Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ready for Chicago's Twelve at Garfield Park Conservatory!

Here is a Jarrahdale Pumpkin and a White Bush Scallop Patty Pan Squash.  They are two more heirloom plushies to add to my piece Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables that will be on display at the Garfield Park Conservatory from August 8th to December 9th.  I have 9 heirloom plushies in all!

I can finally say that my two new pieces for Chicago's Twelve at Garfield Park Conservatory are completely finished!  I will be installing them this Thursday.  I feel like they are my children going to their first day of school.

The opening reception is next Wednesday, August 8th from 6pm-8pm.  This is going to be a beautiful show!

We received some Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes in our CSA this week.  I wait for these yummy guys all year long!  They taste like candy.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Almost there....

I have finished all 8 of Monsanto's genetically modified crops for my new piece that will be on display at the Garfield Park Conservatory for Chicago's Twelve.  I will be installing my work sometime next week.

I have enough time to sew together two more heirloom plants for my other piece.  I am thinking of sewing an heirloom pumpkin and a patty pan squash!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Almost Finished with Monsanto Sculpture!

I have finished sculpting and painting 7 out of the 8 crops Monsanto sells as a genetically modified seed.  The Sorghum is the last one to do and I should be done with it tomorrow.  All I have left is to seal up the jars real good so water can not get in and drill the holes on the wooden shelf I built to tie the jars to it with twine.  This is the frightening part since this piece will be outside for four months but I am excited for the challenge because I have never made artwork for outside before.


I bought some lavender to make baked goods and jam with!

The recipe for Lemon-Lavender muffins said to blend the lavender with the sugar...I thought this was awesome. 

Lemon-Lavender muffins!  I made them vegan by using soy milk instead of whole milk, earth balance instead of butter, and egg replacer (a powder that is sold at health food stores) instead of an egg since I am all out of happy chicken eggs.  I was excited they turned out fluffy and delicious.  I find it very easy to make recipes vegan as long as they are not asking for too much butter, milk, or eggs.  

Sunday I bought 4 pints of blueberries from Hardin Family Farms to make Blueberry-Lavender Jam!

Here is the recipe for Blueberry-Lavendar Jam, although I would say the jam was not lavendary enough.  I saw in another recipe that you take the 2 Tbs of lavender, put it in cheesecloth, tie it up with twine, and let it boil with the blueberries for 20 minutes.  I think that would have made it have a more lavender flavor...next time.

Monday, July 23, 2012


I have been enjoying cooking with different types of garlic.  Fat Blossom Farm has at least 3-5 kinds of garlic each week and so far these are the 3 I have tried.  Each one tastes slightly different from the other and they all seem sweeter and less spicy than the white garlic purchased at the grocery store.

I sauteed some mushrooms from River Valley Kitchens with some Inchelium Red Garlic and used basil and onions from my CSA share.  The recipe is here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Harvesting at Midnight Sun Farm and Basil Peach Preserves!

Today at Midnight Sun Farm we harvested onions, shallots, okra, zucchini and cucumbers.  Onions are my favorite to harvest.  They make the most lovely sound when I pull their roots from the soil and they smell so strong.  I had never seen okra grow before.  It is very beautiful!  I had no where to put them so I was stuffing them in my pockets. 

A few days ago my friend Jess and I got together to make Peach Preserves with Basil (we used 2 cups of sugar instead of 4).  The peaches were from Hardin Family Farms in Michigan and they we super sweet!  This week I hope to get some blueberries...possibly for jam or maybe a pie.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Only Sorghum Seeds Left to Sculpt!

Yesterday I finished sculpting the Corn.

The Alfalfa

The Sugarbeet.  Once they dry and are painted I will attach the leaves to the beet inside the jar.  It has been hard enough sculpting these plants, but trying to sculpt them to fit inside their jars hasn't made it any easier!

