Monday, October 29, 2012

Getting Ready for Htmlles 2012

 I spent a blissful afternoon figuring out one of my costumes for my show coming up in Montreal on November 16. Sequins, satin, tulle, glitter and a blue wig make for a happy mermaid. I think she's going to be a hipster-billy mermaid. Stay tuned. I hope to use this for my Halloween costume as well.

 I have been having so much fun scouring the shops for Halloween glamour and silliness.

 There must always be a tiara.

 I love this little purple skirt I found at a thrift shop and I found the sequined scarf at the HOB thrift shop on Dunbar.

Stay tuned for some photos of the mermaid soon. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Beta 5 Chocolates!

 The innovative company Beta 5 Chocolates just celebrated their first birthday. I braved the rain and headed to their store/laboratoire to sample the goodness.

Their chocolates have been winning international awards.

 If you become a member of their "Union Club" you get a unique selection of new goodies on a monthly basis.

 The packaging design is beautifully done.

Pumpkin Pie Caramels. Wow.

Now the company is baking some fabulous treats. We tried their twice baked croissants with poppyseed almond filling topped with candied yuzu. They are so amazing.

Now this blew my socks off: desserts in a jar with a little bag of crunchy bits to pour on top at the last minute. I heart crunchy bits in my creamy desserts so I tried their version of the red velvet cake made with a beet cake, goat cheese cheescake, honey poached pear, cocoa nib streusal and beet meringues. It is one of the best desserts I've ever had.

Baked or laminated? Very droll.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Sushi

 We had a lovely traditional Turkey Dinner last Sunday, but on Thanksgiving Monday we decided to have a sushi-making party.

 My sister-in-law brought lots of veg that had already been prepped: carrots, cukes, peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, salad cress and pea shoots. It was lovely to use the leftovers of these vegetables all week long in our lunches. I think I'm going to try to keep prepped veg in my fridge as it helps with healthy eating.

 Peter steamed some tofu and he also seared the tuna that N bought at the Kits Farmer's Market. We also cut up some avocado.

Luckily it was warm enough to have tea in the back yard. I picked some fennel seeds to dry in the porch before the rains came.

And yes, the rains have come, so the sunny days are good memories to hold on to as we shiver under our umbrellas.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ladies who Lunch on Lentils

 We've been having such lovely weather, I wanted to celebrate a sunny afternoon by inviting my friend Catherine over for a comfort food lunch. I know she shares my love of brussel sprouts so I steamed some up, coated them in Little Creek Dressing and then roasted them. My favorite bits were the leaves that had fallen off and browned and caramelized thinking there might be something in attempting to make tiny brussel sprout chips. Hmmmmm.

 I had some spaeztle I made in the fridge so I fried it in olive oil and butter.

 I also had some leftover lentil stew, which is always better the second day. I used organic green lentils I bought in Saskatchewan at the Witzaney Farm. First, I soaked them overnight, then washed them, covered them in home made stock and simmered them. Finally, I added a smoked turkey leg and stewed the lentils on low heat until they were cooked. (Make sure you have extra stock on hand to add if your need to during the cooking process.)

 I picked the last carrots and beets from the garden and we drank mineral water with our comfort food lunch.

We finished with Assam tea and chai shortbread, then took a tour of the garden. I am getting the raised bed ready to plant garlic.

As I write this, the sun is streaming in the studio window, so I need to get out there and enjoy it and do some comfort food foraging. Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

All the Little Green Dresses

 I'm really glad I went out to the see Nicole Dextras' Little Green Dress Projekt at VanDusen Gardens. The gardens was warm and sunny and busy with visitors interacting with the environmental art.

 The details on the dresses are stunning, with the fall colors of the berries and drying stems and leaves.

I really loved all the detailing around the collars.

 Here you can see a detail of the thorns that held some materials together.

 This is my favorite color combination, the intense rust of the leaves against the silvery spruce.

 This is what remains of the dress Nicole made for me. It's very much disintegrated. Even the tag was eroding away, truly ephemeral.

Beautiful work! I've just read on Nicole's Blog that you have until the end of October to go see the work, which I highly recommend.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Flamingo Seeds????

Speaking of seed sculptures, check out this fabulous project by artist Andi Sutton:

Pink Flamingos with a message!

"The lawn ornaments will be free-standing, pink-flamingo-shaped, surreptitious, seed-sowing structures. They are made from biodegradable material that, through time and the weathering process of the spring and summer seasons, will drop seeds of at-risk wildflowers,grasses, and perennials whose habitat and survival rates are shrinking due to climate change.  The seeds being dispersed will be from local plants as well as those from southern states that are endangered due to the predicted temperature increases, moving them north to cooler climates. This work applies a new kind of preservation technique that can be used to protect native species and preserve biodiversity: “Flagration” – a combination of the concepts and practices of flagrance and migration. "


September Seed Sculptures

September is a great time to make art with seeds, pods, and dried petals. The secret to these seedy sculptures is that you can dry them (3-4 days) and then put them in a special place in your garden (or in a pot on your balcony). Over the winter the seeds will get a blast of cold which will help them germinate. Cornflowers, poppies, viola and calendula can be planted at this time of the year. The rain and snow will break down the clay and in the spring the seeds will germinate, grow and the flowers will bloom for our bees. For a list of other seeds you can plant at this time of the year, try to get a hold of the new West Coast Seeds winter gardening guide. They have some online winter gardening resources as well.

We had such creative kids working at the ArtStarts gallery, with all kinds of miniature gardens and islands which were like little worlds in themselves.

 You could even put this little heart in a cellophane bag and give it as a gift.

Here's a sample of some of the supplies I collected over the last three months. Yes, you can also see the containers of the goat's brie we've consumed over the past seven years. I love the little round boxes because they are perfect for storing little organic materials.

It's  a chive blossom forest!

 This one is a little fairy land.

The long chains of seed pods are from the crocosmias, which the hummingbirds love. Kids and adults go crazy for the nigella pods and the silvery seeds of the money plant (Lunaria).

 I love this little seed bowl!

Here you can see three kinds of poppy pods, crocosmia seeds, nigella, lunaria, hops, and columbine pods. Where do the materials come from? They are harvested from my garden, my mom's garden and gifts from the gardens of my friends.

A big thanks to all the volunteers, staff and the families who participated. This workshop is part of an ongoing series that happens the last Saturday of the month at the Artstarts Gallery. Check it out!