Monday, August 31, 2009
I really wanted to get Yashar involved in this project...but most of the project -sewing, drawing on the features etc - doesn't lend itself to 21 month years olds! The solution I came up with was to make the finger puppets two sided - one with clean clothes and the other with painted 'messy' clothes so it looked like they had been busy getting creative and messy with paint.
I cut out some clothes so that Yashar could play textile designer/artist. He loved painting them! You can tell he's about to do something cheeky can't you. Five seconds later he was running down the hall with paint brush in hand to grab some toys to paint!
I had already sewn the finger puppets together before I thought about sewing clothes on them - so, note to self, sewing the clothes on before sewing puppets together will save you having to sew the clothes on by hand! These are the clean and sensible bears, waiting patiently to have their clothes sewn on, and the painterly bears half way through having their clothes sewn on.
I can't wait to see Yashar's face when he sees the finished bears!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Friday Dreaming - my little weekly post sharing beautiful things I find to have, love and make -because you probably know by now that I'm a dreamer. For me, half the fun is imagining what could be. This is a space to share them with you and to help me remember when I can finally make all those wishes and dreams come true!
My little secret dream, which I now declare to the world, is all about 'granny chic'. You see, unbeknownst to myself I have been slowly and quietly slipping in this direction. You might have seen it in my knitting, in my crochet attempts... But now I have truly fallen...all because of the 'granny love' festival over at dottie angel.
You will see over at Tif's blog that it's not the mothballs and old hard lollies in her bag type of granny style she is talking about (although there seems to be quite a bit of crochet involved!). Her style is a beautiful mix of vintage and handmade 'with a twist'. Things to live with and love. Things that speak to the old soul within.
Besides that Tif has a shop on etsy 'dottie angel' with an exquisite selection of handcrafted items including this 'Pesky Squirrel' wall mat above (Oh! You will soon be seeing how much I love squirrels - I'm working on a very squirrelly illustration at this moment!) and by the way her blog is not just eye candy...it's also an excellent read!
Um... I'm dreaming of a tyre swing too.
Thank you so much to Tif for letting me share some 'granny love' this Friday!
All photos are from the Dottie Angel blog.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This usually means rising very early in the morning -about 3.30 am -to have something to eat and drink. Those that have trouble getting up at this time (read 'my dear husband') are helped along by a person that goes around the streets banging a loud drum. Then no eating or drinking between dawn and sunset for 30 days. This year is a little harder than most - the long Summer days are still with us - that is about 16 hours fasting!
When the days are nearing their end people rush home or to their neighbours, family or friends to share Iftar - the breaking of the fast when sun sets. Our local Friday market closed a little earlier than usual and people queued for the special bread pictured (that we know as Turkish Bread - I love it!) that is eaten during Ramadan. A sense of anticipation filled the air.
At Senol's family's house some extra special cooking is done, then set out on the table and everyone gathers around and waits for the call from the local mosque. Then the fast is broken with a glass of water and eating a date. Then some of Senol's mother's cooking (which is extra impressive given that she is not even able to taste test it while she cooks!) and finished off with yummy sweets and tea.
The main point of the fasting is for people to understand how it feels to be poor, to go a long time without something to eat. It's also a special time for gathering with family and friends.
Monday, August 24, 2009
And since Yashar loves these animals (I think I have mentioned before how he feeds them, brushes their teeth and puts them to sleep!) I thought it would be fun to make some wrapping paper with their footprints all over it that we could wrap some presents for his cousins in.
As soon as Yashar started banging the potato prints down excitedly and saying loudly 'tiger! tiger!' I knew it had been a success!
Here's how we did it:
1. While Yashar was busy with other activities my 12 year old niece and I got busy cutting the potatoes to make the stamps. We drew the shape we wanted to print on a halved potato first and then used a knife to cut around the shapes (but if you had other carving tools they would be very useful here!) And don't forget that the image will be reversed.
