Floors Like Patchwork Quilts in Eixample, Barcelona

House Tours, Stunt Double

Often one of the most charming features of older buildings is the flooring. Case in point: this Eixample apartment in Barcelona, Spain, has amazing, intricate quilt-like floor tiles. In all the rooms!

Espacio en blanco Eixample Barcelona Bathroom

Espacio en blanco

The space was designed by interior design studio Espacio en blanco, but I can’t tell whether they just did the furnishings or also floors, other surfaces and fixtures as well. Whatever the case, the white walls and ceilings are the perfect backdrop, because otherwise it would get too busy.

My favorite is perhaps the dining room floor…

Espacio en blanco Eixample Barcelona Dining

Espacio en blanco

…although the bedroom floor has some lovely blue in it:

Espacio en blanco Eixample Barcelona Bedroom

Espacio en blanco

Just think how amazing it would look like if you had floors like this and made a matching quilt for your bed?

Found via Desire to Inspire.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New to Me: The Love Cats in Ukulele

Random Beauty, Stunt Double

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble and beyond have turned not just to handcrafts but to video projects as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen a wide spread of projects and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain recorded a cover of “The Love Cats” by The Cure.

The Lovecats – Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on YouTube

Isn’t it wonderful? I laughed out loud, it was such a fun take. 🙂

Found via Whatever.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

June 2020 Recap

Newsletters

Massachusetts covid-19 cases went down enough so that we moved to phase 2 of reopening this month. Yay for less death! It meant e.g. that restaurants could open their patios and non-essential shops were allowed to open with restrictions and safety measures in place. (I haven’t gone yet myself.) The best is that we were able to get our first curbside pickup of library materials. The process is slower than browsing shelves yourself, of course, but I’ll take it!

If all goes well, as it still seems, we might be starting phase 3 early to mid-July. That would mean opening movie theaters with moderate capacity. Movies and dinner out afterwards are things I miss most (now that libraries are available), but I confess to being over-careful; I can’t decide yet when I might feel safe to go.

I continue to deal with mild respiratory symptoms on and off. Namely, it’s a cough that comes and goes, but it still seems to be merely asthma-related. My allergy symptoms have, thankfully, subsided for now. I am usually due another bout at the end of the summer, so I’m going to take full advantage of these coming weeks when I don’t have to deal with plant reproductive matter. Ahh, life is good when you can smell the summer!

I’ve heard of people having many more nightmares this spring – no surprise there. A bit inexplicably, I still haven’t had a single one. In fact, the other day I woke up in the middle of filling the dishwasher. It’s a “You know you’re middle-aged when” moment, I guess! 😀

In any case, fingers crossed (U.S. way) and thumbs up (Finnish way) that people continue to behave in ways that will repress the virus!

I’ve had energy to plan and do crafts again. In May I made a piece of heart wall art in rainbow ombre. An in-progress photo is below, but you can see the finished piece at my Flickr account.

Ombre Rainbow Heart Art WiP3

This month I have, among others, made a smaller heart art piece as a gift, refreshed two photo frames, whitewaxed a small wall shelf and ordered lots of materials for other projects and updates.

Whitewaxed Wall Shelf3

Foodwise, we’ve had a good month, including this amazing floral focaccia made by a friend:

Flower Focaccia

She did a bakeathon to raise money for Black Lives Matter and other good causes. Our focaccia is not just beautiful but so tasty – quite possibly the best I’ve ever had.

This June we have also been treated to not one but two baby bunnies visiting our backyard with some regularity. It’s amazing – I’ve never seen wild rabbit young live, let alone on my yard. Earlier they looked very much like plushies – a fluffball topped with another fluffball for a head…

Baby Bunny by Raspberry Bushes

…but by now they’re starting to look like big bunnies:

Baby Bunny Starting to Grow

They’re still Very Smol. What a treat! ❤

We also may have a cardinal nest somewhere nearby, for we keep seeing both a male and a female cardinal around. And another visitor we don’t see every year is a snapping turtle.

