May 28, 2012

Cell Level Vilmava Fashion from Finland

I saw my friends talking about this Finnish designer called Vilma Riitijoki on Facebook and checked out her clothes -- pretty sweet!!

The latest thing she's working on (according to her website Vilmava - in Finnish only) is a collection called Mitoosia (Mitosis). The inspiration comes from cell biology and fluorescence photography which is a way to study the parts of cells. Her goal is to express thankfulness for the tiny, invisible actors that build overwhelming ensembles and worlds around us. 

Can't wait to see more from that... So far I could find only one pic from Mitoosia and it's crazy and I love it:

There's innovative high fashion happening in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia as well. It recently got super hot here (over 30C/86F) and yesterday me and Daniel went shopping for some wind and ice - a big fan and ice cube molds (to make smoothies). In a dollar store we found, not only ice cube molds, but chic hats:

Have a fun and goofy week dear friend! :)

May 22, 2012

Baking Vegan Pulla Like There's No Tomorrow :: Finnish Cinnamon Rolls

Soon I've lived 5 years in the USA and the whole time I've dreamt about baking pulla. Pulla, or korvapuusti [slapped ears] is a Finnish cinnamon roll. It's not the simplest thing to make but sometimes you gotta do hard things in life. So last night me and Daniel took the pulla-bull by the horns and followed the recipe my mom kindly emailed me.

After you combine the ingredients, traditionally you mix them in a big food processor thingy for at least 4 minutes to make the dough proper. My mom knows we don't have such equipment so she starts the ingredients list with: '1 strong man or faery to knead the dough'

The other ingredients she told me metrically so we googled the amounts to turn them into cups for our US measure utensils as follows:
5dl/ 2.1 cups soy milk (or water)
50g fresh yeast or about 24g dry yeast (dry yeast bags have grams on them in US too)
2dl/ 0.8 cup sugar
1-2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cardamom
200g/ 0.9 cup Earth Balance 'butter'
about 1kg/ 10 cups wheat flour
For baking you'll need more melted 'butter', sugar, cinnamon, or applesauce

1. Melt the 'butter' in a big pot, add 'milk'. Heat until lukewarm if you use fresh yeast, or a bit warmer still if you use dry yeast. (Mix the dry yeast in a portion of the flour and add with the flour.)

2. Add sugar, cardamom and salt. We didn't have ground cardamom so we spent like forever cracking full cardamoms open with knife, then emptying the insides to a tablespoon and then manually grounding them once we had enough cardamom particles. I would recommend investing in a package of ground cardamom.

3. Start shoveling the flour into the pot. Mix by hand or with a scraper. As you pour in more flour you have to mix it by hand because the dough is very thick. The verb we're talking of is: KNEADING. You need to knead for at least 5-10 minutes if you're doing this by hand. 

Daniel did most of our kneading as I (conveniently?) took the laundry to the basement. 

The elf in serious kneadery! We split the goo-monster in two parts at this point so I could knead too. About 3 minutes into working the dough I sprained a muscle in the back of my hand. Let this serve as a warning :P It hurt!!

IMPORTANT: Close your windows when you're dealing with pulla dough - it needs to rise and draft kills the yeast action. Eventually, despite sweating and pulla-related injury, our dough turned perfect:

4. Cover the pot with cloth. We used two little kitchen towels. Then got paranoid and added a big, pretty white scarf on top of the towels so the dough would stay warm for sure. After 30 minutes the alien dough from a moon of Saturn had magically more than tripled in size!! !!!! !!!!! !! !!

5. Take a big piece of dough, about the size of three large apples. Knead it a bit more to get air bubbles out. Flatten it with a rolling pin. Use flour on the table as much as you feel is necessary so the dough won't get stuck to the table at any point while you roll it. Make it a big square/round shape, as thin as you feel is possible without the dough breaking anywhere.

6. Spread a layer of melted 'butter' on the dough sheet, then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar. Alternatively, and for a lighter version, skip the butter and sugar and instead spread a thinnish layer of apple sauce, then sprinkle cinnamon. Then roll the sheet all the way like in the pic.

7. Cut the roll in triangle-like angles. Lift each little pre-pulla 45 degrees up, to stand on it's widest side, with the tip of the 'triangle' up. Then push it down with finger so that the sides kind of puff out and the middle part is sunken in.

8. Put pullas on parchment paper and leave ample space between each because they will expand in the oven. Put a thin cloth on them and let rise for about 10-15 minutes more. Heat oven to 225 Celsius/ about 435F and bake the pullas for 10 minutes (or even a bit less). We burnt the bottoms of our first batch -- don't do over 10 minutes!

Ooo yeahh! Here are our delicious US born space alien cosmic love explosion pullas! We experimented and sprinkled raisins on one sheet of dough before rolling and cutting it -- and it turned out great. Our favorites are the ones with apple sauce. On the top right corner you can see a pulla flower formation. It's actually a pulla cake that turned out funny looking. To do your own funny looking pulla cake, just combine the pullas before you put them in the oven and as they expand they'll attach to each other.

Here's a quick video Daniel took with his phone - he says in the end 'to be continued' but we were too involved in the pulla creation process later on to have time to take more videos :) I think it took us four hours to make these badboys.

What My Hooping Has Become

The music: Azure Ray, Crystal Castles and Cosmosis. 
Location: Secret roomdimension in a Philadelphia gym

May 15, 2012

Karolina Daria :: Northern Faery Journey

Let me take you to a mystical journey to the northern fairy action of Iceland visually, and elventroll creations of Finland musically. The photos are by Karolina Daria and the music is by Paavoharju. The song is called Kevätrumpu (Spring Drum).

“The primary purpose of prayer is not to make requests. The primary purpose is to praise, to sing, to chant. Because the essence of prayer is a song, and man cannot live without a song.” Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery." Francis Bacon

"Nature is a petrified magic city." Novalis

May 10, 2012

Modeling Antique Clothes from Paris and the Bedouins

We took some pics at Eye's Gallery (where I work) for their Etsy shop with these splendid antique clothes from 1800s and early 1900s. They all belonged to a Philadelphia clothing designer Susan Lunenfeld who gave them to Julia, Eye's owner and her close friend, before Susan passed away last weekend. She traveled to Paris in 1950s and collected Victorian dresses from mid 1800s - that's what I'm wearing in the photos above and below.

Wouldn't this lace creation, totally handmade and hand-stitched like all of these old ones, make a nice old-timey wedding dress? Karith looks so pretty in it :)

The clothes below are from the Bedouins, late 1800s and early 1900s. Bedouins are semi-nomadic tribes from the deserts of southern Israel/ northern Egypt. These are really pretty... but the cheapest one costs $700...

My friend James really likes this men's shirt he tried on - the bird shirt :) I'm actually making music with James, perhaps soon I'll post some up here too. We keep sending files to each other and adding and editing sounds and singing and in this way we're coming up with some interesting stuff.

Here's Gretel Karith again with a really pretty, folky antique Bedouin dress.

Thank ye for eyeing these photographs, ladies and gentlemen! I shall leave you with a quotation from Mr Henry Drummond who lived in the era of these dresses: 

"You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love."

Have a mighty ace-high day! (Apparently ace-high is 1800s slang for excellent, LOL)