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Autumn mini folk paintings!





      Just wanted to give you a little preview of some teensy tiny little paintings that will be available during the Autumn Gathering shop debut on Sept. 7! All of these paintings, plus tons more fall goodies, will make be added to my etsy shop, ready to find new homes!

    All of these paintings were created on 4x4" wide paneled canvases, so they're chunky and cute and perfect for tucking into all sorts of places--- autumn baskets, the mantle, a bookcase, or a bowl filled with spicey fall potpourri! 

   I think they turned out really sweet and look great in a group, or all on their own! I hope you stop by on Saturday the 7th and see what all I've got cooked up for you! It'll be a fun day--- also, if you'd like to take part in an autumn blog party that day, I'll have a widget to link us all together and we can all go trick-or-treating at each other's blog to get in the mood for fall :) So if you'd like to take part in that, just have your autumn post ready by the 7th, come here that day and link your post to the widget (which will appear in my Sept 7th blog post) and we'll have a grand ol' time!


    As for me, Im busy getting the witch dolls finished up, trying to finish one last painting, and am headed to pick up my prints fresh from the printer this morning! I love this time of year for creating!~

    Have a good weekend!~
H

Happy Birthday, Tasha Tudor!

  Today would have been the 98th birthday of one of my very favorite illustrators, Tasha Tudor!
  Ever since discovering her books and reading more about her lifestyle, I have been a big fan of this hard working and visionary lady.
   She wrote dozens of books, illustrated hundreds of cards, calendars and posters, and also created a lifestyle and home for herself and her family that was purely out of the American imagination--- a lovely place filled with flowers and animals, where her stories truly came to life.
   In celebration of her birthday, I thought I'd share with you a great treasure of mine--- a copy of Tasha's "Becky's Birthday"-- where the famous 'birthday cake floating down the river' image was first shown.
   This book is also special to me because it is actually signed by Tasha.
  What a treasure, indeed!
Tasha Tudor photo by Richard Brown

    Becky's Birthday is a sweet old fashioned story about Becky, who lives on a New England farm with her parents and sister and two brothers. She wakes on the morning of her tenth birthday, eager to see what the day holds for her. Ten seems to be a big event for Becky--- remember how exciting it was to be able to show your age with all the fingers on your hands? And for Becky, it seems to mark that she is indeed growing up.



    Family life in Tasha's story is sweet and full of comradery. The siblings are all in on the birthday surprises for Becky, and simple treats like getting to go to the store alone with Father and getting all the groceries excites this little girl's heart. 
   There's homemade peach ice cream (still a treat today, I'd say!) picking corn for dinner, not having to the dishes, and getting to fix her own hair.
    Tasha's illustrations are gorgeous and details--- I love all the animals lurking about, waiting for a crumb to drop-- looks like dinner at my house!
   I noticed too,after watching Take Joy, that "Father" in this story looks strikingly like Tasha's own father. And I imagine the children in the story take closely after Tasha's own four kids.


   Of course the grand event of the day is a picnic at the river at dusk with family and friends. There are games and a dinner that would make any veteran Pinterest party pinner weak at the knees (dinner served on grape leaves! A chair made of vines and ferns for Becky to sit in! Flowers all over the place!) 
   Then at the end, a real surprise--- Becky's birthday cake comes floating down the river towards the party on a little raft, all aglow with candles and magic. It is, ultimately, the dream day of any old fashioned-at-heart little girl (or little mama!)
   And so--- along with Becky-- I wish Tasha a merry and lovely birthday, where ever she may be. And also my deepest thanks for the inspiration she has given me over the years, in all sorts of ways!~

    Happy Birthday, Tasha!~
H



Waiting and knitting, 20 weeks




   Today marks the halfway point in expecting little cuddle-baby-covered-in-knitwear. It feels very fast and slow all at once. We tell Audrey "He'll come after Halloween, after Thanksgiving, After Christmas..." I'm sure that's an eternity to her ;)
   It's hard to imagine a little baby in the house again after all this time, but I can't wait to see his little face (Why couldnt we be like kangaroos? Then I could peek in at his little face and let him keep cookin'). I'm also curious about what it will be like to have a boy in this place--- where we are a bit heavy on the pink and ballerinas and dolls. But I'm sure once he's here, we wont know what we ever did without him.

