Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blue and Green

Maria and Thorbjorn came to visit. Maria fell in love with a blue and green scarf. She loves this color combination. And so this little scarf went off to Denmark with Maria to keep her warm come winter time.

I also like the blue and green combination and realized my long awaited trip to Lagos was on the cards. Perfect blue sky and crystal clear green water. By pure and magic coincidence my friend Filipe was sailing through with his dad on their boat, called "Mil Milhas", on their way from Peniche to Alvor. They invited me for a sail. I could not refuse. It was brilliant and served as much needed refreshing inspiration.

Curiously when I get back to the studio I plan on weaving a red "bog jacket". Go figure.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bag, berries, beets.

The last couple of weeks were spent making the most of what I had most of. I had cherries of the sweet and sour varieties, red currants and gooseberries. The sweet cherries were preserved in jars with sugar water. The sour cherries I used to make a liquor we call Ginjinha. To make Ginjinha you need sour cherries, sugar, cinnamon stick and the magic ingredient is Aguardente, which is "Firewater" distilled in this case from the seeds and skins left over from the wine making process. It is strong. As it turns out the best Aguardente in town is made by a lady, Laura, who gave me 2 bottles of the fiery liquid for the purpose and in exchange as a thank you I gave her a draw string bag. I think I was better served with this swap. The Ginjinha will be ready for drinking one year from now. 

I also made jam with the few gooseberries I had and got just one jar. The less is more maxim I am sure can also be applied to this situation. At least this way I will not get sick of eating the stuff. The red currants I made into jelly, but I think that it turned out a little runny. It is delicious, nonetheless, and good to eat with yoghurt or spread on roast meat or with peanut butter and cheese... yum!

The seedlings I pleaded to grow back in March have soared to towering heights. I present you the first sunflower in bloom. To make us all a little happier.

And beetroots that were grown from seed are also rewarding me now with delicious and beautifully vibrant treats. My friend Ben who came to visit cooked up a storm and made the tastiest lemony and limy beets I have ever tasted.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Warm and fuzzy.

This saturday we gave away our first gift hamper. It was composed entirely of products from our veggie garden. The hamper contained: 3 onions, 4 beetroots, mint sprigs, bay leaves, a bunch of pigweed, red currants, oregano, 3 jars of dried flowers to make tea, a dozen eggs, and a CD. The red currants are as tasty as they are pretty. And as you can see things are going well in our garden. I am super happy that we have enough for us and to give.

The CD in the hamper, did not grow in our garden but it was recorded here in Meimão so in a roundabout way it also grew here in our backyard. It is Charanga´s new Album. Going by the name of "Borda Tu", which means "Embroider", it is a break beat influenced Portuguese electronic folk mash that is sure to liven up any party. You should check out their site. And if you happen to be in Lisbon this Saturday, the 13th of July, you can go to their album launch.

Meanwhile, we are struggling here with extremely high temperatures, averaging 40 degrees celsius over the last week. I can´t complain really, otherwise these stories will turn into a list of weather complaints, "too cold", "too hot", "this rain is too wet" kind of blog. But the interesting thing is how fast we forget how cold it was when all of sudden it is always so hot. Last winter due to this very same temperature dementia we forgot to collect pine cones during the summer. Pine cones come in really handy when you need to light a fire in your fire place. Just a little hint. So today we climbed the hill, sweating profusely, to collect pine cones to keep us hot during the cold season. Couldn´t think of anything worse, like trying on a wool jumper in the middle of Summer.

Some pretty fresh fabrics I bought at the market, samples of 70´s curtain fabrics. just to cool us down a bit.

And back to wool again. A couple of weekends ago I went to a festival in Sortelha and there was a girl selling hand spun and died wool. The project is called Lhana, and has its roots in Duas Igrejas, a small town in Miranda do Douro, in the region of Trás-os-Montes. The wool is wonderful and is died using either natural or synthetic dies. If you want to buy wool you can get in touch through this email, lhana.info@gmail.com. I bought two skeins, both hand died, the grayish one was died using black berries and the yellow one using Reseda Luteola, commonly known as Dyer´s Rocket or woold. Now I have to think up some cool project to use this wool. Best done with a cold beer in hand.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Manecas... my first intern.

Manecas, my first ever intern, finished his woven scarf today. Manecas was brilliant and a super fast learner, I was very impressed. He helped with setting up the loom and from there he took over. He chose the colors to use, filled the navettes, and wove all on his own. He is a true natural. And he was very happy too with his work as can be seen from the photos. Manecas made his scarf over four sittings of about 2 hours each. One day we set up the loom and the others were spent weaving, 20 cm a day. I only helped with the last 18cm. I think it was a really fun experience for Manecas, who even mentioned that he wouldn´t mind being a weaver. For me it was very rewarding to see how happy my first intern was through the whole process and to see him learn so fast.

If that story was not enough to get you all happy on the inside, I leave you with Bela Luísa. She is the newest addition to the family. She is only 2 months old and extremely well behaved and very mellow, except for when she bites my ankles with her razor sharp teeth. According to Ti'Domingos from town she is going to be a good dog because she has four eyes and those are the best dogs. The extra 2 eyes are those brown spots above her own pretty, pretty eyes. And if you are wondering about her name, Bela Luísa, it is another name for Lucia Lima or Lemon Verbena, and is my favorite plant to make infusions with. Very soothing!

Monday, July 1, 2013

David´s Link Jacket

David´s green woven wool jacket is finally finished. I will be sending it off to the Blue Mountains tomorrow. As soon as David gets it he will start designing the buttons and will make me some buttons for my jacket too. I am very excited. You may remember David Loong from an earlier post. He makes the most wonderful jewelry and had made me my beautiful fibula. This jacket is my way of saying thank you.

David asked for a green jacket. I was free to choose the wool and so I opted to make the jacket from different shades of green. At first I thought it was going to look like a Christmas tree but I am very pleased with the result.

I used all 100% portuguese wool. I have to thank my model André Neto for being so brave and wearing it for these photos today in full sun and temperatures averaging 35, real feel 40 degrees. In the Blue Mountains it is getting cold and so I am sure this garment will be very welcome. According to David, at the moment, the spinach in his garden is "like an amazing showpony variety from the front of a posh cookbook", perhaps when they come around to take those photos David can wear his matching jacket.