April HSF-Challenges

Accessorize  1910s Bag’s embroidery

So I finished off the Finland 100 years-bag in time. I embroidered number 27 in the bag to symbolize the Finnish Jäger-unit which was trained in Germany in secrecy under guise of “Boy scout”-activity to fight the Russian invasion.

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Songs from movie Jäeger’s bride

 

 

Genderbender Snuffbox

I was out of ideas. I mae this little box with crackle effect-lacquer and incorporated 27 again there and the two paintings of Maiden of Finland fighting the russian eagle.

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Tops…..   Tudor-style headband

I did a tudor-inspired french gable-hood.

 

…and Toes.  WW1 garters

I crackle effect-lacquered these printed pics of “Feldfraus” into 1910s garters. I made needlelace-frame for the pics and  added two vintage snaps at the back to keep them in place.

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UFO-pile  Marie-Antoinette’s gambling-inspired necklace

Inspired by a scene of 2006 film of Marie Antoinette where the mother of pearl-gamblign chips can be seen.

 

 

Circles, rectangles and squares  Engageantes

Last minute thing. I had a strip of pink large trim that fits into engageantes perfectly.

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War and Peace  Patchbox

Another Feldfrau graces this patchbox-lid.

 

 

By the sea  Sailor-collaret

I found a blouse from fleamarket that was too small for me but the collar was too nice to pass up. So I cut the fabric off and was left with nice sailor-collar that I will incorporate on my Finland 100 years-blouse.

March-hare brings more HSF-challenges!

Going as crazy as a March-hare here….

 

Challenges:

 

Bodice

Stomacher made of green and grey wool. I made a snood out of the rest of the skein (seen below).  This stomacher is in style of Higlander. may not be accurate but it has charm. Plus, it was fun to make. I encourage people to crochet, knit and felt more 18th century items!

 

 

 

Fairytale

I had two charms of Froschkönig lying around. I took ribbon and narrow white satin ribbons to tie them around with.

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Outdoors

I had pair of velvet mittens lying around, I decided to embellish them with gold thread! Now I can go out with Swabian elegance! I used different kind of gold threads to make the embrodiery and crocheted lace interesting. Gold looks rich and luxurious with the red velvet.

 

 

 

Peasant

Various blue embroidered skeins braided into long garters. These will look good with my woollen socks.

 

 

Protection

I embroidered my linen viking-headdress with linen embrodiery. I took two long yarns and embroidered them on as lace. Long because in viking times, men would say to women sewing “Make it long, Norn.” Because Norns were fates who decided man’s life by cutting the thread of life. At the other side I embroidered the rune Ing in honor of the tribe Ingaevones.

 

 

Stashbusting

I had surprlus small skein of grey wook. On the hair it goes as a viking-snood!

 

Stripes

I took out my old mittens bought at a goth shop in Berlin and whipped on black engageantes as a “victoriana meets rococo”-sort of thing.

February HSF-challenges

 

And here comes the very late February-challenges!

Challenges:

 

Blue:

1920s butterfly-bolero

I had blue satin. I cut it up in rectangles (what else?) and took a blue embrodiery floss in same color I had lyign around. Then I started handstitching it together. The end result is nice. Its bit shapeless to my taste but goes well with 1920s dress when I finally make one. The dark blue color is very forgiving too for my figure and it is easy color to accesorize.

 

Pink:

1930s bolero

I found a nice sliding dyed skein of pink cotton from Lavikko. I decided to do a capelet in 30s style. Something that my grandma would have thrown on her shoulders at evenings when the kids were in bed and she had finally time to knit. I’m putting  a nice silkribbon to hold it together instead of just knotting it on like it is below picture.

 

Embellish:

Doll

Surprising twist! I made a doll!

I found an Unicef-doll in my local flea market. I took it home and took apart its face. i decided on making it a vampire with 90s goth meets 30s glamour style. But after I finished the doll I decided to make it a headdress of velvet piece I had leftover from the sleeves I made. And as I padded the velvet headdress on the doll, I had an epiphany. I had to remake the face and give the doll back its dirnd-esque clothes. I had already scissored the dress off and it was in bottom and top-part. So I sewed it on like the top part is a vest of a dirndl instead. Before I took it off, it was more A-line dress. The doll now has an folkdress-style!

 

Under it all 1:

Lacy undersleevets

I had a 5 euro anniversary-giftcard to my local Tiger. I went there for inspiration and then I saw it. Overpriced cotton lace-roll for 5 euros. I took it and decided on sleeves. It was easy. I measure the lace in half and took the other half and sliced it in three parts. And did the same for other so all were of equal size. Then I took needle and thread and started putting my frankenstein together. I was watching Arnold from 1973 when I did these babies. The opening scene’s cheerful bride going through cemetary to marry her dead lover in a crypt was so bizarre!

