Saturday, April 9, 2016

SPRING FLOWERS

COLORING YOUR WEEKEND


spring flowers photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

How are you? I have been away from here for a one month. I have had a bit challenging winter and spring so all the energy levels have been a bit low. But luckily now we are living very wishful time of the year. Everything is starting to grow, small little green signs everywhere. Birds are singing beautifully - expecially in the morning. The light is finally back with us. Oh, I've missed it. You have more time to make things in the evenings.

spring flowers photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
One thing is for sure - garden is waiting for its gardener :) This weekend I'm going to soak my anemone bulps and put them into soil and wish fingers crossed that they grow and we can enjoy beauty of them. Have you ever grown anemones? I've understood that they aren't so easy to grow and they don't survive through winter expecially here in the north where I live. You have to bring them in after summer.

spring flowers photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
Like garden our home needs to be taken care of. When the first sunny days come in spring you see how dusty and dirty windows you have. The light reveals so many things at your home that something have to be done. So this weekend we must clean the house. I don't like so much cleaning so I need extra boost to begin it. Good music is the answer, I think. A good thing is that after you have made all the things you have to, you can enjoy of clean home and sun. Maybe even have a good cup of coffee in the chilly garden (not to be bothered about that) and listen to beautiful bird song.

Have a beautiful weekend my friend!

xoxo
Kreetta

Sunday, March 13, 2016

NATURAL DYE EASTER EGGS WITH RED CABBAGE

EASY EASTER DIY - BLUE EGGS

Natural dye Easter egg photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

How are you? I hope you have had a very pleasent weekend and energy for coming week.  

I've spent my day making things I haven't had time or things I've been too lazy to do before...I read a book. Made finally a bird house from recycled wood. It's very bohemian looking, I have to say ;) Played with red cabbage and eggs because during this weekend I found a very beautiful pic of blue colored eggs in Instagram @minorgoods. They had made many shades of blue but me - usually I go with the flow and want to have things ready - so mine are just same blue. Although I left two of these eggs still in colored water. I will see how they look tomorrow. 

But this is the blue you get when you natural dye your white eggs with red cabbage. Isn't it amazing?


HOW TO 

You need white eggs, red cabbage, water, salt and white wine vinegar. 

First cook the eggs. I made 4 eggs 

Then I make the color water. I used 1 litre pot and used a bit less water and filled the pot with red cabbage, 1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar and one tsp salt. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes and after that let it be for awhile like 10 minutes.

Meanwhile decorate your eggs. I used candle wax to make the pattern. I used those small birthday cake candles, they are great to draw. I also used lace. I wrapped it around the egg and sew it enough tight that the water can't get under it and one without masking.

I put the eggs in colored water (it looked strong purple) for few hours and look - they are all blue. 
Take them away when you are happy with the color. Deeper color needs more time. 

That's about it. You can eat the eggs even though the color is maybe reached the inside. All is natural. 

What do you think? Are you making these for your Easter dinner table?

xoxo
Kreetta

Sunday, March 6, 2016

HOW TO MAKE A BEAUTIFUL FLORAL PARTY DECORATION

FLOWERS IN THE JAR

How to make a beautiful flower arrangement? photo by Kreetta Järvenpää
Phew, this week has been so busy with 4 photoshooting days. We used flowers with all those  cookies, desserts, chocolate. I decided to make a blog post about one flower decoration we used. Actually this idea was born a bit before Christmas with my sister Kristiina at their beautiful Ryti-talo. There were Christmas handmade market and I needed decoration for my table and then she brought a very big class jar. I had been making flower frogs during the autumn and we got an idea to use them in the glass jar and I really have to say that way you can make magic with flowers and glass jar. 

How to make a beautiful flower arrangement? photo by Kreetta Järvenpää

It's very simple. You need a big glass jar. Mine were at least 20cm high but still I think that was too small. The other one - you can see above - is 30cm high. That was ok but I love to use bigger one! It's a lot of easier to put your arrangement in the jar if you have a bigger one or very small hands. I bet we all have a lot of glass jars and I'm quite sure that some might be quite big like those very old ones you've got from your mom, grandma, bought from antique shop or flea market. 

