Delicious, Floral & Gardens, Inspiration

Rose Geranium Syrup

My latest recipe making use of the garden….

A delicious syrup made from the aromatic leaves of rose geraniums. I love my rose geranium and can’t resist giving it a rub whenever I sit near it – I have located it by the garden table so it is always to hand. It smells of turkish delight – and actually the essential oil drawn from it is used to give a rose flavour. This recipe is more simple and quite immediate.

Image

 

This syrup is very sweet and therefore works well with fruit that has a bit of tartness to it like raspberries for example. My Autumn raspberries have just started producing so I married it with them and some meringue.

 

I got this recipe from Gillon Meller from River Cottage

Simply dissolve 200g of caster sugar in 200ml of water in a heavy based saucepan and simmer for a few minutes. Pour this into a kilner jar, add 8 rose geranium leaves and leave to cool & infuse.

Image

These leaves will go brown so replace them with fresh ones when it has cooled down. If stored in the fridge, this syrup will last well. 

I drizzled it over raspberries and left them for an hour. and mixed a little more with some creme fraiche and served it with crushed meringue….delicious yet not too naughty.

My small but fruitful garden keeps giving.

 

 

Standard
Art, Interior Style

Painted Rows of Houses

I have been working on some new rows of houses over the last couple of weeks. As in my printmaking and paintings I have a thing for bockety houses and  I can’t resist using lots of colours just as houses in rural irish villages & towns are painted to this day.

They are carved from offcuts from the local shed builder  – he gives me firewood but I am always on the lookout for pieces of wood that could make good miniature buildings.

Image

After marking out on the pieces of wood what could go where, they are carved and the chimneys are added.

Image

Then I paint them, each house individually with three coats with tones of terracotta for the chimneys.

Image

Image

and finally the details are painted – the doors and every single window pane

Image

There are a few available at the moment:

Image

this row of three houses: measuring approx 12cm in length and 4cm in height, cost £50 + p&p

Image

this row of eight #2: measuring approx 29cm in length and 5cm in height, cost £125 + p&p

Image

row of five: measuring approx 18cm in length and 5cm in height, cost £75 + p&p

Image

this row of eight #1: measuring approx 29cm in length and 5cm in height, cost £125 + p&p

Image

detail of row of eight #2

Image

Think of them as 3D original paintings, that can sit on shelves or ledges or door surrounds or they are so light they can be just blu-tacked to the wall or even put in a box frame.

 

some new ones…..

2013-09-30 10.23.20 2013-11-04 15.27.00 2013-11-04 15.27.39

Standard

Flowers from my Dad

Floral & Gardens, Interior Style

Flowers from my Dad

Image
Antiques & Antiquing, DIY, Interior Style, Lifestyle

Granny’s chair

I inherited a couple of choice pieces of furniture from my lovely Granny after she passed away. One was a sweet bentwood chair. I am always drawn to these as my house is quite ‘compact’ so their neatness is ideal for me and I love that they can be grabbed and brought out to the garden or more added around the table when there are visitors. Anyway the chair was painted in a thick white gloss paint – probably by one of my Aunties giving it a then new lease of life in the seventies! It turns out it originally came from my Grandfather’s hairdressers which was above his chemist in Dun Laoghaire in the Sixties and Seventies. I spent HOURS scraping it back with a blade, there are still a few glimpses of white but thats ok for me. I finished off with a bit of beeswax for the wood and so now the chair has had its latest ‘new lease of life’, I bought a round seat cushion locally in Strawbridge in Ashford et voila!

Image

Image

Image

Standard
Antiques & Antiquing, Art, Inspiration

What a difference a frame makes

A frame can make or break a painting. It is there to encase, protect and enhance but in a very subtle way. If a frame is working your eye should be drawn immediately to the image. Its hard for me as a curator as bad frames really annoy me! When you get it right …ooh!

But here I am asking you to focus on the frames…..

I acquired this wonderful oil sketch of Wicklow by George Campbell RHA (1917-1979) from a bric -a-brac shop last month

Image

but even though the frame was new it just wasn’t right for me. So I painted the outer part in off black by Farrow & ball – a lovely chalky finish.

Image

much better!

Then there was this beautiful oil of Richmond Park by Lee Campbell in a simple wooden frame. (Just realised by pure coincidence she has the same surname as previous artist!)

Image

The frame was fine, not detracting from the picture, but I wanted to pull out those lovely shadows Lee has painted so I re-framed it in a more substantial darker frame with hints of dulled gold around the edges enhancing the light dancing on the summer grasses – now I feel like I am there when I look in to the painting!

Image

and lastly my painting of Coliemore Harbour by Brien Vahey. Here he is signing it for me

Image

I have framed this in a heavy frame also – in keeping with the style of my sitting room. I had it framed in a gold frame but found the gold too yellow so last night I added a black/brown chalky wash on the curved part, this has calmed it down and again pulls out Brien’s shadowy strokes. am delighted with it and it hangs happily with the Lee Campbell beneath.

Image

So sometimes you can improve a frame yourself with a tester tin of paint

Or you may not see it, but some of the artwork on you walls that you are not too enamoured with, may be just because the frame is not doing it’s job.

Part of my Home Curation Service entails home visits where I can help you rethink how old paintings are framed as well as how they are hung.

more info see: http://niamhmacgowan.com/interior/framingService.php

Standard