Author Archives: NiinaMaria

About NiinaMaria

Eager to craft and thrift. Not always succesfully.

Pinteresting vol. XLV

Thrifty Finn | Pinterest

Guess who’s back and pinning like crazy? Me of course. Did you read about how Pinterest is planning to make shopping directly from pins possible? Yeah, that means doom for my wallet. I shall buy everything. Which is not a lot with my income but…I shall buy all the things I can buy!

Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Anyhoo. Here are some of my new favourite pins:

strawberry peach rustic tart

Via sallysbakingaddiction.com

I think I told you got myself a gardening lot this summer. I found some strawberry plants hidden in the weeds and I transferred them to a proper plot. Unfortunately I had done the stupid thing and fertilized the ground with horse poop, which ended up being too strong for the strawberry plants and they died. That won’t stop me from dreaming about delicious strawberry tarts though. And this one looks so, so delicious. From my board Sweet & Sweeter.

build your best sangria infographic

Via missouriwine.org

Since we crafters and social mediasters (new word!) are a bit parcial for alcoholic beverages, I thought this infographic is in our best interests. I have pinned tons of sangria recipes on my Drinksies-board but this will help me make up my own. For example, now I know that I’ve always forgotten to add liquor in my sangria! You really do live and learn every day.

Siri, floral font, creative market

via Creativemarket.com

Aah…This font is so pretty, girly and summery! It wouldn’t matter what kind of product this font  would be slapped on, I would buy it! You can buy this font too, at creativemarket.com for 35$. Or, if you are cheap like me, just use this as an inspiration to create an alphabet collage with a free font and some floral clip art from Graphic’s Fairy. I’m so innovative! From my board Font Book.

rose floral arrangement

Via pinterest.com

I couldn’t find the original source for this one. Which is a pity as I loove this arrangement and the colours. I wish I could find a floral fabric with this colouring. Imagine the maxi dress possibilities! Anyhoo, it’s also a pity that the 90s floral craze hasn’t quite reached Finland yet. Or maybe it did, and I just missed it. I’d like to think the reason is the former though. From my board Flowers, Plants & Botanics.

floral shifong blouse

Via anthropologie.com

See, THIS kind of patterns and colours I’m talking about. I look like shit in the pale and muted colours they sell over here. I’d sooo rock this. Or I’d look like a sofa. With some bread crumbs in the cleavage. There’s always that risk. Anyway, the blouse is from Anthropologie and apparently they have additional 20% off their sale items. Do they have any stores in Europe? I’d love to see their stuff live for once. From my board Trés Stylish.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. Here’s the compulsory cute doggy picture. Also with flowers:

floral crown on a dog

Via Wearwagrepeat.com

DIY Slipcover for a Seventies Chair

DIY, Ikea hack, slipcover

Few weeks ago a friend of mine called me enthusiastically about a chair he found at Kontti, a chain of thrift stores owned and operated by Finnish Red Cross. He went on and on about its lines and how he was planning to re-upholster it with some Ikea-fabric.

You know where this is going, right?

So, the other week I visited him and he showed me the chair and the fabric. He was right, the chair has nice lines and the fabric he had picked up was nice too. I’m especially happy by the fact, that he is FINALLY introducing patterns in his home decor. It has been an uphill battle but I got him there. Only a decade or two and we might even see patterns with multiple colours in there.

As you can see, the original material is rather “interesting”. Certainly a product of its time. But it’s actually quite nice to sit on, so creating a slipcover would be a good way to bring it up to date.

Tuoliprojekti5

We began by laying the cover on the material. We discussed on how to go on about it and since I had to go and pick up my phone I had left elsewhere, I left my friend to his own devices. Meaning, I assumed he was going to do what I instructed him to do. Wrong. When I came back two hours later, he had decided to clean up his balcony instead and was planning to leave the “actual sewing and doing” for me.

I’d like to pretend I stood my ground with this. He was the one who sewed but it was me who did the thinking. In the end I didn’t get back home until very late that day. But I did get a good meal out of it, so it wasn’t entirely terrible experience. Plus the chair looks pretty bitchin’ too. Here’s how we (and I use the term we here very loosely) did it:

First we cut the material in half lengthwise and I had Niko finish off the short ends with a double fold, while I pondered how to put the cover together. I knew it had to be some kind of envelope pattern but as the top and bottom were to be of different widths, I had to do some figuring out to get it to look neat.

