Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tales, more cast members

Digging further under the seat of my car, I found a few more characters to add to the 'Tales' series.

Boise (skunk)
Boise is not always willing to do what others ask, he can be difficult and contrary and only cooperates when bribed with mochi. He possesses the power of camouflage and loves a good game of hide and seek, but will never come out when called. He would live outdoors if allowed, yet will only ride in taxis and eat in restaurants. Known to occasionally feign a French accent when he wants to feel fancy; he reads books by Bukowski while smoking hookah. He wouldn't hurt a fly and is extremely honest, friendly, and open. He will sit in your lap if you don't stop him.
*He would like see himself as ferocious, but generally succeeds in looking annoyed at best.
Yeti (yeti)
Well known to be a loner, Yeti is not so much shy as he is outraged. Extremely sensitive to injustice and inequality, Yeti separates himself from others to shield his tender heart from the pain of living in the world. He may appear to be unfriendly, even rude, but those brave enough to engage with him will be rewarded with a deep friendship. Yeti is very articulate and loves to expound when given an audience. He enjoys gourmet food, classical music, and local micro-brews. He makes sculptures from found objects, and if you look carefully when walking in the forest, you might find one of them.

Malone (panda)
Malone is suave and sophisticated; charm oozes from every follicle. He is saved from his unctous good looks by his acerbic wit; a kind of oil and vinegar effect. He was chubby as a child and played the tuba in a marching band, an experience that scarred him for life. Now an urbane world traveller, he crashed last year's WTO conference in Davos just for the swag (free ipods!) and the thrill. He is a voracious and catholic reader whose South African accent keeps everyone off-balance (nobody really knows where he's from). He is obsessed with tea; his favorite being vanila rooibos with a side of steamed soy milk and honey, stirred with a special antique spoon that he carries with him at all times.

Ranger (mouse)
Nervous, twitchy, neurotic, adorable...creativity flows through this little guy like a river and he talks non-stop. Charmed by everything he sees, he has an infectious laugh and would literally give you the shirt off his back. It makes me want to buy him a pony. In his quest to live lightly on the planet, he eats raw food exclusively, walks everywhere, and lives in a corner of his friend's living room. He can name the president on any denomination of U.S. currency. He sings, composes, plays guitar, writes futuristic poetry, and needs very little sleep. Did I mention that he is cute as a bug? Because he is...

Ruby (daschund)

Ruby is in the background of Ranger's picture. Her profile isn't finished yet. She and Jam will be along shortly...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Russian Cream

*little owl bowl, devoid of Russian Cream
The following dessert is commonly known as Swedish Cream, but I first came across it as Russian Cream and so, with utter disregard toward my Nordic heritage, that's what I call it too.
It is fantastically easy to make and just the thing to showcase perfect summer berries. (Um, or late fall fruit? I can't really picture this with apples or pears though...) Since I've waited so long to post this recipe, perhaps you'll just have to rely on all that frozen summery goodness you've stashed away.

Russian Cream

Combine in a saucepan & let stand to soften:
3/4 C. sugar
1 Tb. gelatin
1/2 C. water
Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Slowly add:
1 C. Cream
Followed by:
1 1/2 C. sour cream (or yogurt)
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix well and pour into six of your most charming small bowls,
leaving lots of room for fruit later, and chill for three hours or more.

To serve, top with fruit of your choice such as:
huckleberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.
My standard treatment for the fruit is:
sprinkle with sugar, add a splash of triple sec (or Grand Marnier if you are feeling fancy), stir gently and let macerate for a bit. However, if you have any fruit syrup (like from the blackberries), use that too. *For blueberries, I would cook the berries with sugar, thicken with cornstarch, then add the liqueur.
I think the blackberries contrasting with the white cream is the most visually stunning combination, but you really can't miss with any berry. I have heard of this being done with cranberries too, but I haven't tried it.
One of the beauties of this recipe is how easy it is to multiply; I took thirty-five of these sweeties to a potluck one summer during raspberry season. Easy-peasy, as long as you have enough bowls (you could use mugs or cups too).
*mug, also devoid of Russian Cream
*cup, ditto on the Russian Cream

Friday, October 24, 2008


People from other areas of the world find it scandalous that Oregonians take blackberries so for granted. They are practically considered weeds here, what with their impenetrable spiky vines encroaching on roads and taking over any empty field. Very pricey in stores elsewhere, people have to treat them like precious gems. Around here, we are simply greedy blackberry gluttons.The logging road where we take our daily walk has a veritable wall of blackberries. The road is not used, so there are no impossibly dusty berries here. We picked about three gallons in a couple of hours. Yes, the dog got to come.We are not fond of the seeds so, once home, we put them through a sieve.Then, the remaining seedy pulp was put through the juicer to extract all the dark deliciousness.I add a bit (okay, a lot) of sugar and then freeze the blackberry syrup for use throughout the year.

I save the biggest, most perfect berries and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Later on, I bag them up to use in desserts along with the syrup.

