Friday, March 30, 2012

A long time ago at the Pierre Bottineau...

The theme return gives me a chance to talk about the latest Children's Book Illustrators Guild show I'm involved in.  My oldish piece, Red Wings Over Red Wing is in the show.  Along with, Sidney the Unstoppable Squirrel.  The Red Wings piece reminded me of return because of all the birds that are returning to our neck of the wood at this time of year.  Actually Cardinals never leave.  And neither do Eagles.  And as for the Lake Creature?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Here's the scoop on the CBIG show. It runs March 1- April 30 at the Penn Lake Library 8800 Penn Ave. S.Bloomington, 55431 612.543.5800

And I couldn't resist tagging the venue of our last CBIG show on this post.  I took all these photos of the historic Pierre Bottineau library a long time ago in a far away land.  North Minneapolis to be exact.  The show is history and the library is full of history as well.  It used to be a brewery.  Here's the scoop... The newest old building in the Minneapolis Public Library system opened in 2003 at the Historic Grain Belt Campus. The 1893 Wagon Shed and the 1913 Millwright Shop were reused and merged with a new structure to create a warm and welcoming, state-of-the-art library. It is a lively neighborhood gathering place where people meet, read, and study. The library and the nearby Bottineau Neighborhood are named for Pierre Bottineau (1817-1895), one of the most colorful characters in early local history. An accomplished guide, trapper, and trader, he spent the prime years of his long, active life opening up the Northwest Corridor communities of the Twin Cities metro area to settlement.

 So there you have it.  A brewery tour with out the beer.  Sorry! And here's my piece, Toilet Buddies.  I had this and another funny kitty piece there.  Dessertus Interuptus

And it wasn't so long ago that I entered the latest TDAC big Kraft foods contest.  There are so many great illustrated recipes to choose from.  But there will only be 6 that will be able to bring home the bacon.  Here's my link!    

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Potato Flautas With Salsa Verde

I'm proud to say I came up with this non-recipe myself.  I say non-recipe because it uses leftovers and requires no cooking what so ever.  We all need more of those in our lives!  Have you ever had potato flautas at a Mexican restaurant?  Well, this is my take.  You'll need...  

*Good quality corn chips
*leftover mashed potatoes or your favorite frozen variety
*Your favorite canned Salsa Verde (editor's note:  I used Ortega because I usually have it on hand for when I make Chicken Pasole soup.  But it is not as good as homemade.  Check out my labels for a green salsa recipe in, "A New Twist On Taco Night")
*Fresh Mexican cheese (It is kind of like feta) 

 That's it!  Heat the chips and potatoes.  Add the Salsa and cheese and you're done.  Of course I just happen to have the best hot sauce in the world to shake on top.  Marie Sharpe's.  And serve with a side of beans.  And to make this easy meal even better...

Make a Margarita Paw's style. Add 2 shots of your favorite Tequila to a glass.  Then add 2 shots of Margarita mix.  Add one shot of club soda and 1 tsp of Agave Syrup.  Stir in the syrup and add ice.  Now that's a meal!

P.S.  The illustrated Kraft recipe contest is still on.  Here's a link and wish me luck!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The story of stacked rocks continues...

I'm re-re-posting my old stacked rocks (cairns) post.  Why?  Because after almost 6,000 hits and counting, it has turned out to be somewhat controversial.  I've started to get negative comments from people that feel that cairns are destructive to National Parks. So even though I feel they should get a life, they may have a point. So I left the comments and you can be the judge. If you want to be enlightened about the madness of moving a rock, read my comments.  

That being said, I think it is O.K. out on your neighborhood bike trail, beach or gravel road.  Good grief.  Unless I start getting new haters.  

  I  received an inventive and meaningful piece of art from my high school art teacher Mr. Urness.  Or Don to his grown up friends.  Geez, I guess that's me now!  He has been building Carins for some time now. And posting them on his blog   Now he and his wife Eileen have started to collect small flat stones to incorporate into necklaces.  And if you purchase one they will mark which beach the stones were collected from.  Hopefully not Hawaii though because that would bring bad luck.  And we don't want that! 

