My favourite things – Drawing

_MG_9054To continue my series of my favourite things I’ve decided to introduce a dear hobby of mine: drawing/painting. I’d even say dearer than cycling in many ways!

Today I skipped an epic 4-hour movie called Arabian Lawrence to spend my time drawing and painting. I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pen on paper. (Before that I probably just tried to eat the pencils). My mother had once written in her diary that ” enthusiasm for drawing has not decreased at all and occasionally her painting is quite impossible to stop” Today my favourite tools are watercolour and ink, I use Winsor & Newton watercolours and inks and Sakura pens.

Despite the fact that I’m relatively positive person, my drawings and paintings are very often of very serious nature. I’m not sure if they’re even too serious, bordering on being ridiculously emo. I guess my work is just an outlet for some of my “less-positive” feelings, I might be high on endorphins and yet still be painting my black and white ladies. I have made more cheerfully illustrations as well, but not lately.

_MG_9357I studied a Chinese painting technique by myself a few years ago. I am still interested in making the most of only few brush strokes, but usually I tend to plan my work ahead and paint slowly. Chinese painting technique was a challenge for me because of my diligent nature, it was hard to let go of total control and try something new. Watercolour is also an instrument that I at least can’t always totally control, and that is one of it’s best qualities. The most difficult thing when painting with watercolour is to detain yourself from over working your piece, because it can’t be recovered.

It was early this year that I finally came around to reading Frank Millers Sin City comics, and went head over heels with his expression. I guess it is easy to see from my style why I appreciate and can relate to his work. I mostly depict women, they might be half manga, half realistic or just one of the two. Both of the ladies in this post were photographed semifinished, I’m not sure if I even want to publish ready work. (Not even sure if I always complete my work…)


I have made some fairytale illustrations as well, but I haven’t got anything to show for them here. Most of them are on my mom’s wall. I am especially enchanted by forests and different tree species and their branches.  I own only a few books and most of them are fairy tales and children’s books whose illustrations I idolized as a child. The likes of Rudolf Koivu, Mauri Kunnas, Ivan Bilibin, Posy Simmons and Jill Barklem were never out of fashion. They still hold their place in my bookshelf, for inspiration as well as a keepsake for future generations.


I’ll end my post to more cheerful colours I painted a few years ago on farewell cards. Keep creative, folks! I know I will try my best to do so as well!


My favourite things – Raindrops

_MG_0181As some of you might know, I’ve taken a long break from writing my blog. It’s not that I haven’t been taking photos, I have, I just haven’t had the time to post them. And to be honest haven’t made time. I’ve been doing a lot of event photography lately, there have been all kinds of graduations and birthdays etc._MG_9810

I´ve separated my most interesting, non personal photos from the past 6 months into categories, that I call my favourite things. And no, the rest of them are not whiskers on kittens or warm woollen mittens but rather my favourite weather phenomenons, products, produce, places, flowers, food etc. This post of course concerning weather, or what is considered dog weather aka bad weather._MG_9938

When the weather gets bad, I stick indoors mostly. Rain is especially fun to experience if you are at home, feeling a bit under the weather, and nothing else to do than to soak in bubble bath for a couple of hours. Living on the fifth floor gives me a good opportunity to listen to rain play our roof. At times I’ve gotten so embarrassingly excited by a good summer rain that I’ve put my swimsuit on and pranced around our inner court. If you are properly dressed for a storm, it is enjoyable splashing your way through puddles in your wellies/bikinis. There is a joyful rebellion in a good storm._MG_0180

But then when you are in the middle of nowhere by the side of the road with your bicycle, taking cover from a storm that was supposed to be just a shower and it lasts for over an hour, you might get upset. I certainly did not lose my temper, seek shelter where ever I could find it, commandeer a vacant porch of a what seemed like an abandoned cottage. Certainly not!

Rain isn’t the easier weather to photograph either, because rain has a rhythm of its own and different exposure times result in very different atmospheres. If your exposure is too short, you freeze your raindrops midair and the image might look like it’s not even raining out there. Not to even mention trying to catch drops bouncing off the surface of a puddle so that the focus would be in the right place!_MG_9944

And naturally after rain, and sometimes during, rainbows appear. Rainbows are, (whether you think they’ve got something to do with pots of gold and such or the prism like effect of raindrops) kind of extra fabulous mostly appearing after rain. I know it’s kind of tacky posting rainbows in my blog, but as previously expressed, this is my blog, and I can be as tacky and disgustingly positive as I want._MG_0252

Now that I’ve put a song in your minds from the topic of this post, I might as well end with one:  If you want to be negative, you can always quote Scissor Sisters: ” A rainbow’s not a smiley face, it’s just a candy coloured frown”. So far I’ve enjoyed the storms, let’s see if I can keep it up!


