Monday, August 29, 2011

Snack Time

Yep, I failed at the "August Break" goal of posting a photo a day this month. I had a ton of work come in during the second week and I barely left my desk for 4 days straight, trying to stay on two really tight deadlines. Then it just seemed pointless to pick back up on the photo project, especially when it was so hot and muggy outside.

My workday is a little lax today, so I decided to do a little recipe post. I will admit, I am the LAST person anyone should follow cooking advice from, but this recipe requires zero cooking (though you do need a dehydrator, which isn't exactly a staple in every household).

I first tried these Sesame Almonds at a Raw Food/Yoga place in my neighborhood. I didn't have an exact recipe, but it seemed easy enough to figure out on my own.

1. Start off with a cup or so of raw almonds. Apparently, it's hard to find TRUE raw almonds because nut manufacturers pasteurize nuts, which makes them not raw even when they're labeled "raw". These are from Costco, so I'm sure they're not unpasteurized or organic, but they are not smoked or flavored, so it's the best I've got.

2. I used a 1/2 liter mason jar and filled it to the top with filtered water. The next step is to just soak them in a warm place for 8-12 hours so they can plump up. When you soak nuts, you're actually "germinating" them. If they're truly raw, soaking will neutralize the nut's enzyme inhibitors which will make digestion and nutrition absorption easier.

3. After soaking, drain and get rid of the water. Your almonds should be plump and fatty.

4. Next, add some flavor. I add a few tbs sesame oil + some black sesame seeds + Salt (raw foodists like to use fancy pink salt, but all I have is run-of-the-mill white sea salt). Close the jar and shake vigorously to coat. I like to let it "marinate" for a bit, but the raw food lady said this isn't actually necessary.

5. The final step before consumption is to lay the nuts out in the dehydrator for about 8-10 hours (I set it to 105°). Warning: Your house may smell like a chinese food restaurant for the first hour or two.

So why dehydrate something that you just spent 10 hours soaking? Well, the nuts will still stay plump, but now they'll be nice and crunchy. You can taste-test after a few hours go by to see how they're doing. They're the best when they come straight out of the dehydrator so I only make enough to last a few servings. I store the extras in a sealed jar, and sometimes zap them in the dehydrator at a higher temp for a short time if its been a while since I made them. I wasn't a big sesame oil person before this, but these are seriously yummy. If it tastes a little bland, add more salt.

I'm trying to find other nut recipes since I'm more of a salty-snack person, but so far I haven't found anything else.

Friday, August 05, 2011

August Break: Day 5

I left the house today and brought my camera, but forgot to replace the flash card. Oops! Here's a photo taken this evening from the my apartment window instead.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

August Break: day 4

My boyfriend and I watched the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead documentary last week, and promptly jumped on the bandwagon and ordered a Juicer which came in the mail yesterday. I am not good with self-restraint and I'm notorious for giving in to cravings way too easily, but our refrigerator is packed with fruits and veggies for this experiment and I'm interested in seeing how long I last. So far I've just been having fun throwing things in and watching it immediately transform into liquid form. Two juice-only meals down...? to go....

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

August Break: Day 3

Another cat photo so soon. I know. I did go outside today, but it was so hot, I just wanted to run my errands and get back home. No time to seek out interesting photo-ops.

This afternoon a giant box came in the mail. I got about as far as opening the top flap before Trouble hopped on board and staked his claim. I'll do the reveal of the contents for tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

August Break: Day 2

A slice of my neighborhood. Parking Lot Backdrop - Spring Street, Los Angeles.

Monday, August 01, 2011

August Break: Day 1

I'm going to breathe some life into this blog for the next 31 days (hopefully) by participating in Susannah Conway's August Break. The goal is to post a photo (or more) every day this month. Simple! Let's see how it goes.

Today's photo comes from the vet office where I had to take my cat Toby in for some sniffle-fighting antibiotics. He's been a sneezy cat his entire life, but lately its been bad enough to need professional intervention.

