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Hello Friends!

Hopefully the season of joy has found you!

We are in the process of creating new Christmas traditions here at Vanha Talo Suomi. This year is our first for having a cut tree in the house! We gathered up what decorations we had and have this to show for our efforts.  I’ve been baking for the last few days and the result of the hard work are these lovely and very tasty German cookies which are a tradition of my family I brought with me to Finland.  The darker ones are called Lebkuchen (a honey based spice cookie with candied citron and other fruit and nuts) and the white ones are Springerle (an anise flavored embossed cookie made by pressing or rolling a mold design into the dough) Both are quite distinctive and uncommon in Finland, and from what I understand now even hard to come by in the US.

Tomorrow I’ll be in Helsinki where I can go hog wild in Stockmann’s Christmas Department to choose some heirloom glass ornaments to add to our tree.  Every year Stockmann’s decorates their storefront windows with different animated displays. Here’s a link to the 2014 display video.  (images provided by Visions of Helsinki)

There’s no snow in southern Uusimaa at the moment, although we did have some light snow about 10 days ago that lasted about a day. The same weather system that brought us the light dusting covered quite a few other regions of Finland in 30cm+ – making for some very happy kids I’m sure.

Pekka has informed me that the Finnish weather service has indicated a white Christmas for all of Finland! I think that will be nice and will really help brighten up our ‘dark days’ here as we approach the 21st of December when our shortened sunlight hours begin to increase in length again. Currently, our sunlight hours are only 6 hours! You can learn more here

As you might expect, Pekka and I wrapped up our outside yard work in October by finally getting almost all the leaves racked up and hauled to new compost bins he set up.  There are about 10 berry bushes to move next spring because we simply ran out of room where we’ve been transplanting them to. That area is also occupied at the moment with a large stick pile that awaits the wood chipper. All in all the removal of the berry bushes to another area has really opened up the yard making way for my next phases of gardening and landscape projects next year.

Namely, I have committed to a large purchase of David Austin roses from their German sales point. You can view the flower page here. The items I purchased include:

2 x Boscobel
2 x Desdemona
2 x Gentle Hermione
2 x Lady Emma Hamilton
2 x Munstead Wood
2 x Strawberry Hill
2 x The Alnwick® Rose
2 x The Lark Ascending

I’m planning a semi-circular rose garden (full sun) which will be centered in front of the adjacent shade garden… maybe incorporating a garden bench to sit and enjoy the roses. Once the last of the berry bushes can make it to their new places, the whole area they previously occupied can be turned over into my new rose oasis – I think it will be wonderful!

But as I said, the outdoor projects have concluded for this year. We have directed attention once again to completing indoor projects by finishing the work downstairs in the new construction side of the house.

In November Pekka was busy doing the last bits of dry-wall finishing before laying down the new wood flooring.  We bought that flooring quite a few months ago and I’m glad the stacked boxes are gone and we have a floor!   After that, a call to the plumber was in order to hook up the water to our new washing machine!

I’m happy to report the final coats of paint were finally added to the downstairs bathroom! We have installed additional cabinetry there too which will be especially welcome and needed once we get the house finally settled into.

The walls and ceiling in the laundry room are now painted. The cabinets need to be secured in-place and the counter top and sink added, plus trimming out the doors and window.  We opted to remove the solid oak swinging doors and choose a folding door for both the bedroom and bathroom which should make a significant difference in space saving – once they’re installed!

The guest bedroom needs to be painted and also trimming out the window but nothing is proceeding there until the stockpile of cabinetry and building materials are finally cleared out!

We will probably be able to get these finished by the end of year – at least that is my hope. I ordered prints online and I’m having the pieces framed at a local shop. Once we get a bed in there, our guest bedroom will be ready  for guests!!

While I was looking online at Tori.fi – (Finnish resale site) I came upon this great-looking old rocking chair. The item is over 100 years old but had a broken arm – all the pieces included – and the whole thing painted black and trimmed in gold-leaf detail – for 10 euros. I told Pekka we should snap it up. Even if we had to sink 50 more into it for repairs, we’d have ourselves a really great old rocking chair!

You can’t begin to understand how frustrating it is trying to find someone – anyone to repair this chair. After asking for recommendations from a local antique dealer for the name of someone, they replied and asked that we bring the chair in for them to have a look at it. Believe it or not they said they couldn’t do anything! I was so discouraged! Surely you can’t be serious! This chair is 100 years old and you’re telling me it’s beyond hope? because one arm snapped off? For crying out loud!! No one wants to fix anything any more, and I didn’t want to ruin the chair or make matters worse by trying to make a repair myself. Lately, my discouragement has turned to the notion of busting it up for fire wood. What a waste!

Well, anyway – here it is about 15:30 (3:30pm) and I’m sitting in the dark. The sun has gone down on another Finnish day. I think I’ll go make a cup of Glöggi and have myself a cookie… or two!


Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa!

Vanha Talo Suomi ❤