Thursday, March 12, 2009

Can you say "yoborobo"?

A lovely, lovely package arrived by post yesterday — WAY ahead of schedule. How tempting does this look? Not one, but two gift-wrapped items. What could they be? Well… the boy and I fell head over heels for these guys made by the incredibly talented Pam of Yoborobo.

Wesley and Chet
Say hello to Chet and Wesley. According to Yoborobo, "During the week, Wesley teaches math at the University. After all, rabbits like to multiply. Chet always plays poker on Fridays nights with the guys. He usually wins, because no one can tell what he's thinking. They think he has an amazing poker face, but really, it's the only way Chet knows how to look. " They are both adjusting well to their new surroundings — all shyness and good manners. But I feel, lurking just below the surface, that there may be trouble ahead…. Please go see this motley collection of wonderful characters in the yoborobo shop here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The All-American Condiment

Ketchup. Heinz 51. The all-American condiment. Found in every American home.

A couple of weekends ago I was busy reviewing the ingredients and preparing my shopping list for the Tyler Florence pulled pork sandwich recipe I was planning to make from his eat this book cookbook. (Look at that cover — I think I WILL eat this book!) I had my list, but there were a couple of pantry staples I needed to check on:
• dry mustard — check
• cider vinegar — check
• yellow mustard — a staple for some, but we didn't have any. Better pick that up.*
• cayenne — running low, better pick up some more
• brown sugar — again, running low. buy more.
Note the asterisk. This is important.

I made my trip to the store, hurried home and prepared my dry rub. Slathered it all over that pork shoulder. Put that pork shoulder in a roasting pan and got it roasting. Sat back and relaxed, it was the weekend after all and the pork would be porkolating for six hours. Plenty of time. The afternoon was whiled away, enjoying some sun and a couple of beers in preparation for barbecue supper. With one hour of cooking to go, I moseyed into the kitchen to whip up the sauce. It's easy. Here's the recipe:

Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow or brown mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To make the barbecue sauce: combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

I began to combine away: in went the vinegar, then some mustard… but wait… no… it can't be… heavens to Murgatroyd! We had no ketchup. WE HAD NO KETCHUP. I shoved around all those condiment bottles that live on the refrigerator door, making quite a racket: pickles, chili-garlic paste, olives, sweet relish, dijon, grainy mustard, green curry paste, horseradish, capers,
black bean-chili sauce, maple syrup, assorted jams, Hellman's AND Miracle Whip (that's a-whole-nother condiment story altogether).

We have lived in this apartment for six months and had no ketchup. We cook a lot. We eat at home a lot. I mean, A LOT. And yet, somehow, some way, we've gone six months without ketchup. No yellow mustard? Okay, understandable. I don't really like it anyway. But no ketchup seemed impossible. I hurried to the computer to see what it would take to whip up my own ketchup. Time—that's what it would take. And we didn't have it. I had been in relaxing mode and now the pork was almost done. Running right alongside my panic and the boy's speedy dash to the store for said missing ingredient, I have to say I felt a little, well … yes, pride. There, I've said it. Is that just plain un-American?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reduce, reuse, recycle Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor ReUse Center is a huge warehouse of thrift, trash and treasure. In honor of Earth Day they are sponsoring an art show and for inspiration they have offered up a free "artist pile" of trinkets and gems to sort through (seen above). My first thought was groan. Double groan. As you can see in the photo, it was a beautiful, sunny, warm, springy day perfect for sifting through refuse. I was lead to this pile after weeding my way through a trash bin filled with discarded electronics — not my thing, artisically-speaking. What crap-ola. But then I began to zero in on the shiny stuff:
Gleaming, glittering circles…
hmm… perhaps there is more here than meets the eye. I was warming to this idea. The artist pile did, in fact, offer inspiration. I have all kinds of ideas swarming through my pea brain now. Let's hope they (or at least one) comes to fruition.

This is a portion of my haul. Check back later this month for photos of my creation(s) and the show!!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Illustration Friday: INTRICATE


Here she is… dreaming. I decided this would be fitting for the IF since it is much more detailed and elaborate than my usual style (see frog below…?!?!) Prints now available here.

Sneak peek: Dreaming

As promised, here is a small detail from a new piece I am finishing up and will be listing in my Etsy shop later this week. It's quite different from much of my other work and I am very excited about it. I may have an Illustration Friday post, too. We'll see. The theme is intricate… hmm…

Keep Calm and Carry On


I put together what I think is a really lovely treasury on Etsy last night. You can find it here. I am becoming obsessed with making treasuries — it is so much fun to play curator! Anyway… I'm working on a couple of new pieces that I hope to add to the shop this week. I'll be doing a sneak peek later today. I am also working on revamping the shop: cleaning up photos, checking price points, rewriting descriptions, that kind of thing. If anyone has any suggestions or feedback, I'd love to hear it!