Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Renegade Craft Fair San Francisco

The Renegade Craft Fair is happening this weekend. If you are not familiar with it, it is the biggest and best indy-craft fair happening. It will be at Fort Mason on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Here are vendors that you must see when you are there.

Tiny Sparks Design
booth 70

My husband's business, Tiny Sparks Design will be there with a great selection of old and new designs. He screen prints his original designs on wood. This bird design is really popular but I think some of his new designs might be even better. He has a new owl that is really adorable.

Seattle Show Posters
booth 17

Our friend Rick of Seattle Show Posters will be there too. He does really great, screen printed posters. All of the art is original and he screen prints them all himself. This one is called night sky and glows in the dark. We got this one for my kid.

3 Fish Studios
booth 139

Annie Galvin and Eric Rewitzer of 3 Fish Studios will be at Renegade with their original paintings, collages, and linocuts. This is a photo of Annie's studio, she has an amazing amount of art that she creates. It is all very colorful and fun. She has a bear series that I love.

Eric's linocuts follow a couple of themes; robots, San Francisco and he has a new series of mid-century chairs. Brad gave me Sutro Tower for Christmas last year. I am excited to see all of Annie's and Eric's stuff at Renegade.

booth 53

Eleen makes the cutest purses and bags! I met her at the Maker Fair in June and fell in love with her stuff. She uses really great fabric, she has great purse designs and the quality of her sewing is amazing. I bought a little purse (I think it was called a 3-way because you could change the strap around for 3 different configurations) for my sister-in-law and she loved it. Actually her daughter REALLY loved it, but I think Kari loved it too. I am going to get some of her pillow covers for my home too, maybe at the show!

So, there you have it. These are the vendors that I think you should visit at Renegade SF this year. Go to the show, bring lots of cash, and have fun!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

I stole this recipe from Courtney's Produce, they sell these sandwiches for $1.50 at their little produce stand across the street from my kid's school. They are so yummy, they are actually more like dessert.

One of Baxter's teachers had one for her lunch on a field trip, when she told me about it I knew I had to try it. Now I make them at home; so easy and so good!!!

Semifried's Cinnamon Twist bread
Peanut butter
Strawberry jam
Sliced fresh strawberries

Just slap it together. What more can I say.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Joe's Taco's

Last night we were invited to Sara and Joe's place for some pretty incredible homemade Tacos. Sara and Joe are pretty exceptional people when it comes to food; Sara is the food editor at 7X7 magazine in San Francisco and Joe owns Laiola, an awesome Spanish tapas restaurant on Chestnut St.

The menu included corn-on-the-cob with Joe's special spice rub and lime (super good!), black bean/corn/tomato salad, and DIY tacos with grilled shrimp or stewed pork (incredible), homemade salsas and pickled onions.

The highlight for me was the stewed pork. I love pork. Joe and I talked about how good pork is. Pork just can't be beat. It was stewing on the stove when we arrived, it had been there most of the day. It was melt-in-your-mouth tender, it was a little tart and tomatoey, it was slightly spicy, and it was served with home made fried pork rinds. OMG.

Joe and Sara are going to opening up a taco stand at the new Thursday Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building in SF. Joe was approached by the market coordinator and just couldn't say no to a new adventure.

I think you can get information via the Laiola newsletter, it will also tell you about their special menu nights (taco night is coming up at Laiola on Mon. June 22) and other cool stuff.

So, I highly recommend stopping by the new taco stand if you get a chance and picking up a pork taco. With salsa, really good salsa.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tiny Sparks Design at the Maker Faire!

**Check out who is talking about Tiny Sparks Design:
Sunset Magazine
Dibs on This Blog
Erin Compton Design
Grunge Zombie

This year my husband has his first retail booth at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA. Tiny Sparks Design is his new business where he makes beautiful screen printed art on wood. The show went really well, people loved his stuff, he sold most of it and we had a great time doing it!

The Maker Faire is an event that we go to every year but this year but this was Brad's first year as a vendor. If you don't know the Maker Faire, it is a crazy, carnival-like event that is all about building things, crafting things, electronic things... I can't even begin to explain. There is a cool time-lapse video on their site of the event, it still doesn't do it justice but it is pretty cool.

Brad worked like crazy to prepare for the show, I visited him at his shop and took some snapshots of him preparing his products. He gets really big pieces of lumber and then cuts them down to size, here he has a bunch of wood that is ready to be sanded.

