Sunday, January 23, 2011

For the Love of Finnish Linen and Lace

I promised a peek at my linen-and-lace fabric bin and pillow cover when they arrived from Finland. I slowed down to relish and document every detail of opening the package and enjoying its contents. It was Christmas money well-spent. I'm so perfectly pleased! Thank you, tuuni, for rescuing this beautiful Finnish handwork and remaking it into something so lovely for my home! Thank you, Mom and Dad, for treating me to my new treasures!
 a customs declaration of handmade textiles--how delightful!
 my first-ever package from Helsinki!
 "brown paper packages tied up with string
these are a few of my favorite things!"
the tuuni sticker says:

 the fabric bin ironed up beautifully with my 16-year-old, crummy iron
linen and lace perfection!
the fabric bin nestled in its new home, holding compact discs for now
the pillow with gray doily

such rich texture woven into the linen

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Swooning over Scandinavian Style

 Tuuni linen and lace fabric bin
This week I discovered two new obsessions that I feel compelled to share with you, and both happen to be Nordic (Finnish and Swedish). I also discovered that Finland is not technically Scandinavian--it's Nordic--but I went with Scandinavian in the title of this post for alliterative flourish.

I was in uninspiring Food Lion on a cold, snowy eve, so the soft-white-and-cream-hued cover of my longtime favorite magazine, Victoria, looked especially inviting. I began subscribing to Victoria when I was 16 and was shocked and hugely disappointed when it ceased publication for a few years. It has since been reissued, and this is the first issue I've been moved to purchase. I'm so very glad I did because of the delightful discovery that the artists-in-residence for 2011 are four Charlottesville women! (Photographer Jen Fariello, designer Jennifer Carroll, and floral designers Pat Roberts and Sherry Spencer.) And because it introduced me to my new favorite Finn.

I spent an enchanted evening poring over my Victoria magazine and was in raptures over a very simple, white fabric bin with a strip of lace that was featured in it. I Googled the brand and found it was handmade by a Finnish woman with an Etsy shop called Tuuni, which "is a Finnish name for a girl. It refers to something peaceful and calm. My shop name 'Tuuni' also refers to a finnish word 'tuunaus' which is commonly used when making products from recycled materials. I guess the word in english would be re-purposing." The maker of these gorgeous fabric bins and pillows hunts for old, handmade Finnish lace and linens in secondhand shops in Finland. She rescues this heirloom handwork and mixes vintage fabric with modern sensibilities. I am so in love! I sent her half my Christmas money in exchange for one lovely linen and lace fabric bin, similar to the one in the photo above, and a pillow with a light gray doily stitched onto the front. I'll post a photo of it when it arrives in all its re-imagined, Finnish glory.

I may end up sending the rest of my Christmas money to another Nordic source of beauty and inspiration: Lotta Jansdotter! She's a Swedish designer and print maker who lives in Brooklyn. I like her a lotta (did you not see that coming?). She has a slew of books on sewing, decorating, stenciling and printing on everything from fabric to linoleum, and she creates stationery, sticky notes, tote bags, fabric calendars and more. Many of her designs are inspired by nature. I want at least three of her books, including one coming out in March that features artists and designers and their studios. (Studios are sacred spaces of wonder to me.) I also want the "Simple Sewing" book with enticing projects and "Handmade Living" that includes some of her favorite Swedish recipes (cinnamon buns, mead, Swedish meatballs), simple decorating tricks, favorite music albums and online shopping recommendations.  
 And I want a supply of her stationery and sticky notes for myself and to give to friends! I also want expensive leather boots, linen hemstitch napkins, a new rug, a tablecoth, a fabric tote bag, new pots and pans, a Fiestaware pitcher, a sewing machine, a crockpot, a trip to Europe and pretty much tons of other stuff too, but there's only so much a girl can do with $65. ;-)

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