Introduction:

"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"


- Alan Hogan



Showing posts with label Hogan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hogan. Show all posts

Monday, June 12, 2017

Eyes Wide Open













Visiting Finland during the summer months offers the chance to experience long evenings and for a certain period the midnight sun. In most parts of Finland it doesn't get very dark at all. Where I live along the south-west coast the darkness is set at twilight, so it can be bright enough to play a game of football.
















Having spent almost ten years now living in Finland I am still amazed every June as the Midsummer period arrives with it's seemingly endless hours of light. It's an eerie sensation which can create wonder and plenty of sleepless nights. Black-out blinds are an essential purchase if you want to sleep!

While I still haven't been to the northern part of Finland yet, I can almost imagine what it must be like to have the sun up all day. It's something I would still like to experience sometime. One reason I haven't been so far north in the summer may be the presence of Finland's not-so loveable mosquitos. While we do get quite a lot of these bloodsuckers here in the south of Finland, I have heard stories of mild discomfort caused by the amount they have up north. This may be over-exaggerated, but during my first few years of living in southern Finland my legs were constantly under attack. After several days of itching and scratching they resembled a pair of crusty old pizzas! I think I offered the mosquitos a new dining experience of Irish blood which they took to like a vintage wine!


















Nowadays my blood may have altered a bit or become less tasteful as they don't bother me too much anymore. Perhaps my tolerence for them has levelled out,  I honestly don't know!






Anyway I thought I'd reactivate my blog here today having read about a short-film been shown at a Finnish film festival this week. It's certainly an apt film to show as it's relevent to the festival's location and this time of year. It's called 'How a Mosquito Operates', a silent animated film made way back in 1912 by American cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay. It's just one of many films been shown, full list here


















This Wednesday June 14th 2017, the Midnight Sun Film Festival begins it's five-day event in Sodankylä, Finland. It's an unusual film festival as it shows films around the clock without any breaks, just as the sun shines around the clock! 
The festival began in 1986 in the village of Sodenkylä, located in Finnish Lapland, some 120 kilometres above the Arctic Circle where the sun doesn't set at all in the summertime. So if you suffer from insomnia, this is the place for you!!

..and don't worry about the mossies!










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- Alan


    

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Autumn Fair in Finland




Today I took a visit to the Autumn Fair in the nearby town of Ekenäs/Tammisaari here in southern Finland. The weather was unusually bright and warm for this time of year here. Like myself most visitors to the fair were dressed for cooler temperatures. But after only ten minutes of arriving I had to remove my jacket and 'wished I had kept my shorts on before leaving home!

I decided to let this blogpost become a photoblog as it's been a while since my last post and my writing skills are a little rusty. This is mainly due to the fact that I accidently deleted a lot of the photos from my previous blogposts on this page via my smartphone.

Anyway, here are my photos of the day.  




Jams and Juices






Hats!





Suit your #Selfie - High Fashion!





The Usual Suspects






Fancy Hats!





Italiano






East of Edam!




Suomi selection

Hello Helium!



















Local Wildlife





Balloons!





Candy liquorice





Honey






Angry Birds Top Shelf





Spacious rides!






Big Wheel!




Blood Donors Welcome!






More Candy!






Carousels!






Mr.Balloon Man!!





Maybe I'll go back tomorrow, I hear there's a beer-tent!!!




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You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.


- Alan 

                     

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Love/Hate List No.1 - No strings attached please!




Love/Hate No.1

HATE - Tea-bags with strings!


People often ask me what I like or dislike in Finland. And some also ask me the same about Ireland. For example food, customs, travel, weather, pubs and so on. So a while back I decided to start a list of a few things I like and dislike. Just little things, nothing too serious.  I made a new photo album on my facebook page called my Love/Hate album. I also threw in a few items or oddities from elsewhere along the way. This blog is simply an extension of the list with more explanations and the odd dose of jibber jabber. 

So I'll begin with 
Love/Hate No.1 
- HATE - Tea-bags with strings!



