Thursday, March 31, 2016

In the kitchen: Kraut-chi and other fermented veggie experiments

Do any of you have the tendency to read and book about a topic that really excites you, and then become completely obsessed with said new topic until you have a major reality check slap you in the face? 
No? Yes?
Well, I have that tendency, and it kinda kicked my butt last week!

I kept coming across blog posts about the benefits of fermented foods, but Sandor Katz's book The Art of Fermentation was what really sent me into overdrive. Particularly all of the info about making kraut-chi (combo of sour kraut and kim-chi) and other fermented vegetables. 

Kraut-chi and other fermented veggie experiments

My first attempt did not fair so well because I was trying to mash off of my cabbage using a wooden spoon. Then I found this lovely wooden mallet at my favorite thrift store for $2 and really went to town!

Kraut-chi and other fermented veggie experiments

And when I say "went to town", what I really mean is that I totally forgot that I have arthritis in most of my body and spent hours mashing away at cabbage, and then could hardly move for the next several days. Now you know why I went so long between blog posts! Oopsie!

Kraut-chi and other fermented veggie experiments

Making a brine for some brussel sprouts that were on sale last week at Aldi's was so much easier so I anticipate making more veggies like this!

I even remembered to tape notes to the jars so that I can make them again if they turn out well! 

Kraut-chi and other fermented veggie experiments

Would love to hear if any of you have tried fermented veggies, too!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Watercolor race prep

There is just something about springtime that always makes me pull out my watercolors. I think it has something to do with how light the paint feels. Does that sound weird?

Watercolor is also a very portable medium which is nice because this weekend is the first road race (cycling) of the season in Nebraska and if the weather predictions hold, I will be rooting for my husband from the car. I've got quite few of these pieces started and filled up a pencil bag with markers, pens, and pencils to take along. 

I also have like six books from the library that had been on hold for awhile that all became available this week! Anyone else have this happen? 

For those of you who do watercolor more often, I'm in need of a making fluid recommendation! I usually use rubber cement, but it kinda turns my paper yellow and I don't like that!! Thanks in advance!!

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!

Monday, March 14, 2016

More ink experiments

A few weeks ago I was messing around with ink and watercolor paper and decided to try a few more things! For instance, what happens when you combine ink, copic marker, a felt tip marker and then spray it with water?

Rachel Loewens: more ink experiments #doitfortheprocess

Or when you spray a leaf design you drew?

Rachel Loewens: more ink experiments #doitfortheprocess

Or a surface design... 

Rachel Loewens: more ink experiments #doitfortheprocess

Or an absract landscape of sorts!

Rachel Loewens: more ink experiments #doitfortheprocess

Happy creative experiments to all of you!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Toddler art takeover

The best way to know my kiddos are feeling better is when the oldest asks, " Mom, can we make acrylic skins?" For those of you who have never made them, Jane Davies does a great tutorial here

I toyed with the idea of working on the dining table, but I kinda like the idea of the kids creating in my studio. While it is really easy to fit one of them in there, but it can get kinda tricky with all three. I had two blank canvases that I adhered pieces of wax paper to (wax paper was the substrate for the skins. Note: see update at end of post before trying this yourself!) using artist tape and a third to a basic drawing board. The kids picked green and blue for their first colors, and then I let them go at it!!

A good 20-30 minutes of work time is usually all they need! I've found that limiting their color palette greatly increases the kids happiness with the final product!

I'm planning on doing some live Periscope video tutorials this weekend talking about ways to make art with your kids. My handle is @rachelloewens if you want to join in on the conversation!!

Urgent update!! Do NOT use wax paper for a substrate when making a skin. They won't come off!! Agh!! I haven't told my daughter this devastating news because I am pretty sure there will be tears. Think I will go back to using sheet protectors or my gelli plate because they are a safe bet. Much apologies to anyone who tried this with the wax paper!!

Friday, March 4, 2016

In the kitchen: comfort food for crummy colds

The Lowens Haus got hit with a round of colds this week. The drippy nose, constant cough sometimes accompanied by a fever, up several times during the night kind of colds. Bleh. 

I'm sure it won't come as a big shock that I haven't been painting much. I just don't work very well when I'm sleep deprived. There would have been a time where seeing my unfinished work just sitting there would have left me restless, but I've started to enjoy just going into my studio to look at my work, the tubes of paint lying where I left them last and my houseplants bathed in nice northern light.

The weather is just cool enough that a bowl of warm soup still sounds like the best thing after a day of using copious amounts of hand sanitizer.  For this meal I made 
Curried Lentil Soup by the Nourished Kitchen (skip the pre-soak and cook lentils in soup)
Balsamic Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts (hold the bacon to make this meal vegan)
with roasted craisins and sunflower seeds to top it off.

Rachel Loewens: Comfort food for crummy colds

I had originally planned on recording on Periscope for my first time on Saturday but think that will be just too much for me. Fingers crossed that everyone gets better this weekend!!
If you want to go ahead and follow me in anticipation of my fist broadcast my handle is @rachelloewens. 

Hope you all have a great weekend!