Friday, June 29, 2012


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I just watched the movie Pulp Fiction again.  It gets better and better every time I see it.  This time I noticed little details and cameos that I didn't remember seeing before.  It is my husband's most quoted movie. Here's one that fits today's post. "Do you mind if I have a sip of your tasty beverage?"  Refresh is the theme over at this week.  And if you haven't been to their new and improved website it is worth a gander. 

My Thirsty Bird vignette is a prehistoric piece from my basement files.  But it is fresh meat for illo Friday.  I painted the bird with a lot of metallics.  I don't do that any more because metallic paint doesn't scan very well.  But I did this little piece before I had a scanner.  Can you imagine not having a scanner?  The good old days... 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Classic Cosmopolitan

 This is a favorite drink at our house.  We rarely order expensive cocktails in restaurants or bars.  Why pay $12 when you can make it at home.  And I swear the thought of a Cosmo at dinner is one of the only things that gets me through a boring 1/2 session on the StairMaster.  

I'm still using my tried and true cocktail shaker from college.  I organized a couple dinner dances for my sorority and ordered these as take away gifts.  My college boyfriend probably sold his for 10 cents at a thrift sale long ago.  The funny thing is I never made cocktails in college.  I'm not really sure what I drank with my mac and cheese or ramen noodles.  But it wasn't cosmos.  I can tell you that.  Drinks were something that you only guzzled in bars.  The good old days... 

This makes 2 drinks...

4 shots vodka
3 shots cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 shot Grand Marnier liqueur
2 large lime sections

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add liquid ingredients.  Then squeeze both lime sections in and throw in the rinds.  Shake and pour.  You should get 4 delicious pours out of this.  Happy days!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tin Fish and Lake Calhoun

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No one can say that my husband and I don't know how to have a good time.  We shamelessly joyride our kid-less life for all it is worth.  I found out the hard way from the untimely deaths of my parents that it is not worth waiting around to have fun.  So it might be just a boring Monday or Wednesday.  But in the Summer that means dinner at Tin Fish.  And the top photo is the fabulous view.  Not too shabby for Minneapolis!  For the uninitiated, Minneapolis has a whole chain of lakes that have walking and biking paths circling around the whole lake.  We are some of the lake's busiest pedestrians.   

Tin Fish has fish.  But we always order the burger.  One of the best.  A crispy grilled bun, a burger similar to meatloaf and a thick slab of gooey melted cheese.  Heaven.  Tin Fish is only open in the Summer.  So when the last burger is served in the Fall and the grease is a fading memory, the sadness sets in.

Don't worry if you consume too many calories at Tin fish.  Paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking await.

And there is always bird watching.  Ha!  Tonight a lady brought her pet parrot.  He entertained the kids while the parents waited in the long food line.  And waited.  And waited..........................

Last Summer after eating at Tin Fish we were lucky enough to get a free sailing lesson.  Not tonight.  Tonight we walked.  

And were rewarded with a beautiful Sunset at the end of the night.  Just another day in paradise.  Hmmm.  I wonder if anyone has ever said that about Minnesota before.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An Herbacous Dinner

Fish tacos are so easy you don't need a recipe.  All you need are a few fresh ingredients.  The first is a good quality fish.  My husband caught  his limit of Walleye in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota this Spring.  I can honestly say that this cold water catch can not be beat.  Just a little flour, butter, salt, pepper and a few minutes in a saute pan and you've got delicious fish.  Too good for fish tacos really. a warm soft corn tortilla, then the fish, a generous sprinkling of cilantro and a mound of vidala onions.  Then a sprinkle of hot sauce.  Done.  But I have a bounty of herbs besides cilantro just waiting to be used.  Hmmm.  What else can I make...  


