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. 

Tattoo dream come true!

Last month I had the privilege of  designing a craft tattoo for a friend.  The tattoo was inspired by the Industrial Revolution themed pattern I did for the REPEAT contest.

I had such a good time research craft tattoos and drawing this.   Also I  was incredibly flattered that someone would want my art on their body forever... huge compliment!  I can't wait to see what it looks like after it's healed.  Speaking of REPEAT, round two is starting up soon and the deadline for entering is tomorrow!    This year I'm coming back as a guest judge and proud to be judging amongst some of the most friendly and talented ladies in the quilt world!

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!!

 

 

Pvd Lady Gift Guide!

I can't believe it's December and holiday time yet again!  The Providence Lady Project decided to do a gift guide this year to showcase local businesses.  You can check out the Providence lady gift guide here!  I submitted my tea towel calendar as well as my latest holiday gift the Custom Recipe!   For fun I picked out 5 of my favorite gift ideas from other Providence Lady Project members...  These are the 5 gifts I would want to give to my favorite ladies: 1.  For the cool little lady: Women Who Rock Coloring Book- $15  All proceeds support Girls Rock! Rhode Island, a non-profit that empowers girls and women through music.  They do an awesome summer camp where girls get to form bands and put on a concert!

2. For a glamourous quirky lady: Soft Honeycomb Scarf by Joy in my Studio - $58  Joy paints each of these scarfs by hand so they are truly one of a kind!  This one is the bees knees!

3.  For the bookworm lady: Harry Potter inspired Moleskin   $25  Hand drawn Moleskin cover with a Harry Potter reference?  This just makes me smile!

4.  Nerdy but Fashionable lady: Two Layer white ring. $25  Inspired by nature and science Nervous Systems uses futuristic digital fabrication to produce beautiful these funky pieces of jewelry.

5. For the Lady who likes to cook:  Handcrafted Spice Bloc- $55 Made locally in Pawtucket, RI!

So those are some fun gift ideas I found in the guide.  Check it out here on Issuu and for more ideas here's a treasury they put together on Etsy.

Custom Recipe Illos for Sale!

You may have noticed a new tab on my website saying custom recipes!  Or on my Etsy page... I'm pleased to announce I can now take commissions of your family's favorite recipes.

This is something I've been wanting to do for awhile, because I think these would be a lot of fun to work on.  The above recipe is my Mom's Mac and Cheese!  (One of my absolute favorite recipes!) I think a custom recipe illustration with hand-lettered title is an awesome and personal gift!  I'm planning on printing these at 9"x 12", but since the final is digital I can easily print multiples or larger.  If you have questions or want to place an order email me: Jessica@firstpancakestudio.com  HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

Quilt Market Recap

So I survived my first Quilt Market!! I went armed with postcards, swatches of my work and some portfolios on my ipad to show art directors.  The first day left me feeling completely overwhelmed... so much fabric to look at, so many people and everyone seemed too busy to talk.

Luckily I was not alone and was able to meet up with the ladies who ran The Printed Bolt's REPEAT contest as well as Michele (winner of REPEAT!)

Me, Ellen, Madeleine and Michele hanging out in Carolyn's booth!

After a rough day of walking the floor we hit up the Modern Quilt Guild's meet up that night.  This was the place to be!!! Michele and I immediately spotted a few of our favorite designers and decided to be brave and go talk to them.

Carolyn's block of the month quilt "Local" in her first fabric line; Architextures.  

 Through out the weekend we managed to talk to: Melody Miller,  Rashida Coleman-HaleCarolyn FriedlanderLizzy HouseAmy ButlerAnna Maria HornerTula Pink and Sarah Watson.

This is Michele and I chatting with Anna Maria Horner!!

Let me tell you... every single one of these ladies was even more fabulous in person!!!  Each of them took the time to speak to us about our experiences at our first quilt market, or their approach to design, what they think of the Modern Quilt movement, etc.  It made me so incredibly happy.....

I'm definitely encouraged to continue designing fabric and maybe even attend the spring quilt market in Portland, Oregon this year...

Quilt Market Prep

I've printed my postcards and cut fresh swatches of fabric! I'm on my way to the International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas to show my fabric designs. Anyways, I'm looking forward to meeting designers, fabric companies and some of the fabulous people involved in The Printed Bolt REPEAT contest! Wish me luck!

Olga's Sourdough Waffles

If you live in the Providence area you probably see Olga's Cup and Saucer bread at all of the local grocery stores and cafes.  For years, I've been buying their bread and never tried the cafe.  

