Tag Archives: patterns

MATS A Course and Root Vegetables

Melissa Iwai 2014

Melissa Iwai 2014

So… I started taking an intense online design course, called Make Art That Sells, taught by Lilla Rogers.  This, along with several book assignments and prep for a gallery show and an art auction makes for some busy (though good) times!  For any artist wanted to broaden their range, I highly recommend this class.  Every week focuses on a different market.  Last week, it was Bolt Fabric.  Our assignment was to create a fabric pattern that had the theme “vintage kitchen” that is inspired by root vegetables and vintage casserole dishes.  So this is the pattern I designed.  It was really difficult for me, but I won’t bore you with the gory details. If you want to read about my process, you can do so on my website blog.

For the warm up — or mini assignment, we were to explore vintage casserole dishes and root vegetables.  So the first thing I did was buy a bunch of veggies and the local green market.

root vegetables

After several days of drawing and drawing and more  drawing and painting the vegetables in different media, they met their final destination:  The oven.

root vegetables to roast

This is three yams, one large parsnip, a bunch of carrots, one large turnip, and one beet (the beet is wrapped in foil).  Unfortunately, my celery root had gone bad, and I couldn’t use it!  Basically it’s about 5  cups of chopped vegetables.  I coated them with olive oil,  seasoned them with kosher salt and dried thyme, and roasted them at 400 for about 30 minutes, tossing them halfway.

cooked root veg

 

The vegetables really shrink!  But it was enough for a side dish at a pot luck dinner we went to that evening.

And here is my final submission to the class with more coordinating patterns (not so happy with these — it was a struggle!!  But I’d like to do more and improve my craft…)  If you don’t know already, there is a great site where you can upload your designs to be printed on fabric — Spoonflower.com. I’d love to use my pattern to make an apron or some tea towels. 🙂

MELISSA_IWAI_ROOSTERPITCHER_4A_WK1

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

Non-stick spray

An assortment of root vegetables, such as potatoes, yams, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery root

about 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

kosher salt to taste

1 – 2 teaspoons dried thyme

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

2.  Chop vegetables into 1/2 inch cubes.  Try to make them all about the same size so they cook evenly.

3.  Pour onto baking sheets and spread out into a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil (right onto baking sheets is OK) and mix with hands to make sure everything is nicely coated.  Season with salt and thyme.

4.  Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring and flipping halfway through.

Roasted Beet

1 or 2 beets

olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Wash and dry beets.  Brush with some olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil.

3.  Set on a baking sheet (sometimes the juices leak out, and it’s not pretty if it gets on your oven!) and bake for about 60 minutes until tender.  You can test it with a knife.  It should be soft like a cooked potato.

 

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Filed under Art Related, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Adventures with Jello

flubber jello


  Last month was all about Jello in the MATS Bootcamp.   I was really happy about it because anything that has to do with both food and art is excellent in my mind!  I drew a lot of Jello doodles.  Here are some: ink sketch   I also messed around with different art supplies and did some color experiments:

Painted in acrylic

Painted in acrylic

Drawings in pen over old palette paper

Drawings in pen over old palette paper

I really liked the effect of drawing on my old palette paper.  I will have to revisit that technique again in the future. Not sure how I will use it though. I had a lot of fun with all these doodles.  But when the actual assignment was unveiled,  I choked.  It was bolt fabric, and I still feel pretty insecure about pattern making because I am so new to it.  Here is my first attempt, which I hated: pattern 1 smaller I built all the icons in Illustrator.  The colors kind of clash.  Also there are too many items the same size.  I could have attempted another one using these icons, but I decided to trash it and start over.  I made another one that was more “me”.  Of course it had cute animals.  I’m obsessed with this bear and bunny and know there is a story there somewhere….  We also were introduced to a new “candy, nougat-y” palette.  

My pattern and what it would look like on an apron!

My pattern and what it would look like on an apron!

I loved this nougat palette so much, I decided to do an illustration I have been wanting to do for awhile using it.  The inspiration for this one was the February MATS assignment on cuckoo clocks.   I did this Bavarian couple experiment. bavarian couple This is the same couple in a candy nougat colored village.  This piece is completely different for me because of the palette, but I am really happy with it! bavarian couple_final3   With all this Jello activity, I was reminded of one of the very first cookbooks I got in the 70s or 80s — Amazing Magical Jell-O Desserts.  I love this book.  It is illustrated by the fantastic Seymour Chwast, and I was happy to see is still in print!

My original copy from my childhood

My original copy from my childhood — obvious from the price!

I thought it would be fun to make some Jello desserts with Jamie, so we spent an afternoon making three of them!  For one, we tried to make a big face on the bottom of the pan out of fruit.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a Jello-mold, so when we tried it with a pan and a candy mold, it was a big fail.The Jell-O wouldn’t come out.  😦 We made regular ones with fruit in parfait glasses and these worked out though:

Peach Jell_O with no sugar added fruit cocktail -- a classic

Peach Jell-O with no sugar added fruit cocktail — a classic!

We also made a Strawberry Poof one, but we didn’t have the correct amount of yogurt and I used sugar-free Jell-O (it was the only one that came in strawberry at the store).  This probably contributed to our second (semi) fail.  After chilling, the Jell-O totally had the consistency of Flubber!! flubber 2
I remember making this as a kid, and the consistency was more like a mousse– light and airy.  Oh well… we tried.  Also, we had a lot of fun.  🙂  We still ate it too, even though it was kind of weird.  It tasted good!

