All posts tagged: norge

Expanding the flock with a broody hen

Our chicken adventure began a few years ago when we joined a local CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture), we wanted our children to get a better understanding of where their food came from and enjoy the experience of being with the animals that provide for us. It was not long until we were so enamoured with the lifestyle, that we decided that we would have both chickens and bees at home. True to my nature, I read up on everything I could to figure out what would suit our family and property best. It was quite clear that having a rooster was not going to sit well with our neighbours, many of which have hens as well and also conceded to ‘no roosters’, so we needed a plan on how to expand the flock when that time came. When we chose our girls, we purposely selected heritage breeds and wanted one of those breeds to have a strong instinct to go broody.(see Broody Hen Notes at the end of this post). For that reason we chose two Icelandic hens, and …

foraging – spruce tip syrup – granskudd sirup

Living and eating through the seasons means one needs to enjoy the bounty while it is at its peak and preserve it. Our home, a timber summer house built in 1921 is known by the name Granbakken, which means ‘Spruce Hill’ in norwegian. It is simply appropriate that spruce tip syrup is on the agenda for local goodness. The children and their friends are more than happy to gather the ingredients for many of our concoctions 😉 Spruce has many purported benefits, and one can preserve spruce tips in a variety of ways: dried and combined with salt as my dear friend Louise does with a variety of plants made into a tincture/dram/schnapps via infusing with alcohol made into a pesto similar to ramsløk/wild garlic using pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and parmesan/pecorino romano dried and pulverized and added to a multitude of recipes but one that we enjoy purely for the taste is syrup, and it is so simple to do! bring the spruce tips and water to a rolling boil turn down to medium …

Foraging and Ramsløk – wild garlic pesto

Ramsløk as it is known in Norway, is also known as ramsons, buckrams, wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear’s garlic. Latin name: Allium ursinum Long overlooked, Ramsløk has made a comeback of late, gourmet restaurants and epicureans everywhere are hoarding what they can. There are few places locally where it grows, and hopefully those special places, much like favourite mushroom spots will remain secret such that it will continue to grow and those who harvest it are responsible and follow the foraging rule of take no more than 1/3 of what is available. Doing so will help it thrive for generations to come. Last year, our family took a course on local wild edibles, wandering the path and woods, collecting and nibbling as we walked. It was a revelation to see what can be foraged locally and was of immense value to increasing our knowledge about local food. We are fortunate to live in an area where we are able to obtain wild mushrooms, game, mussels, oysters, fish and more. We are blessed to …

Collaboration – just like bees in a hive

you can’t make honey alone, and even if you could… wouldn’t you want someone to share it with? Lately the concept of collaboration and sharing  has been at the forefront of what is going on in my life. Having received many comments about how refreshing people find it that I freely share my knowledge and skills – I am always taken a little aback – and think about why that is so unusual? Isn’t that what makes everything work? We all have our strengths and weaknesses and when we band together to share, don’t we all win? I redesigned the website this week to encompass the changing aspects of my life and projects, but one thing has not changed, collaboration is something I hold near and dear to my heart. I have made some wonderful friends working on joint projects, everything from FeltUnited, to Ekebo our CSA farm, to the farmers market, to our Lavvo project for the school spending many a weekend sweating in the woods with a hammer and a saw.  😉 My latest endeavour, a local food coop project …

dehydrated vegetables and herbal salt

An interesting day at Hellviktangen’s farmers market this weekend. A lot less people came, likely due to the rain, but the ones who were there were very keen on hearing details about the products that I had available. One  item that brought about great interest was my seasoned salt. Such a simple ingredient to have on hand and it can be used on so many ways. Throughout the growing season, while everything is fresh and abundant, I do my best to preserve what I can. One of the methods I use is dehydration. My pantry is full of mason jars with a huge variety of dried goodness in them. My trusty mandoline which has been well used for over a decade makes quick work of the task, and once thinly sliced, I place everything in the dehydrator and let it go to work over night. I dehydrate at no more than 40C (104F) in order to maintain the optimum nutritional value. While I do not adhere to the Raw Diet, I choose to use this process for dehydration …

