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Hietsumarket, a flea market in Helsinki


Image via Wikipedia

Oh. Wow. I had completely forgotten this place exists. Everyone in Helsinki knows about Hietalahden kirpputori, which is an open air flea market, happening on every weekend during summer months. It’s cool. It’s trendy. It’s crowded. It’s the kind of place travel writers love.

But what not many people know, is that there is an indoor flea market close by and it really is something else.


Image via

The place is called Hietsumarket and I found an old Yelp-review that hits the nail in the head, when describing this place:

Hietsumarket is located at the beginning of Hietalahden ranta, between Hemingway’s and Salve. Hietsumarket is a basement flea market, that not many people know of. Don’t even start comparing this place to Hietalahti flea market, because this place most definitely doesn’t have that faux trendy feel. Hietsumarket works in its own way and I personally think there are tons of unnecessary crap for sale, but there is possible to find the most unbelievable, life changing things. Once, I found a broken pencil for 10 cents. At home though I faced a disappointment as I tried to sharpen the pencil and  the lead kept dropping off. I nearly cried. This was a joke and probably a poor one but in reality, at Hietsumarket you can sometimes score.

You, the people who still go to the police auction to buy a bike, just forget it. Who wants to buy granny bikes in poor condition from an over-advertised auction and pay over 100 euros, when you can go to Hietsumarket and get one for under 50? Two of my mates have recently bought bikes there. Hietsumarket 4 life. Next time you are in the area, drop in.

And another one:

Hietsumarket is a wonderfully confusing place, just on the corner of Hietalahti market, next to Salve. It’s totally lacking the trendy and retro feel of its neighbours’. They sell such a weird stuff, that I can’t even describe them and all I can do, is to suggest for you to go and see them yourself.

I don’t know anyone, who reads porno mags anymore, but here you can buy them a whole suitcase full. You can also get a half-used 80s perfume, if you happen to need such a thing. They also sell new products, such as cleaning and hygiene products from somewhere in the Baltics. I haven’t got the nerve to buy any of those things. Though I did buy two toilet brushes once. They worked pretty well, if I remember correctly.

The charm of Hietsumarket comes from the unexpectedness. My favourite winter hat is from here. A red, reggae style, droopy hat with a bobble sized of my fist. Me and my hat are now inseparable. The only good thing about the winter is this hat I bought for 2 euros here in Hietsumarket.

If you want to check this place out, its address is Hietalahdenranta 11 and you can get there by tram 6. The stop is Hietalahdentori. Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10.00-17.30, Sat 10.00-15.00 and Sun 11.00-15.00. If you are looking to rent a booth over there, they have a deal going on right now. 7 days stating from 14,90€.

-Thrifty Finn-

Inspiration: Finnish Fabric Design & Stores

Few months ago I wrote about Finnish sewing blogs, a sort of TOP 5 of mine. In the end I wondered if I should continue it with a post about the fabric stores and designers as some of you might want to try to make clothes in Finnish style as well.

I asked for some help at a sewing group in Facebook and I got a flurry of answers. Even I didn’t realize there are that many! Finnish print design is alive and doing well indeed. In twenty years time, these are the fabrics we will be fighting for in online auctions🙂

Here’s my TOP 5. I have listed all stores that sell designer fabrics at the bottom, so you can bookmark this post for later reading and/or reference.



Majapuu is one of the biggest ones, at least when it comes to selection. They also have some crafty supplies and home decor stuff. They have tons of different kinds of prints for sale. As you can see from the images there’s modern, retro and vintage style things. My favourite is the Kiiltokuvat. It’s a digi print cotton which is also available as jersey. It’s not cheap, 22.90€ per meter, but if you make something for a kid, a meter goes for a long way. Their sale section is over HERE. The gray London-print is tempting me…


Pehemiä sells only fabrics and some notions. Mostly knits. The Kirjonta is a merino wool jacquard knit of which Pehemiä has 13 different kinds in stock right now. The Fasaani is a woven cotton fabric.

Käpynen is mainly focused on fabrics but there are sewing notions and gift items for sale too. The prints are designed in Finland and printed in Poland using “traditional printing techniques” but there are digiprints and other manufacturers available too. Majority of the fabrics are knits but there is a section for cotton prints as well.


Sashop is the brain child of designer Sari Ahokainen. She sells fabrics, ribbons, clothing and other things she designed. I love, love the Pony Bloom. The fabrics aren’t cheap (again) but there is a special deal on the ribbons. A surprise bag of 20 meters of ribbon for 20 euros.


PaaPii Design is possibly the most international of these stores. PaaPii sells fabrics, DIY-kits, toys, paper goods…there’s basically something for everyone. The Bambi- sewing kit must have been very popular as I’ve seen it in so many sewing blogs. Some day I will get one too, it’s just too cute to pass up on. Anyhoo, their fabric collection isn’t huge but the stuff is so design-y that I don’t mind.

And then just bubbling under….


Vimma is an über cool label that makes children’s wear but they do have few print fabrics available too. I had to drop it from my TOP 5 because they are mainly a fashion label but still have to mention them for their extremely well thought out concept and brand. One of their designers is Maija Louekari who has designed for Marimekko as well.



There are tons of other online fabric stores but I decided to focus on ones that have those indie-designers available. If you have any questions..please, do ask them😀

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. This is a coincidence but the day I decided to write this post I noticed THIS. There’s going to be an Indie Fabric Market on FB and you can join it HERE. They did the post in English so I presume the sellers are more than happy to post internationally🙂

indie goes viral

Oh Deer!

I made this card couple of years ago. It’s still one of my favourites.

Thrifty Finn

Challenge time! I forgot to post my previous DT-card but I’m double excited about this week’s one. I think I’ve mentioned several times about my digi stamp, vintage image hoarding habit? If I haven’t…Well. My name is Niina and I am an image addict.

