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New Painting: Knitting Lessons

   Hello friends, and good afternoon!~
          I have a new little painting I'd like to share with you. It began really with just an idea...a mother teaching her daughter to knit....and it took me on quite an adventure! I was interested in creating an interior that was a little different than what I've been creating--- something at once modern yet old fashioned--- maybe timeless? I also wanted to use warm and rich tones.

    The little decorative pieces in the room just came to be--- many of them were pleasant surprises, like the potted house plants and the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Im also really enjoying painting baskets--- and hey, I love baskets in real life! Everything is better with a pretty basket, right?

  This original painting is in my etsy shop and available to buy.

   I also wanted to let you know that my second printing of my calendars are now in, and available to purchase in my shop! I love how these came out, and I am so happy to you all seem to like them too! The calendars all ship priority mail with the US, but can ship internationally as well.

Thanks so much for coming by today, come again soon!~

Cooking With Tasha Tudor: Becky's Birthday Cake with Cocoa Frosting

   Good morning, friends! Here we are another Tuesday, and another Cooking with Tasha Tudor post! This past week was rather festive for me, as Sunday was my birthday! So, of course, I had birthday cake on the brain :) Audrey and I got into the kitchen then to make, of course, "Becky's Birthday Cake" as featured in the beautiful Tasha Tudor book, "Becky's Birthday." Here's Audrey getting to work:

   Now--- let me preface this--- I had high hopes for this cake! But there was a ton going on this week in my life, and perhaps I was a little distracted. There were also some things in this deceptively simple recipe that I wasn't used to doing for a cake (like whipped egg whites in the batter) and the frosting-- which seemed so very simple on paper--- appears to also be something that takes some practice to get right.

   So the end result cake was.....well, when I saw it on the cake platter, I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. I'm not even gonna show it because I dont want it to be the representation of Tasha's beloved cake on the internet, haha. Let's just say.... "Nailed it!" ;)

   BUT....it looked fine cut into pieces and the icing was tasty with a dash of coffee in it. If you make the cocoa icing I suggest adding the liquids verrrry slowly because it can go from thick to runny very quickly. Tread with caution!

   I think I'll try this recipe again another time to see if I can get it right. It is, evidently, not something to do when your brain is slightly addled from a week full of out of the ordinary things to do!

   But in Becky's Birthday, which is a lovely book, the cake turns out so lovely it gets floated down a creek in its own raft! By candlelight! I'm sure in Tasha's hand, it was amazing! Let's take a peek at the book....

   Several years ago I was contacted by a woman dissolving a relative's estate, and she had several Tasha Tudor books she wanted to find good homes for--- and some of them were signed. She let me know her list of books she had and kindly let me choose which I'd like to buy, and one of the books I purchased from her was this pristine copy of "Becky's Birthday," complete with Tasha Tudor's autograph on the inside page! Its a treasure to me. Sweet too, because when she signed this book in 1992, I was 10 going on 11. Just about Becky's age in the story!

    The illustrations in this book are gorgeous, and as a total Tasha Tudor nerd, there are some characters in the story that I can pick out from Tasha's life. Look at that drawing of Becky's father--- it is basically a portrait of Tasha's own father, Starling Burgess. Pop over here to see a photo and you'll totally see it too.

   I'm also wondering if the character of the mother in the story is a likeness of Tasha's friend Nell Dorr, although on that one I'm not as sure about. All the children in the book, of course, bare a likeness to Tasha's own children, which is sweet. I know for me, I tend to draw children and babies that look suspiciously like my own!

 And, ah! There it is! Becky's birthday cake! In this photo I'm pretty sure the cake is frosted with the white boiled frosting that Tasha also lists in her cookbook (all these recipes can be found in the Tasha Tudor cookbook). It looks beautiful in the illustration, and makes me want to give it another go!

   Because, well, dear reader, sometimes its hit-or-miss in the kitchen! Just as it is in the garden, or at the painting table :) if you've made the Becky's Birthday Cake, I'd love to hear about it and how it turned out, and if you have any tips for me for next time! I feel like I've seen other's make it and its come out fantastically.

   Well, that is it for today. What shall I cook for next week? Time to start looking---
Take Joy!~

{September} Yarn Along

   Hello, and good morning!~
      Today I am joining with Ginny at Little Things for her September Yarn-Along. Here are a few of the things I'm working on, and a shawl I did finish (hurray!)

