Quotes: One Should Not Seek Ugliness in This World

Books & Mags

“One should not seek ugliness in this world. There is no lack of it. You will find it soon enough, or it will find you.”

– Sigrud je Harkvaldsson in City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

Although my life has been very different from that of a Dreyling operative and assassin, I agree. (For instance, I’ve never understood the appeal of vampire or horror genres, but to each their own.)

Bennett, Robert Jackson. City of Miracles. New York: Broadway Books, 2017, p. 177.

Cross-posted from Co-Geeking.

Shop to Go on Vacation Mode until January 2018

Ahem Ahem!

I will close my Etsy shop for the season tonight, Monday December 11, at 9 p.m. EST. There’s still time to get your last shopping done – and remember to use the discount code SOCIALMEDIABONUS2017 for 10% off your order!

2017 End of Year Collage

The last orders for this year will ship tomorrow, Tuesday 12, 2017. I will re-open Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy on Monday, January 08, 2018.

In the meantime, I will be working on various backend projects. I will also continue posting here, on Tumblr, Twitter and Flickr for a while before I start my end-of-year vacation in earnest.

Random Beauty: Bright Sun and Icy Branches

Random Beauty

The other day I was thinking of last December. I went through some photos to remind myself of everything that happened and ran into this gem. At the very end of last year, we were treated to gorgeous, glittering woods after snowfall:

Bright Sun through Icy Branches

It was really hard to get the light and shadow balanced well; this is one of my better shots, I think, in that respect. The light on the icy trees is so beautiful!

My Finland

My Spaces, This Is Important

Today, my native country Finland turns 100 years. I speak of Finland on this blog now and then because it’s a huge part of my identity.

My Finland Summer Flags Naantali

Sadas itsenaisyyspaiva joulukuun 6 2017

Here, to celebrate our first centennial, are a few aspects of my Finland. All photos by me unless otherwise mentioned.

 

My Finland is woods and access to nature

Finland is among the most forested countries in the world, and people inhabiting the area have lived off of its forests for millenia. I really love woods. I would feel exposed without woods around me.

My Finland Central Finland Woods

My Finland Nuuksio Natl Park

In Finland, nature is incorporated into even the largest cities, and not only as manicured lawns or shrubberies. In addition to national parks, we have relatively untouched areas of nature almost within a stone’s throw from anywhere. And lakes – thousands of lakes.

 

My Finland invests in infrastructure and future-conscious planning

Multiple modes of transportation are an inseparable part of modern community planning. I’ve been biking to get myself from A to B as long as I can remember, and LOVE the bicycle paths. There’s even wintertime maintenance on them! I also love Finland’s clean, safe, up-to-date public transit. To wit: the metro system in the greater Helsinki region was just extended.

My Finland Bike Path

Flickr JElliott Moving in Helsinki

J.Elliott on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

 

My Finland is multilingual and international

For centuries, Finland was stuck in between and fought over by two larger powers. We were first a part of the Swedish realm, then Russia took over. There’s no denying that Finland is a small country, population-wise, and a small market. That doesn’t stop us from connecting; on the contrary.

Finland is officially bilingual (Finnish and Swedish), and the Sami languages, Karelian, Romani and Finnish sign language have been legally recognized as minority languages. Apart from the newer minority languages, there are also older communities speaking Russian and Tatar, for example. Today, pupils learn the basics of a minimum of three languages besides their native one before they leave elementary school.

My Finland Turku Railway Sta Newspapers

I also happen to LOVE the Finnish language. It’s an agglutinative one, which means we can build massive words like mustaviinimarjamehutiivistepullonkorkissanikin (‘also in the cap of my bottle of black currant juice concentrate’), typically spelled as one despite the length. Finnish also employs vowel harmony, which means that for instance the back vowel a cannot appear in the same word as the front vowel ä – but because of agglutination, we can build a compound where both do appear. For example, there’s a (theoretical) word with only one consonant and seven vowels: hääyöaie (‘intention on wedding night’ – can’t really see anyone ever using that in everyday life).

 

My Finland Reads

Finns love reading, whether it’s newsprint, websites or physical books. Or Donald Duck!

My Finland Kirjasto in Helsinki

Finnish Reading March 2017

Several Finnish authors have achieved international fame.

Moomin Butt from Complete Comic Strip #1

 

My Finland designs beautiful things

Modern Finnish design has made a name for itself. Brands like Marimekko or Iittala and names like Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen are known internationally. I’m partial to jugend (art nouveau / national romanticism) and wood.

My Finland Natl Romantic Architecture

 

My Finland is playful

Finns don’t do just high design, we also allow our humor to blossom – check out, for instance, the huge Posankka statue in Turku that is a hybrid between a marzipan pig and a rubber duck.