2. I set out some red paper on a table and put a small amount of paint in a container with a flat bottom for dipping the potato stamp in. I put out white paint first and then half way through I exchanged it for some blue paint. I have started putting paints out separately like this because Yashar tends to get very excited and want to grab all the paints at once so giving him one paint at a time to concentrate is more manageable and fun for everyone! (lesson learned from last week!)
3. Then I brought Yashar to the table and explained, with the help of his little tiger what we were making. We did the first few prints together and then there was no stopping him! He loved it!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I am also definitely a dreamer. For me, half the fun is imagining what could be. I see these ideas and want to make them, and imagine my dream home with special hand made things in it.
So I have decided to start 'Friday Dreaming' a space to record these ideas and finds, to share them with you and to help me remember them when I can finally make all those wishes and dreams come true!
And for this first Friday Dreaming I want to share this gorgeous French Gypsy caravan –La Roulotte - made by Erika (and family) from Mikodesign, (found via Maya*Made). Making something like this is definitely a dream at the moment…we live in a rented apartment without our own garden (there is a sorry little space out the front of the apartments with some trees and a dangerous ledge though). This is definitely something for the dream home we want to make one day.
You can click here for a 'tour', here for her gorgeous blog and here for her equally gorgeous shop on Etsy. In her shop you can find beautiful hand printed textile items - like the very cute elephant t-shirts and babushka kids underwear sets! - and hand printed Frida Kahlo cards and gift bags! She had an amazing Frida Kahlo party for one of her children - so much fun!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
One of the best recently was 'Sacre Cordon Bleu: What the French Know about Cooking'. I have mentioned it a couple of times:
Firstly here - where I was totally hooked as soon as Madame Raffarin shows the author, Micheal Booth, and his wife around the Parisian apartment full of shelves of dusty antique books, vast oil paintings and fading velvet curtains with views of the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower (and then they excitedly spy the boulangerie and chocolatier on the street below).
Then here - when I was jam making and was reminded of Booth's teacher, Chef Forais' (from the chocolate course he does at the Ecole Ritz Escoffier) 'secret' to making delicious jam.
Booth takes you through his experiences (both wonderful and woeful) living in Paris and attending the famous Cordon Bleu cooking school. You find out all about what they actually learn there and then what it is like to work in the kitchen of a Michelin star restaurant owned by one of the most well known chefs in France.
The book is full of little cooking gems, but the best part about the book (I think) is the story telling by Micheal Booth. This was one of very few books that had me laughing out loud. Loved it!
Monday, August 17, 2009
The result a wall covered in paint and one unhappy little boy who wanted to keep spreading that paint all over the place :( But I will persevere! I plan to try again with Yashar this week, when the time is right. Because he sure does love to paint...everything!
So today I wanted to show you some very covetable crafty books from my secret little wish list...I was thinking to hint for some for Christmas, but now I'm thinking I should just get them and then I can make things out of them as Christmas presents...totally justified!
Friday, August 14, 2009
So I commandeered my husband last weekend to help me source some pieces for some jewellery I wanted to make (yay! - more on that soon...ah, as soon as I am able to source a couple more things that is!) We left Yashar at 'Baba-anne's' (Grandma's) and headed to the back streets of Eminönü. The area is situated between the Mısır Çarşısı (known in English as the Egyptian Bazaar or the Spice Bazaar) and the Kapalı Çarşı - The Grand Bazaar. The area is packed full of fabric, haberdashery and jewellery stores selling both retail and wholesale - and most importantly for us that day, there are lots of stores selling beads and other parts for jewellery making.
The streets are a maze, with many unassuming little multi level arcades branching off the streets. And after many hours and asking at many many stores and following countless people's directions we found some beautiful little pieces that I think will suit my illustrations just perfectly. And of course at the end we stopped for mandatory doner kebab as our reward for a successful day.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The pattern is a free download I found via Ravelry by Barbara Prime. You can find it here: Fuzzy Mitten and if you want to see lots photos of other very cute toys to knit check out her Etsy store. I love the Siamese Kittens and those lederhosen!!!
