Sunday, 29 August 2010

Monday Mood

Next Sunday I'm off to France to be creative for a week with a group of fellow ceramists, silver clay, glass bead, soapstone artists, and even a welder. Got a busy week ahead since I want to make more for the fair which takes place the day after I'm back from France in Lommel, Belgium. (They used a picture of one of my bowls for their  advertising poster which made me really happy.)
But first France and to get in the mood, an all French mood board today.

Whimsical Woman with bird on her head

Head over to Fleurfatale's blog if you want to see more mood boards.

Happy Stats

Last week I skipped the happy stats, was too busy preparing the BBQ for the family (20+ people), but I can now add this event to my happy stats as it was a great succes. Anyway here the stats for the last 2 weeks.
  • Sientje trying to catch rain drops. 
  • Wonderful BBQ with good weather, good food and good company.
  • Sending packages all over the world.
  • Receiving a lovely message from friends whom I send a surprise gift.
  • Successful fair yesterday in Hasselt in many ways: meeting fans, meeting others crafters, a visit from Mitsy from Artmind and nice sales to top it off.
  • Lovely day in Zeeland with hubby, eat lots of seafood and went on a very windy boat trip:

Friday, 27 August 2010

Sweet Saturday

Stewed plums - Plum sauce

  • 4 large plums or approx 250gr
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground star-aniseed
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
Peel and half the plums. Mix in the sugar and the spices and stew for 10-15min in a pot on the hob or in an oven of 180°C. Serve cooled with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or yoghurt ice.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

My Creative Space

Today I'm getting ready for Saturdays fair. I hope tomorrow the weather will be better so me and hubby can enjoy the last day of his holidays together. The preparations involved besides pricing, packaging, something with plums too:

I made ...... (you'll get to know what this Sweet Saturday) as a give away to the persons who come to the Hand-made in Belgium-fair in Hasselt and who buy over 30 euro of my creations for as long as my stock of this plum-recipe lasts.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday is here again with another recipe for plums:

Plum under a Cake

  • about 1 kilo of plums
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 125 gr sugar
  • 125 gr soft butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 gr self-raising flour
Preheat the oven to 180°C

Half the plums and take the peel partly off, put these in a buttered baking tin. I leave a bit of peel on cause it gives such a nice colour. make a syrup by boiling the water, sugar and vanilla sugar down. When you draw a stripe in it and it stays for a bit it is ready. Pour this over the plums.

Mix the soft butter with the sugar, add the eggs and than the flour. Spoon this over the plums. 

Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes until golden brown.


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

My Creative Space

Today I'm doing a bit of everything. Sunday we have the family over for a BBQ, so the house, garden and garage need to look sort of OK. At least it is dry and sunny so I can do some work in the garden, it has gone rather bushy in places. Than there is a lot of the stuff in in the garage that needs to be sorted. I started making boxes for different purposes by labelling them. In my atelier is a fridge which will be handy near the garden, so need to get that looking sort of presentable too and the fridge cleaned and filled. Of course while I'm there I cannot resist fiddling around with some beads I made. Made some pictures of new items while the sun is out. So basicly running from here to there and finishing nothing yet. Well still have 3 days......

Monday, 16 August 2010

Monday Mood

Reading the books of the dragon Temeraire by Noami Novik at the moment; finished book 3 last night. So happy when the postman brought books 4 and 5 this morning.

See more moodboards here.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Happy Stats

This week was the first week of holidays for my hubby. We already had decided not to travel far this year as we did not want to leave the 2 little kittens alone for too long. So we had a lovely week doing some day trips on the Harley and me also preparing for the fair.

  • great day trips on the bike, with no rain luckily
  • preparing for the fair, making lots of new jewellery 
  • finished 7 story bowls too, some for the shops that sell my work, some will appear on etsy
  • visit from my sister with her baby girl
  • meeting fans at the fair, always a bit shy with so much lovely comments

Friday, 13 August 2010

Sweet Saturday

Another recipe with plums:

Pie with plums and hazelnuts
  • puff pastry (I use the ready made ones from the supermarket)
  • 1kg plums (firm)
  • 50 gr melted butter
  • 50 gr sugar
  • 50 gr of ground almonds or a mix of almonds and hazelnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dessert spoon flour
  • dash of amaretto
  • crushed hazelnuts (I used the sugared ones which you can buy to put on ice cream)
Roll the puff paste into a low pie dish and prick with a fork holes in the bottom. Mix the melted butter, egg, sugar, flour and amaretto and poor on to the base. Half the plums and make 2 small slices in the back so the peel will come off in pieces when you eat it later. Arrange the plums, skin side up on the mixture. Sprinkle with a handful of crushed hazelnuts and bake for 20-30 min in a (preheated) oven of 180°C.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Monday Mood