Well hello there dear readers! I´m just going to totally ignore the fact I haven’t posted in months and get right to the point. I made this rhubarb+coconut cake and it was awesome.  So I´ve decided to share the recipe here.  As you might have read from my previous posts I like to bake. I usually use recipes but often replace some ingredients with my own favourites. I take recipes more as guidelines than actual rules. I once remember making muffins with a recipe and I had replaced practically every ingredient with something else (besides eggs). So this time I had these organic roasted coconut flakes and virgin coconut oil and thus decided to pimp this cake recipe I had heard of.


  • 75 g butter
  • 75 g virgin coconut oil
  • 2 dl sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 dl of sour cream or turkish yoghurt
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 4½ dl of wheat flour
  • 1 dl of roasted coconut flakes


  • 400 g, (6 dl) of rhubarb
  • 0,5 dl of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil (OR BOTH!!)

On Top:

  • 0,5 dl of pearl sugar
  • 1 dl of roasted coconut flakes

50-60 mins in 170 degrees celsius.

Dough: Let the coconut oil and butter get soft in a bowl, then add sugar and mix thoroughly. Add eggs one by one, after mixing add the sour cream or yoghurt. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add them to the dough slowly. Pour half of the dough in a deep round cake pan(preferably with a detachable side). (I put baking paper in the pan so there is less cleaning to be done afterwards.)

The Filling: Peel the rhubarb, chop it into pieces and whack it in a pan with sugar, cinnamon and some butter and virgin coconut oil.  Let the rhubarb soften and boil in its own juice until the whole mess is a lovable puddle. (This part differs from the original recipe, there is no pre-cooking of rhubarb mentioned) Pour the filling on top of the dough in the pan and poke the filling through the dough a bit. Then pour the rest of the dough on top. (If you are like me, it might feel like it is not enough, but some craters in the topping are not a problem)

Add some pearl sugar and coconut flakes to the top before putting it in the oven. Consume with vanilla pudding/ sauce or ice cream! It’s so fab:

You can find the original recipe here (Only in Finnish)

On other matters: What I have been lately doing is working and cycling. I’ve had a tough spring, but I think I am getting on top of this year now (it only took like 6 months). I’ve got loads and loads of photos from this spring and I think might do some image posting in the near future. To be honest the fact that I am also publishing my workplace’s personnel newsletter (as well as spending a lot of time 3D-modelling) might take some enthusiasm away from my blogging. But nevertheless I still intend to keep my mind sane by writing this blog you people are reading,(thank you for that). Till next time puppies!

Winter commuting with cyclocross bicycle

166_x-bow As you might remember, I bought my new bike, Ridley X-bow 2014 last autumn. About 1200 km behind so far, mostly commuting rides, and I still love it. 16km every day. My rear brakepads are almost finished, should buy and install new ones soon. I did consider bikes with disc brakes, but as there were only a few brands with my frame size, and the other bikes were a lot more expensive, I decided that rim brakes would do just fine(also the X-bow’s colours are exactly to my taste). I paid about 1100€  for the bike +the double-sided Shimano pedals (locks on other side, plain on other, haven’t bought the shoes yet). The pictures in this post are all of my own bike, I had to wash it after taking the pictures because it was so muddy..

I installed my mudguards almost as soon as the heavy rains begun in the autumn. (I biked to a bicycle shop when it was pouring but did get my ba161_x-bowck all muddy a couple of times after that as well) I had to shorten the spokes of the SKS-style mudguards, because I realized they were too long for my bike. The mudguards would not fit under my breaks or leave the desired 1 cm gap between the tyre and the mudguard.

My winter tyres are Nokia Hakkapeliitta W106, the narrowest and lightest model of the series. The tyres are steel studded, basic anti skid tyres. For my chain I am using White lightning’s Clean ride lube. I’m not sure if it is the best for winter. I should perhaps buy something more suitable for cold weather.

