25 December 2007

My Mom and I made the Chocolate Ginger Tart featured in Gourmet magazine. It was so rich and velvety and delicious. Yum. D and I are getting ready to take a road trip tomorrow to Washington DC for a few days. We are very excited!

Happy New Year to All!!

19 December 2007

a fine howdoyoudo

Hello readers.
Tonight, I had the great idea to brighten up one of my newer pastel drawings because I was really itching to do some work. Since my studio doesn't have heat-- I set up a work space in the spare bedroom-- what we also call the green room as it is painted...you guessed it- green. So, despite low lighting conditions and small work table I did what I wanted to do on the drawing and was starting to clean up when I pushed the brand new box of beautiful Rembrandt pastels which are so nice and smooth, up to the top of the desk where they promptly fell over the edge and some smashed and crumbled to pieces on the floor. I just sat in my chair for a minute and felt so sad and mad at myself and then I got over it and tried to put them back into there little foam compartments as best I could. Bummer.

03 December 2007

We are the People We have been Waiting for.

I wish Tom Friedman would run for president.

He has a great column in the Sunday Times about the forward thinking peeps at MIT and Google putting their brain power into creating sustainable energy and designing hybrid plug in cars.

Right now, I'm taking a breather from cooking two lasagnas in preparation for a fun dinner extravaganza we are having this evening at 7. Outside, it was like a snow globe all day and now there is a dusting of snow against a back drop of twinkling lights. Apparently winter is going to happen this year.

I will post some pictures of the party later.

11 October 2007

finally fall

i am getting ready for my weekend jaunt to florida. but thought i'd leave a quick note.
it's a gray wet finally fallish day here and i will be going to where it's 86 tomorrow. i'd take the cooler weather-- i love bundling up in a warm fuzzy sweater with a steamy cup of tea or hot chocolate or coffee in the morning.
i'm working on the new version of my website-- i have to take pictures of some newer stuff to put up but it should be up again soon. I'm going to work on it now for a bit. stay warm to all my friends in the northeast.

08 October 2007

Indian Summer

It's already the 8th of October.

What have I been up to?

Went to Washington DC for a weekend and saw my Great Aunt and Uncle and my good friend Honey!
Had lots of fun, ate lots of yummy food, saw some art, and had great company!

Been back to work at the theatre, avoiding the studio like it's the plague. Just haven't felt like going lately.
Read The Road in 2 days. More on this later. Excited about doing some fixing up and painting in the house. Got a beautiful new fridge!!!! and am loving it! since it has a light, and removable shelves, and humidity control! Yay! and is not a swimming pool like the old fridge!

Next project, paint the kitchen and put shelves up on two walls.

Bought blinds for D's office and hung them, and some pictures on the wall-- felt very capable and good!

Going to Florida this weekend.

25 September 2007

would you like soup with those two whole garlics?

or more adventures in the kitchen with lauren. So, I made a roasted acorn squash and garlic soup. I cut the recipe in half and used 1.5 squash and 2 heads of garlic. I roasted everything in the wrong kind of pan (heavy cast iron-- got too hot) so many of the cloves burned, then I blended all ingredients in the blender and it came out a roasted orange garlicy pulpy concoction. So, tonight's mission was to doctor the soup and make it yummy fall fare. I added a a few things including some stock to thin it and then I added maple syrup and put it back in the blender. It is much improved!

I totally exhausted myself today running errands and then re-potting some plants that had outgrown their original housing. Don't ask me why I felt the need when fall is around the corner. The beautification process never ceases! Also, I really wanted to get some yellow mums for the front porch- which I accomplished today. Yesterday I planted some bulbs in the garden.

