Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I always dream about preparing for Christmas well ahead and usually never will. This year of all the years I have done more Christmas preparations than many times before. Even if I am about to move to a new home within a week and I am living with a small chaos at the moment!

Here's the cover of a mini album I have made as a present. I think mini scrapbooking albums make great presents. I picked some memorable photos for my sisters, like this gingerbread house which we made together when I was a small child.

Hopefully new memorable photos will be taken this Christmas for future scrapbook pages! Happy holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Playing With Decos

Here's a couple of recent pages I have made for decos. Decos are handmade booklets that circle from one person to another and everyone decorates one page. When all the pages have been decorated the deco is sent to the person it is made for. Think about tens, even hundreds of decos with different themes waiting for you to decorate a page and send it forward. How crazy is that?!

Pretty crazy, with very little purpose, but I still love that hobby! Would I never make a collage of vintage boat trip or strange nature phenomenon? Without decos, probably not. Decos stretch imagination and help finding personal style. It is also interesting to see what other signers have created with the theme. Deco swappers appreciate the solitude spent with decos but at the same time they appreciate the network among similar people.

When I make decos I enter the imaginary world where anything is possible. Can't think a better way to relax!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Using random number generator I have randomly picked the recipients for the card surprise package. They are:

Martina, Holly Eva and Monika, please contact me by sending your mailing address to peonyandparakeet(at)!

Thank you all for commenting! I really enjoyed reading your comments!

Monday, November 29, 2010


To celebrate the coming holiday season I am giving away 3 surprise packages of my cards, some glossy postcards, some folded greeting cards.
To participate the giveaway:
Tell me what you would like to read or see in Peony And Parakeet blog in 2011.
Pictures of folk bags? Instructions for craft projects? Articles on art journaling? More sock knitting? What inspires you?
Leave your comment on 3rd December at the latest.
I will randomly pick the winners before 7th December.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Last Page

Here's the last page of my first ever art journal. I am little worried about the lack of text in the last journal pages. Also, should I use more realistic illustrations? I guess there are no rules in art journaling but I still want to question and seek my way in it!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

How To Make Your Own Patterned Paper

This is the old blog from Peony and Parakeet. 
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This post is also found in the new blog, go to: 

While preparing moving to a new house I have tried to avoid big projects. So I have done quite a lot of paper crafting recently. One of the easiest and quickest things to do is to make patterned papers. I use Canson sketch paper (90 g in thickness) and whatever paints and pens I possibly have.

I think that sometimes more really is more, so I call these "More Is More" papers! I am going to use these for my art journal pages. Before cutting them I scan them so that I can use the same paper digitally or print a copy of it. That way I have always some papers available.

Now I am going to show you one of the easiest way I know to make really rich and colorful paper. Besides the paper, you will need watercolors, marker pens, gel pens and colored pencils, correction pen and relaxed mind. Don't worry about the mess you make, it will look lovely in the end!

1) Paint the background with watercolors.

Use circular strokes. Don't think.
Dry the excess water with tissue paper here and there to create some lighter areas.

2) Make doodles with markers.

I love to use PITT artist pens here. Any medium marker will do.
I like circles and swirls but you can doodle what ever comes to your mind. Relax your hand and keep the pressure light.

3) Continue doodling with gel pens.

Now change to gel pens and make detailed doodles. I use Sakura gel pens.
Some might think that this is the last step but no way! More is more, remember!

4) Color areas with colored pencils.

If you look closely there might be areas where colors are grayish or not so prefect. Take your colored pencils and work the problem areas. Do not worry overlapping the doodling. The layered look is just what we aim here.

It looks like this now. Finished? Oh no!

5) Doodle with correction pen.

One of the best pens you can buy is a fine point correction pen. After you have colored all the white areas, you can make the white to come back with the correction pen! Now doodle over the paper, here and there...

6) Add contrast and shine.

Take your black marker and make pretty dots near the white areas.
Optional: If you have a gold metallic pen you can doodle mindlessly over everything to add some extra shine.
Isn't more really more? You can stop in any step, of course, I couldn't!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Elements in Life

My art journal has only one page left. These two pages repeat the idea that I have been trying to catch for a long time: have something light and flowing on the heavy background. I am intrigued by the fact that even if something can be easily understood conceptually, it can still be very hard to express it.

