Category Archives: Trips & Travels

Reminiscing Prague


praha, prague, czech republic

Wall art at a local restaurant

Few weeks ago I visited the wonderful city of Prague for the first time. Let me tell you…It was love at first sight. I spent an entire week over there and it is not enough. I didn’t have time to do half the things I had planned to do. It’s sufficient to say, I got distracted by the bohemian atmosphere over there and just lived in the moment. I’m going to repeat myself over here, but it was simply wonderful.

Madonna, Rebelheart tour, praha, prague, czech republic

Waiting for Madonna

The reason I booked flight there, was because my eternal idol Madonna was going to perform there exactly on my birthday. So I had to, you know, treat myself. It was amazing. There were tons of people, who had travelled there to just to see Madonna. A couple on my left had come from Hungary and the guy on my right had actually flown in all the way from Sao Paolo in Brazil! That’s commitment right there my friends. I got chatting with him and I found out he owns a copy of the Sex-book and actually saw The Girlie Tour way back in the day. Madonna jealousy!

praha, prague, czech republic


One of my favourite things over there is the public transport. SO CHEAP! So FUCKIN’ CHEAP! A 30 minute ticket 24 korunas, which is under 1 euro. 90 minute ticket is 34 korunas, which is like 1,30€. And if you live there, a monthly travel card is 550 korunas, which is just a little over 20 euros. The 100 euros we have to pay over here for a shitty service just makes me cry. CRY!

praha, prague, czech republic, karlüv most, charles bridge

Few other tourists at Charles Bridge.

It wasn’t all about Madonna, bohemian things and wine, I did do some tourist things too. The Charles Bridge is filled with other tourists, but it’s a must see. The views are beautiful, the atmosphere is great and it’s a fun place to do some people watching. I went there three times. Twice for a date though ;)

praha, prague, czech republic

The castle hill.

When you get past the bridge and the millions of tourists disperse around the castle hill area, you do get some peace and quiet. But the castle hill is bitch to walk. By the time you get to the castle, you are panting. Or at least I was. Or maybe I’m just really, really unfit. No, it must be because the hill was a bitch to walk. Also…a friendly tip…The Starbucks over there has a loo but there are about a gazillion stairs you have to walk back down to get to it. So pretty much choose any other café around the area for your more pressing needs.

praha, prague, czech republic

The Slavic santa

I love souvenir shops. I could browse through them for hours. Even in Paris, where I’ve been several times, I never get tired of looking at the knick-knacks. These Santa’s weren’t priced like knick-knacks though. Prague is cheap but these aren’t. But they sure are beautiful.

praha, prague, czech republic

A snapshot from a flea market.

Prague is really good for thrifting and second hand shopping. The prices are really, really good and there are tons of flea markets and second hand stores, pretty much everywhere in the city.   This particular one had an entrance fee of 1 euro. You put the coin in a machine and walk through one of those helicopter type of gates. How exotic! By the time I got there, some of the sellers had already packed and left, but I found quite a few bargains there.

praha, prague, czech republic, Palladium

Palladium shopping centre

Not all my shopping was cheap. I accidentally found this beautiful pink building, which was a gigantic shopping mall. I wish I had known Sephora had stores in Prague, because I totally would have budgeted for Christmas shopping in there. I always buy those Sephora bubble bath  things for my friend, when I’m in Paris, and it would have been so great to continue that tradition. I was especially keen to give him the glittery Christmas one :D Anyhoo…The big difference with this mall and the malls in Finland is that there are tons of different sized retail spaces. Meaning, there were both international chains and independent retailers. In Finland Citycon owns most of the malls, and they don’t really offer opportunities to other than huge chains. There’s a chance, when I next time go over there, I shall shop till I drop as they had bunch of chains, I’d last seen in Paris and I’m a huge fan of.

praha, prague, czech republic, karlüv most, charles bridge

Charles Bridge and river Vltava.

My hard drive is filled with images of Prague. The river Vltava is so beautiful. It’s just a one photo-op after another. I did one of those boat tours and this is one of the pics I took, while on it. Like Her Madgesty said, Prague is magical, but that magic multiplies around sunset. There’s so much excitement and romance in the air around that time, that you can’t help but feel excited yourself. I recommend taking that boat tour. It’s worth it.

praha, prague, czech republic, airport

Prague Airport

All good things must come to an end. I was gutted I had to go but I’ll be going back soon. I met so many wonderful people, who made me believe, that anything is still possible. It was one of the reasons, why it has taken so long for me to share this trip with you. I wanted to have those memories for me only.

