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Anglophile Date Night

You know, now that I think about it, I'm not sure who the first anglophile was in our little family. Sure, I do spend my time painting odes to Austen and Bronte and have a weak spot for little tea cakes and cookies and yeah I am spending this scorched summer dreaming of fog and drizzle. But my husband also spends a lot of time perusing shops like this and has an affinity for a different sort of football than most American men and actually has a village and moor in England with the same name. Perhaps we feed off each other's nerdy loves, as any good couple should. At any rate, we decided to enjoy a childless evening anglo-saxon style, and we were so excited about it ;)

We dined at the White Lion Pub, which we had only recently heard about, although it's been around for a while and seems to be a favorite with Tulsans with a weak spot for UK cuisine. Will got bangers 'n mash and I sampled the cottage pie. It seemed awfully American to go straight for the fish 'n chips, so we were a little more adventurous. The ambiance was really cozy and, well, English. Love too that the owner of the place is English and so the whole place has a distinct air of authenticity.

All in all, it was a lovely place to have a grown up meal out and about town and I'm sure we'll be back. So many other great things on the menu that we need to try, and its nice to pretend that perhaps we're in a little pub on a foggy gray day to escape the abominable weather and glare of the truth of our summer.

Do you have a favorite English treat? I'd love to hear about it. I'm trying to learn more about the food than what is just stereotypical. Hoping to make that berry and custard pie I mentioned the other day. One thing is for certain, the heat hasn't affected my appetite ;)

Have a good weekend!~
H

Old Tattered Roses

I think if I had lived a century or two back, I would have liked to have been a milliner. I love hats and pretty hair accessories. However, I've never really seriously made anything of the sort for myself, until I started playing around with rag roses. And this is what happened.

I love old tattery things. And I dont mind lace as long as it looks like its about on its last leg and tattered to the edge of its life ;) it's character! I started making these rag roses really in attempt to make pretty accents for some knitted hats I started making for new little babies that seem to be popping up (or out?) so much recently. There are babies, babies everywhere! And there's nothing cuter than a baby with a cute hat on its head.

However, once I learned how to make the roses I sort of couldn't stop. Like eating chocolate, there was no way to stop at just one. I had to do one more. Then one more. I loved seeing how the different fabrics and textures playing out as a rose.

These little roses are made from fragments of lace and muslin with a little pearl tucked in for good measure. This reminds me of those bridal headpieces that women wore around the WWI era, and into the flapper age.
So what do you think? I'm just in the playing stage, seeing how things work, working out the kinks, but I think I'd like to start offering some of my little floral accessories in my shop and try them out at a show or two. I have a little tattery corsage that I made with yellow roses that is just adorable. Can't wait to show you that one too!

I'm excited about the prospect of this new idea! I think it ties in nicely with the paintings because now, you can look like a girl in one of my paintings with a beautiful flower head dress or pretty floral pin at your neck. Doesn't that sound lovely?
~H


English Roses and Tea Cakes

It's another hot one out there! But I've been busy painting and cooking and trying not to think about it. Just yesterday evening I finished up this latest painting called "Lady Cordelia." When I made her I had in my mind the series Downton Abbey--- with all the decadent hair and beautiful clothes and leisurely days at an expansive English manor where all is lush and green. Sounds good, right? I painted this girl with some red and orange roses, because I do love roses in those colors. Our wedding flowers were a red tinged orange rose called "Granada." We married in late October, so they were perfect for fall. I thought that Lady Cordelia would appreciate them as well :) She's now listed in my etsy shop.

I've also been blissfully reading about English cooking and delectable dishes and desserts just right for a nice evening snack. I found the recipe for this simple little tea cake at a new favorite reading spot, The English Kitchen, and it was perfect with evening coffee and an impromtu little girls' tea party that took place this morning. This particular cake was the feather light whole wheat cake, although I had to do some tweaking with what supplies I was able to find or had on hand, so it was a 'partially wheat cake' :) I also put in some blackberry jam in the middle and it gave the cake an extra yummy kick. Highly suggested! Next I hope to make Marie's berry custard pie. Yum!

And so. We've had more than 20 days of triple digit heat, and we're scheduled for more until....who knows. But I am going to try to not go completely batty from it ;) I'm going to plunge myself into autumn paintings, and then perhaps start on Christmas for good measure. I really want this upcoming show season to be the best yet. I've got grand designs....and a little one who heads to school in just three weeks!

