9 December 2010

A little help for a friend

My story bowls come in nice paper boxes which are lined with felt. I get them through the company STRAID - straight aid - from the Netherlands who have these custom made for me in Nepal. Today I got the sad news that Hari,  the owner of the felting company died at 38, way to young and leaving behind his wife and 3 kids. Ten families were depending on Hari's company for their income as well. Now STRAID wants to help to keep the company and the families going.

Therefore STRAID now offers a set of 5 gift cards (made by the company who makes my paper boxes) with envelopes and a wind chime in paper for only 9,85 euro of which at least 4 euro's will go to Hari's company. You can buy them via this link if you live in the Netherlands add code HARI10 on check out and the special offer price will be calculated. Best contact Marcel at STRAID if you live outside the Netherlands.

So you might think why not sell some felt products from Hari's company as a special offer instead of cards, simple because not enough were left in stock.

Give a friend a little help :-) Thanks!

8 December 2010

getting ready for Xmas: Decemberwinkel

Today I helped to set up the Decembershop, a temporary shop where approx 12-15 local artists sell their work. This year it is located in a barn. Last week we cleared the barn and set up the lights and display area's and today these displays were filled with the goodies. On the Dutch Handmade site you can see an impression  of the nearly finished shop. Here I'd like to share some of my new items with you. I took the pictures late at night, inside and other not such good conditions, so excuse the quality.

Story Bowl: Lonely rabbit in the dessert where he lives in a box.

Story Bowl: Are you an Angel?

New necklaces and rings in the serie 'Dutch Folklore'

New necklace in sterling silver: Funky Chicken
Above it, a porcelain bird on a silver necklace, more porcelain animals will follow.

Story Bowl: Wanna go for a ride babe?

Another Funky Chicken in sterling silver.

Wants these, come to the Decemberwinkel!

20 November 2010

Sweet Saturday

Apple's with Bailyes cream liqueur in a filo wrapping

I made this after reading another recipe with apples and Baileys. But I did want something wrapped in dough, which was not the case in the other recipe, as I wanted to hand these out as treats. I did not take measurements of the ingredients so these are guesses.

  • 5 small apples
  • 50 gr of dark brown sugar
  • 50 gr of butter
  • dash of baileys
  • 50 ml cream
  • ground cinnamon to taste
  • ground ginger to taste
  • ready bought filo dough
As I'm writing these down I can imagine raisins soaked in the Baileys first would go well with it too.

Take a baking tray for scones or muffins, fill each cup with 4 layers of filo dough, I just tore these into roughly the shape I wanted. I did not butter the tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the apples and fry them in the butter in a pan, I added them apple by apple, so you have very soft pieces of apple and some with a bit of crunch in the end. Add the sugar, spices, cream and Bailyes too.

Once this is ready add a spoon full to each filo filled cup in the tray. And put in the oven for about 12 minutes.


PS Best served warm.

PS If you don't want to bother with the filo, I'm sure this apple-baileys mix will go real nice with some ice-cream.

11 November 2010

Golden Gull - the award

Today was the big day, the award: the winner of the "gouden meeuw" golden gull would be announced on the largest book-fair of Flanders in Antwerp. It was really busy and we spend ages looking for parking, but arrived at the award ceremony just in time.

The jury members Heidi Lenaerts and Rudi Vanschoonbeeck read some abstracts form the books which had entered the competion for best book published under own management and organised by "Creatief Schrijven" (creative writing). Karolien van Ransbeeck completed the presentation with some beautiful unplugged songs.

It was publisher Rudi Vanschoonbeeck who announced the winner: Bart Vermeer with his poetry album Medea-Brutus.

Here Bart Vermeer just received the award and shows it to the public:

And here a picture of Bart with the award (safely in it's box) and myself with the award winning book:

Bart was so good to let me keep that copy of the book :-) 
I hope he is really happy with this very special story bowl I made.

Many thanks to Bart for the book and 
many thanks to the organisation Creatief Schrijven to commision me to make the award!

If you want to read about the making of the golden gull, go here.

Golden Gull - the making

A few weeks ago I got a phone-call from an organisation "Creatief Schrijven" (creative writing). They had seen my work and they liked it; would I want to make an award called "De Gouden Meeuw", de golden seagull, for the best book published in private management. Of course I would; I was honoured to be asked!

I hinted here and there I was working on this, but did not want to reveal anything until the price was awarded to the winner today on the bookfair in Antwerp.

As they had seen my work and my story-bowls, they had for this occasion to make a bowl with a little seagull standing in it. But my mind started to work and I got a flying gull in my head, so I proposed this design instead:

They liked it too, so I went to work, I made the bowl in porcelain and made a second bowl in clay so it could support the porcelain bowl during firing. I had first in mind to string the gull on 1 wire, but quickly realised that this would be too wobble and changed the design to have a wire running under each wing. So I made several seagulls, which was ok, than I had spares and I would have some to test the gold finishes. In the end I also made another bowl as the first one did warp too much.