Tea has been a major import commodity in Britain ever since the seventeenth century and changed drinking habits of the nation forever. It was not until 1908 however that the tea-bag was invented. And it was only by accident that it was invented in America by New York tea merchant Thomas Sullivan, when he start sending out tea samples packed in small silken packages to his customers. The customers unaware that they were supposed to remove the tea leaves from the small silken-packs, simply threw the whole lot into their teapots rather than use the more common metal diffuser or tea-strainer. And thus the tea-bag was born!!! 


'Tea-time reflections' 
pencil on paper, 1988 - Alan Hogan





The humble teabag was then commercially produced with a lighter material and a string attached.
Thomas Lipton incorporated the Lipton Tea Company in 1915. Lipton Tea patented a novel four-sided tea bag in 1952 called the flo-thru tea bag. The Lipton brand is very well-known and can be easily found in most places including Finland. 






The teabag string was added primarily as an aid to draw out the flavour of the tea leaves by way of squeezing the tea-bag. A printed label with the tea brand was also attached to the other end of the string. I can't help but wonder if they ever had teaspoons back then! Nowadays the string is simply used for dipping the tea-bag into the cup as shown in the photo above. This may be suitable for those who like a light cup of tea.


It is still common to find tea-bags on sale with strings attached, especially on continental Europe. They come in an assortment of flavours also, which I personally hate. But that's just me and my loyalty to the plain cup of tea.

Teabags with no strings attached!





The plain cup of tea is a part of what Irish people are. There's always time for a cup of tea. You could say we're tea-mad! 





Indeed, it's a rare occurrence to step into a house in Ireland and not be offered a cup of tea. Unless you are from the electricity supply board or a politician you will most certainly experience this custom when visiting the country, (actually a politician would never ever get past anyone's front door in Ireland these days!)





It's a certainty that a packet of biscuits will also appear like magic out of nowhere after your first sip of tea. Just remember, the nicer you are to your host the better the biscuit!
And if you're ever offered Chocolate Kimberley biscuits in Ireland then you must be very special indeed!!!





In Ireland it is more common to see tea-bags with no strings as they only get tangled up with the spoon! And who needs a string when a spoon does the job perfect anyway! A waste of good string in my opinion.
The same stringless-type tea-bags are also sold in the UK, but they have their own brands such as Tetley, PG Tips and Typhoo. These brands are sold in Ireland, in fact my grandmother used to buy PG Tips when I was a kid. This was probably because I made her, they had some good gifts to be had if you collected enough tokens from their boxes. The guys at Lyons tea soon took up their own promotions. 
More often Irish people prefer to buy Irish brands if possible such as Bewleys, Lyons or Barrys Tea. There is without doubt a better taste and quality in these brands. And when the Irish public drink more tea per capita than the British public something must be right.

The original blend Lyons teabags now available online,
just click on the photo above!






It's a well-known fact that before going on holidays abroad most Irish people will take one of these brands with them in their suitcase. I have noticed a similar custom amongst Finnish people going on holidays with other products. In fact nowadays I always bring a tube of Finnish mustard back to Ireland with me whenever I visit, it's the best and I've already converted one or two Irish people!

Check out this video from the master brewer at Barry's Tea. These guys know their stuff!!!







Of course I don't travel back to Ireland as much as I used to due to the lack of airlines travelling direct. So I always pack a few Irish products into my suitcase before I head back to Finland. Once I get back they don't last long and I'm wanting more. There are a few shops were I can buy English foods here in Finland but they can be very expensive. And anyway I prefer to have some of the food I grew up with, partly because they taste better and partly out of nostalgia.
I have replaced some of my Irish diet with Finnish foods which has been a success. There are places online where thankfully some Irish products and other items can be bought for less than what I would pay in specialised shops in Finland or other countries. So now I can sometimes enjoy a decent cup of tea with no strings attached!

  



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Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.


