Sunday, October 19, 2014

The pretty Autumn fields of Maine

A glowing vignette
 We have had a recent run of absolutely beautiful temperate weather here in Maine. The day time temperatures have been as high as 74F and it has been so very pleasant being outdoors enjoying the last vestiges of the summer like weather. Plus it made taking in the wood to keep us warm this coming winter so much easier to achieve.

But the autumn/fall in Maine is not just about the brilliant colours of red, orange and yellow but also the lovely muted, antique, dreamlike russets, greyed whites, pale yellows and dark tracery of naked branches and veins on the leaves.
Ghostly white leaves - pretty against the backdrop of russets
Checkerboard leaves - lovely colours - I wonder what they are?
I love the tumble and tumult of the speckled, sprinkly fields

 And of course we cannot leave out the young maple leaves that turn such a pretty, almost ghostly pink....

 I leave you though with some of the glowing autumn colours we think of when we think of "Fall in New England"

I hope you are enjoying your season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Next up on my blog will be a luscious, sticky, stodgy Pear and Ginger Cake that just screams out for lashings of custard.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

FREE Worldwide Shipping from my SPOONFLOWER shop - fabric , wallpaper and wrapping paper

For one day only!

Monday October 13th 9am east coast
Tuesday October 14th 9am east coast

from my
SPOONFLOWER SHOP on fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper in all my #PatriciaSheaDesigns designs!

The glimmer glow of Autumn continues...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Prune, Ginger and Lemon Teacake and a new pink design at Society6

Ahhhh - lovely, delicious, delightful Prune, Ginger and Lemon Teacake - what a wholesome and satisfying treat on a cosy autumn day. The poor beleaguered fruit known as 'prune' is a star in this tangy, spicy sweet, fruit cake - I love prunes and always wonder why they have such a bad reputation - maybe 'they' are on to something by trying to change the name to dried plums?

If you are a fan of light fruit cakes then get thee to the kitchen pronto, and best to have all your ingredients at room temp!

This recipe is for my usual 6 inch cake - you can double for a 9" pan but will have to bake longer and check more often for 'doneness'
First you must start by soaking your prunes in good strong tea - I use Earl Grey for that extra lovely, flowery bergamot flavour - but use whichever tea you like.

5 ounces of prunes chopped into 1/2 inch chunks - don't chop too fine or they will turn to mush in the hot tea.

4 fluid ounces strong tea 

1. Put the two together in a small saucepan and heat through 'til almost bubbling for a few minutes - maybe three - then allow to cool completely

Pre heat the oven to 350F, butter and line with parchment paper a small, tall 6" diameter baking pan lightly rebutter the parchment after lining the pan. 
5oz white flour/ 1 1/4 cups with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda whisked in 

2oz/ 1/2 stick salted butter
I always use salted but you can use unsalted if you prefer

3oz chopped crystallized ginger

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

2 tablespoons freshly chopped lemon zest - chopped works better in this recipe better than grated - the slight tooth gives an added dimension

4 oz / slightly mounded half cup sugar

1 egg lightly beaten

1. Cream butter and sugar 'til light and fluffy .

2. Add egg in three goes and beat each time to incorporate fully.

3. Fold flour and baking soda in in two goes until well blended and smooth.

4. Fold in the prunes with tea, blend, fold in the lemon zest and two gingers and blend.
5. Dollop the thick batter into your prepared pan and smooth over.

6. Pop into the pre heated oven and bake for 45 mins, then add a parchment or foil hat over the cake to stop it from burning and bake for another 30 mins checking at 15 mins for doneness with a toothpick which should come out of the cake clean after being deftly plunged into the centre of the cake. When the toothpick comes out clean your cake is done.

Mine did sink a little in the middle after it came out of the oven but it was fine - not sticky in the middle at all.
Allow the cake to cool for about 15 mins before removing from the pan to a cooling rack - allow to cool completely before eating.

This is definitely one of those improves with age cakes so if you can wait til the second day the flavours will have married to a point of complete perfection.

Get the kettle on!!!

If you are interested in the watercolour blue and white gingham fabric pictured above you can find it in my Spoonflower shop HERE
and the Homespun Patchwork design - in fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper too, is available HERE

Usually I flip flop my posts between design and recipes but this time I am combining the two.

My latest design to be added to my print on demand online Society6 shop, I give you Country Days Patchwork on Pink - if you know my work you know how much I love the colour pink :)
To this design in my Society6 shop HERE
I don't know why I love painting patchwork designs in watercolour but I do, there's something very satisfying about it for me. I originally created the motifs in this design for a competition at Spoonflower - here is a LINK to that design in a different format.

