Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en 2010!!

Enjoy my little photo montage of Hallowe'en 2010
 My 'mandala' pumpkin design....
I started off by enlarging a geometric layout I did a while ago for a handmade rug and printed it out on the draft setting so as not to waste precious know how that goes. James loaned me a nice punching implement and I punched little holes through the outline of the design to give me the 'bones' to work on when I started to carve the pumpkin proper.
Here I am beginning the carving and not knowing where the heck this design is taking me...I haven't carved before only cut right  through the pumpkin to make cute faces etc. James keeps telling me as I use another of his tools..."Don't cut towards your fingers or you'll be sorry!!" I listened for once in my life and made it through with narry a blemish.
The finished you can see an old friend from last Hallowe'en has joined us...Pumpkin Boy 2009...see him in his youth in the pic two below.
I couldn't decided which picture I preferred more - the one above or below so I posted both...isn't the reflection on the table suitably spooky??
What a difference a year makes...'Pumpkin Boy' has really deteriorated in this last year...out in all weathers and living hard, I hope my looks don't go this fast!!
An appropriately 'thorny' Fall/Autumn picture from the world outside today...
HAPPY HALLOWE'EN...don't eat too much candy!!

"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."

from Mr. Shakespeare

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Green Hive Honey Farm Label Design

Just recently I was asked by Magy and Clay King of Green Hive Honey in Camden Maine to design a label/logo for their delicious honey. How could I refuse when A. I was asked so nicely and B. they wanted a design with a pink background with gold foil accents and complementary fondant icing colours and C. I love tell me that doesn't sound like a dream job for yours truly...lover of pink and all things sweet??

So I betook myself to the place where their honey is made and availed myself of these photographs for visual inspiration.Above you see the Green Hive Honey bees doing their job...buzzing and dancing and busying their days away in their idyllic environment not far from the town centre of Camden, Maine.....
This is a corner of the garden where they do their work and make oodles of delicious amber coloured honey which is lovingly extracted by mechanical means from the comb.

"Organically raised “girls” busily buzz in
orchards, fields, and gardens making
exquisite wildflower honey. Brought to you
straight from comb to jar, our raw, boutique
honey is nature’s purest gift from happy
bees. Never heated, thereby naturally
preserving the healing properties only honey

Just look at that deep amber beautiful, and I can vouch right now to how divinely this honey tastes....Magy and Clay gave me a jar to sample and inspire the muse - help get the creative juices a-flowing
And thus they flowed. I started the process by designing three separate but similar layouts, seen below in the order in which they came to be.

...and the final sketch and winner was....ta dah, not only Magy and Clay's favourite but mine too...I'm so glad they choose this design below, although having created them myself, and thus being ever so slightly biased in that regard, I would have been more than happy to move forward with any of the three.

And so the work begins on the layout.....
and continues with the watercolour paint-up with my trusty Winsor Newton Number 7 sable brushes, Winsor Newton watercolour paints and Arches watercolour of my creative life all.

And here below Ladies and Gentlemen the final label design...scanned, cleaned up and with a computer added pink ground and darker pink border...for who in their right mind wants to paint a pale pink ground around such a complex outline...not me for sure. I have learned my lesson with that in the past...put the grounds on after you have scanned the handiwork and make your life SO much easier.
The word Honey, the honeycomb and the central bee outline will all 'bee' in gold foil on the finished labels...won't that be divine?

This design is already available in the Green Hive Honey Farm Cafe Press Store and will soon be available as archival prints from the Green Hive Honey Farm Etsy shop along with jars of the glorious honey. I'll post on My and Green Hive Honey's Fan pages when the Etsy shop is ready for business.

My sincere thanks to Magy and Clay King for being so gracious and easy to work was my delight!! Now I must find a British dessert with honey as the featured ingredient and do a blog post on that...suggestions anyone?

And now to the Bee Loud Glade with you!!

The Lake Isle Of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core. 
 Buzz Buzz everyone!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Windfall Apple Pie Pudding for Great Maine Apple Day October 23rd....yum!!!

