We’re on Kindle!

Very, Very Excited!

Zero and One is now on Kindle!

image

Author Jeff Byington has been working diligently to get our book transformed into a Kindle version, available on Amazon.com!

You know, those wonderfully tempting instantly downloadable buy-with-one- click books?

:-)

Verry dangerous for us bibliophiles!

But also very convenient!

 

Sometimes Life Happens…

I think one of my favorite quotes is
“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.” 

I even like its source… a poem by Robert Burns entitled…

To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with a Plough

Just like that wee, sleekit, cow’rous tim’rous beastie,
sometimes my wee-bit housie is in a bit of a ruin,
and all my plans the win’s are strewin!

Such has been life the past week or so… Just a bit busy!

There have been frames to fill…

And more to make…

And things to cut out…

And some more…

And some more to go…

Yet in the midst of work, there have been streets to walk…

And places to shop…

Critters to befriend…

And quiet spots to rest.

But… I’m still sketching!

An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I hope these 31 Days posts will be
completed before I put up the Tree!

To see all the posts for
Pie from Scratch
click on the picture below!

Working with a Model…

One of the posts that I had planned for the Pie from Scratch series was about working with a model. Artists usually have a basic understanding of proportions and the mechanics of how the body changes as it bends and moves… but it really helps to have someone walk through your story scenes to get realistic poses. Sometimes, working with a model gives you poses you would have never thought of, if you were drawing from memory. Check out this photo I took of my young friend Dory and her Mom, who was pretending to cut open a pumpkin…

While taking that shot, I was focussing on how it might look if someone was trying to stick a knife into a hard pumpkin shell, but when I looked at the picture later, I realized I had caught something special on “film”… Dory’s relaxed, completely natural, only-a-kid-would-stand-like-this, stance! I have GOT to work this into an illustration…

I mean, check out those feet!

I would have never thought of that pose!

P.S. LOVE the shirt, Dory!

:-)

A while back, I wrote a whole post on working with
a live model that goes into a lot more detail…

You can see it by Clicking Here!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

Pie Filling…

After making the pie crusts, the next step is to
decide on the perfect pumpkin pie filling recipe!

I’m playing with several recipes we’ve used over the years,
trying out all the changes we’ve made to them…

…Like replacing brown sugar for white, for that extra “yum” factor…

And just the right blend of spices…

Hopefully we’ll eventually mix up the perfect pumpkin pie!

Does anyone have a killer pumpkin pie recipe?

I’m experimenting with recipes that use fresh pumpkin
and heavy cream or milk instead of evaporated  or condensed milk.

And I need a recipe that a kid can follow…
…with a little help from her Nana.

Who knows?

Maybe YOUR recipe could be in

Pie from Scratch!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

Pie Crust…

Finally got a chance to play with some pie crust!

I’m going with an old-fashioned pie crust recipe…
…the kind our grannies used…
…with “real” ingredients…

I used a cup each of fresh ground wheat flour and white flour.
And 1/2 teaspoon salt.
And 2/3 cup “shortening.”

For the shortening, I used a butter/lard combo…
Living on a farm, I figured that is most likely what
Annie’s Nana would have used for her pie crust.

First you have to “cut in” the cold butter and lard
until you have crumbs the size of peas…

And then you add just enough ice water to form a dough.
Really… ICE water. See the ice cubes in the bowl?

Then form the dough into two balls…

Roll them out…

Transfer the dough to your pan…

Trim the edges…

Make them pretty…

And bake!

Single crust pies usually need to have the crust baked first…
I’m just going to “half bake” it so the edges aren’t too well done.
I found these fun “Baking Beans” at Hobby Lobby…
They’ll keep the crust from puffling up while baking!

Special Nana Anne Tip for Baking with Kids:

Let the kids have the pie crust trimmings for their own baking project! She would give my girls the trimmings to roll out, enhance with spices, and bake. Pop Vin used to tease the girls that they would play with the dough until it was too dirty to play with, and then eat it! Actually, they used to feed the finished products to him, and he was quite a good sport about it! Even when not making pie crust, the girls would beg Nana to make them “dough” so they could create fantastic baked goods. Their favorite “recipe” was butter topped with cinnamon sugar…

Ah, Kitchen Memories…

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

A Little Red Hen Sort of Day…

One of my favorite childhood stories was The Little Red Hen.

