Friday, January 31, 2014

inspired by: budgies

budgie inspiration

We had to leave our little budgie in Canada, and we miss him terribly. So it's no wonder that lately I'm drawn to all things budgie or budgie-inspired. Clockwise from top left: teal polka dotted linen pouchdiy sugar scrub cubesbudgie iphone casefree printable modern valentine cardsSKEE wicker stoolbudgie printed pillowFinalyson duvet coverbronze budgie head earringsdrop storage jaredible green glitter

Monday, January 27, 2014

diy: love lock

This year, we had our anniversary in a new country. And, after getting rid of all our possessions, I didn't really want to start collecting things again unless they were things of need or importance. So naturally, I decided that an experience or memory gift would be in order.

While doing my research on Finland, I came across this concept of love locks. I'm sure you've heard of them before, but if you haven't, the basic idea behind them is this. Couples purchase a lock on which they can engrave something personal (usually their initials and the year). They then lock the lock onto a bridge (there are a lot of acceptable bridges in many different countries and cities) and throw the key into the water symbolizing that their bond is forever and unbreakable.

I immediately thought this would be the perfect gift. What better way to commemorate both our anniversary and our move to Finland? Especially since there's a bridge in Helsinki that already has locks on it. (When we decided to put the lock on one of the bridges close to our new apartment instead, we were pleasantly surprised to find it already had a few love locks on it, so it was almost like fate!)

Since I had to carry out this craft in a country where I had no idea what stores were for what things, I had to do this kind of ghetto. So I'm giving you palsy pictures from my iphone (I couldn't charge my proper camera at the beginning because I was worried about voltage issues) and I had no supplies or knowledge of where to get anything at the time (since I actually made and gifted my lock back in December, about 2 1/2 weeks after we first landed in Helsinki).

Had we been in Canada, I would have done one thing differently. I would have spent the time and money to get the lock professionally engraved (like that super sweet pink lock above). This requires only a simple trip to a jewelry store. As it was, I did the best I could scratching in the initials myself with a screw I found in our first apartment (I told you it was ghetto!). The scratching will definitely be there long after the ink rubs off, but it's just not as nice as I would have liked it to be (although what's on the lock and how it looks is completely minor in comparison to the sentiment involved, so it really doesn't matter in the long run). But if there's one thing I would suggest you do differently from me, it would be that one step.

The rest is pretty easy and mostly for presentation.

What you need:

One padlock
nail polish (optional)
ribbon, string, or pretty washi tape (optional)

What you need to do:

Engrave or scratch you and your loved one's initials into the lock along with anything else that's significant. First date, wedding date, anniversary date, etc. Pretty much whatever floats your heart boat.

I wanted to dress the key up, so I painted it red with a little nail polish. I didn't have a single stashed craft supply save for my sharpies and my washi tape (there's no way I was going to leave those behind!), so I wrote over my scratchings with a sharpie so they'd be easier to see (for presentation) and I pushed a piece of washi tape through the key's hole as a cute fob and I put another little flag on the lock shank. This is all completely optional. Remember, you're going to be locking the padlock on a public bridge and throwing the key into the water so it's really not necessary that you dress it up. I just thought it added a little bit of romance and colour to the present rather than giving my ghetto scratched padlock on its own.

Next is completely up to you and your loved one. Pick the bridge that's significant to you and go lock it on there (don't forget to throw away the key). Tears galore!

Friday, January 24, 2014

friday fixations

{the pretty one} This movie looks so interesting (plus it has my favourite New Girl guy). I really have to remember to see it! (Yes. I forget to see movies. It's a problem.)

{procatinator} You need another silly cat website. This one pairs gifs with music and some of the outcomes are really entertaining.

{tina} I love everything about this gif of one of my favourite cartoon characters.

{mushroom soup} Specifically, this recipe. It was easy and pretty much the best homemade mushroom soup I've ever had (which is saying a lot since I've only ever had MY attempts at homemade mushroom soup).

{wide leg pants} Currently, I can only dream about fashion, but I'm starting to really get into this vibe of wearing proper pants and button down shirts (and less jeans/t-shirts uniforms). I just extra love these wide leg pants right now, but I also had a pair of skinny maternity pants I was really sad to part with when I grew too large for them.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

finnish apartment room layouts

Before we even firmly decided to move to Finland, I had decided that I was only going to shop at thrift stores and I was going to patiently bide my time and make-do with nothing until I found the right something for my new home. But now that we're here, I've changed my mind.

I don't know if any of you have ever gone from having a lot of stuff (some would say too much) to absolutely nothing, but it's hard. Every time you reach for something and it's not there, is really frustrating. It gets to the point where you've had enough of not having what you need and seeing stacks and bags of your things on the floor (that you're constantly having to rummage through like a pack rat).