How to make a beautiful flower arrangement? photo by Kreetta Järvenpää
You need a flower frog. There are many kind of flower frogs but for example I have made mine from ceramics. You don't have to make, you can buy one. I have some vintage flower frogs too but this time I used my own design. You can find frogs from Etsy, vintage shops, flower shop or you can also use metal ikebana flower frog if you don't mind the look. Then you need flowers and water of course. My flower frog is open underneath so the flowers get the water.

How to make a beautiful flower arrangement? photo by Kreetta Järvenpää

This flower frog is my raku ceramics. The holes are too big for one thin waxflower  (it's one of my favorites!) but you can put several different kind of flowers in one hole. If you like my design, please don't hesitate to ask me if you want have a unique handmade ceramic frog. Usually I make normal ceramic - not raku. But this one I made last autumn in raku course. 

How to make a beautiful flower arrangement? photo by Kreetta Järvenpää
It's all about imagination. You might have plenty of ideas but you can also go through Pinterest and look for arrangements that inspires you or you can go and see beautiful floral feeds in Instagram like The_Greengallery, Joflowers, Hattieflower, Stilzitat, Flowerona, li.sense.a and many more. I had a lot of pink ranunculus so my arrangements are very romantic and a bit slavic this time.

How to make a beautiful flower arrangement? photo by Kreetta Järvenpää

When you get your arrangement ready you can put it carefully into the jar. But remember to put enough water. Or if you want them as wilted and enjoy of dried flowers  - forget the water.

How to make a beautiful flower arrangement? photo by Kreetta Järvenpää
These flowers are a promise of a spring. Hooray! Light you are so welcome! If you make a flower arrangement in the jar, love to see it! You will find me in Instagram @kreettakreetta just tag me and I'll come to see  your flower jar :)

Have a lovely Sunday!

xo
Kreetta 

ps. Happy Interior blog by Igor Josif made wonderful post about my ceramic flower frogs. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

HOW TO EDIT A PERFECT PHOTO STORY?

STORYTELLING NEEDS EDITING


What is the story you are telling?

How to edit? Blinis photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
I will write quite loosely my thoughts of editing. I hope you find some good tips to make your editing process more focused and easier. I wanted to tell a story about our late lunch - blinis. It happened in our home on a beautiful sunny winter day. I also styled it to look like a slavic table. Not so seriously though. Blinis have Russian roots. 

How to edit? Blinis photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

Things to consider when you start to build your story. You should already think these things when you are shooting and of course during you are editing photos. Remember also when you are shooting the story to get different kind of pics for sure.

Show scene and build narrative - how you draw the viewer to follow your story? 
Point of view - where are you? 
Purpose - what are you trying to tell?
Lightning -use it for benefit for your point of view - soft light, hard light, dabbled light etc.
Find mood, create atmosphere - develope emotion - that is what the story is about  
Introduce people in story
Follow movement
Show ideas
Find contrast
Find details

Sounds logical?

How to edit? Blinis photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
On editing you should know how many pages you have in magazine or how many pics you want to use in your single blog post or in your IG feed? These days we have digital cameras and it is easy to shoot a lot. Editing is more difficult because you have so many pics to go through. But like the cliches "Kill your darlings" and Less is more" editing is all about making decisions. You have to make decisions which photos tell the story, which ones are the strongest ones. If you think about a magazine layout you can notice there are big and small photos in the same story. Which photos are the main pics - pics you want to show and best for your story. Which ones support the main photos well. There are different combinations for sure how to tell your story and I don't want to say there is right or wrong, just want to give you some tools and tips how to get rid of the too many alike pics in your story.

How to edit? Blinis photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com


Some tips:

Pics have to have enough difference from each other:
new angle, different depth of field, direction, close up or the whole subject. There are so many different ways to make a pic. Every story need to build from small pieces.

Pic have to have new or different information from the subject. Go close - step back. Go up, go down. Try to find the best angle for your subject. Thinking out of the box helps here.

Which order you show them? In blog you have to start with very good photo because people is so short tempered in internet. It's obvious that a very good pic draws attention where ever you tell your story.

Surprise the reader, begin with not the obvious pic. Doesn't work always.

