Friday, 27 March 2009

Merry Go Round

Jump on our merry go round and join a group of artists/crafts-women as they link hands around the world and tell you a little about their lives and art.

We are group of 10 women from all over the world
, we have got together in what would constitute an example of peaceful idea exchange and diplomacy, and agreed to come to our blogs once a month and share a bit more about ourselves.
We choose a question and all of us have to answer it in our blogs. It will be very interesting to read what each of us has to say, taking in account how much our lives and crafts differ.

And this month something simple, a recipe... typical from our country or our kitchen... something easy and quick to make without being a chef!

I'm Argentinean and our cuisine is a mixture of italian and spanish cuisine with a local touch. This has to do with the fact that 70% of us argentineans have grandparents or great grandparents whom came from those countries or others around Europe. Something local and very typical would be an "asado" a huge BBQ where half a cow gets roasted.. "empanadas", "humitas" and other dishes ussually including meat are the typical thing. But they are a bit complicated to make and explain in a blog... so I thought i'd share with you a very easy recipe which is very often used in my kitchen... handy, easy and quick... and delish!...even though it ise not typical from neither the dutch nor the argentinean a matter of fact, it ressembles the Zwartswald german cake (must be my mom's german gen!)

"Torta de chocolate" or chocolate cake...

This is the cake I always make for birthdays. My mom has been using this recipe for ages...

2 coffee mugs of flour
1 cup (same cup) of sugar
6 table spoons of cacao
1/2 a teaspoon of bicarbonate
2 teaspoons of rising powder (or none if you are using self rising flour)
2 eggs
1 cup (the same you used above!) of milk
100gr of unsalted butter

Super easy now:

Put all the dry elements (sugar, cacao, rising powder, bicarbonate, flour) in a bowl.
On the side, melt the butter in the microwave (melt but don't cook!). Add the milk and the eggs. Mix together.
Now slowly, start adding the liquids to the dry bowl, mixing as you go. The more you mix (by hand or with a machine) the more air in the the "fluffier" the cake will be.

Prepare your cake baking mould (baking paper or butter and flour around the walls of the tin), and put the cake in the oven for 25minutes in a moderate temperature (180C). At that time, and because all ovens are different really, do the "knife" test: introduce a clean knife in the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done, otherwise... back to the oven.

Once the cake is cold, cut it in half and add whatever you want. My husband's favorite: home made strawberry jam, halfed strawberries from our own garden and whipped cream (if there are no children, a bit of rhum soaks the bottom half of the cake). Close the cake, add some chocolate on top... and eat!!

And last, but not least, I would like to give a nice big welcome to out three new women in this merry-go-round: Wren, Jenny and Nikki. Hope you all have fun!!!

If you wish to read the entries from the other women in this group, here are the links!

Jenny at Jenny Karlsson design
Nikki at Beaded Zen
Wendren at Wren
Sara at Sara's Texture Crafts
Charlotte at Fancy Picnic
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent
Fabienne at Easterya
Andreanna at Glamasaurus

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

On my desk Wednesday...coasters

Remember that little demonstration a few weeks ago, on how felt was made? I ended up with a piece of felt of multiple colors... well it had to be turned into something... coasters!

They are quite simple but I think funky and a nice addition to a table. Colorful, soft, washable, easy to put away.

*I made 4 with red hand made felt combined with polka dots and a chequered pattern:

*Two very fancy ones - I think- with deep red hand made felt and black cotton. The stitching is in grey.

* There are 6 which range from pink to red passing through fuchsia. The back is made with linen.

*Some weeks ago I was trying the "felt-ability" of this fabric I bought, and I mixed it with some merino wool, bamboo and loose threads from the fabric itself. A bit of a collage. The end result I turned into 4 coasters which are a bit bigger. A soup bowl fits perfectly on it, so like a mixture between coaster and placemat!

I've been busy working on several things but I realized that I haven't listed much this month. So all of these, plus some more I'm working on, are going to the shop!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

After firing

Remember that post on some ceramic pieces that were "Ready for the kiln". Well, they are out. After the first firing, I put a thin coat of transparent glazin on top which not only protects them and makes them more usable, but also makes the clay darker, or with a deeper color.
And there they are:

I've been asked already to put them in the shop. There are more in the making. Maybe something for the summer, when it gets warm and one doesn't wear wool so felting stays on the side for a while... Who knows...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

On my desk Wednesday...wool

On my desk Wednesday...wool
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Why isn't she posting? they ask... well, because Im working and working....
Here, the proof!

