Monday, December 19, 2011

Up to no good

For reasons I can't really explain, I got an urge to make candy last weekend. I don't particularly like candy — I prefer my sugar mixed with flour and butter and applied directly to my midsection. That said, we made sea salt caramels from this recipe and peppermint bark and pistachio-cranberry-pumpkin seed bark and they pretty much rock. The bark couldn't be easier to make. Just melt good chocolate (I used Trader Joe's 72% cacao, but you can use milk, white, whatever) in a double boiler. Pour melted chocolate into a waxed paper-lined pan and top with whatever you choose. We found putting it in the fridge for a few hours helped it set up.

And now we're off to California, for some end-of-year festivities. See you all in 2012!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The 5th unbirthday

dad in 70s at piano

Happy birthday, Dad. Despite the fact that you've been gone 4 1/2 years, you are still very much a presence in my life on a daily basis.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Somehow Fall has begun here in Portland, just when most of us locals had barely adjusted to summer. Honestly, I'm glad. While I do love daily sunshine, I'm not crazy about heat. Anything over 75 just feels unnecessary to me! I love the opportunity to put on boots and a sweater; to make soups and bake with abandon (these cookies have made a comeback); to cozy up with a book in front of a rainy window.


Thursday, July 7, 2011


Mixed media collage using Golden acrylics and mediums on Tyvek fabric.

When I was younger I was always making something. The medium didn't matter, as long as I could create. Once I became a working professional my creative output slowed, but it was always there in fits and spurts. And then I became a mom.

For the past 6 years any art or creative project I've worked on existed in the realm of "mom". Either I was doing art with Anna or making something for Anna. And more recently, I started teaching art to other children. But I haven't really been doing any art of my own.

A few weeks ago I was in Collage, a great local art store, when I saw a mixed-media piece on display. It had layers of beautiful colors, glazes and collage elements all applied in a reverse process on clear acrylic, so you viewed it from the opposite side from which it was worked. I was intrigued. I thought about that piece for a few days, and I couldn't escape the pull. I really wanted to know how it was made.

Recently I got a chance to find out. I spent 5 1/2 hours in a workshop with the artist herself: author, teacher, and Golden Working Artist, Chris Cozen. Chris was great, blasting through four different techniques using Golden acrylics on unusual surfaces (Yupo paper, Tyvek kite fabric, clear upholstery vinyl, and clear acrylic). I have to say that although it was the work on the clear acrylic that drew me into the workshop, I think I actually enjoyed working on the Tyvek fabric best. And what's really cool is that you can sew it too, so I'm very interested in working with it more! For those of you who are curious about these techniques, Chris offers online workshops. She was a great teacher and I recommend her highly.

At the end of the day, I was asking Chris some questions about using the Tyvek for bookbinding. I mentioned that I'm teaching a Book Arts Camp for kids this summer, and Chris got very interested. We talked a bit about the camps and classes I teach and then she did something totally unexpected. She packed up ALL the Golden paints we worked with that day and gave them to me for use in my classes! Honestly, I had been looking at all those colors enviously throughout the workshop, because I knew I'd never be able to afford to buy such a rich assortment on my own. I cannot thank Chris and Golden enough. It was such a wonderful ending to a really great day.

To see Chris's work, visit her website:

Monday, July 4, 2011

I'll Follow the Sun

Shortly after my father died, I had a powerful dream about him. We were walking outside by a pool, and Dad was wearing golden-yellow swim trunks. Without saying a word he laid face-down on a chaise lounge and his swim trunks turned from gold to black. I laid my body over his and immediately woke with the Beatles song I'll Follow the Sun going through my head. The weird part is that I don't remember ever hearing that song before. Though I was certainly raised with a fair amount of Beatles songs in my repertoire, that wasn't one of them. That dream has stayed completely vivid for me, four years later. More like a memory than a dream.

me and dad at zoo

me and dad 1984

me and dad formal_1

dad and me at piano

I'll Follow the Sun
by The Beatles

One day you'll look to see I've gone
For tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun

Some day you'll know I was the one
But tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun

And now the time has come
and, my love, I must go
And though I lose a friend
In the end you will know, oh

One day you'll find that I have gone
But tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun
But tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun

And now the time has come
and, my love, I must go
And though I lose a friend
In the end you will know, oh

One day you'll find that I have gone
But tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun

I love you, Dad. You were my sun.

Steven Millman Rappaport

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Tulips!

Yesterday was the first day (and perhaps the last for a while!) that truly felt like Spring here in Portland. It was sunny and in the high 60s, and it seemed all of Portland was outside basking in it.

About 45 minutes South of Portland, in the forgettable town of Woodburn, is the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. We spent the afternoon basking in the warm sun and the riot of color. It was fabulous enough to make up for the fact that we're back to grey skies and rain today. We Portlanders are nothing if not resilient to the vicissitudes of the weather!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Link love for my Foodie friends

Grilling Naan on the Foreman Grill.