I’ll be posting about Prague flea markets and other handy tips for you at later time. Prague is a very budget friendly city. You can go there with a very limited budget and still have a time of your life. I booked my flights with Norwegian and stayed at a Couchsurfing-place.

Till later…

-Thrifty Finn-



Konepajan Bruno

konepaja bruno, helsinki, flea market

Few weeks ago I heard about an indoor flea market in Helsinki, set up in an old machine workshop. It opened this summer, so it’s pretty new in the thrift shopping scene. I have never ever gone shopping there, but last Sunday I decided to have a go at selling.

This is my story. *du-duh*

konepaja bruno, tram stop, pysäkki

This is the tramstop Sturenkatu. The previous one (Kotkankatu) is the closest. You have to walk back a little bit. See that building site in the middle back? The access gate to Bruno is behind it.

konepaja bruno, opas, aleksis kiven katu, helsinki

Walk straight down (up?) the Aleksis Kiven katu until you see this sign. Turn right and you see this gate, and that’s your entrance:

konepaja bruno, helsinki, portti

Ta-dah. There’s a guard, who opens the gate for you. Well, for me he opened the door as I came by public transport. Then you walk a little bit and you should soon see this:

konepaja bruno, entrance, helsinki

See those guys in yellow, bright vests? That’s where you go in and you will see this:

konepaja bruno

Impressive space much? On the right is a café and you can meet the owner (who is not half bad to look at) there:

konepraja bruno omistaja, owner

Anyhoo…I have finally perfected my face-to-face selling and have managed to fit my  merchandise in ONE SUITCASE! No more hauling about a gazillion Ikea-bags in the public transport. Because of that, it didn’t take too long to set up my table and I had time to have a look around and see, what other people were selling.

konepaja brunon pöydät

There are two kinds of tables. Others have a frame and they have a built-in rack above the table, the others are like these (and I had one of them), where the rack hangs freely above the table. Also the latter ones are bigger. This system is slightly problematic because if you have a lot of hanger items, the customers can’t see you behind them. My advice is to take max.10 hanger items and put the rest on the table. But selling just hanger items can be done. You just have to be active yourself in making sure, that the customer knows, where you are. There was a table across me, that hadn’t been booked, so I sat on it and whenever a customer came over to browse, I went and introduced myself.

Now to the business part…Did I sell? My sales were terrible. However, had I been there also to buy, I’d have made some major scores. It really is a buyers market. I’m sure as more people will find it, the sales will improve too. But if you are on a hunt for good bargains, now is the time to go and find them. I did buy few things, one of them being this plastic wall thingy for displaying miniatures and when I came home and did some research, it turned out to be a Finnish design classic. And I was thinking about spray painting and decoupaging it. Talk about butchering classics. Committing crimes against design.

Anyways…My best sellers were in the 5 euro mark. The price for Sunday was 29 euros, so I recommend booking a table together with your friend. And DON’T stop selling until it’s closing time. I made most of my sales after 15 o’clock. It’s also very inconsiderate to leave a market really early. It creates a sad atmosphere, which is unfair to other sellers. Who YOU also depend on to bring in the crowds.

Personally I wish Bruno to succeed. The surroundings are lovely and as a seller, I appreciate that you can book the table and then pay it up after two hours of selling. There are much more impressive pics on Bruno’s website and you can also book the tables there. Here is yet another handy map by yours truly to help you find Bruno:

kartta konepaja Brunoon, map to Konepaja Bruno

I don’t mind, if you share this map. The more people the merrier.

Those little blue dots are tram stops for the tram line 9, which you can hop on at both Rautatieasema as well as Pasilan asema. If you are a seller, you can bring your stuff there by car BUT there is no parking there, so you have to find a parking spot somewhere close by.

So this how I spent my Sunday. Have you been thrifting/selling lately?

-Thrifty Finn-

Autumn Moments

My friend dragged me out on a walk today. It wasn’t too terrible. Fresh air, crispy weather and beautiful nature. What more could you want on an October weekend? The best part were the colours though…

The reds and yellows…




The browns and greens…



And the greys and blues…




I am feeling very inspired. How about you?

