Painting with pomegranate juice

It’s been some months since I have written and I hope you don’t mind the wait while we have been moving countries. We are in Berlin now and enjoying the remarkably great weather since July. I’m back into my teaching (and loving it! If you are a pedagogeek like me, you might enjoy my education journal that I keep), Miss K is enjoying Kita tremendously and our family has finally settled into our new home.

Before we left Australia a few of my posts for Mrs Winter Creates were put on hold because of the move. I’d like to share one of them with you now, fully written some 3 or so months ago. It is about a subject close to my heart – natural pigments. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to blogging more here about the projects I’ve been focussing on in our new apartment.

I am so excited to share my newest project with you.

It could also be considered one of my oldest projects.

About 15 years ago when I was studying fine art at university, I began experimenting with fruit juice (mainly pomegranate, tamarillo and berry juices), calc, alum and rust to create abstract and minimalist paintings. I saw the transformation of their colour as alchemical and at the time I did not fully understand the chemical reasons behind the colour changes, thinking it rested solely in the oxidisation process. This whole experiment is something I have been meaning to get back to since that time; recently I have been taking the time to do so.

Painting with pomegranate juice - Mrs Winter Creates

Painting with pomegranate juice – Mrs Winter Creates

I am working with a number of different ripeness’ of juice and rind of pomegranates in the process and have also used lemon juice in parts of certain paintings to gain some colour variation. In these paintings I have strong lilac, purple, yellow, pink, browns, prussian blue, cobalt and magenta. I remember being able to get a green as well, but as of yet I have not rediscovered this process.

Painting with pomegranate juice - Mrs Winter Creates

Painting with pomegranate juice – Mrs Winter Creates

I prepared some of the paints about a week ago and have kept them in the fridge to preserve them. Once Miss K goes down for the night, I sit and experiment; it is like a meditation. Sometimes Mr Winter and I sit together working, he reads or draws and I glide a wet brush against watercolour paper with intention.

I like to sit and watch the colours change. Many begin as pink or red; they dry and a hint of a future hue appears. The paint pools in a corner or edge, there is a grain of seed flesh that creates punctuation to a field of colour. Subtle variations of hue can be observed in every dried mark, that is the beauty of plant based colour. It leaves me in awe and in love.

Painting with pomegranate juice - Mrs Winter Creates

Painting with pomegranate juice – Mrs Winter Creates

These paintings do change with time, they become more muted over the years and tend toward a yellow-green as they mature. The change itself speaks of a natural transformation of organic elements, yet a strong impression remains. I considered preserving the paintings against UV rays and other ageing elements, but this would be dishonest to the process; and the process is central to the work.

Painting with pomegranate juice - Mrs Winter Creates

Painting with pomegranate juice – Mrs Winter Creates

I love natural pigments and dyes. I would probably be quite satisfied dedicating my life to learning about and using them, though I believe soon enough my teaching and philosophy itch would set in.

 

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Rope basket for balls of wool

I don’t know about you, but when I knit one of two things happen – ball of wool slowly makes a run for it and ends up around toddler or toddler slowly makes a run for it (eyes fixed on me) with my ball of wool. There is not so much I can do about the second problem as Miss K has a knack of getting into everything these days, but I finally got around to tackling the escapee wool situation.

I would love to have one of those ceramic ball-of-wool holders, but it wouldn’t last long. I had surplus rope and thought to give it a crack with that.

Coiled rope basket project - Mrs Winter Creates

Coiled rope basket project – Mrs Winter Creates

My original idea was to make a closable sphere with a small hole for the yarn to feed through. I made the opening by holding one round using red thread that would be cut later.

Red thread used to hold shape - Mrs Winter Creates

Red thread used to hold shape – Mrs Winter Creates

Red thread cut off to create opeining - Mrs Winter Creates

Red thread cut off to create opeining – Mrs Winter Creates

I left the hole in the top should I want to put two balls of wool in there and a handle so that it could be hung on certain things. I fastened it with a button and ribbon.

Button and ribbon fastening - Mrs Winter Creates

Button and ribbon fastening – Mrs Winter Creates

It did not sit so well when hung, as you can see in the above photo. This wasn’t so good and then quality control came along…

Quality control - Mrs Winter Creates

Quality control – Mrs Winter Creates

What's inside there? - Mrs Winter Creates

What’s inside there? – Mrs Winter Creates

The wool was quickly evicted and my creation deformed. I decided to take it apart a bit and keep it simple. Miss K was going to get into it anyways; ‘I’ll make it a little less interesting’, I thought.

