June 29, 2012

Headed to San Francisco

Today is the day:  Set up for Unique SF -- Come by and visit me this weekend at booth #152 if you are in town. All the information is here on their website.  

June 27, 2012

Notes from a Recent Culinary Master

            I did it!  I did it!  I finally did it! 

I’ve done it!  I’ve done it!  I’ve finally done it! 

I finally made something that my daughter deemed edible!         

Believe me, this seemingly simple feat took more than a little doing. 

An historically finicky eater, in the past months, my daughter has ruled out numerous foods, packaged, nature made, and homemade alike, all of which were apparently non pleasing to her own personal, and evidently very sophisticated palate. 

Avocado?  No.  Guacamole?  No.  Grapes?  No.  Prunes?  A resounding, and surprising, success.  Chicken?  Turkey?  Rice and beans?  No, all. 

And, naturally, on and on the process went.

It took months, but this Recent Culinary Master (nee Paterfamilias) finally figured out what his daughter liked to eat, most notably mac and cheese, and vegetable lasagna with beef, both packaged, both store-bought, and, frankly, both a little pricey. 

So, to cut down on our overhead, as well as to satisfy my own culinary arrogance, I decided that I would start making these two dishes my own self, in my own kitchen, with my own hands. 

Because how hard could it be?  It’s mac and cheese and lasagna for God’s sake.  It’s not like I’m trying to make duck confit with fresh morel mushroom, parmesan, and asparagus risotto, followed by a wild blackberry cobbler, and all accompanied with a nice little cabernet sauvignon from my own personal vineyards. 

My first go ‘round was something of a disaster, on both counts.  She literally clawed the spoonfuls of homemade food out of her mouth and discarded it off to the side with an enthusiasm that said, “I would care for no more of whatever that was, thank you very much.” 

My second attempt fared no better. 

What was I doing wrong?  Was this really beyond my cooking ken? 

My first idea was to eliminate one of my menu items. 

Mac and cheese was the one to get the boot. 

Next, I more closely examined her store-bought food.  It was saucier than mine, much saucier in fact, so I decided to double what my original recipe had originally called for.  I also chose to cut out the baking entirely (Ciao, lasagna!) and a whole wheat fusili got the upgrade.  She, of the picky palate, seemed to prefer food of more flavor, so to the ground beef sizzling in the skillet, I added pepper and oregano and garlic powder and fresh basil, and after finishing the sauce and adding it to the pasta, I then pulsed all of the ingredients together, in batches, in my trusty old food processor.  And then I served the dish, warm and with crossed fingers. 

The first two mouthfuls were immediately rejected, but then her skepticism abated and she gave it a shot and she gave it a swallow and she gave it a thought, and then what do you know, she decided she could stomach it. 

Success!  I am a cooking genius!  I can get a one-year-old to (sometimes) eat food!  What a provider I must be!  How highly she of the picky palate must consider me!  How fortunate, and superior, she must feel to be blessed with such an excellent caregiver! 

And, daily, I witness her obvious sense of pride and good fortune for her dear father as she gazes at me with those big giant blue eyes, and then laughs, maniacally, right in my face.  

June 26, 2012

NEW Sunset Skårt

I spend a lot of time out in Santa Monica.  Whenever I have free time I go to the beach - to play volleyball, to run or just to take a nice walk and enjoy the ocean air.  When I started selling my art at Mindfulnest on Main Street, in Santa Monica, I developed a series inspired by my time spent at the  beach.  Each piece has an individually stained sunset which fades from light to dark blue.  On top of the stain is a silhouette based on a photograph I've taken at the beach.  Now they are available for purchase on ETSY.

This is one of my many inspiration photos:

June 23, 2012

Look at the Installation ...and Smile!

Isn't this pretty?

Can you tell what it's made of? 

How bout now?

I saw this in a store in West Hollywood called, Rolling Greens.  They sell plants and antique-y things.  Why they have a tea bag installation I'm not sure, but I thought I would share because it looked so pretty.

June 20, 2012

            The Recent Paterfamilias has been bested.  The Recent Paterfamilias has been outdone.  And the Recent Paterfamilias does not like this.  The Recent Paterfamilias says, “I do not like this!”  He says, “Damnit!”  “Damnit!” he says.  And again he says, “Damnit!” 

            But, perhaps, the Recent Paterfamilias should explain. 

            The Recent Paterfamilias’ loyal readers will almost certainly recall his retelling of his own daughter’s birthday party preparations, tribulations, and, of course, the post mortem after the fact. 

