Monday, December 31, 2007

Just when you thought...

that I gave up knitting - here it is - a new piece of knitting on my needles! *^v^*

Well, it's already off my needles (a very quick knit, only about 4 hours!), but I still need to knit a thumb and of course, a matching companion.
It's a DROPS pattern, made from the various yarns from my stash (I don't think you can see this but there is black and dark khaki there), and I think I'll make more of them (not necessarily the same pattern), because they are good stash busters and look cute! I want to often change my wristwarmers this Winter! *^v^*

BTW, Krissie, my cat's name is Barbi and she's a girl. ^^

Now, some more pages from my Yuletime Journal.

Tomorrow will be a brand new year - which means new resolutions, new beginnings, new journals, new projects, all so very new. Have you already decided upon your new year's plans and decisions?
I wish all my Dear Readers a happy fulfilling creative New Year 2008! =^v^=

And now I must do some cleaning around the flat because we are meeting our friends tonight at our place. What are you doing this last night of the old 2007? ^^

Friday, December 28, 2007

On the second day after Christmas...

Our cat was very busy during the holidays, doing shopping, cooking and cleaning, and today I caught her while she was relaxing on our bed. She was reading for a while and then she just took a nap, in the most comfortable position. *^v^*

Cats are weird, don't you think? =^v^=

New year is coming and I thought about a new art journal, so some time ago I bought myself a new notebook for that - a Windsor&Newton drawing book, with thicker pages so I hope they won't curl so much as in my previous exercise book. Plus, it's not on the spiral, so I'll be able to make big two-page spreads. But it's huge, it's an A4 format, so I won't be able to carry it with me so easily.
Well, every rose has its original scent, so I'll just have to live with it, right? *^v^*

Am I scared of the big white empty first page?...
No! It will be filled in no time! =^v^=

But for now I'm still working in my Yuletime Journal.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Yuletime journal

Here are the first few ages from my Yuletime Journal - surprise, surprise, it's in Polish, so those of you who don't know my language will only be able to gain the overall patterns&colours effect (which is also interesting and valuable, I believe).
Enjoy! *^v^*

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I hope you are having great time with your families and friends, I'm having a little break from all that visiting and eating, whoa!..., just to show you the presents I made for my mom and Robert's mom this year.

First, I turned this:

into this:

My mom's favourite colour is green, so I added some green elements inside the frame, too.

Then, there is a four seasons set of angels for my MIL, she has a cottage in the country and likes to decorate it with naive folk art, so I followed the style.

Journal pages next time (I've just covered some pages with paint so it's impossible to scan it now).
And now, if you excuse me, I'm going to have a cup of tea and some poppyseed cake baked by my second MIL, deeeeeeelicious! *^v^*

Monday, December 24, 2007

Season's Greetings

Happy Solstice and merry Christmas everyone! *^v^*

(I'm late, as always, but I'm in a terrible hurry!... ^^
Tomorrow I'll show you some photos of the paintings I prepared for my mom and my MIL plus some pages from my Yuletime journal. See you!... =^v^=)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Spiritual art journal

Father Christmas came early this year! *^v^*
I cannot believe but miracles do happen in the Yule time - I ordered some books from the Amazon (USA) and they sent them on Dec 7th. And today, 12 days later - 12 days over the ocean, with millions of other parcels that travel all around the world this time of the year!!! - they arrived at my door! *^v^*

These are:
- Claudine Hellmuth's "Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond The Unexpected" - I quickly looked through it and I already know I'll be as much in love with this book as with the previous one by C. Hellmuth, yikes! *^v^*
- two books by Eric Maisel, "Fearless Creating: A Step-by-Step Guide to starting and Completing Your Work of Art" and "The Creativity Book: A Year's Worth of Inspiration and Guidance", I cannot decided which one to start with (not to mention the books that are already on my bedside table, being read or waiting in the queue!...), and I would really really love to exist in several persons at a time to be able to read several books at the same time (and knit! ^^), there are so many interesting books out there!...

The last book was purchased by my friend Kate but I'm also going to have a good look through it, it's "The Techniques of Sprang" by Peter Collingwood, which will be useful for our medieval reconstructions.

I decided to kill my Christmas ghost with some spiritual art activities, and I found some inspiration on Celestine Musings blog.
Okay, so all our art journals are spiritual, because they come from the bottom of our hearts and souls, but this one is special for me because I want to concentrate on the questions quoted from the Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews.

