Sunday, December 26, 2010

Two Turtle Doves

It's the second day of Christmas, I'm listening to Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns , and I'm giving my true loves homemade cookies. So if you are lucky enough to be one of mine, you will be receiving a package in the mail or a visit in person (provided you've been good this year and that I have your address). Right this moment it's snowing heavily outside, thumbprint cookies filled with rose hip jam are baking in the oven, and The Swan is playing.

Twenty minutes later, and the thumbprints cookies are out of the oven! Believe it or not, I purposefully used up this nice jar of D'Arbo rose hip jam because I found another jar of my most favorite rose hip jam from Fior Di Frutta which is almost impossible to find and is only available this time of year. The creamy consistency of the Fior Di Frutta can't be beat!

From Christmas Day...

Lemon-orange pound cake I made for my
mother's birthday, which is also on the 25th.
A beeswax fisherman penguin
my father made for my mom one year.
Front to back:
My father's blueberry pie, my aunt's pumpkin
pie, my pound cake, and lastly my Lebküchen.
Lebküchen waiting to be eaten or sent to friends!
Hearts of course.
Kahlua caramels with cocoa powder and fleur de sel.
Some views of the dessert table...
My favorite shot of the evening...
Pumpkin pie, cake, coffee, local whisky,
whipped cream, and perfume tester strips*.
*Only in this family...

And lastly, Mr. (Red-Bellied) Woodpecker wanted to say hello again. I made him two years ago. Unfortunately his friend the Downy Woodpecker was stolen out of the Berkshire Museum that same year... He's still hoping that one day they might be reunited. Miracles do happen!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Catch-Up

Over the years I've gotten better at following through with my ideas of things to make. (I have a lot of ideas, so sometimes I become overwhelmed and give up entirely until the next spurt of creativity takes over my entire being and drives me into overload...) For example, every year I wish that I had made Christmas cookies and given them out as gifts but somehow never get around to it but this year I have finally succeeded in doing so. I have a great book called Festive Baking, by Sarah Kelly Iaia, with recipes for traditional German cookies, cakes, pretzels, and the like. I decided to try my hand at making "Lebkuchen," traditional German gingerbread.

The Lebkuchen dough is made over the stove top in order to fully dissolve sugar, butter, and honey, the key ingredient being the honey which has been used in making Lebkuchen since the Middle Ages. Then the spices, flour, egg and other ingredients are added. Once the dough has been prepared it can be left out at room temperature for at least a few weeks and can be used as needed---quite convenient for when you're in a holiday pinch!

The results...

Now for the rest of my creative adventures, going backwards in time:
Red roses I made for the Orion Magazine holiday party...

Decorations I set up inside...

My little advent corner in my kitchen window...

Recent Cakes:
Commissioned birthday chocolate
flourless birthday cake with lavender ganache...
Caramel chocolate torte---looks better than it actually
tasted as something was off with the brand of sugar I used...
The Man Catcher Cake from NPR
producer Melissa Gray's All Cakes Considered...

I recently did some commissioned illustrations
for a friend's storybook. Here are just a few examples...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Owl in the Forest

One more recent painting...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Paintings

I'm doing a commissioned story illustration project for a friend and as a result I've gotten back into painting. Here are some of my latest...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sewing Update: Return of the Empire

I made this high-waisted skirt last week and am not sure yet if I'll be selling it or keeping it for myself (always a tough decision). The midriff is made out of burgundy velvet (appears red in photo) with flower appliqué cut from an upholstery fabric remnant. The gathered skirt is made from the remainder cut of an Indian block print tapestry that I used to make my shower curtain.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Summer Sum Up

Columbia County Fair
Perfect Double Rainbow

I made a dress for the opening debut of our band,
The Grand Track Railway, which performed at as part of
The Wiyos' variety show "Gamville" at Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY.
The Grand Track Railway, Photo by Rachel Timan
The Grand Track Railway, Photo by Rachel Timan
The Grand Track Railway, Photo by Rachel Timan
The Wiyos, Photo by Rachel Timan
The Wiyos, Photo by Rachel Timan