I am probably in urge to paint light, evaporating elements because my life is about to change. Me and my husband have bought a house with a big garden and we are moving to the new home within few months. I will get more room for all the creative activities and so does my husband. But our first creative project will be renovating the house and, when the summer comes, planning the garden. It will be hard work, but we are very excited!

Friday, October 8, 2010

What Scrapbooking Has Taught To Me

This is how I spent most Friday evenings: have a coke, listen to Paperclipping Roundtable podcast and make a scrapbook layout. It is so relaxing and so much fun.

This week's Paperclipping Roundtable was one of the bests ever. The discussion about scrapbooking museum and what it would consist, is both deep and entertaining. I am pretty sure that scrapbooking is one of the noblest hobbies one can have. It really shows how valuable time is and how unnecessary it is to own and want everything. Through scrapbooking I have learnt that everyday life is huge and valuable. And I have only scrapped from the beginning of this year!

Here's one of the 50 layouts that I have made so far. It's about my first dog Anja and a stuffed toy dog that I bought because it looked so similar to her. Even if Anja has died many years ago, I often think about her and how she got excited about small things in life. For me scrapbooking has taught that, really cherish the small events. I believe strongly that all the big things are collections of small ones. If you can understand the value of small steps someday you will be able to take a big leap too.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Doodling Over Photo

I love scrapbooking so I wanted to add some to my art journal too. I combined illustration with a photograph. It looks so summery, the lily from the garden and all the pastel colors!

The page was also very easy to do: just some doodling with pens on the background paper, then attaching the photo and then doodling over it. I love to doodle circles, it is the shape I am most fond of!

Monday, September 27, 2010

From Three Bags To Three Idols

Here are my newest folk bags, all custom orders. The fabrics I have used in these bags are my own designs and create an illusion of continuous knitted fabric. I think of my bags as collage, combining different elements in uniform way.

I would love to add more artistic elements to my bags, like wild paintings. I often think my work is too controlled, too designed. I admire the look of relaxed illustrations, especially lively drawings. It is like I have walked a long way to be able to create something detailed and then, I just wish I could go back to the child's world where anything is possible and everything is relaxed and playful.

That's why I admire Miina Äkkijyrkkä so much. She is not only brilliant sculptor, but also outstanding illustrator who has designed fabrics for Marimekko. She, Anni Rapinoja and Sirkka Könönen are my three idols!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Why I Would Like To Be Purple

Here's a very special folk bag that I have made by custom order. It is meant for a spindle, that's why its longer than my regular bags.

I got the fabric with the order and I just fell in love with it. It was pure joy to make the matching crochet and knits. I love blue purples! They are very spiritual colors and there's nothing mundane in them. I wish I could be purple - well over everyday worries and petty thoughts!

Making this bag was color therapy for me. It makes me think how important it is to work with the colors that have some kind of personal meaning. What colours touch your soul?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Handmade Business Cards

As a participant of Discovering Y.O.U art marketing course I was encourage to try to make my own business card. I was a bit pessimistic first, but making these was so much fun!

It all started with the stamp I had ordered from Vistaprint.

The stamped text box is nothing artistic but the it hit me. I am going to paint and draw the image on the other side. I took an old sheet of blank business cards and started painting. As I also make textiles, especially knits, I wanted to have some of them in the card too. I took few balls of handdyed yarns and made some samples of them. What do you think about the result?

My art journal has got a couple of new pages. These are inspired by interior decoration and gardening magazines.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Colorful Illustrations and Gray Yarn

Here are more pages of my first art journal that I am making at Traci Bautista's Discovering Y.O.U. course. I am getting there: undestanding how fun and fascinating it is to have journal. I have always dreamed about having an extra room for library and now I dream also about the whole bookshelf with books that I have made myself.

I am also more and more into illustration. I have been listening Thomas James's podcast Escape from Illustration Island for some time. It is worth listening if you want to go deep with the professional illustration world. I quite like to find stuff way above my own skills, it really makes me practice more and more.

Here's a journal page with some illustration:
Few spreads of the journal:

Besides making journal, knitting and other regular crafts, I have been making yarn from the wool I got from my friend. I have carded the wool myself and now some of it has been spun to the yarn. Now so colorful than my journal pages but I think it is so cool to be able to make yarn from the wool collected from the area where I spent my childhood.

I want to finish with colors though. Here's a card that I made some time ago with stamps and markers. Stamps are great for creating illustrated feel too!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dreaming Big and Art Journaling

I am currently attending Traci Bautista's e-course called "Discovering Y.O.U." It is about marketing your art and it includes exercises that are meant to put together into an art journal.

