Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome, Spring!

First post of this Spring will be (as it should) a green one!
Saturday (cold and gloomy day, like in early winter) was the last day of "Spring in Novi Sad" (Novosadsko Proleće) event / exhibit / bazaar, my favourite springtime event, and I went there with my friends to see what's going on. Same as every year, there were stalls after stalls abundant with flowers, plants and seeds, with honey and other home made and organic food, an exhibition of children artwork, and arts and crafts bazaar. For me it is always so much fun to walk around amongst gazillion people, colours and flowers bursting everywhere I look, smiling faces, sounds of a marketplace and above all to see all the creative and beautiful artworks displayed.
I came there with no special intention to buy anything, but I've returned home with full hands. The concentration of beautiful stuff was immense and it affected me deeply, so I wasn't able to leave without bringing some with me. This year I've decided on the go to treat myself with three lovely plants: an arrangement of lucky bamboo, a cute looking haworthia in its so becoming clay pot, and a cineraria in my favourite purple colour for which I have chosen the prettiest green woven basket.
Years ago I used to have so many flowers of my own (not to mention all the plants my other family members had around), mostly cactuses and succulents, but I didn't have a good place for keeping them over winter so gradually I've lost almost all of them. And consequently I've lost the will to try... It was in the pre digital camera era so I think I don't even have a picture of my dear long lost plants.
Now I've decided that I really miss having greenery around me and that is high time to start over! These three beauties are just the beginning as I hope to have much much more. It must be the spirit of the Spring blooming in my chest - let it stay there all year long!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cute decoupage box

The most recent project I've completed (not counting few origami models that are waiting to be photographed) is the oval wooden box done in napkin decoupage. I've used one napkin with several complementing patterns and combined them on different surfaces of the box. Insides are left uncovered but only coated with varnish for protection. The natural colour of the wood has always been appealing to me, so I don't usually cover every surface of an object.

I love working with wooden objects. The outcome always looks great. It usually takes me longer to start these projects because I'm not the biggest fan of sanding, spreading dust allover and breathing it in or wearing the protection mask. If it weren't for dusting, I bet that the drawer full of wooden objects waiting to be "napkined" would have been emptied long long time ago.

In any case, here I present the colorful and cheerful box that I've very much enjoyed making.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Chocolate and rum bun cake by Karlovacki kuglof

I always knew about bun cakes and there has always been a bun cake pan in my mom's kitchen, but it seems to me that they were somehow banned form our lives with my mom, my aunt and both of my grandmothers always making more fancy sweets, cookies and cakes. I suppose that bun cakes were considered outsiders, too simple, too dry and with no filling. My father still feels this way although I've got some credit from him for baking more "juicier" bun cakes like the one with apples.

Anyway, my love affair with bun cakes goes back few years now to when I've first bought few slices from a stand one hot summer day while walking along Danube with my friends. Since then, bun cakes gained a lot in popularity in this area, mostly thanks to the efforts of the ladies of Sremski Karlovci who are doing fabulous job promoting their baking skills and their brand name bun cakes. In Karlovci there is even the bun cake festival where visitors can enjoy great tasting sweets. And here, in Novi Sad, there is almost no public event or festival without at least one stall with the famous bun cakes. They have become very difficult to avoid even if anyone would tried to - the bun cake stalls are always attracting swarms of visitors.

After eating many pieces bought here and there, mostly from famous Mira Kovacevic from Sremski Karlovci, I've finally had my wish and got a brand new silicone bun cake pan for my birthday. That was exactly what I needed to bring my love to the next level and to start baking bun cakes myself. I was exhilarated to find the greatest site on the Internet for bun cakes - Mira's own blog Karlovacki kuglof where she is kind enough to share her recipes. From that point on, her blog has been and still is my main source of bun cake recipes.

My first choice was to make the chocolate and rum bun cake. It was very easy to make and so tasty that the day after I made the first one, I made it once again! It has remained one of my favourites - almonds, chocolate and rum are really a great combination of tastes! This is how it looked (not bad for the fist try, right?):
After this first bun cake, I've tried many other recipes from Mira's blog, but I'll leave that for some future posts. Right now I'm going to finish off the bun cake I've made tonight - the one with coffee and almonds. Judging from its smell while baking, it will be fabulous too!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Pretty vase made by my Mom

Long time since my last post. That doesn't mean that I don't have anything to share. Maybe I haven't been working as much as I wish, but I have a few photos up my sleeve. I'm thinking: best thing first, and the best thing is not MY work at all! :)

I proudly present my Mom's piece here. She did it as a present and although she first thought to do some flowers, she decided that the form of the object is better suited for a geometrical pattern. I can't agree more. I think that her work is, although simple, absolutely fabulous. And keep in mind that she has tried this only a few times before. Let's hope this successful project will motivate her to do more creative works in the future.

So here it is: my Mom's beautiful glass vase!

(the vase is pretty big and heavy - about 30cm high)

Especially for this purpose I've made a setting for photographing so that the pictures can be good. We really don't have good light in the house, but with some effort and a couple of lamps I think that this time the photos are good enough to give justice to the object in them.