marijke everythings arty

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Summer or no summer

Shells from the beach
The month of January should be the hottest time in summer, but not this year.
We are still having strong winds like we normally get in spring and summer storms with lots of rain.
The vegetable garden is not producing a lot, we have no beans yet and the cucumbers are just coming into flower.
Luckily we eating our potatoes and one apple tree is producing a good crop, so coming week I can bottle some apple sauce.
I started a part time job picking strawberries 3 times a week. The strawberries are grown hydroponic on bench height, so easy on my back. The picking only last for 2  to 3 hours in the morning, because after the picking the strawberries are getting packed and delivered to the customers.
The picking job will last till the beginning of May.
The Nelson area were I live is for many a holiday spot and the beaches are always popular with swimmers and water sports.
Most beaches have lovely shady spots under the big pohutukawa trees, the New Zealand Christmas tree, now in flower with big red fluffy flowers.
I love these big beautiful trees and for me they symbolize summer with lazy afternoons swimming and reading a good book in their shade.

The native pohutukawa tree in flower
Ollie our dog got his favourite toy for Christmas and he is unpacking his tennis balls out of the wrapping wearing his little Santa suit.
Ollie unpacking his tennis balls.

Beach in Golden Bay
I started the art sessions after the Christmas break in the rest home and hospital and we painted watercolour butterflies and a background with charcoal.
Two lovely ladies in Motueka donated lots of art materials for me to use and here we are using the watercolour paints and the paper. So a big thank you!

Art session in the hospital
I am part of Sunday Sketches

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Dutch speculaas biscuits recipe

Christmas biscuits
Every Christmas I do baking and some of the recipes are becoming traditions in our family, like the Christmas bread filled with almond paste, the Dutch pastry wreath filled with almond paste and the speculaas biscuits.
Yesterday we had suddenly a big hailstorm while I was baking and it was not forecast,this is a setback for the local fruit growers, especially the berry growers in the area.
It felt a bit like winter, but today the summer sun is out again.

Some of my handpainted Christmas decorations

The sudden hail storm
The recipe for the speculaas biscuits:

250 gram flour
175 gram butter
200 gram brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
3 table spoons of milk
1 tablespoon of speculaas spices
or 1/2 tsp mace, 1/2 tsp aniseed, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 21/2 tsp of cinnamon.

In a bowl add the flour, spices, sugar, baking powder and stir together.
Add the butter and the milk and knead the mixture with your hands into a soft ball and leave in the fridge for an hour or longer.
Roll the dough between two sheets of grease proof paper till 2 cm thick and use different biscuit cutters to cut out shapes.
Bake at 160 celsius oven for 10 minutes or till biscuits are brown.
Cool biscuits on tray and store in containers.

Have a blessed Christmas.

This week I am part of Paint Party Friday

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Our Cottage, Earthquakes, Mosaic

Only two Sundays ago at twelve at night we had a big earthquake again in the South Island of New Zealand. It was a 7.8 and our cottage shook and moved and we held onto the door post of the bedroom.
It is a very frightening experience and because we went through the Christchurch earthquakes six years ago a lot of memories flooded back.
In Kaikoura on the East coast of the South Island there is a lot of damage and big slips and rock falls and no way to get in or out of  town.
It will take months or longer to get this tourist town back to some normality and I feel for the people living through this disaster, I really knows what it is like.
 For months I have been working on my mosaic around our fireplace, it resembles our fishpond and it took so long to finish, because I had many other jobs to do.
During the earthquake, the first thing that went through my head " O no, I hope my mosaic won't break, I just got it done".
Isn't it silly, like my mosaic is so important! Maybe that is how the brain works in a threatening event, thinking of something irrelevant as a way to cope.

 The next morning in daylight Henk checked the cottage and we only have a few cracks and no damage and when I walked around the garden I felt really blessed to live here.
We have no mansion and our cottage feels sometimes a bit small, but we have so much to be thankful for.
Fish pond

Our cottage

The cabin in the front

Garden beds

a new vegetable patch

Ollie and the view over the hopfields
I am part of Sunday Sketches