   Of course thinking of my baby makes me think of mothers of days long past and their wait for their babies. I'm sure there was probably a lot of knitting going on there as well ;) Think of all the little babies born down the centuries that led to us being here. That's a lotta babies!

  But here and now, at 20 weeks with 20 (or so) weeks to go, I'm starting to feel some tap tap tapping and he's not much trouble, goes where mama goes, enjoys some Mexican food as often as he can. We'll have to wait til winter to see that little face, but I don't mind.

   I'll just keep painting til then-- and knitting~
~H




A Summer/Autumn Mix






    If only the seasons changed on my whims. Ah, wouldn't that be nice? Summer would last for two weeks and autumn for 6 months. Then maybe a month for jolly Christmas activities, and then straight on to a long and lush spring. If only it worked that way, right? Or maybe you're glad I'm not in charge of the weather?

   Around here it is a definite mix of summer and autumn. Summer is still blazing outside-- in fact we're supposed to be getting warmer each day for a couple of weeks until we're edging back up to 100 degrees again. But I'm not surprised--- isn't it always like that? Hot as hot when you've got new fall school clothes to wear (or in my case, adorable maternity sweaters  in the closet with the tags still on).

   I do love my yard in the mornings when it's not too hot. The back garden is a bit of a jungle because I just don't have the endurance in the heat to really hack at it. But there are some beautiful zenias bursting forth out of the bramble, and some giant sunflowers living up to their names. It's the end of August in bloom, and I will enjoy it for the flower's sake.

  Of course from my art room, where I look out on this garden, it's all about autumn. I'm preparing some new painted works to present for the Autumn Gathering, as well as some witch dolls that I've been scheming about for ages and am now finally getting some work done on.

   Audrey told me "please make them wicked!" but I dont know...they may at least have sweet faces to go with their wild and rowdy hair! I bought some beautiful wool at the fiber festive last month, and still have a great stash from my friend Jane at Angora Jane's

  I've got hopes for long stretches of creating in the coming week, and get a few step closer to the Autumn Gathering fall art debut in the shop. It's so fun to feel like I'm making all these things for good friends. I appreciate you coming here often and cheering me on with all this! You make this painting thing so fun. As a shy person and a person who (fairly happily, usually) works alone for most of the day, it's nice to be able to reach out to others, no matter where they are in the world, and find common ground.

   Well, wishing you a nice weekend, I'm off to start the base painting for little witchy faces! Cant wait to show them off when they're more complete!~
~H

Around Here...



Well first and foremost--- I happy to report that the cat got out of the tree! And hasn't been too interested in getting back up ;) he was up there for hours, then at about 7:30 that evening he got sick and tired of it-- I stood under the tree calling to him and he crawled down the branch until it was too small to hold his weight-- then he struggled to hang on (Envision 'hang in there!' kitty poster here) and then fell-- and I caught him! It was a relief for all of us!

Lately though we've been in that 'just before school starts' stupor where the summer has worn out its welcome, and Audrey is totally tired of being home with me. We are all so excited that school starts TOMORROW and even more excited that she'll have one of my very very favorite teachers for first grade!It's going to be so fun for her, and I know that as she really starts to learn to read she'll get so excited about learning. And I know her teacher will make it a special year for her--- she'll be reading to her little brother in no time!