I'm also working on some more fabric roses and coming up with some really interesting designs! Hope to have some pretty new things to show you soon...
~H

Tasha Tuesday

This morning over breakfast I thumbed through my copy of "Tasha Tudor's Garden" and sighed. There is certainly nothing so lush and green anywhere near these parts this year. I wonder if, well surely she did, if Tasha had to go through a year of bad gardening. I'm sure it irritated her greatly, but she got through it with plans for the next year.

This has been a hard summer around here for flora, fauna, and people in general. On the evening news they show graphs of the states and the level of drought swathed across it in angry tones of red and I wonder "what is the difference between 'sever drought' and 'exceptional drought.' We need better adjectives." But I know what it means for my yard--- dead lawn and a front garden that looks like a sad row of old cornstalks in November! I've made the decision to just cut everything down, give it a good water and mulch and bid it adieu until next year. It makes no sense to keep watering when so many neighboring communities are on water restriction. There comes a time when even pretty roses are frivolous.

But I do have some things still hanging on! I took a picture of my dainty pink rose that climbs up the back porch post. The color reminds me of the soft pink often found in Tasha's garden. She had such an eye for color! I hope some day I can make it up to Vermont and take a garden tour. According to the Tasha family blog, they have added portions of her home to the tour this year! Doesnt that sound wonderful? I'd love to see that tiny little house packed to the brim with antique treasures in person. Have you ever toured the garden at Corgi Cottage? I'd love to hear about it!

Well, until the coolness of fall comes I'll keep dreaming of greener and gentler summers. If you're experiencing this terrible heat, you're in my thoughts! It's wearying, I know. Boy do I!
Lets just hang in there. And put on a copy of Take Peace too cool down if necessary ;) 6 feet of snow on a Vermont Christmas Eve sounds wonderful about now ;)
~H

The book featured in today's Tasha Tuesday is "Tasha Tudor's Garden" by Tovah Martin, photography by Richard Brown. For more information about Tasha Tudor, check out the family website HERE.

Green Gables Girls

Just this morning I listed another Anne of Green Gables painting-- you can now find both paintings in my etsy shop. What with the weather being so ferocious around here, my little gal and I were in the mood to travel vicariously to Prince Edward Island and watch the "Anne" series on DVD.

I've painted Anne before, a good long while back, in mixed media form. As much as I enjoyed mixed media painting, I think I'm enjoying this more traditional folk-art style more. Hope you are as well :)

Peace

Little bits of loveliness from today; an icon shimmering beautifully at the alter; dappled light shining through the trees of the churchyard; an unexpected thunderstorm beating down on a parched and grateful garden.

Wishing you little bits of peace and loveliness today as well~
~h

Kindred Spirits

I can distinctly remember sneaking in reading my beloved copy of Anne of Green Gables during my math class in 6th grade. My best friend and I would also pass notes to eachother about the terribleness of our teacher's unfortunate outfit choices. Oh, thank goodness I was never caught!

I was always an 'Anne Girl' though....usually lost in my own world or a book, having lots of drama with my friends, and the comfort and thrill of having a very best friend with whom to share your triumphs and mortification of those awkward growing up years.

No literary friendship is stronger in that sense than Anne and her 'bosom friend' Diana, and their friendship. They were the best of kindred spirits, and LM Montgomery's novels were always a celebration of the joy of finding 'kindred spirits' in the world, something I love about blogging. So many kindred spirits to find!

This painting is now available in my etsy shop. I'm thinking it'll probably make a good print too. Go HERE to see the listing....


A Dishy Interview

If you live in northern California or thereabouts, did you know that there's a sweet little store where you can buy Audrey Eclectic original dishware? Yes, sir! Its a new store that has just opened up this past spring, called Dunhaven Place. I was interviewed recently by the store owner, Heidi, so that her customers could learn a little more about me :) you can see the interview yourself and learn more about the store HERE

Baby Love

This past weekend I helped host a baby shower for a good friend who is expecting her first child at the end of August this very hot and sweltering summer. The theme sort of 'evolved' into birds and nests and little eggs, and we had a fun time creating fresh floral arrangements with birds and eggs tucked in and baking lots of good things to eat.

Most of the little hats I've been so busy knitting went to this on-her-way baby, but another adorable little baby friend who was in attendance was so kind as to model one for me. Isn't she just. the. cutest? What is it about little babies that just make you want to nibble them up? She was very accommodating about the knit hat in the 105* weather, for the 30 seconds we (I) had her wearing it. (we were indoors, of course, with the air conditioner going, but still ;) )

I plan on making many more knit pieces (I have to. I'm addicted.) and I'm wondering if I might bring a few, including the fabric flowers I've made, to Indie Emporium. This year Indie is in September and I'm looking forward to manning a bigger booth there. Hoping today I can get some good painting in, and maybe paint this weekend as well.