And here is my new design on various items in my shop with links below to the individual product:
To the iPhone (including iPhone6) and Samsung Galaxy cases click HERE
To the Country Days on Pink mug HERE
To the shower curtain HERE
To the Country Days Patchwork on Pink tote bag HERE
I hope you are having a wonderful Fall/Autumn thus far - we have had some glorious days in Maine and I do hope they continue for a while longer. If you bake my cake please feel free to be in touch and let me know how it came out - you can post pics of such on my Facebook page HERE

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Summer into Autumn Pudding with Wild Maine Blueberries

After not one, not two but three recent blueberries fails I decided to go for something so simple it couldn't go wrong and a recipe which would showcase the humble, subtle blueberry instead of overwhelm it. The flavour is so elusive it can easily get lost in a recipe - or so I have found.

So how does one go from this humble punnet of organic wild Maine blueberries fresh from Bahner Farm....
to this glowing violet delight...
It's easy with just some slices of bread, sugar, the addition of apples and a few hours of patience. Let me tell you how!

12 ounces of blueberries  - preferably wild Maine ones
2 tasty apples - sweet or tart your choice - I go with tart because I like a little tang

4oz / 1/2 cup of sugar

about 4/5 slices of good white bread...something with a bit of backbone not the squushy stuff

THAT'S IT for the ingredients!!...well and also some lightly sweetened whipped cream to finish. 

FYI my pudding bowl is quite small - 3 cup size, 4" tall with a 6" diameter - enough for 4 genteel servings or 2 normal Patricia and James sized servings!

1. Peel and grate the apples into a small pan with some water and sugar, or not, to taste and cook until soft - some apples will turn to sauce others will retain their structure - either is fine for this recipe. Allow to cool.
2. Combine the blueberries and sugar in a heavy pan and bring to a slight boil, stir gently and simmer for a few minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

  3. Cut the crusts off the white bread slices and line a medium sized pudding bowl with them...I did this in a rather haphazard manner but if you are somewhat organized you can cut the bread into triangles and apparently that'll make your life easier with the fitting of the curves, leaving no gaps and saving one slice each for the middle of the pudding and one to top the pudding with.
3. Spoon half the berries and stewed apples with juice into the lined pudding basin, then add some of the crusts if you like - or just the fruit is good - I found the crusts gave a little more structure and were delicious...
4. Tear a circle of bread to fit into the half filled pudding... 
5. Fill with the rest of the fruit - save a bit of the juice...tear another bigger circle for the top of the pudding...
6. Pour the final juices over the pudding.
7. Now find a saucer - or the bottom of a flat bowl that fits the top of the pudding and a weighty thing like a jar of beans and set these atop the pudding thus:
 8. Pop into the 'fridge overnight.

9. Take the pudding out of the fridge a few hours before you want to serve it - it really does taste a LOT better if it is at room temperature and when you are ready run a knife around the outside of the pudding to release it from the bowl - you may have to do a fair bit of wiggling to get it out after it's been weighted overnight but finally you should get this:
 Now whip up some cream with sugar to taste, or just use pouring cream over your lovely violet pudding and enjoy this great little treasure.

This is a fun pudding to make - a very old
fashioned and traditional British pudding - other than using blueberries and apples - that's not at all traditional - forgive me dear purists!! It is quiet in flavour but quite miraculous in the transformation of so few simple ingredients to such a whacky looking dessert - you will impress your friends with it's look alone.
Have a lovely Labor Day/Bank Holiday weekend and let me know if you make this pudding - please feel free to post pics of such on my FACEBOOK PAGE - thanks!!

If you like my gingham fabric in the pictures here is the LINK to it in my Spoonflower shop.

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Here's a link to my traditional SUMMER PUDDING

Sunday, August 10, 2014

American Made Eco Canvas and Woven peel and stick wallpaper now available in my Spoonflower shop

Spoonflower just recently added Eco-Canvas to their list of new fabrics available in my print on demand online SHOP 
so all 56 of my various designs can now be ordered in this US made durable material.
"Eco Canvas is a heavyweight 100% polyester canvas made with 45% recycled content. It's perfect for those projects that require a sturdy, durable fabric. This fabric features bold and vivid colors that hold up great to multiple washings. Eco Canvas is ideal for upholstery, home decor and bag projects.
 It is: 100% polyester: 45% recycled content, plain weave
54" wide printable area (137 cm)
8.7 oz per square yard
Estimated shrinkage: 1%
Produced in the U.S.
Appropriate for backpacks, totes, storage bins, chair seats, sofas, ottomans, plushies, play mats, kids shoes and “jean” jackets
Testing is recommended when the printed fabric will be exposed to heavy abrasion and wear.

Wash separately in cool or warm water using a gentle machine cycle. Machine dry using a low temperature or permanent press setting and remove promptly to avoid wrinkles. If required, use an iron with a light touch on a synthetic setting only."
 Please send along pictures of any items you make with this wonderful new fabric or you can post them on my Facebook page HERE

And Spoonflower also just added a Woven Peel and Stick wallpaper too:
"Woven Peel and Stick wallpaper is a woven polyester fabric with an adhesive backing. It is removable (and repositionable) making it great for covering walls and an array of craft and decorating projects. Peel and Stick is easy to cut, customize, and install onto any smooth surface, making it perfect for accent walls, cut and stick decals, and quick decor updates.