Ik ga op vakantie en ik neem mee:
I'm off on a holiday and I'll take with me:
(Well, I'm not going far or long, but hubby is off from work for 3 weeks, so we'll be in holiday mood)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Happy Stats

Here we go:
  • lovely day in Leuven meeting friends and finding a new (to open) shop to sell my items
  • loevely meal at favorite Indian restaurant in Antwerp: Saffraan
  • making lots of new things in porcelain
  • went to see this circus, loved it!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Sweet Saturday

Used some of the last cherries we had ourselves this year to make:

Cherry Clafoutis
  • 1kg cherries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 125gr sugar
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar
  • 75 gr melted butter
  • 75gr flour
  • 125 ml milk
  • 125 ml cream
  • dash of amaretto

Butter a baking tin or dish. Put the cherries in without their stems all around the bottom of the tin.
Mix the egg, egg yolk and sugar until it's white and foamy, add the melted butter and flour followed by the milk, cream and amaretto. Poor this mixture over the cherries and bake for 30°C in an oven of 180°C.

Remember to warn beforehand that the stones are still in the cherries. 
But they add to the flavor, so worth it ;-)


My Creative Space

Making bowls, brooches, buttons, ....... for upcoming fairs and shops which sell my items, 
while Max is keeping a close eye on things. 

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

1 bag 3 occasions

 chic                                                                      casual                                                                      funky

Do you like this bag? I got it from Karuski, this is a one off, but she has this model in other fabrics too. I asked for an extra brooch in red, so I could adjust the bag to the occasion. Once I had it at home I found that the red puppy brooch I got from Mitsy (Artmind) goes very well with it too. So one bag tree styles for tree occasions and I did not even try a brooch made by myself for my bag yet ;-)

Monday, 2 August 2010

Sunday, 1 August 2010


My brother has an orchard in Zeeland, the Netherlands, with plums, apples and pears. It was my dad's before and it is nice to see that the land stays in the family even though it is tough making a living in agriculture these days. In a few seconds a years work can be destroyed. Spring frost can freeze all of the flowers so you're left will nothing or very little and just have to wait till next year. Hail will damage the fruit so that it is only good for making apple sauce at best or go to waste at worst. Rain will make the plums crack if it falls in big amounts at the wrong time of the riping stage, so you can't sell these anymore.
But when the harvest is good ad the prices are right you can make up for the bad year.  Of course working outdoors in each season is a reward too.

I was just at my brothers when a large batch of plums was collected. The scent in the barn, when full of freshly picked plums, is intoxicatedly good. By the time I thought of the idea for this blog they were gone, but imagine the collection of containers with full crates instead of empty ones. These are ready to be filled the next day. Each container goes on a little wagon and several wagons make up a little train that is pulled through the orchard so there can always be empty crates near the pickers.

The plum pickers use buckets which they wear on their shoulder to collect the plums. They look at the color and they feel the softness to judge if it's ready to pick. The older trees are taller and they use step ladders to get at the higher plums. Also if the weather is warm, as it should be in this season, you're always nicely in the shades of the trees when picking.

Once the bucket is full they are carefully emptied into the crates. The plums have a layer of wax on them, which gives them a lovely satin/silk finish. Some people think it's residue or put on by the fruit grower but it isn't, it's natural. You can eat them like that or just give them a polish if you prefer them looking that way. I think it's a bit like with white and brown eggs, one of those other misconceptions. You hardly see any white ones any more, cause brown ones look more healthy and free range by themselves, but they're just laid by brown chickens. I feel sorry for the white chickens and that their eggs are liked less just because they're white. 

Anyway once the plums are picked they are sorted into big ones, small ones, good ones and bad ones (damaged or too ripe). This is done by emptying a crate onto a rolling platform. One person is emptying crates while two others stand on each side and sort the plums into other crates according to size and goodness. Then the crates with the sorted plums go to the auction to be bought by traders and from where they go to supermarkets and so on. The plum season has just started, but there are different varieties ripe at different times, so you'll find the in the shops for a good few weeks now. 
So go get those lovely fresh plums :-)