 

 

Under it all 2:

18th century pocket

I had a fabric from a bucthered Bodyline-lolita dress around. The fabric has nice pattern and its stretchy.

 

Tucks and pleats:

Kampfrau sleevets

I had red velvet from Berlin I bought ten years ago. So time to put it in good use. I have used the 2 meters well so far. My piece de resistance are the sleevets here. I used white flag-silk for the undersleeves peeking from the slots and white embroidery floss to stitch everything together and lastly edge off the seams in needlelace.

I also put lace-cuffs I cut from a blouse and put them in here. Since the original Kampfraus pieced their clothing togerther from various parts, I think thye would have approved of my work! I think I might still work on that needlelacework later on but now I leave it at peace.

 

UFO:

More like IFO (identified flying object)……that’s how I classify my hoard. Into UFOs (not yet decided what I do with this) and IFOs (I have decided but I am lazy or busy)

Golden Beltbuckle

Nothing much to say about this project. I had golden paillette-ribbon in my savings so I put it in good use. I first took three plastic rings I had and bound them together with pink lace I had, then I wrapped the paillettes on. And there it is. Looks good on 18th century sashes since they loved paillettes that glittered in candlelight.

 

 

Nursing school woes

The school I’m going to is first class but tough. We have numerous group works and assignments. I have been suffering from insomnia and even anxiety because of that.

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I was in same polytechnical school ten years ago studying tradenomy. I had to quit after two years due to mental breakdown. I was depressed from sexual abuse and bullying I endured in middle school and it finally came back to haunt me 10 years after. The loneliness and depression got to me. Plus that tradenomy was not my field.

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I felt like a failure. I started to be fearful of darkness in my little flat. My parents came to pick me up every weekend and on holidays but it didn’t help. I often had no one but tv on comforting me.

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The faces of my schoolmates blurred and soon I could not tell who was who. I pulled an all-nighter to finish a group work that I was not capable finishing. At mornign when I was supposed to present it, I broke down and cried instead.

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I dropped out and started my ten years of mental health-cycle. Pills, therapy and work therapy until I dared to try artisan-line again. Few years later after working at a school I had an epiphany to apply for nursing school. My father had told me about their family friend’s son who has applied for socionomy-line and got in. I thought, why wouldn’t I then? Was I too old at 34? Too damaged to be a nurse? I never thought I would get in. I was in shock last November when I did. So was everyone I knew.

I am happy. As much as challenging the school is, I have learnt to be kind to myself. I am not the same person as I was before. I have met fellow students who have wrestled with same problems I have. I know I will be a great nurse when given opportunity. My first wor practice is starting in 2 weeks and I am pumped to do my best!

Sometimes, I believe that fate is already decided. Ad maybe thats a comforting thought after all.

Anyway, heres pics of our Pomo, the bossiest Mr. Bossypants who was gracious enough to bring class to the lives of me and mother with his presence while isä was away to visit my brother.

At long last, January HSF-challenges

I have been very busy with my nursing studies so I have been late late late. So without further ado, here goes:

 

Challenges:

Centennial woman

In honor of Finland’s 100 years of independence, I chose Centennial woman as my  “-nial”-challenge. Its a handbag made of purple satin I had lying around and brown velour I used as lining. The frame is from my local Sinooperi-store and the chain was a lucky find at my local “Bring your surplus craft-crap here for charity!”-store. I had no plans to use it for handbag. It was juts something I had lying around for “just in case”. When I started doing my handbag I planned on weaving a purple chain from yarn but then remembered I had actual chain lying around.

I enevr thought I would do this. I always though making a bag was difficult. But finding a nice silver handbag-.frame with good holes inspired me. I decided on this lovely purple satin piece I found in my hoard. I lined it with brown velveteen. My next challenge will be embroidering it with beads I have plentiful in my hoard.

Fabric: Wisteria-purple silk-sateen

The embroidery for the bag is upcoming in the April-challenge.

 

 

Make do and mend: Sleeve plumpers

This was last minute effort. I found some good quality white cotton from my hoard. Its almost velvety in texture and I did what I usually do: I cut it up in half and made it into sleeves as it was just enough for it. At first I thought about making the sleeves for a white chemise (even if that was all the fabric I had). But after looking at the finished product, I was thinking sleeve-plumpers from Regency period and onwards to 1890s. The kind of undersleeves that keep the puffy mutton-sleeves in shape.

 

 

 

Bonus:  crocheted frills made from a skein of linen-colored net-yarn called Caroline by Katia. I found this yarn at my local yarn shop called Lavikko. No idea  where to use them yet.

 

 

 

Procratination: Chokers. Because you always need chokers…..look at my oddly stern schoolmarm-face at second pic…..I was concentrating hard…..

 

 

 

Firsts…: Hair-rat. I just wrapped brown mohair on a headband. It blends with my actual haircolor superbly.

