Christmas card


As mentioned previously, my current art work is centered around images of hands with objects. Thus came the inspiration for this year’s Christmas card, with both our granddaughters’ hands holding a Nordic straw Christmas ornament. Giving a gift. I designed, printed and mailed the cards to family and friends around the world. And here is the online version as my gift to all of you, my dear friends and readers, with many thanks for your friendship, support and visits throughout the year!

I plan to keep this on the top of the page until the New Year. New posts that may come forth during the busy holidays will appear below, so please do check back now and then. Enjoy your holiday preparations and have a safe and joyous Winterfest.

From the archives, cards from Christmases past:
2011 – solstice and yule time
2010 – Happy Christmas, Hauskaa Joulua
2009 – happy winterfest
2008 – season’s best to you
2007 – good tidings
2006 – love, peace & joy
2005 – Merry Christmas, Hauskaa Joulua
2004 – My favourite things



Interesting date today, isn’t it? This sent me for a quick look through my archives for posts on past December 12s. On December 12th, 2005, I wrote about juggling the many roles in my life in this busiest time of the year. Not much has changed though I do try to do a little less. In 2008, I wrote about snow, with a rather lovely photo if I say so myself.

No snow today, in fact we even had some rare sunshine so we were able to put some outdoor lights on shrubs by the front steps and hang the door wreath. I clipped cedar branches to tuck in the wreath and in some pots by the door. Let the snow come at Christmas.

Today an article in our local paper titled ‘Santa butts out’ piqued my interest. To quote:
Pam McColl has self-published her own edited version of the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, taking out the line about Santa smoking. Now she’s getting international attention and the book is being endorsed by the Canadian Cancer Society.

The two lines that were excised:
“The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
“And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.”

Read more in the Vancouver Sun (hope you can see it without registration).

solstice 2012


Reading these words about the annual Juhannus/Midsummer Fest and summer holidays in Finland always make me long to be there:

…the country tends to go on holiday from the Midsummer or Juhannus weekend and Finland is more or less “closed” for the duration. … enjoy the fleeting Finnish summer in peace, eat lots of strawberries, leap into lakes from cottage saunas after a gentle whipping with a birch vihta, go to the festivals large and small that dot the length and breadth of the country, and to return refreshed in late July and August.


I was awake very early this morning, the start of a gorgeous sunny day. It was for me surprisingly very similar to the morning of four years ago, with my very own short and private Juhannus ritual and remembrance, before returning to bed for a little more sleep.

For this I revisited a few of my favourite past midsummer posts, admittedly full of unabashed nostalgia, which a few readers might be interested in:

three midsummer nights in 1983
a midsummer fest in 2009
the longest day

Happy Midsummer or Midwinter! Hauskaa Juhannusta! May it be the start of a wonderful summer in every way.   

postcard art fundraiser


I first wrote about this fundraiser, Wish You Were Here, a few weeks ago. It is an inaugural event put on by CARFAC BC for artists. Everyone is welcome to attend the event on Friday, June 22nd at W2 Community Media Arts Society, #250-111 W. Hastings (the Woodwards Atrium) in downtown Vancouver between 10 am to 7 pm.

An attractive website has been created, so please check out all the work by BC artists. You will find my pieces under ‘printmaking’. Four of them are etchings, one called “Astuvansalmi” is an inkjet print (also shown above). If you can’t make it to the event in person, online purchases are welcomed. All works are $50, with half going to the artist. Payment will be accepted on-line beginning June 22 accompanied with an email to outlining the title of the piece you want and the name of the respective fine artist. We all hope you will find something of interest to add to your collection or to give as gifts, in support of “the creative economy of Fine Artists from your very own ‘hood. Your support can ensure that BC fine artists will not be another industry replaced by technology and disappearing into history.”

UPDATE July 2nd, 2012. Due to popular demand, this fundraiser is extended until July 30th, 2012 to encourage more on-line sales. The website has been updated to reflect artworks that have been sold. I am sorry to note that this is open to Canadian and US residents only, I suppose because of mailing costs.



Life is happily busy with family. As you probably know, our ‘English’ family arrived over two weeks ago. Yesterday our eldest daughter arrived for a weekend visit from where she lives about five hours away by car, so all our ‘girls’ are here: three daughters and two granddaughters. I am at home alone for a couple of hours while everyone has gone over to see youngest daughter’s just-acquired and being-fixed-up apartment and to get groceries. I’m enjoying a much needed pause and breather and do a quick read of blogs and a short post. I try to work in the garden on our rare dry days, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. No gardening today, it is raining again. Added to the list are some garden renovations along some sections of the property line shared with our new neighbours whose new fence/wall and house construction continues. Home renovations and reorganization continue so not much time for art!

Tomorrow is Father’s Day! (Miss you, Isä!) May it be a happy Day for all!



Most of us remember our mothers, whether they are still with us or have passed on like mine, on the second Sunday of May in many countries, or on other dates in other places. I also like to quietly remember an old family friend who was like a grandmother to me, for I did not know my grandmothers in Finland after we emigrated. I also like to extend mother’s day wishes to all caregivers.

