Apr 30, 2013

And the Winner is...!

Before rushing out to celebrate the First of May, we would like to announce the winner of the most recent competition, in which one had to register as a member to join. First, a big thank you for all of you who registered! Now, the winner has been randomly selected among the 14 of you.

This time, the lucky winner is:   -- VIRVE --  

She will receive this beautiful teak bowl with some surprises in it! We will be contacting Virve soon to arrange the details of the delivery...

Congratulations, Virve!!

We would also like to wish everyone Happy May Day!!! It is maybe more traditional to bake sugar coated doughnuts for the May Day party, but as it was the wish of our host of the bring-a-dish party we are attending tonight, Minna pulled out some old but oh so reliable recipes for brownies and rice crispie treats. EXTREMELY easy, and a GUARANTEED success.


Some sweet treats

And as requested later in the evening, the recipes for the brownies and rice crispie treats!

Rice Crispie Treats

150 g butter / voita
400 g marshmallows / vaahtokarkkeja
200 g Rice Crispies / riisimuroja

All measurements are estimates, for example the amount of cereal is when the mixture feels "right". Basically, you gently melt the butter and the marshmallows in the microwave (not full power), mix and then fold in the rice crisps. Spread the mix into a lightly greased cake pan (square shaped works the best), and leave to set. Finally, use a sharp knife to cut in pieces.

Kaikki aineiden määrät ovat arvioita, esimerkiksi muroja lisätään sen verran kunnes seos tuntuu "oikealta". Sulata varovasti voi ja vaahtokarkit mikroaaltouunissa (ei täydellä teholla), sekoita ja kääntele riisimurot sekaan. Levitä seos rasvattuun suorakulmaiseen uunivuokaan, ja jätä kovettumaan. Lopuksi, kun seos on kovettunut, leikkaa neliön muotoisiksi palasiksi.


150 g dark chocolate / taloussuklaata
150 g butter / voita
2.5 dl flour / vehnäjauhoja
2 tablespoons / rkl cocoa powder / kaakaojauhetta
1 teaspoon / tl baking powder / leivinjauhetta
2 teaspoons / tl vanilla sugar / vaniljasokeria
0.5 teaspoon / tl salt
3 dl brown sugar / fariinisokeria
2 eggs / kananmunaa
50 g white chocolate crumbs / valkosuklaata karkeaksi rouhittuna
50 g pecan nut crumbs / pecan pähkinöitä rouhittuna (optional / jos haluaa)

Heat the oven to 175C. Butter a pan (20 cm x 30 cm) and line with greaseproof paper. Melt the chocolate and butter slowly, mix continuously. Cool the mixture down a bit. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in one bowl, and eggs, brown sugar and vanilla sugar in another. Add the melted chocolate/butter to the egg-mixture. Add the flour mix, white chocolate and pecan nuts. Mixing with a wooden spoon is sufficient, there is no need to use an electric mixer. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake in 175C for 25 minutes. Cool down before cutting in pieces. Serve plain or with ice cream / vanilla sauce.

Laita uuni kuumenemaan 175 asteeseen. Voitele vuoka (20 cm x 30 cm) ja vuoraa pohja leivinpaperilla. Sulata suklaa ja voi hiljallee sekoittaen. Jäähdytä suklaaseosta hieman. Sekoita keskenään vehnäjauhot, kaakaojauhe, leivinjauhe ja suola erillisessä kulhossa. Sekoita keskenään kananmunat, sokeri ja vaniljasokeri. Sekoita suklaaseos käännellen munaseoksen joukkoon. Kääntele lopuksi taikinaan jauhoseos, valkosuklaa ja rouhitut pähkinät. Sekoittaminen puuhaarukalla riittää, vain sen verran ettei jauhoja ole näkyvissä. Kaada taikina uunivuokaan ja tasoita pinta. Paista uunin keskitasolla 25 minuuttia. Anna jäähtyä ennen paloittelua. Tarjoile sellaisenaan tai vaniljakastikkeen / jäätelön kera.

Apr 21, 2013

Spring has arrived!

Finally, finally, finally! The sun is out, snow is gone, air is warmer, and thus the promise of summer is lurking behind the corner! We just love the light that fills the living room in the morning, and so does Urho. He is very keen on finding the sunny spots to take advantage of the heat.

The bliss of sun

Pekka and Sofi like sitting in the Eames Chair together and observe the wonders of the world on the backyard. So far squirrels, rabbits, birds and dogs have been spotted. The backyard will be a future project, as at the moment it looks rather uninviting. Among other things, the fence needs to be fixed and plants trimmed, but first things first, Sofi really needs a sand box!

About to go green

Since it will take a bit of time before we will have the time to work on the backyard, as a first aid, Pekka cleaned up the downstairs "terrace to be" area. Now the renovation junk has disappeared, and the sauna wood has been organised in to an orderly pile.

Back yard from the back

Wood for sauna

We were a bit sad to lose the two beautiful pine trees last autumn (much of those two trunks are now piled up above), but for practical reasons they needed to go. Only two stumps about a meter high remain, and we have not yet decided the final height of them. It will be decided later, and will depend on the layout of the terrace and how the trunks will integrated to the design. Fortunately, one prominent representative of the pine tree species still stands proudly in the middle of the yard. It will continue the needle shedding tradition to the upstairs terrace when they time comes this year.