Notions: needle, thread, metallic headband corrugated and mohair-knitting thread. The snood had size 6 crochet hook.

And lastly, since the challenge had firsts and lasts. I decided to make something over the hair-rat. A triangular snood crocheted from green woollen skein.

 

 

Innovation: Feltpocket

I chose felting as my invention. Its an old one, true but felting has never seen such comeback as it has lately in form of wet felting and needlefelting. I did this pocket at artisan-school few years back and finished it now. Its very basic bag. I wetfelted two colors and added a felt-yarn in it. Making fabric with wet felting-method was fun and interesting and I would love to do it again soon for larger clothing items.

 

 

 

Under it all: 18th century Kerchief

This was lazy of me. I found a piece of cotton meant for a fischu.

Fabric: Plain woven cotton-fabric from Nehelenia Patterns. How historically accurate is it? Very accurate, all-purpose kerchief for hair-dos and neckline.

 

 

December HSF-challenges!

All December HSF-challenges!

  1. 1910s hairbow
  2. 18th century Solitaire-bow
  3. two reticules
  4. tudor goldwork-needlebook
  5. victorian crocheted choker
  6. hair rats from brown velour

 

A hairbow from 1910s

 

The Challenge:  December – Special Occasion: make something for a special event or a specific occasion, or that would have been worn to special event or specific occasion historically.

Fabric: pre-bought bow from Glitter and a plastic comb

Pattern: none

Year: 1910s

Notions: jewelry-glue

How historically accurate is it? well, plastic…..

Hours to complete: last minute slap-together….

First worn: on Christmas actually

Total cost: less than 2 euros I think

Inspiration:

 

 

 

Velvet Solitaire-bow from 1700s

 

 

The Challenge: December – Re-Do:  It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges.

Fabric: a velvet bow from some Gothic Lolita-jacket I sold looong ago and a velvet bag from 1990s from Yves Rocher that contained cheap plastic pearls as subscriber-gift.

Pattern: none

Year: 18th century

Notions: none needed

How historically accurate is it?  the material isn’t…

Hours to complete: slap-together project

First worn: not yet

Total cost: less than 2 euros.

 

Inspiration:

 

 

 

Reticules from Regency

 

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The Challenge: ·  #23: Modern History – due Mon 15 December.  Make something historical or historically inspired that is wearable in an everyday context.

Fabric: repurposed from Barbie-skirt from 80s, crocheted from leftover yarns,

Pattern: the crocheted one is just yarns circle-crocheted.

Year: Regency

Notions: needle and thread for tightening-yarn, pearls and charms and findings to make it look modern. I store my sewing stuff in it!

How historically accurate is it?  not very

Hours to complete: less than 2 hours

First worn: all the time

Total cost: less than 2 euros

 

Inspiration:

 

 

 

 

1500s Goldwork-needlebook

 

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The Challenge: ·  #24: All that Glitters – due Thur 1 January.  Celebrate your completion of HSF ’14, and the New Year, with a glittery, glitzy, sparkly, shiny, something.

Fabric: gold meshnet-squares and self-dyed yellow cotton-lining.

Pattern: none, I slapped together two golden meshnet-squares I had.

Year: 1500s

Notions: needle, embroidery floss, including self-dyed 100% marigold-silk yarn! I used a cheap ugly dull orange floss because it looked nice with the gold mesh. I was watching a documentary on the first queen Elizabeth while doing it.

How historically accurate is it? Not very, the mesh is plastic.

Hours to complete: few hours

First worn: using it at the moment

Total cost: less than 2 euros

Inspiration:

 

 

Hair rats from late 1930s to 1940s

 

 

The Challenge: ·  #25: One Metre – due Dec 16.  Make an item that takes one metre or less fabric.  To keep within the spirit of the challenge, try to avoid making something that also involves metres and metres of trim

Fabric: left-over scrap of cheapest brown velour

Pattern: just rolled fabric

Year: modern era, more 40s than 30s

Notions: needle and thread

How historically accurate is it? the fabric was not around then

Hours to complete: les than 5 minutes

First worn: not yet

Total cost: less than 1 euro

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Crocheted Choker of 1800s

 

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The Challenge: ·  #26: Celebrate – due Dec 30.  Make something that is celebration worthy, make something that celebrates the new skills you have learned this year, or just make something simple that celebrates the fact that you survived HSF ’13!

Fabric: brown wool-yarn

Pattern: just simple crochet-pattern repeated

Year: late 1800s

Notions: crochet hook, button, needle and thread

How historically accurate is it? about…the button is again plastic

Hours to complete: few hours

First worn: after christmas

Total cost: less than 1 euro

Inspiration:

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HSF November challenges!

Making the calendar has been taking all my time so here are the late November challenges. What have I made: a white silk caul, Marie Antoinette (2006) belt and buckle, baroque ring and earrings, 18th century pearl-necklace on a red silk-thread, a gibson girl-hair rat from my own hair and a pair of Mensur-cufflinks! Plus finally a sneak peek at December challenges and thoughts on january challenges!

