Monday, January 30, 2012


It's Costa Rica week on my blog.  I thought I would try to post about CR on  M/W/F.  So check back on Wednesday for a typical Costa Rican food post.  Yum!  Friday might be tough as I never know what the illustrationfriday theme will be.  But I love a challenge. 

 We just got back from our 4th trip to Costa Rica.  And we discovered a new favorite spot just a short drive up the hill from where we were staying at Pacific Edge.  We went up to this location several nights for sunset.  The cicadas would slowly grow into a deafening roar. And do you see those trees down on the narrow greenway?  My husband walked down to the tip and spooked a family of monkeys.  They scattered to the winds, wildly hopping down from tree top to tree top. At the upper left edge of the photo you can see the ocean. It really is a dramatic view up there.  

 This is a view of sunset from our (upper lot) as we called it.  We liked to dream that we would buy it and build a house.  Hmmm.  A gal can dream...

  So we figured if sunset was so beautiful we'd check out sunrise from the same location.  Our upper lot.  (and yes, we picked out a lower lot!) The Sun is just creeping over the hills here.

 The Sun slowly heated up the morning and the birds filled the air with peeps and chirps.  And is that a bark and a meow I hear?  Soon we had some visitors and each one took a turn posing on (our) bench in (our) upper lot.  

  Isn't she a beauty in the morning Sun?

This was so cute.  The whole family continues their walk...with the cat bringing up the rear.  Just another morning in paradise.  Now I'm back in Minnesota.  Sigh.  And if you fancy more cats check out Cats On Tuesday 

Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm looking forward to Very Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate frosting!

 This is the very first recipe I submitted to the fun website They Draw And Cook! (click to enlarge) I missed my recipe post on Wednesday this week.  So today it can substitute as my Illustration Friday entry and this week's food pick.  The little girl is obviously looking enthusiastic about diving into cupcakes.  She is looking forward to every bite.  A girl after my own heart.  I'm very suspicious of people that say they don't like sweets.  Weirdos!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'd like to thank the academy...

My friend Nina gave me the versatile blogging award.  How fitting!  My blog is now about my illustrations, travel (I just got back from Costa Rica!), photography and food.  In other words.  Everything my little hands can create.  Thanks Nina! 

  • Thank the person who bestowed the award on you
  • List seven random facts about yourself
  • Spread the love by passing along the award to five other bloggers – and let them know!  So here are 7 random facts about me...
  • My favorite T.V. show from last season was the deliciously scary American Horror Story.
  • I'm obsessed with aging.  Time machine send me back. Waaaaay back!
  • I had a painting hang in the capital building in Washington D.C. when I was 18.
  • I'm the proud owner of a German fox and owl cuckoo clock.
  • I've paddled class 5 rapids and ziplined over 600 feet in the air.  Scary! 
  • I got married on the beach in Jamaica.
  • I can do over 50 push-ups like a man! So here's my fav five...     Nina , Serline , Djan , Linda , Hilary     Please pass on the gold gals!                                
  • Friday, January 6, 2012


    Most of you have seen my Moon Witch illustration.  I used it for a Halloween themed promotional postcard this Fall.  And I've posted it here before. 

    But you haven't seen the back!  Minus my name and relevant links.  I thought it would be a fun entry for Grounded.  The theme over at Illustration Friday.  Or as I like to call it, Fridays are Hawaiian shirt day.  Obviously the cat from the top illustration failed to hold on to the broom.  It definitely looked a little dicey from the start.  But he found himself grounded after basically defying the laws of zero gravity that would have doomed him to float in space forever.  I would never do that to a cat.  Never!  And he even had a little pumpkin cocktail waiting to warm him up.  

    It was my resolution last year to play along with Illustration Friday every week.  And I've only missed a few. Will I run out of art?  Only time will tell.  But I've been painting like crazy lately. Here's my year in review... 

     If you liked my Chicken Licken Good entry in the Tomie dePaola contest, you can check out more than 100 other amazing poultry entries here .   I did an illustrated recipe for the fun website They Draw and Cook and an illustrated map for They Draw and Travel .  I participated in 4 gallery shows.  You can visit my illustration Dessertus Interuptus at the historic Pierre Bottineau Library in Minneapolis right now.  And most importantly I just completed my first book contract with author Ivan Jensen.  Mary Rode to Bethlehem on Me will be available for purchase later this year. 

     And I started 2012 off right with a new book contract.  Miya Monkey with Denise Ryan and Associates   Whoo Hoo!  

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Squash Ravioli and Cream Sauce

    This is one of my most favorite dishes. The first time I had something similar was at Wolfgang Puck in Orlando. And I've perfected my own ravioli with a little help from my favorite Italian deli Broders.

    First you will need to roast a squash. I used an acorn and another mystery variety. I just simply cut and baked the halves (seeded) for around 45 minutes to an hour at 375. Use tin foil for easy clean up. As you can see I put some mashed squash in a mixing bowl and some for the freezer. I can make more ravioli, soup or squash risotto later.

    I kept aside enough squash to make around 16 raviolis. Just use your judgement. Then add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano. (from the Italian deli)

    And you will also need wonton wrappers from the grocery store or Asian market. They are usually in the freezer or produce area. Just ask. With a pastry brush gently wet the pasta edges and place a spoonful of squash mixture in the middle. Then paste the two pieces of wonton together, sealing with your fingers. I grease a baking sheet to line up my wontons. I only made 8. And then had it again another night.

    In the background I'm warming up my premade cream sauce from the Italian deli. You'll also need to get prosciutto de parma at the deli. And I always heat it up like bacon till it is a little crisp. But it is expensive so be careful! You can also toast some pecans. Be careful with these as well. I ALWAYS get busy and burn mine. When You boil your pasta use a big pot. They like to stick together. Be gentle with them. And use a big straining ladle to retrieve them when they are done.

    Viola. Squash Ravioli with cream sauce, crisped prosciutto, toasted pecans, freshly ground pepper and a little extra parmigiano reggiano. This dish is superb. And it is all about the quality ingredients. 

    I've been labeling all my recipes under savory, sweet and drinks. (only 1 drink so far) So you'll always be able to come back and easily find something that peeked your interest.  And don't forget to share.  The recipes.  Not the food!

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    A Crafty Owl for Christmas

    I always try to do at least one crafty Christmas project.  Then I can pawn them off to friends and family as gifts.  Some people open up these homemade presents with joy.  Others with revulsion.  One relative (undisclosed identity) held up my mushroom craft from last year like it was a stinky rag.  Oh well.  What can I say. 

      This year my project was a hoot.  And easy to boot!  I drew a simple owl design on tracing paper.  Then traced the cut outs.

    I went through one of my bins of fabric scraps.  I have two black hole sized bins dating back to college.  I'm not joking.  I cut two owl backgrounds out of the swirly fabric.  And all the cut outs out of different colors of felt.  I sewed and stuffed the owl with 1/4 inch seam.

    Then I used embroidery thread to sew on all the parts with buttons for eyes.  If you want to try this easy project just print out the pattern below.  Easy!  And then you can wow your friends.  Or at least that is what you'll think.  They will smile and secretly plot to give you a lump of coal next year! 

    P.S.  Be sure to stop back on Wednesday for a really delicious and savory recipe.  Squash ravioli and cream sauce with all the fixings.  And pass on this owl post to any crafty comrades. Thanks and happy blogging in 2012!