So yes, we found a thrift store close to us, but it was a major let down. I was so hoping to find more old vintage-y Finnish-style things and even more helpful kitchen items -- like a cheese grater -- rather than just cast off IKEA kitchen stuff and really (really) worn and disgusting IKEA furniture. Therefore, I've come to the conclusion that if my only option is to buy junk IKEA things at the thrift stores, I might as well buy nice new IKEA things that I actually like.

Something to note is that this apartment came semi-furnished. The unfortunate part is that I'm definitely not using any of the decorations or rugs because of their colour. Almost everything is either brown, red, or orange. So despite the fact that it would be easier and cheaper to just work around these things, to me, these particular shades of red and orange are really the worst when put together.

What I am keeping includes: 

2 TROGSTA lamps, (maybe) 2 NOLMYRA chairs in black, 2 LINNMON/ADILS tables, 2 vintage or thrift club-style chairs in grey with pastel green, purple, and blue flecks (these were a major bonus since they were covered with orange blankets, I had no idea there was amazing fabric underneath until we moved in), 2 ADDE chairs in white; (maybe) 1 LACK tv unit in white, and (maybe) 2 LACK tables in black.

{living room/office}

living room

I was experimenting with more colourful pieces from IKEA and ended up with something I really truly love. It was kind of an unexpected colour palette, but I really like how bright and happy it is.

It all started with the {1} NITTORP in blue. I wanted a tv stand that wasn't particle board and I figured, "what the hell? Go with colour for once!"; And when I started considering fabric instead of premade curtain panels, {2} Malin Cirkel fabric was kind of a no-brainer. I love the ikat pattern; A quick test run of the {3} STOCKHOLM rug in yellow and the living room is all set. This picture has changed about a thousand times since I started working on it, but I think I'm finally pleased with it!

The living room is big enough to include our office space which isn't pictured because it'll just be one of the LINNMON tables plus the grey chairs as mentioned above.

{master bedroom}


In comparison to the living room, the bedroom will be a little more understated. It's better to have a more calming atmosphere where you sleep and I really wanted to be sure to get black-out curtains since this room is surrounded by street lamps.

Everything started with the bed and the bedding. I really want the {1} BEITSTAD headboard but I'm not sure about it cuz it would have to be free-standing due to the bed style. We've already got the Anno bedding from Kodin 1. I'm going european with my bedding options and using a flat bottom sheet with a duvet cover only. Like everyone, I love the {2} RÅSKOG kitchen trolly (green or grey?), and I thought it might be useful as a bedside table. It provides a lot of storage (and keeps tubes of chapstick from rolling away), though, if we can, we might use the {3} RAST dressers as side tables instead. They're so versatile that way. Should I paint them (like one of the amazing RAST makeovers out there), or leave them plain with interesting knobs? The wood isn't as yellow as I thought it was going to be, so the natural look has really grown on me these past few weeks (and maybe it's the country wearing on me, but natural wood looks surprisingly good with grey).

{baby room/dressing room}

baby room

I figure this final room is a good way to announce that I'm pregnant. I didn't really want to mention anything about it on the blog because I absolutely hate it when blogs turn mommy. But don't worry, I'm just about done cooking this turkey (2 months to go) so you're not going to have to endure any of that. This is my main reason for wanting to get things done around here as soon as possible. I'm way too exhausted, uncomfortable, and grumpy to walk my way around Helsinki trying to find things (I won't lie to you like I now think a lot of people do. Pregnancy is awful and I don't particularly want to do it again). Anyway, there shouldn't be much (if any) baby stuff showing up around here, I just loved the colour outcome in this room and had to share it with you.

This is also our dressing room because it's the only room with a closet system. It's the smaller room and it's dark and kind of depressing with only one sliver of a window and no view, so we both figure that dark is better for a newborn and (let's get serious here) what do they need a big bright, heavily windowed room for?

I found one curtain panel at the thrift store in this {1} FINLAYSON pattern (only existing in pillow form online) from Kodin 1. It was pretty much meant to be since the colours were 100% what I've been thinking about this whole time. I spotted the {2} Bellini rocking chair at Kodin 1 on sale, so I jumped at the chance to get it (it's now sold out). It looks very similar to this tutorial (which I loved and became obsessed with) and the price actually ended up being cheaper than if I did the tutorial myself (given the fact that I no longer have any tools or supplies or space or bendability anymore). And because of the lines and graphic patterns in the fabric (it's hard to tell from the photo), I really had to add black and white which is where the {3} VIRRING rug (which I wish came in a larger room size) and black and white furniture comes in.

