Lilacs – delicate richness around the corner

One of the wonderful moments of summer is that there are flowers all around. If it was possible I’d have fresh flowers on my table everyday but in the end that can end up being quite expensive. Luckly during the summer you can use the wilderness around us.

In the beginning of the summer the lilacs are in bloom. These beautiful flowers are one of my favorites and they can easily be found here. They are so popular that it can be found usually even growing wild.

Lilac Lilac

I picked up a whole branch of the lilacs on my way home from a bush that was growing wild next to our house.

LilacLilac

Oh I could so see these being used in a wedding as well. What and easy, cheap way to get fantastic looking flowers for a wedding. The color range is also great ranging from white to dark purple and pink. I used mostly wild flowers in my wedding and combined them with flowers that I bought from wholesale. Saved money by this way.

Lilac LilacBrighten up your weekend by taking a walk outside and finding beautiful flowers. No need for flower shops always.

– Alina

 

 

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Products products

So I’ve decided to take part in Sepänmäen museum market again this year in Hirvihaara, Mäntsälä. It was a fun market last year and the surroundings are lovely. Last year we had over 1300 people visit the market so it seems to be popular. So this of course means that I have to come up with something to sell once again.

I do have some ready already but I also want something new on the table. This year I will at least add these to the product list.

Leather braceletLeather bracelet Leather bracelet Leather bracelet Leather bracelet Leather bracelet Leather braceletLeather braceletLeather bracelet

These bracelets I have made using 3mm and 2mm leather cord and natural color. I prefer this leather the most since I love the natural feel of it. The cords that have been dyed are slippery and have a wax like feeling and look to them.

Leather bracelet

I will still make more of these. I’ll try to create some white and black ones as well.

– Alina

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Rich tomato soup

How can you brings some richness into soup without using cream? Easy, with dried bread.

We eat a lot of bread at home and sometimes breads just dry out and I really don’t want to throw them away. It hasn’t gone bad, just really dry. You could make bread crumbs from them but this time I decided to go for a soup.

Tomato soup

I let the bread soak in the tomato mash over night and in the morning it was all very easy to mash. I wanted to puree the soup so I also put it through a sieve to make it silky smooth. This takes a bit of time but I think it is worth it. I also added some herbs from the garden, salt, sugar and black pepper. I also cut up some chorizio and fried them on the pan until they were crispy. I loved the combo of the sweet tomato soup and the very salty chorizo.

Tomato soup

We had eaten some asparagus the day before and luckly we hadn’t been able eat them all. Asparagus time has now passed but with a bit of luck you might be able to still find some good ones.  Asparagus

 

Have great week everyone! Let’s see what’s next on the menu.

– Alina

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All it needs are stones

I won’t go into a speech about these necklaces since in all you need are the pictures really. I guess in this case you could say it is all about the stones. There are no special little details. Most stones by themselves are beautiful. No words needed.

So first we have is a faceted agate stone necklace with sterling silver.

Agate stone necklace Agate stone necklaceAgate stone necklace

 

This necklace consists of agate stone, carnelia and different colored jades.

Jade, carnelian and agate neckalceJade, carnelian and agate neckalce

This piece is created using faceted  14 mm dyed jade. The lock has also been handmade from 2 mm sterling silver wire.

Large faceted jade necklaceLarge faceted jade necklaceLarge faceted jade necklace

This necklace is made using ametrine stones which shift colors from dark purple to yellow. The charms are sterling silver.

Ametrine necklaceAmetrine necklaceAmetrine necklace

This necklace had been made from dark purple/red dyed jade. The stones are 10 mm and faceted. The findings are sterling silver.

Dyed jadeDyed jadeDyed jade

In this piece I used sterling silver and 10 mm crystal quartz. The large jump rings are handmade using 2 mm sterling silver.

Crystal quartz necklace Crystal quartz necklace Crystal quartz necklaceThat’s it for today. I actually got a lot done this weekend but this post would have just been too long . I’ll get them for you soon here. Have a great week.

– Alina

 

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Summer is close

Summer is around the corner. Some would probably say it is already here but I would say it isn’t warm enough yet. I did some gardening during the weekend and I planted some zucchinis, cucumbers, beans, salads etc. I don’t’ actually seem to remember what I put in the ground.

gardeningThe first plants that do delight us is my ultimate favorite is the rhubarb. Of course I could not keep my hands of it as the first stems started growing and I made a lovely pie from these. The pie consist of a cardamom  pastry cream like filling that was held together with gelatine. Oh so good!

