Thursday, May 21, 2015

MAGNOLIA + CERAMICS

"IMPERFECT THURSDAY" THOUGHTS OF THE MAKER

magnolia+ceramics photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

Nothing is perfect. I think. And if things were perfect, nothing interesting would happen.

magnolia+ceramics photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com


As a creative it is awful to admit that without special reason some days are just more difficult than others. You know...that...block. And how to overcome it? 

magnolia+ceramics photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
This morning was rainy and very gray. I didn't have any feeling of great creativeness or super ideas. I also had a quite unpleasent headache. But I had promised to go and get magnolia branches from my neighbour. So I did because they already had started to wilt. Nature doesn't ask you if you are feeling creative or are you tired or sick? The life goes on and you really have to be there when it does.

magnolia+ceramics photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
When I saw magnolia branches in the rain, I suddenly felt happy. They looked so beautiful. No matter if they showed little signs of wilting - still they were gorgeous.

magnolia+ceramics photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

I took them to my workspace and started to photograph them. I felt that they would make a nice combo with ceramics I've made this spring. My ceramics are a bit like wilted flowers. They aren't perfect because I think that is how I want them to be. A bit asymmetric, incomplete, twisted - imperfect. I guess they are a bit like me.

magnolia+ceramics photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

What's left? Even more imperfect flowers. Quite nice pics. A story. Thank you Pi!

xoxo
Kreetta

ps. That big white vase is vintage. I haven't made it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

SPRING SPIRIT

BEGINNING

still life photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
Fresh green.Who can resist it? I am so in love with this spring color. I had to cut a branch from our plum tree and make a photo of it because those cute and delicate flowers doesn''t last long. Today I'm going back to forest and continue the project that I started on this week's Thursday. I found so charming creatures from the forest that I have to photograph them again and this time with real camera. I took iPhone photo of them and you'll find it in my Instagram feed. I think pic of these creatures would be very nice on the wall. What do you think?

still life photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
Yesterday I was testing also new paints. I painted a cut board. Beautiful paint and what a matt texture! I have a feeling that I will use these painting colors in our workspace kitchen.

Have a happy Sunday!

xo,
Kreetta

Thursday, May 14, 2015

MOSAIC TABLE DIY

MAKE A FACELIFT TO AN OLD GARDEN TABLE

mosaic table DIY photo by Kreetta Järvenpää by iPhone www.gretchengretchen.com
This is a good way to reuse your old garden table or redesign other surface. Last year we promised to our neighbour that we will make a facelift to their old garden table. (It only took one year!) I like the idea of using things what you already have and if you can give a new life to old and used - it's even better. Story continues.

First of all you need the mosaic material that can be old random tiles. Maybe there are some tiles left from your kitchen or toilet renovation. Maybe you have found couple nice ones in flea market or recycling center. Remember that you get a better result and easier project if the tiles are same thickness. You can also use broken china. But they are often a bit convex so you have to play with that issue too but it's not impossible. It just takes a bit more time. I have made a flower pot and vase decoration with broken old china and ceramic plates. But now we make a beautiful mosaic table. Remember it doesn't have to be perfect. It's ok to have a bit handmade look because that's what it is.

Here's a list what you need

1. tiles/broken china
2. hammer
3. old newspaper/cloth
4. glue that works indoor/outdoor
5. glowes
6. grout indoor/outdoor
7. tools to mix the grout, spread the grout, wipe the excess grout, clean the tiles from grout

How to do it?

First it is good to plan a bit what kind of design you want to make. Maybe draw some sketches. When you break the tiles you get different kind of shapes so keep that in mind when designing your table top. If you want to make very precise patterns - it will be a challenge with this technique. But of course you can do it!

mosaic table DIY photo by Kreetta Järvenpää by iPhone www.gretchengretchen.com 1. Clean the surface.

2. Break tiles/plates etc. with hammer under the paper or cloth that you don't get any small pieces in your eyes. I enjoyed a lot of breaking the tiles. It's crazy, I know haha!

3. Start to make your design on the table. I took iPhone pics to make more clearer what kind of design I'm getting because somehow it is much easier to see how it really looks in the pic.

4. Glue the pieces on the surface. Let it dry for 24 hours or less depends on your glue. It's worth to find out what kind of glue you need if you use your table outside.  

5. Mix your grout. Read the instruction on the package how to do it. Usually it's mixed with clean water. I think a good thickness was then when the grout was like thick nut spread. Spread the grout on the tiles. Fill the gabs and edges. Remember the grout dries quite fast so maybe it's easier to start with smaller areas until the whole table top is done. Clean the excess of grout. Let it dry. Remember to clean the tile pieces before the grout is too dry. It's much easier to clean after few hours than next day. 

I had so big gabs between the tiles so I needed quite a lot of grout. I used about 1,5 kg.When choosing the grout's color remember that it is part of the design. You can make a big difference with it. 
 


Done.  

Ready to drink your coffee in the garden? I am. I photographed these photos by iPhone. Amazing what you can do with it.  
xo
Kreetta

ps. This project waited us for over one year so take your time...planning can take few months ;) but of course it is easier to make this kind of project outside. You can easily make one during the weekend. If you have any questions about this - just ask! There are also a lot of How to do mosaic in Pinterest if you need to see step by step version.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

SPRING SOUP

ASPARAGUS+FENNEL+NETTLE

Asparagus+fennel+nettle soup photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
If you have seen my Instagram feed, you know that I've chosen to be a cook for a whole weekend. My husband had a birthday on Friday so one part of his present is to let him just enjoy of eating - not making it. He likes to cook a lot but you know who wouldn't like to just sit at the readymade table?