 

 

A white silk hairnet.

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How does this made into “generosity”-challenge? Well, I thought about HARD what to do. Finally I settled on idea of using what you have and showing others a handy small idea on how to use a scrap of something fully. As we know, fabric waste is a biological threat to our planet and soon there will be a law in my country that fabric waste cannot be thrown into ordinary waste anymore.

So..how to use scraps? My grandmother made mats out of them! The 18th century ladies made pockets and their girls made doll’s clothes our of even smaller scraps. In that spirit, here is my tip on how to make a caul in no time and with little sewing!

I found a discarded pattern-piece made out of pongee-silk that was too small to ever fit me (it was an 18th jacket inner lining piece). So I thought about trimming it and making it into a protective mobcap underneath a more decorative mobcap (if that sounds sane?) but instead of trimming it, I just started to gather it with needle and thread in a very generous way. The endresult was an egg-shaped thing that looked the part.

I imagine wearing it underneath the actual mobcaps to keep the hair in place better and because the 18th century hair is full or gunky greasy stuff it should protect the finer lappet-caps from soiling.

The Challenge:#23: Generosity & Gratitude – due November 18.  Celebrate the generosity of spirit and willingness to help others that makes the historical sewing community great, and give credit and thanks to those who have contributed to our collective knowledge without expecting payment in return.  Make anything that fits the general HSF guidelines, and utilizes research, patterns, and tutorials that have been made available for free.  Be sure to acknowledge all the sources that have helped you to create your item.

Fabric: a scrap of white pongee-silk.

Pattern: no pattern, it was irregularly cut piece of something and I just sewed it into a small cup without trimming or cutting anything.

Year: 18th century

Notions: needle and thread

How historically accurate is it? I have seen similar small mobcaps in finnish traditional dresses. Its’s function is not decorative but protective underneath a more decorative mobcap I think.

Hours to complete: less than 15 minutes.

First worn: at home, its practical, like a hairnet but made of fabric.

Total cost: less than euro.

I’m also inspired by this finnish national costume’s hairpiece.

 

 

A hair-padding headband

This is my own hair I have collected when I had to cut my hair after unfortunate decision to blonde my blonde my locks. These “hair rats” were used to pad the hair from antique era to the Gibson girl! The second pic is the hair rat plus a coronet-hairband I had. The hair rat unfortunately doesn’t show up so well because its behind the coronet. I secured it with pins in place. The effect is subtle but nicely padded!

 

I had hair in my stash and a hairband so……time to make a hair rat!

The Challenge:#24: Re-Do – due December 2.  This one is super easy.  Pick any previous challenge and re-do it (or do it for the first time).  It could be one that you didn’t finish, one that you wish you’d had more time for, or any time for, or one where you loved the theme so much you want to do it again.

Fabric: my own hair, brown doll’s hair, a brunette hair-braid from local Glitter, metallic hairband-base.

Pattern: The 2015 challenge: March – Stashbusting: Make something using only fabric, patterns, trims & notions that you already have in stash.

Year: various eras.

Notions: Brown embroidery-floss to keep the thing together.

How historically accurate is it? I can see it being used. It does have plastic.

Hours to complete: less than half an hour. It was finicky to do.

First worn: not yet.

Total cost: less than 3 euros all in all.

 

 

 

 

Baroque-era earrings and a ring

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I had made previously a set of earring out of nice pearls and a ring with lots of pink beads in a bunch. But they are more 17th than 18th century. So maybe my character inherited them from her great-grandmother! After all, 17th century was a fad in 1700s!

The lighting in these photos is really baroque……anti-reformist art lol!

The Challenge:#21: Re-do – due Sat 15 November.  Pick any previous challenge and re-do it (or do it for the first time).  It could be one that you didn’t finish, one that you wish you’d had more time for, or any time for, or one where you loved the theme so much you want to do it again.

Fabric: peach-colored glasspearls and pink plastic beads plus earring and ring-bases.

Pattern:  So I chose 2015’s challenge: “June – Out of Your Comfort Zone: Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.”

Year: 17th century

Notions: peach thread and plastic seethrough-thread and a needle for the ring.

How historically accurate is it? Plastic! But I like the opulent baroque-feeling they have.

Hours to complete: an hour.

First worn: not yet.

Total cost: less than 5 euros.

 

 

 

Mensur-cufflinks

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I originally wnated to these to my paramour but he said he didn’t think he would wear the. So I kept the idea but made them for myself. As a female supporter of Mensur.

The Challenge:#22: Fort-nightliers Choice (Gentlemen) – due Mon 1 December.  And you’ve chosen the theme of ‘Gentlemen’ – make menswear, or historical women’s wear inspired by menswear.

Fabric: glass cabochons, printed pictures and cufflink-bases.