Finished yarn feeder basket - Mrs Winter Creates

Finished yarn feeder basket – Mrs Winter Creates

I’ve started making little woollen dolls using the basket to hold the yarn and it is great. Miss K has used it a few times, mostly as a baby in her mini stroller, but it has been relatively safe. I really love how it looks like a skep (beehive basket).

Has anyone else got any other contraptions to help with escapee balls of wool?

 

Sałatka jarzynowa – Polish vegetable salad

I’ve been requested recently to post a recipe for my polish vegetable salad. It’s my own doing, I brought it to mother’s day – and it is rather delicious.

The work in this salad is mainly in cutting everything up into tiny cubes. It’s a good meal to make in a small kitchen as it doesn’t take much space if you are organised.

The following recipe is for a large container full. It doesn’t last as long as it looks it should. I personally hide portions of it away from the hubby in the fridge so that it lasts more than a few hours.

 

Ingredients:

5 eggs
750g of potato
2 large carrots
1 cup of peas
1 cup of celery (or celeriac – which would have been boiled)
2 large green apples
4 Tbs of mayonnaise
2 Tbs of joghurt
1 Tbs of seeded mustard (as in the condiment)

 

Instructions:

Peel all your vegies and fruit. Cut potatoes and carrots into halves lengthwise for easier cutting later.

Boil the eggs, peas, potatoes, carrots (and celeriac if you are using this) until they are hard/soft.

Cut everything into tiny cubes (about half a centimetre squared) and put it into a large bowl, dish or container. Add the mayonnaise, joghurt and mustard and stir through evenly, but gently.

If you like salt and pepper, you could add a bit of that too.

Hide, or enjoy with buttered bread.

Improvisational pleating, folded

I’ve been working on the Tinny dress from Straightgrain for her improvisational pleating contest and today I finished my entry.

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem - Mrs Winter Creates

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem – Mrs Winter Creates

My improvisational pleating technique was to create deep pin-tucks in the red fabric with folded pieces of the contrasting floral fabric wedged inside. This is then folded to one side and creates a small flap. I featured this detail on the cuffs and the hem of the skirt and decided not to use it on the collar.

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem - Mrs Winter Creates

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem – Mrs Winter Creates

The red material I used is a light and soft cotton fabric, matte on one side and slightly shiny on the other. It is lightweight while the floral print is medium weight and this caused some difficulty with the finishing on the feature pleats, but all in all, I think it worked quite splendidly!

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem - Mrs Winter Creates

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem – Mrs Winter Creates

The floral fabric is called Breezy and is by P&B Textiles. The flowers are from a watercolour painting and they are bright and soft. I don’t usually go for such bright fabrics, but sometimes it is worth living a little on the wild side.

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem - Mrs Winter Creates

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem – Mrs Winter Creates

I made a size 2 as soon enough Miss K will be growing out of her mountain of 12-18 month old clothing and I need to prepare. I didn’t quite manage to make the zip invisible somehow, but I am telling myself that this will give it a bit more room for future growth spurts…

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem - Mrs Winter Creates

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem – Mrs Winter Creates

I put piping on the sleeve end, around the waist and at the hem. I think the hem would have finished up better if I had put it on both sides of the pleated detail. The fabric’s shouting colours tend to draw the eye from the dress’ imperfections, thank goodness.

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem - Mrs Winter Creates

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem – Mrs Winter Creates

As I chased Miss K around the park, the dress got quite a few comments. It is rather nerve-racking chasing a socialite toddler around a park with lots of water. I’m glad I made the effort and went outside – it was a glorious, mild day and we met some new friends.

Thanks to An of Straightgrain for this fun task, it’s my first ever contest entry and I think the result was worth the effort. On the 21st (that is in 4 days) she will be opening a link-party, where you can see what other people have done and vote for your favourite. I hope I’ve made myself a contender, I’m also really looking forward to seeing any nifty pleating techniques that others have created to use in my future projects.

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem - Mrs Winter Creates

Straightgrain Tinny dress with improvisational pleating on cuffs and hem – Mrs Winter Creates

And dear reader, you still have a few days to get your own project underway and finished! Maybe I’ll see you at the link party?

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Far from quiet

So I haven’t written for about 2 weeks, but this can not to be attributed to having done little. It’s been a very interesting, beautiful, sad and productive two weeks.

At the beginning of these two weeks, I had a very good friend come to visit us from Melbourne. She is a talented artist whom we got to know in Berlin. We have the most amazing conversations about philosophy as neither of us shrink from difficult and demanding questions in these moments. Somehow, even though we seem to be diametrically opposed in some way, we end in agreement, or at times in respectful disagreement and always much enriched and enlivened by the discourse. I’ll write about her work soon in a separate post as it truly deserves the attention.