            Well, this past weekend, the R.P. and family en totale attended a single birthday celebration for three of the R.P.’s daughter’s baby friends.  It’s was a birthday party for non-related, but otherwise de facto, triplets.  It was, essentially, a birthday party in triplicate. 

            A brilliant idea, this:  All our kids were born around the same date.  Let’s consolidate forces and stage a single party for our three urchins, only with three times the adult mental acuity, three times the creativity, and three times the physical strength necessary to accomplish all that’s needed when mounting one of these colossal baby party affairs. 

            Again, the R.P. says, “Brilliant.”

            And they went all out, these parental party planners, and they did it on a strict budget, too, which is increasingly more impressive, the more that I think of it. 

            There was a theme (a carnival theme), and they’d strung out pennant banners and balloons along the park fence which cordoned off the party area.  (And did I fail to mention that the party in question was held in Central Park?  In the middle of Central Park?  The logistics alone of getting everything to the middle of Central Park and setting up and executing this thing, on any budget whatsoever, is enough to impress most, if not all, other parents and most, if not all, professional party planners).  There were games.  There was a potato sack race (although only one actual race took place).  There was a beanbag toss into a beanbag receptacle (which was commandeered by the adult males after the urchins on-site cleared out, and, over beers, bets were laid and beanbags were tossed and bets were lost and more bets were laid and more bags were tossed and more bets were lost and so on and so forth and this is just one more example of how men will lay bets on just about anything). 

And, apart from the spread (which was impressive), it was really the presentation and the delivery and the execution of the thing that really set it apart. 

Now, I know I’m really gushing here, but when a Paterfamilias is bested, he often can help but glow histrionic. 

There was a color theme (red).  There were three matching, and equally homemade, but hardly identical, cakes (all in the shape of the number 1).  And all the other minor details had been attended to:  personalized beer cozies, squeeze food packs for the baby set, pinwheels (which, of course, are fun for babies and tall people alike), and then there were swag bags, not only for the babies, but also for the mothers (complete with lotions and bubbles and inflatable beach balls).  And it was all done on a very strict budget! 

The Recent Paterfamilias does not like to admit it (and certainly not in a public forum), but he was impressed. 

So, naturally, the Recent Paterfamilias now finds himself wondering how they (the parents of these three urchins) are going to top all of this on baby birthday number two.  (And, frankly, he’s a little relieved that he set the bar so low per his own daughter’s brouhaha that all he has to do is launch a little better than average brunch on a pleasant little Sunday afternoon, and it will never be compared to a brilliant baby get together that some people will remember, and think about, and write about, for years and years and years to come). 

Alas, there is much solace to be found in being so solidly half-assed.  

June 19, 2012

Booth Assignment and Business Cards

Less than 2 weeks away until the Unique San Francisco show.  I'm in: "BUSY GETTING READY MODE". Soon to replaced with: "I'M NOT READY YET PANIC MODE" 

We got our Booth Assignments on Friday.  I'm in Booth 152 - So if you are in the San Francisco area, please come by and say "Hello!" 

I also just received new business cards to give out at the show.  It's all starting to hit me that it's really happening.  Guess I better get busy and start printing some more art! 

June 15, 2012

Behind the Sets: Cars Land Power Wheels Video

A fun little video we shot over three days at DISNEYLAND, released just in time for the Grand opening of Cars Land, the newest Disney Park.  Not only did I have a blast shooting the film and wrangling (50) miniature Lightning McQueen Power Wheels, but I also got a sneak peek into the new attraction and I can tell you that it looks AWESOME!  It's like you just stepped into the animated film.  Unfortunately I have no pictures to share of Cars Land behind the sets, they were pretty strict on regulating any photos getting out.  But I do have a few other behind the scenes photos from just shooting around the parks with all the cars.

Here are half of the Cars lined up ready to race down Main Street at 6am.  I can't tell you how hard it was to try to keep 6 year old driver in a formation.  Let's just say my shins received quite a few bruises from "accidental" accelerations while we were trying to reset each car

A fun little note: Because we shot so early each morning, the skies were mostly grey.  In some shots the sun wasn't up yet, and in others the clouds just hadn't burned off. So for the final film, they went in a replaced the sky with a more "Disnified" version.

And in case you were wondering .... OH YES, I did try 'em out!!! 

As did John Lasseter, who was the featured cameo at the end of the film.

June 13, 2012

Is the "Recent Paterfamilias" still Relevant?