After the wood is prepared, he screen prints designs on to them. He uses up to 4-colors for his pieces and hand-pulls each screen. The piece above is one of the small pieces, these are made into wall hangings or hooks are hung from the bottom and they become key holders. These were really popular, I think we might have sold out of them.

They cute key designs mostly became key hooks. Brad made a ton of these and I think we still have a few left. I love them, the colors are really nice and they are functional. People love function.

This is one of Brad's paper prints. We sold a ton of these at the show too. They are printed on 8" x 10" white archival paper and fit in a standard frame. We sold these for $10 a piece at the show and they were a bit hit.

This is one of Brad's finished tree shadow pieces. We sold out of these too. He prints the images on the edge of the wood to highlight the beauty of the wood itself. You can see in this picture that this piece of wood has a really beautiful curly grain and has a beautiful shimmer. What really sets Brad's work apart from other artists how he treats the wood. Because he has been a furniture maker for almost 20 years, he shapes, sands and finishes wood like no one else.

This stitched bird design is one of Brad's first designs and we only have 1 left. I listed it on Etsy yesterday. I am posting what we've got left over on Etsy all week, so go take a look!

Brad is now preparing for Renegade SF, so there will be new items to come. We hope to see you there.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream

My friend Sara brought some Humphry Solocombe ice cream to our house one evening and I had been dying to go over there ever since. She brought a pint each of Black Sesame and Coconut Ice Milk which were both really good. She had told me on a couple of occasions that we needed to go there, and since she is the food editor for 7X7 magazine, I always take her advice. So, I took the kids on a Friday afternoon to their ice cream shop at 2790 Harrison St. at 24th in the Mission district of San Francisco.

I started with a taste of the Secret Breakfast, Burbon ice cream with Corn Flakes, which was really good. It had a pretty subtle flavor with a nice crunch to it. But, I was wooed by the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee ice cream, which is what I ended up getting becuase it was pretty irresistable.

I was prepared for some unusual flavors but not for everything they had to offer. I couldn't bring myself to taste the Boccalone Prosciutto. No matter how adventurous my pallate wanted to be, my brain just said no. It looks like normal ice cream, the bin was half empty so other people had been ordering it, but I just couldn't do it. I stared at it and made faces for quite a while but in the end, I just savored my coffee ice cream.

My kiddo tried the Strawberry Candied Jalapeno, he loves strawberry but I don't think the word jalapeno really registered when he read the label. He took a small taste, gave me a wide eyed look and ordered the coconut instead.

Our trip to Humphry Slocombe was a lot of fun. It was fun to have all the crazy flavors to try and choose from. The store is really cute and clean, it is decorated like an old soda fountain but feels very hip and modern. It is just off of 24th street in the Mission so it is nice to walk around the neighborhood too.

The ice cream itself was okay, the flavor was good but there were lots of little ice chunks in mine, maybe it was just the batch. They have a lot of different flavors and rotate them to offer 10 to 12 flavors a day.

We will definitely go back, looking at their list of flavors, there are lots more I want to try; Candied Chestnut, Oolong, Salted Licorice, White Chocolate Lavender. There are others that I'd like to see someone else try too; Foie gras, Government Cheese, Pistachio Bacon...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I Love My Mother

I don't have many pictures of my Mother, she hates to have her picture taken. These are the ones that I have that I love.

The photo above was taken on my wedding day in 1996. When Brad and I got married, my Mom cried. I thought it was funny, for some reason I was surprised. Now I realize that I shouldn't have been, she cries at everything, movies, TV, even when I just say "I love you" sometimes. She hates it that everything makes her cry, it just makes me want to hug her more though.

When I was young my Mom and Dad got divorced. She was a single parent for a short time before she remarried. When I look at this picture above I realize how much she has always loved and cared for me. I have a son now and I feel like I am beginning to understand how much my Mom really loves me.

This picture is of my Mom and Dad around 1972 or so. My Mom was so hip! Look at that hair! And those glasses! And that coat! And those bell bottoms! What more is there to say?

Happy Mother's Day Mom. I hope that you know how much I love and appreciate and admire everything that you do, even if you did ditch us to go watch the Space Shuttle launch for Mother's Day. (How cool is that though?) I hope you are having fun. Love you!!!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I love this gift idea

I think that this is such a cute idea for a Mother's Day gift. MD is just 2 days away so it is kinda late, but I came across it while browsing Etsy and just loved it.

It is made by Smoley Design and can be found on their Etsy store. It is sterling silver and is custom made for you with the names you want. They are all made by hand and are hand stamped.For $30 you get three charms but you can add additional ones for $5 each.

So cute!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chalk Animation

I found this video while browsing around the web tonight. It is really beautiful and mesmerizing. It is by Firekites, an indy band from Australia. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A More Nutritious Almond

While over for dinner one evening, our friend Lis recommended a way to prepare almonds to snack on and they were exceptionally good. I already love almonds, raw, roasted, salted... whatever. But these came out different; crispy, tasty and believe it or not, even better for you than a regular almond.

Why is it better? Well, when nuts are soaked overnight in a salt water brine then dried in a warm oven or dehydrator they are easier to digest, and their nutrients more readily available. When the temperature is kept low for drying the nuts, the enzymes that are activated through the soaking stay in tact providing more nutrients than if they were roasted in a hot oven.

  • 1 lb raw almonds
  • 1 tbl sea salt
  • filtered water, enough to cover almonds


  1. Mix almonds with salt and filtered water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain in a colander.
  3. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan, or dehydrator tray.
  4. Place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit) for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. (If using a dehydrator use the setting for nuts/seeds or just make sure it’s less than 150 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  5. Store in an airtight container
I did one batch for longer (48 hours) and the almonds got really crispy and slightly brown on the inside. They were REALLY good! You can use either skinned or skinless almonds, I have not tried skinless but some people prefer it.

I found raw almonds at Whole Foods for about $9/lb (ouch!). I found them at the Alemany Farmer's Market in San Francisco for about $4/lb (much better.) The almonds you get at the farmer's market are going to be local, better quality and true "raw" almonds. Mass produced and packaged raw almonds are often pasturized and often include old, imported and inferior nuts. So support your local grower and buy from the farmer's market!

You can order California Almonds online at: D&S Ranches

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bi-Rite Creamery....oh so good!

Last week I picked up my kiddo Baxter and his two friends, Jade and Sophia, after school and we went for our weekly ice cream treat. Often it is just Spongebob-on-a-stick from the Mexican "paleteros" who wait at the school bus stop, but Jade's mom has talked me into upgrading the event to "real ice cream". So, we have been ending up at the Bi-Rite Creamery on warm San Francisco afternoons.

Bi-Rite is located at 3692 18th St. in San Francisco at Dolores, right by Dolores Park. They use local, organic ingredients and make their ice cream in small batches. They have a really cute store front and, on a beautiful afternoon, a line that can reach the corner. It is always worth the wait, the staff is always friendly, the ice cream is delicious and it is always fun to try and pick a flavor.

They always have unusual flavors available which is a treat for the adventurous pallet. On this day they were offering Salted Caramel (so good), Vegan Chocolate Coconut, Honey Lavender and Orange Cardamom (which was actually Blood Orange and was an amazing shade of red).

If you are in SF and you are lucky enough to have a nice, warm day, I highly recommend driving around the block 20 times to find a parking space, waiting in a 15-minute line down the street, settling on a flavor or two (because you will want to try at least 3 or 4) and enjoying one of the best ice cream cones in the city.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy 90th Birthday Grandma!

Today is my Grandma's 90th birthday, I think. Most of her life she thought that her birthday was on April 26th. When she was in her 60's she got a copy of her birth certificate and it said she was born on April 22nd. Crazy huh?

A while ago when I was at her place she was going through her mail and she said, "You know you are old when you get junk mail like this.". This is what she got. She never fails to make me laugh. I love that grandma!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Japanese Treats

I went to Japantown in San Francisco with my husband and kid recently and we got some cute Japanese treats. We got them from a little take-out kiosk in the Kinokuniya Building, across the hall from Suzu. (We had dinner at Suzu that night too, excellent ramen!)

I didn't get the name of the kiosk but they serve small, quick meals and have a really nice variety of Japanese treats. Not candy-type treats but dessert-y type treats. We picked up these three mochi items, one was in a cute little paper cup and two were on sticks. They were all sweet and chewy and quite good.

They had a variety of other interesting items that looked good and we will go back to try more the next time we are there.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

I made Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins out of the Deceptively Delicious cookbook last week. The hidden treasure of nutrition in this recipe is pureed carrots. I steamed the carrots for about 8 minutes and then pureed them in my food processor. The recipe also called for creamy peanut butter, brown sugar, butter, flour, baking soda and baking powder.

After all of the ingredients were combined, I spooned them into paper muffin cups and put a dollop of strawberry preserves on top of each one. Then I baked them at 325 degrees in my convection oven. I only have one muffin tin that holds six muffins so I ended up baking them in the paper cups on a cookie sheet, I wouldn't recommend it. They came out very short and fat, not the most attractive muffins I've seen.

Overall, I would say that they muffins came out pretty good. Next time I would fill the cups up much more, closer to the 3/4 or 4/5ths range, I only filled them up to about 1/2. I would also bake them in muffin tins (I need to get a bigger one, or maybe even two!) so that they would keep their shape better.

The recipe is good, the added carrot does not add any strange taste but I might cut down on the sugar because they were quite sweet. I didn't use a sweetened peanut butter but with the added preserves on the top it definitely topped the sweet meter.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Skinny Ships

I came home this afternoon and my husband had this up on the computer screen. I don't know why he was looking at it but I love it. It is just so cute, I had to post it.

It was on and it is a poster called "Things I Like". Richard Perez is the designer and he has other work on his site that is nice but there is something about this poster that I really like. The colors are nice, the subject is nice and there is a hand-stamped number in the upper left-hand corner that is a really nice touch.

I wish I could buy it to put in my home.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter Cupcakes

My girlfriend Tina and her daughters Isabella (7) and Kira (4) made these colorful Easter cupcakes and brought them to a pot-luck on Easter morning. They were so proud of them and the looked so beautiful I had to take a picture.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I love this song

This is my latest favorite song. Every time I hear it I say "I love this song!" and my husband says "I know. You say that every time." But, I just can't help it. I love this song.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Panettone Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce

Tonight we celebrated my husband's birthday with his family and his sister Kari made bread pudding for dessert. My husband is not a traditional "birthday cake" kinda guy so Kari's choice of making bread pudding was perfect. But, not only was the choice perfect but the bread pudding itself was just about perfect as well.

One of the reasons it was so good was that she used fresh panettone bread from Della Fattoria in Petaluma. They use local and organic ingredients and they bake in brick ovens, how is that for old school? The panettone bread had wonderful dried fruits and the perfect texture for bread pudding. The amaretto sauce was also good, not too sweet with a nice almond flavor.

The recipe Kari used was courtsey of Giada De Laurentiis, from the Food Network site. The recipe is easy and from start to finish takes about an hour. There are not a lot of ingredients, the most expensive of which is the amaretto liqueur, if you don't have any on hand buying a bottle will run you about $25 or so. Other than that and the panettone, it is a lot of whipping cream, whole milk, sugar and eggs, what more could you want out of a bread pudding?

Kari and her husband live in Petaluma, she is a mother of 3 and always cooks a dish or two for our family get togethers. She is a sweetheart to be around and I always look forward to seeing her. Hopefully she will make more great dishes that I can share on my blog.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Banana Bread with Cauliflower

I picked up a new book at Borders the other day, it was on the sale rack and it was buy 2 get the 3rd free. So, I had two books in hand so I threw in Deceptively Delicious . It is a really cute book, the cover art and colors are very retro and I found it instantly appealing.

The book is based on using vegetable purees to add nutrition to foods without adding funky taste. I decided to try out the Banana Bread recipe which uses a cauliflower puree. I was a bit skeptical, cauliflower has a very strong taste and I just couldn't imagine hiding the flavor of it.

So, first I had to make the puree which was very easy, I lightly steamed the cauliflower for 10 minutes, let it cool and then pureed it in my food processor with some water. It came out very smooth and it was pretty quick.

I then followed the recipe which included a combination of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour, brown sugar, egg whites (I used 1 whole egg instead of the 2 egg whites the recipe called for) and both baking powder and baking soda. The directions were really simple, combine the dry ingredients, combine the wet ingredients and then add the dry ones to the wet ones.

20 minutes later I had a nice loaf of banana bread. You can see in the photo, it was a little moist and dense toward the bottom of the loaf, maybe I needed to bake it a little longer. It was a little bit on the grainy side for my taste because of the whole wheat flour, but that makes it much healthier. My family ate it up pretty quick, It was really good sliced and toasted with a little butter.

I was amazed at how the cauliflower just melded in with the bread and there really was no trace of cauliflower flavor. There was not a whole lot of it in there, just 1/4 cup for the whole loaf. I would definitely say it was a success. I'll try it again and maybe play with the proportions a little to lighten it up the texture a bit.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


On Monday, we went to Tom Upon's studio in Menlo Park to take pictures of Brad's pieces for Tiny Sparks Designs. Tom is a professional photographer and old friend of ours. I worked with him years ago when I was in marketing and he has also taken photos of Brad's furniture and done portraits for us too. He is a great guy to work with, really knows his stuff and we always come out with nice pictures.

Tom also teaches people how to get the most out of their digital cameras in Palo Alto, at My folks took a class with him to learn all of the ins and outs of their digital SLR. They really enjoyed it and recommended it to us.

I think Tom is a great person to be teaching that class too. He is really knowledgeable, easy to talk to and a lot of fun. So, if you are in the SF bay area and want to get the most of your digital SLR or your Point-and-Shoot, check out his classes. They are about 1/2 day long and about $125.

Some of the pieces we were shooting were really tricky They are all screen printed artwork on wood and finding the balance between getting the inks to look good, getting the wood grain to stand out and getting a good sheen on the finish was difficult. Some of the inks are metallic and look beautiful in person but were hard to capture in photographs.

Tom used a variety of lighting techniques, did some great straight on photos and then some nice close-up, detail shots too. I think we took about 150 photos. We are currently working on the Tiny Sparks Design website so the photos will be up soon. They are being sorted through, color corrected etc., I can't wait to see them!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tartine Ham and Cheese Croissant

OMG! We had the most amazing ham and cheese croissants from Tartine Bakery this morning for breakfast. This is an indulgence, not an everyday occurrence, one reserved for days like Brad's 38th Birthday. Which by the way is today.

We were introduced to these by our friend Eli Beit-Zuri. After caring for his houseplants while he was galavanting in Argentina, he thanked us by dropping off 3 of these for our breakfast the next morning. Little did we know that inside the inconspicuous, simple brown bag was this unbelievable treat.

The croissant was perfectly crisp on the outside with soft buttery layers on the inside. The combination of ham and cheese was an excellent savory paring to the croissant. All together it was fabulous although very rich and almost impossible to eat an entire one without help. Almost.

By the way, we also had the bread pudding with fruit and a morning bun while sitting in their lovely cafe drinking coffee. Both were wonderful, but especially the morning bun. It was crisp and soft at the same time, covered in sugar and fresh from the oven.

Tartine is legendary in San Francisco, most of the locals know about it and frequent it. I hadn't been in about a year and I had forgotten how good it really is.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Best Pizza Around

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to Kyle Brutschy's house for a homemade pizza dinner. This is something that he does quite often and sometimes when my kid goes over there to play with his kids I get the good fortune of having his pizza for dinner.

He makes the dough a day or two ahead of time, he makes his own sauce and he uses a combination of cheeses, the result is delicious. I think the real key to the success of the pizza is the dough. My husband and I sometimes make pizza at home and Brad often says, "We really need to get Kyle's dough recipe."

So, while Kyle was busy cooking, I wrote down the recipe, took notes as he worked and told him I was going to put it on my blog. So here it is.

• 4-1/2 cups bread flour (chilled)
• 1-3/4 tsp salt
• 1 tsp instant yeast
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1-1/3 cups ice cold water
• Semolina flour for dusting
  1. Stir together flour, salt and yeast in an electric mixer bowl.
  2. With a large metal spoon dipped in water, stir in the oil and cold water until the flour is absorbed.
  3. Use an electric mixer with a dough hook and mix on medium for 5 to 7 min., until dough is smooth and sticky. Sprinkle a little bread flour if the dough is too sticky or more ice water if it is too dry.
  4. Gather dough into a mass in the bowl and sprinkle with semolina flour to avoid sticking.
  5. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. Dough should rise a bit (if you go in and out of the fridge a lot the dough may rise too much).
  6. Remove from fridge 1 to 2 hours before you want to make pizza.
  7. Cut into 4 large pieces and shape.
  8. Make your pizza on a peel or sheet dusted well with semolina flour.
  9. Bake at 500 degrees on a pizza stone for 6 minutes.
He says the chilled bread flour and using semolina flour for dusting are key. He buys his semolina flour at Lucca on Valencia St. in San Francisco (

Good luck, if you try it, let me know how is turns out!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tiny Sparks Design

My husband Brad has just opened an Etsy store! Tiny Sparks Designs is where he creates original designs screen printed onto wood.

All of his pieces are printed on domestic woods which are salvaged or locally harvested, he uses water based inks and does all the printing by hand.

Brad is a furniture maker by trade, he has been doing it for almost 20 years, it is pretty much all he knows how to do. He also teaches furniture making at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has been there for almost 10 years.

In addition to making art, he also builds custom furniture. He has an amazing eye for detail and the quality of his work is beautiful, you have to see it in person to really appreciate it.

Here are are couple of his designs. He has more on the Etsy store and more in production. I'll post more when they are done.

I love the birch logs with the heart. They are printed on a piece of Birch, cool huh?