Artist Love: Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932)

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When my photog cousin  Jeremy saw my Flora Forager art he told me I ought to check out Karl Blossfeldt. I took one look and there started a new love affair of the grandest proportions.  At first I thought these photographs were just new black and whites.  But no!  Karl Blossfeldt made his own camera with a lens that could magnify the little details in flora before color photography and macro lenses existed. During a time of botanical prints, Blossfeldt gave a new, rare perspective on plants.  He was published in many scientific journals of the time. I love the way he sets his fronds and puffs down on the table in artistic whorls and forces you to look in awe at the symmetry and form of nature.

I have at least one of my photographs to thank him for.  I was playing around, trying to copy one of his photographs in color, and I was inspired to turn them into trees. IMG_4284

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This meadow turned into the favorite of many, but I know (and now you do too) that I was really just mooching off the Edwardian success of dapper young naturalist. (You can find more of my work on Instagram.  My usual @Bridgetbeth or @flora.forager)

I mention Karl Blossfeldt in an interview I did for the New York Botanical Garden shop. You can view it here: http://nybgshopblog.org/2014/11/14/interview-flora-forager

Pop up shop! (After the fact)

I realized after the fact that I had my setting on locked when I reminded everyone about my art sale this past weekend. I cried! But it was still a lovely event, and I got to meet lots of fascinating people and sold a few of my goodies. Thank you to my dear and new friends who came!

My Etsy shop is still open if you want to buy a Christmas gift, and I still have time to do a couple wedding bouquet commissions if you want to surprise someone with a cherished keepsake! My info and shop are in the column to the right>>>> IMG_6416.JPG

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Flora Forager

So. Two weeks ago I started a new Instagram feed called Flora Forager. I was encouraged by the editor of the chalkboard mag (and a friend of the writers group girls) to showcase my nature art. I laughed and thought “why not?” So late at night I somewhat randomly came up with a name, (it’s a play on words sort of…because I’m foraging Flora) and put some of my photos in. Suzanne regrammed a couple of the photos and told me to get ready…

Fast forward two weeks and I have 1,700 followers, have been regrammed by Design*Sponge, Houselarsbuilt, Rawfoodlove, The Chalkboard Mag, and…..Martha Stewart!!!!

I haven’t even told my blog followers yet! If you’d like to follow me as Flora Forager, my instagram handle is @Flora.forager

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Today

Oliver and I went on walk through Ravenna today. We chased patches of blue sky and hid from rain under big wide pine trees, we hunted for mushrooms and collected leaves, and in the end we came home soaked through but filled with thrills. Several thrills! DSC05943-002DSC05994DSC06048DSC06032 DSC06025DSC05999DSC06019DSC06016DSC05988DSC05974DSC05986 DSC05964DSC05955DSC05953DSC06035DSC06052

October.

img_2134October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths.
Anne reveled in the world of color about her.
“Oh, Marilla,” she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs” ‘I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill–several thrills? I’m going to decorate my room with them.”
“Messy things,” said Marilla, whose aesthetic sense was not noticeably developed. “You clutter up your room entirely too much with out-of-doors stuff, Anne. Bedrooms were made to sleep in.”
“Oh, and dream in too, Marilla. And you know one can dream so much better in a room where there are pretty things. I’m going to put these boughs in the old blue jug and set them on my table.”

LM Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables  IMG_2190IMG_2341 Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 10.14.00 PMIMG_2348 IMG_2343

Mushroom Men

Today the nippers and I went in search for mushrooms in the forest. I told them that mushrooms turn into mushroom men at night and when the sun comes up they all hide and turn back.Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 4.20.09 PMIMG_1767.JPG

(Painting from Elsa Beskow’s Children of the Forest)

I didn’t actually know we would end up finding such perfect little hiding places! A big huge mossy hollow tree was a good place to look: there was a heart shaped hole as high as the boys could reach filled with what we were looking for!  Then there were what looked like frilly green skirts dancing along a log, Steps climing up a tree, and then I squealed when we found a tiny pine cone nursing baby mushrooms! IMG_1992-0.JPG
Next time I would really like to find some red ones and a mushroom circle. I told Oliver the red ones are warriors so they’re harder to find, and that the ones in a circle were caught dancing with fairies when the sun came up!