    At the moment, on my wheel I have some basic white yarn I'm spinning up for some natural dyeing projects I'm thinking about. As those late summer/early autumn dye flowers like goldenrod and tickseed fill the fields around my home, I'm hoping to get some yarn spun up and some muslin bought so that I can capture some of their lovely color for future projects.

   The roving I'm using to spin with is from my friend Lavonne, who's shop you can find HERE. Her roving is my very favorite....its a dream to spin up (you can actually read an article I wrote HERE featuring a photo of her on her beautiful Montana sheep farm) and it comes in a variety of delicious natural shades, but I digress (as usual!).....

    This shawl is my most recent finished work, and I am so proud of it! I love how it came out. It started out as a Tess D'Urberville shawl, but towards the end of it I added a little fanciness with some eyelet and a picot bindoff. I want to do another one of these shawls.....its pretty easy and very pretty. I love how this particular yarn knit up too with the colors... The yarn is called "Painted Sky" and I got it at Get Stitchin' in Tulsa, OK.

  This is my current living room set-up....it's amazing how out of hand things can get, haha, when you're working on something! I've got a little quilt runner I started a long time ago on a quilt frame that I recently found at an estate sale (Oh, I love a good estate sale!) it was a steal ($6!) and perhaps it will motivate me to work on more quilting in the colder months when I'm ready to cuddle up and work on comfort projects.

   The fabric in this little runner is very special to me, because I bought them at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts when I was there last. So its not only beautiful old timey looking fabric, it is a bit of a keepsake of a beloved New England adventure! It's set far too long, and now I'm ready to get it done and perhaps work on something else (perhaps something done with autumn dye projects? we shall see!)

   And so, that's one of well....many, many projects I have going around the house ;) it's always something! ;) that's how I operate....

  What are you working on this month? Are you also looking forward to chilly autumn days where you can create things?

Thank you for your visit today!~
Take Joy,

Cooking With Tasha Tudor: Roasted Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

   Good morning friends, and thanks so much for your visit! I am so happy to have you here this Tuesday as I start again one of my favorite projects--- Tasha Tuesday!

   Now, if you've never heard of my Tasha Tuesday blog series--- you can read a ton more here. Its something I've done from time to time for many years now. Basically, its a series of posts having to do with the art, lifestyle, heirloom crafts etc. of someone who inspires me daily in my life and work-- Tasha Tudor.

   When I stumbled upon a biography of Tasha, called "The Private World of Tasha Tudor" many years ago as a college student, it really lit up a place inside my imagination. Because here was a woman and artist who loved all the same things I loved--- and not only made a life for herself with them, but flourished.  As a student, I had been told many times that the things I loved and enjoyed were no way to make a life or even a meager living. And Tasha was someone I could use as a reference point, a small whisper that said, "it's possible."

   And since then, as years have passed, I worked myself slowly towards the life of an artist who embraces old fashioned things, that sees beauty and richness in the past that is worthwhile in our present.  In small increments I was able to find work that was more and more creative, until a bit over a decade out--- here I am--- working full time as an artist, with a family, in my old house brimming with old things and animals. And I credit Tasha with giving me the fortitude to go after those things.

  And so--- thus was born "Tasha Tuesday" as I wanted to share all the things that fascinated me about her life and work!

   But this series is a little different! My daughter and I have decided that it would be fun to go through all the cook books either written by or collaborated with Tasha Tudor and try some new recipes. A few recipes are old favorites. Still more, I just needed that nudge to try, and this seemed like the perfect excuse to do it!

    This is our first week then, of 'Cooking with Tasha Tudor!' And we started off with an amazing meal--- Tasha's roast chicken with her mashed potatoes. It was amazing. Lets chat about it!~....

   I have made roast chicken many times and it is a family favorite. But I dont think I've ever followed Tasha's recipe specifically. The recipe for her roasted chicken can be found in "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook: Recipes and Reminiscences from Corgi Cottage", a must-have for any Tasha Tudor lover. The recipe-- or 'receipt' as Tasha calls them-- is full of the freshest ingredients and I made sure to collect my herbs fresh out of the back garden, and paired the chicken with fresh carrots, yellow squash and onion. For Tasha, the freshest ingredients are essential, and all are very sumptuous treats.

   This is a shot of our done-up bird going into the oven. And I'm a little bashful feeling to tell you--- that when the bird came out two hours later, looking like heaven, it was carved up in no time and I had forgotten to take a photo of the finished product! I know....what am I going to do with myself? Just trust me, it was wonderful....and tasted divine! A wonderful dinner to start on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and then have ready for a weekend feast with family or any guests! I've also found that I can stretch a roast chicken into two meals, plus make stock, so one bird goes a long way!

