Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Fern Treasury

I have just made a new treasury on Etsy. It is a beautiful collection of artworks inspired by ferns. I have chosen a variety of lovely works including jewellery, photographs, prints, pottery and fabrics. I really hope you like them : )

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Inspiration : Gardening Books 1

In a past life I studied as, and was very briefly, a landscape architect, but that is another story!

Anyway, I have always enjoyed gardening, so here are a few of my favourite books. There are rather a lot, so I have made 2 sections to the blog.

'The Gardens of Gertrude Jeckyll' by Richard Bisgrove. I love Jeckyll gardens, especially Hestercombe in Somerset (see photo), which for many years was restored and maintained the local fire brigade. This book shows the best work of this 20th-century garden designer. It contains planting plans, watercolours and beautiful photographs. 

'Family Gardens' by Bunny Guinness. This is so inspiring and really shows how plants can be used  to create numerous, safe play environments for children. Projects include tree-houses, cable runways, paddling pools and teepees.

'The Garden at Highgrove' by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and Candida Lycett Green is a real must have. The book is all about the twenty years in which The Prince has transformed the beautiful gardens. Stunning photographs help depict his many organic principles and ideals. Ian and I were very fortunate to join a 'Champagne Tea Tour' (you might like the old news about our visit), as part of my 50th birthday celebrations.

I am completely biased when it comes to Highgrove, because of this rather lovely letter that I received earlier this year from H.R.H. The Prince of Wales. I am SO proud of it!

More in the 'Inspirational' series -

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

My Favourite Artists - Allen Moe

I thought I would do a series of blogs on my favourite artists. My first is Allen Moe. I love all his work but particularly like his bowls and castings.

Here is a great video of his making his art.

I would love to hear about your favourite artists.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Favourite Recipes - Chicken in white wine

I decided to make another series of blogs. This time it is my favourite recipes. I am afraid it is imperial (that is my age, I am afraid)!

This is a good, reliable recipe that you can make in advance and heat-up when you need it. My style of cooking is to prepare as much as possible ahead of time to avoid any unnecessary stress! I used to cooked it for dinner parties when we had folks around or staying. As the family grew-up it became a good supper dish.

It is a variation of Fanny Cradock's recipe 'Poulet Forestière'! Sounds very grand.

Johnnie and Fanny - A blast from the past!

'Chicken in White Wine'

8 Chicken Breasts

8  Rashers of Bacon (wider the better)
½ lb Mushrooms (sliced)
4oz Butter
2oz Flour
¼pt Dry White Wine
¼pt Double Cream
Salt and Pepper

Skin the chicken and make little parcels. Lay a piece of bacon on a chopping board, then a few slices of mushrooms, then the chicken and add some more mushroom slices, then season. Now  wrap the ends of the bacon around the chicken and place join down in a casserole dish. Spread with butter, the rest of the mushrooms and cover.

Cook 400°F for 40 minutes. Carefully strain off liquor into saucepan. Bring to boil and add flour. Cook paste for 3 minutes and add wine and cream. Pour over chicken and return to oven until ready to serve.

Really nice with celeriac mash and mixed salad.

I will hopefully add a photo of the finished dish when I make it next.

Hope you like it. 

Do you know any other good chicken recipes?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Inspirational : Myths & Legends

I love anything mythical, especially old English folklore. I was born, and live, on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border and still live on what is left of my Dad's farm. There are many local tales about faeries in the woods and legends of dragons living in the hills between us and Wales.

I am very fond of all my recommendations in this post.

'Faeries' by Brian Froud is the first of his books that I bought. I also really like 'Good Faeries Bad Faeries' by Brian Froud. I have the old copy but this is a link to the newer book. I adore the way Froud mixes font and pictures and have included a few copies of pages to give you more of a proper feel. They are magical books exploring many mythical creatures, both good and bad in the faerie kingdom.

'Fairie-ality: The Ellwand Collection' by Eugenie  Bird. This is such a joy to own and is so beautiful. If you follow the link, there is a wonderful website about the book. It is a collection of enchanting faerie outfits with nearly 150 creations. They include dresses, jackets, trousers, shoes and hats all made materials from nature. There are fantastic photographs and illustrations throughout.

'Trolls' by Brian and Wendy Froud, is another big favourite of mine. I was given it last Christmas and instantly fell in love. It is a large book exploring everything about the magic world of trolls.

My final book is 'Dragonology' by Dugald Steer, Helen Ward and Douglas Carrel. This is a collection of the long-lost research of the ninetieth century dragonologist Dr Ernest Drake. It is a very interactive book including samples, booklets and envelopes. 

Do you have a favourite mythical book?

More in the 'Inspirational' series -

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Etsy Treasuries

I love making 'Treasuries' on Etsy. I really like to have nature as my theme. My  personal favourites are 'Cones', 'Antler 2', 'Raven 2', 'Octopus' and 'Shell 2'.

These are photos of some of my 'Treasuries'.

If you make treasuries, I would love to see them please.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Inspirational : Work books (Not ceramics)

These are more books that have inspired me. There are quite a few, but I could not decide which to choose!

'The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes' by Christopher James. At college, I really enjoyed 'Experimental Photography'. This is a brilliant book that explains and covers many of the early photographic processes. 

 'Three-dimensional Embroidery' by Janet Edmonds is a very inspiring book. It is packed with original ideas for unique textiles.I do not not normally enjoy textiles but after doing a module way back at university, I became much more interested.

Another beautiful textile book is 'The Art & Embroidery of Jane Hall'. This is a wonderful, unique book with a combination of art, photography and prose written by a textile artist about the natural world that inspires her.

'Handmade Baskets from nature's colourful materials' by Susie Vaughan. I went on a basket making weekend a few years ago and it was brilliant. The lady running it recommended this book. It is fantastic and very inspiring. The book shows you step by step how to make a range of beautiful baskets.

'Jewellery Making A Complete Course for Beginners' by Jinks McGrath is an amazing book. I am about to experiment with making jewellery, after a customer asked. I will keep you posted on the results. I adore this book and have just started to read it but have fallen in love.

My final book is 'The Women's Institute Book of Country Crafts'. Although no longer in print, I really like this old book and how it explains everything in great detail. The book covers making corn dollies, spinning, dyeing and weaving and basketry. 

I really hope you like some of them and find something that grabs you too : )

What would you recommend?

Other blogs in the 'Inspirational' series -