Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 recap and updates

Here're the top five posts of 2013:

{diy: bath bombs} I had been wanting to make myself some bath bombs for quite some time but I just couldn't find a recipe that was easy enough or had ingredients that I could easily source. Apparently, everyone felt the same way, because this was the most popular post on Idle Wife this year (and of all time). That easy and cheap recipe combined with the sweet pastel pictures was definitely a winner. Now I'm going to be hunting for something nice for the shower as having a bath tub is pretty rare here in Helsinki (and we definitely won't have one, anyway).

{friday fixation: coloured marshmallows} Who knew that one simple idea would turn into something so popular? Probably my most read comment about these marshmallows was, "Why?! What is the point?!" And since I didn't really explain why I was experimenting with this technique, I will now. I wanted something cute to put in a treat bag for Idle Husband on Valentine's Day, and I was sick of all the typical Valentine stuff cuz it's never updated or different or modern looking. And that's all there was to it. I was honestly quite surprised the idea even worked since water plus sugar usually ends in disaster. So to everyone who has ever asked WHY?! That's why I made them and you can do whatever you want with them. But if you really need more ideas, here are a couple; they'd be nice as a cake topper on a simply iced white cake or you could jam them on sticks for quickie, easier cake-pop-like treats for a bridal or baby shower.

{diy: heart headphone cord wrap} I still really like this diy and I use it quite frequently. It probably looks pretty simple, but it took many attempts to get it just right. I think I threw out more hearts than I ended up keeping. The biggest tip I can give you if you plan on making this one is to get the thickness right. Too thin and it'll break under the pressure of wrapping your cords (or just from putting it in your bag) and too thick and it won't dry properly and it'll look too clumsy.

{diy: painted bamboo cutting boards} Oh the cutting boards. I can honestly say I was not sorry to see these head to the goodwill when we were sorting and packing everything up for our big move. I initially painted the edges just to give them more interest in the kitchen, plus I saw some cutting boards with a painted edge that looked exactly like these in a magazine and I thought that would be the easiest diy ever. And it was. The problem for me was the cutting boards themselves. While that may have jazzed them up a bit, I still hated using them. So my next board is going to be non-slip (I'm so tired of boards sliding around on the counter while I'm chopping. It's so dangerous!), it won't need constant oiling, and I want to be able to use it for both meats and vegetables and then throw it in the dishwasher for cleaning (I have definitely changed my opinion on wooden chopping boards).

{diy: beaded necklace} I still have this and I've worn it on occasion. I just realized I'm not a big necklace wearer (even though I have quite a lot of necklace choices!). This design actually does go with a lot of outfits despite being more in, what I would consider, the "busy" category. Though, I think I'm drawn to simpler designs these days, so in 2014, I hope I can find some good quality jewelry materials (new country, and all), and then I can start making some new jewelry tutorials. Possibly more earrings and bracelets this time around.

I'm looking forward to coming up with more useful home diy tutorials in the new year. I want to have unique yet inexpensive things in our new space and two issues I already have to address is lighting and furniture, so expect more design ideas for small spaces. Moving to Helsinki with only our clothes has provided the opportunity for me to start fresh with a completely blank slate (I think it's pretty rare that someone gets that chance), so I'm pretty excited about coming up with new ideas for our home!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

happy holidays

I just wanted to pop in and wish you all a great Christmas and a bright New Year! And as always, thank you for reading and following and commenting and generally just paying attention to Idle Wife this year!

Friday, December 20, 2013

friday fixations

{bird bnb} Oh god this is too cute! Look at him! He's eating popcorn on a couch! (This is my favourite picture from the bunch, obviously.)

{insane christmas wishlist} This made me laugh out loud. Not the list, the fatherly explanation of said list.

{cat flakes} This is silly, but good for a moment.

{different sized christmas lights} Maybe you do this already, but since we were lacking in decorations this year, we opted to go a little bit crazy on the lights. We bought a small ball-style light (the options in Finland are more for bulb shape and size instead of colour and movement as in Canada) and later we bought really tiny fairy lights that are in the same colour family as the larger ball light. I think the combination of a larger light bulb and a smaller light bulb makes the tree look a little more interesting and, dare I say, twinkly.

{jaffa cakes} These look like cookies but are totally cake-like. They've got a fruit topping which is more like a jelly instead of a soft jam, and it's dipped in chocolate. Jellies and chocolate? On top of a cake-y cookie? I want have to try more flavours.

{christmas gifs} I love a good gif and some of these would make great e-cards.