Pattern: based on 1920s gentlemen’s “four vices”-cufflinks

Year: I think it works best after late 1800s to 1930s.

Notions: Panduro’s jewellery glue.

How historically accurate is it? Its bit fanciful and the cufflink base is plastic.

Hours to complete: less than 5 minutes really. Making the pictures small with paint-program and cutting them took more time.

First worn: not yet.

Total cost: less than 1 euro.

 

I will be writing about history of Mensur soon! The painting below is what I used for my cufflinks. “The opponents”

 

 

 

Marie Antoinette’s red belt

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I originally wanted to do something inspired by finnish historical films but since limited time, I decided to use the red velvet ribbons I had in my stash instead. The contrast of the pale icy blue dress and the deep crimson velvet is a fabulous one in the film. How did they come up with such an unusual but delicious contrast!

 

The Challenge: November – Silver Screen: Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.

Fabric: red velvet ribbon and a plastic beltbuckle plus pink chiffon-ribbon, and gold and purple sequin-ribbons.

Pattern: Based on Marie Antoinette 2006’s blue dress with a red belt. The buckle is more fanciful but I wanted to use the odd pieces of sequin-threads somehow. Plus the buckle is changable anyway.

Year:  18thc century

Notions: No-sew

How historically accurate is it? sequin is plastic but “why not”-category it goes!

Hours to complete: less than 5 minutes as all the ingredients were ready.

First worn: not yet

Total cost: less than 3 euros.

Costumer’s guide to the red belt costume

 

 

 

Pearl-necklace on red silk ribbon

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The Challenge:November – Red – Make something in any shade of red.

Fabric: red silk thread and glass pearls in classic creamy shade.

Pattern:  based on portraits and descriptions on ladies necklaces in 18th century.

Year: 18th century in general

Notions: brass-colored findings to secure the necklace.

How historically accurate is it? Belongs in “why not” category…

Hours to complete: Its takes less than 10 minutes to make.

First worn: not yet

Total cost: all ingredients can be found very cheap, so under 8 euros I think.

 

 

 

The upcoming December-challenges. These will come faster than the November ones!

 

  1. I’m making a pocket a la “Poetry in motion”

December – Re-Do:  It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges.

 

2.  Making 18th century garters in sailor-style

 

  • #25: One Metre – due Dec 16.  Make an item that takes one metre or less fabric.  To keep within the spirit of the challenge, try to avoid making something that also involves metres and metres of trim

 

3. No idea yet

  • #26: Celebrate – due Dec 30.  Make something that is celebration worthy, make something that celebrates the new skills you have learned this year, or just make something simple that celebrates the fact that you survived HSF ’13!

 

4. no idea yet

 

December – Special Occasion: make something for a special event or a specific occasion, or that would have been worn to special event or specific occasion historically.

 

5.  Two reticules, one from Barbie-skirt and one crocheted one!

 

  • #23: Modern History – due Mon 15 December.  Make something historical or historically inspired that is wearable in an everyday context

 

6. Goldenworked needlebook

  • #24: All that Glitters – due Thur 1 January.  Celebrate your completion of HSF ’14, and the New Year, with a glittery, glitzy, sparkly, shiny, something.

 

 

 

…and some future projects I have not yet thought about much. I think I will pull a real UFO and IFO-pile extravaganza. Its amazing when you move out….so many things that have been lost are suddenly found. Also, I will be going through my piles of fabric and projects soon. My father had an entire black plastic-bag FULL of them…..I have to decide which to bring back to my new place so mice wont pee all over them. My dollhouse stuff is mostly safe at father’s garage though. Fabric is more tricky matter.

I will do something for the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence for the third challenge. 1917-style something.

 

  • January – Foundations: make something that is the foundation of a period outfit.
  • #0 (the bonus challenge): Starting Simple – due 31 December NZT.  Finish a project, make a very simple garment, or something you have made before.
  • #1: Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sex/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial – due 14 Jan.  Sew something from __13, whether it be 1913, 1613, or 13BC
  • #2: UFO – due Jan 28.  Let’s get something off our UFO pile! Use this opportunity to finish off something that’s never quite gotten done, or stalled halfway through.
  • January –  Procrastination – finish a garment you have been putting off finishing (a UFO or PHD) or make something you have been avoiding starting
  • #1: Make Do & Menddue Wed 15 Jan. Let’s start of the year with a clean slate, and with a bit of a tidy up.  Use this challenge as an opportunity to get your historical wardrobe in order by fixing any little bits that have worn out and gone wrong.  Alternatively, you could focus on the historical precedent of making-do by re-making something into a historical garments, whether it be a bodice from a worn-out skirt, a chemise from old sheets, a bosom-friend from an old cardigan, or a new historical hat from an old modern one etc.  Finally, you could just those people who had to make-do by making something for a historical character who would have scrimped and saved and re-made and mended until the fabric entirely fell apart.
  • #2: Innovation – due Sat 1 Feb.  To celebrate the way inventions, introductions and discoveries have impacted fashion, make an item that reflects the newest innovations in your era.  Be sure to share the research you did on your innovation, as well as your finished item.