Today I attended my friend and mentor’s funeral. It was a beautiful and joyous event. It was a sad and thoughtful gathering too. He is the second person I know who has passed away gracefully and beautifully and this gives his friends and family grace and strength. I was blessed with the honour of speaking to him only a week ago as he lay; my heart is warm and full of this moment and of all the things I had learnt from him. A great and passionate teacher always leaves a strong impression, and as teaching is also my passion his passing and memory is helping stoke the fire that has been quietly smouldering ashes during this time of raising Miss K. I go back to teaching in August, and I am slowly building an eager hunger for the work again. Thank you John.

On the subject of my going back to teaching, well that job is in Berlin and at the moment we are in Australia – which means we are moving back, in two months time! You know what occupies my thoughts the most?

How on earth am I going to complete all of my craft projects before then?

What ought I do with all my craft supplies? What should I take with me?

 

Here is a sneak-peak of the projects I have going at the moment:

Coiled rope basket project - Mrs Winter Creates

Coiled rope basket project – Mrs Winter Creates

Knitted baby camisole project - Mrs Winter Creates

Knitted baby camisole project – Mrs Winter Creates

Water colour and pencils - Mrs Winter Creates

Water colour and pencils – Mrs Winter Creates

Minimalist handmade jewellery - Mrs Winter Creates

Minimalist handmade jewellery – Mrs Winter Creates

Self-designed, printed and made baby jacket - Mrs Winter Creates

Self-designed, printed and made baby jacket – Mrs Winter Creates

Straightgrain improvisational pleating contest dress - Mrs Winter Creates

Straightgrain improvisational pleating contest dress – Mrs Winter Creates

So, stay tuned for a host of patterns, projects, reviews and new etsy items.

The last picture above is of the fabrics I am using for the Straightgrain improvisational pleating contest – it is the first sewing contest I am entering, ever. Here is the button:

Are the 90’s really retro? – Dianas EP#2

A musical digression.

In another life, many lifetimes ago it seems, I played in various bands around Perth. That was the 90’s and early 2000’s. I also went to see many awesome local bands, danced wildly to the post-rock, shoe-gaze, math-rock and generally grungy sounds from some very talented musicians. I don’t even go out much these days, I’m usually up trying to deal with the maddening sleeplessness a teething toddler can induce. Still, I remember fondly nights I fit my whole drum-kit and then boyfriend, Mr Winter, into my Honda City Pro and drove to that weekend’s live show.

I stumbled upon this local and current Perth band called the Dianas just now and their sound really brings back memories, but not of any band specifically – they are not a rip off and the sound is great. They are like a essential aural oil of a bunch of my favourite 90’s bands. I am listening to their EP#2.

Dianas EP#2 - Mrs Winter Creates

Dianas EP#2 – Mrs Winter Creates

There is more than a drop of Adam Said Galore (and related bands) in there, on the track Weightless I feel like I am listening to the Cranberries again, there are definitely moments of Cocteau Twins, which are probably more like 80’s right?

I can’t help feeling that this era of music must be eons away for a whole host of young, talented musicians these days. It makes me want to ask, are the 90’s really retro?!

None the less I thought I would share this gem with you. Hope you enjoy it too!

Raw raspberry and chocolate truffles

I do not eat Easter eggs and so I am very happy to say we have none surplus. I like my chocolate dark and lightly sweetened with no added flavourings or bits that have numbers. I don’t like vanilla very much. I like some sour in the mix or chilli when the mood hits me.

Raw raspberry and chocolate truffles - Mrs Winter Creates

Raw raspberry and chocolate truffles – Mrs Winter Creates

These raw, raspberry and chocolate truffles are just so much more satisfying than cheap chocolate. I even let Miss K have a good go at these, which I understand plenty of people would frown at, but there you go… I’d rather these than Easter eggs, that’s all I have to say!

These will not disappoint, especially if you like your sweet and sour mixed. Super easy too, all you need is a blender and voila!

Ingredients:

one cup of walnuts
one cup of dates (pitted)
a handfull of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
two tablespoons of cocoa
* some apple juice concentrate, honey, agave (whatever floats your boat) to increase the stickiness and make easy to roll – you could also use coconut butter if you prefer

Put all the ingredients (except the * ingredients) into the blender and blend thoroughly. Add as much of the * ingredients as is needed to make the mixture a little sticky and easy to roll into balls.

Roll the mixture into balls and keep in the fridge for freshness.

Raw raspberry and chocolate truffle - Mrs Winter Creates

Raw raspberry and chocolate truffle – Mrs Winter Creates

It is possibly unfortunate that these should be eaten within a few days. I’ll have to make some more as we ran out in much less than that. Happy truffling!