I was all ready to post about this yesterday, but at the last minute decided I wanted to give him a little scarf. The instructions were easy to follow and pretty easy to knit up - although I found those 'make 1' stitches fiddly at first. I soon got them going smoothly though. When I sewed up the body pieces I used mattress stitch - a stitch which is defintely one of the best things I have learned in knitting for a while (apart from knitting continental which is awesome the style everyone knits here and it is so much faster!) Mattress stitch gives you an invisible seam, perfect for this project. I would love to hear your knitting tips too!
When I first embroidered his little face on I wasn't sure if he looked cute or like a strange creature from space...I'm hoping you think cute!
My little stylist at work! >
Saturday, August 8, 2009
"When 17-year-old Meryem is found disheveled and unconscious by the side of a lake in the Turkish countryside, her family believes the worst - that her chastity has been lost. They turn to the ancient principle of “tore,” a strict moral code that condemns Meryem to death. When she refuses to take her own life, the duty of upholding the family's honor falls upon a distant cousin, Cemal, who has just completed a brutal tour in the military. Cemal reluctantly agrees to take Meryem away – and kill her."
I jumped at the chance to watch the film, although with some trepidation. Was this going to be a film to taint my love of Turkey, to show me a side that I would prefer not to know about? But when I watched it I was mesmerised. This is my little collection of thoughts about the film.
There is a quiet stillness to this film and a strength of story telling that really got to me. A certain atmosphere that I think is one of the strengths of independent cinema. I recognised a similar feeling from when I watched Romulus My Father, a beautiful and tragic Australian film.
One of the things that strikes me about Turkey, especially when I'm asked questions that require a little generalising to answer, is that it is a place of stark contrast. Bliss brought this notion of mine to life. It shows the dry country-side of Meyrem's village, and the lush green inlets and clear waters of the Marmara Sea. It shows the natural beauty of Turkey, contrasted with the buzz of Istanbul. And it shows the heart-braking and abhorrent customs of some people, contrasted with the modern Turks who see no place in Turkey for these sort of customs.
There were many parts of the movie where I thought - Yes! this is the Turkey I know, even down to the clothes people wore, and the doorways of houses in Istanbul, - and many parts that showed a Turkey I had no experience of.
If you have a chance to watch this film I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have an interest in Turkey or Turkish culture, but also just if you like to watch a film that makes you replay the scenes in your mind for days afterwards, a film that speaks to your mind and your heart.
It was released yesterday in New York and you can watch it online through Gigantic Digital (which, by the way, I can see I am about to become addicted to - you can watch new Indie films online here for a great price and there is also lots of free content).
Let me know if you watch it - I would love to hear your thoughts about it.
**One little note to help with understanding the film if you do watch it. In Turkey you use the term 'Abi' when talking to a male who is older than you. For example, my husband's younger sisters call him 'Abi'. But you would definitely not refer to your husband as 'Abi'. When you see the film you will understand why I'm mentioning this!**
Friday, August 7, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Pine nuts! Collected from under their tree. They were delicious and they kept Yashar entertained for quite a while...he was actually pretty good at smashing them open with a stone!
And that reminded me of these photos...from the first 'harvest' we had from our mini herb garden in a fruit crate, that I have been meaning to post for ages!
I love gnocchi with sage butter sauce! All I do is prepare the gnocchi and then fry the sage leaves in some butter until they are crispy. Then I pour a little over the gnocchi and sprinkle it with cracked pepper and sea salt.
I usually do a very small serve as an entree (not that I usually serve entrees!) because too much of this good thing is really too much! And I make sure we are having a fairly light dinner afterwards - those gnocchi are filling!
This dish is basically the whole reason I grow sage. But you know, I'm thinking I should branch out a little ;) Do you know any yummy recipes that use sage? I would love to try them!