Hope you have a good weekend too!~
h

Summer Blue

Yesterday was a nice day full of painting and special treats. We took a tiramisu home from dinner and enjoyed it with some coffee on my pretty new dishes. I think the color I have become infatuated with this summer is undoubtedly blue. I always liked blue-eyed boys, now that appreciation appears to be expanding into household goods, haha.

I have also always had a love for blue-gray kitties. One day I'd love to have a Russian Blue (russian and blue! Adorable!) I featured a little gray kitty in my latest painting, Whiskers and Winifred which is now freshly listed in my etsy shop.

I'm partial to these stripedy gray kitties, obviously, because I have a muse on hand! Our cat, Annie, is a gray tabby, and what a lovey girl she is. Which is all the more impressive since she appeared in our yard a few years ago as a very fearful, nearly feral half-grown kitten. We spent a lot of time trying to coax her out of the bushes and it was a slow process to even get her to let us touch her. Fast forward now, and its practically impossible to garden without her going into full love-fest mode and wanting to rub you and love nibble on you while you try to weed or plant flowers. What a funny girl.

The heroines return

After many months away from home and traveling to the sunny west coast, Mary Lennox and Jane Eyre have finally returned home. The paintings, of course. Both of these paintings were featured in the current issue of Somerset Studio Magazine. This is always my favorite part of the process--- to have seen the art published and looking oddly 'official' in glossy print and then having them safely back home where their journey began.

I love love love seeing my creations in print, but the publishing business is not one of instant gratification. I think the deadline for submission with these particular pieces was February 15. So they've been gone for about 5 months. By the time you see the art in the pages, it feels sort of like a big surprise, because you've worked on so many other things in the meantime.

If you've never submitted your art to a publication like to Stampington magazines, I highly suggest you give it a try. All the magazines (Art Doll Quarterly, Stuft, Prims, Somerset Studio, Somerset Home, Somerset Memories, etc) always have submission 'challenges' which are the themes of upcoming issues. All you have to do is submit your art according to the guidelines and before the deadline, and then see if you get that thrilling little email saying 'your art has been selected...." Truly, what is there to loose? The only thing you'll be out is the cost of postage.

Having these paintings back remind me though that I need to reread these beloved classics. The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre are some of my favorite books of all time. The theme I submitted them under was "literary classics." it just seemed too perfect to pass up.

And now, more painting to get finished! I'll leave you til next time....
~H

Tasha Tuesday

For this Tasha Tuesday, I thought I would just leave you with a favorite poem of Tasha Tudor's. I hope you enjoy it...


I come in the little things, saith the Lord:
Not borne on morning wings
Of majesty, but I have set My Feet
Amidst the delicate and bladed wheat
That springs triumphant in the furrowed sod.
There do I dwell, in weakness and in power;
Not broken or divided, saith our God!
In your strait garden plot I come to flowers
About your porch My Vine,
Meek, fruitful, doth entwine;
Waits, at the threshold, Love's appointed hour. I come in the little things, Saith the Lord:
Yea! on the glancing wings
Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet
Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet
Your hear and wayward heart. In brown bright eyes
That peep from out the brake, I stand confest.
On every nest
Where feathery Patience is content to brood
And leaves her pleasure for the high emprize
Of motherhood --
There doth My Godhead rest.

I come in the little things, Saith the Lord:
My starry wings I do forsake,
Love's highway of humility to take:
Meekly I fit my stature to your need.
In beggar's part
About your gates I shall not cease to plead --
As man, to speak with man --
Till by such art
I shall achieve My Immemorial Plan,
Pass the low lintel of the human heart.

~Evelyn Underhill
So last week I sent off this pair of paintings to their new home in Oregon. They have the loveliest owners, a pair of musicians who met through their mutual love of music. It was so much fun to paint this pair and have free reign to make them over in an old-timey style :) She plays the autoharp and he plays the cello, among other instruments. They are such a sweet and talented pair!

In other news, its hot and and just getting hotter. There hasn't been a summer like this since 1911. 1911! We've skipped the entire dust bowl, people ;) I'm doing my best to not whine so much about it, but obviously I'm failing miserably. Everything is brown and dead. I am holding onto thoughts of autumn though. It will be here soon! And then there will be Christmas, and Christmas is always so nice. We've been watching a lot of Christmas movies lately too, it helps to cool off :) If you've never tried it, you should ;)

I'm working on more autumn themed art and will be showing it to you soon! Take care and stay cool,
~H

Three Pumpkins

I finally finished a painting that I can share with you!~ This one is the newest piece in my shop and it's called "Three Pumpkins." It features three sweet little girls holding their prized pumpkins. What I love about paintings like this is that they speak to everyone who sees it in different ways. To some, these are sisters, or perhaps cousins. To others, they're three little friends. Each girl has her own distinct look and style, they're fast friends but each is her own person. I've got it listed now on etsy.

