Very blue - Päijänne

An unexpected break from my newly established frequent blogging routine occured when I jumped in the car with my parents after they visited me so I could pay them an unplanned visit in return of their well-planned one, and my absence from the online world got prolonged a bit. My father took us home via a scenic route along the Lake Päijänne and we got to enjoy perfect Finnish summer scenery from the comfort of an airconditioned car (the heatwave is simply dreadful; I'm not built for temperatures exceeding +23C, let alone +30). I'm not great at taking landscape photos from a moving vehicle, so I didn't even bother trying and I can only share these photos I took when we stopped to stretch our legs a bit. Lovely, isn't it?

My parents brought us extra shelves for our bookshelf. I managed to fit in 8,8 meters of them and immediately filled well over 7m of them with books and movies that were previously double-shelved, stacked and/or in hiding. I have a feeling we'll have trouble making it into 2015 without running out of space, again. Our trip to London doesn't help as we tend to return from there with masses of books every time.

I'll get back to sharing my assemblages in a day or two. Meanwhile you might enjoy the photos my mother took of the crafty part of Jyväskylä while visiting me.

not only baggage

"It doesn't matter where you go you always bring your self ", Liesan commented on my last post here. It is true. It's a bad thing, and a good thing. Sometimes I manage to bring with me only myself and leave worries behind (like whenever I go to London), but I guess it would be too good to be true to be able to escape worries and unfinished matters at home too. I'm the princess with a pea under her huge pile of mattresses, whenever there's something wrong it keeps on gnawing on my nerves. If I could change one thing about myself, I'd choose to care a little less. Until such possibility comes upon me, I try to enjoy the beautiful sheets meant for my mattress tower. I hung the lacey vintage bedsheets as curtains to our bedroom window, craving for something white to counterbalance the overwhelming blueness of the walls and wanting to not forget things to the back of some cupboard.

When I make myself at home somewhere, I don't only bring my baggage, I bring loads of other things too. I bring an entire history of crafty women with me. Like I've told you before, my mother makes all sorts of things by hand, quilts mostly nowadays, and her mother seems to have tried her hand at more crafts than what now comes to mind, my great grandmother and her sister Saima were quite talented too. Since my family rarely throws anything away, loads of unfinished craft projects have survived for what to me seems like a century (and I may not be off much) and a ton of fabrics, trims and buttons from Saima's days that previously filled my grandmother's sewing room now fills my mother's and seeps into my possession as well. Inspired by a small stack of the most beautiful white vintage linen remnants my mother sent me I made a tiny collection of books I came to refer as the Saima books inside my head. I've never met Saima, I've only heard some stories of her, seen photos of her (go spy Emil's if you're interested in her unbelievably beautiful-looking life in the early decades of the 1900's), but all that has contributed to an imaginary Saima of my own. In the Saima books I used some of the vintage linens, some new fabrics that complemented the colour palette I had in mind, some antique laces that have been passed on to me ages ago (sometimes you have to use even the most treasured materials when the right project comes along) and a whole bunch of vintage mother of pearl buttons. I wanted to add a bit of that nowadays otherwordly decadence to my notebooks, turn them into something really one of a kind. Hopefully people treasure all the notebooks I've made for them, but this small stack is super special, to me at least. That's probably why it felt so good to make. I do not only carry baggage with me, but real treasures too. I'll show you more in the days to come and will list these on Etsy eventually.

The ring story

I promised you the ring story a good while ago, and here it comes: Way back (like, several years ago) when I was getting married, I said to J that I would like to have a silver ring with a mother-of-pearl inlay. He asked around and no one agreed to make us one, and I think someone actually said it couldn't be done. So J got me another kind of ring and we got married and then three years later divorced. (He's still an amazing guy and a good friend, so I guess I didn't break his heart too badly.) After living on my own for a while I met V and told him straight that I'm not planning to get married again, at least not any time soon. We've been traveling back and forth between cities, missed each other, enjoyed the time alone... You get the picture. Now I'm moving in with him and saying bye bye to my noisy home high up above the parking lot and hello to his sweet first-floor cave by the park and everything feels right. And I'm still not planning to get married. But when I found my ring on Etsy, made by the incredibly talented and sweet Meital, I knew it was made for me. I told V I would marry myself with that ring just because I can't divorce myself and damn that ring was perfect for me. So, I got married with myself at Bossaliina while eating tasty tomato soup and chatting with a strange lady who soon noticed the lack of the local dialect in my speech and etc.... An end of an era, somehow. It didn't feel like I finally got the wedding ring I was supposed to have before, it felt like finally having something I should've had ages ago. And it was just too good to be a simple coincidence, Meital said the ring had been waiting for me for a year in her shop. 
I only wear silver, never gold. I've always loved mother-of-pearl; now it reminds me of my mother and her mother (who says "pärlemor" in Swedish) and all the women in my family line (like Saima, of whom I often write about). Already as a child I played with mother-of-pearl buttons and buckles that had been passed through at least a couple of generations, and I still play with the same things, and I gather a collection around them so that when I'm gone there will be something beautiful left behind. I like how seeing the ring makes me think of happy thoughts. One edge of the mother-of-pearl inlay has a pattern like tears; this is me, happy and crying. And this is me and my family. And this is me, whom I cannot leave.
The ladies in the photos are not my family, but they do look strangely familiar. I was going through every antique shop in Turku with V when he got an interview request and all of a sudden I needed to become a newspaper photographer so that the interview and book critique could be accompanied by an artsy poet photo. The photos were my reward for the job. I love picking out my favourite girls from huge stacks of cabinet portraits, there's something magical in it. I tend to choose women who look alike, men who look either handsome or quirky or boys who look simply awkward. Young girls aren't that interesting for some reason, maybe it's because they're often so doll-like and it's hard to imagine what they were like in real life. I do like imagining.
I might just as well tell you another story now that I'm on a roll, I promise I won't stay this wordy in the future. When I started studying English at the age of 9 everyone in the class was given an English name that was somehow alike their Finnish name. So my English class name was Kate. And somewhere up north from where I lived there was this guy who was named William in his class. Next week we happen to be in town when the other William and Kate are having their little party. I swear it's a coincidence! I had no idea until just a couple of days ago, I'm so off the map with what's going on in the world. Like Easter and May Day and all the other stuff that happens every years.
That's all for now.
Yours truly,
Sleepless in Finland