Into the Wild + Quinoa Johnny Cakes

IMG_5213 We returned yesterday from a sweet weekend getaway to the mountain town of Julian, CA. Lucky to have acres to roam and a Quonset hut to nest, these family escapes are more rare now as we are scheduled to the stars with sports and other commitments. The property is not ours per se, but belongs to my family, and we have been adventuring there for nearly 10 years now.

I'll be honest. We're not exactly roughing it. I packed our SUV to the gills with the following... paint, glue, yarn, scissors, markers, paper, leather Motorola radios ("walkie talkies") pink ski vest + Uggs books + magazines my camera big straw hat scooters + helmuts cooler, dry goods, sparkling water, spices Bose sound dock a bottle of pinot plastic eggs + chocolate + goofy glasses

As I closed the back of the truck, I thought it might be possible that I've simply outgrown camping.


I let go of email and running, and turned instead to hiking, cooking, reading, gathering, making. We crafted swords and slingshots, I collected feathers and daffodils. We ate True Food Kitchen's quinoa Johnny Cakes and I baked Spanish chicken with onion, potatoes and spicy sausage. We dyed eggs with beets, red onions and turmeric, and huddled together on a loveseat in front of the tiniest TV screen for a Friday night movie. I was up at daybreak each morning, and heard the call of the turkeys as I hid eggs on Easter Sunday. Later that day we packed up the truck and gave a heavy sigh, with the promise to return soon.


Quinoa Johnny Cakes

My go-to dessert dish when I brunch at True Food Kitchen with my lady gals. Barely adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's True Food Cookbook


2 cups cooked quinoa

2 cups whole wheat pasty flour

1/4 cup sugar (evaporated cane or white)

2 tbs plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups whole milk

4 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

orange zest

1/2 tsp olive oil

pat of butter


ripe banana, apples, or blueberries

Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)

maple syrup


1. Make quinoa. (HOT TIP: If like me, you normally add some savory "better than bouillon" flavor to your quinoa, skip it if you plan to use leftovers for these Johnny Cakes).

2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine. In another large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, vanilla, orange zest, and oil and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend until just combined. Fold in the cooked quinoa taking care not to overmix. Let the batter rest for at least 1 hour.

3. Lightly brush the cooking surface of a nonstick pan or griddle with butter. Ladle about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the hot pan. Drop banana slices, thin apple slices, or 8 to 10 blueberries on top of each pancake. When bubbles form in the batter, flip and cook on the other side until

lightly browned. Continue with the remaining batter and choice of fruit.

Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt and maple syrup on the side.


Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

yoshimi-battles-the-pink-robots-la-jolla-playhouse-review-28748 I saw Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots tonight at La Jolla Playhouse after rave reviews from my friends, and of course, because the music is by The Flaming Lips. Despite my interest in seeing a high tech performance featuring some of my fave alt music, I had recently absolved myself of going to the theatre. I had gotten to the point where I was purely going to plays and performances because I thought I should. I thought it was SO me. Arts lovin' culture maven musicphile. What? Boring.

As a kid I went to the Guthrie in Minneapolis, in my 20s I experienced American Player's Theatre in the romantic prairie setting of Spring Green, Wisconsin. I even framed my whole 30th birthday around a trip to NYC to see The Producers. In San Diego I've had my share of The Old Globe and the Playhouse. I've been to the Opera! Whatever. I was OVER IT. It was time for me to Be Sarah, the Sarah who falls asleep mid-act-one and wants to duck out during intermission.

Until now. Yoshimi was lovely and amazing. Fresh and futuristic. Heartbreaking yet joyful. The artistic direction took my breath away, and I didn't even nod off once. I can't say I'm back in the game for good. But I will tell you that it was worth it. And that it really was ME, from the inside out.

Wish List

One of my favorite keepsakes each year is the completed Wish List from each of my boys. First, they needed to be old enough to write. Now they are of the age where they like to "research" products online.  I especially like such request as "pillow," "shirts" and "pears and apples," as it lends credibility that at times my children appear as Dickensian orphans: shirtless, bedheaded, hungry. Let us take special note of the detail in "Candy Canes (10)" or the vagueness, in a wish for a "surprise."  Either way, such lists represent a time capsule of our lives, their dreams, this moment.

This year, I created a printable PDF for you to download. Click here for your own WishListTemplate.

Behold America!

