Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I wasn't quite expecting this much snow!

So there I was  going to bed round 3am - for I truly am a night owl - on November 1st watching a flake or two falling gaily from the sky amidst rain and sleet and checking the weather forecast which was saying 5 to 8 inches of snow the next day thinking maybe they were wrong. Nope - it appears, as you can see from my pictures, that I was the one who was wrong. I awoke next morning to see a blizzard in full swing ready to turn into a maelstrom of wild winds and accumulating heavy, wet, snowman snow! Luckily I had fired up my camera just before the power went off at noonish November 2nd only to return two days later with the internet not coming on for another 12 hours. It was wild but awfully pretty and very The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe-y.

Here's the storm gearing up:
 and in full swing...
Before the storm began I was worried these last 2 of a very meagre crops of apples wouldn't make it through....
- I should have worried about the trees themselves - two of which lost large limbs but are still standing old and proud. We were lucky as we saw when we drove into town, so many limbs were down and the clean up is still continuing.
The day after the storm was bright and sunny and almost balmy. 
the roads were perfectly clear and it was so strange to see so many trees still with leaves and colour against the snow
Luckily we had our sturdy old wood stove to keep us warm and toasty, she heated the house and provided a way to cook for the couple of days we were without power.
Maybe winter is already over?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'd really appreciate your vote for my 2015 Tea Towel design at Spoonflower!

This is the Tea Towel layout I just created for this weeks design challenge over at Spoonflower and I'd really appreciate your vote if you have a couple of minutes. I can't tell you where my design appears in the line up as the layout is shuffled  for each voter and you can vote for as many designs as you like. 
So please click HERE to vote and my sincere thanks in advance.
Here is the design as it will appear at the competition to make it easier to recognize - thanks!!:
From November 6th through 11th you'll be able to purchase 2 fat quarters for the price of one so you can have two of my tea towels for the price of one - of course once you receive your fabric purchase you will have to cut and hem to make the tea towel but it's a nice easy rectangle to do.

I created this design from motifs I originally painted by hand in watercolour and have used it in other applications in both my Spoonflower shop where it is called COTTAGE GINGHAM - as an allover design:
and here is a design created specifically as a fat quarter to be used for, perhaps, a handmade bag:
And here is how I altered the motifs for my Society6 shop:

Many thanks for your vote!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Free worldwide shipping from my Society6 shop until October 26th - yea!!!

Hooray - there's free worldwide shipping on most of the items in my print on demand online Society6 shop until October 26th!! The only items that are NOT eligible for this offer are framed prints, stretched canvases and rugs but nowadays even the pillows with inserts are shipped for free - isn't that marvellous!!

I just added Blue Rhapsody on white to my coterie of designs over there so please bob on along to enjoy the free shipping via

Thanks ever so much for supporting me and my work through your purchases - it warms the cockles of my heart and thrills me to the bottom of my little cotton socks.


Oops - on my last blogpost I said a Pear and Ginger Cake recipe would be up next - sorry, this offer popped up in the meantime - the nice, sticky, stodgy cake will be coming along in the next couple of days! Stay tuned!

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.

STAY TUNED and please consider following me on
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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