Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blown Away: A Sharon Montrose Easter

My determination to have a white and minimalist Easter is ever stronger since my recent discovery of passionate animal photographer Sharon Montrose. Please take a moment to view her blog here and the incredible process video below.

Found: Sketchbook Chronicles 2007

Fun with pink ink - Thea in a white turtleneck with her amazing afro and huge eyes. 10 minute study - the longest we could sit - she was 6 and I was 9.5 months pregnant.

Found: My 1996 Sketchbook Chronicles Part II

Self portrait sketch playing with perspective, contrast and line. 10 minute study. Fear of face, hands and feet...

5 minute study of Julia S at the Vancouver Film School, 1996. Still afraid of hands, feet and face... Does Freud have any words on this subject I wonder?

Ah, feet, face and hands at last! All wildly exaggerated pushing to work through the problem. Study from a Victorian illustration of Alice in Wonderland - sorry no further reference to the source. 15 minute study.

My Next Purchase...mark my words pocketbook!

LA Drama Queen's extremely clever Vintage Inspired Barbie Swimsuit can be purchased here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Product Review: Kitty Beans Jewelry

A few months ago I won a fabulous contest and received an even better gift from Kitty Beans Jewelry. Flu, work and other growing pains behind me, I would like to take the time to thank the lovely Miss Erin Hall, creator of Kitty Beans for her kindness and love. Love? Yes...Take it from me, having held Erin's work in my hands it is evident that Erin loves what she does and that essence shines through from the first impression. Lovely packaging, acute attention to detail, solid construction, arrived on time, beautifully done Erin! You can find Erin on Facebook, Blogger and Etsy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Found Art: What's in My Sketchbook

This photo montage fell out of one of my 1996 sketch books - my last vestige of works from the past decades. Me, in my role as manager of Populuxe Luxury Vintage Living in Vancouver. Photo credit - unknown photographer.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Guerilla Gardening: Cultivating for Dandelion Wine

Learning to love dandelions might be a radical concept in gardening, but if you give it a try, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

"Why?!?!" you ask? Short answer, dandelions are the main reason for the accidental poisoning of our water systems through over exuberant use of pesticides. In North America today, most home owners use more Round Up than the average farmer in the 1970's did. Dandelion greens, roots and blooms are also considered medicines of the bitters variety (used in aiding digestion through supporting stomache and liver health) and can be found in some common "remedies", such as Jaggermeister.

Dandie images above - Emerson Made and Dandelion Clocks wallpaper. My favorite recipe for Dandelion Wine can be found here. Hints on Dandelion Wine making;

  •  Pick your dandelions on sunny mornings, immediately patting them dry, being careful not to crush them
  • Freeze your flowers immediately if you aren't planning to use them right away
  • If you freeze the liquid for later use, be sure to label your containers well lest you accidentally misidentify your wine stock as soup stock (speaking from experience here)
  • slip a little champagne into the mix before bottling

Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Review: Building a Business the Buddhist Way

The proud owner of an Ikea Expedit shelving unit jammed to the rafters full of environmental management texts cannot pretend to be too interested in the romance of escaping through a good novel (unless its by Michael Ondaatji). I do however love Geri Larkin's Building a Business the Buddhist Way wherein she councils a well balanced "5 course meal" lifestyle of spirituality, study and learning, making a living, doing good and most importantly family and relationships.

The gist: This book is for beginners who are wondering how to merge business with "right lifestyle" or for those who want to fine tune an existing business. Geri takes us through a myriad of exercises throughout 5 chapters that lead one to an understanding of what path we are meant to choose in life by taking us back to the things we loved and hated doing before we became adults and forgot how to have fun in the fully immersed childhood sense of fun.

My take away message: Build a business plan. Build a business plan. Go back to your business plan frequently and revise. Need help with that? A painless business plan scripting tool awaits over at the Scotia Bank website. No matter that you don't belong to the Scotia Bank or are located half way around the world from the nearest branch. This tool is user friendly and translates to any format. It exists to make  the process easy. And it works! They even provide examples every step of the way to get you thinking about your own direction and particulars.

Book reviews abound this week! Over at Crafting an MBA's book club  Part 2 of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath focuses on "designing sticky products". Please visit Megan at CMBA for tons of business advice and discussion for designers, crafters and makers.

I learned about Where Women Create via The Bright Side Project, which will be next on my list of non-environmental texts to read. A little review here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Emerson Made

Lucky, lucky me to have won thisLittle Fiery Red Rose and Goldie Emerson Made clutch! Thank you to the fine and fabulous folks that run The Bright Side Project for hosting the EM give away, introducing me to Emerson Made, their blog and The Emerson Made Mouse's hilarious blog. More on this later.

Needless to say I am EXCITED and have been shopping around for new outfits from Anthropologie to sport with my clutch, which I foresee playing a pivotal role in my wardrobe choices from here on in. What do you think? Too much yellow matchiness going on? Or just enough?

Etsy Process Video: Zulasurfing Dichroic Glass Rings

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Got Moo?

Moo cards are for everyone - businesspeople, crafters, artists, mothers fathers brothers sisters sons daughters. For those who are tying the knot or are giving a gift, Moo is the card you want to be giving as a token of your love and living proof of your amazing attention to detail. Photojojo and Etsy are giving these babies away for free* (not including +/- $6.00 shipping).

*Free of course always carries a small this case the free cards are emblazoned with small and discreet Photojojo or Etsy + Moo partnership logo to the right of the photo side. A small price to pay for some rockin' custom cards.