I think that cyclocross bicycles are the best for winter when it’s not too snowy. I admit that when there is new soft/wet snow on the ground a mountain bike would suit better. Or then a cyclo with wider tyres than mine. So far there has been one day this winter, that I can remember thinking that a mountain bike would be of some use right now. Nevertheless I have been able to cycle without accidents for many  months now.162_x-bow

The bike’s downside is perhaps sensitivity that comes from its light weight and short wheelbase: It is easily maneuverable, and for example also more difficult to ride without keeping your hands on the handlebar. If the ride is really bumpy it gets tiring to hold onto your handlebar for long. But I´ve gotten used to the bike, and carrying the it is certainly very easy, as it weighs only about 9,4 kgs. (The disc brakes would have added to the weight, but they would have been cleaner: the rim brakes make mess from the brakepads when it is wet/muddy)

All in all  the X-bow has performed admirably even when taken from +20 our flat to -20 outside. I keep my bicycle indoors at work as well as at home. I have had to adjust the breaks and gears a few times during these 1200 km, but otherwise it has been a smooth ride. Arts cyclery 164_x-bowhas some great videos on YouTube, so adjusting the gears has been tolerable. The ultimate source of bicycle information is (at least if you ask a bikegeek) Sheldon Browns website, it is a good cyclopedia. If you happen to read almost any country’s bicycle forums you are bound to find references to Sheldon.

This winter it was amusing to see when some snow finally came down in Helsinki there were dozens of cyclists who must have taken their mountain bikes out for this special occasion. They looked so thrilled to be able to use their bikes properly, that is how it is supposed to be. During winter it is also pretty funny to observe the other cyclists’ (mostly men)  reactions when they realize that I am a woman. Winter cycling clothes tend to hide all signs of femininity.

167_x-bowI use Shimano’s cycling glasses with 3 kinds of lenses: yellow, clear photocromatic and brown. I think some glasses are useful for winter cycling. At least my eyes can’t take the wind when it’s below +5. Last winter I used clear sunglasses that I bought from a second-hand shop for 1€. They did the trick, they were a bit foggy but otherwise just fine. When it’s below zero I also put a scarf on my face to breathe through.

Long fleece underpants/ leggings are very useful in winter cycling. The basic 3-layer dress code is useful for the coldest days: ventilation, insulation and shell. Windproof boxers are also good. Skiing clothes are ideal for cycling, but the best is to remember that you don’t need expensive clothing, 163_x-bowI’ve bought most of my cycling clothes from second-hand shops. If I later want to get new ones, I can buy them gradually when I can fully understand what I need.

Winter cycling is a different sport than summer cycling, I give you that. I sometimes say that winter cycling reminds summer cycling as much swamp football (yes there is such a thing in Finland) reminds regular football: same game instruments and goals, but different field. But cycling is also a priceless way to exercise and move from place to place. I have noticed that I am always happier when I get to work with my bike than by public transportation (even though if during the ride I swear to myself to take the bus tomorrow, I never do!) I most highly recommend winter cycling to everybody who is not afraid of getting a bit sweaty!

Design tomfoolery + cupcakes

Hometown during sundownI´ve been a busy little bee after Christmas and my long holiday.( And kind of a blogtraitor) I have been so quiet lately because I was preparing my application documents to apply for further education, to get my master’s degree. It forced me to ponder on the subject of my identity as a designer. I read some of my old portfolios and business plans and found to my own amazement, that I have actually developed in thinking as well as in graphic design skills. The fact that my old texts appeared a bit too hopeful and idealistic had me thinking that I might be turning a bit cynical. I have to keep an eye on that trait, it is a sad business when people turn that way. It is always good to read your earlier work to make sure you are progressing and not regressing. (My blogtexts on the other hand always read better later, I’m not sure what that tells me about my improvement as a blog writer…)

This is Helsinki, but do you know where

Nevertheless my efforts will not have been in vain, whether I get into school or not: It was really useful to refresh my memory with Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and Bridge. When you know how they work it is just a matter of routine to get into work, but I have to admit it took me a while to get going. That might be because I was not so sure what I wanted to convey of myself with the portfolio. (Lord knows I’m still not sure what kind of image I’m giving of myself with this blog, but honesty is what I aim at) It was essential to my career as well as my sanity to think about what I want to do and why I want to do it.

158_februaryThere was a long black period a few months before and one after Christmas. I wore black almost explicitly. Now colour and light are creeping back into my everyday from the dark spaces they were once exiled to. (That creeping is not happening all that subtly, as you might interpret from the image above.) When you are living in a country like Finland, wearing black means blending into the crowd and therefore wearing colour takes some courage. I must admit I didn’t have much of it during the darkest months, not to mention liveliness or strength. But I hope it is getting better now, for me as well as for you dear readers. I think I had to recover from the autumn and January, find my way back to my self-expression and my style. Now I feel I have energy and passion to write my blog and preach on about my usual topics to all you will full readers (I think there are like 10 of you).