Things I love about fall:
leaves changing color
cool evenings
hot drinks
the halloween edition of Martha Stewart's holiday magazine

Other things I am loving right now:
3 tiered cake plates
ice water with a twist of lemon
gourmet cooking
fresh flowers
cooking with fresh herbs
a slice of pear with blue cheese
a cool refreshing shower after a hot sweaty day

Today, I took D for a treat. A mid afternoon chocolate crepe and cafe au lait at our favorite creperie- Crepes Parisienne.
I love it! It's so decadent.

ah time for bed

ps: last week I volunteered at a party for work. Mostly, I ate the hors d' ouerves and wandered around the unbelievable 2.5 million dollar private home where the party took place. It was UNreal. It's called the Smart House and is a U or V shaped home perched on top of Mt. Washington with an amazing view of the city. One leg of the inside of the V is entirely made of glass. When you're on the patio on the 4th floor you look out to see the backyard complete with infinity pool, koi pond, fire pits, garden, the cityscape beyond, and all the incredible views into the house. It's a voyeur's delight. Every bathroom had a designer bowl sink. There was a dance floor, dj booth, workout room, sauna, gigundous walk in closet along the lines of Oprah's and a laundry room to die for-- not to mention all of the fancy furnishings and lighting fixtures.
Remind me to describe more of this later!!

18 September 2007

my life has given me an opening

I haven't felt much like writing lately. Maybe I will get in the mood soon. I'm just going to ramble right now to get back in the habit of writing. I just spent the weekend at home, in Buffalo, with some people who are dear to me. It was a really nice, mellow time. Now I'm back in Pittsburgh, with another someone who is dear to me. I brought back the things that I was missing but left the rest for another time. Choosing what to bring along and what to leave behind really begs the question, how much stuff does one need?
When I am in my old home, the ceilings are high, the sunlight is strong, the garden is flourishing, the fridge is full, the washer and dryer are brand new, things are always being updated and renewed in the house. When I am in my new home, I have all sorts of plans and ideas and desires to decorate, and paint, and fix up, and bring up to date. I have a vision of the garden. But all these things have to wait for the time being, till there's more time, and more money and more know how. and this waiting can get frustrating because our culture is all about now now now.
My mind plays out a constant battle about making more money and having a career versus taking a leap- and not working a full time job in order to give myself time in the studio. It's not an easy tradeoff. But how will I know unless I really try, I mean really try?

15 September 2007

the comforts of home

Home for the weekend. I've been ambling around the house remembering all the things I've left and how I miss them.

11 September 2007


This lettering by Me Up a Tree was the illustration for William Saffire's On Language Column in the Magazine section of the NY Times. I clipped it out and took it to my studio to study over for awhile. There were a couple of things in the paper this week that I clipped out and added to my inspiration collection.

I love this painting by Karl Benjamin, "Black Pillars," 1957. from another article in the NYtimes, "California Flaunts its Designs with Cool." I would love to see these exhibits at LACMA and the Orange County Museum of Art which focus on California's art scene in the 60's-70's and 50's.

Last but not least, I would love love love to see these collages by Mark Bradford up close and personal. They look so textured and layered even through my flat computer screen...I feel an art trip to NY coming soon! the picture came from here.

09 September 2007

Day of Domesticity

My favorite thing to do on Sundays...read the NYTimes at a coffee shop with a hot frothy coffee beverage in my hand. I didn't do that today though-- I made some pasta salads from Martha Stewart Living magazine recipes and cupcakes and now I'm doing laundry. It's a rainy grey day- the kind that is good for watching a movie.

Yesterday turned out to be a great studio day. I have begun making some pastel drawings. It took awhile but the studio is feeling more comfortable and gaining a creative and colorful vibe. I'm excited to see what is going to happen next. The creative process is so strange and mysterious- one minute a blank page stares back at you- the moment you make the first move, you enter into this conversation and the thing you're working on just keeps morphing and becoming new and different and guiding you.

07 September 2007

Ice Ice Baby

Last night, we went to the opening night gala at the Rep theatre and amongst the great food, beautiful flowers, and glittery people was an ice sculpture in the shape of a martini glass with a luge, meaning you pour the martini mix through a tube at the top of the ice sculpture and it comes out ice cold. It was the coolest thing! And I just read a very cool article about an ice sculptor, Kaz Adachi, in the NY Times magazine. He creates sculptures for restaurants and bars. Below is just an example of how ornate these sculptures can become but I'm not sure who did this one.

Click on the image to go to the originating site. As for me, it's a happy friday I will run some errands today including stopping by the art supply store and then go to the studio for a bit and see what happens.

Yesterday, I was very pleased to pick up some simple inspiration in the form of


There are so many things I would like to do around the house, I really should make a list, room by room.

