Owls are not what they seem

Above my desk is a list of dream clients and jobs.  On my list are things like; art for food packaging, create my own wrapping paper, design a tattoo- checked off!  When I saw that Modcloth was announcing a print design contest and Portlandia Costume Designer Amanda Needham would be a guest judge.  I got super excited to come up with some prints...  I've really been enjoying Portlandia; the awkward humor of Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen as well as Kyle Maclachlan as mayor ; )

I came up with a few ideas for the dress, but was crossing my fingers they would pick this Twin Peaks inspired dress pattern.  Since falling in love with Twin Peaks last year I've been kicking around some ideas for a fan art piece. (Check out Design Sponge's post on set/clothing inspiration)  Here's some of my favorite Twin Peaks fan art pieces by other artists:  Love this print by Mary Kate McDevitt, Tee by Robert Farkas over at ThreadlessAmazing log lady print and pins!

Modcloth has such an awesome selection of vintage and retro inspired dresses.  I love the prints they use and knew I could get away with designing something that was really cute and illustrative. (retro+ cute+illustrative+dash of Portlandia weirdness= my wheelhouse)  If you haven't seen Twin Peaks, hopefully you'd still wear a dress with owls, trees, coffee cups and logs, right?...Surely a staple in every lady's closet.

Please give my dress some love and GO VOTE on the Modcloth website!!  If I win I get some $, the dress produced with my name in the label and I get to wear a dress with my print on it, which I could check off my dream list!

Be Mine!

Valentine's Day is coming soon, so I  thought it would be fun to illustrate my own set of  Valentine printables inspired by some vintage valentine's I saw on Pinterest.  (scroll to the bottom if you want to download a copy to share with your valentine's)

As a kid I always looked forward to Valentine's Day,  I would painstakingly stamp, glue and glitter 30 or so cards for each of my classmates! Probably because this was one of the few occasions I was allowed to break out the glitter.

Unfortunately, I don't have as much time to throw glitter around these days...  (I'm just finishing up knitting Christmas gifts) However, I still love sending out mail to my friends and family to let them know I'm thinking of them.

Isn't Valentine's about all the people you love? Your sister, parents, grandma, bff, oldest camp friend, aunt, new sister-in-law, coworker and your husfriend?

I like to think so!

I hope you'll also enjoy sending these in the mail to your favorite people.

valentines_printable_2014

Here is how to do it:

click on the link above

It will open in a new window.

Right click on the image and select "save as".

Open up the image and PRINT.

Chili Recipe Illustration

Happy Friday!  Here's  another Custom Recipe I wanted to share!  I was thrilled when Kristi contacted me to do this chili and pickle recipe for her husband.

She had some great ideas for details to include, such as the red LeCreuset.

I had a lot of fun working with this palette and coming up with simple geometric patterns that would give it a Tex-Mex feel.

There still time to fit in custom orders for Valentines... So shoot me an email if you want me to illustrate your favorite recipe for someone you love.  Hope you cook something delicious this weekend!

Stuffed Cabbage Illo!

Thanks to the mention on Etsy's blog I got a couple more orders for Custom Recipe Illustrations.  I love illustrating family recipes and  I wanted to share one I finished up right before the Holidays.

Stuffed Cabbages!

I've never made stuffed cabbages so I did a little research on the origins.  Stuffed cabbages are mostly part of  Jewish/Eastern European tradition and that lead me to look at Polish, Hungarian and Russian embroidery for motif and pattern inspiration.

 Here's a similar recipe over on Smitten Kitchen if you want to try making your own. 

 I wanted this piece to feel folky and warm just like the dish.  I bet stuffed cabbages would be perfect dish to serve this time of year!

 

 

 

 

So Long 2013!

2013 has been an exciting one for me:

-I worked with new and fantastic clients!  Including some of my favorite publications, companies and artists!

- I took the Lila Rogers class, which gave me some new skills and motivation to license my artwork.

-I moved into our new place, one where we have a small backyard and can paint the walls. Woo hoo!

-I got married to my favorite person surrounded by our awesome family and friends.  All of the hard wedding planning was worth it because the day came together even better than I had hoped : )

- We traveled to Prague, Vienna, Salzburg and Zurich on our honeymoon!

I'm starting off 2014 feeling empowered and inspired!  Hope you are too : )

 

Lumberjack

Happy Friday!  I just finished up my new tea towel calendar for 2014.  The last two years they've sold really well, so I'll have the 2014 one up in my Etsy shop as soon as I can.  This year I took inspiration from...

Lumberjacks and decorative elements on vintage Soviet postcards!

I found some really great reference for both on pinterest!

Here's a little sneak peek of my lumberjacks.

 I can't wait to receive my proof back from Spoonflower!

