Friday, September 28, 2012

Something to cluck about...

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I just found out yesterday that the book I illustrated for author Ivan Jensen can now be found on the Barnes and Noble website.  Click here for a direct link.  That is pretty exciting news for us both. And has the perfect theme today for my shout out.  Book!  So I'm posting one of my favorite illustration spreads to celebrate.  

Mary Rode to Bethlehem on Me was so much fun to illustrate because the story is bursting with animal characters.  And a very famous family.  On the flip side it was also a very difficult book to illustrate.  See all that hay?  Well, it was on almost every page.  But a manger without hay.  No way!

The book includes a musical score of the poem like story.  And an accompanying CD of music can be purchased. Perfect for Christmas! 

P.S.  I have a new illustrated recipe over at TDAC.  It is for a special Summer breakfast.  And is chipmunk approved.  Here's the link Summer Breakfast

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Applesauce Pancakes with Caramel Sauce

Mix dry ingredients.

1 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 
1-2 tsp cinnamon

Then add...

1 beaten egg
2 tbsp oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup applesauce  

Mix.  But remember to not over mix pancake batter.  Then cook pancakes on a hot griddle.  (not shown)

Now here is the ingredient that makes applesauce pancakes so good.  Caramel sauce.  This Williams-Sonoma variety is good.  But my favorite is King's Cupboard.  I have some in my pantry right now.  Yum.

And Stonewall Kitchen is my 2nd best choice.  Sorry Williams-Sonoma.  You are a distant number # 3.
Breakfast is served.  This is soooo delicious!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Weekend in the Country...

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We visited the small rural town of Preston, MN over Labor Day weekend.  And I was so inspired by some of the beautiful morning photos that I plan to do oil paintings of some of the quiet scenes.  Just like this one.  The morning mist and light was so pretty here.  

Sunset at a farm where part ot the family stayed.  We had bonfires after Sunset.  And a few beers.  And at least two beer butt chickens. 

 Graffiti art.  Sorry about the bad language.  The B word gets bandied about all too often.  Poor dogs.  

In Preston the railway has been transformed into a bike trail.  It goes for miles through the scenic country side.  

This old building was beside an old country church.  We almost didn't stop here.  We were on a very important mission to get pie at the famous Aroma Pie Shop in Whalen.

We stayed at the Trailhead Inn near this photo.  Some of the rooms are found in an old school house.  My Mother and Father in Law stayed in the Principal's Office.  Someone has to keep an eye on them!  And the old school and its large chimney are the home of a growing population of Chimney Swifts.  A big feather in Preston's cap.  But I forgot to take a photo of the chimney.  I'm not so swift I guess.

I love this photo.  It is my Mother and Father In Law on a morning walk.  We left an hour later than them and secretly crossed their path and snapped a photo.

For more rural walks and country charm visit

Friday, September 21, 2012

Crooked Cat

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I'm using my kitty mug shot for my blog link over at my new website.  This piece has made the rounds before.  But I added my blog title on his prison necklace.  Now it is website ready and new and improved.  And a criminal cat matches the theme crooked.  We have a kitty jail at my house.  It's called an upside down laundry basket. 

 I had a fun little mini interview at IF last week.  You can read that here.  I'll leave you with some words for thought.  By Rook or by Crook.  What ever that means.... 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Refrigerator Pickles

Pickles are so easy you almost don't need a recipe.  In fact, you can fill the jar with what ever veggies you like.  But pickles wouldn't be quite the same without cucumbers.  Here's what you'll need...

Sliced cucumbers (1 or 2 per jar)
Sliced onions
1-2 hot sliced peppers with seeds
1 sliced garlic clove
2 large sprigs of dill
1 large clean mason jar with a canning lid (or any large jar with a screw top)

This recipe is enough for one large jar.  Start with a large sprig of dill on the bottom of the jar.  Then alternate ingredients and fill and pack it to the top. Finish with another sprig of dill. 

Now bring to a boil...

2 cups water
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp honey

Boil a couple minutes, stirring to dissolve the honey.  Then pour the hot liquid into the canning jar to cover the veggies.  Seal and cool.  You'll need to refrigerate the pickles.  And I like to shake them now and then to help disperse all the flavors.  It should keep a month or more. If you like pickles with a little more of a bite you can add more vinegar to your brine instead of water. I made several jars over the Summer.  And I only have one left.  You know Summer has come to an end when you stop getting cucumbers in the garden.  And that time is growing near.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kenny Lives Another Year!