05 September 2007

the starving artist budget

Yesterday as I was strolling around Target with two of my pals who are theatre people, we were all lamenting the fact that we wanted a lot of things and didn't have the cash flow to get them. On one hand, it made me feel better that my friends and I are in a similar boat- that we are all aspiring artists in different fields and that means sacrifices in some areas to allow room for surplus in others. Still though, it's very frustrating when I think about all the different ways I could spend a hundred dollars and then realize we have no food in the house. As an artist, I have to remind myself that the most fulfilling thing I can do is to create and bring something of myself out into the world-- and follow my dream instead of consume. But damn, is it hard! I just keep telling myself that it will not always be this way. At some point, I will be doing what I envision in my mind and getting paid for it.

i had a dream last night

that I was in a public square and everyone was walking across each other's paths with presents piled high. I was watching the scene from slightly off the ground. It was eerie. I didn't sleep well last night.
On another note, one thing I have learned from my job is that being on the receiving end of niceness from a customer really makes a difference. When I am talking to someone at work and they are kind and express gratitude for my help- It makes me want to go the extra mile to help that person. On the flip side, when someone is rude, accusatory, or being just generally ridiculous and/or unreasonable it doesn't inspire anyone to lend a helping hand.

Just a little venting.

After my 20 mile bike ride Monday, I have done no other exercise this week. I have not gone to my studio since Saturday but I have been doing some drawings at home.

I've been doing a lot of blog hopskotching too. Looking at all the art/design/photo/craft blogs I can find. I'm really inspired whenever I go to some of these blogs to see how lovingly people decorate and document their homes, their art, craft, or families. The love and care people put into taking photographs and making their blog into an ever changing work of art is quite amazing. All this looking encourages me to place more thought and care into my own blog. My goals have changed from blog as visual diary to blog as tool to discover personal aesthetic. Which I think I'm trying to do in my work too. I hope it's working!

04 September 2007

hello. Yesterday, D and I spent a glorious day driving out to Ohiopyle State Park and renting bicycles. We then rode our rented bicycles 10 miles to Confluence, PA and a cute little B & B where all the bikers had lunch before the trek back. When we arrived, I realized I had left my wallet in the car and D had to leave his credit card for the bike rental. We were so sad because we wanted to eat at the River Front Cafe as it was called. We went in to refill our water bottles and freshen up and luckily we ran into the owner who said, "please stay and eat whatever you would like and mail us a check when you get home." They were so nice and we had a lovely lunch outside on the porch overlooking a pretty garden. It was a perfect day and such fun and we rode a total of 20 miles which is awesome but my ass hurts a little!

01 September 2007

Ahhhh Morning coffee

I'm at the cafe on this fine morning. It's a glorious day and the first of September!

We had a lovely breakfast on the deck outside. The weather is perfect. I love this time of year. It feels like there is an energy in the air-- school is starting up, fall is rolling slowly in. I feel like my brain is turning on and the creative juices are beginning to flow.

Here is Murray, standing on four legs
and finished. I must say, he is pretty cute!

31 August 2007

I watch this every few days and it makes me laugh every time!

the scent of fall

Today, we had lunch at one of my favorite places, Cafe du Jour. They have this gorgeous patio outside. It's like a hidden, sunken garden. Even though it's not sunken! It is decorated with stone figures and wall hangings. It's super cool. I love gardens that look kind of wild and secret.
They have some tomatoes and flowers growing by the brick walls, a little water fountain and this fabulous pseudo sculpture garden pictured at right.........
I love it!
Plus, they have delicious food! I had roasted veggies over polenta.

So, it's a holiday weekend and we are probably going to take a ride in the country on Monday- the other day in the car I had the distinct urge to ride out to the country and get a whiff of cow poop on the air! Don't ask me why?! It's a mystery. Saturday and Sunday I will go to my studio and decide what to do next. I think I need to go to the zoo to see the polar bears in action and take some pictures of them.
I went to an art opening tonight at Carnegie Mellon. One exhibit was Dee Briggs, a metal sculptor. My favorite pieces were the paper maquettes (miniature models) of her torqued flat forms. There was one large floor standing sculpture that was made of steel and was like a 3 dimensional line drawing of a squiggle shape. A second sculpture was suspended from the ceiling and created a graceful delicate shadow drawing on the wall.
In the upstairs gallery, was the furniture design of Nakashima-- it was very finely crafted, beautiful furniture with inlaid wood, triangle joints.... I don't know much about wood-working or the terminology but these pieces were very simple and elegant and well made. A lovely example of form following function.

