Sunday 11 December 2016

A Trip Down Nettlebed Lane

Before I head off to Blighty (UK) for a month for the holiday season, allow me to take you on a trip down Nettlebed Lane...

The witches of 'Good Witches Bad Witches' are going up in the world, starting with an attractive new street of shops. Nettlebed Lane will have a pet shop (for all their 'familiar' needs), a tea room (well, naturally) and a Tudor grocery store. And that's just to begin with.

I've started constructing this miniature model set in 1:12 scale and you get to see the first glimpse. There's a video here with the shortest of clips (I quickly filmed what I've built thus far as it sits on my workbench) and here are just a very few photos as well.

In other news...

What's the deal with the book, you ask?!

Many of you may know that I talked about an 'Art of Good Witches Bad Witches' book which I had hoped would be out this year in time for the holidays. I hate to disappoint, truly I do, but due to some legal issues and some commission work Tall Tales had to take on during this busy time, the book had to get pushed back. I feel terribly sorry about that and am making it up to you by adding pages and another tutorial to the book which was not originally going to be in it. So there - you get extra stuff for the same price! I hope it goes some small way to show that I am sorry for letting you down and really mean it. Your continued interest in my work means a lot to me and is never taken for granted.

There will be an announcement about the book in January when I am back from Europe and I may take pre-sales at that time. We'll see! I'll keep you posted. :)

In other other news....

I leave sunny Southern California for beautiful England, and yesterday I made fudge as gifts for all in my huge family. There are many differences between England and America, and just another funny little difference I recently found out is that our fudge is not at all alike!

American fudge is chocolate in flavour, brown in colour and smooth / chewy in texture. English / British fudge is what we would describe as 'fudge coloured' and has a 'fudgy' texture. That's because fudge is such its own thing we'd really use the word 'fudge' as a descriptive adjective! Our fudge is creamy and slightly caramel in flavour, 'camel' in colour and smooth, dense and ever so slightly granular in texture. Fudge was invented in Scotland, where they call it 'tablet'. In the UK all fudge is made the Scottish way and American style 'chocolate' fudge is largely unknown, although chocolate flavoured fudge does exist as a variant, along with clotted cream fudge, whiskey fudge, cherry fudge etc etc. I filmed the cutting of my fudge as the only way I could show the texture. Play video below.

~ Recipe ~

397g can condensed milk
150ml milk
450g demerara sugar
115g butter

1. Place all ingredients into a large non-stick saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

2. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously. 

3. Remove the fudge from the heat and beat until it’s very thick and starting to set (this should take about 10 minutes).

4. Pour into a 20 cm square tin lined with baking parchment and leave to cool before cutting into squares.

See you in 2017! Have a wonderful Christmas / Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday 7 December 2016

The Enchanted Potting Shed

You may have caught some behind the scenes of me making these toadstool characters and such a few days ago (here)... well here are some final photos from this project. I'd say more about it if I could, but you know how it is!

Watch me make mandrake seedlings in timelapse over at the Tall Tales Productions YouTube Channel here.

Don't forget to subscribe!

See a magical glimpse taken of the shoot using my iPhone here or below

Adopt a mandrake seedling / grumpy toadstool via the webshop here.

Enjoy the photos!

Monday 5 December 2016

Whose Pastime is to Make Midnight Mushrooms

Who knew that the title of this post is a Shakespeare quote from 'The Tempest'?!

"...and you whose pastime is to make midnight mushrooms..."

As the year draws to it's close I go through my endless folders and see what was done, what was finished and what's outstanding. It's at this time I often notice that things have been done and not written about.

So here we go! Let's catch up, and allow me to share a toadstool project from September of this year. Grumpy toadstools and mandrake seedlings (I'll write about them later). If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter then you've probably caught videos and images of these things in the making, but if you follow me only here and on Facebook then this post is for you.

I made quite a number of tiny 'terracotta' flower pots (no bigger than thimbles) and proceeded to pot each one with a colourful toadstool and scenic grasses / moss / soil. Learned a lot about toadstools in the process. Did you realise that they grow naturally in such a variety of psychedelic colours? It's amazing. Yellow toadstools (Amanita muscaria var. guessowii) and blue toadstools (Clitocybe odora) and so forth. So inspiring. 
I went on to make crackled glazed pots and filled them with grumpy toadstools with fabulous little faces. Each one of these is a 'one of a kind', and they're available at my webshop here.

See a making of video here...

Behind the scenes photos and more... Enjoy!

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