(Snagged this copy for a quarter at a yard sale this Summer!)

The early folk tale teaches children hard work pays off…
…And so does pitching in and helping!

I’m pretty sure that I pulled that story
out of my hat a few times as a Mom.

However, as a kid, the story intrigued me,
because it talked about how wheat became bread!

Long ago, every kid knew that wheat had to be planted,
and then reaped and threshed to get fresh wheat berries…

…And then it was taken to the mill…

…To be ground into flour, made into dough,
and baked into yummy fresh bread…

We live about 4 miles from the coast in Delaware, and this weekend was spent wondering where Hurricane Sandy was going to make landfall… The track kept fluctuating between Fenwick Island and Atlantic City… and we’re pretty much right in between those two places. Yesterday, my plans for a rainy, blustery day included doing a trial run of Annie’s pie crust, but in the morning there was a sudden concern that our bread supply would run out… FAST… if we were indeed stuck here with no power for days. So, the pie crust trial run turned into a “grind lots of wheat to make lots of flour to make lots of bread” sort of day! I felt just as satisfied with the finished loaves of bread as the Little Red Hen did!

Thankfully, we only got a little wet yesterday… just a few drippy leaks and a lot of water standing in low spots. However, our prayers are with those facing flooded homes and businesses, and dealing with power outages, downed trees, and heavy snow.

“And now,” said the Little Red Hen,
Who will help me eat the bread?” 

:-)

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

Store Bought or Home Grown…

I bought eggs today.

Usually I don’t buy eggs…
We have a home-grown supply thanks to our gals…

But for research purposes, I broke down and bought a dozen.

This is what they look like in the box…
Pretty white, and very uniform in size and shape…

I don’t know how they get the chickens to lay eggs like that.

My chickens lay eggs that look like this…

The only thing consistent about the eggs around
Thistle Dew Farm is what’s inside…

The egg on the left is store-bought.

The egg on the right is home-grown.

Fresh, home-grown eggs have bright orange yolks instead of pale yellow.
They “stand up” in the pan… the white isn’t all watery.

And they taste like an EGG.

Once you get used to eating them, it’s hard to go back to store-bought!

Annie’s day of pie-making includes gathering eggs from her Pop’s hens.

Have you ever gathered fresh eggs?

We’ve kept chickens for about fifteen years,
and here’s what we’ve learned about them…

Hens… female chickens… start laying eggs somewhere between 4 and 6 months old. They lay about an egg a day, unless they’re molting, or getting new feathers. They sometimes lay more… especially in the spring. They sometimes lay less… like in the winter months, or extremely hot or cold weather. Young hens are very productive egg layers, and older gals space theirs out more and eventually stop laying all together. Sometimes the older hens will lay BIG eggs. Sometimes young hens will lay double-yolkers. Once, we found a triple-yolk egg… and boy, was it HUGE!

To make baby chickens, you need roosters. (Don’t worry Moms, that’s as far as I’m going with that. Keeping this Rated G.) Roosters are male chickens and they crow. A LOT. It’s a good idea to make sure your neighbors like the idea of farm animals before you get roosters. (Or you can bribe them with home grown eggs.) If you have roosters, some of your eggs will be fertilized, but chicks will not grow inside the egg unless a broody hen decides to set on them. Broody means she really wants to be a Mama Hen, and she will not be happy with you if you try to take any eggs out from under her. She may try to hid her eggs from you and set in a secluded place. If we have a broody hen, we’ll gather up a small pile of eggs for her and encourage her to set in the barn instead of the hen house. (Because she will try to set on every egg she sees and get them mixed up!) Her chicks will hatch 21 days from the day she begins setting on them… even if some are a week old before she sets. I think that is absolutely fascinating.

And that’s what I know about chickens.

If you ever come visit, we’ll introduce you to ours!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

A Little Perspective…

Landscapes are not my “thing.”

