back to my roots

hand carved swiss flag bunting stamp
The annual elementary school international festival is coming up this weekend. That means I'm gearing up to use large quantities of cheese, chocolate and butter in honor of my swiss heritage....ahem.
I make cheese tarts (chaes chueche) and chocolate truffles and they're always a big hit; decadent and not too exotic for South Carolina taste buds.
The truffles are simple but classic, the recipe is adapted from my mom's old Betty Bossi cookbook.
here's how I make them: (I make a few batches for a crowd)

8oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup  powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 Tbs Kirsch schnaps, strong coffee or Whiskey  
cocoa powder 
  1. pour boiling water over chocolate pieces in a large, heatproof bowl. Poke with a knife to check softness (don't stir!!) and pour off water when chocolate is melted.
  2. quickly stir in chunks of butter and stir until completely combined
  3. sift in powdered sugar, add Kirsch or experiment with other flavors and let cool in refrigerator until firm.
  4. use two teaspoons, or even better , this nifty gadget, which I've borrowed but always forget to order in time, to make balls, and roll in cocoa powder.
  5. arrange in small baking cups to look fancy, keep cool
check back later this week if you want to see a picture of mine, I've got some illustration work to do first


barn cat

introducing a minor character in the book I'm working on.
Have a nice day!



my big girls room
I like to make all kinds of things. See that shelf? I made it. Crocheted blanket? Yup, that was me......
Just to give you an idea of the rest of me, showing off a little.


IF: Capable

inspired by my afternoons at gymnastic practice, and my little girls who seem to become capable of great things overnight.


hanging around

These days, when I leave the house it's usually to take someone somewhere. (ok, or to make my regular visits to the thrift store). On the weekend, I hang out at the horse farm with my older daughter, and on thursdays I find myself sandwiched between all the other parents at gymnastics. Both of these activities are great for sketching, so I spend my time, pencil and sketchbook in hand, trying to catch the gestures as they speed by. 
this little girl and her bright yellow bow (to match the peace sign on her shirt) were just too much


little plant

This is a little morning study of a new friend. 
In our new room we have enough sun to have plants, and it's amazing how they transform a space. Plus, I get a little attached to them.
We also signed up for a plot in the community garden here in town, this summer we will have a 40'x10' garden in full sun. We can bike to it, and we're sharing with a friend, so it counts as summer entertainment for the girls. I have visions of baskets of tomatoes and emergency canning sessions.
In my own shady backyard I've planted some lettuce and spinach starts, and some pea seeds. We can grow a few things before the leaves come in on the trees, so we're on our way.


rough sketch

every now and then I like a rough sketch on it's own, in all it's sloppiness


not fluid enough....

I was really working on an image for Illustration Friday's topic "Fluid". So I thought: fluid- movement -cat....and here's my cat, not moving at all, go figure.
I did have fun painting at the kitchen table with my girls and a friend, so that's what counts.
This is a busy week though, so I'll have to sit this IF out and go with next fridays.
Don't worry, I'll check in before then.
Have a nice week! 


silly sketch

this is an early sketch from an upcoming book, it's a running elk
....the ideas changed a lot after that point, but I still like him


origami valentine

I was going to call it "love bunny" but that was just too gross

Louisa made 26+ of these little guys as valentines for her class. She refused to add the chocolates, so "the kids wouldn't just tear off the rabbit and gobble the chocolate"
that's my girl


another point of view

view of the studio from the kitchen

studio update

my custom built desk holds large sheets of paper and looks out over the back yard

these are the wormy chestnut legs off an old farm table

I'm going to look for a stool so I can force myself to sit down once in a while

here it is, all ready to go...

Come on in and take a look at my new studio. Would you like some coffee?  Chocolate?  Make yourself at home .
The couch pulls out into a bed for overnight guests, at other times it's a comfortable perch for visitors. I have some good floor space for yoga sessions at home, and on the right is the desk with my computer stuff. The light is great, and I love to spend time in here!
Above the computer, there is a window that looks into the kitchen, I plan to make it a bit more private with a paper cut one of these days. The light is great, and I love to spend time in here! We joke that my family could just pass me meals through the window and I'd never have to come back in :)
Isn't it awesome? Im too lucky!


down on the farm

Look at these cuties!
The first lamb is less than a day old, and the other ones out in the field were born about a week ago.
Thanks to the nice people at AD Farm I got a good idea of the farm setup, and it was great to get to ask questions and see everything up close. Now back to the drawing board!


yup, me again!

I'm back - again !
I'm trying to get in the habit of posting regularly, this is a sketch page for one of the main characters of a picture book I'm working on.
For tomorrow, I've scheduled an outing to a farm not too far away, where they have a few newborn lambs. I'm very excited, references don't get any better than that! 


what in the world is a "pyewacket"?

for some reason I keep running into that strange word, and I had to look it up. interesting.........
that led me to see the movie "Bell Book and Candle", which led me to do some drawings of siamese cats; here are a couple of my favorites.
The little one of "Cinders" is of course a portrait of a character from one of my favorite books: The Wednesday Witch

Now I have to go clear out the studio: my new, custom made desk is coming, I'm so excited!
Hopefully I can have a studio tour soon.


playing around

The weather here in South Carolina is anything but wintery, it cuts down on playing in the snow, but allows for some nice hikes and picnics and playing on the back porch.
I'm playing around myself, I have a new box of fancy watercolors and I am loving them. Now I have a practice session every morning, but more on that tomorrow........