God Jul to you

The illness of the week is eye inflammation. Big E just got rid of her one week long fever (still coughing though) when little e started looking odd. This Autumn has been crazy! I have given up on getting any more work done before Christmas, I'm too used to peace and quiet when I create. We have made some Christmas gifts, which I can't show you yet :) I also managed to bake gingerbread with the two E's last Saturday and even put together this Moomin-house, which is still standing! We also brought out the boxes with Christmas decorations and I was reminded of the fact that children are maximalists when it comes to decorating. The longer I have kids, the more drawn I am to clean white spaces myself...

I am wishing you all a relaxing, joyful, white (if at all possible) and jolly Christmas with your loved ones! It has been a joy to spend this year with you! I will now try to "recharge my batteries" and will be back in 2009 for a fresh start! Happy New Year!



Craft fair rained away and a happy winner

Gamla stortorget i Åbo, originally uploaded by -syko-.

Turned out I chose a pretty crappy weekend for this outdoor craft fair :( Saturday was really low sales and I came home with a fever, Sunday was spent at the fair, in the rain with a fever. Blaaah. An experience I could have lived without. At least I had the best company I could wish for (see pic)! The Christmas market is held every weekend in December on the Old Great Square here in town, I love the atmosphere so I have attended a few years now, but I think this was my last, many people come there just to get that special Christmas spirit or just to walk the dog and not really to buy anything, and I need my sales :) I am very much looking forward to the INDOOR fair in Helsinki next week (Kvinnornas julmässa/Naisten joulumessut).

And then to the winner of the magazine, chosen by a random number machine on-line out of 62 submissions(!) is Isabel f.!!! I am so happy that the machine picked you! Take a look at isabel's beautiful houses over at flickr! Thank you all for sharing your craft projects this Christmas! I am so sorry that I did not respond personally to all of you! I am looking forward to making Christmas presents together with Big E when I come home from Helsinki, but I will have to wait until after Christmas to talk about these projects....


Winter wonderland and a magazine to give away

I'm here again! I felt an urge to tell the world about this view outside my window! We woke up to winter wonderland this morning, the kids have probably never got into their clothes so fast before! Please Santa, or whoever decides about these matters, let us have a white Christmas and winter this year! The last winters have been awfully wet and grey, let this stay! By the way, did you now that Santa Claus lives up in Finnish Lapland? They fly in hoards of tourists every year that want to deliver their wish lists personally. I uploaded more pictures from my wonderland walk on flickr, if you want to see more snow.

So this means I'm officially out of the Christmas closet, what can be better than serious Christmas crafting to the tones of The most relaxing Christmas album in the world...ever! with the view above outside the window! In the evening I enjoy a cup of glögg while stuffing tomte limbs in candle light. Everything to make working at night more joyful.

Last but not least this magazine with my tomte sitting on the cover came in the mail today :) I've got two issues of it so I thought I'd give one away to one of you. Just leave a comment here telling me about one of your Christmas projects and I'll draw a winner early next week.


Shop Local Scandinavia

Shop Local Scandinavia on Etsy, originally uploaded by -syko-.

This is one of many reasons it's been so quiet here on the blog lately. I was asked to make a "Shop Local Scandinavia"-guide for the Storque, which is the Etsy blog. Click here to meet some great crafters from all over Scandinavia! The bags under my eyes tell the story about how many tomte people I have created during the last month. I have two craft shows coming up, the first one in two weeks and I've still got lots to do. Next year I will have to hire someone to help me cope with everything! I am also supposed to make a pattern for a book, a nice swap parcel and a few other things... I guess all this means my business is growing :) Which is a good thing, right?

For those of you who are in Finland - please check out my web site for information on where to find my Christmas stuff for sale.

More news soon! Hope you are all well! We've been coughing for a couple of weeks now :(


I'm too old to be young

I am so tired. I got to spend the day out with good friends on Friday which meant I did not get much sleep and the two hour drive back home in the dark yesterday was exhausting! Turning 32 is hard work :) What is a joy is that I picked up the new Christmas cards from my brother while in Helsinki, so here they are! I've kept a few of the designs from last year that I showed in my last post, but printed them on quality paper this time.