I am pretty organized person and just could not crab some odd pages in different sizes as it was suggested. Instead, I chose an old book from my book shelf, downloaded Altered Books Tutorial from (which happened to be for sale just at that time) and started converting the book to the journal.

The book became very overwhelming in patterns and all. But it's so me, so I think it's ok. The papers and decorations are all my designs.

Here's the front cover:

And here's the back cover:

If you haven't seen enough patterning yet, here's the inside back cover. I have to take a deep breath before opening it!

First pages:

The exercises require quite a lot of thinking. Like this one: creating your own artist mission statement.

While making this I am constantly meeting the person I am most familiar with: my inner critic. She can be very discouraging, to be honest. Compared to scrapbooking, art journaling goes much deeper, and I almost hate it! My inner critic wants everything be controlled, black and white, clear-shaped ... bla bla bla.

When she's off, I browse the wildly patterned papers I've made for the book, giggling! How serious art journaling should be - I don't know! I am a total beginner in it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer Nights

I love Finnish summer with lots of daylight. These newest bags are about Finnish summer nights, the one in the front is called Night Garden and the one in the back is Summer Sunset. I really enjoyed working with these deep, rich colors.

Summer Sunset is partly felted, I took a risk by trying felting. I was pleasantly surprised. As the knitted part was very thin, it did not transform too chunky. Summer Sunset is for sale in Kukkilintu store.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The World of Wool

10 months ago, before I bought a spinning wheel, I did not realize how deeply one can fall in love with the wool. I had been knitting all my life, how deeper could it get! But now I know, there's a new world, and it's a world where wool is the queen and I am its' servant.

Before spinning I thought that sheep is sheep or merino. Now I know: there are so many breeds, so much different wool, even sheep wool, that it will take a lifetime to try them all. Very soon I also realized that I want to dye my wool and not only buy luxury fibers from the web but also buy wool produced more locally.

Then it hit me: the spinning wheel would not be enough. I need a drum carder. By not traveling abroad this summer I could finally justify the purchase. Now there's one limit less, I can card my local wool and mix fibers with this machine!

I had some coarse Finnish sheep wool to try it out. It looked pretty bad after dyeing but my magic carder did some wonders!

Then I had to spin some of it, of course!

Now I have just got a bag of rare Finnish wool, the breed is "Kainuun harmas" and this wool is much softer. What makes it very special is that my friend gave it to me. She had bought it from the sheep farmers in the area where I used to live as a child. She has washed it and now its my turn to card and make some yarn from it! I got it in three colors!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Postcards and Enjoying Summer

I have a couple of new cards for sale in my Etsy store Kukkilintu. The first one is called Always Together and I was thinking about summer weddings, true friendships and everything so positive! The second one is called Sit Here and was inspired by interior magazines. I love to read them and imagine myself having like 8 different houses for suiting different occasions and moods!

Even if I have been crafting like mad, I have had also some time to enjoy the summer which has been particularly hot in Finland this year. I love to see my pets enjoying it too, here's my guinea pig Pepe. He thinks our small garden is like a huge superstore filled with snacks!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Changes in Blogs

I have had a little crisis for a quite a long time with my blogs. I want to blog both in English and in Finnish. Using them in the same blog seemed like a good idea first, but really, it's not. I think it makes the blog difficult to read. I also want to blog about all the crafts I make, not only knitting or papercrafts. So I have deciced to reduce my three blogs into two. This one will be only in English but it will have not only paper projects but also textile arts. ou can find this blog using the short address The other one is in finnish, called Pioni ja Parakiitti, and it will have the same concept of covering all areas of crafting that I do.

What about Kukkilintu? I have imported the blog posts of Kukkilintu blog here and labeled them for easy browsing. Kukkilintu blog will not be updated and I kindly ask you to follow this blog instead! I will continue Kukkilintu shop and Kukkilintu Moments newsletter. For clarity, I have changed my Twitter account to PeonyParakeet. If you follow me on Twitter, please follow PeonyParakeet in the future! I have also founded a new Etsy shop called Peony and Parakeet and will move Blythe doll clothing there. Folk bags, fabrics and cards will remain in Kukkilintu shop, at least for a while.

I hope this is not all too confusing. I really came to a point where maintaining three different blogs was too much. I also needed a unique name that I can register in most of the services and can be remembered easier.
With these paper flowers I wish you welcomed to Peony and Parakeet whether you are interested in knitting, spinning, papercrafting, dyeing, buying my crafts, even soap making as I reveal a secret: I have made my own soaps for many years and love it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jewelry Inspired

In my imaginative world I can be as rich as I want!