Image In my former work life I was Mrs. Museum. For nearly 10 years I was vocationally married to The San Diego Museum of Art. Though we've since broken up (perfectly amicably--"it's me, not you!") my heart remains firmly planted in this space. Staying connected with this museum has not been difficult--I'm deeply invested in the relationships I developed while there, and consistently look forward to rekindling those flames. While I've carried lasting friendships, I do miss the daily dose of beauty--walking through galleries and getting 1:1 time with Stella, Rivera, Cotán, Avery, Matisse and more.

To get my museum fix now, I pop in at random, and try to attend exhibition openings whenever possible. I've also maintained my membership in the Gallery. For last night's premiere event for Behold America! I wrangled another Gallery member, my pal Kim, to be my art date. WE HAD A BLAST. This totally unique collaboration among SDMA, the Timken and MCASD was breathtaking. How cool to see John Currin's The Hobo next to Robert Henri's Bernadita, Cindy Sherman and Eastman Johnson, John Baldessari and John Singleton Copley. The juxtaposition of contemporary and old masters continues to thrill me. Over at the Timken, which is a total gem, we died over this same combination of old and new, and gave special Instagram attention to the 60's era architecture and gallery wall coverings.

Good Morning Granola

When trying to come up with this year's (okay, now last year's)  handmade holiday gift the boys expressed a VERY strong preference for cooking, versus crafting. Cool. In order to guarantee the "handmade"part of the deal, I came up with granola. Easy enough for kids to measure, stir, and add their own creative ingredients (and mine). Two factors came in to play on this recipe...ONE, I wanted a granola that I could eat without feeling guilty. TWO, it absolutely had to be inspired by the granola at my favorite bakery--Bread & Cie.

Martha Stewart FOOD helped with requirement number ONE. As for inspiration from Bread & Cie.? That's where the Corn Pops came in. It's not even that I had this cereal as a kid (I didn't) or that I crave it as an adult (I don't). It's just that Corn Pops bring a bit of whimsy and surprise to an otherwise quiet concoction.

GOOD MORNING GRANOLA makes 8 delicious cups

ingredients 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats 1 cup toasted wheat gern 1/2 cup flax seed 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds 1/2 cup pepita seeds 1 cup chopped walnuts 1 1/2 cups Corn Pops 1/2 cup dried berries 5 tablespoons robust molasses 3 tablespoons maple syrup 1/3 cup olive oil 1/3 cup water

directions 1. Heat oven to 300 degrees with rack in center. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, wheat germ, flax seed, cinnamon, ginger, seeds, and walnuts. In a small bowl, combine molasses, oil, and 1/3 cup water and pour over the oat mixture. Stir well until well coated. Spread evenly in two baking pans

2. Bake, stirring every 20 minutes or so for even cooking until dry and lightly browned--about 45 minutes. Let granola cool to room temperature, add Corn Pops and berries then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

The boys were liberal with the cinnamon, and added dried cranberries. I threw in the pepita seeds for extra nutrients and crunch. We used olive oil instead of the recommended canola oil, and we added maple syrup because we had just watched Elf, and Elf puts maple syrup on everything....

In the end, we thought it was a huge hit. I even used it as a topping with Greek yogurt and our Orange Challah French Toast!

Rx: Jonathan Adler + Starbucks

(True Love)

This gorgeous new ceramic coffee grail dazzled me so much so that I almost, ALMOST missed Starbucks new price increases. Jonathan Adler, master of modern whimsy has designed a perky paisley tumbler just in time for the holly days. As if it weren't enough to be jump started by a grande quad latte each morning, this 16oz. vessel is the perfect antidote for a working girl's maladies.

Oh and about those price jumps...I may need to rethink my daily dosage.

Mother Magpie's

I am super happy for my mom, she is starting her own business called Mother Magpie's--it's a funky mix of her vintage treasures and DIY handiwork. I got the fabulous job of designing her logo, business cards and signage. We did a large rubber stamp that she can use on manila shipping tags, and the next item up for design is a banner.When searching for the perfect shipping tag image I came across this gorgeous site! It's called Olive Manna - Textiles & Paper Goods. I think I'm in love...go check it out yourself.

Potato Print Moustache Swag Bags

Outtakes from The Moustache Bash
As promised I'm sharing some crafty bits for the TFD blog, based on the Moustache Bash bday party we had for Master B and Master M. Fun, easy, kid based projects...POTATO PRINTS! I drew the 'stache with a Sharpie and carved out the design with a paring knife and some linocut tools.
We did an assembly line print job, with each of us in charge of one potato. I had to step in periodically to clean off the globs and trim the corners that got soft with ink. The kids liked to roll new ink on the tray and dip and stamp. We stamped onto white paper sacks from Target, and filled them with goodies for kiddie style swag bags.