It's getting to be that time where I need to focus on the fall shows. I love that time of the year! Any special requests? Let me know now, hehe. I'm seriously considering selling my little knit hats with the flower pins on them. They're so sweet. And of course my child has no time to wear anything her old mama makes her ;)

Hope your day is going well!~
h

Rapturous Red

It's becoming apparent that I have an affinity for red checks. Which probably isnt' too surprising since red is my favorite color. Its practically a neutral! What doesn't go with red?

I sent this pretty little package of custom paintings off monday (and I can't wait to hear how they are received!) and yesterday I started making these little fabric roses to decorate some sweet little knitted things and I've found them a bit addictive. The more tattered the better, I think. I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be covered in knitted hats and tattery roses in no time.

I also just added this one of a kind hand painted Jane Eyre cup to my etsy shop. Please click over to the listing to see more photos. I think it came out very nice. I just love Jane. And it seems you all do too :) my standard Jane Eyre painted mug is my best seller in my shop. But I wanted to do a little something special with Jane, and thought she'd look beautiful in her cloak wandering through the moors on a tea cup.

I've got big ambitions today to get lots of things done. And its also cloudy and has even rained, and its the most exotic and wondrous thing. This gentler weather is fleeting, we all know it. And I will try not to whine about it too much. Try, I said. I make no promises ;)

Back to painting and brownie making....
~H

Tasha Tuesday

Although I'm not sure if she ever used the word, Tasha Tudor was definitely something of an Anglophile. Tea time was a timeless part of her day, in a country where we'd long ago worn our our welcome with the tradition (anyone remember all that tea we threw into the harbor? Ah, yes...) Tasha was always a strict observer of the ritual of tea, and also very fond of her beloved Corgi's and her British heritage. There are few names that are so very English as Tudor (Henry VIII, yes?) I can imagine that when she visited Great Britain in the 1950s it was a bit like coming home.

I love the idea of tea time, but I've never really adhered to it. I'd love to hear from some of my U.K. friends about how it is properly done. I do love tea, but you might gasp in horror to know that all the tea I'd been drinking was iced until well into adulthood. Hot tea, around here anyway (where it is currently 105* out) was really only for when you were sick or had a crummy sore throat. And the whole 'milk in tea' thing seems strange, but I'm game. A friend of mine recently sent me some fancy Prince of Wales tea and it was really good.

And really, I love the idea of a snack and a drink midday ;) scones, cookies (biscuits?) all that fancy stuff.

Do you observe tea time? What are your favorite tea time treats? I'd love to hear about it, and perhaps learn a little too :)

*Above photo of Tasha Tudor by Richard Brown as featured in "The Private World of Tasha Tudor" (Which I've noticed is on sale for less than half price! I so so recommend adding this book to your library if you dont have it.

* To find out more about Tasha Tudor, visit her family's site

Weekend Spruce-Up


Few things excite me more than a good makeover ;) online, real life, it's all fun! Over the weekend I decided my living room really needed one, and first stop: the couch! THIS was basically my living room until this weekend when I got that wild hair to change things up. I liked it ok, but it was a little too gold-toned for me. I keep adding more creams and whites. And the big painting over the couch....I love poppies but it really matched nothing else in the house. So? Redo!

I'd seen these pillow cases on the Pottery Barn website. If ever I am rich, I will buy things from the Pottery Barn catalog ;) but until that day....I will study the catalog and then go to Hobby Lobby and get the materials to make the treasures for a fraction of the price! And so: my own down-home ticking pillow cases made with $28 worth of fabric.

The name of the ticking fabric style was 'prairie girl.' When my husband saw that, his reaction (as he tried to wrangle a small child bouncing off the walls between the fabric bolts and fake florals on a Saturday afternoon in a craft store) was "Well. Then you HAVE to buy it."

I like how he thinks!

Next up? I need to find a fun way to spruce up the wall behind the couch now that the gigantic poppy painting is up there. Any ideas? I think this calls for a trip to the antique mall....

* "Oklahoma" pillow case made by local crafter Christine Sharp-Crowe

Tea with Mr. Darcy and Lizzie

I was really excited at the prospect of doing a proper tea cup and saucer set, and what better way to spruce them up than with a little Pride and Prejudice love?