This week were asked to use stitching, faux or real and we didn’t get a sponsored image to use so we could run wild! I decided to dive in my extensive vintage catalogue and found this gem. I’m so sorry but when I downloaded it, I forgot to re-name it according to where I got it so I can’t share the source. Totally embarrassed about it.

Anyway, here is my overly cute deer card:

ThriftyFinnDeerCard1ThriftyFinnDeerCard2ThriftyFinnDeerCard3 Once again I’m amazed by my obvious talent for everything visual. The pink! The chevron! The pom pom trim! Techniques used: doodle stitching, slight distressing on the edge of the chevron and…

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The Grand Whiskeygate of Finland

Oh my, oh my, oh my. You know. You try to love your country. See the good and participate in things that would make it even better but sometimes, just sometimes, that country of yours makes it so damn hard…

I got home about an hour ago, around 22.00 and as I always do, I got online and logged in on Twitter. What was the first thing I saw? Something, something whiskey and the hashtag #viskigate, in English #whiskeygate.


Is this?

glenmorangie, alcohol law, Finland

Glenmorangie website viewed from Finland

The tweets kept coming and at last I spotted a link to an article on Helsingin Sanomat and boy, did I get some information. I’m going to try to translate it here. Pardon again about the quality. And yes, this is very much true and very much happened in the year 2014…

Aluehallintavirasto, short AVI (The Regional Government Authority), banned two Finnish bloggers from writing about whiskey if it’s connected to the upcoming Beer & Whiskey Expo. Also the organizers of the expo had to drop the word whiskey from the expo name.

Now the expo, organized under the new name Olutexpo Finland (Beerexpo Finland) got their license from AVI on the condition that no links from Google comes to their site with the search word “whisky”, tells the organizer Mikki Nyman.

Due to the demands of AVI, Nyman had to ask those two bloggers to remove from their blogs all the mentions of whiskey.

Bloggers Jaakko Matikainen of Jaskankaljat-blog and Nikolas of Mushimalt-blog tells us that originally they got a permit from VALVIRA, the authority that oversees alcohol permits in Finland, to write on their blogs what kind of whiskeys the expo is offering and describe them.

“I wanted to do everything by the book, so I wouldn’t cause any trouble to anyone. They gave us clear instructions: financial compensation from the texts wouldn’t be allowed and the prices of the whiskies cannot be mentioned. Clear advertising blurbs were definitely banned”, tells Matikainen.

Suddenly this week AVI contacted Mikki Nyman. AVI disagreed with VALVIRA. According to AVI, all logos and whiskey- related mentions are banned- both on the expo’s own website as well as on personal blogs that write about the expo.

“Nyman contacted me and Jaakko. He asked us to remove the headlines and whiskey-words that are directly connected to the even or else they will lose their license”, tells Nikolas.

“My first reaction was that has the controlling of private citizens begun? I removed all the logos and mentions as per requested. Then I thought, what if I had left the logos there? Would it have proceeded to the point where the entire event would have been cancelled, because of one person who has nothing to do with the organizing the said event?” Nikolas asks.

Aluehallintovirasto’s view is that the event advertises through private blogs. “They decided that we are somehow part of it, even though we’re not”, says Nikolas.

Jaakko Matikainen agreed to clean up his blog.

“I don’t want to be the beer blog, that prevents the entire expo from happening. It wouldn’t make sense”, says Matikainen.

Matikainen tells, that now everyone has to proceed with care that AVI won’t cancel the permits at the last minute.

“I don’t want to pick up a fight with someone I can’t win. As soon as the expo is over, I can ask if the citizens right to free speech is offended”, says Matikainen.

Last spring Mikki Nyman applied and got a license from PRH (the authority for trademarks and business names) for Olut & Viskiexpo Finland, Beer & Whiskey Expo Finland. Nyman is amazed that another authority blocks the use of a legally acquired business name.

“After the event I’m contacting PRH. I’m making an official enquiry, because I want it on black and white why I’m prevented form using my company’s official name”, says Nyman.

According to Nyman, the license to serve alcohol was granted yesterday after the two bloggers had removed the whiskey-mentions.

“If Nikolas would have continued call the event Beer & Whiskey Expo and wouldn’t have changed his writings, I couldn’t have done anything about it. The license to serve alcohol would have been evoked and I would have been driven to bankruptcy”, says Nyman.

No one from the Aluehallintovirasto was reached for an interview.

I don’t know about you but I see plenty of problems with this. Aluehallintovirasto expects one person in Finland to moderate entire Google’s content. They also specified two bloggers and decided that they are somehow paid employee’s and/or owners of the event without any basis. And then they proceeded to put those two people on the position of responsibility, effectively blackmailing them. Does this know mean that anyone can be put in this position? If someone starts a business and I write about it, can I be forced to change my text under the threat that the person I don’t know will lose their livelihood if I don’t?

Finland has one of the most insane alcohol laws in the world. We have to buy alcohol from state-owned stores, which opening hours are very much restricted. Starting from January 2015 ALL alcohol advertising is banned in Finland, however I pretty much doubt that Alko, the state-owned store has to abide by that rule.

Scottish whisky maker Glenmorangie was quick to react in the decision and has blocked their site for Finnish IP-addresses.

I can’t even right now. Anything.

Edited to add… Blogger and producer Martti Lindholm of gathered some interesting Twitter-data regarding the #whiskeygate:

whiskeygate Finland, Twitter, data, hashtags Collective 7000 tweets about whiskey. Well done, Finland. Well done.


-Thrifty Finn, exceptionally exasperated today-

P.S. Seems that this whole fiasco is the work of one woman, Anneli Taina, the director of Southern Finland’s Aluehallintovirasto.