Turned out that the real gold leaf (head) gave the nicest finish, I had looked at fake gold leaf and gold paint (wing). So I tested the paint and real gold leaf. I got some special glue for the last and it worked fine, nothing as difficult as I had expected. Maybe it's because I work very detailed that I did not have the troubles that some others had, as I read on comments on the internet. Just touch it with your hand as little as possible and use a soft brush the press it to the object.

I hung the gull on a very fine steel-wire. The end I closed with a silver bead and I hung a porcelain label with my logo and initials on it too. Found a nice box and ready it was to go to the winner.

 Read part 2 to know who the winner is.

6 November 2010

Sweet Saturday

Yesterday was my birthday and I baked myself this nice cake in a special cake-tin which I had given to myself a few weeks ago. With it came this lovely recipe for a chocolate and raspberry cake.

Chocolate & Raspberry Cake
  • 250 gr of dark chocolate
  • 250 gr of butter 
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar 
  • 350 gr of white sugar
  • 350 gr of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 gr of ground almonds
  • 150 gr of raspberries fresh or frozen
Melt the butter and the chocolate in a pot, once melted leave to cool. 
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C. 
Mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt (unless the butter is salted than leave salt out).
Mix the flour, baking powder and the ground almonds and add this to the egg mix.
Spoon the now lukewarm chocolate/butter mix through it carefully, followed by the raspberries.
Spoon into the baking tin (buttered!) and bake for about 45 minutes.
Leave to cool in the tin and than transfer to a plate.

I will decorate it later with icing sugar, raspberries and cream, just before serving it.

1 November 2010

Monday Mood

It's been a while since I made a Monday Moodboard. It's just been so busy and I just did not feel like it. Blogging should be fun and not compulsory! But here I am with lots of gold-leaf. I'm not a gold person at all, but I was asked to make an award and there is gold in there. Today I hope to be able to pick up some gold leaf scraps from a  friend to test with it, before I buy a whole booklet to find it does work with porcelain. So gold-leaf on my mind:

Goldleaf and Hydrangea Soap by Amelias
Goldleaf Earrings by Lizzy B Designs
Green Gold Bead by Bead Impressions
Gold Point Vessel by Up in the Air Somewhere

30 October 2010

Sweet Saturday - Scones

Something nice for breakfast or afternoon tea: scones. I started by following the recipe as described in the AVOCA cookbook, but than made an error when I was too enthusiastic pouring in the cream. The dough was too moist and instead of more flour I thought it might be nice to add ground almonds.

Scones à la Annemiek (makes about 6-10 scones)

  • 225 gr of self raising flour
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 25 gr of sugar
  • 55 gr of salted butter, cubed(or if unsalted add a pinch of salt)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100 ml cream
  • 40 gr of ground almonds
Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg, the cream and the ground almonds, mix until it has a soft doughy texture.
Gather the dough into a ball and roll it out on a floured surface to a thickness of 2,5 cm. stamp round shapes from it and place these on a baking tray (greased or covered with baking parchment). Brush the tops with some egg mixed with water (I just used the bit of egg which was left in the cup I had beaten it in) and bake for 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven of 180°C.


27 October 2010

My Creative Space

Busy, busy, busy as everyone these days I guess. 
My MOO minicards arrived which I had made for my ear studs, it says on the front surgical steel & porcelain, on the back my website and my logo. Much neater I think than using my business cards for this purpose.

Also busy making new bowls in porcelain, with flying pigs amongst others: 

And I was commissioned to make an award. 
I will share pictures of this project once it is finished.

23 October 2010

Sweet Saturday

Nearly no Sweet Saturday, as I missed some ingredients for the recipe I wanted to make, than thought of something else, but same problem. I really need to go grocery shopping with desserts and cookies in mind again :-)
But I still had all the ingredients for ShortBread, well more or less, I adjusted the amounts to suit the amount of flour I had left, but still have 3 baking trays of cookies, so plenty. I also used salted butter, well some as I did not have enough unsalted butter and added some vanilla scented/flavoured sugar too.

  • 400 gr of plain flour
  • 200 gr of corn flour
  • 200 gr of icing sugar
  • 400 gr of butter (I used 225 unsalted and 175 salted)
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
Mix or sift the flours and the sugar into a bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a soft ball. Roll this  out to a thickness of about 1cm on a lightly floured worktop, preferable a cool stone top. Cut out in whatever shape you want; since all my cookie cutter have ended up in my atelier they are not really suitable for food any more, so I used a small cup ;-)

Place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C for a fan oven, as I have one and the cookies have gone to soft and than cooked too quick to look like shortbread). Bake them for about 1 hour, leave in a rack to cool. So here they are a bit flatter than usual for shortbread and not so long in the oven either, but they taste fine :-)

18 October 2010

Ai Weiwei: Sunflower seeds

Last week I somewhere picked up something about an exhibition of/with millions of sunflower seeds in porcelain by
Ai WeiWei, which got my attention straight away. I found this great video on you-tube about the project.