Above is a picture from our hall, the only word to describe it these days is GRAND. It’s awfully peculiar how much a lamp can do, but it is of course not just a lamp after all: It is a chandelier. I always thought myself to be one of those not-SO-interested-in-shiny-things gals, but it turns out a little bling goes a long way! Valentine’s day also came and went, I didn’t really bother with cards and stuff, but yesterday I bought red/white carnations (image) and today we bought colourful cupcakes (from the street as it was restaurant day) and had afternoon tea with my flatmates.

As I told  you guys, I got a subscription of Wallpaper magazine for myself, an early Christmas present. I haven’t actually got any copies yet, because they messed up my subscription at the office. For consolation they did send me some free issues of Elle interior. So I’ll get back to you on that later on. I also promise to talk about my new bike in the posts to come, I’ve ridden a good 1000km so far.

Cupcakes make world a better place

If some of you clever readers are wondering why you are picking up accents of pre-Victorian english in this post, it is just the influence of Jane Austen. Particularly the book, but this weekend I also watched the 6-episode mini series of Pride and Prejudice from the 1990´s (I think for the 4th time ever). It would be fun to be able to speak like they do, even though I know that the time for that has passed a long ago. “There is an air of civility, good breeding and manners about her.” Enough trickery though, I´ll get back to my old jolly ( and less cocky) self soon enough!

Ok, now that the year’s first incoherent post is out-of-the-way, I can write something sensible next time. Till then my good sirs and madams, I bid you all farewell!

Flowers make Christmas

Because I´m pretty exhausted from packing for my trip to the Azores, I’ve decided to post mostly just images this time. My arms are also pretty sore from letting my professional frustration pour into a punching bag at the gym. Let’s just say I’m not the best at keeping my hands up at this very moment. I have a 23-day holiday and it honestly couldn´t come at a better time. I´m hoping to spend my time jogging and trekking at the Azores. I´ll be sure to let you know how our trip turns out. One thing is for sure: It is a different Christmas from what I´m used to.

Enjoy the images. Like it says in the title, flowers/plants make Christmas. Of course there are other important things like family, decorations and baking, but flowers are important mood setters. Merry Christmas everybody, take it easy, I know I will!

148_christmas 149_christmas 150_christmas 151_christmas 152_christmas 153_christmas 154_christmas    

Cycling on Walls

Hello there, readers! I bet you didn’t see this coming now did you? I am posting, ha! I kidd, I kidd of course ( not that you would be thinking about me anyway, traitors…) But seriously, I have not posted in a while and for that reason decided to make this post a simple one: Only two topics.145_cycling_walls

Lately I have been feeling like I need to get in touch with my own field a bit more again. Just to know what is going on out there (as you might recall, I am supposed to be a designer). I did visit Habitare (a Finnish design fair) this year and after that I started to think that I would like to get a design magazine subscription. I considered many magazines, some Finnish, some foreign, but when I started to really think about it, I just decided that I had to get THE magazine, I had to get IT. And by IT, I of course mean Wallpaper* . It is supposed to be a good blend of architecture, design, fashion and art. I´ve got a year´s subscription that is guaranteed to end without a single telemarketer  calling me to renew my subscription. 143_cycling_walls

12 issues of Wallpaper*  is my trial period, maybe 2015 I´ll get something else. I will tell you later what I think about it when my subscription starts. And yes, I did get the traditional paper version, for a few reasons: My flatmates probably want to read it, I don’t have a smart phone yet, the iPad I use is my sister´s and when the magazine has been thoroughly studied at home, I will take it to my workplace. Because it is only 12 issues a year, I figured it is not such a waste since so many people will be able to read it.


And then there is of course the topic of HE, my new life companion. He weighs 9 kg, and has speeded up my life significantly.  He is a Ridley X-bow (Crossbow), 2014 model,  a cyclocross bicycle. I think I had already given my little finger to the bikedevil when I bought Shimano racing glasses a few months back… But they are just so goddamn handy in cold weather!!! I bike about 4000 km a year, and after careful consideration, I decided to buy a cyclocross bike, even though my previous bike was of “grandma style” (If you just read it gangnam style, you might have a psy fixation)


Being quite expensive to my taste, the X-bow has gotten some well deserved special attention from me, he sleeps in my room, is with me at work(indoors) and occasionally needs cleaning in shower. For some unknown reason my colleagues have started to ask questions about when we [me and x-bow, to whom I refer to as Tiger, or Tony (no relation to Kellogg´s Tony the Tiger!)] are going to register our relationship. I think it is just a question of loving the things you live with, taking care of them, so they will last longer.