I finally made it there for brunch with the bf, my sister, her friend and we all left extremely satisfied.  The brunch menu has many of the usual staples, but I recommend ordering anything that features Olga's fresh artisanal bread such as: toad in a hole on sourdough, poached eggs on grilled scallion cheddar scones or brioche french toast! (Which is exactly what my brunch companions ordered)

But on to the waffles!!! Olga's waffles are made with the bread starter they use to make their sourdough bread.  The waffles were thinner than the Belgian style waffles one usually encounters.  They were crisp, flavorful and topped with scrumptious cinnamon-y apples, toasted walnuts and a little maple syrup on the side!!  The fruit topping changes depending on what's in season, which always makes me happy!   Look for Olga's bread at the local farmer's markets or stop by the cafe @ 103 Point St Providence   They do breakfast during the week 7am- 11am as well as lunch 11am-3pm.  Well that's it for now!  If you have ideas for where I should go next: leave a comment or email me – Jessica@firstpancakestudio.com

Hudson Seed Valley Packet

I love getting email updates from past projects!  Hudson Seed Valley Library recently send me an image with my final seed packet and it looks awesome!!! I can't share it yet, but I can show you the post they did about my proposal for the project.

This project with Hudson Valley Seed Library creates seed packs featuring original work designed by artists.  They also create an accessible and affordable source of regionally adapted seeds.  When I saw their call for work in March I submitted some images.  I was thrilled to be selected to create a packet for the Panther Edamame variety and I had it finished in the beginning of June.  Anyways, here's a little article about the packet I did for Hudson Seed Valley on their website.  Also check out some of the previous art packs.

Red Stripe Grilled Cheese

For my first Chowda Scout post I'm sharing one of my favorite sandwiches... the grilled cheese.  Grilled cheese is one of those sandwiches that is easy to make at home, but its always more enjoyable if someone else makes it for you.  Really what is more comforting than a grilled cheese?  This is not just any grilled cheese, the Red Stripe  grilled cheese comes packed with a well rounded combo of pesto, pear and prosciutto.

The sandwich also comes with your choice of fries or a small bowl of tomato soup & a crisp pickle for $11. I always go with the soup because it's flavorful, without being too heavy and is topped with a delightful dollop of creme fraiche!  I greatly enjoy dunking my sandwich into the soup... even if it's not very ladylike.  So if your craving melty cheese, head over for lunch during the week or late lunch on the weekend (3-5).  During the week their "pick two" is the way to go.  You can decide on two items from the soups, salads or 1/2 a sandwich for $8.95.  Not bad. The one on the East Side is at 465 Angell St. 

Have an idea for someone I should go?  leave a comment or email me - Jessica@firstpancakestudio.com

chowda scout

Hello friends! I have an exciting new project to share with you!  It's something I've been thinking about for awhile, so I'm thrilled to see it finally taking shape.    

 

Rhode Island has been my home for the last 5 years.  I never planned on staying here.  In fact I made a desperate attempt to leave by moving to Japan in 2009.  Little did I know how much I would miss Rhode Island while living abroad.  I missed my wonderful friends, American food and my spacious apartment.  When I finally moved back I had a greater appreciation for all of the things I already had here: creative people, beautiful scenery and a delicious array of food to choose from.  

 

There is nothing I enjoy more than sharing a meal with friends and there are so many fabulous places to choose from! This project will celebrate all my favorite Rhode Island grub!    

 

Twice a month I will visit one of my favorite restaurants and illustrate a meal that I love.  I have a few other ideas, but instead of waiting until everything is perfect I'll just get started.  Tomorrow I will post the first piece I've done for this new project which I've decided to call:

Check back tomorrow to see my first Chowda Scout post and let me know what you think!

Take a Hike samples

I ordered some samples from Spoonflower to see how "Take A Hike" would print. My samples arrived very quickly because I ordered them as a collection of swatches. (Also the cheapest way to get swatches)

It's so exciting to open up the envelope and see all of my fabrics!!

Some of them are a little off in terms of scale

and the colors are a tad muted, but overall I love them!

I'm trying to use my handy dandy Spoonflower color chart to fix the color, fingers crossed it works!

Shades of blue

My trip to Israel was amazing....

Here's some visual inspiration in shades of  summery blue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flea Market Patterns

It's round FIVE of the Printed Bolt's REPEAT contest. This is the last round of the contest before the final round. If I make it to the final round I have a 1/3 chance of winning the prize money, a trip to the Houston Quilt Market and having a quilt constructed in my winning collection.  How amazing would that be?  So go vote now and help me make it to the final (Voting closes Sunday night) 

I was really excited about the Flea Market theme and had a blast creating "Field of Fortune." (above) When working on my secondary patterns I always try to imagine each pattern as an important component in a collection.

I usually make some patterns at a larger scale, smaller scale, have less color, have a geometric feel or an organic feel.

 This round I really loved them all and it was tough choosing which to submit.  Ultimately I chose the blue version of the one below.

Anyways, I'm really happy with how all of these turned out.  I feel like I managed to push myself out of my comfort zone a little and still create work that feels like it's coming from me.  This round we have some seriously exciting judges: Carolyn Friedlander and Kim Kight.  I'm really looking forward to hearing what they have to say because I love Carolyn's new quilt patterns and I always read Kim's blog True Up.   Fingers crossed!