Of course Oliver is pretty smart, he can tell we’re pretending and sometimes correct me and make up his own version of things. When Finn was his age he would believe everything as if it was real. He still believes in fairies, even though he knows very well that other people don’t believe in them. I love having little catalysts for my own make believe! IMG_1978.JPGIMG_1986.JPGIMG_1987.JPG

Pumpkin soup

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 6.04.30 PMIt’s that time of year again. Every year when the air gets crisp and the spiderwebs get all dewy I start to get a craving. I head to the market for a spice pumpkin and a few giant ruby apples and anything else that will fit snugly into my creamy, savory, sweet fall soup!

Here’s what went in this year:
Bacon
Butter
Olive oil
Brown sugar
2 Parsnips (make sure you get the super skinny ones or they will taste bitter)
3 Carrots
1 large sugar pie Pumpkin
4 Apples
1 Onion
1 head of Garlic
Craisins
Marjoram
Savory
Rosemary
S&P
2 boxes of Chicken stock
Cider/apple juice
Apple brandy
Cinnamon
Cloves
Pumpkin pie spice

Roughly cut up the veg, sliced up the apples and discard the seeds, slice the top off of the garlic head, cut the pumpkin into eight or so pieces and throw out the seeds, then put it all in a couple baking dishes with a handful of cranberries and coat them with olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper. (You don’t have to be very exact about it, everything will be blended later)

Roast them for 45 minutes in a 400 oven. (Or until they’re soft and the pumpkin skin is able to peel off.) let them cool.

Put 4 slices of bacon in a big pot with a nob of butter and cook until crispy.

After the roasted items have cooled a bit, peel off the pumpkin skin and throw it away, and squeeze out the garlic cloves from the head. Discard any woody stems from the herbs.

Deglaze the pot with a little chicken stock or cider and pour in all the veg. Pour enough stock in to cover it then take it off the stove and blend it with an immersion blender until every last chunk is gone.

Put the soup back on the stove, add the rest of the stock and let it simmer.

This is where I never really measure. I just get out a tasting spoon and tweak until it’s just right. Add about a cup of the brown sugar, a cup of the cider or apple juice, a bit of the brandy, a couple table spoons of cinnamon, about 2 teaspoons of cloves, and about a tablespoon of the pumpkin pie spice. Then I finely chop more of the herbs and throw them in. I add more salt and pepper. When it tastes about right turn the heat down and add about a cup of cream.

You guys…it’s like pumpkin pie and the soup goddess had a baby. If it tastes all wrong…just add a little here and there until it tastes right. That’s how I ended up with the apple brandy this year…it just needed something twingy and sweet. Maybe you’ll add balsamic vinegar or a pear or sea salt or honey or meade. Ooooh that all sounds good!

Last year I pan fried chanterelles and caramelized pecans and put them on top. This year I put more craisins on top. A little touch on top is nice otherwise it looks a bit like vomit. :) Maybe caramelized ginger and some herbs?

I hope you love it as much as I do!

Artist Love: William Morris

I stumbled upon the gorgeously detailed work of William Morris (1834-1896) the other day. I recognized it as if from my childhood but I wasn’t quite sure where from.  Maybe the inside of an old book, a hotel wall paper, or my grandmas pillows, I have no idea.  But wherever the nostalgia is coming from, these colors and patterns give me a warm, enchanting feeling that I want to dive into.IMG_1657.JPGI love the names too.  “The Strawberry Thief” “Dragons and Peacocks” “Cabbage and Vine tapestry” “Tulip and Willow”IMG_1693.JPGSo I was going all smooshy over how much I loved his art, then I looked William Morris up on wikipedia.  He’s also a poet and writer and an Oxford grad.  And get this: CS Lewis and JR Tolkien name his work as one of their greatest influences!  Including the stone table, a King Peter, Shadowfax, and Gandalf. I love that!  I love that I was delighted by someone’s creations who was an influence for two of my greatest influences.  I feel as though I’ve tapped an essence of art.  Inspiration and beauty begets inspiration and beauty.IMG_1683.JPG