The Kenny 365 neighborhood photo projects has continued for another 365 days.  And of course I'm still a part of it.  Do you have a photo project in your neighborhood?  Well, you should.  Neighbors pick a day and document everyday life through all the seasons.  Rain or shine.  I just found out today that I've submitted 55 photos so far!  I had a little fun with some sticks in my backyard for the top photo.  I love it when creativity strikes!

You would probably need to be a Kenny resident to be interested in visiting our website.  But here it is  

And for more photos visit 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pop Out Kitty

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Pop Out Kitty is ready to burst!  Well, kind of.  He popped out of the pumpkin.  And popping is kind of like bursting.  If I would have painted the stem flopped over on the floor I would have nailed it.  But then again, this is something from my archives.  As usual I'm flipping through the virtual files for an IF match. 

And have you ever seen a pumpkin being catapulted through the air  at a Fall festival?  Burst.  Definitely burst. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Loser Files...

I have an uninterrupted losing streak over at Joan's blog  She has a monthly photo contest.  But at least my photos are winners to me!  Because they are my photo memories.  Especially my cat Akua.  He's my baby after all.  The theme was cats and dogs.  

 A leaf for a Fall theme.

Cows grazing for a food theme.  They are food (gulp) plus they are eating.  Poor cows. 

 White flowers for a White theme.
A Green parrot for a Green theme.

 A snowman for a Christmas theme. 

 This is one of my favorite travel photos.  We are sitting at the top of a Mayan ruin at Tikal in Guatamala. Do you see the other pyramids peeking over the jungle in the background?  Seeing Tikal was an amazing experience.  Calgon take me away right now!  I wish I was on a new adventure as we speak. Oh, and this was for a shoes theme!

A weathered and worn mailbox for a mailbox theme.  There were only 3 entries so I thought I might have a chance.  But no winner was selected!  My bad.

Beautiful Spring trees for a tree theme.  Loser.

But you might be a winner.  Have you read my toemail post below?  O.K.  I know these blog awards are kind of silly.  But I played along and forwarded the good, the bad and the lovely.  Are you feeling lovely...Punk?

For more winning photos visit Sunday Best!  

Friday, September 7, 2012


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I finished Great Expectations a few weeks ago.  It is my most ambitious illustration to date.  And a lot of imagination went into it. I was inspired by the art work for the May/June SCBWI bulletin by John Rocco.  He illustrated carp-shaped kite balloons to represent the Kodomo no Hi national holiday in Japan.  It was his kite perspective that I tried to incorporate into my piece with the hovering butterflies. His cover was the best darn SCBWI bulletin art to date.

I worked on this piece all Summer. I had many beautiful drawing sessions outside at lake Harriet. And there is so much going on that it is best viewed at original size.  Sorry, you can't do that over the internet.  My favorite part is the big dandelion puffs in the foreground.  I painstakingly tried to get some realism there.  And look at all my labels.  I guess there were a lot of wedding guests!  I hope there is a happy ending. 

P.S.  Be sure to plant your toes firmly in the ground and read my last post.  You might have won an award!   

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Dean's toes.  My toes.

If you haven't checked out Toemail it is a fun place to dip your virtual toes. I recently received the one lovely blog award from the awesome Toemail blog.  Now I'm passing on the love.  But first here are 7 facts about me.

1) I recently had a Snow White moment.  A little mouse came running up to me.  I was enchanted until I realized he was blind.  Basically Owl food.  He also only had 1/2 a tail.  Ever since I've had the tune 3 blind mice running through my head. True story.

2) I fired a huge shot gun over the weekend for the first time. I was scared s&%$less.  But managed to hit an empty 24 pack of beer.  And no we weren't drinking.  Shame on you for thinking that.  

3) I sometimes act like I don't see the cat puke on the floor.  Just hoping my husband will clean it up first.  Busted!

4) Any minute now I will have 2 published books out there!  

5) My favorite place is Dominical, Costa Rica.

6) I wish I could go back in time and run my fingers through Robert Plant's hair.

7) One of my favorite quotes is from Game of Thrones, "A Dothraki Wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair"

Now along with Toemail (link above)  I'm passing the award on to 7 other bloggers.  I'm sorry to say this is a very incomplete list. I love all my blogging friends.  But I'd like to keep it at a lucky 7. It's just easier and luckier that way.

Are you feeling lovely...punk?