 

 

24. Our family’s actual tradition

So…..final window of our Adventcalendar is opening….this has been a long and interesting project to make. Mostly I just invented something the night before to write. Next year I PROMISE I will start doing this on November already.

My mom has made spectacular lighthouse out of the entire flat as usual:

So….we wake up in the morning, put the finer clothes on and mother finishes her food in the kitchen. Isä brings the ham to the table.

Usually my eldest brother arrives with his retrievers. To the amusement of our cat. One year the cat was sitting on sofa. Isä brought the ham to the table and i could see Pomo’s eyes growing the size of saucers. He leaped to the kitchen chair and sat there like a perfect fine gentleman surveying the assortments. He even picked a place where there was a plate and napkin put on…..truly genteel cat.

But, as we are peasants, my father roughly snatched him from the chair and threw him outside the living room door….with the dogs. Pomo looked through the glass-panes of the door separating our livingroom and hallway. Dogs sat next to him and tried to sniff his butt. He did NOT look very happy. An esteemed gentleman like himself surely should earn his place at the table with the finer folks. Not treated like a…..pet!

He, like all our previous cats, is very fascinated by this one very old decoration we have. A strong-smelling tonttu made of hay or something. It has lost its potency since my childhood when I loved to hate it. But our cat still eyes it suspiciously.

We watch the Declaration of Peace from Turku on tv (the tv is on a lot, unlike in the family of my boyfriend.)  We eat and converse around sofa later with cream and berries my mom has made for dessert. The berries are from my father’s garden, as its traditional to have something from the harvest in your christmas table.

In Finland Joulupukki usually comes on 24th day to bring presents to children personally in every home. I was always placed on his lap and made to sing. He always says “Do we have good children in this house?” and the answer is “yes”. We had the traditional Joulupukki who came dressed in grey clothes instead of evil american coca-cola colors. He was actually my cousin and had a lousy plastic mask on him. I stared at this creature with pure horror. My brother said it was cousin….he had seen him bring our grandma in. My brother always tried to egg me to grab the Joulupukki’s beard off because he was never seated on his lap. I never did. I was happy to even manage singing to this plastic-faced creature without pissing myself.

I always wanted to see Joulupukki’s reindeers. My parents annoyingly stopped me from petting them. Even when I really knew deep down that there was only a volvo outside and my cousin was taking the damn suit desperately off.

I never understood kids who react violently when they hear Santa Claus does not exist. I was the most dumbest, developmentally behind kid you could find in our class. And I KNEW my parents got the presents. I saw the Barbie in their shopping bag and then acted happy and suprised. Its even caught on video…..I was such a little actress. But I wanted to make my parents VERY happy. I enjoyed the mystery, looking the tracks of elves outside like a little detective. Imagining stories. To me, christmas was one big mystery play that was over too soon.

The perfume Barbie was the doll in question….odd…after all these years I can STILL remember the smell of the perfume. It was very nice and very adult-like, bit between Tresor and Chanel 5! Damn, I wish that would be really bottled for us adults….

Me and my brother would fight over the toy catalogues and then we played a game: we had only 2 toys to pick from every page. This was actually educative, as it taught us to consider what we would choose if we couldn’t have more than 1 or 2. The absolute holy grail was MLP generation 1 for me…..I still remember when my mom got a call just before christmas that the videos she bought for me are on the mail. Thank you äiti, thank you!

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Then my eldest brother has his famous “one cup of coffee”. This annoyingly happens at 2 pm when the gifts are supposed to be opened. This tradition started after we stopped believing in Joulupukki. So it fell on to me to give everyone their presents because I was the youngest. I’m titled “Tonttutyttö” or “elf girl” then. We kids pestered our eldest brother when we could start giving the presents to everyone. He could see we were anxious of our toys. So he did what big brothers do best: he trolled us. He had a cup of coffee and he said “When I have drank this coffee”. He was laughing when we kept staring how much coffee he still had left.

This trolling has remained a tradition. “It’s 2 pm…..I will now have my cup of coffee!” He would also say “Be good or our parents become communists…so we will have Father Frost Marx coming, he doesn’t bring gifts, he takes them from kids and shares them with the Kolkhoz instead!”

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Our christmastree is plastic and has mostly same decorations as it did in 80s. Some my mother threw away because they were understandibly ragged. 40 year old plastic is so weak! I always remember the humble tinfoild star we had. It was very poor-looking but putting it on was always a moment for us. Now my mother has more money to put in tasteful modern decorations but they don’t have that feeling anymore. Our christmastree always stands in the corner so dancing around it is impossibility.

