I thought I’d let you know I’ve opened a Spoonflower shop and have some of my designs available as fabric. I have a little collection called Lilium, which you can see below, as well as an assortment of some of my other patterns, and I have a few more I’ll be listing for sale in a few weeks. (See what I did there? I made the layouts look like plates from The Grammar of Ornament!) Anyway, you can visit my Spoonflower shop right here. I really love designing patterns and have other pattern-related projects simmering away that I’ll tell you about later. Patterns! Patterns!! Patterns!!!
How are you? I’m so happy about the lovely autumn weather and that daylight savings is over and I finally got that hour back I’d been missing all summer – pity about it getting dark so early though!
I used to make my own clothes waaay back in the eighties and nineties, but for some reason I stopped. I think I was just much more focused on the result rather than the process and eventually grew tired of it. I’ve recently revisited my sewing machine and I’m loving it! This time, I’m much more engaged in the whole process and and I’m finding it really rewarding; not to mention all of my past sewing projects were pre-internet so I’m now discovering for the first time all the fabulous resources that are out there – so many great blogs, fabric shops and downloadable patterns – yaaay!
All of this sewing buzz prompted me to pull out my stash of vintage Australian Home Journal magazines. Some of them still have the dress patterns inside, but I’m more interested in looking at the beautiful covers for now. My collection spans thirty years from the early-30s to the early-60s, so I thought I’d dedicate a few posts to sharing this beautiful cover art with you. Here are the first seven that I’ve selected, spanning 1932-38; just look at all of those gorgeous dresses! As a bonus, here’s a sassy lassy in a sporty tennis pullover from 1932…
Here are a few more portraits. The first is an ink drawing on a collage of vintage and found paper, and the other two are graphite pencil and watercolour. Deciding on their names is so tricky. I wait until I’m finished and then look into their eyes and think, “Hmm, what’s your name?” I hope I got them right!
Hi! Here’s a preview of some new originals that I’ll be listing in the shop in a few weeks’ time – some ink and graphite drawings, collages, watercolours and mixed media pictures. My friends Mark and Stevie bought me a beautiful set of Sennelier watercolours in a gorgeous wooden chest for Christmas and I love them so much! I’ve been feeling very inspired lately, and thought perhaps I’d do a blog post this week that’s shameless art supply porn. I love taking a peek at other people’s tools and materials, so thought I’d share some of my favourites. By the way, I discovered the best pencil sharpener in the whole world (do pencil sharpeners excite you as much as they do me?) that sharpens white charcoal pencils without breaking – I will share the details.
I’ve been doing some quirky portraits – I like faces with character. I also decided to do some portraits of toys because there’s not a time in your life when you love a lump of plastic with as much passion, or imbue it with as much personality as when you’re a kid and have a favourite toy. Expect more creepy dollies and chubby-cheeked animals!
I made this sketch of a young Jessica Mitford for my sister Cass’s partner Dave who had a birthday recently – Jessica Mitford is a hero of his. Overall I’m happy with the way it turned out (especially the frame) but she does look a little like Nicole Kidman in my portrait, which was not deliberate! I recently scrapped a sketch of F Scott Fitzgerald I was doing because he looked way too much like Dick Van Dyke for my liking! I think it’s important to do your best to capture a likeness when you’re drawing a specific person, but for me, I also like to stylise my subject somewhat – I guess it’s all about achieving that balance.
I’m totally hooked on white charcoal and tinted paper at the moment. Speaking of white charcoal…does anyone know how to sharpen the General’s pencils to a nice point without them breaking? If so, please let me know! At the moment I just sharpen them to a dull point and use a sandpaper block, but you can never get a really fine point that way. This paper’s made from recycled sugar cane pulp and I really love it; lots of colours and beautiful textures. I wanted to decorate the frame and echo the design in the collaged part of the drawing. I’m really happy with the way it turned out and would like to do some more of these to sell in my shop before the year’s out.
I had to find a use for the batch of sour cream I made, and since it’s most definitely soup weather, I decided to make some cream of pumpkin soup and, well, you don’t really need an excuse to make cake! By roasting the pumpkin, this soup is full of intense flavour, and really smooth and creamy. It’s just one of those simple, classic recipes.
The cupcake recipe is adapted from one of my favourites – East Coast Coffee Cake from Vegan Brunch. It has a very light texture, not too sweet, with a really yummy crunchy crumble on top and a fruity filling. I’ve made these cakes so many times now I’ve made lots of modifications, so I thought it was worth posting my version. My main aim has been to make a lower GI alternative, so there’s less wheat flour and more oats and nuts. Another little tip…I always include two tablespoons of arrowroot when baking eggless cakes, pancakes, etc. It really improves the texture.
In this version I’ve used blackberry jam, but most often I peel and thinly slice a couple of granny smith apples and zap them in the microwave with a little sugar and cinnamon, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and use that. I’ve also made these cakes with halved and pitted fresh cherries, and frozen berries. You could also change the walnuts in the crumb topping to a different nut to compliment your choice of fruit, such as toasted, peeled and crushed hazelnuts if you’re doing a raspberry version, or apricot and almond. Macadamias would be great too (with a little coconut in the topping), if you made these cakes with pineapple.
Although these are vegan recipes, you could easily substitute the non-dairy ingredients with dairy if you like. Recipes after the jump…
I posted my recipe for vegan whipped cream a while ago. I thought it was about time to post some more of my recipes for dairy alternatives. This cream serves a different purpose to the whipped kind; rather than for decorating cakes and pastries, these are more of a spoonable consistency and are great for cooking, as well as a garnish or accompaniment to sweet and savoury dishes. The best part is they’re really quick and easy to make, and you don’t need a high-speed blender – I just use a regular stick blender.
Be warned though, this is not health, whole or diet food – this is rich, fat-laden cream! If you’re looking for a low-fat alternative to dairy, there are plenty of recipes around using silken tofu, etc. These recipes are all about emulating the richness and taste of dairy – but without the cholesterol, and best of all, they’re totally plant-based. I’ve also given details of some variations of the basic recipes. Please report back if you give any of my recipes a try, and I’d love to see photos if you have them. I hope you like them! Recipes for cream, sour cream, and mayonnaise after the jump…
I’ve just taken part in an illustration challenge held by Lilla Rogers, and here’s my entry! The brief was to create a journal cover with a playground theme, and I really had a lot of fun drawing this. It brought back fond memories of risking life and limb doing crazy stunts on the monkey bars, and tightly gripping onto the roundabout to stop myself being propelled into the stratosphere by centrifugal force from being spun way too fast by my sister – so much fun! You’re never too old to have a go on the swings though, are you?