And speaking of the brother-in-progress, I've been knitting ever so often and am knitting up a little baby cardigan (I'm just winging it...I am terrible with patterns) out of some yarn I got at A Fiber Christmas In July. The multicolored yarn is sort of beachy in tone and soothing and very boyish. I'm really enjoying knitting these little things, and am glad to make them because they're little. Little equals quick, well, allegedly. Im also working on a loosely knitted baby blanket (my first blanket, ever) in red, blues and creams. Totally 'British Baby.' I'd also love to have a knitted nursing shawl type thing for when he arrives. The fabric ones I've seen are kinda...I dont know. They look like an apron slung around your head ;) I want something more "Tasha Tudor and Baby" lol. So, uh, if any of you shawl knitting readers ever wanna do a trade....I'm up for it! The only shawl I've knitted was very short--- I ran out of yarn, and space on my needles!

   Well, Im going to get a few things done so I can treat myself to a day of painting tomorrow! Hello, school year! I've missed you so!!
~H


Spooky Commission and Silly Kitty


   Earlier this week I finished this painting for my friend Patricia with three witches representing her and her two daughters. She wanted to painting packed full of Halloween goodness, and I hope I delivered! From ghosts in the cemetery to crows, owls, bats, moons and pumpkins, this painting is packed with spookiness!


  I love autumn things and Im so excited to see pumpkin flavored things coming out-- room sprays! candles! Now I'm just waiting for the lotions and the coffee. Why cant it smell like pumpkin all year round? 

   Well, this painting has arrived safely in its new home and now it's on to my 'big and epic' plans for the Autumn Gathering party. I've had a few bloggy friends ask if we'll do a blog hop too, and I'm up for it if you are :) the more the merrier!~

   I am still taking requests for commissions but if you have been thinking about having one done for Christmas, these next few weeks will be the prime time to do it. In December I've got 2 craft shows and as I'll be 8 or so months pregnant by then, I'll be slowing down to enjoy the holidays and prepare for baby's arrival.



  And speaking of babies--- look at this little face? Doesn't he look so sweet? Well, he's got himself into a big fix-- about 30 minutes after I snapped this picture of him looking in from the front porch, this little kitty decided to climb the biggest tree in the whole yard---an old oak that I'd totally believe was planted back when this house was built in 1916-- and now he's stuck. We've called and cooed and begged. He just howls down at us as if he was plunked up there by space aliens with no idea how he got there. Even the cat across the street has come over and called for him to come down.

Surely, surely, he will eventually get motivated to do it himself. There is no way we can reach him, he's a good 20 or so feet up off the ground. This cat stirs up so much drama, you'd think he was a girl ;)

   Well, back to arting and hoping that he comes down soon....hope you enjoyed seeing the painting and have a wonderful weekend!~
h

An Autumn Gathering!


    This morning I went out on the front porch to cuddle with the kitty and there was a distinct chill in the air. How strange to feel autumn coming when it's only August, but I relish it! I'm sure the heat will return, but not for long. September is just around the corner and you know that that means...time for the Autumn Gathering!

   I'm in the process of ordering fresh new autumn postcards, prints, and coming up with a few more originals to debut at the online 'Autumn Gathering', much as we did last year with much success! I invite you to join me online on that day to see the new autumn goodies stocked in my etsy shop, maybe there will be something there just perfect for you to celebrate the season with!

   Please feel free to share this event with friends, and we'll make a little party of it! September is going to be such an amazing month, I am looking forward to it so much! Not only does it usher in my favorite season, autumn, it is also my birthday month....back to school will be in full swing (yay!)...and my trip of a lifetime will begin at the end of the month, when I fly up to New Hampshire to see my lovely friend Alyson and our friend Emily and get to see all the autumnal delights that New England has to offer. I'll return from the trip a few days later with lots to share with you, and lots of inspiration for future art! I can't wait!

   Til then, wishing a cool breeze for you as summer comes to a close, and promise of some apple cider, a pumpkin latte, and perhaps a ghostly whisper soon to come!~

H

Someday Plans: The Carriage House




   So did I tell you about this cool building we have in our backyard? And about my future schemes for it? Well, when we bought this house, we also got this big brick building in the back yard with a garage on bottom and an apartment up top. This is no tiny garage building either--- each floor is 1300 sq. feet, the garage is really large and has several sorta creepy back storage rooms and then there is an apartment upstairs that is actually larger than the house we moved out of. We call it (rather poshly) the carriage house.