I've painted one cup with a portrait and quote from Mr. Darcy, and another of Miss Lizzie Bennet. I think they came out lovely if I do say so myself. They've very dainty and nice ceramic pieces, and of course also heat and dishwasher safe.

Perfectly for your own personal Pemberley, wouldn't you say? ;)

You can find both cup and saucer sets HERE in my etsy shop.

Hope you have a nice weekend!~ I'm still in denial of the season and pretending its fall. I had pumpkin pie last night, haha!~
H

WWMID?

I'm not sure if you knew this, but I have a second blog :) It's called "What Would Ma Ingalls Do?" and its sort of a light hearted look at how we can all take some pointers from Ma on just getting through life. I hope you come visit :) it's pretty fun~

An art + craft barter

Last week I was really excited to get this beautiful custom made laptop bag in the mail, made by a really talented lady with a very beautiful blog. If you've never seen the Andrea Creates Etsy Shop or blog, you must check it out and see all the prettiness.

Getting this bag was made all the more special because I was able to send her something special as well-- this custom painting of her very beautiful little girls!

This bag is so handy and so pretty. There's even a doily on the back side. How perfect is that? Now I'm ready for any laptop excursions that might arise... mobile blogging on the prairie!

Thanks so much Andrea!~
H

Tasha Tuesday

Here it is again, Tasha Tuesday. So glad so many of you enjoy it. I do too. I love that each week I seem to meet someone new who has an affinity for Tasha Tudor, and I love when old friends come back to chat.

She's probably my favorite artist not just because of her epic catalog of amazing work and books (something I dream of, even if I just do a fraction as well as she does) but because, well, we like so many of the same things. I have many granny habits, and even before she was a granny, Tasha did too ;)

I took some shots of a few of my favorite things that were also favorites of Tasha. Critters--- crafting--- and flowers. Above is my little rabbit family: Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennet and their baby, Lilybel. If you missed all the bunny pictures over the winter when we raised our little nest of rabbits, you can see them here. So precious. I love their family dynamic now too. Mr. Darcy is of course fixed now, so he's quite the gentleman and doting father. Its funny, Lilybel didn't become cagemates with her father until she was about 8 weeks old, but they've bonded so well I think she's a bit of a daddy's girl. Lizzie is perhaps the funniest of all though, with her busybody habits and nosiness. She's always the first to come up to see what you're up to when the hutch is opened, and she's been known to nervously fuss over Lilybel's fur when she's in a tizzy. It's so 'mom-like.'

I've also been knitting like a fiend lately, I guess I just got in the mood. Had a bit of a trauma last night when the cord of my circular needles snapped off at nearly the end of making this little oatmeal colored hat. Thankfully I had some plastic glue and it seems to be ok this morning. Tasha did some epic knitting, and I always loved her shawls. I think shawls are so handy, especially since I seem to be the sort of person who likes to bundle up (perhaps another reason I'm not fond of summer?)

And although my humble flower bed is nothing compared to Tasha's rambling garden, I'm hopeful that my roses are waking up from their coma thanks to the rose food I've been giving them. There's a great book all about English cottage gardens for the American gardener (lol, in fact, that's the title!) and Tasha wrote the forward to it and her garden is featured in its (many) pages. Its an amazing book, and I highly recommend it. Its perfect for dreaming of epic flower gardens.

Well, today should be a hot but good day. Going to spend some time with a friend making little crafty things for her baby shower, and slowly but surely cutting out quilt squares. Ironically, my color scheme seems pretty patriotic (red, blue, and linen beige) maybe by next 4th of July I'll have it finished ;)

Happy Tasha Tuesday!~
H

Who is Tasha Tudor? Read more here

Tea with Alice

Well, it's done! The Alice tea pot is painted and ready for tea time. What do you think? I wasn't sure how it would go, but I'm pretty pleased with it. It shows Alice having tea with the march hare, framed in rambling roses. On the back side it says "We're all mad here" (perhaps my favorite Alice quote?) and also "Curiouser and curiouser" on the pot's lid.

This is a completely working and functional tea pot, and is also microwave and dishwasher safe. There are more photos of every angle on the etsy listing. I hope you take a look! You can find it HERE.

As for me, I am happy to report I've made a couple more little hats since I last wrote! I had to make one for Audrey, she insisted, and also another teeny tiny baby hat. So glad there are so many little babies around, who will need hats once the weather turns (and I'm ready for it to turn...oh...NOW)

Just washed the fabric for the quilt and need to iron it and then start the tedious part of cutting. All.Those.Squares. I'm nervous because I am not known for my exactness or long attention span. Lets hope I beat the odds ;)

Happy Independence Day tomorrow!~
~H