I was debating whether to give you a recipe for Russian Cream (the premier use of blackberries, in my opinion) or showing you some cool blackberry art-for-daily-life. Maybe later on the dessert...
Irresistibly adorable baby slippers from Ailcia of Willo in the U.K. Awww...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tales; Free Box Day Outing

Little lives in S.E. Portland, sometimes people in the neighborhood leave unwanted items out on the sidewalk for anyone to take. That's free box day; it's fun.

Do you see what I mean about Little being accident-prone? I omitted the cast on her leg in this drawing, but the wheelchair tells it all. She broke her ankle while she was still wearing a cast from breaking her wrist (also a bike accident).
I rest my case.

Oh, and lest you think I meant to imply that Bear has no sense of humor, he did send me a joke once:
"A shoelace for a shoelace makes the whole world untied"
Isn't that just so hilarious and adorable! I especially loved it because he texted it to me and I am constantly sending out oddball facts and dumb jokes and he never responds. Hmpfh.

I have four more characters that will be joining the 'Tales' series; Ranger (mouse), Malone (panda), Boise (ferocious skunk), and Yeti (yeti). To debut next week...

Oh, and in case you need a straw hat of your own and your neighborhood doesn't have a free box day; check out Tonya Gross Millinery. Cute, no?

Monday, October 13, 2008

I heart Banksy

One of my favorite quotes from Banksy; on the contemporary art scene:

“I don’t know how the art world gets away with it, it’s not like you hear songs on the radio that are just a mess of noise and then the d.j. says, ‘If you read the thesis that comes with this, it would make more sense.’ ” ~Banksy

And his 'manifesto':

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.
Then I realised God doesn’t work that way, so I stole
one and prayed for forgiveness.

- Emo Philips

I love him for so many things; his irreverence, his skill, his sense of humor, his anonymity/flair for publicity, his conscience, his politics, his social commentary, and his rats.

Art for daily life at it's finest, for sure.

He has a show in New York called the Village Petstore and Charcoal Grill:

More Banksy here (flickr).

Sorry to have such a link-happy post, but there is just so much to look at with this guy.

*thanks to lil bee for reminding me about him

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


These drawings are little sketches drawn on envelopes and scraps of paper while sitting in waiting rooms or in the car or on hold or during other bits of time not being otherwise put to use. A sort of story line gradually developed, based on real and imaginary events in the life of my family my mind. It is developing into a series with slightly more refined drawings, but the following are the original sketches, dug out from under the seat of the car.

Design for Mankind had a link to an artist who sketched an entire year of her life and it gave me the idea to put up my own graffiti here.

Introducing the cast so far:

Arturo (otter)
Arturo is a scholar/athlete. He divides his day between thinking deep thoughts and bounding about a soccer field (football pitch to the rest of the world). He prefers Modern Art to Impressionism, Spinoza to Descartes, and dogs over cats. He is fluent in seventeen languages and unlucky in love, despite his sweet nature and devastating good looks. He is so laid back as to appear lethargic, but his mind is always busy unraveling some dense and difficult theory. Nothing can faze him as he reclines listening to Schuman cantatas, but he will be up in a flash to defend the poor and protect the weak. He enjoys diving for sponges and can hold his breath for twenty minutes. He is the philosopher of the group. He is always consulted when decisions are to be made and can find solutions where others are confused.

Little (bear)

Little is a priestess of fashion (a fashionista! everyone says so), smart as a whip, and throws frequent tantrums. After a few minutes of stomping around in high dungeon, she will quickly forgive any (real or imagined) slights and smother you in kisses. She is extremely accident-prone. When not in the actual emergency room, you will generally find her with a cast on some part of her body. She values independence over all else; curfews never work for her. She is utterly loyal and loving when given free reign over her life. But stubborn as a mountain! She adores her brother, Arturo. She is magical and can see the light in flowers and other living things.

Bear (dog)

He doesn't talk much. He doesn't tell jokes. He has no use for banter. But his trenchant observations may surprise you, and he is an excellent listener. Despite what he may lack in superficial social graces, he more than makes up for with an enormous capacity for understanding and love. He is shy and sensitive and tends to flee when alarmed. Consequently, he has built up his speed and can now run faster than anyone else, even Arturo. He is artistic and has beautiful hands. A solitary nature-lover, he can often be found sitting on his own, gazing intently up at the sky. Perhaps he is searching for signs of a rescue party from the home planet...

Lucy (fox)
Lucy is rather quiet, but not so much shy as stealthy. She likes to lay low until everybody has forgotten she is in the room, then she will steal away and reorganize the spice drawer. Deeply affronted by criticism, she dreams of sword fights in which she successfully defends her wounded dignity with panache. She knows how to drift, which gives her a coolness she would otherwise lack. Well-meaning and wanting to be helpful, she often messes things up. Nurturing is her strength and she will never judge you. She is the mom of the group and is an excellent cook.

London (lion)
London is very inquisitive, constantly learning new things, always wanting to know what is going on. Wise and insightful, he is the healer of the group, miraculously managing to find the precise thing each one needs. No one knows exactly how he does it, however, he is skilled in alchemy and other mysterious arts. Warm and kind, he specializes in hugs. His heart, as they say, is as big as all outdoors. His favorite food is yogurt and his eyes are his best feature. He is Bear's older brother.