And there is more good news, since the dollar seems to be recovering (or is it the Euro going down) I have reduced the price on all printed products in my shop, the price for shipping is also lower since today!

*edit* Turned out I have a fever, so I'm off to bed hoping to feel a little younger tomorrow. Good night everyone!


Cards on sale

I will receive my new holiday card collection any day now, so exciting! Therefore I have decided to sell the ones I've got left from last year on sale. The cards have actually never been on sale in my Etsy shop before :) The card stock we used for these is plain, not the one with structure I prefer. Be quick if you want a bargain or stay tuned if you want to see the brand new ones. The cat and pig will be amongst them, they said they could stand one more celebration (I still think they look a little grumpy). My new banner is a sneak peek of what there is to come...

And for those of you who think I should shut up about Christmas already I will refer to the long shipping times close to Christmas. I'd rather be out early than to late ;-)


Features and Factory work

A few notes about what's been going on in my crafty life this week:
My road cushion was featured in Koti ja Keittiö 11/2008! This is actually the only home deco mag I order so it was a very pleasant surprise to open it at my lunch break yesterday just to find this beautiful picture! And as if that wasn't enough my friend also spotted my house card in Glorian koti recently.

This is one of 60 fairy-angels I started making yesterday. I quite enjoy working like a little factory sometimes and along the way I still come up with new embellishments for the dresses so there is some room to be creative anyway! The one on the picture is decorated with a piece of a handmade lace cloth, one of my thriftstore finds. Talking about secondhand shopping I realise that the vintage polkadot ribbon is a find by my sister and the seashell button comes from the treasure box I got from a fleamarket in Zürich, Switzerland where my sweet sister lives. She gifted me with more treaures when she visited last week. I also got a pair of zig-zag scissors as on early birthday gift. Got to show them off soon, they are sooo great!

Verner, Alfred and Melker are already on their ways to their new homes in Germany and the US, so exciting! This is Lars, a new member of the tomte family. As soon as I get more stuffing the family will continue growing. I have six fellows looking at me from the shelf right now, I wonder what they are up to during night time....
These are the fabric squares I sent in Chickpeas's Spare Change Swap. Click on the picture if you want some information about the manufacturers! I can't wait to see what I receive! I've seen some pretty awesome fabrics in the flickr pool.


Tomte 2008

The children have been on holiday since Thursday and my attempt not to work has not worked very well, I've spent far to much time by the sewing machine. We did however visit the old castle and the art museum here in town, which was very nice, so I haven't neglected my family totally. At the art museum I discovered a local artist, Teija Lehto. I love how she pictures everyday scenes in her woodcuts. I couldn't find my favourite pieces online, but I did find a few that I think are representative for her work. Here is a kitchen mess, and another messy kitchen scene :)

What makes it hard to take it easy is the long to-do-list that I have in the back of my head. I need to stock up for Christmas and have a bunch of orders to take care of. So I need my time in the studio! I got a call from a home decor magazine a few days ago, they wanted me to send over some stuff for a photo shoot for their Christmas issue, very exciting and on very short notice! I have had so fun combining fabrics for the new tomte* collection! Since the fairies have girls names I decided these will be boys! Names is one of my "hobbies" so I enjoy naming my tomtar very much! I just love browsing though the name book. Some names I love so much that at times I think we will have to get another baby just to get use for them. Not a very good reason to get children, I know... I will be listing tomtar in the shop over the coming week(s). More fairies are on the go too. And a holiday edition of house ornaments! Oh, and the feet you see above belong to Melker!

*gnome, elf, Santa's little helper...


Beware! I'm talking about Christmas!