Fueling Creativity

A few months ago I discovered Behance --a website/company devoted to enhancing the world of creative peeps--and now get regular email updates. I first fell in love with the Action Books, perfect for my way of tracking notes in a meeting. Today I took the time to check out the latest news, which led me to The I've already watched the 19 min. special on designer Michael Bierut: 5 Secrets from 86 Notebooks, and there are more on my list.

Today's article is Don't Be Afraid of the S-Word and it was a sharp little nugget about sales and self-promotion. Perfect for us entrepreneurs. Then I discovered this one, RSS Creativity: Routines, Systems, Spontaneity, by Mark McGuinness.

Covering the elements of the creative process, McGuinness breaks it down into the three categories shown here: Routines, Systems, Spontaneity. The author offers us "takeaways" for each category, beginning with

ROUTINES. Starting with the idea that "routine is a key that unlocks creativity," he suggests you  "Notice what time(s) of day you are most alert and creative. Dedicate that time to focused creative work. Use the same tools, in the same surroundings, even the same background music, so that they become triggers for your 'creative zone'."

For SYSTEMS, he writes, "A rock-solid productivity system performs a dual function for your creativity:

(1) It ensures that all ideas and action steps are captured, so that nothing slips through the cracks, in your own work and within your team, and

(2) When you are confident that everything important has been captured, you are free to focus fully on the task in hand."

For SPONTANEITY we begin to understand that our really, hard, nose-to-the-grindstone work should be rewarded with breaks from said routines and  hard work--as it is often during these breaks that we are  free to experience and generate the much desired "a-ha" moment.

How do you stay organized and motivated?

Getting Ready for Screenprinting at StudioWorks

I can't believe it's been a year since I was last at my first screenprinting workshop at Visual Asylum. I'm back at it again this Friday night for an open studio. Amy said I could use the 4-color press (AWESOME!) and so I busted out my newest design--inspired by the one and only Tim Gunn. I'm obsessed with school craft supplies and I've sketched the Elmer's glue bottle more than once. Practical, chic, fresh, timeless.

Printmaking with Kids

While I am not inclined to take on such projects everyday, today was a holiday for us all as the boys were out of school and I was playing hooky. I absolutely love all things related to printmaking and had been waiting to dig into this EyeCanArt kit given to the boys on their 5th birthday. Yes, I waited until age 6, but it was worth it.

The monster designs were independently crafted by each of the boys, with some assistance on the cutting and overall strategy. We rocked this out in two stages (design-cut and glue, then print), and based on some of my project edits, we executed it a little bit different than the kit recommends. Mainly, this is due to the fact that I misplaced the proper papers included in the kit. {I stored them flat between books, and am baffled as to where they are.} It still worked with a tweak or two and was marvy for an inaugural attempt. {The main issue is that I used very thick tag board to build the design on, and more thick pieces for the design-including the soft foam sheets}.

I dug up some of the tools I had on hand for linocuts, including some super old orange speedball ink and a large brayer. This helped because we kept one brayer mainly for the ink, the other to burnish the image. I loved using the kraft paper for the boys images, as they were somewhat tribal in design and it made a nice contrast. Mine are ancient, from PaperSource, though I couldn't find them on their website just now.

Kandinsky for Kindergarteners

I've taken on the role of "Art Odyssey" mom in Max's classroom this year. Even in this stellar school district we are without music and arts as curriculum mandatories. That leaves it to the PTA to purchase or develop (GULP!) programs which will supplement the standard math/science/reading drills. So sad. Anyhow, once each month I trot out a preselected poster-style image in a 20x30 frame and share a bit about the featured artist. Following the presentation I lead an art project.

This month we celebrated Wassily Kandinsky and discussed Night Storm (see directly above). Each student took a variety of shapes and traced them with crayons, layering and filling the page. Step two, each child dipped into their watercolor tray and went to town. Mrs. A played some lovely classical music in the background and I have to say, it was a fine exercise. Lots of great "stormy" drama and emo exploration.

Death to the Pen!

Oh D'Nealian, my first cursive love.

I recently read an article in Time Magazine, Mourning the Death of Handwriting, by Claire Suddath. It was a bit disheartening, because I did not get the impression that she was truly mourning the death of handwriting...more like, pondering the death of handwriting. The Gen Y author admits to being a sloppy scriber. Passively accepting that we've traded "artistry for efficiency," Suddath shrugs her, whatever. Gen Why?