            It has recently been pointed out to this Recent Paterfamilias, what with his daughter’s first birthday taking place several weeks ago, that his status as Recent Paterfamilias is no longer all that, well, recent

            This tidy little reality has caused the Recent Paterfamilias no little amount of dismay and self-inquiry as of late. 

            So, apparently, in addition to the inherent disquiet caused by his baby getting older and growing up, the Recent Paterfamilias has also now been saddled with conjuring up a brand new moniker. 

            So, what has the Recent Paterfamilias come up with? 

            The Not-So-Recent Paterfamilias.  The Just Regular Paterfamilias.  The Child-Loving Urban Gentleman (a definite loser).  The Modern American Homo Erectus (catch phrase: “Me Man.  Me make baby.”).  The Recently Renamed Paterfamilias.  Simply, The Father (clean, simple, masculine, intuitively obvious, and easily confused with 100s of millions of other paterfamiliases).  The Bloggist.  The Master of Opinion.  The Opinion Man.  The Opinionist.  The Father of All Modern Opinion.  The Stay-At-Home Dad (also, easily confused with 10s of millions of other paterfamiliases).  The Recently Recent Paterfamilias (possibly somewhat repetitive).  The Writing Father of One.  The Writing Father.  Simply, The Writer.  The Writist.  The Not-So-Recent-But-Still-Somewhat-Or-At-Least-Marginally-Recent-Stay-At-Home-Father-(in Latin: “Paterfamilias”)-Writer-And-Master-Of-Opinion-And-Overall-Nice—

            You know what?  That’s enough. 

            This Recent Paterfamilias may not be all that recent any longer, but he’s going to stick with that title.  It’s poetic.  It’s got a nice ring to it.  And it suits him.  Taking it away and replacing it with another could be almost as jarring to his sense of paternity and bloggery and, well, humanity as if he’d never changed a dirty diaper. 

            But perhaps, just perhaps, this R.P. is placing a bit too much importance upon his self-appointed nom de plume

Perhaps, but probably not. 

June 12, 2012

Pocket Pies! My New Party Favorite.

Everyone I know decided to have a party this past Saturday night.  I felt super popular trying to navigate to three parties over the course of one evening.  Of course that just counterbalances every other Saturday night where I'm home on the couch watching a movie.

Saturday afternoon I got inspired to make something to bring to the parties.  I love bite size party food, or as I like to call it: Pocket Food.  Pocket foods are bite sized morsels that you can pick up easily sans mess with just the right amount of tasty filling treats on the inside (i.e: the pocket is the outside wrapping not as in, food you can easily fit into your pocket, although I suppose that would work too!)

I decided on Pocket Pies - which started out as Pie Pops.  Pies on a stick are perhaps not the greatest idea (for reasons that became obvious only after a bit of experimentation) and after my Cake Pop venture I didn't want to take any chances.  So I quickly abandoned the sticks and just made Mini pies.

Super easy and a huge hit.  I cheated a bit and bought the Pillsbury roll out Pie Crust.  But if you were ambitious and/or had a food processor I'm sure a crust from scratch would be even better.  I floured my working surface, rolled out the dough and used a rolling pin to roll it out even thinner.  I then used a 3" round jar top to cut out circles.  I was able to get a dozen circles out of each crust = 24 from one package to use as top and bottom.  I used a peach pie filling recipe I found on the internet and filled each circle with a spoonful of filling. Then put another dough circle on top and cinched them closed with a fork around the edges.  A dusting of egg whites on the top to make them brown and yummy looking.  Then bake on a cookie sheet for 12 to 15 minutes at 450F.  And voila a super popular party treat.

Only notes is that when bringing them to the party I wish I had made adorable signs like this to stick into a couple, so that people would have known what was they were.  Because sitting on a plate, they could be savory or sweet and the signs would have just enhanced their cuteness.

June 08, 2012

Golden Bees

I'm very into playing with my wood stains right now.  I like the idea of fading one color into another.  

I've been experimenting and tried a variation on my Lavender and Bees with a twilight fading sky, shadowy navy lavender and gold bees.  It was inspired by colors and whimsy of  the Enchanted Forest Mural from Anthropologie.

June 06, 2012

Art is in the Eye of the Beholder

            It’s not everybody who can understand “art.”  It’s not everybody who can understand “creative types.”  It’s not everybody who can explain an enormous Jeff Koons metallic balloon animal or a Jackson Pollock splatter painting or Van Gogh’s sunflowers or Beethoven’s whatever or the entire body of work of William Seward Burroughs.  And, in all honesty, this Recent Paterfamilias is only half-way confident that he understands or can explain “art.”  Apart from knowing it when he sees it, that’s about as much as this R.P. can claim any expertise on the topic at hand. 