If you want to see the calendar early you can go vote for my calendar in the 2014 Tea Towel Calendar at Spoonflower. 

Lilla Roger's Global Talent Search

My submission for the Lilla Roger's Global Talent Search!  The assignment involved creating a journal for Paperchase with a vintage playground theme.

At first I was a little stumped by the theme... and then I thought about the kind of journal I would want to buy and characters I would enjoy drawing.  Whats more fun then a bunch of monkeys jumping rope? I worked on this piece during the recent heat wave, which also inspired my decision to draw ice cream...  The layout was loosely based on vintage circus posters and type.  Tomorrow the top 50 will be announced... fingers crossed!

All kinds of exciting things happening this month!  I'm relieved that weather seems to be staying warm and sunny.  Nothing puts me in a better mood or makes me want to be outside more.

For June I really wanted to draw some cicadas... I've always thought they were so fascinating in a prehistoric giant bug kinda way.  Here's a great 7 min video about the cicadas... You can hear their mating call in the background and some great footage of them swarming!

Click on the mini cal if you want to download it for your desktop!  Just as a reminder... the Etsy Sale is still going strong.

PVD Lady Summer Guide

I was thrilled to be able to team up with the lovely ladies of Providence Lady Project.  The Providence Lady Project is all about connecting, inspiring and showcasing awesome women in Providence.  I've met some really fun and creative ladies at their previous events and I became a member of the group this year!  Just in time for Summer they've put together a guide  here- "featuring over 40 local, female owned businesses and tips from members on making it the best summer in Rhode Island!"

So... heres my contribution to the guide, a map of my favorite places to eat during the Summer!  Big thanks to the PVD Lady team and especially to Sarah for putting everything together.

So if you find yourselves in Rhode Island this summer here are some places to check out and look through the guide for other fun Summer ideas.  

 

April Calendar

A few days late... but here's this month's Calendar!  Inspired by all the beautiful photos I've been seeing of cherry blossoms in Kyoto... Here's one of the best places to view the cherry blossoms, Kiyomizudera.  

Here's an old image of Kiyomizudera from 1909 and not much has changed.  Kiyomizudera is probably the most famous Buddhist temple in Kyoto and has a fantastic view of the city!  Someday I will make it back to Japan just to see the cherry blossoms!

 Growing up in DC I loved seeing the cherry blossoms transform our street every year.  My birthday is in April so it always feels like an extra present!  Here's my dad, me and Ernie enjoying the blossoms.

Click on the small calendar to download it and use it as a wallpaper.

Mocha Dacquoise

  In honor of Valentine's Day I decided to go on a Chowda Scouting mission for something chocolate.  This was also a good excuse to visit Pastiche, my absolute favorite place for dessert.  Pastiche makes the best cheesecake, not too heavy or overwhelmingly sweet.  The fruit tart is light and flavorful.  My fiance adores the chocolate mousse cake and often goes for any of their seasonal specials.  I decided to branch out and try something new... the waitress recommended the mocha dacquoise.* Mocha Dacquoise is described as "dark chocolate sponge and almond meringue filled with coffee mousse.  finished with coffee buttercream and chocolate glaze."

 I really enjoyed all the different flavors in each layer of the cake, it reminded me of a tiramisu.  If your looking to take your honey out for dessert go to Pastiche!  Or if you want to bring home a sampling of sweets check out their amazing array of cookies, cannoli, macaroons, brownies, rugelach and Valentines day specials! 

Pastiche is tucked away on Federal Hill at 92 Spruce Street. (it's one over from Atwells)

Open: Tuesday-Thursday, 8:30 AM to 11 PM

Friday & Saturday, 8:30 AM to 11:30 PM Sunday, 10 AM to 10 PM

*I've been cracking myself up by saying mocha dacquoise with an over the top French accent...  Now I can't say it without giggling or speaking in a fake french accent. 

Ebisu Comfort Food

I threw myself another curve ball by picking a dish that was tricky to illustrate.  When I lived in Japan oyakodon was my go to comfort food on a cold winter day because there is nothing better than a warm bowl of rice topped with eggs, chicken, and a sweet salty broth.  Oyakodon literally means mother and child (get it?? haha)

After returning to the US I looked everywhere for a satisfying oyakodon, but was mostly disappointed... Until I went to Ebisu !

Since then, Ebisu has become one of my favorite restaurants in RI.  This is the food that reminds of my time in Japan!  Their menu does not have sushi, but instead focuses on bowls of rice, ramen and even shabu-shabu!  Traditionally, oyakodon is not made with the crispy breaded "katsu" style chicken, but I think it's even better served this way! If you go to Ebisu, look for it on the menu as Katsu Don for $9.95 .

