Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hello Sushi!

If you like sushi and have never made it yourself up to now, I've got good news for you: It's easy!!! I had my first try at making it, inspired by beautiful pictures of bento boxes like this. (In this context I even like the Hello Kitty design!) I used a small book on sushi and improvised some of the fillings.

I made two norimaki variations (the smaller ones), one with cucumber and one with cold smoked salmon and avocado. The bigger futomaki ones are filled with japanese omelette, smoked salmon, fresh shiitake mushrooms and cucumber. As you can see, they are readily arranged with wasabi and pickled ginger.

Of course they don't look perfect, but I think pretty good for a first try! It was a lot of fun making them, and also preparing the vinegared rice (sumeshi) and japanese omelette. What I really like about this is that you don't really have to use really fancy fillings. Ok, the nori sheets, the rice and wasabi are fancy, but you can just fill your rolls with cucumber and egg and whatever else is appealing to you. In the book there were also versions with canned tuna and even frankfurters! So even though they might not be too authentic, those versions give a lot of space for experiment and catering to your own tastes! Well, I'd recommend trying it anytime!

I also found a nice page on bento boxes. This is really an amazing lunch culture, and somehow I feel that it would be nice to have lunch looking like this, for instance, every so often, even if you're eating at home. It just looks like so much fun! Well, maybe that could be my next venture into japanese food culture! :-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oil painting experiments

My first experiment with oil colours. I think for that it looks quite good. I got the inspiration from this. Of course it is nothing as beautiful as it, but one can dream, can't one? ;-)

Here is another one, I really like the effects even a beginner can achieve with oil colours. I also love the "unfinished" look. Anyway, it is a lot of fun!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

napkins and tacky crafts

Somehow I've always considered découpage with napkins utterly tacky and was almost annoyed with it at it's height of fashionability some years ago. People couldn't seem to stop themselves from covering any old thing with sticky napkins! Now I am one of these people ...

Yes, I did it ... I covered an old plastic plant pot with napkins in one of my favourite Marimekko patterns ... And I'm not even ashamed of it. I think it came out really well. Somehow looks kinda cute, doesn't it?

I got the idea from a Finnish crafts magazine (Suuri Käsityölehti, No 4 2006), which is really fun to read and always has some good ideas, but one of my favourite features is that they also publish one or two Rowan patterns in each issue. Now I only have to learn how to read Finnish knitting patterns ... ;-)

Monday, May 7, 2007

bittersweet knitting

I haven't been knitting for a long time, but long enough to understand, that it is more a "mindset" than a hobby. It gets you into a certain mood, the rythm is relaxing and exciting at the same time and it is amazing to see a ball of yarn turn into something more or less wearable. The process of knitting is so esteemed by most knitters, that some have no scruples ribbing whole sweaters and reknitting them just to get the absolute right result. I'm not that cold-blooded (yet), but this cute little ball of yarn was still yesterday my first-ever sock.

It was ok, but not really perfect, and that annoyed me so much, that I was sure I'd never be able to wear it without a nagging little voice inside my head. So, there was just one option. Starting over again.

Let's see how it turns out this time ...

(If someone cares to know, the pattern is "Spa Socks" from Knit.1, Spring 2007. The cuff with button band is knitted first and then after binding off the buttonhole part, the sock transferred to double pointed needles and joined for knitting in the round. The yarn I'm using is Novita Samos in 125.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Spring and May Day

Spring has officially arrived! May Day (or "Vappu", as it is in Finnish) is the true beginning of spring here. The weather was really sunny but chilly yesterday and several people were wearing gloves. Above you can see people wearing their student's hats and overpriced balloons for sale in the city centre.

Another proof that spring is here. This picture was taken last week and makes me feel optimistic, even in the face of the grey and rainy weather today! A good start into spring for everyone! :-)