Questions To Ask During The Winter Solstice Season

- What am I endeavoring to manifest now in my life?
- How can I change my thought patterns, to empower my goals?
- What old connections can I release now, for my highest good?
- What wisdom is seeking to reveal itself to me at this time?
- What new idea has seeded itself this winter, and how can I best nurture it to fruition, as the earth nurtures her seeds?
- What are the imprisoning fears that I feel ready to release?
- What part of me will awaken as the rebirth of Spring arrives?
- How can I best focus on my blessings this season?
- How can I turn negatives into positives?
- How can I make the best use of this lifetime?

For this I prepared a hand bound journal from the handmade paper I had in my stash, which I bound in a not-so-Coptic way. Why, you may ask. Well, everything went exactly to the instructions I found on YouTube, but when I reached the back cover I found out that this part wasn't included in the video, so I did it my way intuitively. It worked! *^v^* I then finished the covers with some decorations (will be working on them more).
I'm going to work in this journal from around the Yule time over to some time in January probably, whenever it's finished. I got also inspired for this by the works of Cat Sidh and especially her journals.
More to come. ^^

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pierniczki and bigos

I've been shopping today...
Oh, boy!...
Do people really need that much food? I saw a couple in the queue, she was guarding a huge shopping cart full of things up to the brim and he was disappearing among the shelves and bringing more and more jars, packets, boxes!... And one lady even lost a six pack of an expensive Perrier water from her cart on the floor because she stuffed so many items and had to balance the bottles on top of everything else. Total craziness!

I spent my time in the queue and came home to make some delicious things! *^v^*

First of all, gingerbread cakes (can you see the moose shapes? I bought the cake cutter in Karlskrona two years ago! *^v^*)
and kanelbullar - Swedish cinnamon buns (iHanna, you can be proud of me! They passed the husband test! *^v^*).

But the most important thing was bigos.
You may have heard about this one of the most traditional Polish dishes, probably not eaten by any other nation in the world (I think so). Bigos is a stew made from sauerkraut and meat, with lots of spices.
I call my version Bigos 1-2-3, because I always take 1 part of sauerkraut per 1 part of sweet cabbage per 1 part of meat for it.

The recipe goes like this:

In a huge pan mix together:
- 1,5 kg of chopped sauerkraut
- 1,5 kg of chopped sweet white cabbage
- 1,5 kg of different roasted meats (pork, beef, veal, ect), chopped into 1 cm cubes
- 1 bottle of semi dry red wine
- big handful of dried sweet plums
- 8 bay leaves
- 8 black pepper corns
- a big pinch of cumin seeds
- a handful of dried forest mushrooms
- 250 g of butter
- ground pepper and salt to taste

Now comes the best part - bring it all to the boil, cook on a low heat for about 2-3 hours, then cool it off, cover and leave it overnight on a balcony (minus temperatures highly welcome!). Repeat the cooking procedure on the next day, and on the following three or four days! *^v^* On the first day all the flavors are still rather separate, but with every warming up they mix together beautifully!

Bigos gets better and better every time you heat it up again, and it can be eaten for many days, with slightly different taste each time. The legend says that in the XVII c. during Winters Polish noblemen had huge barrels full of bigos in their courtyards and they often sent the cook to chop a bit of it off (it was standing in the frost so it was tough like a stone!) and warm it up for a nice supper after some horse riding in the snow. =^v^=

The last thing I made today was a jar of pickled lemons.They can be used in Moroccan meat dishes or oriental salads with grilled red peppers, olives and olive oil, and they are very easy to make.

For this jar I took 4 lemons to be put inside and 4 lemons for the juice (8 in total). I cleaned each lemon with hot water (of course I left the skin on), then I cut it with a sharp knife as if I wanted to make four quarters but I didn't cut through the top and bottom of the lemon - they stayed whole this way.
Next, I put a lot of salt into each cut (about a tablespoon of salt per lemon) and tucked each lemon tightly into the jar (this one took four lemons).
To finish it off I covered the lemons with fresh lemon juice - they must all stay under the liquid.
Then you put the lid on and leave them for about three weeks. Done! *^v^*

Smacznego! *^v^*

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bottom of the Sea

I usually buy my art supplies online and in my shop they always add a free small (A6) drawing notebook to each order over 15 USD. I collected quite a lot of them and they consist of 10 nicely textured thick white pages (300 g/m2), so I wondered what could be done with them.