Mint Juleps!  I had never made these before.  But we recently bought our first bottle of whiskey.  We had to try Kieran Folliard's new 2 Gingers. And we weren't disappointed.  I picked a big handful of mint and tore them into a large measuring cup.  Then I poured in 1 cup of whiskey.  Now add 4 heaping teaspoons of Agave sweetener.  This is so nice to have on hand.  No need to bother with simple syrup.  Now crush and stir the mixture with the back of a wooden spoon and let it steep until dinner.  Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture over ice into 4 glasses.  I used my favorite Belikin glasses.  Add 1/2 -1 shot of club soda and enjoy a taste of Summer.  It is so good.    

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sneaky Snake Secrets...

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Lately I've been posting a lot of been there done that art.  Previously posted, famous basement files, lost bins, not new to you, repurposed, lost archives, yes this again, upcycled, theme driven and dusted off.

Whew!  But today I have something new.  Or at least new to  Not that I haven't been painting like crazy.  Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I've done around 46 pages of new art.  And when the books come out I'll show you!  

Do you see the secret?  It might be obvious to most, irrelevant to others and an aha! moment to a few blog followers.  The snakes have other animals painted inside them. The red snake has beetles.  The camo snake has turtles.  The green snake has butterflies.  And the yellow snake has flies. Oh, and there are subtle snakes floating in the background.  I had a lot of fun with this one. It's called Snakes on a Painting.  Hmmm.  I wonder what movie came out around the same time I did this piece!   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Italian Egg Sandwiche

I always make this for lunch after pasta night.  I make my own pasta sauce.  I'll give my sauce recipe in a later post.  But the most important thing is homegrown tomatoes or imported Italian tomatoes.  And lately I've been adding summer squash towards the end.  Then I don't have to serve a vegetable! I think bottled sauces are totally inferior. But if you like them you can use them here. 

 Start with a slice of french bread.  I always have my local favorite from Turtle Bread in the freezer.  They make their baguette dough into a loaf.  And toast doesn't get any better than that.  I heat a skillet with a decadent amount of olive oil and brown both sides of the bread in the pan.  Savory. Then while the bread is still hot rub a cut piece of garlic over the surface. Now you can use the same pan to fry an egg.  When that is done I layer my sauce, bread and egg.  I sprinkle some parm, oregano and hot pepper flakes on top.  And lunch is served.  Obviously most wimps will omit the pepper flakes! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Got Moss?

Got Moss?  Well, I did.  So I decided to make a wreath. It turned out really earthy and pretty.  I made little birch trees and placed them inside.  And also used one of my homemade mushrooms and a fake bird's nest.  It's easy.  Here's how...   

I started with a 15" green wreath form and a roll of Super Moss/Instant Green. 18" by 48".  I traced the wreath shape on the back of the Moss.  Cut it out and glued it on.  

Then I cut out 2" strips and glued those on.  I just used Elmer's.  I put the natural edge towards the front of the wreath.  If an edge doesn't want to hold, stick it with pins until it drys tight to the edge.

Now it is completely covered.  I had a little unwanted help.  My cats were buzzing around me like mosquitoes during this project.  

I drew trees onto muslin fabric and cut out a front and back.  I added around a 1/4 inch seam.

Here I sewed the two sides together.  Turning the long strips inside out was a chore.

Now I'm stuffing them.  Another chore.  Sigh.

On to the painting.  I used white fabric paint.  But acrylic would be fine.

Now for the fun part.  I took markers and added the birch effect.  You can see in the background I've already attached the bird's nest.  I used green craft wire.  You'll need a wire cutter for this part.  

I already had a mushroom from a Christmas craft project.  See my labels for a demo on how to make these.  (under crafts)  I took a screw driver and just poked a hole in the wreath foam base.  Then I just stuffed the mushroom in.  That is how I attached one of my birch trees as well.  You can just randomly place them at will.  Two of the trees I attached to the back of the wreath with the craft wire. I also attached some fake sticks with the wire.

 A fake cardinal sits on top.  A real one proved too difficult...

