Outdoors.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Likes, Picture a day, Traveling, Winter frolics

Living near greenery calms one down – the peace and calming colours bring down the blood pressure, monotonous sounds soothes the busy and stressed mind and the overall abundance of non-man-made stimuli inspire the mind.

Also, I love skiing and running, picking berries, avoiding idiots, grilling marshmallows and taking pictures, so the general proximity of nature works pretty well for me!

As I advertised last time, we spent a week in Lapland. And it was quite nice, although for some reasons hard to comprehend not as nice as I would wish. Now, I actually did not take that many pictures, because I find carrying a DSLR on ski trips awkward. Also… how many pictures of snowy landscapes does one actually fancy looking at in April?

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Not that much of azure-blue skies, more silvery beige tones. Nah, I absolutely adore Lapland, but after a long and particularly gray winter I’m not that thrilled any more.

On a more spring-like note, a few shots from the short walks around parks and nature reserves in Helsinki area. As you can see, I got a bit carried away by moss...

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Do expect more photos tonight or tomorrow. So long, m’friends!

Long time no see. Long time no sea.

Blogroll, Finland, Picture a day, Traveling

No, there was not much sea lately, partly due to me being abroad and around, partly ’cause the spring has not really broken out in here.

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No, this is not Finland. Gotcha.

THIS, however, is. The picture is take about 3 weeks ago, the ambience prevails. The fence was full of wind-torn adverts, above all election posters.

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But the sun shines even in the north, about 23 minutes per day. Such moments remind me of the extra long golden hours we get here in the summer…

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… long time no sea? Time to travel to the archipelago then!

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I admit the following pictures was taken by mistake. Makes a perfect background material for further projects though!

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Dear burglars, we are in Lapland at the moment. Our flat is flat-sat though, so don’t get excited. Dear faithful readers, you can look forward to a lot of snow-covered pictures. It has been rather cloudy lately, so no winter wonderland I’m afraid.

February. Already?!

Blogroll, Helsinki, Picture a day

In case you were wondering why I have not posted anything for way too long (sorry), THIS is why:

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Seriously, one gets so little inspiration from the absolute lack of light. Somehow I have been fighting the past weeks on autopilot, and as of February I feel I might… might finally be ready for bigger transformation. Another kick: as a matter of fact, today I received a new batch of business cards arrived today, with the new kitty/geometric logo.

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I’m pleased with the result.

So. The idleness and lameness aside, I’ve been putting on weight, doing some artwork and writing up PhD related stuff. Finally I have some sense of direction I believe. Maybe my research is relevant after all…

I cannot even go for walks to get inspiration, and I’m not the kind of studio photographer (babies, budoir, nudes, meh, I’m not into staged photography. I hate when I can totally tell how unnatural the pose or the situation is), or the stalking kind taking pictures of people sipping their coffees or performing their acts. I need more spontaneity, more light (duh) and more life. I was thinking I might like to sneak into a closed world in its own terms, like, a factory or another kind of institution, seemingly independent on whatever is going on outside. The truth is, nobody likes photographers spying on them, or observing their work or casual movements, and the last thing I want to cause as a photographer is to upset people.

I cannot say my recent attempts to be photographically productive have been successful. Today, for example, I took a walk around the Töölönlahti bay to Kaisaniemi park. People were – with the exception of drunkards – rushing from building to building/vehicle, striving to spend as little time in transit or outside as possible. But then I saw the beautifully lit greenhouse of the botanical garden in Kaisaniemi:

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Nowhere near as interesting as an average botanical garden around Helsinki, but in the overall dimmed grayness the old greenhouses were shining far around. Next time I’m in Österbotten, and that shall be quite soon, I will take pictures of mink or fox farms and those huuuuge greenhouses shining like lighthouses. They contrast amazingly with the snow… should there be snow.

In order to compensate (at least on the paper) for my photo- and bloglaziness I already planned two and three halves of travels for this year. Some in Europe, some possibly beyond, depends on circumstances. No matter how much I disappoint my mummy, I think I will be going to Romania, to Transylvania and Danube delta to be precise. I have been wanting to go for ages, and I feel this could be the sort of a cultural holiday I need. And yes. Transfăgărășan road, aka another Ceaușescu’s mad projects, is indeed on the list.

What else is left to say? Keep calm and… huh huh… hope for the sun! Meanwhile, spend times with those who have you dear.