Ugh- off to clean the green room and make some drawings!

28 August 2007

Me and D at Denver's birthday dinner a few months back. It was a cold night in the spring.

27 August 2007

middle beginnings

Above are some images of works in progress from my studio. These are some swirly cutout ink drawings getting ready to migrate to a collage or multiple collages. Not really sure yet.

This is Murray, the barrel shaped polar bear. You can't really see his nose but it's there in front. He only has two legs at the moment.

20 August 2007


Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.

~groucho marx

18 August 2007

Sally Tomato

I am off to a ridonkulous start this morning as I drove around aimlessly for a little while looking for a parking place so that I could get a coffee. Finally, I pulled into a metered spot to realize I didn't have any quarters. I was so disgusted I just came home.

Every time I do some internet surfing I am amazed at this invisible network of bloggers/etsy shop crafty artsy fashiony people that all seem to link to each other. I always seem to find myself on these blogs looking at different art and design.

Like this
or this
or this.

I have been thinking a lot about color combinations lately, like pink and orange,
and yellow, and purple and red

15 August 2007

i am a walking faucet

Well, after a weekend away in Boston and New Hampshire for Brenda and Tom's wedding- I came home Sunday and promptly got sick.
It is now Wednesday and I am still a stuffy snotty mess. This was supposed to be my art-making studio week and it's turned into my "I need to take a nap and drink lots of fluids" week. What's a girl to do.

Anyhoo- here is a summary of the weekend.
, our flight was delayed for FOUR hours and some of my beloved beauty products were confiscated because I forgot about the 4 oz. + plastic bag rule. :( When we finally did arrive in Boston, we picked up the rental car and hightailed it over to the waterfront where we grabbed lunch at Quincy Market, ice cream at Emack & Bolio's (YUM) and then went to the ICA which is AWESOME!! The building was designed be Diller + Scofidio and is really slick, the /front/ hangs out over the water and there is a deck and stadium style platform seating situated outside underneath an extended part of the museum. When you're inside, you look out the window onto the harbor and feel like you're right over the water. When you're sitting outside, it's sheltered and cool and it will be a great place for events and music. Inside, the walls and floors curve into each other instead of being at right angles. When you are in the galleries, you sometimes steal glances through the glass windows to other floors, other galleries or the water outside. On view -a great photography exhibit of works by Philip Lorca di Corcia which gathered together several different bodies of his work- street photos, heads, hustlers, and strippers. It was a great survey and I was really struck by his ingenius use of lighting and composition.
Also on view, Louis Bourgeois- sculptures and drawings. Including a room with a gigantic sculpture of a spider-- that the viewer walks under. It was quite incredible!
After the gallery, we went to Doug's cousin's house in Wellesely where we had a great dinner outside with grilled fish and steak. Then to sleep.
Friday and Saturday were wedding festivity days. Brenda was a gorgeous bride in a strapless ivory colored gown that gathered diagonally along the bodice. Saturday consisted of taking loads and loads of pictures-- the actual wedding ceremony, where we all cried and then the reception and celebration in a barn at the inn. We ate a lot of food, frolicked in the midst of the White Mountains of Chocorua and met a lot of family.
Sunday, we had a final brunch in the barn-- said our goodbyes to the wedding party and drove back to Boston. We had some time before our flight so we walked over to the North End and had a delicious lunch of calamari meatballs-- and homemade pasta with calamari in white wine sauce. It was delish! We polished that off with a latte and a break at a cafe and then headed to the airport.

Unfortunately, I woke up in the middle of the night Sunday with a sore throat and swollen glands and have been a sicky ever since. I'm kind of bummed out that I am not able to fulfill my image of myself spending hours in my studio and creating but I've learned the hard way that my health comes first.

Meanwhile, the garden was prolific in its output of tomatoes while we were gone. I spent this afternoon trying to make pasta sauce and I still didn't use up all the tomatoes.