Grand old pine tree

A definite sign of Spring are the flowers. We have so far planted none ourselves, but this morning Pekka and Sofi spotted some blue flowers (which might also be just weed) and white crocuses. It is actually quite interesting for the first time ever to start thinking about perennials!

Blue flowers - or just weed?

Cute little crocus

Apr 18, 2013

Project: "Back to life"

This is a period in our family during which a lot of things seem to be happening simultaneously. Minna is now back at work after her maternity leave, and Pekka is staying at home and taking care of Sofi and Urho. Despite of this switch, the renovation of our home continues, being an equally infinite task as is the hunt for antiques.

For Pekka's delight, the good thing in staying at home and taking care of a child is the fact that when the baby is taking a nap, there are fragmented moments throughout the day during which one can allow their focus to drift to something else, like for example restoring vintage furniture in the Man Cave.

Having said that, we are proud to present one of our latest findings, a true vintage beauty from the mid century modern era - an early production series Cherner chair by Plycraft. In Pekka's opinion, there is no question this chair is one of the most beautiful objects ever made out of wood.

Norman Cherner for Plycraft 1958

If you have read our first posting regarding the Cherner chair, you might remember the interesting story behind this particular item. First, there were problems with structural rigidity, then a launch with a fake name leading to a court battle, and finally a justified attribution to the chair's correct designer, Norman Cherner.

For a while now, we have been looking for two pieces of the armrest version to complete the dining set. Finally, after three months of intensive hunting followed by a few weeks of rigorous restoration, she is now ready for use with the rest of the Cherners in the dining room.

The four chairs without armrests are from 1963, as stated by the sticker underneath each chair. However, the newest armrest arrival is older, possibly from the first two years of production. The old style label underneath the seat indicates the chair was designed by "Bernardo", which is a definite and helpful clue in determining the age of the chair.

"Designed by Bernardo" label - an indication of early production series (before 1961)

Once again, this chair was found from Florida and yes, again through the internet. Based on the pictures we saw, the general condition clearly seemed less than perfect making it a very difficult choice. Should we, or should we not purchase it given the questionable condition and only being able to make an assessment via pictures. The lacquer of both the seat and backrest had seen better days, and the lamination of the armrest had a split. So even given only these issues, we were looking for many, many hours in the Man Cave.

Additionally, the history of the chair and the structural rigidity challenges the design team had had early in the production also raised some questions. More importantly that the looks of the chair, knowing that this was an early production series piece, it was a valid concern that there might be some problems also with the chair's structural rigidity. Naturally, there was no way to know this before it would arrive in Finland.

Destroyed clear coat

Split lamination of the armrest

But now, enough of talking. The ToDo list was quite long, and it was time to get one's hands dirty:

  1. Clean off the years of an old chair
  2. Remove the clear coat from the seat
  3. Re-laminate the split armrest
  4. Apply a bit bit of epoxy here and there
  5. Install new foot pads (still to be finished)
  6. Apply good quality teak oil to give the chair a final finishing touch

The right tools for the job

One of the greatest things about our new home is the fact that there is now room to conduct these kinds of activities. In our previous apartment, all this was done on the dining table in between meals. And as you might have guessed, this was not always the most appealing approach from the viewpoint of the rest of the family!

Stripping off the old clear coat

Adding teak oil to the thirsty wood

As with so many other things in life, the true reward for a given job comes at the very end. In this case, the final result was so much better than we could have ever imagined for. The Cherner chair is stunningly beautiful, rare and yes, luckily rigid enough for one to sit on and thus suitable to be combined to a dining set with the rest of the Cherners we have found earlier. Now, five down, one more to go...

Curved armrests

Stunning lines and wood work

A true mid-century beauty

Apr 17, 2013

Ichikawa shots from Copenhagen

No, even if it has been a while since the last posting, we are not lost in renovation or restoration. Instead, we have been doing stuff that "normal" people usually do, including travelling and spending time with our friends!

During the last few weeks we had the pleasure of enjoying the company of some quite exquisite visitors from overseas. In addition to the capital area in Finland, we also made a little exhibition to Stockholm and Copenhagen. A stolen purse and several other minor incidents will make Stockholm a good story later, but the focus of this post will be in the more successful (but cold) Copenhagen. Denmark, after all, is also the home country of some of our favourite designers and mid century modern pieces!

In Copenhagen, about to take a boat tour!

In a way, it is good we don't live in Copenhagen, as we would be absolutely broke in just a few weeks! The city is full of inviting anthique shops you can forget yourself treasure hunting for hours. During the three days in Copenhagen, we visited a few of these heavenly places and left behind some fantastic (but too large) items with tears in our eyes. For our next visit, the only option seems to be to rent a van...

We will save you from an elaborate listing of all the beautiful sights and wonderful restaurants we visited, but instead wish to share a few photos taken by a dear friend, Jeff Ichikawa, who with his wife Julie, shared the Copenhagen experience with us. Jeff is an avid photographer, and kindly allowed us to post some of our favourite shots from his collection in this blog. So in addition to a family photo, we chose a few which for one reason or another reflected the best on our Copenhagen experience. Thank you, Jeff! And thank you Julie, for bringing him over...!