Yes, Cursif IS pretty. And so are the other fonts here on Noble Rabbit.

She chronicles the changes our society has made in the past 100+ years, delivering us to a moment in time where script is deemed "pretty & cosmetic." But isn't it okay to be pretty? Isn't that what we value intrinsically? Here, it seems a more fitting a description of a Bonne Belle lip gloss. I'd like to see the letters transcend "pretty", become beautiful in their original glory with the curves and swoops that inspire words themselves to hold weight and carry meaning. With proper penmanship even a simple grocery list becomes a heartfelt momento. XOXO scratched in red is tiny love note. Even the words that come out a bit wonky (is that an e or an l?) exude a bit of mystery and spontaneity.

Quirky Handwriting Sample via Azaz

A handwritten note--with a scratch or scribble where you made your mistake--means so much more than a cryptic text or a casual email. Besides, isn't it good exercise for your digits? I challenge you this week to hand write a note, make a list, craft a memo. To anyone...your bestie, your mum, your hon or your sib. To you! Use the whole page. Use ink.

Renegade Craft Fair

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon Good Bones Great Pieces, but I'm continually drawn to the work of former Martha Stewart staff. In this case it's a mother-daughter design team blogging and etsying their way through decor and fashion. One of their most recent posts features Irena Sophia, a New York based illustrator they discovered at the Renegade Craft Fair in Salem, New York.

Luckily Renegade Craft Fairs are happening all over the place. The nearest location for me is Los Angeles, and is coming up soon...July 11-12. Don't you love the illustration? Renegade Handmade, based in the uber-cool Wicker Park area of Chicago, is an extension of the fair phenomenon.


I love this kind of reading the May 2009 issue of Oprah (not How or Readymade or Print), OPRAH, I learned of an ink-saving font, ecofont. When printed in a point size 12 or less, this brilliant design saves 20% in ink. Of course a Dutch company called SPRANQ came up with the tiny circles which are naked to the eye and easy on your pricey cartridges. I'm down with this, and will even use it at work on the multitude of internal docs I print daily. On spranq's website you can find the link to download the font for FREE, and also play a game called "moneymaker." This game intrigued me, but without a key to the Dutch language I was lost.

Flea Market Finds

One of my favorite activities in the world is thrifting. Mainly resale shops like AmVets or Salvation Army, because I am not organized or flexible with my time enough to do garage sales. But I love the thrill of hunting for and finding special treasures. I've found still life paintings, funky ceramics, mercury glass, kid's clothes, linens, notions, dishes, clocks, you name it. I love finding quality ribbon and bias tape for a steal. I've also taken to finding dorky old coffee mugs like Camp Tookalusa 1971 or a subverted FedEx logo reading "FedUp".

I always keep my eyes open for old office supplies. That's why I was so jazzed to find some airmail envelopes on last weekend's hunt. I also found this fabulous vintage map chalkboard. LOVE it! Just finding the right spot for it now...There are a few friends I have had that love this, just like me. Right now, none of my pals would tolerate the dirt and grunge and weirdness of the process. My mom and my sister get it, but they are miles away. What do YOU hunt for?

A Beautiful Eye

I discovered Bell'occhio (Italian for "beautiful eye") this week, a charming store in San Francisco which carries some of the most beautiful gifts and goods. Of course, I discovered the online version, which I'm sure is not nearly as magical as the actual shop. Sigh. It doesn't matter because I was wooed by numerous items in their Maison and Papeterie sections.

Finally I found the uber chic black chalkboard oilcloth that I first saw in Domino {RIP}. I can't wait to order this and put in on my dining room table.

What homespun cake wouldn't look wonderful on this "woodsie" faux bois cake stand?

Such a perfect little heart. True love my dear, true love.

I think eggs are one of nature's most perfect foods.
This porcelain carton gives these fragile orbs a proper home.

I Heart You: The Art of the Screenprint

This is a little chronicle of my first attempt at silk screening. Last month I attended a workshop at Visual Asylum to create a two-color fine art print. I submitted my design in advance ("I Heart You" won over "Be Kind" on my Facebook Challenge) and the kind peeps at VA burned my screens in advance. I chose a bright, true red and a soft, dreamy blue. There was only one other student in the workshop--he chose brown and the same dreamy blue. His design went swimmingly with mine-"We all have a song" with a bird and a branch.

My very first print was PERFECT, then the blue ink got a little sticky...and, oh well, I created about 20 prints and they are full of charming little (and big flaws). It was SO great. I really loved it and can't wait to try it again. Near the end, we started to merge some of our designs and created some real gems.