Sunday, April 26, 2009

Adiós, piñata!

In a conspicuous effort to prove that Ben and Aimee Are Still Fun, we brought a piñata to John S.'s surprise birthday party Friday night. We chose it from a festive selection at the nearby Mexican market, where two cashiers laughed good-naturedly at the two gringos buying a two-foot piñata.

Readers, here's a hot tip for anyone reading who's thinking, "Ooh, if I bring a piñata to so-and-so's shindig, I will be the life of the party." Do not assume, as Ben and I did, that the maker of the piñata has pre-filled the thing with cheap Mexican candy for you! He or she has not. When, around eleven PM Friday night, our piñata began gamely to receive whacks from a repurposed rainstick, we all expected Mexican Smarties and off-brand Tootsie Rolls to rain down upon us. But they did not. The freaking thing was empty!*

But here it is in the car beforehand, being chauffuered by Ben.

* When I made a piñata for high school Spanish class in 1991, I knew enough to cut a little hole in the papier-mache, fill the thing with sweets, and glue it closed again. But this time, buying a readymade, I assumed that my twelve dollars was buying a complete piñata, not a do-half-of-it-yourself piñata.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vegan brownies/a baby/the weather

Made some vegan brownies last night. They're crammed with walnuts and secret ingredients! Like applesauce!

Lots going on. I spent last weekend at a children's book/illustration conference, which was enlightening and inspiring and got me way behind in my work. So I'm trying to finish up some illustrations and read about illustration trends in the 1980s and figure out how to add some digital elements to a stop-motion animation I just finished shooting. From where I stand, the next couple of weeks look horribly, horribly busy.

On the purely positive side, we are feeling warm and fuzzy over the birth of S. and Cook's new baby, and are fairly invigorated by the suddenly fabulous weather.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

All the muthas in the house say he-ey

I know the "parents wear many hats" idea is utterly cliche, but I didn't
really pick the topic. Plus, magazines eat this kind of stuff like it's
onion rings.

This is a digital illustration made with scanned tissue paper. Click to

A bag and box, yo

Although I don't know much about product design, I did these last week using Adobe Illustrator for the winter rose pattern. I should put them on some bedsheets, don't you think?

As usual, click to biggify.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Bentos with bean emphasis

Recently I myself have been a little indifferent toward EATING
bento lunches (lately I've wanted nothing but hot soup in a
thermos, with a few fig bars on the side), but I still love making
them for Ben. And he says he really likes to eat them, so we
won't be switching back to peanut butter sandwiches any time.
And, maybe I'll come back around to eating bento once I tire
of soup, if tiring of soup is possible.

Above: spicy peanut noodles with lime, chocolate chip banana muffin, some grapes, and my favorite three bean salad (made with only two kinds of beans because we ran out of garbanzos).

Above: spicy black bean patties with fresh tomato, carrot cake cupcake, grapes, and pasta salad with red wine vinaigrette.

Carrot cake cupcakes

While making my no-fail fancy dessert for dinner yesterday,* I was pleased to have a little extra batter to turn into cupcakes, one of which is shown above. Why was this exciting? Because freezing cupcakes makes it easy to add a bit of cake to bento lunches. It's always about bento! My no-fail fancy dessert, incidentally, is a moist, tender carrot cake made with applesauce and walnuts and cinnamon and nutmeg; I didn't photograph it, because it's one of those unphotogenic serve-from-the-pan cakes, but trust me, the taste is outta this world. The frosting is a splurge-worthy mixture of Tofutti vegan cream cheese (I know, I know), a bit of lemon juice or orange zest, and powdered sugar. I admit it's always a hit, and one of those cakes that garners the "I can't believe it's vegan!" raves from omnivores.

* A fancy dessert was in order because we had Ben's college roommate over for dinner. They were roomies fifteen years ago!