However I just learned that the founder of Mother’s Day strongly protested that, feeling it was to recognize only mothers. I do agree with her upset with the commercialism that grew rapidly after the official declaration of that day. Read this fascinating and sad story from National Geographic: Mother’s Day Dark History.

Our youngest daughter was born on Mother’s Day, such an appropriate gift, wasn’t it? We often celebrate them together even if the days don’t always fall on the 12th. Today we enjoyed a celebratory lunch and cake which I made. Tomorrow is ‘my day’ and I am looking forward to an iChat with my family in the UK and with eldest daughter living a few hours away here in BC. And, what a perfectly glorious summery weekend, the first of the year, with so many flowers blooming in the garden. That makes me happy. I must add that all these thoughts and feelings are certainly not exclusive to Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all! Hauskaa Äitienpäivää!

the Finnish language

This sounds most interesting to me. As a member of this organization, I am going to attend and will report back here afterwards. Everyone is welcome of course.
from Canadian Friends of Finland in British Columbia
Added 9:30 pm. Sunday 22nd April:

The lecture was excellent, very informative and fascinating. Ms Elg began in Finnish, so wonderful and rare now to my ear – then switched to English, with a Finnish accent. I often have trouble understanding accents, even Finnish ones but still I was able to catch most of the information along with the help of the slides of language charts and maps. A good turnout and lots of questions throughout and everyone most appreciative.

Ms Elg described the Finnish language program at the University of Washington, one of many universities around the world that teach Finnish as I found out earlier.

I am poorly versed in the academic study of language and its structure and terms so hope I explain this correctly. The Finnish language is ‘synthetic’ or mostly agglutinating as opposed to ‘analytic’. What that means is that It modifies and inflects the forms of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals and verbs, depending on their roles in the sentence. (thanks wikipedia). An interesting simple example she used was with the word:
talo – a house
talo/ssa – in a house
talo/ssa/ni – in my house
talo/ssa/ni/kin – in my house too (4 words)
So, one word replaces many words in the equivalent English and many other languages. Some words can be from 6 to 10 cases. Hungarian can have up to 24 cases!

The study of language can aid in the study of racial genetics. In the case of the Basque, they are a unique language and people unrelated to any other, never mixed. Not so with the Finns, it seems. They have lived in Finland up to 6000 years. Other peoples came in later at different times from east, southeast, south and west and blended genes and language, mostly along the coastal regions but not much in the north. (See more about the Finno-Ugric peoples in wikipedia.)

What I don’t understand is how the study of languge can determine its age. For example the oldest Finnish word kala (fish) is 6000 years old. Loan words have been dated to reveal the periods of movement by different groups into Finland. Very personal words like äiti (mother), which came from German less than 1000 years ago (a surprise to us all), reveal close relationships like marriage and children. Yet that word is not currently in the German language.

A brief mention was made of a controversial theory presented by Professor Emeritus Kalevi Wiik of the University of Turku in Finland. He argues that Finno-Ugrian languages may originally have been spoken by the whole of northern Europe, that it may be Europe’s oldest language. More about his theories here or his home page in Finnish.

So much more but I’ll leave it at that! No definitive answers but interesting food for thought on our language, where we came from and who we mixed with. This has been a wonderful addition to my readings over the years and to the numerous links, many in Finnish, which I’ve gathered here and there.

to friends & lovers


Happy Friendship Day, or as the Finns say: Hauskaa Ystävänpäivää, dear readers!

Or if you prefer, Happy Valentine’s

And here is a heartwarming and exceptionally well-done video which I hope you will enjoy as much as I have: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Added Feb.28th: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore has won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film! Congratulations to Moonbot Studios! (and I didn’t even know it was a nominee)







Two days ago we became quite distracted by the demolition of a house next door, spending much of the day watching… no, gawking out the window and taking photographs. We were most impressed by the skill of the operator of that excavator and how quickly it was done, loaded onto numerous trucks and hauled away.

We knew this was coming since the property had changed hands and the buyer is having a very much larger home built in its place. Still, it was sad to see a decent home torn down, one that had housed several families over the years. We knew three in the time we’ve lived here and liked most the last family with young girls.

Most appalling, however, was that the building materials – roofing, window glass, timbers, gyproc, insulation, wiring and much more – were not separated for recycling, that is, were not put through a process of deconstruction which I think is required practice today. Truck after truck just hauled it all away quite some distance to some dump presumably.

Sad, at so many levels.

first snow 2012





In the last hour of Friday, January 13th, big fat wet snowflakes began falling, our first measurable snow this winter. I wish I could have stayed up all night to watch it. By morning it had stopped. It was still cloudy as I snapped a few shots. Now as I write this near noontime, the sun has come out and it is a brilliant world out there. The forecast says we might have more over the next few days, though here close to sea level it might be rain. Enjoy it while it lasts, I say.