Anyway - while I was in the waiting room, I was dying to take a photo of the on-staff counter kitty - a big, white, grumpy-looking Persian. I hesitated for a minute since I was in a place of business, but fired off two quick shots when the cat stood up and proceeded to sneeze enthusiastically all over the counter and the clipboard he was sitting on. It was pretty funny.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Il Volo

I keep thinking I want to revisit and revamp this blog, but then I get busy or distracted, and the next thing you know, an entire season has rolled by since my last post.

I'm still working as a freelance designer and thankfully, jobs has been steady. There are a lot of awesome advantages to being self-employed, but I'm more mentally and creatively drained than ever. Being creative outside of work just feels like more work. I think I did the most doodling/artistic projects a decade ago when I had a very uninteresting desk job.

Anyway, here's a little bit of work that turned into play. I was asked to make some cartoon characters based on an Italian Opera-singing trio of young guys. They would have been used on promotional materials, but the plan never got the green light. I did the drawings anyway and was happy with the way it turned out, especially after adding some color and texture in Photoshop.

For the record, these guys are supposed to be these guys.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Doodle Doppelgangers

A few weeks ago I was flipping channels and landed on the Canadian cartoon network, Qubo. They were playing a cartoon I'd never seen called "Spliced", and when this weird chicken-cow character came on, something tickled my memory receptors and I exclaimed to Mike that it looked like a character I'd drawn before! I pulled out the notebook with the original drawing, and Mike humored me saying it looked similar.

I forgot about it until tonight, when I ended up on Qubo playing "Spliced" again. This time they had a character called Oct-O-Cat, which again prompted me to think of a character I'd drawn years ago. I finally remembered a "character design community" I joined in 2006 called "Mojizu". I was into that site for a hot minute, then got lazy/busy/bored and stopped posting after a brief burst. Luckily, my drawings are still preserved there with date-stamps and everything.

My weird chicken mutant character on the left, Scene from "Spliced" on the right:

My Oct O Cat character on the left, Scene from "Spliced" on the right:

For the record, Wikipedia says Spliced first aired in 2009. If you click on my drawings above, it'll link to the original post with comments from 2006. I'm not implying there are any shenanigans going on, but it's a weird coincidence, no?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I (Balloon) LA

This weekend a group of friends got together in our loft, blew up 400 helium balloons and distributed them around downtown L.A. The idea was born a few weeks ago when we met to brainstorm ideas for a call for 2-minute video projects that would be broadcast on LA metro buses. Mike came up with the initial idea of giving out balloons and we all fleshed out the concept.

We started with 1/3 of the balloons and went to Skid Row - When I say "we", I mean everyone but me. I woke up with a tenuous stomach and felt a little uncertain about leaving the house so I missed that section in my photo documenting. I felt a little better after lunch and joined the second foray which took us from our apartment through Pershing Square, up to the MOCA, Disney Concert Hall, Music Center and finally Olivera Street. I was clutching 50 balloons, which made photographing a challenge, but I took as many shots as I could.

Overall, the response was extraordinary. We were concerned that going into Skid Row to hand out balloons might not be well received, but they were some of the most enthusiastic and appreciative, though many people from all walks of life were rather delighted. When people asked why we were doing this, we said something like "We're handing out smiles", or "Just because". It was actually quite a lot of fun and when we handed out our last balloon, we felt a bit (excuse the pun) "deflated". For a moment we were rock stars, and then just like that we were back to being everyday people.

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[View the Full Photo Set Here]

And here is the video:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mexico, Part Dos

When I told people I was going to Mexico to attend a workshop, almost everyone warned me to "be careful" and some (my dad) implored me to reconsider. Mexico has an unfortunate reputation, which I'm sure is well-deserved in some parts, but my visit really opened my eyes to a beautiful country where I never once felt threatened or in danger.