(frozen, drity ground compilation)

 

Winter.

Creations, Helsinki, nature, Picture a day, Winter frolics

We had exactly 3 days of winter last week. Winter meaning minus degrees, snow and sun; after that it quickly turned back to good old liminal grey nonsense.

On one of these days I took a feel-good walk to the cemetery and paid tribute to the frozen cherubs.

On another day I had some business in Malmi. I wish there was something more exciting to take pictures of. Maybe some other time?

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However, during the weekend we were meeting some friends on Suomenlinna. And that’s why this post will probably take you like 2 hours to load – I cannot resist taking AND uploading all the pictures. According to hardcore Suomenlinna locals such days are scarce and should be enjoyed fully. So we did that.

I don’t think these photographs need any comments: we took the ferry to the island and walked around and drank coffee and bubbly. The light was soft and warm and everything was so fluffy from frost.

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I’m particularly fond of the following picture. Eeeeeeeeghh!!

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Everything was fluffy and beautiful. Bikes, trees, trash along the paths, fences, rails. Everything.

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The best thing is that apart from minor exposure etc. corrections no photohandling was needed.

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Some views across the half-frozen sea…

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Those pastel colours!!

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Obviously we tried to avoid the crowds.

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A little peninsula.

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Isn’t that wonderful? It was. A few days later the temperatures climbed above zero and all the beauty was gone. So I resorted to books, emails, articles and sketchbook.

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Have a lovely weekend everyone!

New Year, new year.

Blogroll, Finland, Lifestyle, Likes, Picture a day, SoMe, Traveling

I’ve been postponing writing this post for so long it has become proper awkward – but awkward to whom? To my few loyal readers, or am I just using this as a self-loath tool, to prove what I have not done? Either way, the post is being written now and another item on my to-do list is being checked. Ha!

Last week we got our new supercomfortable futon mattras and a reasonably good-looking bed, got rid of a few bagfulls of stuff that does not bring us happiness no more and while giving the flat a fresh start into 2017 I thought I would be original and come up with some resolutions for the coming 12 months, with a little audit around my birthday (which is conveniently in mid June).

So what kind of year do I wish for myself?

  • an active and efficient one, FFS. I’ll use my potential. I know what I mean, but telling the world makes it a bit more binding. Applies to both work and fun.
  • I’ll take a picture a day and publish it either here or on on Instagram.
  • every day I’ll sketch or be otherwise artistically productive.
  • I will take better care of myself. The body is asking for some particular care so it will get it. Includes some weight or proportion alterations.
  • I won’t buy a single item of clothing from a mainstream brand. Why? Because ethics, ecology and refusing to support fast-fashion. Because I’m sick of poor quality of clothes hidden behind (designer) labels.
  • I’m allowed to cheat a little bit on the previous and buy things such as undies, socks, ball gown should I be invited to the Independence Day Ball and – if I made it to London this year – a piece or two from COS or Jigsaw I know I will wear a lot.
  • I will save toward travelling and house.
  • do something I have not done before every week.
  • be a better person for myself and others.
  • Get that photo project going, dang it.
  • Survive the pipe replacement in the house.
  • And learn basics of a new language – and a foreign alphabet.

So, as a part of my something-new-every-week, today I gave a good beating to the flokati wool rug I’m in a love-hate relationship with. I can still taste the dust and gunk but the relationship has shifted toward the love axe.

And for the visuals amongst you, I have some memories of Prague. Was it indeed a great day ❤ so great that I don’t mind that about a million tourists and locals will have exactly the same pictures. Kitch is good in smaller doses. Who knows where the compressions went wrong and made the pictures into bitmaps…

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I’m particularly fond of the following photo, taken after the sun had disappeared behind the Petrin Hill:

miu_4713-2Nice. Noise. I know. Not completely my fault.

I returned to 894,781 shades of grey in Finland – and to -20°C! I don’t understand why people dislike lower temperatures, I mean -15°C is so much more bearable than -2°C. Or +1°C and a foot of slush and wet snow sliding from the roofs behind your collars.

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And two random thoughts for the end:

  • woolen socks I got from grandma rock. Roses and wool and lanolin cure and the smell of beeswax. 
  • do you know what is the best christening present? A Google account in the baby’s name, or close to it at least. Soon Google will run out of domaines, so be creative when naming your baby. 

And keep well.

