Sunday, 15 April 2012

Happiness is ...

.. finally having the flowering cherry in bloom...
Yes, Spring has finally arrived although it is a shade nippy here..
Happiness is also.....

..finally having all your orders ready ..

and being allowed time for new designs...and some " down - time" with lovely walks..

 and time to sunbathe...

Have a lovely week!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter egg painting inspiration.. and another feature on

I can't stop being all Eastery and thought to share with you my inspiration for painting Easter eggs.
I can really recommend creating your own heirloom pieces from a simple chicken egg.

The enamel eggs from Halcyon Days are a real inspiration, if you want to move away for a change from the simple stripe or dot  .

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I would love to get an egg as a present with a ruin painted on it like this one.
Or this adorable one ..

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Yet, with  prices like $125,-  to $245,- for an egg like that, this is the time I usually decide to create my own.

This is and Easter egg I did some time ago, covered with butterflies.
You start with a chicken egg, from which you blow out the egg white and egg yolk,( you can read how to do this on this post here )  then cover with a base coat of paint.I used artist's acrylic paint as it has a matt shine and dries relatively quickly.
Then you find a design that inspires you, and draw the design on your egg with a Staedler Technical Drawing ink pen 

or a Rotring Pen 

These pens will give you a very neat line and can draw very precisely and thinly.
Here is an chicken egg with a design drawn on with one of these pens.

You then fill in the colourfields with acrylic paint.An egg with both sides painted takes a bit of time ( it takes me two days ) , so varnish it afterwards so the paint won't run  and your work won't be ruined.
Here's some more Easter egg inspiration for you..

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Have a wonderful time decorating and painting!!

I received another email from the editors from that one of my ideas , again for a garden  design ( paving ) had been featured in one of their idea books.

Here is the link.
Happy Easter !

And the latest adventure of Maud and Millie can be found on their blog here

linking to the 
Weekend Wrapup party
Easter craft party
Bunny Bloghop
Inspiration Friday
Frugal Friday
Feathered Nest friday 

Friday, 6 April 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter lovely people! I am still knee deep into finishing orders I took on the Country Living Spring Fair, so I thought to give you a recipe which I have posted before in case you feel like making your own Easter hot cross buns....   and Simnel cake.( recipe is also on the blog).

Before I came to live in England, I had never heard of hot cross buns- but I have really grown to love these little buns with dried fruit and cinnamon and orange zest .They are really  
 tasty and quite fun to make- and absolutely delicious straight out of the oven with some fresh butter.
And Simnel cake, basically a fruit cake with marzipan, is very festive and yummy and gets you really into the Easter spirit with a nice cup of tea.
Here are the is the recipe for
Hot cross buns.

This is an overnight recipe so the dough can rise- so remember to start the evening before!!
150 ml milk
2 eggs
50 gr butter
400 gr  white flour
yeast : 2 x packet of dried yeast ( = 2 x 7 gr= 14 gr)
125 g mixed dried fruit
1 clove
grated zest of 1 orange
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger powder
2 cardamom pods

Preparation :
Put the flour, yeast and dried fruit with the spices in a bowl.
Warm the milk with the butter, zest , clove and cardamom, melt the butter in the milk, then leave to let the flavours get into the milk.
Let milk cool till luke warm, then take the cardamom pods out. Beat in the egg, then add the whole of the milk and egg mixture to your flour mixture.Knead through till you have a nice elastic dough.This is best done by hand, as you can feel the dough change.Form into a ball then put in a covered bowl in the fridge overnight.
The next day, take out the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up- I usually use my airing cupboard- you need a warm-ish place with no draughts.The warming up will take at least 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade .
Knead the dough again til it feels smooth and elastic.Then spilt it into 16 ball, which you roll between the balls of your hands.Take an oven dish and line or butter it ,and put the litle balls on it. Cut a cross with an kitchen knife in the top of each ball.Cover  the oven dish with a clean tea towel, then let it rise for 2 hours.

Take 1 egg and beat this into a small bowl, then cover the buns with the egg-wash on the top.
Take 3 tablespoons of flour , 1/2 tablespoon od sugar and dissolve this into 2 tablespoons of water, so you have a thick white paste.Use the end of a teaspooon to dribble this white paste as a white cross on top of the buns.
 Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of hot boiling water, and brush each bun withthe sticky mixture so the buns are all shiny, then ..
try not to eat them all at once !!

Happy baking !!

Have a lovely Easter weekend!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Springtime at Modern Country Lady and featured in www. ideabooks

Wishing you a very happy April!! It's been pretty hot and now pretty cold which makes it for a really changeable Spring here at Modern Country Lady.Things are now really starting to burst into flower and blossoming away like my weeping cherry here above- I just love it best when it's just about to open up and some of the flowers are still into buds.Spring really is my favourite time of the year.

And what about these sweeties.. coming up year after year ! I love these grape hyacinths, never any trouble- not like other bulbs I could mention that never appear again after the first year !

Actually, these tulips here below have surprised me completely, as these are the first that have come back after the first year !

They were waiting for me on my return from the Country Living Spring Fair..aww.. so sweet.
I feel very inspired to make a good go of my fledgling business "My Aunt Agatha" and the fair has helped a lot with loads of contacts and inspiration.
At the moment I working my way through the orders that stacked up on the order-book during the fair , from all the people who wanted " My Aunt Agatha" products, tailored to their specifications.
I am also thinking about and researching into fabrics and designs for  a new collection which wil entail hand embroidery but will still be affordable and which will be interesting for my trade customers as well, so life is very busy.
Here are some of the things that inspire me which I may taking as a starting point. I just love beautiful this

..and like this..

Being surrounded by beautiful needlework when you grow up surely must inspire you- my mum Philomene is an amazing needle-woman..
Here is my beautiful mum with my step-dad with whom she has been happily married for more than 25 years now..

And here is a picture of my mum and me some years ago...

Anyway, I digress..what I wanted to say was, I will be working away on my orders and new designs and hope to keep you in the loop of developments .
And on of the exciting bits of news is that I was emailed by the editors of a few days ago, that one of my garden designs, for a potager or kitchengarden,  has been featured in their ideas books..
This is the design..

and the link to the idea book on is here.

Hope you have a lovely rest of the week and enjoy the Spring!

linking to photography Friday