Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ewok dreamhomes


These images were all from this article, and in turn are originally from the book: New Treehouses of the World. Which looks very pretty. I recognize the sphereical tree-pod from Free Spirit Spheres, who live on Vancouver Island. How neat would it be to stay there? Very neat, I'm sure.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Actually, I am not descended from monkeys either, but we do share a common ancestor

Ever since I discovered comics (aka web comics / graphic novels / bandes desinées) I've been desperately jealous. This is my usual reaction to things I like, actually. 

"I LOVE this! I HATE you for for making of it instead of me!" 

Not very healthy, really. 

I still can't believe it took me so long to discover them because the combination of drawings + stories (not just for kids!) + angst/melancholy/anxious introverted nerdy artists = right up my alley. 

Anyway. So now, naturally, I want to make my own. I'm not at all sure how this will pan out as the people whose work I admire have like Studied Art and stuff... like they have actually worked at it, and my entire artistic education consists of a) a 4-week water-colour painting class that I took with my grandmother and b) fine arts 101 (or something) that I took in college which resulted in the following critical analyses: 
"Well..." (derisive laughter) "I forrr one am not deescended frrom zee monkeeeys!"
[I'd done a wire sculpture of the human family tree, over time]
"Why are all of your pieces so small and so close to the ground? I think you lack confidence."
Um... right. 

However. These are but distant memories, and I do still like to draw & paint, and am prone to the odd fit of creativity. So I may pull out a sketchbook and give it a go. In the meantime I will entertain myself by brainstorming and imagining my future brilliance. And coming up with names for this as-yet non-existent project!

Spiral Bound (although that's already taken. which is totally unfair because his isn't even remotely about snails!)
Green Eyed Monster (because I have green eyes, can be monstrous and am often jealous! so it works on LOTS OF LEVELS) (ok, two)
{unrelated comment: Andie, ever since we talked/wrote about ALL CAPS in literature I've been feeling the urge to use ALL CAPS way more often. I am a rebel?}
ALL CAPS (except it won't be)
I am a Rebel! (er.... maybe?)
Indecisive Much? (har har)
Right Up My Alley (hmmm... that one sounds... dirty?)
Descended From Monkeys
Snail Trailz (please, do not let me call my comic this)
Total Daydream (because that's likely what it will stay!) (that sounds kind of negative, but really I'm just poking fun at myself)
Daydream Believer (monkeys again ... er Monkees, sorry)

Isn't it funny how when you are trying to think of a name for something, suddenly everything around you starts to sound like a clever title? 
I know I'll call it.... Messy Kitchen! Or no, wait, Procrastination Central! Oh!, I've got it, Homework That Is Waiting To Be Done! Oooh, how about Chocolate Covered Almonds. Sigh. 

Lucy Knisley who is very talented & clever and whose book French Milk is really lovely.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cookery p*rn

My birthday gift this year from my Montréal bffs (I don't actually say things like "bff" in real life... but oh, typing is so different, isn't it?) was a seat in a cooking class/demo at Appetite for Books. If you live in the Paris of North America like I do, I whole-heartedly recommend this experience. Each class is based out of a different cookbook, and the one I attended was for the latest River Cottage offering, River Cottage Everyday. Well, as I am an unashamed RC fan-girl (see below) this was a truly lovely gift. We, the "students" (aka walking stomachs) sat around the kitchen work-table and drank wine while our host made recipe after mouth-watering recipe before our very eyes. We had beet soup with spiced yogurt, white bean salad with warm leeks on greens in a mustard vinegrette, a main course of slow-cooked shin of beef in an apple-soy-ginger sauce on mashed potatoes with caramelized onions and withered greens, and for dessert... apple-almond cake, hot out of the oven, with whipped cream. Here is the chef's version of the evening.

And while we are on the topic of food/cookbooks, I thought I might share a few of my favs from my kitchen. Cookbooks are so popular these days (thanks to The Food Network probably! Not that I would know because I don't HAVE a TV.) and they are making some very pretty ones. At the library new cookbooks go out before we even get a chance to set them down on the shelf. Even if the recipe is for... I don't know, grilled cheese... it doesn't matter. The books are gorgeous, glossy and salivatory. While I actually do make some of the recipes hidden in mine (I do! I really do!) I am certainly guilty of spending more time drooling over pictures than slaving over the stove. I can hardly be blamed though, as I have some real beauties. 

1. River Cottage Everyday & The River Cottage Year ~ I really shouldn't be as big a fan of these as I am. Really, I love the shows. I do also love the books, but he does like his meat, doesn't he? As a quasi-not-really-but-mostly-vegetarian, there are lots of recipes I'll likely not use. However, Hugh's ideologies about farming practices, especially as they related to animals raised for meat, are ones I fully share so I can't really get uppity about this. And anyway, on the rare occasions that I do decide to cook up something meaty, I have some lovely recipes to use. And there are tons of veggie-friendly offerings. And the desserts, well, those aren't too shabby either.

2. A Fling in the Kitchen. Remember when kids used to do these to raise money for different activities? Maybe they still do? I know that I used to collect pop bottles for my Jeannettes troupe (is that the only reference I can find? really?) and sell chocolates for the school band. But this was for a friend's Scottish Dance troupe. And I still use it! I really do! Not only are some of the recipes long-time favourites, but there are lots of useful conversion charts and the like in it.

3. Rebar Modern Food Cookbook. This comes from a restaurant of the same name, in Victoria BC. I've never been but the next time I visit fair Vancouver Island I will be sure to check them out. Everything I've tried from this book is great (although some ingredients are a bit granola-health-food-store-y which makes them harder to source, but usually worth the effort for the new flavours). The most successful by far (if we go by number of times cooked) is their Chocolate Mousse Blackout cake (p.209). Holy mother of pearl. It's sort of like a vegan cheesecake, but it's actually better than cheesecake. Seriously. Even non-vegans love it, I promise.

4. Apples for Jam. This was an unintentional birthday gift from a couple of weeks ago. I say unintentional because they had picked out one I already had and so I got to pick this pretty one out myself. How could I resist those red mary-janes? It is a beautiful book (full of Tessa Kiros' recollections too) and the honey cake (p. 279) became my birthday cake.