Alvar Aalto’s House.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Picture a day

… for those who are interested in Aalto´s architecture, do take a look at my recent blog post on Helsinki100 – I visited his house in Munkkiniemi. It was surprisingly cosy. The best moment was taking a peek on the balcony. The guide opened the doors, I took a step outside, had a look and took one more step… and suddenly got blown by icecold wind and pseudosnow. Bless my 38°C mascara.

Bearers and keepers.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Immigrant integration, Lifestyle, Picture a day, Sunsets

I spotted them today on numerous occasions. They appeared inconspicuously. Overnight. Unremarked by (social) media. Yet we are talking about the unequivocal sign of winter. Bearers of darkness and sub-zero temperatures: I’m looking at you, all those thousands of aurauskepit (“ploughing sticks”) sown all around Finland. These plastic sticks of varying length are placed along curbs and those no-man areas along the roads, those random patches of grass, narrow concrete passes, etc.

Their obvious purpose is to mark road raises and descents, such as curbs, pavements, road shoulders, ditches etc. once these get covered in snow. What else is there to add?

The weather was surprisingly mild today, but the temperatures get very close to 0°C at night, and I suspect that they might make it below zero this week. We shall see.

Today we went through yet another flat viewing. Or house viewing. It went surprisingly well for a village quite far away from Helsinki. The surroundings were pretty autumny. Dusky. With few colours left.

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miu_3795(I particularly like the one above. Sums it up all. Graveyard. Autumn. Time.)

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Also, I managed to slip to the nearby cemetery and found the grave of Charlotta Lönnqvist, the benefactor of Aleksis Kivi, one of most famous Finnish authors of all times. Charlotta is still cherished and loved by many people, particularly for her kindness, love for Aleksis and art and down-to-earth attitude…

… and then we arrived home and a sunset happened:

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Now, I’ve been somehow busy with all kinds of home improvement and decoration lately. I blame the daily dumpster diving sessions – so far I’ve found 2 brand new (!) ikea Ribba pictures shelves, a collection of white flower pots (the largest of these is now serving as a storage bin for posters, wrapping paper, etc.), a retro kitchen jar trending on Finnish auction sites and this awesome Fazer biscuit tin (probably rather aged). These have been appropriately cleaned and have been stored for future use 😉

The dumpster diving procedure goes as follows: 1. Check out the situation in the inner yard. I’m not too confident going through rubbish in front of others. Yet. 2. Look into the bin and identify any interesting items. Empty boxes and bags which might contain more items. 3. Quickly grab the haul and walk quickly towards the door. 4. Walk into the janitor and about 57931 other people in the elevator hall, despite this being otherwise empty. Greet your neighbour and have a small talk with them. Blush. Be sure that one of the people you’ve just met was the one who threw out the item into the bin. 5. At home, think again about what you just brought with you. On the next occasion bring half of the items back into the bin. 6. Clean the sh*t out of the hauled items. 7. Bring most of them upstairs in the attics, cause you don’t want to use them just yet. 8. Tell your better half. Be pleased with yourself.

So why am I doing this?!

I’m a sucker for old, quality things – and of course I can appreciate a bargain. Most items I find in the recycling centre/thrift store/bin are items of timeless design, are quality (!), have been almost always made in Europe (if not in Finland) and have some direct connection to this country. Or to the time and place they were manufactured.

Besides, I would like my children to be able to inherit some items with a (hi)story. Either I get the item from the above-mentioned places, or I buy hand-crafted or designer items, or I make and reuse a plenty – typically I would make or order-to-be-made cushion covers, as I think cushion covers are great for saving random bits of fabric which would otherwise not be used or shown. Chances are that some of these items might not be appreciated by the kids, or my better half – but that’s fine. That is their choice. But if I just followed lifestyle trends, what would I end up with at the end otherwise? A batch of poor quality IKEA glasses and dressers of mass character or Pepco/Lidl/KiK ceramic stars or “Home” signs made in East Asia..? Meh.

What else has been going on – hmm, I have been thinking about “my” immigrant families, I have been trying to – rationally and emotionally – understand their situation, especially that of those who will be most probably excluded from the Finnish labour market for some time (or forever) and  I have some thoughts. I’ve made myself present in the course, kinda tried to establish contact with the students and gain their trust. Once I’ve collected enough of material I will share the conclusions with you, but not quite yet. But, inshallah, soon!