The original material is still underneath as there is no way the Ikea fabric would support the weight of a person. We (I) decided the best way to get a tight fit, was to pin the fabric directly on the chair frame. This way we could also be sure that none of the original material would be showing and that we could see/test right away, if the cover would be easy to remove and put back on.

pressing, slipcover, Ikeahack

If you take second look at the prototype, you can see the shape of the finished cover. We left very wide seam allowances and used that to create nice edges on the narrow opening. The seam allowance isn’t of even width, but pressing it forces it to stay in shape. You can see the difference in the picture above.

ikea hack, slipcover

The little cut-offs on the original material are there to help to put the cover on the frame. We had to leave a gap on the new slipcover as well and it left a little of the orange fabric visible. I solved this by hand stitching small pieces of fabric on either sides of the frame as you can see here. Here’s how it looks when the slipcover is on:

ikea hack, slipcover

See, no ugliness in sight! The next step was the seat cushion…

seat cushion, ikea hack, slipcover

The original seat cushion was double-length, but my friend only wanted a cushion for the seat part. I cut it in half and crudely rolled the opening hem closed and stitched it up by hand. We then made another envelope cover for it:

envelope cover, ikea hack, slipcover

Very simple. First, finish off the short ends with a double fold. Then fold it around the cushion to see where you want to stitch, take it off and stitch the side seams closed. Here’s the finished cushion:

cushion, ikea hack, slipcover

And here’s the finished chair:

Tuoliprojekti18

I don’t know about you but I’m very pleased with myself. If you have any questions…Go ahead and ask!

-Thrifty Finn-

The Flea Market Season Is Open

Lepuski2

Today was my first day of outdoor flea market for this summer. The city of Espoo hosts a free park flea market few times every summer and this was my first time of participating. The weather was heaven!

I didn’t know what kind of stuff would sell, so I gathered a bunch of my better clothes as well as some vintage fabrics. Turns out I should have taken home decor and kids items with me. But my sales weren’t too terrible, plus on the bright side, I didn’t have to pay anything for the spot. Actually, that’s a huge plus. My name ain’t thrifty for nothing.

banana boxes, thrifty finn, flea market

As per usual, I got chatty with my co-sellers. Quite a few of them had attended these free flea markets before. Directly across from me, were a bunch of girlfriends, who came there with three cars (and 21 banana boxes) and they had a very nifty set-up. They had thought to bring rope with them and they strung it between trees and hung some of their better stuff on it. Next time I’m going there, I’m going to use that trick to display my vintage fabrics.

vila, lacy top, thrifty finn, flea market

Naturally I did some shopping myself. I bought this top in the hopes it would fit me and usually  size L from Vila does. Well, it DID fit me but just, and it didn’t hang prettily like this kind of top is supposed to. It wasn’t too bad as I managed to sell it almost right away to someone else. My other finds included Vans-sneakers (not in a perfect condition, but they were 2 euros and I can get one summer of use out of them) and a faux Tommy Hilfiger-purse. Personally, I’m not too keen on rip-off purses but it’s a perfect bag for the summer and will go with tons of my clothes, so I couldn’t possibly pass it up.

leppävaara, bulevardi, Alberga, thrifty finn, flea market, summer

The location was just perfect. This view is looking up on the boulevard park of Leppävaara and behind me here is the Sello-mall. The next flea market here is on 3rd of July. You can just show up and pick your spot, but you have to bring your own racks, tables or whatever you want to use to display your stuff.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. I was in a doggy heaven. I lost the count of how many doggies I gave cuddles to.

A Blog Portal That Is Up To No Good

mama gogo, indiedays, bella blogit

Yesterday I wrote about the Finnish blog portal Bella-blogit, whose ethics and business model leaves a lot to be desired. Apparently this has been their modus operandi for a quite some time as I found out from the blog Mami GoGo. As per usual, I’m translating the story (very poorly) and I think it’s worth the read. The Finnish readers can go and have a look at the original write up.

When I was originally asked to join Bella, which by then had been operating for 6 months, I was very pleased and flattered. I made new friends and we had very good group of people there, at least we new ones did. Back then I didn’t wonder why one of the original team members of Bella had just upped and left, without any explanations whatsoever. Later, after I’ve seen how things were ran, I wasn’t surprised. I also was told, that there had been trouble with some of the older bloggers and it was because “they weren’t easy to work with”. Even later I realized that the things were other way around. Either case, I was enjoying blogging and our blogs grew and developed, and some of us bloggers became very professional with it.

At the same time Bella-blogit grew and became more known. One of the original bloggers began doing the ad sales. That’s when everything changed. The good atmosphere disappeared.  Everything we had agreed to in writing and verbally, were changed with one announcement. Because the portal was small, and the financial compensation wasn’t huge, at least for me it wasn’t, I made most of my income with the blog co-operations I arranged myself. Bella hadn’t brought any campaigns for me within the first year. We had to cut contact with our long-term and important partners. I understand the point that when the campaigns come via business sales, they are a part of bigger picture and therefore the financial perks are also bigger. In long-term it is more beneficial for bloggers, when companies realize they can’t buy visibility with just few products. Well, that’s all about for that now. But with Bella, everything that could go wrong, went wrong. We weren’t notified professionally but with one, very abrupt e-mail. For six months, all my contact with the business sales were more or less aggressive towards me. Me and my blogger friend Riikka were publicly called on Facebook greedy and selfish materialistic shits. By a person we thought was our friend. The CEO of Bella didn’t do anything about this even though I asked her repeatedly. She also treated Riikka very coldly, I got some lukewarm placating. Riikka gave her notice, I wanted to give them second chance. I was offered a raise and even a part in a new TV-series Bastella Media was going to start producing. Neither one materialized. It didn’t take me long to realize, the promises was Bella’s attempt to keep me on leash, I was one of the most read blogs on Bella. We didn’t receive any apologies either, even though at this point I had been receiving more than a fair share of shit from them. I also was very upset from how they had treated my friend.