There are strong main pics and supporting pics. If you can't think what new or different the pic brings to your story - it might not be the one to use. Even though you have made a huge job for cooking, baking, shooting and styling the photos, you should not show too many alike pics in your final story.

I have few choises from one angle from same subject. I have to pic one of them. I don't want to show all of them only because I can't choose which one is the best one. Luckily - more you edit better you come. I hope you aren't thinking that editing is too difficult for you. No it's not. But if the pics are too alike you should show only one of them. Of course it depends on your story. If  you are telling a story like mine today - choises to make is easier than for example if it would be a food and travel story.

How to edit? Blinis photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

Ok, are you still with me? 

If I haven't already said it enough clearly, I say it again. You have to make decisions - can't avoid that. But it is good to take editing as learning by doing. Nothing bad happens if you feel afterwards that you should have chosen differently. You learn everytime. Make a new story.

How to edit? Blinis photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
You can also ask from your friend or collegue their opinion while you are editing. I bet they see things a bit differently but this is not a matter of who is right - you always have to listen your inner voice but it is good choise to let somebody else go through the pics - of course knowing your story. Like I had first 78 pics I went quite easily to 20 pics and then I edited pics still 10 and finally I chose to tell my story with 7 pics. A good thing to remember is that you can also take a break in editing. Continue after few hours or next day. I usually don't like to make a final editing straight after photoshooting. I make the first selection but I like to leave the final editing for the next day. But sometimes you just have to make them during same day. That's why it is good to learn how to do it more efficiently.

How to edit? Blinis photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com


I´m sure I forgot something so please ask if you feel you want to hear my opinion.

Finally here are recipes of blinis and muschroom salad. This time we did not have dairy free so we used lactose free soured cream. But you want to be dairy free you can use for example Oatly's oat creme fraiche. 

Other ingredients with blinis are of course chopped red onion, chopped russian salt cucumber and fish roe.

GLUTEN FREE BLINIS about 25 blinis / by my husband and he doesn't follow so much other people's recipes. He cooks food quite freely.

3 dl water
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 dl teff flour (very healthy choise and gluten free)
1/2 dl rice flour
1 dl oat flour

Combine ingredients let it rest at least 3 hours.

Add:

1 tsp salt
1 dl mineral water  Mix it to the dough.
2 eggs. Separate white and yolk. Mix yolks to the dough.  Whip egg whites to firm. Fold gently into dough.

Fry blinis with canola oil until they get a bit color from both sides.  


We also made mushroom salad with blinis.

MUSHROOM SALAD

1 1/2 dl smetana
dried mushrooms/salted mushrooms to taste
1/4 onion chopped
1 tsbt olive oil
1 tsp white vinegar
salt to taste
white pepper to taste (we didn't use pepper)

Mix all together and let it rest for awhile at least the time you fry blinis.

Bon appetit! 

I hope you get inspired to make blinis, they are so very tasty.

Phew, long blog post full of information. I hope these thoughts helps you on the way to perfect photo story. Well, I guess perfect is a bit strong word but it is always good to have a goal that makes you work even harder. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that one of those pics is iPhone pic. Which one?

I've blogged couple of times photography tips so you can find them here: 


Have a beautiful Sunday and creative week!

xoxo
Kreetta

ps. this is the contact sheet of 20 pics I started to edit to final 7.

how to edit? blinis photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengetchen.com

Saturday, February 27, 2016

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY WITH A SMART PHONE/CAMERA - EDITING

HOW TO EDIT A PERFECT PHOTO STORY?

This time I keep my blog post quite short and clear. I show you here a contact sheet of today´s late lunch. Blinis with slavic styling. Not perfect because all my this kind of props are at my workspace. Some I have here. I photographed with dsrl camera but the last 3 pics are photographed with iPhone.

blini photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

I already have been editing some pics away but I still have these 20 photos left. But I can't make a blog post of 20 pics. Too long story and too much same kind of pics, don't you think. I think I'm going down at least to 9 pics maybe tomorrow when I continue with this I will make it even less. 

Edit your story as good as it can get - that is what I like to tell you this time. Some tips about how to edit your photo stories shorter. I will do it tomorrow. I think we have a tiny blind spot when we are talking about choosing only few good ones that tells the story even better than 10 pics. Kill your darlings. Not easy but worth to try. But I will get back to this tomorrow. 