My Finland Posankka

We also love games and playing. Recent Finnish game franchise hits include Max Payne and Angry Birds. I sometimes wonder if the speculative genre Finnish weird might have arisen from our tendency to play around with ideas and color outside the lines. Not to mention to innovate!

 

My Finland invests in technology

Almost as long as there’s been an administrative unit called Finland, it’s been poor. Only after the World Wars did we really start trying to improve our lot, and by and large have succeeded. From Fiskars (which started as a forge in 1649) to Nokia and Linux, to mention but a few examples, for a tiny country we’re doing darn well.

Legendary Pinking Shears

Flickr Museovirasto JOKALS4Vaa01-3 Leipomo vuonna 1998

The ruisleipä line in a bakery in Kotka from 1998. Photo by Lauri Sorvoja / JOKA via Museovirasto (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

 

My Finland is unabashedly geeky and nerdy

Since reading is a big pasttime in Finland and since we love our technology, it’s probably no surprise that we have an active SF/F / larp / anime community. Thanks to the efforts of the Finnish fan community plus supporters all around the world, we hosted Worldcon 75 in Helsinki this past August.

Eppu at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki Aug 2017

 

My Finland Loves Music

From traditional to tango, from classical to heavy metal – even the combination of the two! – music is everywhere in Finland. I’m not a terribly big fan of classical music, but Jean Sibelius is special. Here’s a version of his Finlandia Hymn by Cantus Vocal Emsemble, with lyrics (I believe) from a Unitarian Universalist hymn book:

The Finlandia Hymn by cantussings

The Eurovision Song Contest is popular, and various folk styles are making a comeback.

Pernilla Karlsson – “När Jag Blundar” (Finland) via escDjpo2012

Ulla Pirttijärvi is one of my favorite Sami vocalists. I’ve also grown to like the combination of traditional yoiks and contemporary music quite a lot.

Ulla Pirttijärvi ~ Lullaby via FamilyOfLightMember

 

My Finland sauna bathes

Sauna is the only truly wide-spread Finnish word. We have sauna often, sometimes multiple times a week, and many people still make their own sauna whisks.

Sauna Whisks for Sale

 

My Finland cares

Finland is not perfect, but by and large we take care of each other. Finland’s women gained the right to vote first in Europe, in 1906. In the first elections where women were allowed to vote they were also allowed ro run for office; we elected 19 female members of parliament that year. We’ve already had one female President. (High time for another!)

My Finland Bunnies

This year we legalized same-sex marriage and are experimenting with universal basic income. There’s still plenty to do, for instance abolishing the mandatory sterilization of trans people, reversing the trend of cutting from the care of the disabled and the old, trying to reduce domestic abuse and making sure the social security nets already in place hold.

My Finland in the Sky

In my Finland, there’s space to be who you are.

Early Start to Christmas: Food!

My Spaces

Usually we’re not ready for Christmas by the time December rolls around, but this year has been different. We sung our first carol – in Finnish, for which I give full props to Husband! – at the end of October. I pulled out the ornaments before Thanksgiving, and Husband brought home the first Christmas foods just afterwards.

I really like my Finnish Christmas food. When Husband and I got married, we had to fit our respective customs together into a combination that included both of our favorites. Fortunately that turned out very easy, because his New England family traditions and my Finnish ones are quite similar. Instead of turkey and cranberry, we make ham and prunes with various sides. They tend to vary from year to year, but always include some form of potato. 🙂

And the desserts! We decided to include a small amount of a wide variety, so there’s space for both traditions. When I can’t get Finnish gingerbread cookies, I’ll choose the Swedish brand Annas pepparkakor. We’re also stuffing ourself with clementines.

Xmas Foods Annas pepparkakor

Xmas Foods Clementines

I’ve really grown to like eggnog a lot. Due to my lactose intolerance, we tend to look for non-dairy alternatives, though. This new-to-us nog turned out pretty yummy.

Xmas Foods Non-Dairy Nog

I like the fact that this one is only lightly sweetened – the only place I prefer lots of sugar is in my alcohol – but I felt it lacked some creaminess. Quite nice, however, especially with a splash of vanilla soy milk.

I’m also looking forward to making and eating joulutortut and rice porridge (rice pudding).

Joulutorttu

Christmas Rice Porridge

What are your favorite end-of-year holiday foods?

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

Last Chance for 20% off: Sale Ends Tomorrow

Ahem Ahem!

Reminder: the Playfully Grownup Home end of year 2017 sale ends tomorrow, December 01, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EST.

2017 End of Year Basket

There is still time to get 20% off everything. No minimum orders, limits, codes or coupons to qualify.

Dragon Personal Safety Reflector RF008d

This sale is a part of Etsy‘s end of the year holiday sale drive. Visit Etsy for more fantastic deals from other Etsy sellers!

