The Dog Ate My Real Drawings

What happened to Illustration Friday? Well, last week there was the tart epic, then this week… erm… the dog ate my homework? Our family’s dearly departed Jack Russell actually did eat my homework once when I was a kid, so that’s actually a plausible excuse.

I did do some sketching, if off topic. I’ve been trying to think of an elevator pitch for my blog so when people ask me what it’s all about I don’t freeze up and accidentally use the deadly phrase “creative living”. Enter the business card (or a Moo Mini Card) to circumvent such faux pas. I just need to choose something that will fit into that tiny space yet say something relevant, engaging and un-twee.

One idea was to illustrate my ‘about’; make, use, appreciate. I did some quick pencil sketches, went over them with an inky pen, scanned them in, then photoshopped in my branding fabric as a texture. I don’t think I’ll end up using them for anything, but they were fun to make.




On a more constructive front, I’ve started some drawings for another project that will hopefully end up on my (currently) hypothetical market stall. I’ll keep you posted (ha – accidental pun!).

Two Hundred and Forty Tarts

So this week just gone I made a dress for my sister, fixed my own dress and made two hundred and forty tarts (pastry, not any other kind as my punny dad implied) all for a wedding on the weekend. I. Am. Buggered. But strangely cheerful… Must be the lack of sleep or, you know, sense of creative fulfilment.

How I ended up doing the dress I’m not quite sure, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do (a subtle segue for a post on making the dress, eh?). However, I offered to make the tarts as a wedding present. With expert dessert consultation from my invaluable sister, I decided on two different tarts; a Citrus Praline tart and a Sweet and Bitter Berry tart.

I made the shells the day before in an unprecedented act of preparation, which with 3 trays meant 7 baking batches… The house was nice and toasty by the time I was done.

The Citrus Praline tart filling was a simple but delicious one I had cobbled together from the pantry in a past dessert-desperate moment; 140g of good quality, slightly bitter marmalade to every 100g of almond meal (toasted in the oven at 150°C until lightly browned – about ten minutes – then cooled to room temperature), stirred thoroughly together, refrigerated for an hour and finally smoothed into the waiting tart shells with a butter knife.

We got the caterers to pipe whipped cream swirls on top of each tart just before serving for that fancy weddingy touch, but they’re just as tasty as is.

The other tart had to involve chocolate, so I made a cheats ganache, giving it some groove with raspberry puree. I used 100g melted bitter-sweet chocolate (I used the Lindt 70% chocolate) to 1/4 cup raspberry puree (frozen raspberries thawed then blended) and 2 teaspoons milk, with the puree and milk gradually stirred into the chocolate until the ganache was a uniform consistency.

I piped the ganache into the tarts then stuck them in the fridge to firm up while wonderful John washed up the plethora of bowls, forks, spoons and random kitchen implements (my piping bag is resting in part of a never used cocktail shaker) I’d used.

The final step was dropping a teaspoon of melted white chocolate onto the set ganache to add a sweet note against the bitter chocolate, salty pastry and tart berries as well as an even finish. I didn’t think they looked quite weddingy enough though, so I shook up a few drops of raspberry puree with some caster sugar to make raspberry sugar for dusting.

Don’t they look purdy? Now, with the epic cooking (and post) done, I’m off to eat takeaway for the rest of the week.

Illustration Friday

I’ve decided to actually try and do what I’ve said I’m trying to do (sketch more for pleasure in this case). Enter Illustration Friday which posts topics every Friday and people submit their illustrations interpreting the theme.

This week’s topic was Warning, accompanied by the proverb “Red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky at morning, sailors warning.”

The sailor has a red morning to warn of bad weather – I have other signs of a storm approaching.

Wasp Up With Me? Well…

Circumstances have once again conspired against my intended crafting progress. Firstly, I am now the proud joint owner of a Canon DSLR that boasts an excessive amount of buttons. Obviously, the new camera required much playing professional-like experimentation.

So, like, this photo of a dead wasp is a postmodern deconstructive allusion to Victorian era Mourning Photographs (link alert – there are dead bodies on the other end for the unwary click-through-er), because dead things are like, so underground. Ok, I stole that hipster joke from Cyanide and Happiness.

Moving right along, I have also ended up with John’s GINORMOUS monitor, as the better part of his computer hard drive is currently in pieces sustaining the life of a fried external hard drive. I have absolutely not spent the last hour scooting my cursor from one screen through to the other after plugging the monitor into my laptop.

I have however photographed my original patchwork scarf (on loan from the gift-ee), both to simulate progress in the current (blue) scarf project and to include in market stall-holder applications… Yes people, I am moving towards getting organised for maybe thinking about booking a stall to actually sell things. Ooh yeah, it’s all happening.