The rooms don't look too IKEA-y, do they?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

more and less for 2014

I want to see more:

{white walls} I used to feel like white walls meant a naked boring undone space (or even worse, I felt like whoever lived there was too lazy to bother), but now the idea of clean white walls has really grown on me. They offer the perfect backdrop for any colour of furniture, textile, or artwork imaginable and allow you to change the look of your space instantly just by changing out throw pillows (for example). For the first time in my life, I'm actually rather pleased to be living in an all white apartment with an all white kitchen (especially since the white walls really reflect what little light we get!).

{geometrics} Obviously, I'm still in love with anything faceted or geometric. They're so clean and natural looking and they really fit into any space or type of decor.

{grey-based pink} This is a personal choice since I know Pantone's colour of the year was decidedly... bolder. I'm just overwhelmingly in love with this colour. I want it to be in the textiles in our apartment in large and small doses (with grey, white, and black mixed in, of course).

{copper} I like how copper isn't brass (this is still too old fashioned looking for me) and it isn't clinical stainless steel. The warm pinky hue works with pretty much everything.

{furniture transformations} Before and afters, hacks of IKEA stuff, or thrift store junk that goes from blah to stunning will always be a welcome sight. You may not do it exactly as you see in inspirational or diy tutorials (which is sort of the point, I think), but every example gives you a new way of looking at a piece you may not have seen otherwise. I also love when transformations are easy on the pocketbook.

I want to see less:

{art collage walls} Along the lines of clean white walls, I want to see less diys and inspirational posts about collaging stuff (and I'm talking about massive hoards of art taking up half or all of a wall). Having a clutter of artwork on the wall has been done to death and it's starting to look very tired and dated. This year, pick one or two special pieces to showcase (at the very least, keep your collage to 3-5 pieces) and spend less time meticulously arranging oodles of artwork on the floor.

{piñatas} I swear if I have to see one more piñata tutorial I will scream. Don't get me wrong, most of these piñatas are really pretty and amazingly well done, but the whole concept of "I spent three days making this amazingly perfect and pretty piñata just for you to whack" really kills me. (Ditto for piñata food items, too.)

{photo booth backdrops} I don't know who's having all the parties to necessitate the photo booth backdrop tutorial a week, but it's certainly not me. I don't really need to see another example of how polka dots (or anything else for that matter) were added to a canvas or backboard, and I extra don't need to see examples of the photos that were taken (person in front of polka dots. That completely matched my expectations).

{instagram anything outside of instagram: photo walls, magnets, marshmallows, etc.} I know, we all love Instagram (me included), but they're really just tiny squared pictures. There's nothing super special or new about them. And who really wants to eat their photos, anyway? So let's just keep Instagramming to the online world and leave everything else alone.

{garlands} I liked these, too, the first couple times I saw them, but last year (and probably halfway out of the year before), I just kept hoping the posts on these would end. We really don't need another tutorial on how to string things in a straight line. Pick a thing, put it on a string. There. I diy'd all the garland tutorials for you this year. So next time you think, "Hey, how do I make a garland out of these pompoms?" You should just remind yourself that you CAN do it without reading a thousand blog posts on it. You are capable and smart enough to thread things on a string without detailed instructions, despite what the crafting community continues to tell you.

{inspirational quotes} Please please no more quotes! I liked the few well-done ones when they first came out but now they're everywhere. I can't go anywhere on the internet without stumbling on another inspirational quote poster or picture or wall sticker or suggestion to follow the wise words of such and such inspirational quote. Now my eyes just glaze over when I see them, and I don't even read them anymore. The inspiration is gone and in its place is apathy.

Those have been my likes and gripes for the last year (and beyond). Do you have anything you'd like to add? Is there any particular craft or diy that you'd like to see more or less of in 2014?

Friday, January 10, 2014

friday fixations: free printable calendars

free printable calendars

Still haven't found a calendar you like? Why not print your own? 
From top left, clockwise: wrap around calendarmood calendarjanuary calendar (including desktop, phone and tablet options. Also I would be surprised if she didn't post a full series of these over the year), year of colour calendarpatterned calendarfull year calendar

Not pictured: sweet new year calendarfull year gemstone calendardiy linen calendarpolka dotted calendar, floral calendar (also with desktop option), extremely minimal calendarpretty patterned calendarglitter calendar

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

january desktop

Hi! Happy new year! Sorry for the delay on getting this out to you. We were moving (again) from our temporary apartment to a permanent place. We've done so much moving in the span of one month!

This comes from a picture I took on Instagram of the dining room in the temporary apartment. I love how that picture turned out. I kept staring at it lovingly, so when it came time to figure something out for this month's desktop, no other picture would do. I recreated it artistically since Instagram pics don't lend themselves very well to resizing, but you can see the original here.