Our tree this year:

Usually the evening is time to calm down. Tv is important, we watch the same christmas specials as every year and same films. My father is oddly fascinated with Home alone-films (the two first ones obviously). Its a tradition to watch it together and laugh at Kevin and Tim Curry. Its a film that is pure father-daughter downtime.  I heard its pretty universal to watch it. Its even more popular than that old movie about a suicidal guy and a guardian angel….

We visit my oldest brother in graveyard and our grandparents. And father wishes my poor brother Hyvää Joulua. Seeing old pics of them together in 1960s: a young father and his “little man”. I am heartbroken for him. My mother got panic attacks that never went away.

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Well, that’s it then, so Hyvää Joulua, Frohe Weihnacht and Merry Christmas to you all! Ja hyvää uutta vuotta/Neujahr/New Years!

 

23. Ten german things I would like to add to my future Julfests and ten finnish things I would like to keep

I hope in future when I have a job and a family, I can finally have a christmas in my own home. What new traditions (besides goose that I wrote earlier about) would I take on my finnish Joulu from our dear southern brothers? Let’s see…

 

  1. Decorations  Schwibbogen, Tonsel (made first from shredded silver in 1690s Germany!), Fröebel stars, Hearts, incence-candles from south, Räuchenmann…  rc3a4ucherkerzenpackungenrc3a4ucherkerzchenrc3a4uchermc3a4nnchenlametta_-_christmas_decorationsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAschwibbogen


  2.  Treats Plätzchen, Brenten, Springerle, Pfeffernüsse, Spritzgebäck ,

    Vanillekipferl, Lebkuchen and Pfefferkcuhen!

                                                                                                                                                                   

 

3. Krampus    Because kids have to have something fun!    

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4. Adventskranz

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5. Christmas markets and fairs 

 

6. Der Tannenbaum, Weihnachtspyramiden

The pyramid comes from northern part where trees were more scarce. The christmastree is seen to be from Yggdrasil or Irminsul as our ancestors worshipped trees. This is natural to me because I have germanic and finnish ancestors who both had special relationship with trees. They were the habitations of Ancestors and Gods.

Queen Victoria had german parents and brought the Christmas tree with his husband to England.

 

Perfectly carved christmastree ornaments from Bavaria.

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8. When its 24th……

…..apple and sausage stuffing, red cabbage, and potato dumplings!

 

9.   Church, countryside

Yes, I’m not christian anymore but I ADORE old churches and the athmosphere. I don’t mind the christian songs or traditions. I find the people battling against them horrid. If japanese can hold onto their various religious traditions wihtout probelms, then why cannot we? Why we europeans have to sacrifice traditions because they are not “up-to-date” or “they might offend someone!”. I call that making our culture POOR! WE should be proud and take part in them! Or we end up like the first christmas episode of South park where the children’s christmas celebration had a non-offensive interpretational song and dance by Phillip Glass….

I took my boyfriend to a finnish church and he suddenly knelt in front of altar. I was amazed and later even embarrased that I had not done same. I asked why he did it and he said to show respect. I should too to follow his example and honor my ancestors who were christians. For example, my grandfather had to resign from church when he was poor and could not pay the taxes. He was embarrassed and sad for it as he was a humble and devout man despite being in worker’s union. The priest looked at him angrily when he came back to renew his membership.

I may still not agree with church’s recent politics in Finland but I still have to respect the actual buildings for their history and meaning, now especially when in Germany historical churches are being sold and destroyed. Is everything worth the money? These are not some god-awful mega-churches from USA, these are our HERITAGE!

This is is the book on 19th century Finland told by dog-figures. Mauri Kunnas also has books tranlated in many languages such as english. I VERY much recommend to buy these. Koiramäki is an adorable series in a countryfamily in 1800s.

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10. Stollen

I bought one from our local Lidl. I tasted it at my aunts place one year and I loved it.

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Now, some christmas traditions I would like to keep from finnish traditions!

Joulupukki      20                                                                                                    I would much rather have the Bock instead of Santa Klaus but since its an established character I might have to give in this case. There is always Krampus!

2.  I might not prefer Ham but I think Schinken should have a place in our table after all in some way. These pork-steaks are delicious and good. I admit I am enjoying them this christmas too…. on a pan with dry herbs, black pepper and salt.

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3. Treats! Joulutorttu, Joulupulla made with saffron…otherwise our baked goods are mostly version of german ones.

 

4. Visiting graveyards.

We finns visit out dead relatives every christmas eve. The graveyards are full of candles and its absolutely amazing to watch in absolute darkness. I took my german boyfriend there with my family last year. First time I felt pride in doing that. I introduced him to my brother and my grandparents, great-grandparents and aunt formally. I hope they liked him! The mood is somber, quiet and religious. The sound of wind and at best case, snowflakes falling down quietly is what makes the graveyards spectacular sight.