I found great inspiration from Green Kitchen Stories blog. You can find the original recipe there.  Actually I saw their delicious pic in IG. Surprise! It really looked very tempting. 

So I made it. But I made some changes to the recipe. I changed spinach to nettle, because you can find it almost right next to our door this time of the year (yay!...and it's free ;) and it is also very healthy. Second change was replacing lemon with buckthorn juice. I can't eat citrus fruits so I used very scandinavian choise that is quite similar or at least a bit close ;) and garnishing with goutweed. That you can also find from garden (too) easily.

What can I say. It tasted heavenly. Very good and the toppings! I haven't thought it well before that you really can do amazing things with toppings. You don't have to eat so much bread (expecially if it have to be gluten free) you can eat some really nice things with your soup like here: lentils, asparagus, parsley, green chili, pumkin seeds and cashew cream. So this recipe is also totally vegan too.

One big nod to David and Luise for this beautiful and tasteful recipe. I had to write it down to my vintage (straight from the seventies - it has only plastic artifical food things in it's cover) recipe book and that is a book where we only write the best ones.

Have a tasty Sunday!

xo
Kreetta

ps. I took this photo with my husband's camera because I was too lazy to take my camera home and yesterday when I made the soup I just had to photograph it. He has smaller and older Canon and the lens was Voightländer 90mm and with cropped sensor it's really tele...and only manual focusing...it's always a bit uncomfortable when you don't have your own gear and well, you have to work a bit more with making one pic, I say.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

COOL DIY - MARBLING

PAPER AND RIBBON WITH NAIL POLISH

If you have old nail polishes hanging around in your beauty box or in a fridge like I have - now you can get rid of them :) Many years ago someone told me that it is good to keep your nail polishes in fridge. They last longer. So I did. I think oldest nail polishes I have are from the beginning of the 2000's. 

DIY marbling photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

This is fun. Marbling. You need:

water 
plastic or glass pin (at least size of your paper) 
nail polish (few colors)
paper ( I used aquarelle) 
cotton ribbon
some kind of stick (like those you get from chinese takeaway)
plastic gloves 
nail polish remover (for cleaning up) 
GOOD VENTILATION - expecially the older nail polishes smells strongly

...and then you should cover the table with newspapers or something else because there will be a bit of mess and nail polish isn't water soluble.

DIY marbling photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
How to do it?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

PANCAKES PANCAKES

ONE BANANA, EGG AND BAKING POWDER

banana pancake photo by Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com


What do you think? Easy is hard to resist. Only three ingredients and you have a tasty dessert there. Or even lunch like I had. I think the most important is what you eat with them. I candied almond and walnut in indian sugar and canola oil. But surely it is worth to test coconut oil - it might be even better. Then I had fresh mango. Yummy. Almost healthy?

I do have made these before but this time I saw some nice pics in IG and decided to have a very easy lunch. It's a bit challenging to fry them because banana pancakes burn quite easily. So remember not to hurry too much :)


Banana pancakes for one - gluten and dairy free

1 banana 
1 egg (maybe 1,5 - frying is easier when there is more egg)
less than 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
oil (what ever you choose) for frying

with almond+walnut+fresh mango

You can fry nuts in sugar+oil mix and add a bit water after few minutes so you get a bit nice sauce too.

I say delicious!


xo
Kreetta

Sunday, April 12, 2015

TRENDING FOODIE

LIVING IN A HOT SPOT

foodie in the garden photo:Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
It feels hot in my fingertips. But I just can't wait. I want to eat it now! Street food for hungry foodie. Going to celebrate friend's birthday. It have to be something special. We choose restaurant. Middle East Cuisine is trending. Special food for special people. I have to avoid certain ingredients. They make me sick. I want to eat healthy way. Different kind of diets makes the cuisine's of the world going upside down. Vegan is not the curse word anymore? Random thoughts of food.

grilled  photo:Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com

Food is everywhere. It is overheated phenomenon. 

grilled  photo:Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
Yesterday I saw 2 great television programs in channel Teema. Both of them was about food. The first one was a document of jetset foodies who travel the world to go best restaurants. They want to taste the best food in the whole world. No matter how much it costs. It was called Foodies - The Culinary Jetset. It was made in Sweden 2014. After that channel Teema showed a film Babettes gæstebud. In Finnish it is Ranskalainen illallinen and in English Babette's feast. Babette's Feast was the first Danish cinema film of a Karen Blixen story. It was also the first Danish film to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. I think it was charming film. A bit like a fairy tale. 

grilled  photo:Kreetta Järvenpää www.gretchengretchen.com
These two films together were thought provoking. I've been planning to make a project about the food and now I really have to begin. Originally I had a plan to start it in January 2015 but I've been too busy to begin...or lazy, haha.

These pics are from the last summer. We usually grill a lot during summer and we eat it in our garden. Yesterday we made our first grilling this year but it wasn't enough warm to feast in the garden. Yet.

As I wrote before...these were random thoughts of food.

Have a great Sunday!

xo
Kreetta
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