To anyone considering buying a new bicycle, I recommend considering your own needs for the bike. For most people, a low maintenance bike with relatively good parts, easy to use, is the best. It depends how much you use it, and of course how much money you are willing to put in it. You still have the chance, I totally lost control after test riding the X-bow, I just HAD to get it. I have to admit, I haven’t regretted buying it even for a second. I’ll be sure to let you know how the X-bow handles during the winter, I ride my bike regardless of the weather. And as I might have expressed to some of you, winter cycling is a completely different sport. It takes a certain kind of person (crazy and stubborn as heck).

After buying the bike I´ve learnt a few important lessons in adjusting brakes, gears and pumping presta valves. Thank you Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim for the existence of YouTube!

Harvest Feast

139_harvestFall is the best time of year considering the produce: Right now we are eating our own tomatoes, salad, zucchini, cucumbers, berries, mushrooms. My colleague provided me with a plastic bag full of apples, and now my jam shelf (yes there is such a place, or at least should be in a cupboard) is almost yielding under the weight of apple jam jars.

Compared to last year, our tomatoes have survived very well. Last year the summer wasn´t as warm, fall came early and the tomatoes rot in the rain.138_harvest This year the weather was favourable, so almost all of our tomatoes have a chance of maturing to their full redness.

The butternut squash (that funny looking orangeish thing in the picture…) is not our own, it is from the organic circle I told you guys about, so are the lemons. 140_harvestHaven’t tasted the squash yet, but I heard it is good. The mushrooms on the other hand are from a forest near Helsinki. I learned to spot some new mushroom species from my godmother. Let´s just hope that everything I picked is edible..

The seeds in the picture are from our only “spaghetti squash”, it is a species that is supposed to look like spaghetti when cooked. It did look different, like a lot of fibres were coming out of it after cooking. Next year we will try again!

Sorry all for not writing in a while, have been busy will all kinds of parties and trips. This season continues as busy as before, so the next time I post might be in a month or so. I´ll give you a holiday from my jam-high babblings!


137_harvest 136_harvest 142_harvest 141_harvest

Honesty versus Profit

_MG_4866 I feel that one of the key values in my life is honesty, for that reason I really sometimes dislike brand management and everything it stands for. Maintaining an image is keeping track of the information that goes out, reducing the transparency of the company. A company might be maintaining an image that might be partly based on old-fashioned ideas and witty words. Such words as ” a Finnish brand” or “Finnish design” might be a bit misleading to some consumers. They might actually think that it has something to do with manufacturing in Finland. I know that everybody maintains their own image these days through social medias, and companies are no exception to that.

Key value/ word in business on the other hand is profit. Businesses are not like individuals with good moral.  Companies list their visions and values, but the only thing that is always missing from those rosy lists is the mention money. If you owned a business, what would you prefer: High production costs, fair play and less profit, or low production costs, less fair play but more profit. I think we all know what most would choose. There is an interesting study about wealth’ s relationship to ethical judgement. It seems that poor people’s have better moral than wealthier ones. That might be because wealthier people are more accustomed to greed. The thing that companies don´t take into consideration is that being socially or ethically sustainable might increase their business.

_MG_2548 But on the other hand whining about the origin of products is useless if you don´t set example yourself. I´m definetely not saying that I’m perfect, because no-one is. But I do have a choice, I have money to pay extra for the origin of a product. But it seems to be really difficult to find out about a product’ s actual origins. I think for some consumers ignorance is bliss. Do people actually want to know about suffering people or ecological disasters?

Companies have a lot of money and power these days. They are important leaders in society, or at least I think they should be.  If companies used all their marketing budget for the good of the society for 1 year I think we would have basically no dept. I think my media critique has gone so far that when I see an ad, read it, I think to myself:” What are they NOT telling us, what is the thing they don’t want us to know?”

_MG_3158Now that I´ve written this text, I feel like I´ve written it once before. I hope I have, because it is an important topic. But for you sake I hope it’s not all the same. It is like we say in Finland: Repetition is the mother of learning. Hint: If you have never heard of the Yes-men, I warmly recommend their hilarious yet so serious movies about what is wrong in this world.  Their activism is refreshing. And while I´m on the track to anti-capitalism I might as well recommend the Four Horsemen Film. For those of you who know what inspired this post, hang in there. Let’s keep making good decisions, no matter what.

There is an interesting blog post about this topic here. (aswell)_MG_2483