I not only learned about the project and it's background, how sunflowers are part of China, but also saw a bit of how porcelain is found and made. It does not start live as mud or clay, but more something rock-like. And something I would never do is open the oven while red-hot because the temperature shock can make the fired pieces crack. I guess the seeds being so small and made of solid porcelain they can withstand this temperature change.

Anyway if you got 15 minutes to spare it's well worth viewing.

17 October 2010

Happy Stats

Still tired from a long, but great, night out with friends as I write these happy stats:

  • great trip to Ireland, good to see my friends there and catch up
  • starting a collaboration with my friend Shauna and writing guest post for Artminds blog together
  • job hunting and getting a more clear idea on what I want to do beside my crafting
  • short visit to Middelburg, were I spend all my time in this award winning bookshop 
  • buying an baking tin inspired by a 'Zeeuwse Knop', so fun to see how this element from my Dutch heritage is picked up by different people, dusted off and transformed into something new
  • great night out with friends enjoying good food in Bruges
  • Visiting my parents and bringing back a fresh supply of apples and pears, the car smelled gorgeous driving home 

15 October 2010

Sweet Saturday - Banana Bread

Banana Bread

  • 225 gr self-raising flour (or if plain flour add baking powder)
  • salt
  • teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 110 gr sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 75 ml sunflower oil
  • 2 sachets of vanilla sugar (or some vanilla essence)
  • 65 gr of chopped pecan nuts
  • 3 large bananas
Mix flour, salt and cinnamon, add the sugar. Mix in (gently! don't bead) the egg, sunflower oil and vanilla sugar. Smash the banana with a fork and chop the pecan nuts. Fold in them into the mixture. Butter a tin loaf and fill up with the mixture. 

Bake in a preheated oven of 180°C for 50-60 min. If it springs back when you prod it with your finger it's ready.  Once you take it from the oven be patient and leave it another 10 minutes in the tin before taking it out, than let it cool further on a wire rack.


Friday Finds

Not every Friday but some Fridays I will share some remarkable finds with you. 
Today that is TASART, tas is Ducth for bag, so art bags.

I met Yvette Wiers, the woman behind TASART on a fair in Hasselt. She had a booth beside mine and we could talk very little as it was so busy, but her bags facinated me. 

She makes them from old leather motorbike jackets and coats and combines them with 
the strangest of other items: parts from bicycles, telephones, skates, old keys, ......

It's a great way to recycle, I might just dig out my old leather bikers pants to get a custom bag from her ;-)
(yep, in another era I used to be a biker and owned one too, cruising around Ireland :-)

You find all info on the bags, Yvette and her work on www.tasart.nl

14 October 2010

Le Veauthibault 2010 - making paperclay

When I was in France  last month I also made my own paperclay. As it is a bit messy I preferred to make it in France and not in my own tiny atelier. I had some pieces which were not suitable for firing after drying and kept those to make paperclay. Of course you can buy ready made paperclay, but this way you can reuse failed pieces (so long as they have not been fired)  and create something new with them. I do like working with paper clay and paper porcelain as it stronger due to the fibers.

The recipe is easy:
1 empty box for 6 eggs
750 grams of dry clay
0,5 liter of warm to hot water

Tear the box to small pieces and put in a bowl, add the hot water and mix well. 

Grind to dry clay to as fine a powder as possible. 

I just batched it with a rolling pin until it look like this:

Add the powder clay to the paper slush and mix well.
If you want you can add a stain at this point. In this case the clay is antracite clay so not much use to add a colorstain to it, but works well for porcelain and white clays.

Put all unto a slab of plaster (you can make this yourself or buy ready made from some DIY stores), which will suck out the moist. Leave it to dry and turn if need be.
I left mine to dry overnight and there was no need to turn, there will be if you leave it out in the sun.
Once it's dried to a consistency you are happy to work with kneed it and store it air tight.

13 October 2010

Inspirational Ireland

Last week I spend a few days in Ireland. 
I lived there over 10 years ago, just bought a ticket and went. Lucky for me the Celtic tiger had just started roaring it was not hard to find a place to stay and a job; designing kitchens for the rich and famous of Ireland.
I go back at least once a year to catch up with friends and stay in touch.

I spend some time on the coast, enjoying the sun and the view. Later in the week I went with a friend and her kids to the Botanical Gardens. All museums have free access and so do these gardens. I never went there when I lived in Ireland, so it was a good reason to go. The weather was just gorgeous and there was a temporary exhibition of sculptures in all shapes and sizes.

Happy Bronze Friends

Twig Goat
Looking for the fairies under the fairy seat mushroom.

Mixed Media Dove

Iron Deer

Cute Squirl

Amazing Plant Sculpture

Paparazzi, they were al taking pictures using there mobiles....

Organic Sculpture in Felt