Things I'm thinking about:
A brand new wardrobe
Yummy treats
painting the bedroom
ways to decorate the spare bedroom on a budget

04 August 2007

a world of books

I just finished reading Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress yesterday. I picked this book up a few years ago, read the first two chapters, then let it go. I was at the library the other day, and checked it out again, and it was well worth it. I was swept into the narrator's world ---set during the cultural revolution in China on Phoenix Mountain. Our narrator is the son of a Surgeon and plays the violin while his best friend, Luo, is the son of a Dentist and a passionate storyteller. We meet the boys in a work camp where they have been sent for re-education while their parents are named enemies of the state. The first chapters describe the boys daily lives and grueling work. Half way through, it really became interesting, pitting the lack of culture and backward thinking of those in the village against the curiousity, interest and evolving thirst for books, film, etc.. by the two boys and the Little Seamstress.

I am getting ready for my Mom and Jim to come visit today in Pittsburgh. More later!

30 July 2007

little worlds

I love this! It's a card D's friend from Japan sent to him for the holidays. It is a 3-d layered world with little santa's running around. I've stolen it so that I can examine it. I would like to make little scenes like this and photograph them.

It is so hot today- I'm schvitzing and I'm just sitting still.

Things I'm thinking about:
1. illustrations of polar bears, igloos and eskimos
2. cardboard diaroma pictures
3. purchasing a boombox and cordless tea pot for studio to make it more cozy.
4. this quote from Letters to a Young Artist by Anna Deveare Smith:
"Forget about competition. Rather, commit yourself to find out the true nature of your art. How does it really work; what is the essence of it?
Go for that thing no one can teach you. Go for that communion, that real communion with your soul, and the discipline of expressing that communion to others. That doesn't come from competition. That comes from being one with what you are doing. It comes from concentration, and from your own ability to be fascinated with the story, the song, the jump, the color your are working with."

29 July 2007

little ideas

I have started writing here 3 separate times and then lose interest and leave for a few days and then return and delete what I had started and not finished. I'm sitting upstairs in my newly painted green room listening to a rehearsal going on downstairs. People are singing the same phrases, practicing-- I can't sleep, I can't eat......I never knew someone could be sooo sweet.....
Perfecting their technique.

I bought a few ingredients to make zucchini bread using the two ginormous zucchini's we got from Erica's crate o' veggies. We get to pick up this crate of veggies that are delivered fresh from a farm while Erica and Denver are away on vacation for 3 weeks. The fridge is fully stocked plus the tomatoes I'm growing in the backyard are starting to ripen--- so I feel a little overwhelmed with produce at the moment.

I had a great studio day on Friday-- I have been having a really hard time getting to the studio for all sorts of reasons. Then, once I'm there, I'm not sure what to do, where to start. I think it's a pretty common feeling amongst creative people. But Friday was great because I brought some new materials to work with and just let myself have fun not expecting anything great or even remotely good to happen. When I felt bored I moved on to something new. For some reason, polar bears and igloos seem to be on my brain. Not sure where that will take me but those two items have been resurfacing repeatedly. The studio is feeling more comfortable now-- I have a new wall with a doorway that makes it more private and room- like. I still have a few more items on my wishlist that will make it super duper! Each time I go there, the first thing I do is draw a picture of a fish in a small sketchbook. It's like a daily ritual- and gives me an excercise to warm up with and a way to have something to do immediately when I arrive.

Otherwise, everyone at my work was reading Harry Potter last weekend and I felt left out so Kellee was nice enough to lend me book 3, which is where I left off reading way back when. It's fun to get back into reading the books- and they are such an engrossing read. I love the way JK Rowling creates this parallel universe- I would love to sit down and have a conversation with her about her creative process. I wonder what she will write about next?

Ernesto, if you are out there- I have been thinking about you and wondering if you have a wee Mendoza yet!!!


09 July 2007

Great ideas

I can't believe it's already July 9. The summer is in full swing and it looks like I'm not going to go on an exotic vacation-- maybe next year......

I only saw highlights from the Live Earth concerts but I think they are such a great idea and I really hope it raises more awareness and action! I love the badge and banners they have on the website too- notice the addition to the right.

We've been doing a lot of work around the house. We pulled up a gross carpet in D's office and uncovered nice hardwood floor and painted the room blue. It looks beautiful! Now, I'm planning on painting the spare bedroom/my office two shades of green. One wall will be a Behr shade called "Pesto" and the other 3 walls will offset it with "Desert Cactus." Those Behr paint people know how to make a really nice website!