-Thrifty Finn-

Helsinki Craft Shopping Map

free printable helsinki craft shopping map

Update! After I published this map on a FB-group, I was told about another craft store, that’s within this area. I also decided to add Nappitalo, which is focused on sewing supplies but has tons of buttons and ribbons, which are definitely paper crafting supplies too.

The other day I was in Helsinki and decided to have a look around at all the arts & crafts stores within walking distance from where I was. Admittedly this didn’t happen by choice but because I was looking for basic black hobby cardstock and for Halloween reasons, I didn’t find it until the 5th store. I nearly burst into tears by the 4th store because I couldn’t believe I still had to walk to yet another shop.

But not all is lost. I had the forethought to snap some pictures of the stores I went to and now I can make a blog post about them! All these stores are in the Kamppi/city center area, and within walking distance from each other. Even with browsing around and stopping at other stores, you can visit all of them within couple of hours.

hobby point Helsinki

So my first stop was Hobby Point. The biggest selection of all the 7 places I visited. They also have model building supplies. The address is Fredrikinkatu 61. I bought some double sided sticky tape and glitter paper.

askarelli helsinki

Askarelli. They have mainly paper crafting supplies for weddings and events, if I make any sense. I bought some transparencies and a snowflake punch from there. The address: Annankatu 35. They have an online store as well in HERE.

And really close to Askarelli…Sinelli:

sinelli helsinki

Image via

The biggest craft store chain in Finland. They also have an online store at Just around the corner, on Yrjönkatu, is another Sinelli, which is focused on jewellery making but there are the fabrics and paints as well. I buy most of my basic supplies from here. Like gel pens, 3d foam stickers and glue tapes.

tuubi helsinki, art supplies, arts and crafts

Tuubi is an art supply store on Lönnrotinkatu 23. They have paper, canvases, acrylic and oil paints, and other things that an artist may need. So not directly a craft store but crafters need water colour paper too ;D As I visited, there was a sale table and I scored Letraset’s Flexmarker set for 10 euros.

Meder, askartelu, Helsinki, craft shop, DIY

Meder is located on Fredrikinkatu 30 and they offer various craft products mainly for porcelain painting and paper crafts. They also organize craft classes and they can be found HERE. I’d call the style of paper craft items available as Swedish vintage nostalgia. Think shabby chic version of Magnolia.

tempera, art supplies, Helsinki

Tempera advertises itself as an artist’s department store and it is much bigger than Tuubi. It’s here, where I found the basic hobby cardstock and they were 1,05 per sheet. I also found a transparency paper pad for little over 7 euros. It’s much more economical to get the artist pad, than buying them from a craft store per sheet. I have some last minute Halloween ideas for those and since there is 50 sheets per pad, I have room for experimenting as I don’t have to watch, how many I have left. They have all the known art supply brands in stock and they have an online shop as well. It can be found HERE.

On my way the next store, I stopped at Granit, which is like a Swedish Muji and I got some washi tape from there. I decided to exclude it from my list as it is not a craft store per se, however they have tons of stuff, which would be perfect for organizing said craft supplies. So I might write about it some other time.

nappitalo helsinki, sewing, buttons, ribbons

Nappitalo on Yrjönkatu 12 is the place to go for buttons and ribbons. It’s not the cheapest but there usually are some ribbons and bits and bobs in a discount bin. They also always have a well stocked zipper selection, which is important as everyone needs to change a zipper in their clothing every now and then, and it’s annoying if you have to hunt the right size all over the city. So not strictly a paper craft/art store but has tons of relevant supplies.

