Sunday, July 26, 2009

Portland, Oregon

Our family went on a short vacation this year to Portland, Oregon. I just had to see as to why there are so many artists on-line and on Etsy are from there. We were only able to stay a couple of nights and because we came with the kids, we weren't able to visit as many sights and we would have liked. However, we did get to see the zoo, the farm market and the Portland Art Museum. While the kids slept in the stroller, we fired around the gallery and saw many amazing works of art. I'm sad to say that Vancouver does not get the quantity or calibre of art that American cities do.

Two print shows currently on exhibit there are M.C. Escher and Beth Van Hoesen. While I'm not a huge Escher fan, I was blown away by the technical skill I got to see by viewing the prints and plates in person. The Beth Van Hoesen show was just fantastic and looked as though it could have been the work of five artists with the variety of approach, line, and content. If you ever want to see what a truly skilled printmaker looks like, Beth Van Hoesen should be your first pick. One day, when that lottery cashes in for me , I will buy a piece of hers. Maybe I can't wait that long.

Although I can't say that I was able to make it to any other galleries, I was able to make it to some neat shops. Because I love paper and all things related to paper ( a paper store is another lottery wish), I'm posting links to Paper Source and Oblation Papers and Press. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

So if you're ever planning to visit Portland know that you'll need more than a few days to really take in what the city has to offer. Oh yeah, and thank you to all of you on Twitter who gave me plenty of suggestions on things to do and see while there. I hope to go back and finish that list.
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Friday, July 24, 2009


Here in Vancouver we are nearing the end of raspberry season. The raspberries in the garden have been producing really well this year and I really appreciate being able to pick fresh, organic berries over the moldy storebought ones.
I thought I would share with you one of my favorite recipes for using raspberries. This "Raspberry & Lemon Oat Muffin" looks as though it has an odd combination of flavours but I've always said that if I ever opened a bakery that I would be sure to include this. Don't be tempted to use low fat sour cream/yogurt or reduce the amount of sugar. The amount of fat and sugar is sure to be less than what you'll have in a commercial muffin and you'll have a far superior flavor to yours. Throw in a tablespoon of ground flaxseed instead. Enjoy.

Raspberry & Lemon Oat Muffin

1 c. frozen raspberries
1/2 c. butter softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. sour cream or high fat yogurt
1 large egg
3 tsp. of lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c. oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and sugar well. Scrape down and add egg. Mix well. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients including the lemon zest. Use your fingers to distribute the zest. Add all of the dry ingredients less a tablespoon to the butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated. Toss the raspberries with the remaining flour mixture and fold into the mixture.
Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling two-thirds full. Bake in a pre-heated 375F oven for 18-22 minutes or until they test done.

I find this recipe makes about 9 for my muffin tin so I always double the recipe and freeze the extra for snacks. Try it out for yourself and tell me what you think.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Twitter Team- Go Green Event

As we enter this new economy everyone is questioning their buying habits. Do I need this, can I do without, how can I use this item again? Recycling what we already have has taken on new purpose. No longer are we trying to figure out which recycling bag or box we're supposed to put an item into but how we can give the things we've bought a second and sometimes more useful life. Linda B. of asked me to let you know about the current Twitter Team - Go Green Event which will present seller's best "green" products. The sale runs from July 21-27, '09. Take a look at her blog for other featured sellers and their products.
As well, Linda and the team has a link to some Twitter tips for those of you new to the popular and effective messaging site. I look forward to your tweets and happy green shopping.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Printsy Interview

Check out the latest on the Printsy blog to see an interview with me about me, my art and studio practices. You'll get a peek at some other great artists too.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Debbie Brown cake for a three year old

My youngest daughter recently turned three and as the tradition has been of late, I created a sculpture cake for her birthday. I had long heard of Debbie Brown but hadn't seen any of her books here. As a treat to myself, I ordered the Debbie Brown 50 Easy Party Cakes on the recommendation of a friend. My daughter had changed her mind often about what kind of cake she would like but eventually she settled on the kitty cat tangled onto a ball of yarn. The only change I had to make was that the kitty had to be a princess and wear a crown and a skirt. That I could do.
Armed with detailed instructions and a whack load of marshmallow fondant, I created my daughter's cake over a couple of stages. The following photos are what I finally ended up with. The cake was finished on quite a hot day and the buttercream that I used to adhere the two sphere halves melted slightly and caused the cake to shift inside. By the time I served the cake the ball of yarn looked a little more slack than the photos. With a quick repair job with some additional fondant, the princess kitty was good to go.

If any of you are contemplating doing a sculpture cake I would highly recommend a Debbie Brown book for good designs and fantastic instructions. Just don't think about the obscene amount of fondant you will be using.

Next possible cake: a butterfly or a frog prince.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mariann Johansen

My little monotype "Papermaker" was featured on Mariann Johansen's blog yesterday and I am very flattered. Mariann is a wonderful printmaker and a member of the Etsy Printsy group. I signed up for her blog right away as she has a ton of printmaking info., including some how-to videos and photos of her amazing studio. Looks as though I have plenty of reading to do.
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Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Studio 618

As many of you on-line know, the connections you make in the internet community are very important. To be seen and to sell, you need those connections to help create a positive word-of-mouth and draw people to your site. As part of my quest to sell my artwork online, I joined Tim Adam's forum group Etsy Secrets. As a group we connect and learn from each other as well as support each other in our artistic ventures. I have met some fantastic people through this group and have gained a wealth of information from them.
I would like to feature on member in particular who has continually been supportive of my online goals. Theresa Kwong of Studio 618. I continually find her putting out positive comments on Facebook and retweeting my posts on Twitter. Theresa is someone you should surely "follow".
Theresa is a wonderful silversmith from California who creates some really unique pieces. I think my most favorite pieces are those with enscriptions as they are all so positive. I know I have featured this bracelette before but I think it's just stunning. These are just a couple of her 70+ pieces available in her Etsy shop so do take a look at what else she has to offer. To see what other things Theresa might be up to, visit her blog at Studio618.blogspot. I bet you she's busy helping others fulfill their goals. Thanks Theresa.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Creative with "Black" from Creative with Clay

I've been featured again...Charan of Creative with Clay has included me with some other great artists for this week's color theme: Black. Check out his blog to see some more of his picks.