Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Inspired palettes

Where do artists get their inspiration for the colors they use in designing products like fabric or greeting cards or tableware?

I can only answer for myself, but those who know me have probably already guessed the truth: I get my color schemes straight from the wholesome outdoors.

I wander through farm and field, across mountain path and alongside alpine lakes, camera and sketchbook in hand. From these I sift a palette.

Sometimes it's as simple as a duckling. I might take one hue from the creamy tone on the top of his beak and a deep brown from his feathery underside, a bright chartreuse from the blade of grass clinging to a webby foot.

Here I'll share with you my jog through the woods by my house this afternoon and the color palettes that hour inspired. A branch here, a bloom there...

...and my hour in the woods has given me several color palettes which will appear in my spring collections.

That's just me... maybe my artist friends use a completely different method, but I almost always derive my palettes straight from the outdoors. I may use a palette for a subject completely unrelated to the one that inspired the colors, but I've observed that God was really smart in the way He placed colors together, and drawing from the natural world is almost completely fool proof.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sweet violets

When the violets bloom, it’s officially spring. At least in that’s true at our house.

In the garden this week, those tiny violets have suddenly opened, and I almost jumped up and down shouting for joy.

Hurrah, it's spring! Come on over and join me doing the happy dance...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fresh sourdough

Guess I’m a farm girl at heart, and a true do-it-yourselfer to the bone. I really love the simple things best. Not for me the glitz & glam.

I choose home made over store bought every time.
So this week it’s been sourdough.

I’ve coveted Rose Beranbaum Levy’s Bread Bible for ages and finally snagged a copy at
the library. She gives great directions for capturing wild yeast and growing it using organic rye flour and water. Irresistible, right? I could hardly reach for that trusty old Ball jar fast enough!

There on my kitchen counter, the rye flour mixture has rested, growing a fruity smelling yeast, and I’ve peered at it, nurtured it with flour and water for days. In a rather odd way it’s been a bit like a beloved family pet in need of gentle tending.And hurrah, today it was ready for baking the first loaf!

The sourdough will develop a more complex flavor and gain strength as it matures, Rose promises me. And this New York City baker hasn’t let me down yet. That yeast culture is expanding and bubbling just as she told me it would. I can hardly wait!

I got out my trusty baking implements this morning to mix the first loaves made with my young wild yeast culture. And what fun I’ve had… and how delicious those new-baked loaves look and taste.

Next comes building the chicken coop. I think I’ve about convinced my son to get out the hammer and nails. More about chickens in the next chapter of Farm Girl at Heart, my own little stab at creative thrifty living.