   A great compliment to the chicken was Tasha's amazing mashed potatoes which are....heaven. They are also found in "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook" and are very easy to make, especially if you've made standard mashed potatoes before. I always seem to come out with more mashed potatoes than I planned, which is fine because they reheat the next day wonderfully, or could be cooked into potato cakes.

   And after the beautiful bird has been carved up and all the good meat picked off (I usually pick it clean and then use the leftover bits to use in a pasta dish the next night!) you can use the carcass and any left over veggies or vegetable cuttings to make homemade chicken stock!

    My method of making chicken stock is pretty easy because I do it in a Crockpot. Basically I put the chicken bones and veggie remnants in my standard size crock pot (Or any slow cooker you have), cover with about 8 cups of water, and cook it on low over night the evening after we've had the roast chicken.

   The next day, I strain our the bones and spent vegetables (They've lost their flavor and nutritional content to the stock by this time, so can be thrown out) and then strain the stock that's been created into jars.

  You can use traditional canning jars to store your stock in for your pantry (or butt'ry, as Tasha would say! Lets just go full-on down the Tasha-speak rabbit holes, shall we!?!) , or just use heat-safe containers you have on hand to keep the stock handy in your fridge for the next week or two. This stock can be used in nearly anything else you cook through the week to give meals a more savory taste. Anything from pasts to chili to soups, etc.

Cozy kitchen illustration by Tasha Tudor! Life goals!

   And so--- that is my first endeavor in this Tasha cooking project! I highly recommend her cookbook if you're interested in old fashioned cooking. These aren't diet recipes--- but they're full or real, wholesome ingredients and I love that these are recipes that have been handed down for generations. And all the recipes start with a little story or remembrance. Its lovely!~

  Well, I am off to start a busy day! If you'd like to learn more about Tasha Tudor, you can visit her family's website HERE. There are many Tasha items, including art, garden seeds, scarves, etc. that can be found there!

Thanks for stopping by, and please come again! We're gonna keep on cookin'!~
Take Joy,

PS-- I've had some people tell me they're having trouble being able to comment! Some trouble shooting suggestions (to the best I can figure out, lol!) is to make sure you scroll down to the VERY BOTTOM of the post to see the box for your comment. It should be able to take your comment in multiple ways, but you might have to enter your email, name etc. You also might make sure you are logged into your google account if you have one, as blogger is now linked into google. Hope that helps!!

Portrait: Tasha Tudor At Home

   Painting a portrait of author and illustrator Tasha Tudor has been on my mind a long time-- perhaps even years. But it wasn't something that I'd ever gotten around to really doing. This past week, however, I decided to go for it, to see if I could capture the homespun coziness of Tasha's life and work with my own painting style. And the painting above, is what came of that!

   It was such a pleasure to paint Tasha, her home, and the things she enjoyed. I worked from a photograph, but added some of my own touches to bring in more of the things Tasha loved into one scene. I added the corgis and the drawing board with the painting taped to it. I was hoping I'd do the little corgis justice, the iconic dog of so many of Tasha's paintings, and I'm pleased with how they turned out!

 This book cover photo is the image I used to base my painting after. I loved looking so closely at all the little things to create an entire 'Tasha scene', and was amazed to realize that this fireplace is featured, almost exactly, in some of her own paintings.

   It was, in a strange way, like spending time with Tasha and I hated to have it end, although I was happy to have the painting be complete.

   And I'll be honest--- the making of the painting and how it turned out had me making a decision I rarely make--- I decided to keep the original!

  BUT, I know many of you, my kindred spirit friends, also love Tasha, so of course I made prints! I had prints made up in both 8x10" and 11x14" sizes, and love how they came out. I hope you do too!

   And speaking of Tasha Tudor, I had a little idea that I've been working out with my daughter, and wanted to share with you here.....

 For several years now, at different points in time, I have written each Tuesday for "Tasha Tuesday",  a blog series about all sorts of things pertaining to Tasha Tudor. This time, I'm hoping to work on a fun little project with my daughter (who is becoming quite the baker in her own right) where we choose one Tasha Tudor recipe (or receipt, as she's day!) to make during the week, and share it with you the following Tuesday. I'm looking forward to a reason to try some new recipes, and as the weather cools I find myself wanting savory treats and yearning to nest and cook.