But for now here's my (controversial.  See comments) story of stacked rocks... 

                                        Lake Harriet.  Right on my doorstep.

I'd been meaning to do a blog post for a long time about stacked rocks. I've photographed them for years in my travels. And last Summer I caught this man stacking rocks right on my doorstep at near by Lake Harriet. Last week he was there again. But I didn't have my camera. He has a magical talent for stacking. Does he keep gorilla glue in his pocket? The top 3 photos here are his handy work.

Stacked rocks in Duluth, Minnesota

These stacked rocks were found on the super hot Montezuma beach at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

                      It was the mother load of stacked rocks!

This is mother nature's attempt at stacking rocks. I thought I'd     include it just for fun. This photograph was taken near my   hometown.  Alma Center, Wisconsin.          

These stacked rocks were photographed near the entrance to one of the world's most famous hiking destinations. Kauai's rugged Na Pali coastline. It's a beautiful, but very grueling hike. (Although my blogging pal DJan would have no problem!) Even when you're on the trail the only way to really see the coast is by helicopter or boat. I'll always remember a lady that was hiking on the muddy trail. You actually had to cross through waterfalls and up and down steep inclines. Well, she had long white pants on. And darn it all if they didn't have a spot on them. Was she an angel? Did she have hidden wings that carried her across the muddy parts?

This photo was taken in the crater of Volcano's National Park on the big island of Hawaii. It has the honor of being my first stacked rock photo. And it really was an awesome hike full of steam vents and surreal sights and sounds. 

P.S. Be sure to read my comments on this old post for a different perspective on cairns.  They may be beautiful.  But some say they are destructive.  I say the worry warts should get a life.  But it is a good reminder to be respectful of nature.  

To see a new post on stacked rocks click here!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Maui Luau Sandwich

click to enlarge

There's a big Kraft recipe contest going on over at  And here's the link for my Luau Pigs! 

 Please waddle on over to view my illustrated recipe full size and also to check out all the other krafty recipes. Did you know that the Hula dancers tell a story with their movements?  Well, obviously these pigs are waving the recipe your way.  Kind of like sign language.  But if you don't understand the hoof gesture, there's sub-titles. Oh, and keep your fingers crossed.  I hope I don't have to wait till pigs fly for a win!   

Monday, March 12, 2012

Island Paradise

Is there anywhere in the world more beautiful than Kauai?  Well, it might surprise you to know that I just vetoed my old framed Kauai photos and replaced them with Costa Rica.  But it is not so much as Costa Rica has a leg up on Kauai as much as I'm completely running out of wall space.  And our Kauai trip was many moons ago.  In fact, I had to scan in these photos.  I took these before we had a digital camera.  So I may be saying goodbye to gazing at these travel photos on a daily basis.  But at least I can share them with you today.  The top photo is a taro field set against a mountain backdrop.

The Coconut Coast.

Norfolk pine.


 A peek at the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

Inn Paradise.  

Old Hawaii.

 The majestic Na Pali coast. 

Now you may or may not favour my new travel pics that replaced Kauai in this frame.  But a girl has to do what a girl has to do.  Or maybe I need a bigger house??????

Friday, March 9, 2012

Yield to the Jaguar

Click to enlarge

I had a lot of fun creating this map for a contest over at  And I'm working on an illustration right now for another contest over at  I don't need to tell you all the great places to discover in Hopkins.  All you have to do is take a close look-see at my map.  But the reason I chose it for yield over at is all the actual yield and caution signs we encountered.  I don't know if they are for real.  Or just a tourist joke.  But once you enter the parks you'll get a good laugh over all the signs.  Monkey Crossing.  Jaguar Crossing.  Tourist Crossing.  You get the idea...

P.S.  I just finished the illustrations for my 2nd book, " Maya Monkey!"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cake

This cake is fabulous!  I always freeze individual pieces of my desserts.  And my husband and I were fighting for the last pieces. But it is pretty easy to make more.  The trouble is I do all the work!  Here's the recipe...