Unfortunately, June in our corner of the state has been abnormally dry. It’s also been so hot that apart from sneaking in yardwork on some mornings, a lot of the time we just skip all except the absolute musts. Husband has given up on trying to plant a garden this year, and we may have lost a crop of grass seed, as the rain that was supposed to arrive a few days after sowing never materialized. I feel so bad for the crunchy grass, wilting plants, birds and small critters. (At least, if I’ve got it right, grass has evolved to withstand bouts of drought.) We actually set a shallow dish outside this year under the shadow of a rosebush to help the little critters stay hydrated.

Be considerate. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❤

P.S.: Note that due to the 4th of July holiday, I will have another short blogging break. Happy Independence Day to my readers in the U.S.! See you back again the first full week of July.

Random Beauty: Rainbow Hotel Facade in California

Colors, Design & Designers

The Saguaro hotel in Palm Springs, CA, is unapologetically awash in bright rainbow colors. Its bold look was designed by Stamberg Aferiat + Associates, a New York based architecture and design firm.

Stamberg Aferiat The Saguaro1

Stamberg Aferiat + Associates

Stamberg Aferiat The Saguaro2

Stamberg Aferiat + Associates

Amazing, isn’t it? I really dislike the boxy, brutalist concrete modernism, but I see now how color can make a huge difference in how that kind of architecture can feel. And when you run into design that can change how you think about something, that’s how you know it’s great design. 🙂

Found via Helle Tjaberg at Eget rom.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Happy Midsummer!

After Hours, Ahem Ahem!

True to my Finnish roots, I’m taking a few days off to enjoy the midsummer. It’s especially important for me this year when it’s practically impossible for Husband and me to visit Finland to see my family and savor the summer.

Moonrise Jun 2008

While the black nights here in the south are exotic to me (Massachusetts is south to me – I grew up only two hours away from the Arctic Circle), they’re no match to the magic of the white summer nights in the north.

Both the Playfully Grownup Tumblr and my personal one will keep tumblin’, however, and I will keep an eye on Playfully Grownup on Etsy. I’ll resume posting here on Thursday 25th.

Hyvää juhannusta! Glad midsommar!

June 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

I have some re-reading again in my pile this month, plus books from the library.

Reading Pile June 2020

It’s been almost three months since our local library closed due to covid-19, and I’m ecstatic about having materials available again. Granted, it’s only curbside pickup at this point, which means we need to place a hold and schedule a pick-up time. It’s very much not instant gratification; nevertheless, it’s the library! Available! Again!

Anyway, some of the books, from left to right, are: Fortune’s Pawn, Honor’s Knight and Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach, plus The Murder at the Vicarage and The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories by Agatha Christie, and, finally, Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole.

I’m still waiting for a book order to come in, so next month has the beginnings of a good lineup, too.

Have you encountered something worth recommending recently?

World Map Wall Art in Rainbow Ombre

Colors, DIY

Eileen and her husband Ash, who blog at Just Measuring Up, did a fantastic rainbow ombre wall art project with craft paints and a stencil of the world map:

Just Measuring Up Ash Eileen Rainbow Ombre World Wall Art

Ash and Eileen at Just Measuring Up

Doesn’t it look fabulous?

And here is their project hung up:

Just Measuring Up Ash Eileen Rainbow Ombre World Wall Art2

Ash and Eileen at Just Measuring Up

In addition to giving you the how-to, Eileen also lists 6 other ideas for filling up a blank wall. Visit their site for a look!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: Abstract Art with Cooking Oil and Food Coloring

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger came up with an ingenious way to make abstract art – with cooking oil and gel food colors:

Dream a Little Bigger Allison Food Color Art WiP

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger

Her point was to use something she already had. Can you believe the resist patterns were done with canola oil?

Dream a Little Bigger Allison Food Color Art

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger

Very nice! Apparently the colors change a little as the paper dries, but it looks so vibrant either way. I wonder whether you might be able to do wrapping paper with this technique?

Visit Allison’s tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger for more photos and a how-to.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Dot Photo Frame Refresher

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Leveling Up

Many people in my social bubble have turned to handcrafts during the covid-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen such a wide spread of projects and patterns and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s a project of my own.

I’ll share what I thought would be a quick photo frame refresher but turned out to be anything but. The results are worth the effort, though, so all’s well that ends well. 🙂

I wanted to make over two older, uber-cheap 5”x7” wooden photo frames. They’re made from pine (I think) that had yellowed over the years, and I was quite tired of the darkened wood. I’ll first give the short version and the before and after photos, and after that the full saga.