Viola!  The fun part of this project is that you can just use what ever natural things you can forage for. Or make your own.  Acorns, sticks, fungus, feathers, rocks, pine cones...anything goes.  Use your imagination.  It's all good!  P.S.  I just read in the paper today that they are starting to use moss to clean swimming pools.  Who knew!  For less crafts and more cats visit

Friday, June 8, 2012


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I did this illustration way back in the day.  And I thought the light beams shining through the trees would be perfect for the theme.  Not that I think this painting is perfect.  Far from it.  But I still love the magical mushrooms and the washy green grass.  The big mushroom on the far left is definitely worthy of a fairy tale.  And my little fairy Petunia is still kind of cute.   

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cornmeal Waffles with Triple Berry Sauce

This is my go to waffle recipe.  And I can't wait for strawberry season when I can serve them with fresh picked strawberries, whipped cream and real maple syrup.  Editor's note: I set up this post so long ago that strawberry season has arrived!  Yippee!  But you can't go wrong with a blueberry sauce either.  My favorite sauce is very simple.  Just take 2 cups frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup Log Cabin syrup and 2-3 tsp cornstarch.  Heat these ingredients in a sauce pan until boiling and thickened.  Today I made a triple berry sauce.  Blueberries, blackberries and black raspberries. Yum!  So if you are lucky enough to have all these berries in the freezer like me, triple the pleasure!  Now for the waffles...

In a bowl mix the dry ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar

Then throw in the wet ingredients:

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup canola oil
2 large beaten eggs

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry but don't over mix.  And if you want lighter waffles separate the egg whites and beat them until you have soft peaks.  Then fold the egg whites into your batter.  I don't do this part because I'm too lazy.  

Now pour the batter into a heated waffle iron (sprayed with oil) and cook until they are crispy and lightly brown.  I always heat my toaster oven on low to keep my waffles warm until we're ready to eat.  Enjoy!  

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Curious Case of the Coupon...

Things always get a little crazy around here when my husband leaves on a fishing trip.  My cats are used to being fed at exactly 5:30 am. Period.  But it is my husband who gets up that early.  I try to sleep in till...gasp...6:30.  But by then the door is being pounded by a battering ram of paws.  And the pitiful cries could probably wake the neighbors.  I don't know.  I've never asked!  It was almost 7:00 am central time.  I just didn't feel like getting up.  Darn cats.  Then there was a huge crash.  The sh#@ had hit the fan.

I yelled my unrepeatable go to phrase and raced downstairs.  I knew my orchid had flown to the ground.  I envisioned orchid bark spread clear into the bathroom.  But everything was in place.  Spooky.  Except the curious coupon lying casually on the floor.  Hmmm.  I knew immediately what had happened.  I haven't been watching Sherlock Holmes on tpt for nothing! 

This is where I'd placed the coupon the night before.  Everything was eerily in place.  Who could possess the powers to leap up there silently and precisely.  The only disruption was the coupon slowly floating to the floor.  Hmmm.  Do you see the mysterious image in the mirror?  Look closely...

I looked upwards.  This armoir is 7 feet off the ground.  But the desk with the coupon is a 5 foot jump. Up. 

Two of my prized ceramic pieces were tipped over.  This mild crash sent Akua sailing to the ground. 7 feet down.  And that was what was so loud.  I know it was Akua because my husband has come down from the bedroom before only to discover Akua Flying through the air at the exact moment he entered the room. AAAARRRGGGHHH!

Well, crime does not pay. Akua is awaiting transport to....

 You guessed it.  One more cat-tasrophy down. 200,000 left to go.  For more cat crimes visit

Friday, June 1, 2012


I should be ashamed to post more Sidney the Unstoppable Squirrel at this point. Will those cat paws ever catch him?  Will he become one of those half tailed squirrels we feel sorry for?  Sniff.  No bushy tail to keep him warm through a Minnesota Winter. But Sidney yet again fits the hurry theme.

I do feel like I have run out of new art to post for  I was lucky enough to complete two exciting back to back book contracts last Winter.  Forty-six pages of new art. Whew!  None of which I can post on my blog.  Shoot.  Not that I'm complaining. But I did just post some new art over at  It's called Mani Pedi with a Monster. Check it out if you dare.