Sunday, July 27, 2008


I should be packing since I'm moving this Friday (eek), but instead I'm looking at wall decals online. Thinking about ways to decorate the new place is way more fun than trying to organize piles of random crap.

Here are a few from one of my favorite sites for wall decals: - all the decals pictured are above are from this site. They even have some that are re-usable so you can move them around according to your whim.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about owls lately - and drawing them, too. What makes the difference between a serious owl and an angry owl? One v-shaped line? Are big eyes what make a cute owl? I doodled owls for a week in preparation for creating these two owl-themed ATCs.
Below is a funky, retro owl that I did in Microsoft Paint the other night. Working in Paint is probably a good exercise for me in doing drawings that are more graphic and simple.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Insect ATCs

Here are pics of the two ATCs I made for the insect-themed swap.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Two "French" places in Minneapolis

I didn't take the picture above - it is from Metro Magazine's web page.

When I was really craving a croque-monsieur, not having had one since a semester abroad in France many moons ago, the place I went is Cafe Barbette. I don't get there very much but I think I should make a point to go soon. Here is the blurb from their website:

"Barbette has received "best of's" from local press for its late night dining, desserts, wine list, and, of course, those French fries that accompany the steak frites. Barbette uses local and organic ingredients as much as possible, presenting beautiful food in a casual, eclectic, bistro atmosphere"

As it turns out, Barbette also has a most awesome Bastille Day Celebration. Too bad it was yesterday - d'oh! There's always next year. Or I just found out that they have a special on Mondays so I could celebrate tonight:

Prix Fixe Mondays: From 5 to 10 p.m., Barbette prepares 4 to 5 course dinners, including dessert and/or a cheese course for $32. Menus often include sustainable harvested fish or locally farmed meats, but Peter is happy to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, and others with dietary constraints.

One of my very favorite places to eat dessert is the French Meadow Bakery & Cafe. I've been there for dinner and brunch a couple times and the food was excellent but the lines were way too long. I'm told they have a fantastique selection of vegan entrees and dessert; since I'm not vegan, I couldn't tell you. However, I do know that they have a super-cool (pronounced SU-pair Kewl, en francais) Cappuccino Torte.

Marie Claire Idees

I will spotlight some cool French things in honor of Bastille Day - like this magazine and blog, Marie Claire Idees! It is kind of a hipper, european version of Martha Stewart. I can read some of it, but you can get tons of ideas just by looking at the pictures.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Artist Trading Cards & Swap-bot

I've started a new hobby! I'm going to start swapping Artist Trading Cards (ATCs to those in the know). ATCs are little works of art that are traded, not sold. When I say little, I mean pretty little - 2.5 x 3.5 inches, or the size of a playing card. Here is a link with lots of good info on ATCs:

I signed up for a swap on a cool website called Swap-bot ( You can sign up for all different types of swaps, not just ATCs. People swap books, postcards, letters, stickers, scrapbooking materials, fabric, vintage items and a million other things!

I sent off my first ATCs to my two swap partners - one in Washington state and one in England. The theme was insects. The one pictured at the top of this post is one that didn't make the cut and get sent out, but I was still pretty happy with it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Two Cakes and a Frosting Recipe

I made two chocolate cakes over the past week. One was for my brother-in-law and one was for my older sister. Happy Birthday, Kids! My BIL requested a chocolate cake and my sister didn't care about the cake part - only the frosting! It had to be chocolate buttercream.

My Chocolate Buttercream (makes enough for one two layer cake)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Soften butter in microwave on defrost (about 20 seconds, add time in 10 second increments). Dump in large bowl and beat until fluffy. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips. I like to use the microwave, again, but you could do it on the stove top. In microwave, heat on defrost for 15 second increments, stir between heating. Stop heating when most of the chips are melted. You can melt the rest by just continuing to stir them in with the melted chips. This will prevent you from burning the chocolate. When melted, mix chocolate in with the butter, adding vanilla extract. Add sugar, cocoa powder and milk, alternating between them and mixing on medium speed. That's it. Feel free to change amounts of milk and sugar to get the consistency that you want. You can make it without the cocoa powder but the chocolate taste won't be as rich.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

More Links and an Eliot Porter Photo

Here are some more art/design/craft blogs to check out:

Geninne's Art Blog:

Aesthetic Outburst:

d. Sharp Journal:

Liquid Sky Arts:

Cloth Paper Scissors

I've been neglecting my poor blog. I'm going to try to post three times a week for the month of July. I'm also going to be moving at the end of July, so we'll see how feasible that really is.

Anyway, I've discovered a new magazine on which to squander my money. It's called Cloth Paper Scissors ( I think it is geared toward people who do a lot of quilting or collaging but it has some inspiring ideas and techniques (although a lot of stuff they spotlight isn't quite my style). In the current issue there are articles about keeping a visual journal, making Artist Trading Cards with felt, tips on balancing life and art, and how to do monoprinting with actual flowers and leaves.