The final crop to sculpt is the Sorghum.  That pile of sorghum seeds took an hour...so I found some foam and covered it in clay to stick inside the jar so I do not spend 3 days making sorghum seeds!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sculpting 8 GMO Crops

I have been sculpting a ton to get 8 Monsanto Seeds finished!  Above is the sculpted soybeans in there tiny glass jar.

So far I have completed the soybeans, wheat, canola, and cotton.  The armatures were made out of thin wire.  I needed to make sure no part of them was touching anything since they will be viewed from all around and can not have any flat spots.  


Cotton!  I will glue in the cotton once it dries.


I hope to finish the last four crops today.  Those include corn, alfalfa, sorghum and sugarbeets.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Farming at Midnight Sun Farm and Sculpting Soybeans

Today I farmed at Midnight Sun Farm.  Audra and I were helping out with weeding the kale.  The kale looks so beautiful and clean of weeds!

Audra, myself, and Nick.  Check out Audra's Tumblr here where she shares her experiences with a new career in urban agriculture.  She is awesome!

Myself, Nick and Becky.

I started sculpting soybeans for my second piece that will be outside in the Monet Garden for Chicago's Twelve at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Once they are completely dry, they will be painted.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Heirloom Vegetables and Fruits Complete!

I have finished all 7 plushie heirloom fruits and veggies for Chicago's Twelve at Garfield Park Conservatory.  I can't wait to see them hanging among the plants.

From left to right: Purple Cape Cauliflower, Ruby Red Chard, Blue Hopi Corn, Make the Daugher-In-Law Cry Potato, Parisian Carrot, Zapotec Pleated Tomato and in the back is the Moon and Star Watermelon. 

If I have time, I am tempted to include an heirloom squash as well...

To make the chard I built a wire cage and sewed green fabric around it.  Then I covered it up with red fabric and sewed in the stem.  I then cut around the sewn stem.

Plushie corn has become my specialty as you can see here.  I cut each kernel out and sewed each one on.  Then I sewed the two sides together, turned them inside out and stuffed it.

Now I am going to start sculpting the 8 GMO Monsanto seeds for my other piece that will be at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cherry Jam, Pickled Garlic Scapes and Pickled Beets!

Michigan cherries from Hardin Family Farms, Illinois honey from Dennanne Farms, star anise, lemon and low-sugar pectin all to make Cherry Jam!

For this cherry jam I followed this recipe...sorta.  I used a cup of honey instead of granulated sugar and added a star anise to simmer with the cherries.  I would have added one more star anise and 2/3 cup of honey instead of a cup.  The jam is as sweet as the stuff you buy at the grocery store...and that was not what I was going for but it is still yummy.  I am hoping I didn't leave too much headspace for this jar...

I pickled two more jars of garlic scapes with basil.  The recipe is here.  Tonight for dinner I made garlic scape pesto pizza.  Garlic Scape Pesto recipe.  I made some great vegan cheese with cashews, nutritional yeast and canned red peppers for the pizza.  Here is the recipe for 7 Secrets Simple Cheese Sauce.  I have 4 more scapes left...what should I do with them?!

I received some beets in my CSA so I pickled them with apple cider vinegar, ginger and cinnamon!  They are going to be awesome.  Here is the recipe.

I have been pickling, canning and cooking like a crazy person...time to get back to the artwork...and stop heating our apartment up!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wooden Structure for "Monsanto Seeds" Finished

Yesterday my Dad and I built the vertical shelf for Monsanto Seeds which will be on display at the Garfield Park Conservatory from August 8 through December 9 for Chicago's Twelve.

I used a base that my friend Andy found in the alley, some $1 scrap wood from my local hardware store, and wood that had been sitting around in my Dad's yard.

I am thankful that my Dad was able to help me.  He has any tool I could need.

My Dad sanding down some of the screws that stuck out.

The finished product!  Now I need to sculpt the 8 plants to put inside the jars and connect the jars to the stand with jute.  I am almost finished!

Here is the original sketch.