Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Sunday, 29 May 2011

'Going Gluten Free' Celebration Cupcakes

I have recently made the decision to try and go gluten free. I'm not Coeliac but I do have some other autoimmune problems such as Hashimoto's Disease as well as Fibromyalgia. I guess the writing has been on the wall for a while now. I have some friends who have Fibro who have seen a huge improvement in their symptoms once they went gluten free. I also have a good friend who is Coeliac and she has shown me that eating gluten free isn't as limiting as I first thought. She has been so generous by passing on information, giving me tips and advice and loaning me some of her cookbooks. (Thanks L...hugs, hugs.)

Giving up bread and wheat isn't so daunting really...but it's the baked goods that had me concerned. My beloved cakes and pastries would be no longer! I thought a gluten free cupcake would taste like dust. I was so wrong! I made these delicious cupcakes today from the 'Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes' recipe from this gorgeous cookbook by Harry Eastwood. The cake part is made from courgette/zucchini, ground almonds and rice flour. There is a dollop of strawberry jam in the middle. The frosting is made from icing sugar, a wee bit of butter, vanilla and mascarpone cheese. It's not as sickly sweet as a conventional buttercream frosting and not as sour as a cream cheese frosting...and I kinda like that. Wayne wasn't too crazy about the texture which is a bit grainy rather than spongy but he thought that they tasted better than regular cupcakes. I think they taste better too. They taste real. Like real food and not sickly and processed-like...does that make sense? Anyway, I am now in love with Harry Eastwood....I can't wait to make more stuff...and to share it around. Life is just better if you can have cake and share it with those you love.


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

I Saved A Bee!

Today when I came home I found a flaked out bee on the bathroom floor. His little legs were all stiff and twitchy...he looked like he was nearly dead.

Rewind about 30 summers ago when I was aged 14 sitting on the porch watching my great aunt Lou do her gardening. Being an avid gardener and a good Christian, Lou loved all of God's creatures, especially the bees. Whenever one was found fizzled out and struggling she would drizzle some honey near it to revive it. Being an angst ridden and bored teenager I probably rolled my eyes, but Lou's method of saving bees must have stuck with me because it's the first thing I thought to do for this little bee. (and little he was...not a honey bee...more likely a solitary mason bee perhaps?...not too sure.)

Anyway, it worked! I put some honey on a butter knife, picked the bee up with it and he immediately started licking it up. Lick, lick, lick...I could see his cute little curly tongue lapping up the honey. Gradually there was movement in his legs, then his body, then his wings...and after about a half hour, he crawled to the window and flew away!

Bye bye Mr. Bee!


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Victorian Cemetery and Church Love

It's a cliche, I know...being an American here in England, oogling the Victorian architecture...but I can't help myself.  No matter how many Victorian churches and cemeteries I see, I never tire of them and I never cease to be amazed at how romantically beautiful and atmospheric they are. All those people, dead for over 100 years, gravestones faded and weathered, loved ones long gone and probably forgotten. It seems so sad, but there is always such a strong presence in Victorian cemeteries that can't be ignored. Perhaps it's because I'm from California and there is nothing this old or ornate there. The really old architecture seen in California is of a Western/Mexican/Pueblo style...very 'Ranchy'...which is beautiful too and gives the perfect backdrop for cactus (which I love). But because I grew up with that, I'm used to it.

European architecture though...simply gorgeous! These photos were taken at Nunhead Cemetery and All Saints Church, both in SE London.


Monday, 23 May 2011

My Illustrations Featured at Laura Ward Photography

This is some illustration work that I did for an amazingly talented photographer named Laura Ward. Honest, feminine, deep, nostalgic and multi-layered is how I would describe her work which is communicated by her use of various types of cameras (and techniques)...especially the old, hand windey up ones (sorry I don't have the proper terminology) but they are lush. I really enjoyed this job because not only is Laura is a joy to work with, but I really admire her work as well...and besides, I can draw tea related stuff all day...I love it! Thank you Laura for such a sweet and generous write up about me, my work and my studio. Fred says Hi!

You can visit Laura's blog here and see more of her work here.


Friday, 20 May 2011

Baby Foxes!

Ok, here's the deal. There are about a zillion foxes that live on our property and every year they have babies but we don't always get to see them...and the times we do get to see them, it's dark outside and you can barely see them let alone photograph them. Well, one of the vixens that has been here for quite a while now (she's about 4 years old) had four cubs this year and today she brought them out in daylight and I was able to capture them playing and exploring! Pardon the poor quality pics, but I was far away and my zoom is bare basic. I know I won't be wining the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award but I am so happy to have even got these. I wish I could have got a good shot of all four babies together but they were running around so much I couldn't capture it...but I did get a good pic of Mother kissing baby. Go here if you want to see some more.
Aren't they cute?

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