Number eight on my list is Akateeminen Kirjakauppa:

akateeminen kirjakauppa, bookstore, Helsinki

Image via

AK is a bookstore, spread over several floors and it’s an actual architectural gem. The part I’m talking about is the basement level. There are some artist supplies and stationary items AND Stockmann’s (the department store) OUTLET shop. The artist supply section isn’t huge BUT according a Finnish papercrafting FB-group, the price for ProMarkers is very competitive. I had a quick look around the OUTLET and there were some home decor items, which I think would be perfect for altering projects. The discounts were very good. Up to 70% off and like Nanny Fine says, it’s not sale, if it is less than 40% off.

suomalainen kirjakauppa aleksanterinkatu helsinki

Image via

Suomalainen Kirjakauppa probably is the biggest chain of bookstores in Finland. They really have been able to keep their focus on books but they have some nice craft supplies as well. The prices are okay too and there are sometimes deals to be had. This particular store on Aleksanterinkatu (opposite of Stockmann) is one of the bigger ones I think and it’s the one, where authors go launch their books and have Q&A’s. The image over here is the back entrance as I didn’t have a picture of the front, and I couldn’t find a good one from the interwebs either. I bought some satin finish laser printer paper and a tiny snowflake punch. They don’t have Halloween stuff for sale at all BUT they already had their Christmas craft things on display. And the stuff looks good:

suomalainen kirjakauppa, christmas, jouluaskartelutarvikkeet

As soon as Halloween is over, I’m going to go and hoard some of those ribbons. This is, BTW, what a good craft store should look like all the time. Sinelli is bit lacking and I’m not the only one, who thinks that. They renovated their Simonkatu store earlier this year and when I visited them this week, they had some things they had for sale BEFORE the renovation, back on the shelves for full price. And I’m talking about years old Graphic 45’s. They also have a habit of selling ‘we don’t have it now’, followed by ‘check the online store’. They seem to be forgetting that crafters are tactile shoppers and we do not want to buy everything online and we most definitely don’t want to pay ridiculous postage for them.

helsinki craft shopping map

So here are the 9 craft stores in the Helsinki City Center. You can download and print the map yourself and the link is here:


-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. Remember that hobby cardstock I was hunting for? I forgot them in the train. I am not amused.

Kauppa & Galleria Talli

kauppa & galleria talli espoo, flea market, gallery,

Hello, hello, hello…Last Sunday I was selling my second hand clothing and crafts at a flea market here in Espoo, which was organized by a local gallery slash design store. Let me tell you…The surroundings were fantastic! I’m always putting down Espoo, as it’s a city that combines the worst of cities and countryside, plus all the buildings are designed by dimwitted engineers, which makes all the neighbourhoods generally seem void of all that it’s nice in humanity. But I digress…

Kauppa & Galleria Talli literally translates as Shop & Gallery Stables, and the name is quite apt. The whole shebang is a converted stable and the event room (where the flea market was) looks like it’s fit for all those gorgeous Pinterest barn weddings.

Let’s collectively ooh and aah at this point.

Anyhoo, I thought  you’d enjoy some pictures…

kauppa & galleria talli espoo, flea market, gallery, Talli9 kauppa & galleria talli espoo, flea market, gallery,

I don’t know what’s up there but the entrance to the event hall is to the right and the entrance to the shop is somewhere on the left. The shop itself is very cute and they sell artisan type of design things. There is even a small café corner in there.

Talli5 Talli6 kauppa & galleria talli espoo, flea market, gallery,

They don’t only sell ceramics, but they were the only things I had an okay picture off :D The master of photography hits again :DDD

But the best part was the event hall. I can’t get past how cute it is! It’s not that big and I love the intimacy of it.

Talli1 Talli3 kauppa & galleria talli espoo, flea market, gallery,

I made okay sales, although I did joke on Twitter, that my salary for the day would have been good in Cambodia. From the crafts I sold the boxes and the one card just peeking at the bottom of the picture. Customer flow was okayish but there was one lull, when there were only sellers present. Overall I am pleased with the location and the pricing for the table was good too. There are only couple of things, that I see needing improvement. The first is lighting. It was a bit too dark in there. The second is music. The owners played this jazzy lounge music from Spotify, and I can understand, that they thought it would work as a non-offensive background music, BUT we sellers are there to sell. And easy listening jazz is not for selling. I don’t mean the music has to be blaring the TOP 40 like in H&M BUT it has to be upbeat. Upbeat sells.

The next flea market will be there on 1st of November from 11 till 16 o’clock. You can get there by car or by the busses 156, 158 and 543. I hope to see you there then ;)

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. Apparently I was the only idiot there, who carried their stuff to sell there by a bus. But for my credit, I’ve managed to build my second hand selling inventory into such as I don’t have to carry a lot but all of the items make somewhat cohesive collection. (Apart from the clothes I’ve actually worn myself. I sell them for couple of euros each).