The Changing Seasons, August 2020

dance me to the end of love Art play. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Well, August. A month of two halves.

It started well enough; a visit to the hairdresser, dinner with the boy-child and his partner at a new restaurant, preparing to host a dinner party — even checking flights and accommodation for a trip to Christchurch.

Then Covid-19 re-emerged in the community and Auckland returned to Level 3 lock-down for 19 days, ending last night. Today we begin a period in Level 2.5, and wait to see what will  happen next.

Confinement to barracks meant I had no excuse not to embrace my “Arty August” project. If I’d been hoping for 31 finished pieces of work, I would have been disappointed. Luckily my goals were more about process than product and I’m happy. I’ve played a lot with watercolours — trying to understand washes and blending; experimented with some air-dry clay that’s been in the art box for a while, and transformed a pair of thrift-shoes into a … 3D collage?

Embracing process doesn’t come naturally to me; I am very goal-oriented and naturally tend to become incredibly frustrated when my output doesn’t match my vision.

A few years ago my friend Claire — who is both a talented artist and a very good teacher — said something that stuck with me and helps me find value in everything I make, even when it’s simply marks on paper. She suggested that in each piece of work there is something good; maybe just a tiny part of a sketch that really works, or a blob of colour that’s pleasing. The trick is to find that one thing and enjoy it, celebrate it, and use it to move forward. In the last month I’ve covered lots of sheets of watercolour paper with blobs of colour. None screams out to me as the basis for a work in itself, but together, they suggest materials for a collage.

And if that’s good enough for Eric Carle in The Very Hungry Caterpillar –it’s definitely good enough for me.

As always, when I’m at home a lot, I cook a lot.

I am finding more and more that I want to eat a largely plant-based diet, and mushrooms are not only a favourite food, but work really well to provide the texture and depth of flavour found in meat dishes. I also love miso and am experimenting with making a miso glaze/sauce for mushrooms. The first attempt was pretty good, but needs tweaking.

And continuing my obsession with scones; I went right back to basics with a recipe from Maw Broon’s Cookbook. If you’re not familiar with Maw Broon (i.e. if you’re not Scots), she is the matriarch of a comic strip called The Broons which has appeared in the Scottish newspaper The Sunday Post, since March 1936.

Maw Broon’s Cookbook contains recipes that have formed the basis of Scottish cooking for generations. Many were handed down from mother to daughter, and on again.

I was interested in the recipe for Puff Scones because it uses buttermilk, and because it calls for plain flour, baking soda and cream of tartar — instead of the more usual self-raising flour. I’m not sure if it was the combination of ingredients, or the fact of adding the acid and alkaline raising agents as separate entities, but the scones were amazing. Seriously; they were the lightest, fluffiest scones I’ve ever made (and I’d thrown in some cheese which often makes them more dense).

They have the Big T’s approval, so now I have to try Maw Broon’s treacle scones … and maybe a wee Dundee cake.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them.

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.


Please visit these bloggers to find out how July played out for them:

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Suzanne from Life at No. 22

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Joining us this month is Ann-Christine, or Leya, who many of you will know as a host of the great weekly Lens-Artists challenge.

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Little Pieces of Me

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

A Wonderful Sheep

Brian at Bushboy’s World

Joining us this month is the Little Wild Streak

74 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, August 2020

  1. Su, if you were ever to sell cards with flower images like the one shown above, count me in. Love it, and I collected arty cards when we travelled. Not so many around at the moment as most markets have been postponed.
    Scones are always a favourite, and I used to make them with buttermilk as they turned out far superior to just using butter and milk. Since we have gone dairy-free, I tend to make muffins as an easy replacement for scones.
    You have certainly been productive and I love the clay work. My cousin is an amazing potter and she has just started selling her creations.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well done Su with your creative August. Water colour is so demanding, but you seem to have conquered that light touch and those scones look so light and fluffy they appear to be floating off the page. Hope that the quick lockdown has got on top of the virus. It’s trying to get in over hear too. So far GC is ok.thanks for the link🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You take the most interesting pictures. I took a lot of food pictures too, but they aren’t very interesting. Well, at least not compared to birds. i think I need to do something creative. I’m tired of meat, but it’s much harder to get quality vegetables here than in warmer climates. I’m working on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marilyn. Do brassicas grow where you live? I am that (apparently) weirdest of creatures; I love brussell sprouts, kale, swiss chard … pretty much any dark green leafy vege. They grow well in winter here, but I so miss them when summer comes around.


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  6. Su, I’m truly awed by your creative endeavours during August. I could not tell that the little heart book was made from clay until I read the caption. I loved the snazzy shoes and your poppy water colour too. The latter is so delicate and cheerful. I also have a craving for your miso mushroom soba noodles. We have not had mushrooms since we decided to stay home in February and visits to out local fruit market were put on hold. The supermarkets only stock mushrooms in plastic. I need to race out and buy some while the coast is relatively clear so to speak.
    I hope you don’t have to wait much longer for the virus to be eliminated from community transmission again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Isn’t it terrible when mushrooms are wrapped in plastic (or most veg really). I only buy them when I can get them loose, and am lucky that even my local shop which otherwise acts like they have shares in a clingfilm company, leaves the mushrooms unwrapped.

      Thank you for your lovely comments about the art stuff. I’m having fun and it is definitely helping to keep the anxiety at bay a bit.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. OMG. ALL THE SCONES. They look so so good. And yeaaaa for plant-based!