New tool in the studio

Over the holidays, the studio welcomed its newest tool, a plotter (cutter). There are many on the market, each having their own pros and cons, but after having done some research, I found the one for me. I have always had a love for words.. quotes and sayings… and being a font addict with a reasonable handle on graphic design and a love for Adobe Illustrator, the possibilities with this machine are endless! It cuts so much more than vinyl… cardstock, fabric, stencils for glass etching and fabric stenciling, heat transfer for clothing.. and I have even sourced reflective heat transfer for clothing. That may sound crazy to most of the world, but living in Norway, the dark season makes wearing reflects mandatory. My son has decided he wants to start a business selling his own reflects designs.. and he is only 8! Time to make space in the studio. Yesterday I made my first wall piece from vinyl. Well beyond the standard size of the plotter (the wording is just over a meter high), …

leather handles on felt bags

A while back, I blogged about the raw wool felted laptop bag (see post) that I created for myself, and I thought I would show how the handles were made. Store bought handles of all shapes, sizes and colours are available in most craft stores (or online), but in my opinion, nothing beats a good quality, handmade, adjustable thick leather strap with solid brass fittings. I have not used a pattern for doing this.. I simply gauge the size based on the bag and what feels comfortable. The only factor to consider is the width of your buckle. I cut five pieces of leather, one for the strap, and two shorter pieces that are doubled over and secured to the felt itself using chicago screws (leather bond optional), and two narrower pieces that are looped to keep the strap from flailing about. The side pieces are very simple.. an oval hole in the middle for the buckle to pivot, and in this case two holes matched up on each side.  Punch matched holes in your …

The life of a Maker… studio time

I managed to get in some studio time of late to finish off some orders, and get a few pieces photographed. Years ago I read that an artist should take photos of everything they make regardless of whether it is going to be a personal gift or go up for sale (or already sold for that matter). Time to start getting into the habit. Jewelry photography is a tedious task, requiring very bright lights with a light tent to control reflections and shadows. I keep thinking I need to set up a photo spot in the studio, such that it is not such an effort setting everything up each time. My children spend quite a bit of time with me in the studio.. asking questions, playing on the floor.. digging through all the tools and supplies while dreaming of what they want to make next (they now even have their own cupboard of supplies). It has been a productive time, and with studio visits scheduled later this week with neighborhood children, there will be lots …

felted laptop bag – using raw fleece

Forever inspired by my dear friend Elis Vermeulen of Holland to work with raw fleece (see my previous post on working with Texel with Elis), I decided to make myself a laptop bag a while back using my favorite medium. I have yet to add the straps (really need some studio time this week), but will be using some good quality leather with a buckle to make it adjustable. The base is made using norwegian C1  (I planned for a shrinkage of 30%). It is the perfect wool for sturdy bags. It produces a nice firm felt that hardly pills and wears well.  Now to pull out a hide of leather and some brass findings. Oh! by the way, if you are interested in learning more about how to work with raw fleece, Elis will be teaching a bag class at the Creative Felt Gathering in Michigan this september. See her website for more details, or contact her to arrange a workshop in your area.

Kiln fired enamel

Enamel – a fantastic way to bring some colour into what can often become a world of black and white when working with silver. This week, I have been testing a set of colours from Thompson Enamels – transparent/lead free for use on silver/copper/gold. Enamel is powdered glass which, when heated melts, flows and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal. Enameling can also be done on glass or porcelain, but requires enamels with a different COE (Coefficient Of Expansion) – expansion rates must be suited to the base surface material. Prior to using enamels, they need to be washed to remove the “fines” – (extra fine particles which can cause your enamel to be cloudy). This can either be done: wet: by rinsing in water multiple times until the water runs clear or dry: by using a series of sifting pans to separate the particle sizes (60, 80, 100 mesh etc.) Regardless of which technique you plan on using to apply the enamel, the silver must be properly prepared, polished and cleaned to …

the big picture

As most artists know all too well, November and December is the busy season, holiday sales carry many of us through the rest of our year. Months ago, as the end of summer approached, the deadline for deciding in which holiday shows to participate came up, and I had to make a decision. In past years I have had open studios, inviting the public in to my atelier to see how and where my products are made. Last year, I took part in the Designers Fair (juried entry) at DogA, the Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture on Hausmannsgate in Oslo, 10,000 people in 2 days – exhausting but worthwhile! This year, the invites for various shows came in and I realized that regardless of what options I chose, the workload would be pretty much the same, long hard days in the studio working on new series and collections, evenings back in the studio polishing silver or ironing textiles, display work, pricing, labeling, packaging supplies, being away from my children on the holiday weekends, and stressing …

bomaki shibori – tutorial

Lately I have had been reading everything I can get my hands on regarding shibori, the japanese art of creating texture and colour on cloth. There are an incredible variety of styles and techniques that are encompassed in the Shibori classification. Here are some photos (and a quick tutorial) of a piece I made using the bomaki shibori technique.