How can you get in on this deal? Visit Moo here to get your free Photojojo cards printed from your own files or your Flicker account or here for free Etsy cards. Check Danielle Stewart and Beth Chapleau's ideas out on Moo's blog and be sure to peruse for other possibilities. My pack is on its way! A sneek peek to the left.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Sweet Irony of Motherhood

Zara's illuminated books never cease to inspire and amaze me. She's such an awesome graffiti artist and sees faces and animals in every shape. How can one be angry? Not possible.

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Latest Work In Progress

My Promise To Thomas O'Brien

Dear Thomas,

You are an inspiration to many, myself included. I am writing to state that you have set a fine example in styling your own studio apartment and it has been well marked. I promise to carry this lesson in Maximalism on into my own studio space (without biting your style).

Yours truly,


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Perfect St. Paddy's Day Dress

From the talented Oblivion Clothing on Etsy.

Summer Pieces - Work In Progress

My instinct always brings me to the theatrical side of design and I then edit pieces with my modern eye in an effort to scale back and achieve balance.

I think I'll go with my first instincts with this piece and see if I can spark a new trend.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

BLOG IT FORWARD What Inspires Me - Heroes, Rebels, Pioneering Souls

Hello friends and welcome to the 250th installment of the Blog It Forward project initiated by SF Girl By Bay. A thank you to the talented Red Glasses for her gracious introduction. And may I present tomorrow's illustrious torch bearer Rhonna Designs whose post I very much look forward to.

I wish to share the deeper roots of inspiration for me - that is apart from my amazing family, who I blog about all the time.

I'm going back to 1975 to reference my first hero, who at age 3 taught me that one can overcome ANY obstacle whatsoever with style, faith, compassion, discipline & perseverance. Muhammad Ali will for me remain the greatest that ever was & ever will be.

As I view these photos I look over at my uncompleted Ethnoscience report (which is now 6 giant volumes on The Cultural Use of Water) and see that the theme underpinning every image here is Man's relationship with our watery environment. Hmm.

Heroes I Have Loved
Cat Power who loves Pippi Longstocking and her piratous brand of anarchy
Muhammad Ali who needs no introduction but got one anyhow
Sheila Watt Cloutier and The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment who told me that I must be true to my passion in order to make meaningful change in the world
Dr. David Suzuki the reason I love science and became a nerd
Dominick Tyler amazing cultural and environmental photos

Rebel Rebels
Howard Schatz defying all boundaries to find the rarest of beauties - the naked truth
Man Ray whose work is as relevant today tattooed on my back as it was on paper in the 1930s
Mestre Leopoldina who taught me the meaning of Capoeira and Axé, & could literally dance circles around me at 70 years+
Martha for walking tall under all circumstances

Pioneering Souls
Ruth Asawa survivor, innovator, teacher
Heinrich Kley peaceful opponent of the Industrial Revolution
Charles and Ray Eams will NEVER go out of style
Frida Kahlo my first "art hero"
Long Lost Ancestors photo cred just one of the many tribes, clans and families in my tree

Friday, March 12, 2010

City Mouse Country Mouse

At the Quilchena Wild Horse Roundup at Douglas Lake (Upper Nicola Indian Reserve).

We can officially mark Spring on the calendar by the timing of the round up. I hope its soon because we are ready.

Thank You to Lizards Jewelry For the Love!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Snow

Were you looking for breakfast outside my studio door little robbins? I am sorry to send you away hungry - next time please knock at the front door of the Big House. That is where you will find me in the AM.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Art Imitates Life

My newest piece inspired by genettis and limoncello - two of my favorite Italian indulgences.

Good-Bye Pretty Things!

Adventures in gift packaging for long distance cross-border order fulfillment.

Mama Paciocco's (not so secret anymore) Genetti Cookie Recipe

Mrs. Paciocco lived across the street from my grandparents in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Her cooking was stuff of legend and she shared it with the entire neighborhood. Everyone, including my grandparents called her Mama. She contributed wholeheartedly to the raising of all the children, grandchildren and great grandkids within earshot.

This is her own family recipe that she brought with her from Calabria, Italy and passed on to my grandma who gave it to my mother who bequeathed it to me. Please note that proportions used in my demonstration are 1/4 the size of the original recipe.

1/4 cup of sugar (or 1/2 cup to double)
just under 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (or 3/4 cup)
3 eggs (or 6 eggs)
1/2 tablespoon of anisette flavoring (or 1 T)
1 3/4 cups of sifted white flour (or 3 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons of baking powder (or 6 T) - no, that's not a typo!
half a pinch of salt (or a full pinch to double)

Beat sugar and oil for 2 minutes or so. Incorporate eggs one at a time with a whisk. Be thorough here - you want a light and bubbly yellow mixture when you are done. Add the anisette. Then add salt and dry ingredients mixing lightly. Traditionally you roll little snakes of dough in flour (its a sticky process) and roll the snakes into elaborate knots, but my lovely assistant does not like this process, so balls will do in a pinch for time. Bake on a lined sheet for 5 - 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I make a simple icing of butter, icing sugar, milk, a little bit of red food coloring and heavy on the anisette extract because I can't get enough of the taste.

Some cooks add candied lemon peel to the batter and crushed unsalted pistachios on top after icing. These little gems are meant to be prepared for family celebrations and served with spumoni gelato. Mmm.