Hanger Cover HC008a

In addition to the general sale, I’m offering a bonus discount to my social media followers: get an extra 10% off from my shop with the code SOCIALMEDIABONUS2017.

This coupon code is valid longer than the sale – until Monday December 11th, 2017, 9 p.m. EST. No minimum orders or limits to qualify, either.

Close Quarters: Smorgasbord of Colors and Styles

Colors

Color is the calling-card of self-taught interior designer Shauna Glenn. She incorporates lots of colors and styles into her designs.

I’m really intrigued by the dining area rug from her home:

Shauna Glenn Design Dining w Blue Bright Rug

Shauna Glenn Design.

Quite often you see bright colors combined with white, but in this case the background is composed of several shades of greyish blue, which is an enduring favorite of mine. Love the effect!

She says of her approach:

“I love anything and everything home. My style is contemporary meets your grandma’s attic–if your grandma’s attic if [sic] filled with mid-century treasures from far off places. So many different genres are represented in my home: traditional, bohemian, modern, rustic, and mid- century. It’s like a smorgasbord, really. But it totally works! Who says you have to stick with one theme throughout. Let’s be bold! Let’s be brave! Let’s make margaritas and eat cake!
“I don’t know the rules of home design. I haven’t downloaded any How-To books or read Interior Design For Dummies. I just play with color and pattern and different textures and see how it makes the space feel. That’s it. That’s my secret.
“I hope you enjoy what I’ve created here. It’s a joyride I hope never ends.”

Her work really does look joyful, don’t you agree? For instance, this combination of white with red and fuchsia in a bedroom is wonderfully cheerful yet balanced:

Shauna Glenn Design White Red Fuchsia Bedroom

Shauna Glenn Design.

And here is an office space with just the right amount of color pops contrasted with white and black:

Desire to Inspire Shauna Glenn Design Office

Shauna Glenn Design, via Desire to Inspire.

Remember what I said about bright colors often being set on a white background? The rug above is a prime example.

Another fantastic combination of white, red and fuchsia in a bedroom rug, below:

Shauna Glenn Design White Red Fuchsia Rug

Shauna Glenn Design.

The pink ceiling – apart from being lovely in itself – forms a literal counterpart to the rug, while white and grey in the rest of the large textiles stop the combination from being overly saccharine. Very nice.

Found via Desire to Inspire. Visit Shauna Glenn Design for more.

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

End of the Year Holiday Sale 2017!

Ahem Ahem!

Starting today, for a limited time, get 20% off at the Playfully Grownup Home shop! This sale is a part of Etsy‘s end of the year holiday sale drive.

2017 End of Year Candle

Grab a few keychains for stuffing your stockings. Get a jump on organizing for the new year with mini storage cubes, hanger covers or book bags. Stay fresh by stashing a lavender sachet in your sock drawer. Or just endulge yourself with a small piece of handmade wall art or a yoga mat bag.

2017 End of Year Collage

The Playfully Grownup Home end of the year 2017 sale runs from Monday November 20th to Friday December 1st. Get 20% off simply by being your fantastic self – no minimum orders, limits, codes or coupons.

In addition to the general sale, I’m offering a bonus discount to my social media followers: get an extra 10% off from my shop with the code SOCIALMEDIABONUS2017. This coupon code is valid longer than the sale – until Monday December 11th, 2017, 9 p.m. EST. (No minimum orders or limits to qualify, either.)

Mini Storage Cube RC001d

Visit Etsy for more fantastic deals from other Etsy sellers, and remember to get your PGH orders in before 9 p.m. EST on Monday December 11th at the very latest!

Discoveries: Kitchen with Moroccan-Inspired Elements

Design & Designers, Room of Awesome

It’s two weeks till Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and I’m thinking kitchen thoughts. Not food, but the kitchen as a space, for I still have a few adjustments to make in our kitchen.

While browsing for ideas, I came across a kitchen with Moroccan-inspired elements:

DesignSponge Meg Van Lith Kitchen

Meg Van Lith, via Design*Sponge.

It’s from the home of Meg and Doug Van Lith and family in Phoenix, AZ.

I love wood and plants, and although the wood tones here are darker than what I prefer, the result creates such an inviting kitchen. Although ceiling-height tile backsplashes can feel cold and clinical, that’s not the case this time; the warm tones in the rest of the space counteract the backsplash. Also, the tile pattern carefully coordinates with the lighting over the island, and the open shelving and plants soften the strict black and white color scheme. Clearly Meg knows what she’s doing. It would be a pleasure to live in that house!

Also, I LOVE that they’re using their dining table for other everyday activities too, such as puzzle building. For me, a home isn’t a home if it’s too precious.

Visit the Design*Sponge article for more photos of the gorgeous Van Lith home.

Alas, as beautiful as this kitchen is, it doesn’t solve my current problem. Oh well, what a delightful excuse to browse more! 🙂

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