Monday, May 25, 2009

Some Domestic Bliss

"Blue Watering Bucket" - 18"x24" By Mary Maki Rae - 2009

Robert makes the most delicious Challah Bread-!
1 Cup King Arthur Flour
1 cup Water (lukewarm)
2 tsp. instant Yeast (or cake-type)
Mix with a Wisk (also add a little sugar)
Cover with a towel
It's ready when mixture bubbles
All of the Starter
3-1/2 Cups King Arthur Flour
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Oil or melted Butter
1-3/4 tsp. Salt
2 Large Eggs + 1 Yolk (save Egg White for Egg Wash)
Mix All ingredients together in Kitchen Aid
with Paddle Attachment for 2 Minutes
Then change to Bread Hook Attachment
and Mix at Low Speed for 8 Minutes
Let Dough rest for 4-5 Minutes
Hand Knead the Dough a little -
then place it in warmed & Oiled Bowl and into oven to rise until doubled in size
for about 1 Hour (Oven has been warmed to 150, then turned off.)
After Bread Dough has risen - Take out of Bowl -
divide & shape into two loaves (braid each, if desired)
Let rise in oven again till dough is 3/4 full to top of Pan
Then Bake in preheated Oven at 350 - for 15 Minutes - then
Cover with Foil & increase heat to 375 for 15 more Minutes.
Cool - remove from pans (Bread will come out with more ease, if you line the pans with Parchment paper first.)
(This Bread is similar to french Brioche - and if any remains after a week -
it makes divine French Toast-!)

The Seedings for the Flower Garden are coming along Fine - Welcoming the long-awaited Sunshine-!
"Happiness is a means of transport - not a destination."
- Anon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Finish Line - French "Country Style" Sofa & Chair #3

"May Garden Muse" with new Tea Cozy - By Mary Maki Rae - 2009

"May Garden Muse" with Tea Set & Flower Paintings - By Mary Maki Rae - 2009
I find Myself selecting Paintings that mysteriously relate to the "May Garden Muse" - At first it's the Colors - of course-! The Blue Background with the Pink-Orange-and Yellow Golds.
Then the striped and checked fabrics emerge - corresponding with her "Sun Dress". (Is She yearning for more Sunshine-?)

The White Porcelain and delicate Lace seem to reflect her fragility. (Yet at the same time - her confident dark blue eyes.)
I see a pleasant and necessary obsession here - a habitual searching for a new equation. (A new series of painting perhaps-?)

Meanwhile . . . The French Style Sofa & Chair are Completed - Looking lovely sitting there - waiting to be returned home. Our Client would like to finish the Cushions herself - So be it-! It should be quite Enjoyable-!

Mr. Fix It Shows the Side View of Sofa - Finished with Double-Piping Trim

The Ten Pieces cut-out for yet another "new" tea Cozy -- Something I find Practical & Nice to do with those lovely extra pieces of Fabric-!
Now time for a real Tea Break.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Flower Power

"May Garden Muse" Acrylic - 18"x24" By Mary Maki Rae - 2009 Copyright

With my carefully designed Garden Plan in hand, I ventured forth with a friend, to look for Seeds. We found many - almost enough for a "Royal Garden" -! Hopefully, the days will be warmer now to propagate them-!
Satisfied with our sensitive selection of Seed - We just had to peep into the "live" plant section of the Garden Store. I really didn't expect to see much in Bloom yet.
I don't know why but, I found myself attracted to the most radiant Pink-Orange-Gold Snapdragons and Bright-faced -very Orange Violas. These were totally OFF my Flower Color Plan-! So I also bought some lovely Pink Ranunculas and Lavender Pansies to see if they might all work well together.
Actually, I think they did - I love Orange with Pink and Light Blue - so Fresh-! Then for more freshness - I painted in a branch of miniature Oranges - some sprigs of Plums, Blueberries, and a Sweet Golden Sparrow-!

Garden Plan - 2009

All the choices are for Color and for Annuals & Perennials that are supposedly Deer-Resistant-!
Deer tend to avoid plants with unusual characteristics. They usually shy away from plants that have a strong flower or foliage fragrance - or fuzzy/spiny leaf textures.

A Glassed-In Porch Area - makes a perfect Greenhouse for Potting Plants -
Love the Extraordinary Soft Light and the Lush Green of the Surrounding Garden and Grounds-!
Image from: "The Garden Room" By Timothy Mawson - Clarkson Potter - N.Y. ( This book captures the charms of twenty unique Garden Rooms - which offer a wealth of design inspirations-!

"Flowers will always reflect the eternal seductiveness of Nature."