Author Archive for Laura Toivola



I think I’m lonely.
Humans are biologically wired to be social, and the capital punishment is not death, it’s exile. Admitting that you’re lonely means admitting there’s something fundamentally wrong with you, I think. You do something wrong, you are something wrong. That’s the song my insides have been singing to for as long as I can remember. I’m tired of feeling wrong.


Artery Artillery

So, I downloaded a new app (Noom) to try out this healthy lifestyle thing, and to possibly lose a bit of weight, like. I walked about for like three hours doing mostly grocery shopping, and I gained like a ga-zillion steps on the pedometer that comes with the app. And when I got home, I had a totally healthy salad for late lunch/early dinner today, which I couldn’t even finish. And I almost kind of enjoyed it. Sooooo I figured I was up for some gratification.

Coffee-chocolate cake and white chocolate-coffee muffins

My arteries aren’t going to know what hit them.

I barely survived making those, I’m not sure I can actually eat any of that. So… If you’re working tomorrow, and you’re working where I’m working, you’re in for a treat.

Chocolate. Sugar. Butter. Coffee.

I’m not quite sure what I did! With the cake, I was going roughly the same way as with the Sinfest cake from before, except I used gluten-free flour, and the topping is just melted chocolate, margarine and loads and loads of powdered sugar. By the time I was hanging out with the muffins, I was pretty much just throwing stuff in. Main ingredients were melted butter and coffee. I added white chocolate chips to the individual muffins, but they simply melted and turned the insides into delicious goo. Clearly, the recipe still needs some tweaking…

The topping is simply powdered sugar, water, red food colour and essence of lemon. Yum! I almost served the muffins raw, but it turns out the white chocolate chips were the reason the insides never hardened properly. Somehow, with added oven time, the whole muffins ended up tasting like lemon, and the topping also tasted like coffee. It was weird, but in a pleasant way. Lemon Surprise! Next time, possibly I’ll have a go without the white chocolate.

I think I’ll have that heart attack now.

Bonus! Check out the cake goodness from our housewarming party:


I can only take credit from the bunny cake and the cat cake (the Significant Otter’s and my birthday cakes, respectively), Senja and Tommi made that beyond-awesome octopus cake with licorice boat victims.


Half-shelf-life and other furniture pimps

I finally got around to painting the rest of the kitchen furniture (I started with the dining table several months ago). I hate the birchwood coloured furniture that’s so Scandinavian, and the remaining three chairs continued to be an eyesore for me. Not to mention the shelf with paint stains and poorly finished sawing where I’d divided it in two! I don’t have a before-picture of the chairs, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that there’s a definite improvement with a price of a can of shiny black furniture paint.

First up were the two chairs the Significant Otter brought in: they got a layer of paint and that’s it (for now). Next, my eye fell on the third seat… It served its purpose as an emergency chair for my studio, but now it was just completely out of place and out of style. I hated the steel legs for being completely out of sync with the homey feel of the rest of the kitchen, so after I spray painted the plywood to match everything else, I dug into my scrap fabric heap and came up with some cheap Indian cotton strips. I lathered the legs with glue, pasted the fabric on and completed the deed by wrapping some deep blue thread to make sure it stays put.

Classic Scandinavian birch into… something a little less classic.

A definite improvement, but perhaps something still needs to be done to the garbage heap in the corner.


The worst thing in the kitchen (and for once, the Significant Otter agreed) was the half shelf with paint stains that was just sitting in the corner and acting as a kind of a junk station. A lick of paint, some crafty times with a cardboard box, a knife, a piece of dumpster dived shelf-back panel spray painted black and cut to size; a little glue, a few screws and an extra Ikea shelf piece later… Well, it’s still not pretty, but at least it doesn’t actively try to attack my sensibilities!

The bottom part needs a back panel, and some storage box type of things still needed for the middle shelf, but at least the garbage is out of sight and the paint matches everything else!


The best thing is that, apart from the paints, the project cost next to nothing. I love getting my hands dirty, and there’s that special feeling that goes with DIY… a satisfactory redesign and/or repurposing is good both for my conscience and for my account balance – not to mention that sweet glow when someone compliments on your work*. And finally, what happened to the other half of my formerly-studio-shelf? It ended up in the bedroom with a simple dark wood stain treatment:

Needless to say, the photo albums on the shelf match the bedroom deco, too.