100% opaque white polyester woven with adhesive backing
24 inches (61 cm) wide
Length is customizable starting at 12 inches (30.48 cm)
Eco-friendly and formaldehyde-, phthalate-, and PVC-free
To install, simply peel and stick
Easily removable and repositionable: perfect for kids’ rooms and rentals
Appropriate as wallpaper, drawer liners, shelf liners, wall decals, craft and home dec projects."

Plus I just added this new skirt to my Art of Where shop and am working on the co-ordinated capris and leggings:

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Next up is a Maine wild blueberry recipe for this year's harvest.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cottage Chic Gingham and a flurry of activity in my online shops!

Pillow and iPhone 5S case from COTTAGE CHIC GINGHAM, clock and iPad case from COTTAGE CHIC GINGHAM II
The last few weeks have seen quite the busy bee of activity in my online shops from the addition of new textile allover designs and placement prints at my SPOONFLOWER shop, to new products at my SOCIETY6 shop and, most excitingly of all a new venture shop for wonderful spandex leggings and skirts at ARTofWHERE
which I am just starting to populate with my designs.

I cannot express how wildly thrilled I am at the burgeoning world of print on demand and the possibilities it holds for little old me!! That I can create capri's, leggings and skirts from really nice Canadian made spandex at ArtofWhere makes me jump over the moon with glee. I am chomping at the bit to really get some dynamic placement prints up there. Here's a mini taste test started with my newly created Cottage Chic Gingham design - a fresh country retro jolt of rustic modern.
As a former textile designer for the home decor and fashion industries in New York I now have the delight and fantastic freedom of creating my own self-art-directed designs for my own little coterie of online stores - I am chuffed (pleased) to bits I cannot deny. And another aspect of our wonderful new instant access interwebzz world is how easily a customer/client can be in touch with me via this blog, Facebook or Twitter to ask me for a special request - if you like a textile design in my Spoonflower shop but would like the scale reduced (smaller is always easier than larger) or a colour changed - that can be tricky but sometimes it is doable  - you can ask me and I will, if possible, make your wish my happy command - if you see a design in one shop but would like it on an item at another shop - you get it - just ask and if it works for me I'll do it for you, and pretty sharpish too!

 So now when I create a new design, such as Cottage Chic Gingham, I have to take into consideration the very largest of formats I will be applying my new design to - right now that would be the wondrous new duvet covers at Society6

Until August 10th you can get free worldwide shipping (that applies to most items in my shop (there'll be a note next to the items that are eligible) PLUS $10 off each duvet cover with the following

Biker tanks are also new at SOCIETY6 - and I like the contrast of biker with cottage chic thus:

I also have to consider that I'll need allover repeating designs for Spoonflower for fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper and then many differently sized and shaped placement prints that should work perfectly for each of the different products I now have available for sale from Samsung Galaxy S5 cases to laptop skins, mugs, rugs and apparel. 
Cottage Chic Gingham allover repeat - which contains within it the beginnings of all the placement prints.

BTW I have entered a "Call for Art" with my Cottage Chic Gingham so keep your fingers crossed for me - thanks!

 Because of the vicissitudes of digital printing I have to scan my work, which is created by hand in watercolour on paper, at very high resolutions in order to be able to use my work for large scale applications, so I start with the largest and then work down to the smallest items - that being the smart phone cases. It is a fun, interesting and exciting process to do, somewhat akin to piecing a puzzle together - involving a little bit of Maths, and I am glad to say I just love every minute of it!

I have added a few other new designs to my Spoonflower shop - at the behest of a lovely customer I have created these following designs comprised of a striped collage  of other of my designs, which she is planning to sew into tote bags - they are  all designed to be a complete, self contained 'fat quarter' which is the size of the totes. I love that this customer wants such happy, wildly colorful and energetic designs - it was a fun project to work on and now all these prints are available to the public at large.
A placement version of Cottage Chic Gingham to use for a fat quarter tote bag - available HERE 
My "Europa" design combined with a hand painted plaid - click HERE to go to this design at Spoonflower
My "Alpen Rose" and "Lotus Mandala" designs combined - please click HERE to go to this design at Spoonflower
My Pink Cupcakes and and three pink ground fabrics combined - please click HERE to go to this design at Spoonflower
And perhaps whackiest of all my Rainbow Roosters on 4 different Heidi Folkloric designs to create 4 fat quarters in one yard - pretty eyeball boggling perhaps? Click HERE to go to the fabric page.
The last 2 designs I have added in these busy weeks is Westminster Mandala - on white and black grounds respectively:
Which look pretty dynamic as wallpaper:
Westminster wallpaper on black
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