Flowers, Sheds and New Recipes …

This could possibly be the worlds most romantic gesture and I don’t think I’m exaggerating! Not only is my husband investing in a brand new shed (we thought our current one was going to collapse soon after we moved in here 12 years ago, we then thought it would collapse when we rotated it 90º a few years ago but it still held strong) but he has offered me a 50-50 share in it. He has spent much of the weekend clearing and sorting through our current shed, he has 3 weeks till the new one arrives and there’s lots to sort through. The plan is that I’ll be able to paint in there when it’s warm enough (might have to invest in a small heater …) instead of having to clear all my painting gear away from the table whenever we want to eat. Needless to say, I’ve had LOTS of ideas regarding the decor, something along the lines of my painting today springs to mind:

ShedWhether I manage to sneak in some bunting, fairy lights and flowers remains to be seen…

Last weekend, I bought a few new plants for the garden, there was such a lovely display of hellebores at the garden centre that I ended up buying three of them. I’ve not managed to take photos of them in colour that really do them justice, so I resorted to black and white, this is my favourite:

Despite forecasts of snow, there is definitely a sense of spring in the garden: For some reason (I am really not sure why, maybe just because I could) I threaded shells onto some string this week and hung them in the garden. We’ve collected hundreds of them over the years, each time we go to our favourite beaches in North Devon, we collect a few more. Anyway, at least they are seen displayed like this instead of being hidden away: I love the simplicity of these flowers:Food wise, we’ve tried out some new recipes this weekend. Yesterday, I made us a ‘Heston’ inspired dinner. We had home made pasta served with his take on a Carbonara Sauce. It was really tasty and as I had help with the pasta machine (from my youngest), it was really straightforward to make:
As the carbonara sauce required 6 egg yolks, I literally had no other option than to try Heston’s meringue recipe! The sugar in his recipe is half caster and half icing. The result was an incredibly smooth meringue mixture. I did then add some vanilla extract which wasn’t in Heston’s recipe but I do like it in meringues. We then added a spot of cream, raspberries, maltesers and really small marshmallows: 

 

Today, we had Pulled Pork served with a Spicy Sauce, Red Cabbage Slaw and Real Ale Bread Rolls (another Paul Hollywood recipe):

It was a delicious combination, we will be having the leftovers for our lunches over the coming days, it was a great way to use a slow roasted joint of pork.

 

Has Spring Sprung?

I ask because I’ve had an almost overwhelming urge to paint spring flowers. The garden seems to be coming back to life and there’s a real sense of winter coming to an end. How short-lived this will be remains to be seen, so it’s worth making the most of it while  it lasts.

To contain this floral urge, I’ve painted a snowdrop and a tulip. The snowdrop is inspired by a photo of such a flower in my mum’s garden. I drew a picture of it last night with my watercolour pencils, this afternoon, I painted a more traditional watercolour:

 

 

This tulip was inspired by some that I have on my kitchen windowsill:

 

Fun with Flora …

Having been pleasantly surprised by how the background to this blog looks now that it is framed, I decided to attempt another floral painting. Many of the plants that I have in my garden have interesting foliage, I’m not really a ‘flower’ kind of girl. That said, since I’ve been learning to paint (all of 7 months), I’ve been taking much more of an interest in the colours, shapes and patterns that I see all around me, this includes the few flowering plants that I have in my garden. This painting represents the hellebore plant that I have next to the steps in my front garden. The flower bed is higher than the path to my front door which affords me a gorgeous view of this beautiful flower each time I come home:

 

 

I know that this painting is not ‘botanically’ accurate, far from it in fact, but it does make me smile and it reminds me that Spring is just around the corner. If one of my paintings can do that for me then I’d class it as a success!