Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Fruit Leather

Things to do with strawbs...

Make a smoothie. I like to add a 'nana and some apple, and a squeeze of lime juice. And sometimes vodka. It's also really good with sparkling wine, or champagne if you are a fancy pants!

I was always a bit upset to throw away the fruity pulp from the juicer. Bob Flowerdew has a solution, fruit leather. I got his book 'Grow Your Own, Eat Your Own' from my bro a couple of Christmases ago. It's been pretty handy, and I love Bob's take on lifestyle pics- his garden looks a bit of a state! Old bits and bobs (s'cuse the pun) all over the shop. Very encouraging. Anyway, basically you empty all the pulp into a pan, and simmer it for a bit to make a paste. Grease a tray, and spread the paste out, then leave it in a very low oven, or out in the sun.
Since the weather has been so fine, my leather has been drying on the patio. I raised it off the ground on an old plant stand, and covered it with a silkscreen to keep the flies off.

 Then, when it's completely dry, chop it up and store in a jar. Easy. And tasty.

Charity Shop Adventures

I have a weakness for charity shops. Today, my errand to the post office and bank was again diverted to the Oxfam bookshop on kings Heath High St, where I found this little beauty.

A great big Mrs. Beeton book complete with some top class 70's photography. Check out that pork pie! The cloth in the background was also bought today, at the St. Mary's hospice shop, where I also found this mirror, a snip at £3.50!
Ah, look- Stig the dog managed a look in there. He was particularly doddery this morning, refusing flatly to even attempt going for a walk.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

At the Allotment

I was down at the allotment until 10:30 the other night. I can't tear myself away at this time of year. These are last years parsnips in full flower. I'm saving seeds for next years crop and the bees are getting a feast into the bargain.

The flower border is coming on, still as scraggy and shaggy as ever, but these 'Knautia Macedonica' add a good splash of colour.

Just picked- the first crop of broad beans. I absolutely love them!

And finally, the strawberries are in full production. I have no idea why I grow so many. I'm already heartily sick of them. We've had smoothies, crumble, cupcakes and fruit leather made from them in the past week. Still, the freezer is taking the strain now, and I'm sure I'll appreciate this in the coming months.
If anyone has a favourite strawberry variety I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Kings Heath Shin Dig 19th June.

Coming up on Saturday 19th June is the Kings Heath Summer Party. There will be lots of things happening, see the details here -
including a food fair at All Saints Square, the bar-boot will take place in the Hare and Hounds, Alys Fowler is opening the Kings Heath Floral Trail- loads to keep you busy!

I'll be involved in the arts and vintage market at the top of Vicarage Rd (where the farmers market is). There will be prints, cards and bags for sale, and I'm giving away some of my saved seeds.

I've been collecting seed from especially succesful crops at the allotment for a while now. The rocket is really good, and keeps us in salad throughout the Summer. I made these labels for the market.
This year, the parsnips have been left to flower so I can collect next years seed from them. I've also got the last of  the leeks earmarked.Lovely!

Simon will be manning the stall, and playing a set at  The Soul Food Project in the Hare and Hounds. He'll be playing in the pub at about 3:30pm. The grub looks amazing!!

Monday, 7 June 2010

The travelling Menagerie goes to Falmouth

I'm extremely excited to be taking part in this exhibition which starts in July. The 'Girls Who Draw' are a group of female illustrators, curated by the wonderful Karoline Rerrie.

Here's the details:

Travelling Menagerie at Here and Now Gallery, Falmouth, July 2nd - July 31st 2010
Here and Now Gallery
41 a Killigrew Street

Girls Who Draw invite you to come and visit their amazing 'Travelling Menagerie' which will be at the Here and Now Gallery in Falmouth throughout July. The exhibition will feature an exotic array of artwork from the 'Menagerie' postcard book as well as new work based on the same theme. There are 10 illustrators participating in the exhibition and they are Gemma Correll, Anke Weckmann, Mary Kilvert, Sarah Ray, Kate Hindley, Ruth Green, Currentstate, Yee Ting Kuit, Karoline Rerrie and Michelle Turton

Girls Who Draw are a small group of illustrators who collaborate in order to publish a limited edition postcard book once a year. Each book is based on a different theme and is accompanied by an exhibition. More information about the 'Menagerie' postcard book can be found at

Thursday, 3 June 2010

New Gestalten Book

I recently received a copy of this new book from Gestalten, which explores new printmaking, letterpress and graphic design, with a focus on the hand-made. You can order it, and have a look at some of the fabulous work inside here.

I was absolutely chuffed to bits to be included, here's my page...

And you have to love this illustration for 'Pastrami Jack's' by Sam Soulek.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

studio window

It took me ages to renovate this window in my new studio. I've had fun going through the last of the boxes from the house move, and finding my glass collection. The enamel teapot came from a car boot a couple of Sundays ago. 50p! a snip!

Orange and Black

A trip to the post office yesterday afternoon ended up in the Oxfam bookshop on Kings Heath High St.
£1.95 bought me this 1959 copy of M.R. James ghost stories. I enjoyed the t.v adaptions of these that are often shown at Christmas.

But apart from liking the stories, these Penguin editions have such lovely covers...

Another recent purchase is this beautiful illustrated book of European trees. A similar use of colour to the Penguin cover, and sharp, graphic drawing. I hear the sketchbook calling.

Moseley Arts Market

I had an absolutely smashing time at Moseley Art Market  on 22nd May. The market is for local makers, and has some extremely lovely hand-made goodies. I'll be there again on Saturday June 26th. Hope the weather is as beautiful as it was in May.