Sometimes it is good to be early. These retro Christmas cloths will become the 2008 tomte collection. I bought them on sale in a thriftstore right after Christmas last year, darn cheap. I can't wait to start cutting in them! I know they are really cool as tablecloths, but they are a bit too much for me, so I'd rather make something fresh and new out of them. I am especially fond of the one on the right, the colours and patterns are just amazing! I have also finished my last Christmas cards today so now they are off to the printers. Hope they end up nice, it is always as exciting!

I think one of the advantages with having a craft business is that it is ok to start early with the Christmas crafts, I love it!


Interactive project stage 6

I started an Interactive blog project in July 07 and it is still going on, even if the progress is slow. However I decided not to apologise for being so slow, my intention was never to compete with McDonalds :) The winning suggestion for the sixth round was given by seemownay, she said (back in February): I would love to see a blooming meadow. Today was the day to follow through with the assignment. Hope you like it! Here comes the rules if you want to join in for round 7/10:

I will:
1. wait until I have got (at least) ten suggestions for the next motive
2. draw one of them
3. do my best to do as you wish using fabric and thread (and buttons?)
4. go through 10 stages
5. draw a winner among all the people who has come with one of the ten first suggestions at any stage. This person will win the finished piece of art work.

Feel free to join in! You can see the whole process in my flickr. To be continued....



Today this happy little girl has accompanied me in the studio. The fever from yesterday seems to have rained away (it's pouring down outside). She decided to get out of bed, peeked in and said: "I quite like sewing." And we came to the conclusion that her Barbies were in desperate need of new pillows. She wanted to make them out of felt. And I helped her with a little appliqué, a heart for her and a star for him. I just love the windows in their bedroom :) I made the bed from foam plastic and wire a year back. The Barbies do have a quilt too. I made that for my little sister some 15 years ago. It might have been my first quilt!

Talking about kids I have totally forgotten to share the great news that some of my stuff is now available at:
Craftsbury Kids is an on-line shop specialising in handcrafted products for children made by independent artists. The selection of items is beautiful and the mission is just great! Read more about Cecilia and her shop here. On of my dino cushions will be up for sale later today :)


Yesterday and today

Yesterday I finished a secret quilt project, therefore the quilter's thumb above. I also got my new printer/scanner/all round machine so I will be able to do something about my pattern making plans. But it might take some time. It usually does. But I'm excited anyway :) Even if the machine is huuuge.Today I had to take a break between my custom orders so I designed this bird key fob. My key fob just broke (again), so I decided to invent something more durable. I used natural linen for the front piece with the appliqued bird and a patterned fabric for the back. I put some reflective tape in the side so it can be hanged as a charm on a bag as well. This black bird is in the shop, but there are more on their way. I kept a pink one for myself.

I just found a fantastic blog, BloesemKid's open house. Irene knocks on different artist's doors and lets them tell about themselves and their homes, there are so many lovely creative homes presented! Many of them are small, but still full of life and smart ideas! I got so inspired to do something about our home! And I will definitely buy that polka dot tea set for little E for his birthday next week (very important note to myself)...


Crows, roads and leaves

My mum, Agneta Wikman, has opened up her own etsy shop! I have tried to persuade her to do it for a long time, and yesterday was the day! It's all about this crow with a lot of personality. The crow experiences things that are very typical for people in my family, but they have proved to be very universal :) This is my sister, my dad, me... I'm sure you will find one that reminds you of someone, or reminds you of you. You can buy the crows as postcards or art prints and you should be able to pick as many cards as you like to the same postage cost. There is 19 different motives. The crow above arrived together with a great (x2) cap for my birthday last year. Please take a look at mamma's shop and welcome her by giving her an etsy heart!

I've been working on a theme that has been dear to me since I was about five, I think (I admit having a 20 years break in between). I loved drawing cities with roads and houses and trees and when I do it today I feel I can still somehow connect with the thoughts that little girl had when she was imagining her city. This is the first road cushion I've finished, I have two more on the go. It is in the shop and sold with an insert this time. I am working on some more cushions with a rectangular shape and more "grown-up" themes. Even if I think this linen cushion would look as great on the living room sofa as in the kid's corners.