            But I’ve always likes Jeff Koons’ metallic balloon animals, and after months of looking for miniature versions of same, I finally stumbled upon some (albeit not by Koons, nor even openly attributed to Koons’ influence) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) online gift shop. 

            Quickly, I picked a color (yellow—they only come in yellow and purple) and I placed my online order. 

            A week later, it came in the mail. 

            It came broken.  The nub tail had snapped off.  I lodged my complaint.  SFMoMA’s gift shop was full of apologies and agreed to ship out a new one post haste, and they suggested that I simply discard of the damaged one and enjoy my new foot long fake balloon animal dog when it came in the mail. 

            But why discard of the other broken dog, simply because he is broken?  It seemed like such a waste. 

            Then the Recent Paterfamilias had an idea.  A good idea.  An inspired idea. 

            The little dog’s tail was broken.  He had a boo-boo.  He needed a Band-Aid. 

            So, I put one on. 

            Then the R.P. had another idea.  Another great idea.  And this idea was even better than his first idea. 

            Don’t use just a regular Band-Aid.  Use a “fancy” Band-Aid. 

            So, off I went to the store. 

            Dora the Explorer?  No.  Hello Kitty?  No.  Snoopy and the Gang?  No.    

            And then there he was.  Staring me right in the face.  In a collectors’ series of Band-Aids, of all things.  Mickey the Mouse, assorted. 

            I bought six boxes. 

            After application, I felt my small dog also needed a clear coating of some sort (to prevent UV damage, as well as saving my Koons-esque canine from becoming a dusty disgusting mess). 

            Krylon makes a Clear Gloss Acrylic Spray Coating that worked out rather splendidly. 

            But, as this Recent Paterfamilias does not have an art studio of his very own (at least not yet), he was forced to apply his topical acrylic application outside.  In the open.  On the street. 

            Now, naturally, this drew no small amount of attention from passersby on our block’s busy sidewalk, but this attention allowed the R.P. the opportunity to ponder upon our public’s varied takes and opinions on “art” and so-called “creative types,” as well as get some insight into the artistic palate of the everyday everyman. 

            More than a few people passing by, when asked by their kids in tow, “What’s that?  What’s he doing?  What’s it supposed to be?” responded by saying, “I don’t know, it’s weird, keep walking, don’t look at him, let’s go.”  And off they went, home to their dinner. 

            A couple of kids came over and asked what I was doing.  I told them.  They nodded.  They looked to their parents.  Their parents nodded.  They looked back toward me.  They asked why.  I said, “It’s art.”  They said, “Oh.  That’s cool.”  And off they went, home to their dinner. 

            A couple of drunk middle-aged “business types” asked if what I was doing was going to go “Vroooosh!”  I said that I didn’t know what that meant.  They asked if it was going to take off and fly away.  I told them that it wasn’t a bird.  This must have suited and amused them, for they nodded and chuckled, and off they went, home to their dinner. 

            Now, I don’t know if it’s “art.”  It may look like art.  It may even look like pop art.  It might also look like kitsch.  But it also looks like, and acts like, exactly that for which I’d intended it to look and act like—a door stop to keep the doggy door on the doggy gate closed so that our dear little doggy (let’s call him Tedward) doesn’t go tearing out of our bedroom on any little whim in the middle of the night and starting barking his little doggy head off just because some person is out in the common hallway. 

But no matter what my little Koons-ish art dog may or may not look like, I do know that he offered me a little glimpse into the creative views of many a local New Yorker on that afternoon.  (And, I must say, the views on creativity were largely unfavorable for “creative types”—nobody likes to get heckled by their neighbors and intoxicated bankers and crotchety octogenarians—although, admittedly, the crotchety octogenarians in my neighborhood will heckle just about anybody for just about anything for just about any reason, on just about any excuse, and after just about enough of this nonsense, it’s just about enough to make a Paterfamilias want to start heckling back.)

June 05, 2012

Props in the Salt Flats

I was in Utah all last week shooting a short film.  We shot primarily at sunrise and sunset to get the best light.  A tough schedule having to be on site at 4am, but well worth it once you get there.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.  Here are some shots of the props in the desert.
 But my favorite desert prop was the tent that I created and sewed (the husband built the inside frame).  I also hand dyed the fabric so that it ombred or  faded from peach at the top to a rich fuchsia at the bottom. I love the way the color pops against the starkness of the landscape.