Here’s a frame after the complete refresher: white wax, faux nailhead trim done with paint, and permanent marker polka dots.

Dot Photo Frame with Pens

Dot Photo Frame After

Apparently I didn’t take a before photo, but here’s a photo of similar untreated frames:

Walmart Wallniture Unfinished Wood Photo Frames

Walmart

The only difference is my frames were much more yellowed. (Oh, boy, how much more!) Here’s a frame in the middle of the transformation:

Dot Photo Frame Middle Closeup

I originally intended to try whitewaxing the frames. It’s a new-to-me technique I found via Cami at Tidbits. (I like her clear tutorial and whitewaxing projects; please visit her site if interested.)

However, I accidentally bought clear wax instead of white. (I worked on this just before and during some of the worst covid-19 panic in Massachusetts; I guess I had a coronabrain on.) Even while working on the frames I didn’t notice, because the clear wax looks white in the jar. Only after applying a couple of layers did I start wondering why the frames don’t seem to be gaining the lovely transparent white surface I expected… D’oh!

After some thought and more research I tried adding white acrylic crafts paint into the wax and wiping that on with a rag. Either I didn’t mix it properly or the rag wasn’t the best tool, for the surface came out quite uneven. You can see some of the effect in the photo above. However, it was much closer to what I had envisioned.

Perhaps I should’ve left well enough alone – indeed, in hindsight I think I would be quite happy with the improvised faux white wax – but at the time I was disappointed and wanted something else to “improve” the frames. I had an idea of trying to mimic nailhead trim with paint.

Dot Photo Frame Middle

I used an eraser at the end of a pencil and blue acrylic paint. Unfortunately, that made it worse. I’ve never been a polka dot person, and apparently this faux nailhead trim is close enough not to appeal to me. Plus, the eraser was a bit difficult to load with paint and use, even though I started with a clear expectation that the result wouldn’t necessarily be very even.

At this point I had to set the frames aside and chew the matter some more. Eventually, while looking for something else, I ran into two permanent marker tutorials. One is by Jessica from Cutesy Crafts (posted at DIY Candy), and the other by Tasha at Kaleidoscope Living. Both used letter stickers to mask off an area and applied small permanent marker dots all around them, spaced very tight close to the stickers, and wider and wider apart the further you went.

Bingo! I adapted the idea and used markers in five different colors. First I had to make a few dry runs on paper to see what kind of dot distancing and which color combinations I liked best.

Dot Photo Frame with Pens

I ended up starting with a few small brown spots here and there (maybe 4-8 in an inch of frame). Then I added dark blue and green dots, increasing the density slightly. Next, a few more spots of turquoise. Finally, I filled almost all remaining gaps between the blue “nailhead trim” and the rest of the marker dots with lime green.

Here’s the after photo again:

Dot Photo Frame After

…and a closeup:

Dot Photo Frame After Closeup

And only very, very belatedly did I notice that I completely forgot to wax-treat the inner edge of the frame, the one closest to the photo. Fortunately at that point I was able just to laugh at my poor coronabrain project!

And it actually doesn’t look that odd in the end. Live and learn! After all of the rigamarole, I was definitely able to earn a number of experience points from this project.

Black Lives Matter

This Is Important, Thumbs Down

I had quite another post scheduled for today, but I had to change it due to recent events.

Because it apparently still needs repeating: Black lives matter.

Yes, rioting and looting is bad. But property isn’t as valuable as human life. For the police to escalate violence is unacceptable. For the police to attack journalists unprovoked is unacceptable. For the police to break their oaths and kill citizens they’ve sworn to protect is unacceptable.

I may be an immigrant in the U.S., but I am a white one and highly educated. I have all the privilege my skin color and my education give me. Furthermore, I come from a small country that’s been by and large extremely homogenous for centuries. After immigrating, it took me years to believe that this racist, horrifying state of things was, in fact, true, and I still can’t believe how many whypipo apparently are just fucking fine with it. My grandfather the cop would’ve been appalled were he alive today.

So I’ve educated myself, listened, done something. And I will continue.

I say again:

For the police to kill black and brown people over insignificant offences is unacceptable. Police brutality is unacceptable.

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

FFS.