We've had some really nice sunny, but crisp Autumn days the last two weeks. We went for a walk yesterday and I had to run back home to fetch my camera, the colours were too gorgeous not to document! I hope the sun shines where you are!


And the winners are...

I must say I am quite overwhelmed by the interest in my give away. I got 77! responds to the post, so I have decided to send three little surprise packages to these lucky winners: jacquie, kristin and kristen mary! You will get an e-mail from me very soon!

I would also like to thank all of you for your kind words on my sad post yesterday. Hugs to everyone! I am sorry that I haven't been able to get back to all of you personally on the last posts, I can assure you that I appreciate all comments and read them all!
The shop has been updated with house brooches and the home cushion cover above. I will be making more cushions soon, but I'm waiting for my fills to arrive from the factory. Many customers want to buy a fill for their cushion cover so I thought it best to stock up with some. I want the covers to fit perfectly so I won't start cutting til I have them at hand. The home cushion is supposed to be part of the word series :)

Some of the fairy-angels left from the show have also moved to the shop. Dagny, Hilda and Agda are lying next to me very excited inside their envelopes waiting to fly to their new homes in France and Australia :)



The fair was a success, I sold well, people were happy and it was not raining. The rain is in my heart today. A friend of mine has passed away. She died from cancer at the age of 31. Her girl just turned three. It is all too sad and unfair. This is how she chose to announce her departure in the paper, I think it's beautiful:

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away
into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.

Henry Scott Holland


Post 170 and a cushion

This is post 170, I had to check! The 169th post give away is still going on, so scratch down a comment after my previous post if you want to be in the draw for a little something made by me! It is so nice to see that so many people find there way to this blog and take the time to read about my doings! You have time the whole weekend! I will spend my weekend at Aura Street Market, which is a new event here in town, I am crossing my fingers that it will be a success. This town has a lot of events that emphasizes the local history, but we need something to bring us forwards too! I find a lot of inspiration in stuff from old times, I especially love textiles with a history. I decided to study Ethnology at the university much because of my love to old textiles, I was obsessed with knitting at the time. What I didn't understand back then was that I am more interested in creating and finding inspiration in old crafts than preserving and working in a museum. And all this I am telling you just because I wanted to show you this cushion I made for the fair at the museum last week. I used a beautiful thrifted embroidered table cloth (with coffee stains and holes in it) and linen. I think the English version of the expression on the cushion would be: Things used to be so much better... A little self-irony here :) More pics on flickr.

Happy weekend everyone!


Another inspiring trip

I have been away again. We have visited Äppelviken (The Apple Bay), the place where we are going to spend our future Summers. It is also dad's hobby and passion. This is Villa Agnes, built by him on a big stone. The Swiss flag was hanged to greet my sister and her boyfriend when they came over from Switzerland this Summer :) The plan for next Summer is to move an old log house there, which will become our Summer house. My dad bought this piece of land two years ago (or is it three already) and he and mum have worked really hard to make it an oasis for the whole family. They were planning to build a new house, but got the offer to save an old house instead, which thrills the Ethnologist in me, of course :)
This is little e tasting the harvest. The sweetest carrots ever! Which reminded me of a carrot pouch I made a long time ago.
Sunday was spent at the Autumn fair at the outdoor museum Stundars. On the picture I'm posing with Ms Hedgehog, an American quilt blogger who happens to live in Vaasa (the town where my parents live). I was so happy when she showed up, I have been waiting for one of my blog contacts to turn up, we had a very nice chat!

We had the best sunny weather so I very much enjoyed myself chatting away with happy people. I particularly remember a lady in her 60's who stopped at my stand and looked at everything and said that " I wouldn't know what to do with all this stuff, but this is CREATIVITY".
Talking about creativity - on the way home we stopped at Malakta, an amazing place in the countryside some 40 km from the nearest town. A young couple, Maja and Jukka, has created a creative oasis in what used to be a dairy. We arrived in the middle of a cake party (I regret that I didn't take any photos inside), everything looked delicious! There also was an exhibition space and a little shop with new crafts and thrifted goods. I am very happy to announce that my cards are now for sale in this shop!