   Right now my younger brother is our tenant up there-- which is nice because Audrey gets to see her uncle all the time and  play with his wiemaraner mix, Drifter. Luckily my brother shares my love of old timey things and is a good tenant. Plus, I can always call his mama and daddy if I need to, haha!

   In the distant future though, after this little baby is hatched and is more independent (a few years from now) and my brother moves on to his own home, our ultimate plan is to make the apartment into my art studio and a bit of a gallery/store space. I imagine just jaunting out my back door, dogs jaunting behind, and heading up there to paint and then opening the space up during certain times of the year for holiday open houses. Doesn't that sounds fabulous?

   I love the idea of all this being just in the back yard-- so that if I need to go do some laundry in between, I can, and I wont be tied to a distant location away from my house, and still be very flexible for school schedules and things like that. This is just another reason why it seems this house and this place is so perfect for us, it's got everything we need--- even space to grow my business.

   So what do you think? Would you come to a little Audrey Eclectic shop in a little brick carriage house? I'm already envisioning an old fashioned sign hanging above the door. But there is still plenty of time for this, and I've got years really, to scheme. It will be nice for now to work out of a room in the house while the baby is small, so that we can remain in the comfort of home. But the opportunity to grow, and for it to be within my reach (it's just out in the back yard!) is exciting. I'm looking forward to what the future has in store!

~H

Hello!~


  It's been an usually busy week here this past week, and I'm ready for my quieter routine. We did vacation Bible school every morning and then there have been birthday parties, weddings, and back to school shopping.
  One thing I am thankful for is the unseasonably cool weather (for August in Oklahoma!) Saturday morning we all sat on the front porch enjoying the morning chill-- makes me really look forward to fall!
   Hollyhock season has faded here, and I've been gathering seeds for planting this fall. I have these pretty ruffly pink ones, and some darker pink as well. If anyone is interested in doing a seed swap, let me know! I'd love to get some different colors going in the garden. I had planted some of the black variety at the old house, but I dont think any of them came up. So strange...well, maybe they'll bloom there next summer? Wouldn't that just be my luck? ;)
  Working on a couple of commissions now and also thinking of doing my fall show here on the blog and my etsy shop. I've got plans for new prints and postcards, and hopefully some more originals too! Once school starts I'll really get some momentum! Can't wait!~

~H

Book: Scandinavian Cooking for Pleasure


       Every time we go to the library, I can't help but scan the 'for sale' shelves, which are full of old books donated to the library to sell for profit. Hardcover books go for a whole dollar, and I've brought home some gems--- like this book, "Scandinavian Cooking For Pleasure."
   This book was published in 1970 and was written for a British audience (the preface goes into how different 'Scandinavian mealtime' and "British mealtime' is--- ironically Scandinavian mealtimes are very much like American mealtimes--- although I could always go for tea!
   The photos are awesomely vintage in that special late 60s/70s vibe, and for someone not used to much sea food, some of the dishes seem very exotic and strange (are those fish in the jell-o mold?)
   I thought you might enjoy a peek at this treasure trove of Scandinavian cuisine....



Danish chervil soup and pancakes


Poached cod. This land-locked Okie has no idea how you'd go about digging into a whole fish with scales and eyeballs and all. Perhaps I'll learn in New England ;) 



Swedish cream waffles. I LOVE the shape of these!! And of course, the dala horse!

A Danish Christmas Eve dinner table. I swoon over the adorableness! The candles, the flags, the foods...perfection! 


A Danish birthday pretzle and a selection of Danish pastries. Ok, now I'm starving. I admit, I bought this book specifically for this section ;)

Now who wants fika?! I do, I do! :)

*Scandinavian Cooking for Pleasure was written by Jytte Hardisty, you can find a used copy via Amazon HERE