*Of course, I can always find room for improvement.


I don’t usually reblog things, but this is so well written I want everybody to read it.

Shapely Prose

Phaedra Starling is the pen name of a romance novelist and licensed private investigator living in small New York City apartment with two large dogs.  She practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu and makes world-class apricot muffins.

Gentlemen. Thank you for reading.

Let me start out by assuring you that I understand you are a good sort of person. You are kind to children and animals. You respect the elderly. You donate to charity. You tell jokes without laughing at your own punchlines. You respect women. You like women. In fact, you would really like to have a mutually respectful and loving sexual relationship with a woman. Unfortunately, you don’t yet know that woman—she isn’t working with you, nor have you been introduced through mutual friends or drawn to the same activities. So you must look further afield to encounter her.

So far, so good. Miss LonelyHearts, your humble instructor, approves. Human connection…

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Dead Leaves (2004)

What did I just watch?

I don’t know what the producers had in mind while making Dead Leaves — an animation equivalent of LSD-laced pop rocks in sugar psychosis. No, really. That’s it. The story is really not worth mentioning, and the animation is on par with Powerpuff Girls. I think the value of this 45-minute flick is in sheer audacity of creating nearly an hour of non-stop colourblitzkrieg. Any longer, and I’d be scooping my brains out of the pop corn bowl! I thought it was hilarious. The plot was paper-thin, and I think I’d rather have seen it as something as tongue-in-cheek as the rest of the film. As such, the story felt like more of an afterthought, and more than just a little pasted-on. I think a more outrageous motivation for the plot might have worked better. This is definitely worth watching for the hand-animated action sequences full of split-screens, text/sound effects and sheer epilepsy-inducing hyperaction! I’m thinking it would be perfect as a backdrop for a loud party, and possibly the animation reads better as an extended music video than an animated story. Also — definitely not for kids.

Plot flash: The female lead gets pregnant from prison butt-sex with a guy with a television set for a head; the baby shoots bad guys through the womb, is born, grows up, gets old and dies a hero within the same day.

Dead Leaves is a work of art. <3


Here Be Serpents

“Wanna play Hide n’ Seek, mummy?”

Ayyyyy~! Let it be known that the Significant Otter left the terrarium door open after “having a chat” with my corn snake Fafnir — whom he refuses to touch (or to watch him eat!) — and the snake is now at large. We’ve turned the flat upside down trying to locate the slippery little sucker (I learned that wonderful phrase from Pretty Woman), but to no avail. Here’s to hoping he’s actually inside the flat somewhere and not — for instance — haunting the drainage in the apartment complex. I’ve left a note in the hallway to notify the neighbours, and I’m sure that will go down well!

I did mention he’s not poisonous and doesn’t bite.

We have a little bit short of 70 square metres (and I don’t know how many cubic metres!) of double sided bookshelves, DVD storage, open cupboards and wardrobes, all manner of boxes, bags, piles of junk (this part being my studio) for a slithery thing to hide in, so we can pretty much just hope he turns up when he’s hungry. I found poo on the floor (which notified me of his escapade in the first place) so at least I know there’s an empty tummy out there somewhere!


The Serpent Has Been Found! He was hiding in the only place we did not turn upside down: the plastic bag on one of the low shelves in the kitchen known as the “recycling station”. The Significant Otter thinks he was after the cream. I think he’s got a penchant for alcohol. Fafnir seemed totally content to hang around in the garbage bag — I had to empty the whole thing before I got him out.

“Five more minutes ma!!”


“Puny humans! Your silly cages of glass and steel won’t contain me forever!!1!”


Bad bad bed

Would you believe me if I told you that more timber was delivered as per instructions and the infamous bed has been built without further mishaps?

Well, more fool you!

The Significant Otter did indeed lend a van from his friend’s workplace, and they did deliver a sufficient amount of the right kind of timber for me to finish the bed. I laughed aloud when I realised all pieces were 10 cm (about 9 in) too long! Nevertheless, I put the bed together, changed the sheets and vacuum cleaned the bedroom, and it all looks very nice now. Even the extra length will probably work out in the end, too: I’ll build a shelf or a headboard on it later. We can has a bed!

Heard it through the grapevine:

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It Has Been Written:

July 2019
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And guess what!

Give me all your money: