17 February 2010

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Chinese New Years in Vancouver

Despite having lived in and around Vancouver for nearly thirteen years, before this year I'd never been to the Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown. I'm not sure how that happened - I love parades!

This year I got to see three different Chinese New Year events, celebrating the dawn of the year of the tiger. On Saturday my mother and I went mall-hopping, and caught two dragon dances! On Sunday morning Kirk and I went to Chinatown and watched the main parade. It was awesome! It was a cacophony of colour and sound. Lots of people were handing out little red envelopes of lucky money (actually gold chocolate loonies). There were musicians, dancers, community groups, cadets and the obligatory corporations and politicians. Before the parade I heard a piper (which is kind of strange), but there were no bagpipers marching in the parade.

Here are some select photos.

Anticipation on Pender Street

Kirk waiting for the parade to begin


Vancouver Fire Fighters' Band




Click below for more photos...

This Week in My Kitchen: Juicing

With Kirk away tattooing in Saskatoon this week (escaping the olympics), I decided to use my culinary freedom to put my juicer to work. I love fresh juices. I'm aware of all of the arguments against juicing - you're throwing away the fibre, all of the calories come from sugar, blah, blah, blah. If I were to only consume juice for long periods of time, this might concern me. As it is, I just don't enjoy eating fruit as much as I enjoy drinking juice. Case closed.

Vegetable Juice

Tomatoes, carrots, celery, spinach, leftover bean sprouts. The colour was horrid, but it sure tasted good! I drank the first glass as is, and added a pinch of celery salt and a splash of Tabasco to the second glass (so it was kind of like a really healthy virgin bloody mary).

Fruit Juice

Apples, pears, fennel, lemon, ginger. By far my favourite juice! Sweet, tart and rich. I only had enough juice for a glass and a half, so I topped up the second glass with home made peppermint-green tea iced tea. It was fabulous!

Orange Juice

I've learned that juicing citrus is not very economical. From six cara cara oranges and one ruby red grapefruit I got 500 ml of juice. It was really yummy and a beautiful colour, but a bit too expensive for my taste.

11 February 2010

Cabaret of Copious Curves

Last Friday I went with my friend Shaunna to The Cabaret of Copious Curves at The WISE Hall. It was a fantastic burlesque show featuring rubenesque ladies of epic proportions. The show was also the second ever public performance of my friend Gilda Lovelace (who was FANtastic!). Click the link below to see some of my photos from the show. Beware, there are boobies in those photos!

This Week in My Kitchen: Nachos, Burritos, Tostadas & Roasted Veggies with Couscous

So I haven't been very inventive in the kitchen this week. Instead, I've been falling back on old favourites, many of which are mexican-inspired.

A couple of years ago I visited Toronto, and my friend Melanie took me to Sneaky Dee's, a pub on College Street with an unusual and amazing selection of vegan options. We had the vegan nachos, and they were seriously fantastic! Ever since, I've been trying to recreate the experience at home (minus the unsmiling wait staff, gross bathrooms and graffiti on the walls). Here's my latest attempt, which I have to say, was pretty damn good. I think the Tofutti Sour Supreme, something I generally don't have because it's not exactly health food, is what pushed them over the edge.

 tortilla chips, refried black beans, Ziggy's salsa from the deli @ Superstore, pickled
jalapenos, sliced black olives, Frank's Red Hot Sauce, Tofutti Sour Supreme, green onions

One of my favourite quick and easy meals is a burrito. The fillings vary according to what I happen to have in the fridge, but this one has refried black beans, sliced avocado, pickled jalapenos and Ziggy's salsa from the deli at Superstore (my favourite store bought salsa) on a whole grain tortilla.

I found some tostadas (toasted corn tortillas) on sale at the supermarket the other day, and dinner was set! For each serving I topped two small tostadas with a warm mixture of rice (leftover from Indian take out), black beans and cubed smoked tofu. Then I added a salad of baby spinach, sliced orange bell peppers and baby carrots, salsa, sliced black olives and pickled jalapenos. It was super filling and yummy, and a great way to get Kirk to eat salad.

Roasted Veggies with Couscous
Exactly how it sounds. I roasted a quartered acorn squash with baby carrots, fennel and broccoli and served it with couscous mixed with chopped spinach, onions and smoked tofu. This meal would have been fantastic with quinoa, but I was out and had to use couscous instead.

New Tattoo Work

Kirk has been working on my left sleeve for the past 8 months, and last night we did a 2.5 hour session near my wrist. Pretty underwater lotus!! The photo does not do the colours justice at all, but you get the idea...


My wrist is a little swollen today, but feeling okay. Next month we'll do another session to finish up the rest of the water. Yay! If you want to see more of Kirk's tattoos, check out his website: www.kirksheppardtattoos.com

On an unrelated note, Jerry and Chaos got in a fight the other night. Jerry suffered some scratches on the nose. Oh, feline sibling rivalry!

05 February 2010

Ready for the weekend?

I sure am!

I am incredibly cranky today. Probably because I gave into my menstrual instinct to consume nothing but chocolate bars so far today. Now I'm shaky and headachy AND crampy and cranky, and a little nauseous. This morning I snapped at the girl working at the art store because she mistakenly asked me to keep my purse behind the counter while I was shopping (at first glance she thought it was a larger tote bag). On the bus on the way home some lady wouldn't get out of my way so I could get off at my stop and I almost lost my cool. I managed to get away without saying anything rude, but I did toss some death-looks around the bus as I stepped off. I hate being bitchy. I really do.

I hope for my friend Shaunna's sake I'm feeling better this evening. We're going to see my friend Gilda Lovelace, along with a bevy of other buxom beauties, perform at the WISE Hall for the Cabaret of Copious Curves. Watching some voluptuous vixens shaking it on stage should cheer me right up!

Poster by Voodoo Pixie

04 February 2010

Kirk's New Website

This week I built Kirk a new website. Check it out!

The Rumi Racer

At Save the Brains this year I've decided to hold a silent art auction. My contribution will be a painting of a 1954 Rumi Racer. Kirk and I got an encyclopedia of classic motorcycles at London Drugs (of all places!) a few weeks ago, and the Rumi motorcycles really stood out to me. The racer is unusual in that the motor is actually part of the frame. Here's the progression of my sketches for the painting, which will be acrylic on a 16" x 20" canvas.

sketch 1: rough ideas

sketch 2: placement and some details

sketch 3: ready for transfer to canvas

I'm still looking for donations of art for the silent auction. All of the proceeds from Save the Brains events go directly to the BC Cancer Foundation for brain cancer research in memory of Kevin Rushton. If you're interested in donating to Save the Brains, whether art or funds, please contact me.

03 February 2010

My Favourite Blogs, Pt. 3: Wonderful, Inspiring and Weird

You may have noticed, perhaps, that I am a bit of a blog-fiend. One of my favourite things to do every morning is to open up my blog reader and see what's new. I might find an inspiring piece of art or design waiting for me, discover a new vegan recipe, or hear a great story from a friend. Maybe there's a craft fair or fun event happening in Vancouver next weekend. Whatever it is, I want to know!

To finish out My Favourite Blogs series, here's an alphabetical list of some more standout blogs that I follow regularly that didn't make it into the previous two posts. Thanks to all you fabulous bloggers out there who inspire me on a daily basis.

3627 Design Tricks
It's nice to be reminded of ways to shake up your work. This blog is full of great ideas and inspirational design.

art = love = life
Melissa Sue Stanley has so much talent! I'm always thrilled to see one of her new monsters or sketches.

Caustic Cover Critic
A nearly daily dose of one man's incredible book collection. It's hard not to get excited over all those fabulous retro paperback covers!

Domestic Affair
Vegan recipes, product reviews and all-around goodness from cookbook author Jae Steele.

Matt Brotka is really bad at updating his blog, but really good at painting and tattooing. His paintings simultaneously make me want to get better at painting myself and to throw out my brushes and never try again.

Missed Connections
Artist Sophie Blackall scours New York Missed Connections websites for inspiration for her fabulous, poignant, and often humourous paintings.

My Zoetrope
Michelle paints the cutest critters out there. She also has fabulous taste in food!

Pink Tentacle
A fantastic source for Japanese ephemera of all kinds.

The Non-Consumer Advocate
Katy and her family are rejecting consumerism by trying not to waste money on anything new. This is a great resource for those trying to lessen their debt and their environmental impact.

The Urban Housewife
No one makes me drool on my laptop like Melisser! Her blog is full of vegan recipes and ideas, as well as restaurant reviews and travelogues.

Kari has transformed her love of crafting into this amazing resource for online tutorials. I have bookmarked SO many pages from this blog, with every intention of making everything!

Vegan Dad
I love this blog! His recipes are simple, inspired and fabulous!

02 February 2010

My Favourite Blogs, Pt. 2: Friends with Blogs

I have so many wonderfully talented and creative friends who blog. As we are all scattered across the world and unable to talk on a regular basis, it's really wonderful to be able to keep up with their work, thoughts and adventures through their blogs.

What the Coma Girl Designs and The Streets I Know
My friend Melanie is a graphic designer and crafter in Toronto. She is also a blogger extraordinaire, keeping up two great blogs! What the Coma Girl Designs is a celebration of all things vegan, crafty, DIY and artsy fartsy. The Streets I know is a fabulous vegan fashion blog that I'm pretty sure Melanie started just to try to ruin my carefully planned budget!

Simon & Fran's Andalucian Adventure
Just over a year ago, Simon and Fran followed their dream and and moved from busy North Vancouver to rural Spain. This blog is a chronicle of their Andalucian adventure: learning Spanish, finding a place to live, and adjusting (rather nicely!) to life in the Spanish countryside. I only wish they had more regular access to the internet so we readers could get updates more often.

Gearing Down to First
Another of my globe-trotting friends is Jill, who has been traveling through Australia and Asia for most of the past year. This blog is worth reading for so many reasons: the adventure, the gorgeous photography, and Jill's beautiful writing style. I really think she has a future in travel writing!

Dobell Designs, The Tales of s*dOwG and Caps 'n' Cannons
Chris and Stu Dobell are two of the most talented people I know. They're musicians, sign painters, designers, fine artists, muralists and graffiti artists. They're also two of the nicest people I know.
Dobell Designs is a showcase for the art they produce together in Victoria, mostly sign painting, with a few barrels and beer fridges thrown in for good measure! The Tales of s*dOwG is all Stu, who is currently in Australia trying to convince the Canadian government to let him back in. Caps 'n' Cannons is a collection of nomad Stu's photographs of street art from all over the world.
Also, check out their crazy-talented Dad's work on his very own blog, Bill Dobell Artist.

Work the Angle
Matt is an artist in Victoria and his blog features his sketchbook pages, awesome finished paintings and lots of his favourite music.

Clock & Compass
This is a chronicle of Chris' tattoo apprenticeship in Victoria, and features paintings and drawings, as well as musings on tattoo art and history.

01 February 2010

My Favourite Blogs, Pt. 1: Top 5 Desert Island Blogs

Tonight, after spending WAY too much time on the internet, I feel the need to give props (Can I pull off using that phrase? Sure, why not?) to some of my favourite blogs.

1. Design*Sponge
This is one of the first blogs I started following regularly, and is still my favourite. It's chock full of art, craft tutorials, DIY projects, cooking, interior design, basically anything creative. I absolutely love the Before & After series, which features photos of refinishing and redecorating projects sent in by readers. Another great feature on D*S is Small Measures with Ashley English (I also follow Ashley's own blog), which is comprised of fantastic articles on living simple and green while still living fabulous.

2. Poppytalk
Poppytalk is a Canadian (based in Vancouver!) design blog dedicated to collecting inspiration and promoting emerging design talent. I've made more than one print purchase because of their Affordable Art feature! I am inspired by (and sometimes intimidated by) artists featured on Poppytalk on a daily basis. Also check out the related online marketplace, Poppytalk Handmade, which showcases an amazing rotating roster of beautiful handmade goods.

3. Creep Machine
If you're interested in keeping up with alternative, underground, outsider, lowbrow or pop surrealism art, Creep Machine should be first on your list. It features daily updates about new original and print releases and upcoming gallery openings from amazing established and up-and-coming artists.

4. Twig & Thistle
Kathleen at Twig & Thistle compiles an amazing and inspiring collection of graphic design, art and craft projects. I like to think of it as all the stuff on the internet that I would like to find if I spent all my time surfing around. Thanks for finding it for me!

5. Print & Pattern
Print & Pattern gives me a daily dose of inspiration. It's awash in pattern, textiles, paper, any surface that can have a design on it. I only started reading it recently, but already I have so many ideas swirling around in my head! Now, to put some of them into action.