Ebisu is located at:

38 Pontiac Ave. Providence, RI 02907 and you can reach them

@ (401) 270 7500

Of if you want to make some oyakodon at home, here's a recipe with katsu style chicken. (I haven't tried it but it's based on a Momofuku recipe, so I bet it's awesome !)  And here's a faster and more traditional recipe option.

Pomegranate

Happy New Years!! I'm back from a long holiday break filled with food, family and friends!  I thought it would be fun to start the year off with a fresh new drawing.  Pomegranates are one of my favorite winter fruits to eat on a salad or as a snack.  Here's a way I've recently learned to open them without getting juice everywhere....

I also made this tasty relish with pomegranates, olives and pistachios!  It's delicious!  Happy 2013!!

Rasoi Thali

Hello dear readers! It's been far too long since I've posted a Chowda Scout piece... Rest assured, I have been eating lots of great food in the state of RI!  This latest dish is from my favorite Indian restaurant; RASOI.  I chose to illustrate their Vegetarian Ayurvedic Thali.  A thali is a traditional Indian meal served in a platter.  It's usually a balanced sampling of nutrition, flavor, texture and color!

Tuesday- Thursday Rasoi offers thali's from different regions of India.  It's a fun way to try little portions of a variety of dishes.  I forgot to write down exactly what was in this one... but I think it included: a saag (or spinach dish), eggplant and potato curry, mushroom& pea curry, lentil dal and a mango rice pudding that was insanely delicious...  Also with some basmati rice and fresh naan!

The thali was quite a challenge; the metal platter and dishes, drawing curries, puddings and lentil dal was even harder than I thought it would be... But I wanted to try to convey the bright colors,  and delicious spices used in Indian cooking.  On a technical note I've also been working on adding texture and layers of translucency to my work.  I struggled with this piece for awhile but I'm pretty happy with where it's at now!

Anyways, I hope this piece makes you hungry for Indian food... In addition to having weeknight specials, Rasoi also has a delicious Brunch buffet on the weekends.

Free Printable Knitting Tags

This year I challenged myself to make many hand-knit gifts! I took a trip to North Hampton, MA to WEB'S, the biggest yarn store in the country!  Have you been?  It's amazing!

  I love the whole process of knitting a gift; from selecting the pattern,  choosing the yarn and then wrapping it up all pretty! I'm still trying to get a bunch of presents finished up for the holidays.   So far I've completed 2 scarves, 2 sets of mitts and a hat.. Not bad right?

 

I've been seeing adorable free printable tags on many of my favorite websites; on RavelryDesign Sponge,  and an awesome round up of free printables on Creature Comforts!  I decided to make my own for the holidays!

 I really loved the idea of including the washing directions so the recipient knows exactly how to wash their gift!  And it was fun to draw all the little symbols....

Some of these aren't marked.  Just in case any of my family members are reading the blog : )  The tags don't line up perfectly, but they were good enough for me!  You can still cut off the exterior color and they look pretty good.

Anyways,  I wanted to offer them up for free for any of my knitting readers!  Here's the Poinsettia tag front, back and the Geo tag front and back.  So, Happy Holidays!!  Also as a reminder, if you want to follow my blog via Facebook please "like" my page!

 

Holiday Shopping Shout Out!

Thanks to my friends at They Draw and Cook for including me in their monthly newsletter of holiday shopping ideas!  If you are looking for a small stocking stuffer for a cook, then check out their Best Illustrated Cocktail Recipe Book & The Colorful Vegetarian book.  Both have absolutely beautiful illustrations!  Each book is $9.99!

If your looking for inexpensive and funky art... look no further than RI based Tiny Showcase.   They feature work of some of my favorite artists and if you were still thinking of buying one of my umibozu print, they've got those too!  They've also got a good deal going... Buy two prints and get free shipping!  Some of my favs include:

 

A collection of WPA-era US Travel Bureay Posters as reinterpreted and screen printed by Providence's Head Light Hotel. The two pieces are available for purchase as a set for $65 or below individually for $35 each

 "Untitled (Living Things)" by LandLand. $20 - Love all the patterns in this!

And Ester Pearl Watson's  "The Future Passed Over a Fake Dinosaur." $20  Tiny showcase also donates $250 from the sale of each print to a charity of the artist's choice so it's really a win-win gift!

Lastly, my friends at Hudson Seed Valley Library wanted me to share a special discount code.  Use code "packart" to receive free shipping through Dec 20th.   I just got some seed baskets I ordered from them in the mail and they look great!

Also, Starting in the new year I'll be sharing my blog posts exclusively on The First Pancake page on facebook. So if you want to be up to date on the latest news and any special discounts ... like my page!!