Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I (Heart) Beets!

Happy Day-After-Valentine's Day! I hope yesterday was a good day for you. I had planned to post this on the 14th, but the day just got away from me. Better late than never?

Let me be clear: I absolutely detest the taste of beets! But I have found a new appreciation for this vegetable, and what it can do for me on Valentine's Day, or any day. So what does Valentine's Day have to do with this oh-so-ugly-on-the-outside root vegetable (that is somewhat heart-shaped, when you think about it)? I mean other than being perfect for puns--"My Heart Beets for You!" or "You Make My Heart Beet Faster!"

It's all about the color. I adore magenta. And I think that beets are such a lovely hue, I decided to give them a chance in the art studio, although I am not about to serve them at my dinner table. Earlier this year, I kinda, sorta tried. To serve beets. Last summer, Caroline wanted to try them, since she'd never had them before. So just for fun, I bought some huge ones and roasted them. Then she was afraid to try them. (I don't blame her!) Before I threw them out, I marveled at their rich color, and since our PTA was adopting a food theme for their membership campaign last fall, and I was trying to think of ways to incorporate food into the art curriculum, I thought I'd see what I could do with beets.

Here's what I discovered: beets are not good for dying fabric, as the color rinses out. BUT, beets do a great job of staining paper! You can cut beet slices into shapes and arrange them on paper...flower petal shapes, for instance, arranged radially. Push down on them and remove, and--voila!--you have a magenta "flower" print! You can also pick up a piece of beet and "draw" with it, though it might crumble and leave little beet bits to deal with. You can push your finger onto the surface of a beet slice and then create a finger print on your paper. You can paint with the juice from a can of beets.

Beets and beet juice work well with paper masks and stencils. So...without further ado, I introduce to you the one Valentine I have made so far this year--and it's all thanks to a can of beets and my handy-dandy Micro Mini taklon fan brush (from the set I mentioned a recent post).

Heart Beet, Zentangle-style! I cut a heart-shaped mask out of paper,
and then used the fan brush to apply beet juice from the edge of the
mask outward onto the tile...a reverse stencil.
It left a white heart defined in the center, which I was more than
happy to tangle!
Once I had a few beet-stained heart tiles, I threw them in a baggie to keep handy as I ran my errands yesterday. Not much time for tangling, with one exception: I created this at the hair salon as I was getting some highlights--a rare treat for me, as I only go for color once every 2 or 3 years! I was eager to add shading (to my design...and maybe some lowlights to my hair?!) but sadly I had not brought a pencil with me. I would've added them once I got home (shadows on the tile, not lowlights in my hair!), but I left the tile for my stylist. She deserved it for all the attention she gave me--getting color work freaks me out a bit, and I'm not never quite sure how to verbalize effectively what I want. She actually highlighted my hair, washed it, blew it out, and then graciusly did it all over again because I wasn't quite happy; it was too subtle, and I wanted to see a bigger difference. I was much happier with the second outcome. Thank you, Tonya!
So...did my husband notice my highlights? No.
My kids? No. But one of my dearest friends at work noticed right when she saw me today. Thank you, Erin!

Perhaps I'll have time to complete a few more Valentines. It's always a nice day for a Valentine, isn't it?!

Let me know if YOU do any beet-work! (Or what you think about mine.)


  1. lovely!!! looks like your heart beets to a different"tangler" :)

  2. Very cool. Thanks for sharing. My DD wants to grow beats this year. Now I know what we will do with them :-)

  3. Very clever, Amy! Lovely tile too!

  4. LOL, Nancy! Thanks for word play!
    That's cool Cris! My DD talked me into growing tomatoes last summer. They took over the deck, and we were annoyed by the slugs who'd take just a taste, and then leave a perfectly good tomato to rot, but it was worth it whenever we added one of our homegrowns to a salad, a sandwich, or just savored it by itself.
    Sue, I LOVE "clever" and strive for it, but so rarely achieve it...I am honored by your response! Thank you!
    If I can get caught up on other things, I hope to post more HeartBeets soon!

  5. Absolutely beautiful tile and you've inspired me to try something new! See, inspiration all around! My husband never notices when I get highlights put in my hair either. Last time it took him four days before he FINALLY asked "did you do something to your hair?" and he'd been waiting in the car when I had it done! Men!!!