On another food/art front, the winners of the of the They Draw and Cook Glad Party were announced this week.  To see the 1st place winner and five second place winners, check it out here.  There were over 330 recipes submitted!! So I was honored to be one of the 15 Honorable Mentions!  My Amazing Tofu 3 Ways was voted “Most Awwwwwww-esome”, so that was pretty awesome. 🙂

 Peach Jello with Fruit

1 package of peach gelatin

1 can or about 8 oz. of fruit in natural juices

1.  Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup of boiling water in a large bowl and stir until completely dissolved.

2. Drain fruits, reserving liquid.  Measure 3/4 cup of it — if you need more liquid to make 3/4 cup, add water.  Add to gelatin.

3.  Pour some of the mixture into serving dishes about 1/4 full and chill for about 10 minutes to thicken.

4.  Add strained fruit to dishes and pour remaining gelatin mixture on top.  Chill until completely firm.

 

Strawberry Yogurt Poof (adapted from Amazing Magical Jello Desserts by Arnold Rosenberg)

1 package of strawberry gelatin  (don’t use sugar free!)

8 oz. of strawberry yogurt  ( be sure to use the full amount!)

1.  Dissolve gelatin in a large bowl with 1 cup of boiling water.  Stir until completely dissolved.  Add 3/4 cup cold water.  Chill for about ten minutes until slightly thickened.

2.  Add yogurt to jello and mix vigrously with a whisk or a hand mixer.  Transfer to serving dishes and chill.

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Filed under Art Related, Children, Desserts, Uncategorized

Perfect Broccoli Soup

Look at the beautiful color of all those nutrients!

Look at the beautiful color of all those nutrients!


Oh dear, January was National Soup month and I didn’t even post a soup recipe!!

I will make up for it by introducing one here.  You can make it from start to finish in about 10-12 minutes.  Prep time is about 3 minutes.  Take some broccoli, wash it, cut the ends off, trim the sides, cut into pieces. Then cut the stem into slices and divide the florets into smaller pieces.  Steam the broccoli in a steamer on the stove for about 8 minutes.  You could also probably do it in less time in the microwave.  Then  throw the cooked broccoli into a blender, pour in some chicken broth and blend until smooth.  Add more broth to reach the consistency of your liking.  Reheat if it is not hot enough. Eat!

The cooked broccoli gives the soup a natural thickener — much like cooked potato.  And the broccoli is full of nutrients and fiber. It really is a perfect veggie.  This soup is one of my favorites, and it is so effortless to make.  I’ve been eating it a lot this winter– so warming and comforting!  See recipe at the end of the post.

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On the work front, I’ve been very busy with book projects, some freelance work, and a new addiction– taking classes at skillshare.com!  My friend introduced me to a lettering class there taught by Mary Kate McDevitt, who is awesome!   I couldn’t get enough of these great classes, and I kept signing up for more, because there are so many skills to learn!  Also, if you refer a friend, you BOTH get $10 off.

I recently took a Typography class and a Pattern Making class and have signed up for a few more.  I told you — I’m addicted!  The great thing is that it is something you can do at your own pace.  Also, the forum is excellent.  So far, I’ve been very happy with the instruction — I have learned SOOOO much.  These classes can be intense, but only if you want it to be.  It’s up to you. You go at your own pace.  I took my time with the assignments and tried to really absorb the information.   With the pattern class, I found I had to watch the video tutorials more than once.  (Maybe I am just a slow learner…)

I find that the best way to learn a new skill is to just do it, and keep practicing.

I decided to do the Valentine’s Day Challenge given by the Typography and Pattern class.  The challenge is to design a greeting card and a complimentary gift wrap paper pattern.  Here is what I came up with — I call it “Bunny Love” — I’ve been obsessed by bunnies lately. 🙂

card

wrapping paperex

I really love making patterns, and I want to do more of it!  I also like making these cards.  It’s a different way of thinking, and it’s been fun to experiment.  I had to learn a lot more techniques in Illustrator, so it took awhile to finish the course.  The repeat pattern class was really a great resource for this!

In May, I am going to attend Surtex 2014 at the Javitz Center!  For those of you who don’t know, Surtex is a major international licensing conference.  Buyers from around the world come to buy or license work from artists and designers.  I will be helping Victoria Johnson with her booth.  Check out her work — it is so great–she is uber talented!  She also writes about her process on her blog.  I always love reading about how other artists work.  You have probably  seen Victoria’s beautiful designs in stores already. Some of her clients include C.R.Gibson, WHSmith, American Greetings, Tigerprint, Hallmark and Marian Heath. I’m really looking forward to meeting her and working in her booth along side Flora Waycott — another talented designer!

Perfect Broccoli Soup

One or two large stocks of broccoli

2-3 cups of chicken broth or other stock

salt and pepper to taste

1.  Prep broccoli by trimming ends and coarse parts of the stems.  Slice stems into rounds.  Cut florets into pieces.  Steam in steamer for 8 minutes.

2.  Transfer about 4 cups of cooked broccoli to blender (I used two stocks and saved a lot of the stem pieces for another use).  Add about two cups of chicken broth.  Blend.

3.  Add salt and pepper to taste and blend again.  You might also want to add some more broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.  Reheat if necessary and serve.

Makes about one quart of soup.

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Filed under Art Related, Soup, Soup, Vegetarian