I was talking about a give away in my last post- here it comes to celebrate post 166, or was 167! Just leave a comment on this post and you will be in the draw for a little something made by me!


Kitschy flowers and houses in line

I was going to talk about my trip to Åland, but I think I'll just refer you to the photos I have uploaded on flickr. It was a great weekend, lots of work, lots of wonderful people and lots of inspiration. There is nothing like the rush of a new idea and that is what I want to talk about today! My studio is a mess, but what can you do... I went to the thrift store yesterday to find some new materials and spotted a plastic bag with those (horrible) flower wreaths that you put around candles, please tell me what they are called in English! They used them in a project in this book and I thought it was a brilliant idea.

I have been asked to make more mobiles so this is what I came up with (more pics on flickr). The pastels of the flowers gave this shabby kitschy look. I think it turned out pretty fun and I liked working in another colour scheme for a change (I will make bright mobiles too, as soon as I can get my hands on some brighter flowers!). The birds have a layer of steady batting inside, the outlines are sewn with a lot of black thread. I added some beads, bells and buttons too!

This is the project I was working on on the ferry that I promised to show off. I needed something small to sell at the fair next weekend so I came up with these house brooches. The fair is at an outdoor museum so I think these will go nicely with the old miljeu. I used felt scraps that I bought from a lady selling felt slippers at the Christmas fair last year. The windows are made from reflective tape so these are meant to be worn on your bag or coat.

I will not put these in the shop until the two next fairs are over, but you are welcome to reserve one if you think you would need one :) The price is 10 Euros/14,50 USD (+ 22% VAT if you're in the EU), just drop me a line and tell me which one you would like! Click on the picture if you want a better view!

I can't believe it, but Summer seems to be over here. It is rainy and far too cold for this time of year :( The kids were wearing gloves at Kindergarten yesterday! To celebrate this unhappy occasion I am having a little sale on Summer items in my shop!

The window quilt came back home from the exhibition and is now listed in the shop. It is hanging right above my head as I'm writing :)
Thanks for listening! I have been talking so much about me and my projects lately that I think it will be time to give something away in next post. But I talk more about that next week!

Happy sewing (or crocheting, or whatever YOU enjoy doing)!



This is a quilt Treeology that I finished yesterday, I'm afraid the photo does not really do it justice. Since I have a very bad sense of humour I couldn't help myself with the name... I am happy with the result, the bright coloured leaves against the raw linen surface feels so right. And birds and mushrooms, do I repeat myself (don't answer that, please)?The last two days I have been occupied by making Syko a new home page. It is fun, but very time consuming. First I considered having someone else making them for me, but I just love to know how it is built and above all to be able to update it easily whenever I want to. I will let you know when it's ready, I hope to have a surorise to offer you on that happy day!
Tomorrow I will take the ferry over to the Åland Islands to take down the exhibition. I go alone this time and I am very much looking forward to the ferry trip. I used to hate it, but these days 6 hours for myself is such a luxury. I have packed my bag with a bunch of house brooches I need to finish. I will show you the result on Monday!

Enough about me now! Go over to etsy and vote for your favourites in the Handmade Kids Sweepstakes competition! You can win a 200 $ shopping spree!


Stats and a hit in my head

I finally decided to add a stat counter to my blog this week. I have quite enjoyed reading my stats over at flickr so I thought it would be nice to follow up visits here too. It proved to be much more interesting (and a little scary) than I had thought. I've had 725 visitors since Wednesday! Thank you! I know many of you are "old friends", thank you for taking the time to read my notes and for your ever so kind and encouraging comments! Feel free to say hi if you are a lurker, new or old! I promise to try my best to say something wise here every once in awhile...

The tree quilt was snatched off the shop so I had to get myself busy replacing it. The result is the come what may-quilt. I've had this phrase from Annie's song ringing in my head for far too long now so I thought it best to let it go with a bird. Hope you like it! I have been longing to make some traditional patchwork so I added three scrappy log cabin blocks to it. I got some critique previously for announcing Autumn as started, I hope this is Summery enough for you all!