Just go through my contact sheet of blinis and think what kind of edition you would make? I'm trying to tell about beautiful winter day meal - slavic blinis. I will include a gluten free recipe too. So this is a food story.

I've been posting other photography tip posts before. You can find them following links below.


See you tomorrow!

xo
Kreetta

Sunday, February 14, 2016

CREATIVE INSPIRATION

FLOWERS + LINKS


Instead of pink hearts and cheesy quotes I like to share some creative links with you today. Everybody needs inspiration and chance to see things differently time to time. I went back in time and tried to remember the early inspiration sources I got when I started my blog, painting and making ceramics and DIY. We go back maybe even time before Pinterest.


I remember how happy I was when I found a very interesting site called Book By Its Cover.  It is a site devoted to showcasing creative publications run by talented Julia Rothman. I fell in love with the sketchbooks by Alison Worman. There are a lot of creative energy and talent. Worth to see.

Second place where I like you to visit is Trendtablet by Lidewij Edelkoort. It's a place with so many interesting stories and things to see. This time I chose a wonderful project called grafted for you to see. It's a combination of ceramics and plants. 

Workshops. How much we get positive energy and inspiration from other people? I've been in several food photography workshops and I have to say they have had a big influence on me. I found the very first one I attended from Ace Camps. Different kind of people with different backrounds but with one common thing - love for food photography. It was a beautiful experience and I got plenty of inspiration and met a lot of lovely people. At the moment it is quite easy to find a workshop compared few years ago. They are very trendy at the moment and so many are making them. So choose carefully!



I have so many creative idols that it feels a bit difficult to name only one but her name is Hagar Vardimon. She makes beautiful and thoughful collages. Go and see her wonderful work under the creative name Happy Red Fish Art.

Finally we get to the last link and that is Fine Little Day's blog post about whittle. I don't remember when I found this blog but it has very nice nordic feeling with great topics and this time she is writing about something that is (i think) coming strongly next trend. Whittle. We already have followed creative people like woodworker Ariele Alasko who makes beautiful things from the wood. But as a DIY person I have already made plans to buy a very good carving knife to make a hand-carved wooden spoon. But in a meanwhile I borrow the carving knife from my husband :)

What is your favorite creative link?

xoxo
Kreetta

Saturday, January 30, 2016

BIRTHDAY FLOWERS

A NEW BEGINNING

It all starts with one like my favorite singer Ane Brun sings. My very first blog post was on 29th of Jan in 2012. 2016 gretchen gretchen blog is 4 years old. Small joyful girl, I think. 

Ever since 2012 I've been changing things here in gretchen gretchen blog. But it has always been about creativity and inspiration. First I blogged in Finnish and English, then I decided to continue only with English. 


This is the third design I have on my blog and I have made all of them by myself. The second one was born after making a mood board. You can find a video I made of the mood board here. I have had many different kind of topics like DIY, food, photography, style, vintage, ceramics, art and concept, slow living, video, food photography workshops and personal posts. Which one you are interested? Just click the word you like and you'll find my favorite blog post of that topic.

I had a bit different kind of birthday blog post in my mind after Christmas but everything changed in my life on 30th of December. My dear mom got sudden attack. She died on 4th of Jan. So even though I try to be positive about blog's birthday you might understand why I choose to photograph only flowers and keep this blog post short. Flowers, gardening and indoor plants were my mom's favorite hobby or lifestyle I could say. 2012 I made a blog post about visiting her and I told you about her orange tree. Grown from a orange seed bought from grocery store in 1965. So it's now 50 years old. It has followed my mom always till now. Once I asked my mom why my flowers and plants doesn't look as good as hers? Ok maybe the question of watering but she did tell me that she talks to the plants, touch them and of course take good care of them.  

Literally this is a new beginning for me. Time heals they say. I have promised myself that I will cherish her memory in every way. She started oil painting only few years ago and I saw her skills growing quite fast. I got so much good from her I just hope I can use it well. I will end this blog post to one of my mom's favorite song Petit fleur by Sidney Bechet you can find it here. 


Life is simple. You only need love and care. That's about it.

xoxo
Kreetta
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