Above you can see the apple trees my windfalls came from .......what's weird is that I realized today that both the red apples and the yellow apples both came from the same tree...the one on the left above...the red apples are growing on one side of the tree the yellow ones on the opposite...I have never seen this before!!
 Anyhow...once I had gotten over this bizarre fact I gathered myself some of the yellow windfalls and proceeded to avail myself of a delicious recipe called "Baked Apple Pudding" which I have renamed "Windfall Apple Pie Pudding". I began by roasting a whole bunch of the apples in the wood burning stove and then, when they had popped and were soft and fluffy and cool, I pushed them through a fine sieve. I ended up with about 3/4 cup/6 ozs of nice, dense apple pulp from 10 apples cut into quarters and cored...I roasted them in a little melted butter and a smattering of sugar for added flavour. You could perhaps use apple sauce for this dessert but it may be too at a pinch you could heat the sauce in a pan and stir continuously to dry it out a bit....maybe??

Windfall Apple Pie Pudding from "Good Things in England" by Florence White
A recipe that has been in the Randolph family of Wyndham since 1740!!

Piecrust...Pate Brisee by Martha
Pre-heat oven to 425F

1 1/4 cups/5ozs of white flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick (4ozs) butter I always use salted, VERY cold
1/8 to 1/4 cup ice cold water
1. Sift the flour
2. Grate the butter into the flour.
3. Gently work butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal.
4. Add some of the water and test to see if it comes together, if not keep adding water until the dough will squush into a non-sticky ball.
5. Put into the fridge to rest for at least one hour.
6. Take the pastry out of the fridge, allow to warm a very little, roll out nice and thin, then line an 8" tart pie...preferably with a removable base, I used two small oval pie dishes instead of one large and they worked well. Put back in the fridge for about another 20 minutes til nice and cold...the colder the better...I have found the colder it is before baking the less the pie shell will shrink in cooking.

Pie Filling:
3/4 lb/ 6ozs apple pulp obtained as above
3 heaped tablespoons sugar
1 whole egg plus one yolk well whisked together
2ozs/ 1/2 stick salted butter
zest from one lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon
Grated nutmeg to finish

1. Add sugar to pulp.
2. Add lemon zest and juice and stir well.
3. Add eggs and mix.
4. Add melted butter and mix really well.
Pour into prepared pastry shell and bake for about 40 minutes at about 425F...the instructions in the recipe book were as follows "Bake in a good oven for 1/2 hour".....until your pie looks like the one below, below!! Directly beneath is the pie ready to go into the 'good' oven

 The pie turned out REALLY tastes somewhat like a lemon meringue pie with added apple sauce and its kinda like a pumpkin pie with no pumpkin!!

Some more Fall/Autumn Maine colour for you all to enjoy....
 Dried Pee Gee Hydrangeas.....

and a leafy lane...

 ...more glowing beauty...again in Grove Cemetery, Belfast
...and also in a cemetery on the back lanes

Happy Baking and Happy Great Maine Apple Day...use your windfalls well!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A beautiful Sunday afternoon in Belfast Maine....mostly at Grove Cemetery

 The Big Blow has wambled through Maine. I was worried it would leave the trees bereft of leaves and gladly I was wrong...the beauty continues - as you can see here.

All of these photographs are available as archival prints on watercolour paper in sizes up to 13" x 19". Please e-mail me for more details...thanks!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tea and Toast for a Wild and Wooly Day in Maine!!

It's definitely the kind of day you need to sit by the crackling fire and avail yourself of lashings of hot tea and buttered toast!! The wind is howling and rain is beating against the tea and toast are ready and the wee puppies are slumbering peacefully by the fire. A Nor'easter is blowing wild outside and any minute now the electricity may go off so I need to get this post up pretty sharpish.
Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
Fred and Eleanor happy as Larry by the humming wood stove....ahhhhhhh!!

 Above and below are scenes from yesterday's calm and beauty before the blow set in....I cannot resist taking pictures up into the tree branches...someone stop me please!!!

 And a view from the top of Blueberry Hill.....looking west

 A view from the front yard across the street
And another view from the top of Blueberry Hill looking "up" Down East...go figure that one out if you don't live here!!

Hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are.....and enjoy your tea and toast!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reflections of Maine

 Ooooooh la la!!! What can I's beautiful out there!!!

You can order any or all of these photographs as large format (13" x 19") archival prints on watercolour paper...just e-mail and ask for details.