  So, please return to see what we-- cook up! ;)

  And if you'd like a Tasha print of your own, they are now listed in my etsy shop!~
Thanks so much, and Take Joy!~

Ellerie's Autumn

  Hello there, and happy Wednesday!~
       I hope you had a restful Labor Day this past weekend. I know for many, that is the beginning of the school year, so good luck with all the learning! We are slowly getting used to the new school rhythm here, and I am enjoying thinking about autumn art!

   Last week I listed some of my newest pieces, one of which was "Ellerie's Autumn", shown above. The original sold, but I wanted to take a moment to show it to you since it was such fun to make. This piece was basically an ode to an old fashioned New England autumn, with all the things I love about the season there.....pretty old churches and ancient cemeteries.....salt box houses and old stone walls... and trees all ablaze with color. I'd love to take an evening walk through a little New England town, all bedecked in my coziest knitwear and hey, I'd carry a pumpkin too! ;) And so, "Ellerie's Autumn" began, I liked that name and thought it sounded pretty with my favorite season!

    In 2013 I was able to travel to New England for the first time, right at the end of September and early October. It was a fantastic time to be there....the world was deep into autumn with all the trees and leaves and pumpkins everywhere. It was a trip I'll remember all my life, and I hope one day to return during that time of year and share it with my husband (then maybe he'd get the bug too and we'd all move out there? maybe? Evil plan? Hehehe....)

    The foliage is my very favorite part of autumn, and seeing everything aglow in New England made me inspired to plant a little maple tree that glows an orangy-yellow right outside my kitchen window. I love that through the years and decades to come, I'll be able to look out my little window and see that beautiful color...and be transported in my mind back to that perfect autumn in Vermont.

   A prairie autumn does indeed have its own beauty, and I look forward to sharing that with you here in coming weeks. But for now, with this little painting on my mind, it's all New England, forever...

And oh yes! There's a print winner left to select! Thank you ALL for entering to win, I appreciate it so much!

  The lucky winner of Autumn Emilia is....


Susan, congrats! Please get in touch with me (audreyeclectic@gmail.com) and I'll get the print sent your way!

Thank you all and here's to a coming autumn!~


An Autumn Gathering 2018

   Hello there, Friends!~
           And welcome to my annual 'autumn gathering.' It's an online event I've been doing for several years now where I release autumn themed art and celebrate my favorite time of the year--- autumn!

    Ah, I'm so glad you're here! Get yourself a cup of coffee, come sit, and lets chat! It's been a busy summer, hasnt it? But there's a change in the air....the summer is waning....its almost time for the season of cozy--- of walks during brisk mornings when leaves swirl around....of pumpkins on doorsteps, the sound of marching band practice in the air....doesn't it just make you want to smile and do a little twirl (go on and twirl, I wont tell!)

   I have several NEW original paintings in my shop--- shown above! You can find "Brigid of Ireland", "Ellerie's Autumn" and "Autumn Comfort" all listed in my shop! I also have brand new prints of Brigid of Ireland available.

           I know that technically, it is still summer. But it is also September. And September is autumn. And by that logic, I say bring on pumpkin everything and all the beautiful golden tones of the season. I can't think of autumn now without remembering my very first trip to New England. I was able to stay with my friend Alyson, who wrote the blog New England Living and now does The Strange and Unusual Podcast. Together with another friend, Emily, we traveled the beautiful winding roads of New England.....I was introduced to Dunkin' Donuts (and was always getting the hot cider! Was I just being contrary? Or, more likely, I was 6 months pregnant and that's what sounded good!)

    To me, New England is the where the soul of autumn resides, although it has been so much fun to write about summer in New England in my latest blog series--- and I hope you enjoyed that! But now....Oh now! It is TIME for AUTUMN!

    To celebrate in real style, I thought we should have a treat....so I'm offering an autumn print giveaway! 
   I will be choosing from this post's comments ONE WINNER of my 8x10" print "Autumn Emilia" shown below:

   All you have to do to win this sweet autumn girl is to leave a comment! And the winner will be selected next week! Easy enough, right?!

   And if you're also a lover of autumn and would like to take part, lets have a blog stroll, shall we? Below you'll find a linking tool where you can add a link to any autumn themed blog post or social media post you've published! Follow the directions below and join us! We can all visit eachother, with coffee and cider and all the pretty knitting things!

   And before you go, do visit the etsy shop to see whats new! There are new prints and originals and I still have some calendars! Can't promist how long I'll have them, but there are still a few left looking for homes!~

  Until then, thank you for your visit!~
and TAKE JOY!~