A New Header …

As you can see, I’ve changed the header to my blog. This painting was done yesterday, my aim being to paint something that would fit with the shape of this blog style’s header. I was also keen to move on to the next part of the ‘sketchbook challenge’ that I’m working my way through. Habitats are the theme of the next chapter, I stuck safely to the idea of human habitats with my first painting for this theme but am looking forward to researching other habitat types and forms over the next week or so:

Habitats part 1

Food, Flowers and Photographs …

Heston Blumenthal is a chef who’s programmes I enjoy to watch but who’s food I would never dream of attempting, that is, until I bought a copy of his ‘Heston Blumenthal at Home’ book. There are very few gadgets that he recommends that a home cook would not ordinarily have at their disposal. Some of his ingredients are however a little trickier to nail down.

I decided to choose a couple of simple dishes to begin with. Even though these appeared simple, there were an unbelievable number of steps to work through. I really tried to do exactly as he said and on the whole, it all turned out quite well.

We began with a Sea Bass and Vanilla Butter dish, served with mashed potato, steamed broccoli and slow cooked Butter Carrots:

Sea Bass and Vanilla ButterThe vanilla butter was not at all sweet and it didn’t overpower the taste of the sea bass. We could have licked our plates clean at the end, it was so tasty!

To follow, we had a Lemon Tart. I never knew that pastry could be to complex both in terms of its ingredients and its method (various chilling and freezing steps along the way). The taste however was incredible:

Lemon TartHeston’s recipes are a real treat, a feast for the the eyes as well as the stomach. Definitely a recipe book for lazy weekends where there is nothing planned other than to cook.

Mushroom Risotto is a real favourite for both myself and my husband, it is however something that our boys look upon with absolute horror! The boys had a friend staying for a sleepover last night, so I decided to cook twice – pizza and chips for them, delicious mushroom risotto for us:

Mushroom RisottoRecycling is very on trend at the moment and I sometimes look enviously at how people have managed to up-cycle items that would otherwise have been thrown away. My very small attempt at up-cycling this week was to use coffee tins as pots – one for flat leaf parsley and another for daffodils, given to me earlier in the week by a friend:

The cardboard seed trays contain chilli seeds – I’m not at all good at keeping chilli plants alive but so far we have 9 seedlings, hopefully a few more will appear and from them I hope to get at least one to ‘fruiting’!

The daffodils that yesterday were all in tight buds, are now just starting to open:

Sunlight streaming through the windows this morning, beautifully diffused through these paper hearts that hang from the light in our dining room:

Knitting in front of the tv in the evenings has become a bit of a habit, my boys are rapidly getting used to the sounds of their favourite shows being accompanied by a rhythmic ‘clackety-clack’. I’m currently knitting yet another scarf (or maybe snood), however, this is one that I started at the beginning of the week and it will be ready for me to wear next week, at a friend’s funeral. The wool is black, grey and teal, the latter being one of her favourite colours, I will post about it (in colour) once it’s finished:

This final photo makes me smile. Even though we don’t ‘do’ Valentines Day, me and my husband both managed to buy each other the same valentine cards:

A Splash of Colour …

A very dear and loving friend sadly passed away last saturday. I met up with some mutual friends on wednesday evening, we form a very informal book group, so informal that we don’t always manage to talk about the book we’ve all been reading. Anyway, this week we met up to talk about Leslie, to remember happier times.

Leslie was incredibly elegant, she was one of those people who was able to drape clothes  where the rest of us would simply wear them. She loved colour too, this flamingo painting that I did earlier this week is in a small way, reminiscent of her – she would find it really amusing to be compared to such a bird!!

Flamingo

In a Tangle …

I had a go at a ‘zentangle’ today. I did some research first, to make sure I had a t least a vague idea of what I was supposed to be doing. Zentangles, it seems, can be any kind of repetitive pattern. These patterns look even more effective when they are put together. I was determined to leave some blank space on my paper, I was also adamant that when painting some of the patterns, I would leave some of them white.

As you can see, I failed on both counts:

ZentangleThis was done in my watercolour book, as part of my ‘sketchbook challenge’. Circles were once again the theme. I really enjoyed doing this today.

Going Round in Circles …

 

 


I’ve been inspired by the ‘Sketchbook Challenge’ by Sue Bleiweiss. I have a watercolour book which will serve as my sketch book as I intend to watercolour my way through her challenges. The first challenge is entitled ‘Circles’ and I decided to begin with some simple flowers made with circles:

Flower CirclesI also had a go at something similar on ‘artboard’ :

circlesWhilst I do prefer the more random nature of the freehand watercolour, I enjoyed using artboard as it enabled me to try a variety of colour palettes  – it was only once I had finished my trial run on artboard that I drew and subsequently painted the watercolour above.