Mielikuvitus ei tunne rajoja rikkaudelle!
I really enjoyed making these cards, thinking about jewelry and adding stamped images all over the place. This first card has strong colors and that makes it look a bit asian to me.

Näitä kortteja oli kiva tehdä, haaveilla koruista ja lisäillä leimasimella kuvia kerros kerrokselta. Ekassa kortissa on aika voimakkaat värit ja siinä näyttää ehkä siksi olevan aasialaisvaikutteita.
The second card is not only about jewelry but also about buttons. I love buttons, both stamped and real ones! I made this one to look like a charm bracelet.

Tämä toinen kortti on paitsi korujen, myös nappien ystäville. Olen itse ihan nappifani ja tässä olen yhdistellyt sekä nappileimoja, että oikeita nappeja tarkoituksenani kuvata rannekorua, jossa roikkuu riipuksia.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Stamping

We have a great hot weather in Finland. Almost too hot to do anything but simple stamping.

Kuumalla säällä ei oikein voi tehdä paljoa, mutta leimailla aina voi!

I made this card using a collection of stamps and butterfly stickers. Somehow I find stamping almost as relaxing as knitting and spinning!

Tein tämän kortin erilaisia leimasimia ja perhostarroja käyttäen. Leimailu on uskomattoman rentouttavaa, melkein yhtä rentouttavaa kuin neulominen tai kehrääminen!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Swedish Wedding and Finnish Summer

Here in Scandinavia the biggest news in July has been Swedish Princess Viktoria's wedding. I watched them on television as most of the women in Finland certainly did. So romantic! I could not help making a few folk bags inspired by the celebration.
Here are Silvia (the queen mother), Viktoria (the bride) and Madeleine (the sister of the bride)!
After all the silk and chiffon I went back to Finnish culture and visited Visavuori, a finnish sculptor's Emil Wikström's summer cottage and studio. Very Arts and Crafts, my favorite style!
I have a summer holiday and a lot of going on with my craft projects. It is so tempting to be awake late when Finnish summer is so unique and wonderful. The sun hardly goes down, it's so much light and the weather has been warm, almost hot. I hope all those who have planned to visit Finland are here right now as it's now as good as it can get!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to keep up?

During this year I have received several requests to send an email after I have listed new items at my store. I gladly send these emails! Over the months it has become clear to me that people who like to follow what I do and when I list my next folk bags should be able to subscribe these emails more freely. So I have set up a new service: Kukkilintu Moments email newsletter. You can subscribe and unsubscribe it whenever you want. I will post a short email after I list folk bags to my store or release new products. I will also include some personal touch in every newsletter. I excited about this! Feel free to subscribe Kukkilintu Moments!
I have a few new folk bags under work, here's a sneak peek of one of them!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cards Are Here and About Sirkka Bag

I have my first set of cards printed out. The next ones are already being designed. These all are made to go with my folk bags and the colorful world I love and adore. I was a bit puzzled of how to sell the cards. I made mixed sets for Kukkilintu store but if you miss a certain combination, leave me a convo and I will list it for you.
I also made some Moo cards. I will include a Moo card for the next orders at Kukkilintu. Aren't they just so wonderfully rich and colorful!
In my last post I promised to write more about a very special bag I made during the spring. It was a custom order folk bag whose owner just loves Sirkka Könönen, a Finnish textile designer. Well, I am Sirkka's fans too so the project was not only challenging but very interesting! I started with the collage of Sirkka's work, then picked the colors and designed the motif. I started thinking about cranberries and cloudberries. My father used to pick these berries. One morning he left early to pick some cranberries and came back before dinner. My mother made a desert from the berries and said to me that “this desert could be served in the finest restaurants”. She appreciated the cranberries so much.
When constructing the bag I thought how memories and stories are so important in everything I make. My concept of living is a "Knit your story" thing. My inner critic has a strong, powerful voice, but it is silenced by the stories. There cannot be anything wrong in storytelling. It is so hard work to try to be a better designer and I am afraid I never will be good enough. But whatever happens, the power of stories always surprises me and makes me forget all the possibilities I might never get. Everything is possible in my imaginary world! I wish I can give a glimpse of it for you via this blog!
More photos of Sirkka at my Flickr site.