Sunday, March 28, 2010

something unspeakable

i still can't quite believe i did this. books have held near-religious significance my whole life. you do not write in books. you do not dog-ear the corners. you do not crease the pages as you turn them. you do not break the spine by leaving it open face down to keep your page (it's called a bookmark!). i exaggerate a little but if you look at the condition of books in my house, or in my childhood home you would understand what good care we take of our books.

enter stage left a very worn copy of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland found at a garage sale featuring original illustrations by John Tenniel. the book's cover was broken. pages were near falling out, very discoloured and brittle.

and so i took it apart (gasp) first by cutting out all the illustrations (double gasp) for another project, then removing the beautifully warn cover (triple gasp) and finally be folding the pages to create a book sculpture of a kind i have seen duplicated a lot lately mainly in store front displays (no more breath for gasping).

and why would i do something so bookishly blasphemous?! well... the book was virtually unreadable. you literally would have had pages falling into your hands as you tried to read. and the illustrations are so charming i wanted to be able to access them but couldn't while contained in a book i wasn't able to crack open more than a couple inches. this was no rare copy, it doesn't even contain all the original illustrations since it is an anthology of both "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass".

so i figured why not do something interesting and beautiful with this book that is past its original use...

and simultaneously get in on this renewed hype for the story caused by the film release.

as you can tell by the preamble, the idea of this project still makes me uncomfortable even though i'm finished defacing the book. however it was a fun thing to do with my hands as i listened to the latest podcasts on radiolab, a recent addiction.

if you've never listened to radiolab, you totally should, it will grow your mind. if you don't like the idea of folding books, i wouldn't start now... unless you happen across some books that are about to be tossed out anyways.

coming soon to an etsy store near you...

the latest knitting hang up for me: fingerless gloves. i'm going to start selling these on my store

this project, like so many of my art projects, came out of the concept. does this happen to you? you come up with the title and then realizing the project is almost secondary to the original concept? i made a pair of tealy blue fingerless gloves to match my leg warmers i knit a while back. in the middle of making them i saw a picture of a little girl featuring red gloves against a white sweater. the combination made me sit back and think "aw, i wish i was knitting little red gloves right now". the combination of image and thought -- little girl + "little red gloves" -- then spontaneously morphed into "little red riding gloves".

the first pair just went out in the mail to a very special girl, on her quarter centenary.

these gloves are for big girls with young hearts. to be worn with or without hooded capes, these gloves are perfect when paired with picnic baskets, woodsy walks, and adventures with wolves. they are also great for people who like me are chilly finger prone.

cook's kitchen: ode to soup #2

tomato soup + grilled cheese

mmm... still on the comfort food kick. this combo is pure yum. tomato soup -or- tomato & roasted red pepper as is my favourite... when paired with grilled cheese. today i didn't make just any grilled cheese sandwich though. i made grilled cheese with canadian maple cheddar cheese. and holy cow it was good.

dip the latter into the former and enjoy!

now admittedly this post was supposed to focus on the soup. in this case i think the sandwich pairing was the real show stopper, but the combination with the soup is the magic that makes this a meal in my mind.

cook's kitchen: ode to soup

legume stew

spring may have sprung but that hasn't curbed my appetite for comfort food just yet. so let me share my new favourite way to stave off early spring chills: make your own soup mix (thanks to mitchell soups and my grandma for the inspiration).

ingredients: buy a whole bunch of beans and legumes and combine in a large mason jar or other airtight canister. my mix includes brown rice, three kinds of lentil, yellow & green split peas and about five or six kinds of bean. when you want soup combine a 1:3 ratio of beans and stock. to make delicious: add ham or sausage (unless you're vegetarian), carrots, celery, peas, corn, tomatoes you name it, and a generous dose of seasoning (pepper, salt, bay leaves & herbs de provence went into mine).

method: when i made my first batch i got the beans started overnight soaking in water. in the a.m. i discarded the water, added the stock, seasoning and pre-prepared veg & meat (which I had food processed together the night before) in a huge stock pot, and set it all to simmer on low on the stove all day when i was at work. I came home to delicious smells, adjusted the seasoning, and whipped up some biscuits to have with it (sample recipe here - no sugar in mine and i threw a little cheese on top to be extra tasty).