I love landscape paintings, but have always had
a difficult time making them look realistic.
They always seemed a little “flat”… No depth.

But in the last couple of years, I’ve learned a few
tips for adding perspective to landscapes!

Tip #1… Overlapping

You can make objects look like they are near or far by simply
overlapping them… One will appear to be in front of the other!

Tip #2…  Size

You can make an object appear closer by making it larger, and you can
make an object appear to be far away by making it smaller…

Tip #3… Placement

Placing an object higher up on the paper
makes it appear to be in the background…
…placing it near the bottom of the page puts it in the foreground.
They higher an object is in the painting, the farther away it will appear!

Tip #4… Atmospheric Perspective

That one sounds pretty technical, huh?

One of the early masters of atmospheric perspective was Leonardo da Vinci! Atmospheric perspective simply means that things up close are bright and crisp, while things far away are lighter colored and a bit fuzzy. Maybe even a little blue-ish, or hazy. Next time you’re outside, and able to see a long way… such as at the beach, or in the mountains, or standing in a field… take a good look at how things look both far away and up close.

I’m still working on the Pumpkin Patch illustration…

Can you see how all four of these tips are being used in it?

Copyright Kim Frey, 2012

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

 

Light and Shadow…

Whoops! I fell off the Blogosphere!

After a crazy weekend…

… And a Monday to gather my wits…

I’m climbing back on!

I figure I’ll just “count” posts up to 31, even if they don’t match the date.

So here goes POST #19…

Learning to Look for Light and Shadow…

Painting with different media provides different challenges in depicting light and shadow. I painted with acrylic paints when I was much younger, and always began with a dark background, building up to lighter colors. White highlights were the last thing added to an acrylic painting, such as the shine on an apple, or the twinkle in an eye.

In my 30’s, I took a watercolor painting class, and what a difference! Painting with transparent watercolor is completely opposite to painting with opaque acrylics. Because you can see through watercolor, you can’t just add white on top because the colors beneath will show through. Technically, there is no real “white” watercolor paint… most watercolor sets will offer some sort of opaque white pigment if you want to try to “fix” an area that you wanted to be white, but they don’t work very well. So how do you get white and other light colors?

You have to “save” the white. Basically, when painting with watercolor, you have to think ahead about where your lightest whitest colors will be, and paint “backward,” from lights to darks. If you want an area to be stark white, such as a highlight or gleam of sunlight, you can paint those spots with Masking Fluid. It’s sort of rubbery, so I like to keep a bar of soap nearby… you can suds up your brush on the soap before dipping it into your masking fluid. Oh… and use an old brush!

Once you have the white areas masked off, you can
paint a very light layer of paint over the entire object.
The lighter areas will be this color…

Since my light source is coming from the left,
the next step was to build up the darker colors
on the right side of the cream separator…

It works best to build up layers when the paint is still slightly wet…
Unless you want sharp lines, like you see on the legs.

When the paint is drier, you can use a “dry brush” technique
(As in not a sloppy wet brush) to add in the darker details…

And finally, you can remove the masking with a rubber masking eraser!

I’ll probably add in some more shadows later, using some grays mixed from the orange and blue, but isn’t it neat to see how you can show light and shadow with a single color? I actually love “looking for the light” when painting, and when I’ve been painting a lot, it seems that I find myself looking at everything in terms of lights and shadows. The more you “look for the light” and see how it shines in contrast to dark areas… the more you take notice of how the white of the paper even glows right through the other colors… the better your eyes are trained to recognize the light.

I think that’s pretty profound.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

Pretend This is Yesterday…

The past couple of days have started early, ended late,
and were completely filled in the middle.

They’ve included watching a newborn for a few hours…
…working at the store… Fall days are BUSY!
…a night out with Hubby…
…Papercutting Orders…
…and oodles of phone calls and weekend prep…

…And so far today…
24 Cupcakes
4 Fresh Apple Walnut Cakes
8  loves of Rosemary Basil Artisan Bread…
…And about 1oo Chicken Dinners to follow.

The past couple of days did not include
ANYTHING related to Pumpkin Pie.

Or Children’s Book Illustration.

:-P

I’ll catch up, I promise!