This tradition might be bit difficult to sell to tourists but if you are here at the time, come and see how it is! It might not be carnivalesque but I prefer the quiet meditation of this tradition. And its a chance to say Hyvää Joulua to my eldest brother.

Its takes almost 30 years to  fully understand the profound meaning it has to my parents. They lost him few days before christmas to an treatment error in hospital. My older brother told me they had very sad and quiet christmases after that before me and my other brother were born and happiness returned to our family’s holidays.

My father also takes care of the grave of Uncle Frans. An elderly gentleman who died in 70s. He inspired my father to quit drinking. I made a realization that I owe my happy childhood to him. I have NEVER witnessed my father drunk or my mother when I was a child. He was a cousin to my grandparents (who were second cousins to each other already….).

 

5. Joulupuuro made of rice and cinnamon and giving it to Tonttu. Finnish christmas-porridge recipe here.

As I wrote before, tonttu was originally a spirit of ancestor living in the house of his descendants, looking over. This evolved into Tonttu. He is usually depicted in barns taking care of the animals. And our most beloved song Tonttu (here in metal version) is about this idyllic image.

 

6. Having an entire family at christmas table. I know, in modern world it is impossibility. But you can always dream…..

 

7. Nuutipukki. The evil counterpart of our Joulupukki. He was one of three Bocks: Kekripukki, Joulupukki and Nuutipukki. He was the one that took Joulu away after the 20 days of christmas peace had ended on 7th or 13th day (these days its 13th day). He would take the christmastree away with him. He doesn’t appear in person anymore to our houses. That tradition was rooted in countryside and sadly is not adhered to anymore. Maybe in our family it could.

 

It’s traditional for kids to go on 13.1 to sing christmas songs to people and get candy for reward. This is our version of Halloween in the western Finland. I remember slipping a lot on my first round when I was 5 or 6. I was terrified because my legs had bad balance already. I would dress up as princess or koalabear (with teddyfur-jacket and all) and I would be sad because my princess-costume made of lace-curtain would not show underneath my winterclothes, only a plastic golden “Prinsessa Ruusunen”-crown I had showed everyone what I was supposed to be….

 

8. Joulusauna

Goes without saying, a place for deep cleansing and meditation. best saunas are old country-saunas built 100 years ago with wood-stoves.

 

9. Children’s christmas celebrations at schools.

So, my nephew didn’t have traditonal Joulujuhla at school because officials are afraid it might offend few foreigners….how sad. I know USA has this law but how come Japan et all manage to infuse religions and non-religions so peacefully together? The word Joulu is itself neutral and un-religious! There are PLENTY of non-religious christmassongs and surely our traditions cannot OFFEND anyone? Instead out kids get small celebration at their classes, no big communal get-together with school-spirit like in older days not too far ago. Now, I AM offended at this! And I’m a pagan!

 

10. I think the last list’s church-part can apply here too. German and finnish christmas are compatible as they have both roots in germanic paganism that I follow. Tomorrow I will tell about the schedule of our family’s christmas to you!

 

22. Random historical christmas things

Pläkkilyhty, blacksmith-lamps. These were popular in 1800s. The women would have thee under their crinolines in churches as it was freezing cold there. These lamps had small holes and a candle was placed underneath so it would not burn the dress.

 

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Joulupukki (Yule-goat) is coming to house. Our Joulupukki was not originally a man in red or grey as the name might tell. He was a man dressed as a goat. This was an old paganic tradition in Nordic countries. Young men dressed as goats begin to go house from house demanding to be given drinks and food or they would curse the house. This evolved into giving gifts gradually. Its speculated if german Krampus is related to our Pukki. This photo is from early 1900s Finland, notice the commo style of peasant-dress:

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Some christmas cards and an old mask of Joulupukki:

German vintage postcard

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THIS was my christmaspresent from my german aunt in 1990. A cassette tape and a book with BEAUTIFUL pastel paintings by Linda and Gino Alberti! I have misplaced it somewhere abnd I miss it terribly. The cassette I still have. I understood nothing of the sogs but the language and the wonderful children’s choir made a lasting impression on me. Through the songs and the book I understood the quiet mystery that is Joulu.

 

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German christmas:

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Springerle. These cookies have an intricate patterns and go back over 500 years! The nutcrackers next to them also have numerous designs. Did you knew that the fairytale Nutcracker is a german one by Heinrich Hoffmann?

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Vintage finnish christmas magazine covers! Some of the artwork is by our celebrated illustrators Martta Wendelin (her artbook’s cover is the 4th image underneath, try look it up if you can!):

Two kinds of dresses in 1930s Finland: the lowly peasant-woman and a chic city-woman.

Wendelin and Rudolf Koivu:

Joulupukki goes to sauna before he leaves and then flies with helicopter!

 

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This still is actually from horror film “Curse of the cat people”. Rather charming and magical film.

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Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s painting from 1898:

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