1Grey and red's a huuuuge soft and warm wrap, made of pure merino wool with swilrls made of hand spun (by yours truly) red yarn.
2 Red shibori scarf: my first attempt with shibori dyeing...I left it quite simple, just some circles, and yet it didn't work in every circle. Some have a white middle some not... this was hand felted with white merino and bamboo and later dyed with "pagoda red" dye.
3 Yarndyefelt: lacking of a better name... this is a scarf, thin but long, which was again hand felted with white merino and yarn. Later I dyed it with tangerine orange, pagoda red and golden touch....or yellow :) Since it was the first time I was dyeing anything, it didn't quite work out the way I wanted because all the colors blended. I like the result though, there are lighter spots and darker ones but all in shades of red.
4 spinning: I recently bought some wool just to give spinning (drop spindle) a go... and that is the result. Not enough for knitting anything, but it will be used anyway...

None of these are completely done, so as I finish them, I will show you. Just a teaser this!

Red is my fave color (not too hard to notice) and such a hard color to photograph!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

lange nek

lange neck2
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

A few months ago a cousin of my husband had her second child. We waited a couple of months to go pay the costumery visit to the family. In the meantime I wondered what to buy/make for the newborn.
I've realized that since I'm seriously dedicating myself to arts, I always rather make something than go buy a present. Maybe the recipients aren't that happy with my change at the moment of giving presents...tough luck! ahahaha whatcha gonna do! I do put a lot of effort in the present and the packaging as well.

Tom, the newborn baby, received a hand feltedgjiraffe/camel/llama... I wanted to make a giraffe but somehow it ended up being a hybrid of camels and llamas with giraffe like spots. My son calls it "lange nek" which means "long neck" in dutch... it's a new animal! :)
The positive thing is that the baby, today 4 months old, was all excited swinging it around by the tale...that to me, spells success!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

On My desk wednesday: Cositas

Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Cositas: little things, in spanish.

What's on my desk...a million things. Which is not very handy when -due to maternal logistics- your desk in the dining table.
*I'm busy working on my Secret Bunny present. It has got to leave this week. Can't tell you yet what it is because it might spoil it for the one receiving it.
*Busy working on a present for a baby, a jiraffe. I wish I could show it to you but I haven't taken pics yet...
*Busy experimenting with wool...
*Busy making little plates, one of which is that one on the picture (a super macro of it).
*Busy packing and going to the post office. Did the shipping costs go up again?? How can registered mail to Germany of a flat envelope weighting less than 100gr, can cost 7.50euros??? Well, it did yesterday...

There is a lot on my desk... and at the moment too, breakfast. :)

Saturday, 7 March 2009

A lunares

A lunares
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Well, spring didn't last that long. We are back to rain, cold and the ussual weather suspects... So, that also mean, back indoors.

I made this little mouse (or my own version of a mouse) a few weeks ago. It's all wool, no filling. I needle felted some stuff first (like the dots) and then wet felted it to make it a bit more solid. I used the needles for needle felting to stab around and in that way attach the ears and legs (although there is some stitching here and there to make it stronger).
She is sitting on out bookscase next to the botanics/craft books. Far away from my son who was throwing her aroundwith no mercy. I feared for her touching! :)

Im off to the drift shop to see if i can find a large pot where I could dye stuff. Amazing how expensive kitchen stuff is, uh?

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

On my desk wednesday: ready for the kiln 2

On my desk wednesday: ready for the kiln 2
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Last week during carnaval, was a vacation week so the atelier where I go, was closed. I brought with me home a few pieces of clay I had left and wanted to finish. I can never really calculate what I can do with a certain piece or how much more I need. So I thought, Im going to make small little plates for ..small little things.... like your used tea bag, or a place where to leave rings and earings (I do this when I take them off at night and put them by my bed).

So, on my desk today, the little plates just painted with engobes... I'm taking them to the kiln tomorrow...can not wait!!!!!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

blooming hazel

blooming hazel
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Spring is here. Finnally. Sunday, it was sunny and the temperatures went up to 13C! Unbelievable! This was enough for us. We put on our boots and went out to play in the garden. The season has officially started!
We opened our compost and spread it around, we had launch sitting on the grass, eating warm sandwiches and drinking tea with honey. We made plans about the summer, about friends coming over, wine and laughter...salads from our own garden and even the dream of making our own cheese. And we realized -again- how happy we are, how happy we are for having each other, for being able to make plans, for having some sun... and how happy we are for having the kind of life we always wanted to have.
All this happiness was followed by a trip to the plants store... we went for tools, we came back with 10 different plants of blue berries, red berries, raspberries and a 3 metres long cherry tree! I'm tempted to go back today and buy a plum tree, I found the right sunny spot in our garden!
The cherry tree was tree number 14 we have planted since we moved in almost 5 yrs ago. I can not wait until everything blooms and gives fruit!
This pic here is a macro of the very tiny flower of the hazelnut.

Is it sunny where you are???