Rhubarb pie

The great thing about making this sort of pie was that the only thing that you had to bake was the pie dough. I used a ready made dough so it was real quick and easy. After that I made the filling and put the rhubarb (that I had lightly cooked in sugar)
Rhubarb pie

Grilling also is a mandatory must when it comes to summer. It has been quite chilly as I said before but we decided to grill anyway. The chicken legs were grilled on a open fire which gave a lovely charcoal color to them and made then absolutely delicious. After taking them off the grill we addedWe also grilled some mushrooms that had a pesto and cream cheese filling and were wrapped in bacon stripes.

GrillingBut I’m off to the cottage again. Hope I can write soon. This is the busy season with all things ending before the holidays.

– Alina

 

 

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The wonderfully smelly treat from France

Last weekend I flew off to Paris for a girls long weekend. Ah…what a city. I surely will go there again someday. I loved the atmosphere, the food, the people and the wine.

Of course I could not come back empty handed. The main thing was to get the girls something nice to bring back. I decided to visit the Disney Store and bought them Frozen wallets. The store was absolutely packed with people and I was glad I did not have the girls with me. It was even a struggle for me.

For the adults it’s always harder to buy something. I felt like candy from the airport was just a waist of money and even though I do love a glass of red wine during the weekends I was not going buy wine. I decided to buy cheese. Food is never a bad idea!

CamembertSo if you are not familiar with Camembert cheese than you are in for a surprise. The cheese is delicious but smelly. Especially when the cheese gets a big warm it smells a lot. So we did literally smell on the airplain back home. But when I got home I didn’t just let anyone eat the cheeses straight away. they first needed a trick.

Open the wooden box and take the wrapping off the cheese. Cut off the hat off the cheese.

camembert cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 180 celsius. Put the cheeses back into the wooden boxes. Then chop some garlic and cover the top of the cheese (the one without the hat). Also add some fresh rosemary. I was so happy that I actually had the chance to use my own rosemary for the first time from my own garden. Makes it always a bit more special. And then a splash of good olive oil on top.

Camembert cheese

 

Let the cheese melt in the oven. I had to take them out before 10 minutes were due and they were still a bit hard on the inside. The warm the up quickly is to pop them into the microwave. Did not harm them at all.

Melted camembert cheese

 

Then it was just time to take out the baguette and start dipping.

Camembert cheese

Trust me this was the perfect evening snack. The whole family gathered for this and it lasted very well amazingly for 4 adults and two kids.  Try it. There isn’t a easier treat!

Have a great weekend everyone!

– Alina

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DYI with the Kids: Soft Necklace

Since I do have a craft room full of things that I probably am not even aware of anymore I sometimes surprise myself delightfully with something that I find.

So these little fluffy balls popped up in a basket I had at the back of the shelf….

Fluffy balls

So the girls studied these for sometime while admiring their softness and colors. At some point it all got a little too out of hand and we had to have a search and rescue mission to save the balls all from disappearing. After the balls had been gathered once again into the basket we got down to business.

Making a necklace

1. Tie a knot to a jump ring.
2. String the soft balls.
3. Tie the second jump ring at the end of the balls.

Making a soft necklaceMaking a soft necklace

4. Tie a string to the jump rings. Remember to make sure to make it large enough.

Making a soft necklace

 

5. And you are done! Easy as that.

Making a soft necklace

This was a fun little craft moment for the kids. Especially my eldest liked it since she was given permission to use the needle which always needs a bit of patient and help at the start. Patients is a virtue they say and this is an important thing for all parents to remember.

I do believe that giving your children the opportunity to try new things is vital. That is the only way they will be able to master the skills. Let them sew, climb trees. jump, sing, ride a bike….the list goes on.

And have a craft moment.

– Alina

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Make my wrists beautiful

I love bracelets.  I could make them all day long. Here is a little peek into what I have done.

BraceletThis bracelet is made of these absolutely beautiful agate stones. The stones are 8 mm large and faceted. I also used sterling silver this time.

BraceletBracelet

This bracelet is also made of agate stone and faceted. This is a good example when you compare this to the first bracelet since both of them are made of the same stone. Agate can be found in large variety of colors and shapes. A great stones! This bracelet is also made using sterling silver. The large 12 mm ring with two twisted wires I did myself. I love to make them but it is a very time consuming process that isn’t easy to do with little kids.