    I really like what your friend Claire says, it can help to just enjoy the process, for me is what makes doing art so fun, and recognize that you don’t have to hit it out of the park every damn time.

    Those shoes – what made you decide to do that? They are a great blue and look fun. Perhaps put them near the shoes you use and it becomes a conversation piece for visitors? 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  8. A smorgasbord of happy creativity, Su! And the scones…wow. I’d love to join in the changing seasons I feel – been looking at this before and your thoughts bring me joy. I will try, despite lack of creativity right now. Love the advice you got from your friend. I will remember that.

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. Your artworks are all so amazing, Su!!!!! Totally love your thrift-shop shoes, they look like something out of a fairy tale and I bet Cinderella would have preferred yours over her glass ones. 😀 And all those cute clay pieces – so happy to know you’re embracing this new art form. And your watercolours are enchanting – how could one not feel happy just by looking at them?
    As to the scones – can I have one, pleeeeeease? 😍
    And how fun – I bought some miso this month for experimenting too! Haven’t tried it yet because it was too hot for warm food most of the time but this is now over as the weather has cooled down now- miso soup here I come! 😂💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much my friend.
      The good thing about miso soup, is that in its simplest form it is good summer and winter. But I agree that a lot of the best dishes with miso are best eaten as winter food.
      I’m glad you like the shoes. I had such fun making them — even though it took me about a year to begin as I kept changing my mind about how I wanted them to look.
      The air-dry clay is awesome. I get to make shapes and keep my hands clean. I know that sounds so lame, but I always hated the feeling of wet clay on my hands.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That doesn’t sound lame at all, Su. I often had kids in my class who didn’t enjoy the feeling of clay on their hands either and encouraged them to find students to switch courses with them. Usually that worked out well.
        The shoes are really magnificent and I’d love to give this art form a try to one day. You should exhibit them on a sole shelf in eye height so that visitors couldn’t help but admire them as well. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you 🙂

          I am still trying to find the “right” place to display the shoes. Nowhere I’ve put them has enough light to do them justice, so they’re in my office at the moment where at least I get to enjoy them.

          Liked by 1 person

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  12. I hope things get back to normal for you soon, whatever normal is these days. We are somewhere in Stage 3 here—outdoor dining, stores are open, but social distancing and masks still required (though often ignored, unfortunately). Still no movie theaters, sporting events, limited indoor dining. But we are healthy, and so are our kids, and so we soldier on without many complaints.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Su– know I have told you before, but I am blown away by your talent. Those shoes—gosh, they are beautiful! Scones….I am a huge fan. Interesting, though, that I rarely use self-rising flour. Most recipes do not call for it. I have made scones with buttermilk and heavy cream–I am a sweet, not savory, kinda gal, so all the cream and sweet of the scones….I am in heaven. I hope you keep up your creativity in September because I am so ready to see what else you do.

    Liked by 1 person

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  16. Those shoes! The scones. And the mushrooms look delicious. It’s hard to beat a good mushroom for flavour. And now I’ve said that, I’m thinking of wild field mushrooms. You rarely find them these days.
    So all round hats off to you on the creative front. The flower creation looks so ‘happy’, and achieving that is not a small thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: Changing Seasons – My August 2020 | Leya

  18. Su, I admire your talent and creativity. I love the painted flowers in particular. I love mushrooms and when we were in Illinois, a woman at the farmers’ market sold oyster mushrooms of various colors and shiitake as well as a few others for very decent prices. They were SO good. We miss them.

    Would love to have that scone recipe if you’d be kind enough to mail it to me. I think I have a savory scone recipe in my recipe box and it would be fun to compare.

    Happy almost September (you’ll get there before I will),


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Janet. I’ll email you the recipe later today.

      We are starting to see good, reasonably priced locally grown mushrooms at the markets here too and it’s great to be able to support small-scale, local producers.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. A trip to the hairdresser? Cor! I remember those 😉

    I love Claire’s advice and I really do like the artwork you have shown.

    The scones look fab – so my suspicion about the separate raising agents might well be worth a try?

    I don’t know if I will participate this month Su, apologies. It has been a difficult month and I am not in a good place generally.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You are such a talented lady! Those shoes are simply fab! And the scones and the poppies. Ah, I wish I lived around the corner from you. You are an inspiration 🧡💛💙💜
    Me? I just bumble around in the garden…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish you lived around the corner too. Your “bumbling” around the garden has me in awe every time I see your photos. I totally lack the vision you have when it comes to gardening.


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  24. First, I’m sorry to hear you also experienced a Covid reemergence. It must’ve been so disappointing, especially after NZ hit zero cases. But there is so much to love in this post! First, your artistic creations! I also have some air dry clay I’ve been meaning to try out. I really like how you imprinted images into the clay. And YES! blobs and swatches of color are perfect for collage! I can’t wait to see how your cut paper pictures turn out! I love mushrooms too. I hardly cook but grilling up some sliced king oyster mushrooms in the frying pans is one of my go-tos. It’s so savory and meaty. Your miso glaze sounds intriguing! Hope you’ll share once it’s perfected as I always have fermented soybean paste in my fridge. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll definitely share the recipe when I feel I’ve got it right. It is hard to feel that we’ve gone backwards with;Covid, but realistically, it was always going to happen. People are much less onboard with restrictions now, having got really complacent, but while there is more grumbling, there is quite high compliance.

      Liked by 1 person

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