Having beans and stock on hand makes this an easy and healthy one-pot meal that can be thrown together at the last minute while cleaning out the fridge. yum yum yum.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

what i'm working on...

i just completed my latest foray into graphic design: wedding invites for special friends. these are the official invite/rsvp/map follow ups to the save the date i posted some months ago (though those ended up with a cheerful orange surrounding colour). i think the two designs will look quite smart next to/on top of one another on the fridge - what with those bright citrus tones.

i'm looking forward to seeing these in the flesh. trying to organize printing in a different country is fairly challenging. but we made it work, my new york bride and i.

xos kim. it's done!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

cook's kitchen: shamrocks

i don't know how you mark st. patty's day... but this is the way i like to do it: cupcakes!

shamrock cupcakes... yep they're really green! they use pistachio pudding mix and chocolate chips (of course!). recipe here.

I've been enjoying these festive treats ever since i was a kid - and other children at school would exclaim "ugh - why is that muffin green!?".

This post goes out to my number 1 cupcake enjoying friend - who i miss dearly.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

first spring rain

p.s. tonight was what i consider our first true spring rain. have you ever noticed that you don't really get that warm-damp earth & pavement smell during winter rains? well i didn't really notice either, until today.

today was a real spring rain, as my bike and i made our way home from the grocery store.

just warm enough now for pavement smell.

who knew i loved it so.

your own yogurt

i can't believe i haven't written about making yogurt yet! it's really straight forward. it was one of the first diy projects i tried after getting laid off - but it's so fast and easy you do not need to be out of a job to have time to do this.

this is everything you need: pot, measure, milk, yogourmet -or- 2 tbsp of thick organic yogurt, glass containers... thermometer optional.

bring 4 cups of milk just to a boil (my thermometer says this happens just over 180 degrees). remove from heat. allow to cool 'til lukewarm. whisk in yogourmet (bacterial starter available from health foods stores and some regular groceries - ideal to add to a small amount of milk and then incorporate into rest of pot) or your thick yogurt.

pour prepared milk into glass containers and place in cold oven with the internal light/pilot on. incubate overnight.

cover and chill. will keep in the fridge for several days.

i usually make 2% yogurt, which i find a bit runnier than store bought -- but that's probably because my yogurt doesn't contain gelatin or any of the other weird additives you find in store bought stuff. but this stuff is smooth and delicious, great in ample doses over homemade curry, or with your morning granola or in smoothies or baking.

-make it with chocolate milk.
-after it's incubated, add flavorings: honey, vanilla, chai concentrate, jams, coconut...
-you can make it with any milk you like - half and half would give you a thick Mediterranean style yogurt.
-if you want to make it with skim milk it is advised to add a couple tbsp of skim milk powder so that it thickens enough.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

ode to lists

Well, it's official. Day jobs officially take over your life. I am suddenly remembering vividly why i never got any art or personal projects finished ... or started for that matter, while working for government. So, today on my list of to dos i added "post something". Fortunately, having put it on the list, I could not end my day without crossing it off. Mind you it is now late, and i still haven't finished some of the other things on the list, but...

While talking about lists, I have a cute little tidbit to share. When I finish things on my list, I tend to both cross them off and then check them off. Why? Because that's what I always saw my mum doing. I think i even asked her about it once. And if i remember correctly her reasoning is pretty much the same as why i now do it. Crossing things off has great finality: strike-through, can't even read that item any more, it's over! -plus- check mark: positive! good for you! correct! you've done it! The combination is just so satisfying.

Here's hoping I can find/invent some more hours in my day to be able to cross&check off more on my lists soon.

p.s. i find i do some of my best handwriting in lists. i think it must be something about how carelessly i form the letters, thinking only about the list not about the letters, that give them this loose and some how more aesthetic form. i can't never replicate this perfect half-cursive half-print lettering exactly when i sit down to do it actively (writing a card, for example, or trying to scan letters in to create my own font). so i occasionally have trouble getting rid of my lists after i'm done with them (how can i recycle my most perfectly written 'sunday' ever?)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

olympic highlight reel

so, don't get me wrong, i wasn't a fan of vancouver having the olympics either. but it was hard not to have a great time when i hopped the pond to catch the final moments of the games. here are the best shots... generally from the moment we and every other person huddled in bars around town spilled out into the streets following that epic gold medal goal, the ensuing crush of revelers, to the final moments of the flame.

it's been too long!

... and the meantime spring has almost come and gone! unfortunately in passing it has reverted back to winter, but not before i got some beautiful shots of what it has been doing outside:

what started out as a mere whisper, a few buds and understated blossoms...

...suddenly exploded into a riot of of colour! the view from my window transformed overnight! beautiful lace-laden branches line my street! and victoria even got a solid weekend of sunshine (just in time for a visit from my mum).