Thursday, February 26, 2009

What About the Weekend: At Home

Create your own stimulus package in your homespace. Spring is almost here, and soon we'll be able to open the windows wide and bring in some fresh air. I've found some beautiful and unique pieces on that'll make great additions where you live. Think handmade, think unique design, think repurposed materials, and you'll support some trendsetting artists.

Cork bulletin board from uncorked at (there are pushpins inside the test tube, as seen on the left side of the board!)

Nuno-felted blanket by tanisalexis of An original -- and light and warm.

Detail of tanisalexis' nuno-felted blanket.

Vanity cabinet with light from jeanpelle of Just the place to store all your accessories and doodads for your hair. Plus a light source! Very convenient.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tweak Cooking

the cast of characters

I love to take recipes and tweak them. Sometimes, it's out of necessity -- maybe I don't have all the ingredients the recipe calls for -- sometimes, it's out of sheer laziness. I admit I don't relish going to the grocery store, and I pride myself in stretching out the need to make a trip to the supermarket. And lately, I've been playing a game with myself called Use It Up. I want to make use of everything in my pantry and fridge and waste nothing.

I'm experimenting with using grains and vegetables to make tasty combinations that work as accompaniments to proteins at dinner, as stand-alones for a great lunch, or even a hearty and savory way to start the day as a breakfast.

Today, I made Couscous with Chickpeas and Carrots. True, couscous is not actually a grain; it's a tiny pasta. I love it because it's so quick to cook and can be combined with just about anything. It's easy to carry to work to either heat up or eat cold for lunch, and I think kids like it.

Tweaked Couscous With Chickpeas & Carrots

1-1/2 cups organic chicken broth (to make this recipe vegan, use water or vegetable stock)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 peeled & sliced carrot
1 15-oz. can of chick peas (ceci), drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 cup couscous
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or more, for serving

Makes about 4 servings.
Bring the broth and olive oil to boil in a medium-size saucepan. Add the carrot slices and chickpeas and simmer for a couple of minutes, just to make the carrots crisp-tender. Stir in the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes, while the couscous absorbs all the liquid. Using a fork, toss the couscous mixture to fluff it up. Stir in the almonds and parsley. Add a bit more salt, if you need to, and be generous with the pepper.

let the chickpeas and carrots simmer in the broth before adding the couscous

fit for breakfast, a quick lunch or part of a great dinner

You can use sliced celery, leftover peas, or any vegetable you might have on hand. If you are using broccoli, toss it in at the end after the couscous is cooked.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good Things Today

This coming spring we will probably make some hard and fast decisions on only one or two new things to get to celebrate the season. I was poking around today and found some great things to think about. I'm probably not buying too many clothes, but a strong necklace or an amazing pair of shoes will spice things up a little -- just enough to recognize the change of seasons and feel good.

Wearing a strong and colorful necklace will liven up even a white t-shirt and jeans. This one is by Lori Plyler of waterstonejewelry on

Eco materials are being used in beautiful ways these days, and this is a great example. Seafinddesigns of finds the most amazing pieces of seaglass and turns them into perfect pieces of jewelry. Seaglass is one of nature's ways of recycling that turns a shard of old glass into a new treasure.

One of my passions is nuno-felting, a process of combining silk and wool into the most fanciful works of fabric. Glamourjunkie of is using one of this season's hottest colors to create a scarf that will warm you up without feeling wintery.

l: Yvette Cutout Bootie, r: Perforated Flat Boot

I admit, these shoes are more than a splurge. They are so expensive, they should be illegal. But if you can find a knock-off of these somewhere, go for it. These spring boots have a perforated leather calf and are really meant for walking. And the sandal/bootie is just the perfect shape for a skirt or dress and a beautiful pair of tights that can take you from now into the warmer days. These are by Loeffler Randall, and if my lottery ticket is actually a winner, these are what I'll splurge on!

This facial cleanser by Fresh is wonderful. It's silky and non-sudsing. I put this in today's spring mix because it has a light scent of cucumber, and that always makes me feel like the weather is getting warmer. This soy cleanser even takes off eye makeup gently and leaves your skin feeling clean and soft. An added bonus is that one tube really lasts a long time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cozy Winter Storm

They say winter is halfway over...

...My winter sweaters are getting a bit pilly, and my boots need a good cleaning. And, we won't mention the carpets in my car...they are salt-stained, muddy and horrible. Another winter storm is rolling in from the West Coast, and so Tuesday is going to be another day to stay cozy. Here are some great things to warm up my indoor space:

beside the fire, archival giclee print from PictureBookStudios of
Just My Cup of Tea, postcard from HeidiBurton of

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What Do We Know That's Real?

One must know that one is not in order to be able to understand that we are.

--Ask The Awakened by Wei Wu Wei

* photo taken at International Buddist Temple, Richmond, B.C., Canada V7A 1M5

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Good Things Today

I just learned that Michelle Obama is March's cover model for Vogue Magazine. This is so exciting. In my lifetime, she is the only First Lady I've found to be a complete example of American womanhood and someone to admire and emulate. Doesn't she look fantastic?
I listed this image in my shop on today. I took this photograph in June, 2008, in Chicago. I don't know why it took me so long to add it to my photographs for sale, but maybe it was Michelle Obama who reminded me to do it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

View: Lion's Gate Bridge

Lion's Gate Bridge, Vancouver

Vancouver, BC, is a beautiful city. It's a fascinating mix of Native North American/Pacific Northwest, Europe, China and even a little Japan. You see it in the architecture, the artwork, the people, and the amazing scenery. The sky plays a big part in Vancouver life -- the beautiful cloud formations on the mountains overlooking the water, the way it dips down to say hello to the tall buildings, the rain it sends down to the streets.

This photograph is of the Lion's Gate Bridge that leads north out of downtown Vancouver. This image is for sale in my shop on

Friday, February 6, 2009

If You're Going to Buy Something, Buy Something That Lasts

Even in tough economic times, we need to do nice things for ourselves. One of the best things you can do is enhance your home, your creativity, and your sense of well-being by purchasing fine art. A painting, a drawing, a print, a photograph -- there is art available out there that's within your budget (even your stingy-binge budget). The best thing is that it lasts. If it speaks to you, it won't go out of style, and it won't wear out. Go ahead and treat yourself!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Details: Granville Island, Vancouver, BC

A drizzly day in Vancouver last week included a visit to Granville Island. A very inspiring place for anyone and everyone who appreciates creativity and who finds inspiration in the small things. Go there. Walk around. See and enjoy.