Monthly Archives: June 2013

Daily Euphoria: playing with my tea leaves

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They’re not just for brewing anymore!  Pineapple Oolong pattern-making, just because.

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Daily Euphoria: Oliver Jeffers goes hunting (for ideas and lunch)

Oliver Jeffers Author Film 2013 from Oliver Jeffers on Vimeo. A film by Mac Premo.

Giant pencils, bows and arrows, light bulbs dangling from the sky.  Intrigued?  There is a reason Oliver Jeffers and his work are so beloved!

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Ode to Telluride Festivarians

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This weekend marked the 40th anniversary of the Telluride Bluegrass festival, an event I was lucky enough to attend last year with my favourite travel partner, Hobo G.  Set against the stunning backdrop of a box canyon, it is one of the most beautiful and well-organized outdoor festivals I have ever attended    I could wax poetic about the amazing sets and top-notch musicians that are attracted to the show, but that’s a given.  A huge part of the love I feel for this festival has everything to do with the attendees aka “festivarians”.   The crowds are full of heart, showing so much enthusiasm for the performers and respect for one another. Not an easy feat when personal space can, at times, be snug.  This recent article in the Guardian UK gives a great sense of the experience and “flavour” of the experience as a festival go-er.

With such a diverse cross-section of  attendees, the people watching was a boon!  Yes, I may have gotten whiplash from checking out all the unique looks that were on parade that weekend!  Never have I seen such a far-reaching assortment of straw hats, since then.   I hope to finish a series of drawings based on my “bluegrass muses”.  Here were a few I dashed off, to whet my whistle, and some other photos of memorable festheads I am working from .  More to come!

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Telluride. We miss you and we will be back!

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Daily Euphoria: Ninjas and Flowers

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An impressive hand drawn sign on some metal shelving at the side of the road.  Garbage night is the best.

Still obsessing over hand lettering.

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Hand cramps of love (for hand lettering)

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What I’m working on these days.

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Decisions, decisions…

I’m going deep down into the rabbit hole with this map-making project and kind of fuzzing out on the big picture at the moment.   Eventually I will manage to assimilate all my little doodles into a Franken-map of the odd and awesome, but for now, I’m geeking out on the details!

Clearly, what I’ve been getting the most pleasure out of is practicing my lettering.  I came by my love honestly and early, thanks to my highschool art teacher.   Mrs. Huebener was a calligrapher, and in those days, I’m pretty sure I thought that was uncool.  What did I know?  The most advanced art instruction I’d had to date was sewing pink aprons with plastic pockets (how avant garde!) in junior high Home Ec. class.  Thank goodness the bar was raised by Mrs. H.  I distinctly remember one of our first grade 9  assignments was to create a monogram of our initials using Roman Caps . I recall how badly my hand shook trying to draw a straight line that first class, the pervasive smell (and stain) of india ink, and how my writer’s callus ballooned over the course of the year.  To this day, I still grip my pens too tightly and that callus?  I call him Arnold.

While I never saved any of those shaky and earnest high school assignments, I did rifle through some old sketchbooks recently while looking for map ideas. Care to join me on this little walk down memory lane?

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Doodle on a mail-forwarding label, 2009.

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Old school layout ! Draft of a Christmas postcard for clients c. 2008.

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2006 – I suffered from a bad case of insomnia that year.

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An everlasting love of word bubbles, 2007.

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Drawing whatever was on my desk, apparently mostly CDs and art supplies. c. 2004.

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I have always enjoyed (obsessively) making lists, c. 2007

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Some keepers from the Hand Lettering class I took last year, taught by the amazing illustrator Katy Dockrill at Nook. Super fun!

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First of the season: Pink Jam!

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Okay, so clearly  this week is all about the food.  Bear with me…

My  rhubarb plant sacrificed itself to the canning gods this weekend, supplying me with the raw materials for this Rhubarb-Rosemary Jam.  It’s a recipe that has been on my roster ever since I got the preserving bug a few years back, and a hallmark to the start of summer !

Today, I got my kicks dressing these guys up to give as gifts.  It’s almost as much fun as making the jam , and definitely less messy!

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A nutty kind of love

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Now that the garden is finally getting some sun,  I am looking forward to having a robust, home-grown supply of fresh rosemary.  Its herbal, sharp character is a welcome addition to version 2.0 of a recipe that has been in heavy rotation at Casa Hobo lately.  A combination of my favourite elements of the Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts recipe and  Dorie Greenspan’s Sweet and Spicy Cocktail nuts, I hope you’ll like them as much as I do.   These are best accompanied by a lazy afternoon on a sunlit porch, a couple of friends, and some vino.

Rosemary and Brown Sugar Spiced Nuts

2 1/4 cups mixed nuts ( such as raw almonds, walnuts and pecans)

1 egg white

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary

1 1/2 -2 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt

1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and set oven rack so that it sits in the middle.

Lightly beat egg white in a medium bowl.  Stir in nuts until evenly coated.

Combine brown sugar, rosemary, salt and cayenne.  Add to nuts and stir to combine.

Lay nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment or a silpat.

Bake 25-30 mins.   Allow to cool – nudging and breaking them apart before serving or storing.

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Daily Euphoria : Canal House Cooks Lunch

Whenever I’m feeling uninspired in the kitchen, I visit the Canal House ladies and my apathy evaporates.   I want to crash every one of their (seemingly) impromptu lunches.   I found this post particularly endearing – not only can these two cook, but they have a great sense of humour!

(Image originally published on Canal House Cooks Lunch)
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Busy plotting…

Phil Francis’ Morning Commute Banana Map originally posted on Pret a Voyager

…how to make a map, that is!  In the midst of a jam-packed work week, I decided to throw caution to the wind and  sign up for Anne Ditmeyer’s Skillshare class Map Making: Learn to communicate places beautifully .   I came across Anne’s fantastic travel blog while researching last year’s trip to Paris and marvelled at what an incredible life she has created for herself.  Swoon worthy!  Recently, I discovered Anne was sharing her many talents in the form of an online class and I jumped at the chance to participate.

I sure wish I’d had the foresight to keep some of the impromptu maps I’ve drawn for visiting friends over the years.   I would love to see what landmarks were deemed important back then, some of which I believe would include:  best place to get roti, well-loved bookstores, anarchist coffee shops and least gross laundromats.

Anne’s Pinterest board, Make a Map,  has served as great inspiration .  This map in particular, stood out for me for being so personal and  because it didn’t require computer skills. Low-tech love!

Source: itsnicethat.com via Anne on Pinterest

This one is by Toronto’s own map-making maestro, Marlena Zuber.

Source: maps.marlenazuber.com via Anne on Pinterest

And here is a quickie first sketch of a project I’m working on.  More details to come!

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