I have been trying to set up my studio as well. Luckily, D and I were driving down the street and saw a wooden door in someone's garbage- so we grabbed it. It will make a great workspace tabletop. Then, we were driving down another street and saw a wooden desk on the street and nabbed two of the shallow drawers which I'm using as containers for art supplies and paper. They are swell! Later this week, a friend is going to come over and build drywall for me- so I have a more private space and then I can get busy! It will be super!

PS: You must go see Ratatouille, it is delightful!!

05 June 2007

fruits of the earth

This summer I have my very own vegetable patch!! Here is some romaine lettuce and basil growing in pots. I have a variety of things growing-- I planted tomatoes in the ground. Cherry tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, and red and yellow peppers in pots.

We have this crazy patch of cacti in the backyard. I never knew cactus could grow in the Northeast but apparently it does. I went outside and this flower opened in the midst of the killer cactus spikes. I remember seeing pictures from the desert last year when the ground was covered with these cacti in flower-- it was quite stunning and there are more on the way. I'm not showing a wide angle of all the cacti because it is overgrown with weeds and a huge mess. But they are really cool if you can ignore the messy parts.
I went to the farmers market today and bought beautiful strawberries, green onions for 75 cents, and red leaf lettuce for $1.50.

Happy Tuesday!

04 June 2007

Happy June!

People, I need help! How do I widen the margins of this part of my blog?? I have looked in the help section but couldn't figure it out. If anyone knows can you email me?? It's driving me crazy !!

I ushered in the month of June in the pastoral town of Foxburg, PA. Set on the Allegheny, this sleepy village consists of the Foxburg Inn, (est. 2006- where we stayed), the Allegheny Grille right next door, the Free Library- built in 1909, complete with charming small theatre, the Foxburg Winery and two antique shops. D had a gig with the lovely Daphne Alderson, who tells wonderful stories about Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf interspersed with singing their songs in her contraalto voice.

So, we arrived Friday afternoon- the air smelled sweet and clean, green trees lined our way. The inn sits right on the river, which was placid the whole weekend and reflected the woods as clearly as a mirror. Friday and Saturday night the band performed, and the rest of the time consisted of eating, taking in the scenery, and a nice 3 mile walk around a trail where we saw a frog and horseshoe prints in the mud. It was pleasant except for all the gnats that were flying around our faces.

Today, I am back at work at City Theatre. It's a quiet day and I thought I would catch up on the blog.

I finally secured a studio space! I haven't had an opportunity to move any supplies in yet but I am chomping at the bit to start work! CHOmping at the bit!

I am reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan - he sometimes writes about food for the NY Times and this book is terrible and fascinating...Terrible to learn about the Agricultural practices employed in the US, and what little choice we have when it comes to sustainable/organic food bought in the mainstream grocery and fascinating to see how mother nature battles big industry and loses and how we as a nation lose out because of it.

The part that has captured me most entirely is when Pollan discusses the writing of Sir Albert Howard (1873-1947).

Pollan says:
"The philosophy underlying Howard's conception of organic agriculture is a variety of pragmatism, of course, the school of thought that is willing to call "true" whatever works. Darwin taught us that a kind of pragmatism--he called it natural selection-- is at the very heart of nature, guiding evolution: What works is what survives.....In Howard's agronomy, science is mostly a tool for describing what works and explaining why it does. As it happens, in the years since Howard wrote, science has provided support for a great many of his unscientific claims: Plants grown in synthetically fertilized soils are less nourishing than ones grown in composted soils; such plants are more vulnerable to pests and disease.......the health of the soil, plant, animal, human, and even nation are, as Howard claimed, connected along lines we can now begin to draw with empirical confidence. "

I thought this was really interesting-- a holistic worldview which I can relate to --the health of the soil directly relates to the health of the population--look at all of our landfills, pollut lands and waters and the disposable culture in which we live..... this was leading me to another observation and it just fell out of my head....oh well.
Pollan calculates that if the 16 million acres currently used to grow corn for cows (which they are not biologically meant to eat) were instead transformed into well-managed grass pastures 14 billion pounds of carbon would be removed from the atmosphere each year. That is the equivalent removing 4 million cars from the road.
wow-- that is an astounding number.