Things are happening on the patio even if the weather has been very cold lately, here is a sunflower that finally showed her pretty face!


Cleaning robot

I felt so relived over the fact the we only seem to have caught the "flu light" this time, that I had to spend the morning sorting out my new craft room. I moved my stuff into our old bedroom one month ago and have been waiting for the right day to get everything in place. The fact is that there is no such day, all that was needed was some determination. So this is how one of the walls look today after some serious drilling and hammering (click on the picture to see my notes!). T was kind enough to assist me and then model one of the new robot scarves I made today. I tried out a heavier jersey knit for these and I think they turned out great. As a maker of cute girlie stuff I am happy to once have made something that looks great on a guy :) This one is in the shop.

Thank you all for your kind messages yesterday!


Fairs and spaghetti legs

My first craft fair for the season is over and done with, I have two to go in September and I really hope there will be more people than we had at this one. The place was great, the table was huuuge (and provided by the organisers), it was rather cheap, the weather was fine, but there were no customers. And those are quite crucial for a successful fair... But I got some new contacts and a few sales + I learned once again that you need to have a lot of small stuff to sell when you sell at fairs. So I am making reflector brooches for the next show. I have an idea that I think will look rather fun!
The beginning of Autumn is my favourite time of year, I love the fresh air, the smell of mushrooms and the soft sun (except it's raining today). What I don't like is the traditional flu that moves into our house one week after school has begun. So it has this year too, big E is home with a fever and my legs are aching. So the poor souls that are waiting for their custom orders will have to wait a little longer, I am just not up to it when I'm feeling like spaghetti. Hope you are all healthy!

I call the art quilt Autum in the park. The bright trees are appliquéd on 100% linen, with a raw structure that makes such a fun contrast to the bright trees! It is free motion quilted with Sulky from Gütermann. Sulky is the 100% cotton machine embroidery thread that I also use for my appliqués. The quilt is in the shop.


Overcoming the stage fright

I have suffered from something closely related to stage fright the two days I've been working full-time with the kids away at school and daycare. Suddenly I have all that time I have been longing for the last weeks. Where to begin??

I started off making a bunch of houses for the fair on Friday. Today I allowed myself to make a little art quilt. You can see a peek of it above next to my granny's old dress that I took out to get some air. The photo is taken on our balcony outside my craft room. The white wooden wall is the only decent background to take pictures against in this house. Have I mentioned before how much I hate our greyish white rented walls? Well, I do. Can't wait to move to a home where I can paint my walls! While I am waiting I will be going over to my friend Sofia (who, speaking about stage fright, is an actress) next week and take some pics for the shop against her turquoise walls. She's got a beautiful home, I'll take some pictures of that too with her permission. The quilt is called Autumn in the park. I used brights on a raw unbleached linen background, I like the effect very much.
Today I got art prints of the 11 birds (above) and the tree, I think they look gorgeous, the stitches are much more visible than on the postcards. They are digitally printed on Finnish Terreus 250 g/m2 paper, which has a lovely matte textured surface. It is the same paper that I chose for the postcards. They measure 21 x 30 cm, which is the size of a regular paper so it should be easy to find a frame for them! Available in the shop.



No I did not spend my family-free days in front of the telly eating goodies. Only. I did get some serious work done too. 40+ finished pouches, yay! I had forgotten how much you can get done in one day without interruptions. The giggling owl here is the new member of the pouch zoo. I thought I told him not to taste that mushroom... I used one of the cute ribbons I got from Farbenmix last week. I also used some cool vintage fabric samples that I got a thrift store a few months back. I think the fabric this one got for back goes very well together with the state of mind of this birdy... See it in the shop.

Talking about mushrooms, lucyellen has made one of the cutest I've ever seen made from fabric, here. The weather is just right for mushrooms, it's pouring down so we've spent our time building a lego zoo and drawing. What do you do with the kids when it's raining?