Archive for February, 2012

February 26, 2012

Carli Davidson: ‘Shake’ Dog Portraits

Carli Davidson’s portfolio is full of beautiful and unusual photograph of animals, but my favourite by far is her series entitled ‘Shake’ which features dogs shaking off water. Using a fast shutter speed, she is able to capture the creatures’ mid-shake, the movement causing distorted faces and wild hair.

Not only is she a wonderful photographer, but also an experienced animal trainer, and it is this knowledge of her subjects and their personalities and behaviour that enables such fantastic photography.

I find something comical about the series, perhaps because of the familiarity of a household pet, and my own amusing memories of dogs shaking themselves dry. Typically, the border collies are my favourite…

February 21, 2012

Celebrational Cupcakes

Our etsy shop, Mystic Moose, made its 100th sale this week, and I decided to celebrate with a little bit of cake-baking. I felt like going a little healthier, and adding a bit of fruit to my usual recipe, which I found online many years ago and has never failed me! So I mixed it up a little with this recipe for Louise cake, which adds a little jam to middle, and makes it taste amazing.  Instead of using butter, I used vegan soy spread, which was the only thing we had in the house and works just fine, as well as being healthier! Instead of adding as much sugar and butter, I also tried out blending an apple into the mixture, which I found adds a little more moisture and a subtle apple-y sweetness. I did want to try making courgette cupcakes, but I didn’t have any courgettes in the house, and felt apple was probably a safe bet in cake-making.

The Ingredients:

  • 100g Pure Vegan Spread
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped up into very small pieces.
  • A few spoons of jam – I chose raspberry, but feel free to experiment with it!

The Process:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4.
  2. Pop cake cases into a cupcake over tray – This was the perfect chance to try out my new silicone cupcake cases I got for Christmas!
  3. Tip the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and chopped apple into a bowl and mix together.
  4. Pour into a blender and blend for a few minutes to make sure the apple pieces are smooth. I found this quite good at getting air into the mixture, but if you feel there’s not enough, whisk it until its light and well mixed.
  5. Divide the mixture between the cases, making sure you have a little left over in the bowl for the next step.
  6. Using a tea spoon, put about half a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each cupcake, and cover with a little bit of the mixture you have left over. (This jam will sink to the bottom during the cooking process.)
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until risen.
  8. Wait for them to cool before eating – the jam can get VERY hot, trust me!
  9. Once cool, devour.

We never got round to the decorating stage. I’m not entirely sure they’re ‘healthy’ just because I put an apple in them, but they taste amazing and were the perfect excuse to try out my new brightly coloured silicone cookware!

February 17, 2012

Union Jacks and Corgi Dogs

People may have read my post a few weeks ago about my London trip to see the Wizard of Oz, and how it prompted my double decker bus tote into being. With the Queens Jubilee and London 2012 on the horizon I felt the urge to make a few more themed designs to celebrate.

Regular followers will remember several occasions where I have said how much I want to get a dog, but won’t allow myself right now due to various practical reasons. Of course that doesn’t stop me gazing longingly at the adoption websites for hours on end, picking out potential matches! Recently I’ve been ogling at Corgis.

I guess my current obsession began a few weeks ago, whilst I was on my morning run and rounded a corner, coming came face to face with a huge, fluffy husky. I paused out of a kind of bemused shock – not at the husky, but at the scene behind it. A man in his mid twenties stood there and I guess he was an employee of a local dog walking company. I say this because clustered around his muddy green wellingtons were corgis. Lots of corgis. There were about 15 of them in total, each scampering along on short legs, interweaving their leads and panting heavily.  I’ve seen these corgis many times since, but never as many and never with the same walker. I wish I had had my camera with me to document the sight – but perhaps it is the kind of scene which improves and transforms into something better in the memory?

Since then I have been doodling corgis throughout my sketchbook (which I will put on this blog soon), and one of the outcomes is my Union Jack Corgi Tote bag. I love this little guy, and this bag makes the perfect shopping companion, reminding me of both the bizarre event which inspired its creation and my love of dogs. Since I uploaded it to my etsy shop earlier this week, it’s had quite a bit of attention, so I have high hopes for this little doggy in the coming months.

I recently set up a facebook page and twitter account for my etsy shop, and welcome followers and ‘like’ers! My New Years Resolution was to keep all these social networking outlets up-to-date, and its going fantastically so far, especially since I worked out how to link the accounts together!

February 8, 2012

Valentine Heart and Fairytale Papercuts

It’s been such a wonderfully busy week in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, but I’ve finally found time to finish off some papercuts and upload them to this blog and to my etsy shop. The first follows along the Valentines theme, with a decorated heart and the delicately cut words ‘You Make My Heart Sing’. I am very fond of the two little birds in this, and the ornate decoration took such a long time to perfect! When designing papercuts, it’s really important to make sure the lines are all connected so that it doesn’t ‘fall apart’ once you begin cutting. I quickly found a good way to work this out is to draw the image in pencil, then go over it in pen, checking all the joins. It sometimes takes a little while for your eyes to adjust to which bit is being cut out, so I usually scribble a pencil shading on the cut out bits if I keep getting confused! The image is then scanned into my computer and printed out on thin printer paper, and attached to a piece of card so that printer paper acts as a guideline for where to cut the card. It’s really useful to masking tape it to a self healing cutting mat to stop them sliding around as you cut!

The second is inspired by all the fairytales I’ve been reading lately, and features a fairytale scene with an elegantly written ‘Believe’ across the page. I spent such a long time picking out coloured card for backing, and eventually decided on a lovely light blue shade which always reminds me of the painted illustrations in old fairy story books.

I really love the imperfections that come from hand cutting paper, but I wanted to be able to sell multiples of these at a reasonable price in my etsy shop. I decided to compromise, by hand cutting both of the designs and cutting electronically cut duplicates for my shop. I am hoping to have many more papercuts availible soon, as I enjoy the process of designing and making them so much!

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