usually my hair looks shorter, but now I combed it in the wrong direction. I did it for the first time yesterday and it got me so off balance I needed to try again today. I walked almost straight but I think it was because I was holding hands with dh this time. Now I'm having trouble keeping my head straight. I may be a bit obsessed in having things the way I'm used to.

Isn't it lovely that there's finally snow in here!

I need some privacy (part 4)

Here's the last one from the previous batch. I actually have two more coming, probably decorated with a single key only. Yesterday I bought some paper that proved to be pretty much useless. Now that I've gotten over the frustration I need to go get some new paper that I can use. I wish I felt a bit more creative right now. I have too many things on my mind concerning my future. I wish someone else could decide.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

I need some privacy

Three new I need some privacy journals. There's a fourth one too (blue teal linen with brown keys), but it still needs to be sewn together. These are coptic bound, linen covered and hand stenciled. There are about 72 pages of white heavyweight drawing paper. 8.4"x6"x0.8" (21,4x15,2x2,1cm)

At some stage a locked diary seems like overreacting. These books give others a kind and symbolic notice of minding their own business. I need some privacy journals can be found from Paperiaarre shop within a couple of days.

Yesterday was really windy and cold. I got a nosebleed just from breathing. It wasn't that bad, I was just happy that the winter was finally here. There's hardly any snow, but while writing this I noticed that some microscopically small snowflakes are falling.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Something completely different

I needed to get my feet up. And here they are, on the living room wall. With the socks I just finished knitting. I'm really not a knitter, but it's something I like to do a couple of times a year.

The Sock Who Loved Me Sock Yarn, in the color Leaves Not Yet, was bought from Handcraft on Etsy. 70% merino wool, 30% silk. I wish you could come and feel these babies.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

I love you, but I'm busy getting back on tracks.

So many emails and comments are waiting to be replied. Slow and sure I'll write back to you. I feel like I'm having a jet lag. Maybe it's just because I sat in a bus for five hours just the other day. My brain is still in motion.

I got some lovely things in the mail yesterday I absolutely need to share with you. So this blog entry is about lovely people with lovely talents!

Jesse sent me a piece of her beautiful block printed fabric. I must say that I like her more and more every day! Communicating with people from the other side of the world can be extremely inspirational. During the couple of months of blogging I've had the wonderful opportunity to "meet" like minded people who have really affected the way I think of myself and of my creations. Jesse was probably the first one to read my blog, and knowing that she keeps reading it means a lot to me. It's always exciting to go see what she's blogged about; you never know if it's block printing, knitting, comics or something completely different - every time it's
something fascinating.

And then there was the Beuys bunny. I never imagined that buying could be so much fun! I bought this from daskaninchen, meaning to give it to my husband as a birthday present. His birthday is on the 20th, but I got too excited to keep this a secret. Above picture can help you understand my excitement. In addition to the bunny I got a Fibonacci number brooch and a daskaninchen button/badge as a thank you from featuring the beuys bunny in one of my Etsy front page treasuries. I'm hardly ever as excited about someone's Etsy shop as I am now. Daskaninchen has so many beautiful AND interesting things, that I think you all should go there and buy her shop empty! I had lovely time communicating with Shannah over my order. The whole transaction was far beyond my high expectations! It was so heartwarming that she wrote thank you so much in Finnish to me. It's all in the details.

And I love the bunny too. I was promised that I can borrow it every once in a while.

Remember this? This one didn't arrive in the mail. Here's what my mom made for me for Christmas! She even made the Saab I liked even though she said she'd leave that out! This little quilt is embellished with beads and it's about 14.6"x13.8" (37x35cm). My mom is much better with the sewing machine than me. Well, maybe she's just been able to practice a lot longer :)

I need to sleep. Good night, sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Gocco at last!

We're finally back home. I'm still quite exhausted. I'm not a very social person and my in-laws definitely are. All went fine, but I'm really happy to be home. No matter where I go, I'd rather be home. So now you all know how boring I am! I'll try to write something that makes sense some other day. Today it's just tired ol' me.

I'm trying to remember what day it is and how to go to bed in time. Back to the basics. And back to bookbinding. This evening I folded six book blocks. Tomorrow is for designing and perhaps even some cover making. I hope to have new books here and in the shop by the end of this week.

I got so many wonderful and inspiring things in the mail today (which will be photographed tomorrow!), that I had to go and buy some fabric and paper. The fabric is lovely fair trade cotton, which hopefully will end up as pouches in my shop. My relationship with zippers is a bit difficult. Sometimes everything works out fine, sometimes I give up straight away. Maybe it's me being difficult.

Right now I have plans to make books and sew some pillows and pouches and whatever I can think of. I have also several plans considering my gocco printer, but I think I can't handle everything at once. Here are finally the results of my first gocco printing session. Both the bird and the tree are exposed on the same screen - birds were printed with black, trees with gold.

Approx. diameter 4,5 cm, printed on reddish chipboard.

Trees are about 10 cm tall, printed on brown cardboard, reddish chipboard and white papers.