Tulips, an Abstract …

Yet again I’ve been inspired by Rolina van Vliet. In her ‘Abstracts 50 Inspirational Projects’ she uses colour, shape and texture in an extraordinary way. I chose to follow her instructions for a simple design called ‘Flowers’. I looked particularly carefully at her use of colour and whilst I didn’t want to copy her colour scheme, I wanted to make mine similarly dramatic, hence the use of orange oil pastel in my painting of tulips:


Weathering the Storm …

We were incredibly lucky to have had an amazing holiday in North America during August this year. We had saved for a long time and were hopeful that the holiday would give us memories which would last us and our children, a lifetime. Our holiday surpassed our expectations on every level possible and it really saddened me today, to see the East coast of North America battered and bruised by hurricane Sandy.

I wanted to paint the Statue of Liberty again today, partly because I really wanted to have a painting to frame which would remind me of our holiday and partly so that I could spend some time thinking about our incredible trip, the places we visited and most importantly, the people we got to know and care for.

What began as a fairly bog-standard interpretation gradually became increasingly abstract the more sketches I drew. By my fourth sketch I knew that I would be painting an abstract, incorporating both Lady Liberty and hurricane Sandy, by the time I had completed my painting I dared to hope that I would have an image to frame:


A Savoury Sensation …

We had a lovely trip to Cardiff today, despite the rain. I went to one of my favourite shops –  ‘Lakeland‘ where they sell anything and everything food related. I looked through the cook books on display and one in particular caught my eye. It’s ‘How to Bake‘ by Paul Hollywood, he of the Great British Bake Off. I’ve picked up so many tips whilst watching both the series and the masterclasses that I thought I’d take a look inside his book. I was not disappointed! His main focus is definitely bread and savoury baking, although he does include cake baking in this book. There are so many recipes in this book that I’m impatient to try out – I was writing my shopping list whilst we were on the train, headed back to Bristol.

On returning home, I defrosted some organic bacon and some puff pastry (shop bought, I admit, but I was tight for time to get these ready for our tea tonight). I used these together with some grated mature cheddar cheese to make my version of Hollywood’s ‘Mozzarella and Bacon Bites’ – I didn’t have any mozzarella to hand and so had to improvise.

They really were delicious – the boys polished the lot off and have requested that I make them again and soon! Here’s how they looked:

I’m sure that other cheeses would work equally as well, they would also be interesting made with sausage meat.

Next on my list are the Moroccan Pasties and a Milk Loaf.


Treacle Treat …

I’m looking forward to tucking in to this treacle tart later on this evening. It’s been the perfect afternoon for fogging up the kitchen with delicious baking smells and warmth. I’ll be serving this with custard, although not the home made, vanilla infused custard that I had planned, instead, the menfolk in my family have voted for good old fashioned ‘Birds’ custard!

I used the recipe from the ‘Great British Bake Off Showstopper’ book and think it’s turned out looking really quite yummy:

Retro Owl …

I had fun painting this little guy yesterday. He’s a bit kitsch and a bit retro but I kind of like that. I chose to use leaves as feathers to give him an autumnal look and am pleased with how they turned out. Using ‘flare’ on my computer, I’ve transformed him using different effects:

Beautiful Birdcage …

I bought this about a month ago, from an antiques shop in Clifton, Bristol. I loved the intricate design and thought I could use it decoratively, at home. I’ve never had the confidence to buy anything antique before but was fairly confident that this would work. I considered threading through some battery powered fairy lights but in the end decided on candles. I’m glad I did – yesterday was the first time they were lit and they cast a beautiful light around my kitchen. We are having a full-on proper cold snap at the moment but this made our home feel cosy and snug :

I particularly like the way my butterfly cutouts are highlighted although one did make the ultimate sacrifice as it is the one attached to the very top of the cage, which became quite hot, the glue melted and it tumbled to its fiery fate!

Coincidentally, this morning when I was catching up with blogs and twitter feeds I saw Bec at Clouds of Colour’s recent post which is an ink and watercolour print of a birdcage. Take a look at her website and her etsy shop, I’m sure you’ll love them.

Two Posts in One Day …

A sure sign it’s the school holidays!

This first painting is a much larger version of tree & owl combinations. I did initially try a different colour scheme but really didn’t like it, so I reverted to one similar to one I’ve used before, only this time I graduated the colour from the base of the painting to the top:

This next painting had bobbing boats at Bristol docks as its inspiration, my oldest son had a sailing lesson recently on the orange one :