{finnish gifts} Twelve ideas for Finnish-themed gifts. Wouldn't it be great to get a pair of scissors? You can always brag about their strong Finnish design and your knowledge of said design. (My sarcasm doesn't translate here very well.) I would like to try that liquorice, though. I like things that can potentially be so divisive.

{lionel stitchie} Clever street art always has a place in my heart.

{gingerbread deaths} Those poor gingerbread men.

Friday, December 13, 2013

diys i {really} want to do

If you're wondering why it's a little dead for DIYs around here lately, it's for this one plain fact: I had to leave all of my crafting supplies in Canada. They simply didn't get on the plane with us (four suitcases was more than enough for us to handle and check). I'm looking into finding craft stores here, but I also don't have a mode of transportation plus, you know, jet lag, scary unknown, language barrier, want to go with a friend, have no friends, gotta wait for hubs to be off work... plus we're in a very tiny temporary apartment with only one table (that we are currently using as a desk, a dining table, and a shelf to throw all our stuff on when we come home), and it (plus the whole apartment) would be a complete disaster in a matter of minutes given my usual crafting habits.

 But I'm still thinking about DIYs!

Here're some that I really would do, like, yesterday, if I had the tools and the space.

{anthropology inspired painterly shoes} I have these exact shoes. Exact brown colour, exact style, exact everything save for the cutesy painted sides. Wanna know where I found them? In the boys shoe department at Superstore, on clearance. And they fit like a dream! But wouldn't this be a great way to feminize/update them? It would, but I have no idea where to buy fabric paint or little paint brushes.

{himmeli anything} We managed to find a small tree for our apartment and we've got lights on it and a few tiny ornaments I brought with us, but I'd really like to add a little something more. I've been thinking about trying to make some himmelis, either with straws or, as pictured here, pipe cleaners. I have no idea where to buy pipe cleaners (let alone sparkly ones) and if I bought straws, I have no idea where I'd get string or anything to put them together.

{ikea hack -- soft rocking chair} I am obsessed with this chair. We saw it at IKEA last weekend (when we went to snoop on Finnish IKEA), and it's a really really comfortable chair. With rocking feet, it would be amazing. Alas, I no longer have any power tools or a tape measure or screws or paint stuff -- pretty much everything that's needed for this hack.

{dior double-pearl earrings} If you know me at all, you'll know I'm pretty fixated on earrings. If there's one piece of jewelry I'll always wear, it's a pair of earrings -- I never leave the house without them. Something about these double-pearl ones really makes me want to have them. Badly. The hack is so easy it literally breaks my heart that I no longer have access to my kicky jewelry supply shop, and, naturally, I have no idea where to find one here (goodness, it took me five years to find one in Edmonton and even then I pretty much accidentally tripped into it).

{pretty much anything that requires printing or paper} I'm working on a new calendar for myself but I've just realized we no longer have a printer or any paper, and I have no idea what the Finnish equivalent of a Staples would be. Plus Christmas cards would be really fun to make and send... speaking of sending, where the heck is the post office, even?

I know, I know, I should just order some of this stuff off the internet. Maybe I will... some day... once our mail gets sorted out.

In the meantime, if you want to see what's been inspiring me and interesting me in the world of, pretty much everything, just check out my Pinterest boards. I've been A LOT busier over there than normal!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

december desktop

Just a few days late, not too bad considering we have finally moved and are now residents of Finland!

Granted, it's only been two and a half days since we arrived (after a rather nightmare plane experience), but so far so good. The apartment we have is light and bright and cozy (and quiet!), and we had our first official grocery shopping experience yesterday. Two things that I liked there: when you get vegetables, you have to make a note of the product code (kind of like when you buy from bulk bins in Canada), then you weigh the item on a scale and print your own bar code which you stick on the bag yourself for the cashier. I love this so much! You know instantly (and I mean instantly -- it's very fast) what price you're going to be paying so you can take a tomato out if it's too much or scrap the purchase altogether (I've always hated the whole vegetable guessing game we play in Canada and how nice is this for cashiers?). Also all lettuces are sold with their roots and some dirt in a little pot (I guess you'd call it), and they're wrapped up like little potted plants with cellophane around them. I didn't know how to handle it, so I put them in cups of water and they perked right up. They seem so much fresher this way and I just had to snap off a few leaves for our salad. Cheap me wishes I had a planter box.

Anyway, the December calendar is kind of Finnish inspired and it definitely supports my growing fixation on black and white and geometric shapes. It's pretty simple, but it did take me a while to figure out how to draw the gems in photoshop. Not too shabby!