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Celebrate Fall | Creative Workshop

Do you feel like living the season intensely, gathering your family, celebrating pumpkins, crops, colors? Then get out your brushes or your carving gouges and get started!

Creative Workshop
Original creations and photos : France Quirion

Pumpkin faces on maple sugar pails
These whimsical maple pails will make everyone who sees them smile. Once painted, just bring them out every year!

Material required

All Purpose Sealer (DecoArt Americana)
Jack’O Lantern Orange (Americana)
Burgundy Wine (Americana)
Black (Americana)
Golden Straw (Americana)
Warm White (Americana)
Sea Sponge
Natural Hog Brushes 1” wide or wider (they are sold at low cost in hardware stores or paint centers. They have a long natural wood handle and white bristles).

Clean maple pails with vinegar and let dry.

Apply All Purpose Sealer to the maple pails using a cloth. Wet and wring out the cloth and then soak it generously with sealer. Apply it to the pail the same way you would clean your kitchen counter. Let it dry completely (you can use a hair dryer). Cover the entire pail with Jack’O Lantern color. To do this, use a sea sponge, wet it and wring it out well, then take a good amount of Jack’O Lantern, pat it on and cover the whole surface. Let it dry for a few hours.

Draw the eyes, nose and mouth freehand with a pencil. Use the hog bristle brush to apply Black around the eyes, nose and mouth to make them stand out and continue until you have covered the surface of a large face opaquely with Black. Next, brush on the Black so that the demarcation between this color and the orange (the back half of the maple pail remains orange) and the outer contours are smooth and irregular.
Note: Brushing the color means loading the brush and removing color on a towel so that you can do a brushing motion that will apply little paint at a time and allow for fading of the edges, without getting a sharp demarcation.

Use the sea sponge, wet and wring it out thoroughly and gently dab a little Jack’O Lantern over the Black around the openings (eyes, nose, mouth) to create texture and reduce the sharpness of the Black.

Clean the sponge, wring it out thoroughly again and continue by dabbing Burgundy Wine on the bottom half of the openings to create depth. Dry. Clean the sea sponge and now dab some Golden Straw on the top half. Finally, without cleaning the sponge this time, dab a little Warm White at the very top of the mouth, a little in the middle of the eyes and nose to brighten them.

Let dry. Complete your creations by screwing a branch on one of the maple pails. For the others, untie the strands of a jute rope and create disheveled hairstyles. Make a hole in the maple pail to attach the headdresses.

High Fashion Pumpkins
Passionate about sewing and couture? Give a nod to these timeless designs by painting them on your pumpkins!

Materials required
Acrylic colors: White and Black (Americana Black and Warm White)
Fine, round and flat brushes.

Freehand drawing of stripes, large polka dots, diamonds, straight stiches and zigzag with a pencil.
Use the appropriate size brushes and paint the designs with White or Black on the pumpkins.

The carved pumpkin
Original creation: François Gagné
Photos by France Quirion

Draw a vine motif or any other motif that inspires you with a pencil on the pumpkin. Get out the carving gouges, arm yourself with patience and create your own ephemeral work of art.



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Ah Apple Pie!

“We enter the cellar, right away, that’s what gets us…The smell of apples is like a powerful wave…How could we do without this pungent and sweet childhood for so long?” (Philippe Delerm, La première gorgée de bière, 1997).

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post for my blog. I don’t know if it’s worth it. I heard that Google notices, but well, Google is not human, and I need human contact. And I was too busy designing new patterns too, and redesigning them again. It took a lot of my time and energy this year. Too busy with photoshoots, with sewing for my small orders, and with so many other things. By the way, the pretty Cherry Red striped dishcloth is offered here.

But, well, here I am. I’m making an apple pie that the whole family is raving about and asking for more. I figured it wouldn’t take long to share this delight with you. On the property we have apple trees, and this year is the year of the apples (the apple trees produce every other year, one year almost nothing, and the other year there are so many that the branches bend and even break, although the gardener took care to remove a lot of them). We have a very red variety, Manitoba, which makes applesauce so red it looks like it’s been colored with food coloring. And the pie is sublime with these apples too. Since they are organic apples, I don’t peel them. The pie is even more beautiful, deep red, and with more fiber. Here it is:

Apple pie
Pie crust
5 cups of flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb of vegetable fat
1 cup of water + 2 tbsp of vinegar. Put the water + vinegar mixture in the refrigerator half an hour before.

Mix salt and flour. Using a knife, cut the fat into the flour. The trick to having a very flaky dough is to avoid breaking the fat into very small pieces. On the picture, you can see how I keep big pieces and my dough is always very flaky. Add the water + vinegar mixture and mix well. See the ball of dough in the bowl as it is uniform once the ingredients are well mixed. (Here, I cut the dough recipe into 4 and it worked well. This is exactly the amount I need to line my 12″ diameter Corning Ware plate).
On a floured surface, roll out the dough with the rolling pin so that it is the right size for your pie plate.
Line the plate with the dough and cut off the excess. Work the scallops with your thumbs. Place your two thumbs side by side, leaving a small distance between them, then press the dough firmly against the plate. Continue by placing the thumb of your left hand (I’m right-handed) into the previous impression and create a new impression with the thumb of your right hand. Go all the way around the plate this way and you’ll have a nice evenly spaced scallop.

Apple filling
7-8 apples (for my 12″ diameter Corning Ware plate).
Cut the apples into large wedges. (Place them in salted water + a little lemon juice to prevent them from turning black during preparation).

1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp. corn syrup
2 tbsp. flour
Melt butter in microwave for 1 minute or less. Add lemon juice, brown sugar and corn syrup and mix well. Add flour and stir until well blended. Microwave for another minute, just until the brown sugar is melted (grain free) and the mixture is smooth.
If you want to add spices, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. nutmeg, this is where you can do it. (Manitoba apples are so succulent that I prefer to keep their authentic flavor, so I don’t add spices with these apples).

Spread the apples on the pie crust (I didn’t spike it), making a nice spiral with the wedges. Then, start over by layering a new row of apples on top of the first.
Pour the sugar mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes.
Serve warm.