I covered 10 of them with watercolor paints and day by day since 8th Dec I've been adding the scenes I've called later "The Bottom of the Sea". They have no other purpose than some drawing and imagination practice! I hope you like them! *^v^*

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Books that keep me going

Thank you for your comments on my two cardis, I'm planning to wear the TYC for Christmas supper with my families (three visits in one evening, like every year, yeah...) with brown velvet skirt and orange blouse, I think it'll fit perfectly! *^v^*
Still haven't decided on the next project, but I have some vague ideas, Tudora from the Winter Knitty might be just the one! ^^

100 Day Challenge - day 27
It's already 27 days into my hard work into manifesting all those things that I want in my life, yikes! *^v^*

Today I'd like to share with you two books that I've fished out recently from my vast book collection and decided to read again (I bought them some years ago), I think they are good readings on my 100 Day Challenge path right now.
The first one is Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh. It's all about slowing down, breathing and being right here right now, expressed in simple words that will appeal and get to everybody. I might try to remember this in the rush of my everyday life, when I usually do two or three things at a time - and I don't have to, I have time for everything and the ability in me to devote a separate piece of my time and attention to every activity I perform.
The second book is by a Polish psychologist Anna Dodziuk called "Pokochac siebie i zaczac zyc inaczej" ("Love yourself and start living a different life"). She writes about how from the moment we were born we've been programmed to behave in certain ways by other people (parents, friends, ect), and that we must get rid of all those ideas and start programming our minds to think differently about ourselves, which of course leads to a whole different way of living. (If you cannot read this book in Polish, I recommend the works of Sonia Choquette, she teaches the similar ideas!)

And some of my latest art journal pages:

I was still ill while creating this page.

I made the first batch of gingerbread cakes two weeks ago and they disappeared almost completely, so I prepared a new dough today, baking during the week! *^v^*
(These ones are from the magazine, mine were simpler.)

This page was inspired by the fact that there are two girls in our friends' group that do not like each other. I'm closer with one of them and she talked a lot of bad things about the other, and then I started to get to know her and she's nice. You would have thought it was a kindergarten, while we all are around 30-ties!... ^^
So, well, you know, I thought that it's better to have our own opinions about people than to listen to some badmouthing!

This is the experiment with unusual media (at least for me! ^^) - page painted with coffee and covered with beeswax.

Tomorrow I'll show you my drawing experiments! *^v^*

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How we almost bought an oven...

that we didn't need at all!...

This is the story of two people who almost got caught up by the tv commercial. *^v^*

Me and Robert often watch, a cooking channel, and one of the programs is sponsored by the new Samsung oven that has two separate chambers for two different meals baked or grilled at the same time in different temperatures and cooking times. Very high-tech, so we, having in mind next year's planned redecoration of our kitchen, immediately got excited, thought of buying this oven and started looking for its price.
And then it struck us... how often do we really need to bake two completely different meals AT THE SAME TIME? Well, never, to be exact. I often bake or grill meat with vegetables, but that's it, it's one dish. When I bake a cake I always do it way before the dinner, not while making dinner. I'd rather buy a bigger oven with some handy interior like easy-to-access sliding racks, ect.

Good we stopped before we started (spent any money)! The power of the commercials is really strong! *^v^*

Here is the finished Tangled Yoke Cardigan.
I finished it on Sunday and added the buttons on Monday.

I love everything about it - the colour, the shape, the size (I'm glad I knitted the sleeves longer, they fit perfectly). The only thing that is a bit odd is the top part (I'm not sure if it's visible in this picture) - I bought this yarn some time ago on on-line auction from somebody who had a stash of old yarn, and it turned out that one of the four skeins of wool had a slightly different shade of brown... That is why the very top of my cardigan and the button bands look different.
But I'm going to wear it anyway, I love the shape and fit! *^v^*

Here is also my revamped collar on Lucinda - I frogged the hood and made a simple 2x2 rib collar that stands beautifully, and added three buttons. Much more comfortable and functional this way! *^v^*

Okay, so what to knit next?...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Feeling a bit better

Have you seen a new Winter Knitty? *^v^*

My favourites:
Ice Queen - gorgeous!
Three Tams - I might knit more hats in the near future, it seems that my head must be protected from the cold.
Tudora - stylish accessory for your neck.
Halcyon - I like it on the first photo, with some black dress at a party.
Dahlia - cute and girlie. ^^
Aoife - that's pretty but why is it so huge on the model?... It looks at least three sizes too big, I'd make it tighter.
Toirneach kilt hose - nice ones, although I lost my love for the socks some time ago. Hope it'll come back some day! ^^
Jeanie - interesting shawl.

So, quite a lot of favourites. I must finish my TYC (not much to knit, I really want to do it this weekend and finally wear it!), and then I might choose some quick project after the cardigan that takes more time.

Now, I scanned my pencil drawings yesterday so let me proudly present some of my favourite ones (the rest is on my Flickr, there are too many to pack them all here). They were created in the years 1990 - 1995, and then I gradually stopped drawing, I don't know why (I have some pieces that have never been finished).
And they are weird, strange things were happening in my head at that time! *^v^*

Enjoy and let me know what you think! *^v^*