The towns I visited (Queretaro and San Miguel Allende) were full of charm and color - truly a feast for the eyes!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

ACE Camp - Queretaro, Mexico

I'm fatigued by the idea of encapsulating my experience in Mexico in words, so I'm going to rely mainly on photos to say most of it for me. I would like to say the trip was worth every penny and anyone contemplating an art adventure would be well taken care of at one of Angela Ritchie's ACE Camps.

The workshop I attended was taught by Geninne Zlatkis in Queretaro, Mexico. Geninne was such a gracious hostess and teacher - she opened her beautiful home and studio to us, and it was so much fun creating in those inspiring surroundings along with 13 other women from various parts of the world.

We had four workshop days where we learned hand-carved stamps, watercolor, collage and journalling techniques. Here's a peek at just a few of the things I made:



Coming from the stamping world from a different angle, it was interesting to carve my own stamps. Geninne uses Staedler Mastercarve blocks as the base for her stamps and we all carved with linocutting tools. I accidentally bought the Speedball Carving blocks which are a lot thinner, and closer to the consistency of carving into a rubber eraser. Either one works, depending on your preference.

I hope to try stamp carving again sometime, as well as watercolors, which I did not really enjoy (at the time) simply because I'm a novice and wanted to be perfect without having put in the practice. I suppose one of the best lessons learned is that talent is important, but dedication and doing is even more crucial to creating exemplary art.


At the culmination of the workshop, we had a little "show" with everyone's pieces posted. I'm a bad photojournalist and don't have images of everything, but here are a few things from the finale.



Those of you on my flickr and facebook pages will have seen the entire grouping of photographs. I won't be posting all 87 here, but I will share more photos of Queretaro and the neighboring town of San Miguel in the next few days.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Flying Away...

I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but in just a few days, I will be getting on a plane to Queretaro, Mexico to attend a workshop hosted by Angela Ritchie's ACE Camps and taught by an art hero of mine, Geninne Zlatkis.

I'm so excited to learn from someone I've admired online, and experience it all in a different country. I haven't picked up a drawing pencil in ages (boy am I going to be rusty when learning watercolor and journaling techniques), but I was inspired by Geninne's work to create this little felted bird. Either I'm getting slightly faster, or birds are just easier to make. I finished this guy in just a few hours in between design jobs yesterday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bendable Poseable

I know I should be using my free time to make more DoodleFactory drawings, but I've been all about felties lately. I think since most of my work exists in a 2-Dimensional and often digital-only world, it's nice to do something off the computer that results in a tangible object.

Here's the latest member of the DoodleFeltery. Mike calls him "Brutus". He's about 3" and his limbs and tail are bendable thanks to some floral wire buried beneath the wool. I didn't model him after any characters I've drawn in the past. I just started felting and let him take his own shape.

Napkin drawing by Mike - he helped figure out what kind of face to give this guy.

I went to Mike's art studio the night I finished. That's some of Mike's tape art, out of focus and in the background of this photo.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Travel Monkey visits Big Bear

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I had a very good Christmas and a memorable New Year.

The end of 2010 brought a lot of new graphic design work my way and I've never been busier (or more stressed out). I'm not complaining though - I'm very glad to be generating new business, but I was still very relieved to have some time off between Christmas and New Year's.

We rang in the New Year at a cabin in Big Bear with a group of friends. I had such a great time eating lots of excellent home-made meals and desserts, playing boardgames and having fun in the snow.

Speaking of fun in the snow, some of you may recall the little feltie I made last year. A few months ago, I snuck him onto my boyfriend's pack when he did a bike tour down the central coast of California. My boyfriend returned the favor when he tucked him into my bags when I visited Hawaii. We gave him the uncreative yet apt name: "Travel Monkey", and the sneaky bugger managed to visit Big Bear without me even knowing. My boyfriend snuck outside to capture his day in the snow and I had no clue until we were going over photos later.

(click for bigger)

Original photos by Mike, "vintage" manipulation by me, with supplies by Kitschy Digitals