Thursday, July 29, 2010

Look with your hands

Today I'm thinking about texture. I have been watching my baby girl use her sense of touch to learn about the world around her. Things made for baby a very geared towards tactile sensations.

I'm a sucker for texture, we used to joke and say "look with your eyes, not with your hands". I'm one of those people that while admiring a colleagues new shirt I can't resist a quick feel of the fabric, luckily so far that has not seen me being hauled into HR for harrassment.

Who can resist the soft downy fuzz of a babies head? Or maybe you like the feeling of hands that often see a hard days work? What about the sleek coolness of a reptiles skin, or perhaps the cool crispy feeling of freshly mown grass. Back when I was at school and walking home in the summer there was one house in particular that as I walked past I'd always take off my shoes to feel the perfectly manicured lawn beneath my feet, the owner was an elderly ex-greenskeeper.

Texture is a big consideration when making jewellery too. Finishes are not just for the eyes, they evoke a mood or a feeling, lets call it a vibe!

I am working on a pair of frangipani earrings at the moment for a special order. Frangipanis are my favourite flower, I have been thinking about the soft, thick decadence of the petals and how to achieve that feeling from silver. If I get it right, no matter how dismal the day the wearer will have visions of the tropics.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Look what I made! A blast from the past

I made a special discovery in the bottom of Amber's closet this afternoon, a discovery that resulted in me doing the strangest activity... Ironing! Anyone who knows me well will be amazed that I knew where to find the iron and remembered how to work it ;)

Over 15 years ago during HSC textiles and design at school I made a little girls sundress. I remember now that I had hung it in the cupboard before I had Jasper, it must have fallen from the hanger and lay forgotten in the bottom of the cupboard.

I was so pleased with this dress, I tie dyed the fabric, hand smocked the design, and even hand scalloped the hem (that was an insane task which took an immensely long time and resulted in many hand cramps). At the time I thought there was absolutely NO WAY I would ever let a child wear this after all the effort, for fear of it getting ruined.

But now I am looking forward to seeing my baby girl wear it. Would be a shame for all that effort to go unseen.

I think it is a size 3, so will be a while yet before she will fit into it. This time I will have to hang it more securely, otherwise next time I find it she may have outgrown it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The earth whale

One of the joys of having young children is being able to experience their "firsts" with them. Just this weekend our 4 month old daughter rolled over for the first time, and boy didn't she think she was clever.

Our son also had a first, while "helping" me weed the garden he found his first ever earth worm. He raced inside to show Dad, "Look, I found an earth whale!".

His enthusiasm and interest is so refreshing, and makes me look at the world from a whole new perspective. I wonder what we'll discover this weekend?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fleur de Sel Caramel... With a Celtic twist

We're a bit cup-caked out in this house, so this week I decided to try my hand at something special, Fleur de Sel Caramel.

Fleur de Sel, flower of salt, is a French sea salt. Here's where I cheated a little using an organic Celtic sea salt. Figured I should at least see if I could successfully make caramels before racing out to buy gourmet salt that I may never use again. And would anyone really be able to tell the difference?

My parents are partners in a catering equipment company so last week I got my mum to post me a candy thermometer. I also have honeycomb on my "to-do" list so I figured it will come in handy.

I have used the recipe I found here on epicurious, there was a lot of feedback so I figured it was well tried and tested.

I followed the recipe to the tee and hey presto, the result looked and smelled like caramel! A little taste test from the spoon I had used to stir the mixture also suggested I may have done alright. I sprinkled a little extra sea salt on top, to make it look pretty and for a bit more zing.

Next time however I'd use a smaller pan to get a deeper caramel. Nothing wrong with the thin caramels, just thought they'd be a nicer shape if they were thicker.

The required two hours for cooling is not quite complete, but hey I'm impatient, so it was taste test time.

Mmmmm, good.......