BraceletBracelet
Bracelet

In this bracelet I used 1 mm leather cord and smoky quartz, green freshwater pearls, pyrite and charms. I really like the owl charm and I truly think that one cannot have too many charms. It is a fun way to express your ideas and thoughts.

Bracelet

This bracelet is made using red 10 mm coral stones. The great thing about coral is that even though it has been polished to a nice smooth round shape it still has little flaws. This makes it much more interesting. I also used sterling silver in this piece.

BraceletBraceletI used Picasso Jasper stones in this bracelet. The stone is quite beautiful with it’s soft earthly colors. I used sterling silver in this one.

Bracelet Bracelet

In this bralclet I used faceted botswana agate. The stones are quite big measuring from 10 to 14 mm. Once again I used sterling silver in this.

BraceletBraceletThat’s it for today. I just got back from my oh so wonderful trip from Paris and therefore it’s been quiet here. No worries I have not forgotten you readers.

– Alina

 

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May is here

We celebrate Spring in a big way here in Finland. The party starts on the 30th April and ends in the evening of 1st May. We call this Vappu which in english is May Day. It has become a celebration that brings together all ages. If you do happen to plan a trip here, you will surely have fun if you end up visiting us during these two days.

We have certain treats that are a mandatory part of the May Day celebrations and one is doughnuts. I think in the end we bought around 25 doughnuts.

doughnutThe other mandatory part of May Day is on the liquid side. You must have a embarrassing amount of sparkling wine and also the traditional ‘sima’ which is produced  like ginger beer. Underneath you can see a bottle of this sima. We ended up making 16 litres of sima so we’re actually still drinking it. The white hat also plays a important role since it is recieved after you gradute from high school and it is worn through out the May day celebrations.

Sima and sparkling wine

I also thought that I would make something new. Well I guess it really isn’t a new thing but I knew we hadn’t eaten during May Day. I decided to make a stuffed bread. The idea of this that you have a large bread that you can stuff with pretty much anything. I did a vegetable version since I knew that the May Day buffets, brunches etc. would all include a large amount of sausages .

Stuffed bread

This is what I put in:fresh spinach, basil, rocket, tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, red onion and dijon mustard.

Ingrdients

After covering the bottom of the bread with dijon mustard I just started adding the ingredients. Here is a little peep into the making of the bread.

Stuffing of the bread Stuffing of the bread Stuffing of the breadStuffing of the breadStuffing of the breadStuffing of the bread

After the you have put the bread’s hat on wrap the bread tightly in foil and put something heavy on top. The weight must be around 2 kg at least for it to make a difference. This will help the bread to become compact before eating.

Let the bread sit for a while

You can let the bread sit in the warm for 4 hours or put into the fridge over night. You can then eat it cold or put it in the oven for 15 minutes. I tasted it both ways and I preferred the warm version.Inside of the stuffed bread

 

After May Day had been celebrated it was time to put down the hat and have a last glass of sparkling wine while going through the photos taken during the parties.

Buddha got the hat

Sparkling wine

Have a great day everyone!

– Alina

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Peas, pasta and bacon

Oh it actually doesn’t have to taste good. Just looking at the colors is enough. This pasta is oh so simple but actually I loved it. The idea of making a pesto like mixture from peas and all sorts of fresh herbs is great and it brought the basic pasta to another level with the interesting vibrant color it turn it into as well as the little extra texture it brought to it.

Pea pesto pasta and bacon

 

If you aren’t a fan of peas don’t worry. The crispy bacon and parmesan slices on top does help to make this pasta scrumptious.

RECIPE

400g pasta
170 g bacon

Pea pesto

200 g frozen peas
1-2 dl of fresh basil
1/2 dl grated parmesan
1 table spoon oil
2 table spoon lemon juice
1/2 tea spoon salt
black pepper
1 garlic clove
1/2 dl water where the pasta was cooked

Citrus oil

1/2 dl oil
2 table spoon lemon juice
1 lemon’s zest as slices
1/2 tea spoon sugar
pinch of salt

In addition
Slices of parmesan

  1. Puree the thawed peas, basil leaves, parmesan grate, oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Add the garlic clove. If the puree is too thick you can use the pasta water to dilute it. Remember to keep tasting all the time.
  2. Bake the bacon strips crispy under low heat.
  3. Cook the pasta.At the same time mix the citrus oil ingredients together.
  4. After the pasta has been cooked and drained add the citrus oil to it. Add the pea pesto and the bacon strips. Then add the parmesan slices.

That’s it. enjoy! Have a great weekend everyone. We’re off to the cabin to enjoy the spring!

– Alina

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