Spring and summer came and went, and nothing changed. Toxic language, minimizing, bad communication, accusations of poorly made blog posts, calling me names to clients, yelling on the phone, putting down my self-esteem…There was a point, when my hands shook every time I had to open my e-mail. I was so afraid of what I was going to have to read next. Blogging, which used to be my passion and source of joy, became a revolting chore because of them. People, who were supposed to support me and work with us. I still can’t understand why we were treated this way. What was the point of making our blogging harder and treat us so badly? I can’t understand how an adult human being can treat another one such way. And even harder is to understand, how year after year things continue the same. Not for all of them but for some.

Around the same time, another blogging friend of mine, Essi, decided to stop blogging completely. Her contract was broken for many parts. For example, she should have been receiving help to transfer her blog, but she still hasn’t received her files. All the texts and images have disappeared.

I had written and re-written my notice letter for many times over, when finally the day came when I couldn’t do it anymore. I was afraid, what was going to happen after I gave my notice but in the end, I just had to bite the bullet. It was awful. I got ignored completely. I was left out from the campaigns, my posts were no longer pulled on the front page of Bella nor on Facebook. CEO went and changed the password to my personal e-mail so I couldn’t access it. Yes, at this point I found out she had had access to it for two years…My phone calls and e-mails were left unanswered. But later I received a screaming phone call where I was threatened with lawyers and contract breaks and whatnot. For no reason. You can believe me I was spent after being abused for months. After I switched blogs, all my blog pictures were gone. They had been removed from Bella’s server, against the contract, and they had disappeared permanently. Luckily the Indiedays’ IT-guy had experience with blog transfers and he had coded a back up earlier and could bring them in couple of hours. Phew. But what if I had moved to blog independently? I wouldn’t have any of the pictures anymore. One of my last posts on Bella describe my feelings and they weren’t happy.

Most insane thing to see is how everything fell apart. All the nice things became meaningless, when the true side of those people was revealed. I found out that the people, who used to work with them, had to go through similar things. Things got so bad that they are still afraid to talk about them. “I know what kind of web sleuths they have in there and how much energy they use on sabotaging other people. That’s why I haven’t spoken about this publicly”, I was told by someone. “Every time a new blogger joins them, I want to scream don’t do it, it’s a trap!”, says another. There was an explanation why this ex-friend of mine had no long-term friends. All the bridges were burned. I should have know from the way she spoke about other people. But I wanted to believe the best.

It’s unbelievable how unprofessionally everything was handled. Now that I’ve heard the latest scandal a la Shitty Thrift Store Finds, it’s clear they are still unprofessional. Contractual issues are contractual issues, and business is business, but where are the courtesy and manners?

The latest scandal puts down all the portals. The actions of one, or two people shouldn’t ruin the reputation of other portals. Me and many others find that being part of the portal is for the best. I like having a team of people behind me for help and support. Even if it is in the middle of the night. I never would be able to pull of campaigns of this magnitude or even make a living of this by myself. There isn’t enough hours in the day for it. What about all the technical stuff! Support, help and tips from my colleagues too! It’s very important to know there are others in the same boat. Blogging can get lonely.

I don’t mean to put anyone down with this post. Me and many others were wronged, and I don’t think it’s right to be silent about this anymore – especially now, when it’s clear they’ve been continuing doing this. I hope this helps others in the same situation and in the best case scenario, stops this kind of thing happening completely. I know a lot of people on Bella and I wish them all the best. This probably doesn’t feel too good for them and I hope you understand my reasons to write about this and won’t take it personally. I know that many of you have a really good thing going on at Bella. I’m not encouraging people to join barricades in boycotting Bella. The bloggers and the staff are not responsible for the actions of these two people. The purpose of this text is to lift the weight of my shoulders and to tell my story. As well as defend blog portals. If they work well, there’s no better place to blog at :-)

Wow. I don’t know what to say. I only have a note about the portal wide campaigns. Sure, they probably are lucrative but as a reader, they’ve become embarrassing. The most recent example was a Lidl-meat campaign. I don’t remember in which portal it was but it was weird seeing write-ups how Lidl-meat is the most delicious and how they always buy Lidl-meat but at the same they never before once had a blog post about Lidl nor even about eating meat. Like I said, embarrassing. It’s a hard balance, making money and trying to stay original and personal. Most campaigns these days fail to do so.

-Thrifty Finn-