Although you wouldn't know it, there has been lots of cooking going on around here. A lot of new recipes, many of which became new favorites by the second bite! Unfortunately there hasn't been a lot of kitchen photography going on. When I started posting recipes on this blog a couple years ago, I would often take the time to use the special lightbox David made me to set up the shoot. It made for beautiful, well-lit pictures, but it took time. These days my kitchen time is often rushed, last-minute, and without ceremony. The recipes, though, are well worth sharing. In no particular order, here are some real gems:

Gena's sweet-potato hummus has changed my life. I adore it. I added a touch of cayenne in place of the black pepper. I make a big vat and eat it with everything.

I first made these almond cookies for a New Year's Eve party, because they pair well with champagne. These are not kid cookies — they're more refined — a little sweet and a little salty. I use Trader Joe's Almond Meal in place of grinding my own almonds.

To go with the red lentil curry I mentioned a few posts back, I decided to try making Naan. In the comments mentioned grilling these on their Foreman grill, which worked like a charm. My plan is to make a double batch of these and freeze a bunch to have on hand whenever the mood strikes. They're delish and certainly should not be reserved only as an accompaniment to Indian food.

For my birthday dinner I wanted mediterranean food. We picked up a bunch of sides at the amazing Barbur World Foods and I made this simple, flavorful Fish Couscous with Onion T'faya as a main. Honestly, I was taking a chance, especially since we subbed frozen Wild Cod from Trader Joe's for the much more expensive Halibut the recipe called for. It turned out great and will definitely be added as a regular dinner entrée here. Even Anna loved it.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Art Classes

Cat with dog and bird, by Anna
Cat with dog and bird, by Anna, age 5

Goose, by Tatum
Goose by Tatum, age 7

Horses, by Elsa
Horses by Elsa, age 7

Last year was dismal for my graphic design business. Because of the economy, because I work mainly with higher-ed and nonprofits, or just because things change. I spent countless hours thinking about what was next for me. I started my etsy shop, I volunteered, I brainstormed over wine with other moms in similar situations.

And all the while I was always doing art projects with Anna and her friends. I don't know why it took so long for the idea to click, but once it did it was as right as rain. I am now teaching art to kids out of my home. I started with 2 classes this month, and will be doubling that in the Spring.

I admit it's a bit daunting. And 90 minutes is a looooong time when working with kids in such a focused way. But man, just seeing the beautiful work they produced was so inspiring.

If you're interested in learning more about the classes, you can visit my new class website here. I've added a permanent link to the sidebar on the right as well. (By the way, I used a free service called Weebly to build this site and it is awesome!).

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk cookies

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Although you wouldn't know it by following this blog, there's actually been a lot of baking going on here lately. I've discovered some great new recipes that I promise to post soon, including a fabulous crusty bread that takes even less effort than the 5-minute breads I was so excited about last year.

Yesterday however, I just needed a cookie. These are modified from a Martha recipe, and have become my new favorite. I love the texture as well as the not-too-sweet flavor. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate-Chunk cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

3 cups oats (not quick oats)
1 cup flour (I use white wheat)
1/2 cup bran or wheat germ
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c granulated sugar
2/3 c light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
1 c dark chocolate chunks or chips

Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla to butter mixture. Add dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add in chocolate chunks. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, depending on your over and your preference for chewy or crunchier cookies. Devour.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I'm thrilled to announce that the iPad app David has been working on for months, DesignScene, went on sale in the App Store today. The app was the brainchild of our friend, Roger, who approached David about helping bring the idea to fruition. You can read more about the process here on Roger's blog.

Of course I'm biased, but I totally think you should go buy the app. The very reasonable price of $3.99 will help to offset the cost of buying the iPad you'll need to use it! Go watch the video Roger put together and see if you don't agree!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Chia Juice

I have a cold. Before that I had bronchitis, and in between there might have been a bit of excess (sugar, wine, fat) going on. What you see above is my antidote to all that; a little elixer known my way as Chia Juice.

Chia is the yoga instructor extraordinaire who introduced me to this wonderful cure-all, and I've never been able to exactly match her recipe. I use all the same ingredients, but the taste is never quite the same. That said, it still tastes yummy and works miracles. It's great to sip while working out, or just when you're feeling depleted. And right now, I feel just a wee bit depleted.

Once again, I've got no real measurements for you. It's one of those things you just have to do by trial and error. This recipe makes a concentrate, and a little goes a long way. You can store the concentrate in the fridge for a few weeks.

Chia Juice
Hibiscus flowers (or hibiscus tea)
Ginger root
Good quality salt (Chia uses a rock of pink, Himalayan salt)
Fresh lemon (or lime) juice (I heart Meyer lemons)
Agave to taste

  • Steep hibiscus flowers (or tea) with fresh ginger slices in boiling water to make a concentrated tea. In a separate container, dissolve salt in water (if you're using a large rock, you can just use room temperature water and let it dissolve over time, otherwise use hot). Allow both to cool.
  • Mix some salt water into the tea, keeping in mind that it will be very salty, but not undrinkable. This is your concentrate.
  • When you're ready to drink it, pour a small amount into a glass. Add fresh lemon juice and fill the rest with water. Add a touch of agave to taste. You will probably need to adjust the flavor balance a few times to get just the right salty/sweet/sour balance.