- Alan 

                     


#mrsdoyle #rareauldtimes #anicecupoftea #U2 #barrystea #lyonstea #dublin #thegreatestbandever #hotpressmagazine #teaology #tea #ireland #haveacup #cork #irishabroad #irishdownunder #irishamericans #irishbiscuits #jacobsbiscuits #kimberley #irishproducts #ireland #lovehate


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Society6 - product review





This is a short review for a Tote bag recently purchased for a friend from online store Society6. The bag features one of my own designs called 'Red Floral Decay'

Having removed the bag from it's packaging, I first asked a female friend for her opinion. The verdict was immediately positive as far as design and product were concerned. But I couldn't help but to have a closer look myself. 




Indeed, I was very happy with how well the design transferred to the bag's material. The colours were just as they appeared on my computer screen. The material itself seemed quite strong and the dark lining inside was good. It was good to see some double-stitching also and all-in-all I have to admit I thought the bag was satisfactory.

Here's a quick video of some hairy guy checking out the bag.






To quote Society6, these Tote bags are "hand sewn in America using durable, yet lightweight, poly poplin fabric. All seams and stress points are double stitched for durability. Available in 13" x 13", 16" x 16" and 18" x 18" variations, the tote bags are washable, feature original artwork on both sides and a sturdy 1" wide cotton webbing strap for comfortably carrying over your shoulder". 
I'm not sure what exactly poly poplin fabric is, but the bag felt like strong canvas-like material to me!

Conclusion: 

I was happy to see my design transfer well on to this material product. Colourwise it was perfect and fashionwise it got a thumbs-up from a female colleague.

Here are a few more of my Tote bag designs, and they are all for sale at my Society6 online store here



Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge



Click to enlarge



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You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.


- Alan
 



               
                                                             






Saturday, October 6, 2012

When Saturday Comes




It's been quite a while since my last proper blogpost here. This is partly because of my own pure laziness, and also because I have been preoccupied with other things. One of those things has been my interest in my local sports club - Football team BK-46 from the town of Karis here in southern Finland. 



Pallohonka v BK-46, Esbo 2012


It's been a long summer and today brings the last game of this year's Finnish football season for most clubs. It's the second division or as it's called here Kakkonen. You can see the league table and results here. Unfortunately the fate of BK-46 was decided last month when they were beaten by division leaders ÅIFK from Turku. 




After fighting hard all season with a lot of great performances, only a series of player injuries and a few missed chances could keep BK-46 from going forward to qualification for promotion. 
Now with the consolation of second place in their division, BK-46 travel to Helsinki to play Klubi04 this afternoon. By all accounts Klubi04 should be well above BK-46 in status as they have a larger selection of players as well as the backing, facilities and funding of big brother club HJK. In fact they have beaten BK-46 twice already this season, 2-0 at Helsinki in June and 3-4 at Karis in August.

Klubi04 v BK-46, Helsinki 2011

So with the season practically over for the Karis team, there may be still some pride to fight for in this last match of the season. While BK-46 have sealed their second-placed position in this division, it would be somewhat gratifying to end with a victory in the capital. And it's definately not impossible if last season is anything to go by. Last year I travelled with the rest of the club's supporters to witness one of BK-46's sweetest victories as they beat Klubi04 in the Sonera Stadium. Here's a reminder of that match last year, just go to 7:55 in this video.



A performance like this would be great to see again today. A famous bird resident in Helsinki came to support the good Karis folk last year, let's hope Bubi the owl can come out and support us again today! The match kicks-off at 14.00 at the Sonera stadium in Helsinki today. So come out and support the best team in Finland, BK-46!




For anyone interested I used the title 'When Saturday Comes' for several reasons. It is traditionally the day when most football games are played in most footballing nations. Also, today is Saturday. And mainly because it is the title of a good movie starring Sean Bean about a footballer who plays for another team wearing red and white stripes, Sheffield United. The full movie is here below if anyone wants to watch it. It's worth it just to hear BBC commentator David Coleman say the words  "Manchester United were cruising, they're not cruising now!".


Finally, one of my favorite songs from a band who's home team Derry City FC also known as 'The Candystripes' as they play in red and white stripes. This is The Undertones with their song 'My Perfect Cousin'.






Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends.


You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.


-Alan 





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The Art Garage, Finland

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