Pre-mix the dry ingredients:

2 cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Then in a separate bowl mix 1 stick softened butter and 3/4 cup sugar.  Stir in 2 room temperature eggs.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add 1 cup sour cream and 1 tsp vanilla.  Beat on low until combined.  Then add the flour mixture.  Place 1/2 of the batter in a greased 8x12 glass baking pan.  

Now in a separate bowl mix 1/4 cup sugar and 2-3 tsps cinnamon.  Spoon 1/2 of the sugar mixture over the baking pan. (as shown in top photo) Drop 1/2 cup of chocolate chips over batter.  I use bittersweet chips from Whole Foods. Or Callebaut Bittersweet Chips from Kitchen Window.  Trust me.  You won't go back to the cheap grocery store crap.  

 Now spread the remaining batter over the top and add the rest of the sugar and another 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Enjoy!  It's worth fighting for.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Whisker Away...

I'm thirsty.

I feel like I'm one whisker away from turning this into a cat blog.  What with all the cat art lately.  But you know the drill.  Travel photos, cats and miscellaneous local adventures on Mondays.  Recipes on Wednesdays and illustrations on Fridays.  So as long as I don't post a recipe for Fancy Feast on Wednesday, I think I'm O.K.  

Beware of the top napkin!!!!!!!

So if you had to think of the top things in your house that you wanted to keep absolutely clean it might be towels, dishes, utensils, baking pans and of course napkins.  Sigh.  The other morning I was in the middle of making pancake batter when I looked over to see if the griddle was hot.  It wasn't there.  My husband had put it on the kitchen table for unknown reasons.  Sigh.  So I looked over at the kitchen table and there sat Akua.  Right in the middle of our greased pancake griddle.  For heaven's sake!!!!  Sorry, I missed the photo opportunity on that one.  I did release my usual go to swearing phrase though. 

Happiness is a warm pizza box.

I know you probably won't believe this.  But we've had a little routine lately.  Ordering pizza on Fridays.  And Hana has discovered the joys of the warm pizza box.  The funny part is that she was sitting in the napkins while Dean went to get the pizza last time.  Right beside where we place the box.  Did she know that the pizza was coming?  Good grief, these cats

 For a cat blog hop on Tuesdays visit

Friday, March 2, 2012

I intend to annoy you...

I swear intention for illustration friday would work for almost every piece of art I've done.  I almost picked my Snow White self portrait where a gorilla (instead of a witch) is handing me a poison apple.  The title would have been, "I intend to kill you..." The stuff of childhood nightmares.  At least for me!  But I decided on a cat illustration.  What else could I possibly choose?  No one else in this world intends to annoy me more than my cat Hana.  (pictured)  And my illustration Dessertus Interuptus  is no joke.  She has landed some blows that have dislodged the food right off my plate. She'll act all coy while sitting on my lap.  Then...

 (Imagine a Kitty thought bubble)

 " Purr, purr.  I'll just act contented.  Purr, Purr."  Hana's head jerks.  "Is that a bird outside?  Purr, purr."  Hana glances sideways.   "Purr, purr."  Hana licks her tail.   "Purr, purr, purr purr, purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..."WHAP! 

Dessert Interception completed.  Then Mom loudly swears her secret go to phrase. No hints. She is just lucky she is so darn cute.  Because you don't mess with my desserts if you know what is good for you. 

 One time I was out to dinner with some friends at the Cheesecake Factory.  And they all split 2 kinds of cheese cake.  I abstained.  I decided to take home a piece to savor the next day.  It was a piece of key lime cheese cake to be exact.  It looked delicious.  I couldn't wait to eat it the next day.  So 12 hours later I open the fridge and what do I find?  Over 1/2 of my one stinking piece of cheese cake had been lopped off.  WHO DID THIS TRAVESTY?????  Well it's just me, the cats and my husband where I live.  And let's just say I can't blame this incident on the cats.  Can you say doghouse?  Dessertus Interuptus indeed!