Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Midnight Bao Quest

Fry/Steam Method
I had a HUGE urge to make bao tonight.  I've never done it before and I don't have a steamer, but the show must go on and I MUST eat bao!  I found a great online recipe for bao dough and made an ad-lib pork/cabbage filling.  I'm pretty happy with the taste of the filling.  I'll have to recreate it in the future and write down my filling recipe.  I have a bad habit of winging it w/ cooking, I don't write my measurements down.  I mostly go by taste and whatever I have at home, i.e. if I don't have lemon juice I'll use vinegar...

Here's the dough recipe from
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 14 2/3 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
For the filling I used:
(Sorry there are no measurements for these... I just starting throwing stuff in a bowl)
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • shredded/finely chopped cabbage (same volume ratio of cabbage-to-pork)
  • finely chopped garlic and ginger
  • salt, black pepper, white pepper, soy sauce
  • olive oil (I would have added sesame oil, but I ran out)
I pretty much followed the instructions on the link for the dough and then mixed my filling ingredients while the dough rises.  I made 24 smaller bao's from this recipe.  Because I don't have a large steamer I had to look for an alternative way to cook these.  I found this great video where they fried then steamed the buns in a saucepan.  PERFECT! 

A Damn Good Bao!
The frying/steaming process basically calls for you to heat up canola oil in a large saucepan then place the uncooked bao's in the pan.  Fry them until the bottom is golden brown then pour in a cup of water and cover with a lid.  Cook/steam them until you hear sizzling, remove the lid and let the excess water cook off.  The finished fried/steamed bao looks like the picture above.  Nice a crispy on the bottom and fluffy on top!  Best of both worlds!  But you need to take care and not burn the bao with frying them for too long.  I burned my first batch!

I made 24 bao's, froze half and cooked half.  I'm fully satisfied and going back to work now. :)
Bao Quest completed!  I might have to do a step by step post about this in the future.  Bao is definitely on the menu now.  It wasn't that hard and being able to freeze them makes it easy to prep for a few days worth of meals.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Limited Edition Prints Available

I Have Prints!
Limited editions prints are now available. 
I've been sitting on these prints for a few months now.  This was a joint venture between me and the gallery I've been working with in Milan.  They turned out really well, but got damaged during shipping from Italy.  I was heart broken.  I didn't want to sell them because they were damaged, but I also need to recoup the cost of printing and shipping...  I'd like to get something back for our time and effort.  These were originally priced higher, but I'm offering them for much less.  :)  This offer is only through my blog and my FB.  Since I don't have a shopping cart please email me if you'd like to buy a print.  I will update this post when they sell out.

8 Raven prints left & 7 Elephant prints left.
The prints are $40 each and shipping within the US is about $15.
I will ship them in a heavy duty shipping sleeve wedged in cardboard.  It's about 3 pounds, but very bulky.  I think international shipping will cost prohibitive, but feel free to contact me if you'd like a shipping quote outside of the US.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

"The Raven & The Sun" print
17" high  x 11.5" wide
Printed on high quality matte paper.  There are slight corner dings on the bottom corners.
Limited run of 25, signed and numbered
$40.00 per print + Shipping (about $15 within the US)
To purchase please contact me:

Detail of corner ding on Raven print...  I'm pretty sure framing will hide the ding.

"The Last Elephant" print
17" high  x 11.5" wide
Printed on high quality matte paper.  There are slight corner dings on the bottom corners.
Limited run of 25, signed and numbered
$40.00 per print + Shipping (about $15 within the US)
To purchase please contact me:

Detail of corner ding on Elephant print...  I'm pretty sure framing will hide the ding.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank You Veterans!

Sky High
Today is Veteran's Day in the US.  I'd like to give a big thank you to all the veterans out there as well as the men and women who are serving our country.  I'm very grateful to be an American citizen.  I'm grateful for all the opportunities that I have and I'm grateful to the nation that took my family in and embraced us as one of her own. 

This was a commission I did last year, I feel terrible it took this long to post about it.  This "Sky High" crayon set has to be one of my favorite pieces to date.  It came at the request of Carmen as a "Welcome Home" gift to Manny, a retired Army helicopter pilot.  In her words, "Having him come home meant the world to me as he was medivac-ed out of Afghanistan, alive".  Manny has served for +18 years in the US Army, with the last 8 years in combat.  Thank you for picking me to make such a special gift Carmen!  I wish the two of you many happy years together!

This is my interpretation of Manny's Kiowa helicopter. There was a lot of creative challenges on how to represent such a large object with so many details on such a small surface. I ended up wrapping the helicopter's image around the crayon. You would have to spin the crayon around to see the full image. You can click on the image to see a larger resolution.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pictures From Milan

A Closer Look
Some pictures from the opening in Milan.  I love how everything was installed, they did such a great job.  Thank you Patricia and KAPPAO!

The Opening in Milan
My embroidery work on the wall and the carved crayons and pencils on pedestals.  KAPPAO made the wooden pedestals and the gallery had the glass(?) covers made.  I can't express enough how wonderful it's been working with Patricia and the gallery.  They've done so much!

The People
The people looking.

The Opening in Milan
Another view of the gallery.  My work on the floor and KAPPAO's work on the wall.

Here is a view of all of my pieces in the show. If you'd like to see them individually you can follow this link:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Delicacy of Tiny Things Opened Today!

Orca (#102) 2012
Orca (#102) 2012
Carved carpenter’s pencil
3 7/8"H x 5/8"W x 1/4"D

My show in Milan at Galleria Patricia Armocida just opened today!  Here are a few more pieces that will be in the show.  I wish I could have been there for the opening, but from what I hear it was a packed opening!  This is also the first time I will have prints available for sale at the gallery.  100 prints are available, 50 prints of each "The Last Elephant" and "The Raven and The Sun".  This is a very limited run, but hopefully we'll be able to offer more prints of other artworks in the future.

Full Sail (#100) 2012
Full Sail (#100) 2012
Carved carpenter’s pencil
3 9/16"h x 5/8"w x ¼"

Interview with Gaia on Vendetta Uncinetta!
My interview with Gaia Segattini on Vendetta Uncinette!  It's in Italian, but Google does a decent job of translating.  Thank you Gaia :)

Delicacy of Tiny Things Invite
The gallery printed this uber cool invite!  It's a little booklet that's sewn together.  I believe the text might be an amalgam of my handwriting and KAPPAO's handwriting?  I recognize some of the lettering, but not all of it.  Patricia really put a lot of time and effort into this!  Bravo, this is such a cool card!

Inside of the booklet/invite
Delicacy of Tiny Things invite card interior.
My image on the left and KAPPAO's image on the right.  Both have embossed detail!  This is totally going the extra mile.

Embossed Elephant
Embossed elephant on invite.

Octopus (#108) 2012
Octopus (#108) 2012
3 3/8”h x 5/16”w x 5/16”d
Carved Crayola crayon

Another crayon piece in the Milan show.

Octopus (#108) Detail
Detail of Octopus.

My first try at taking a 360 video of my crayons.  Sorry for the shakiness folks, this is quite crude!  I need to make a rotating stand and get a tripod for my camera.  I'd like to do a video for all of my carved work.  The photos are great, but I feel you can miss a lot detail.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

NYC Day 5 -Good Buys

The People
I met with some friends for brunch on my last day.  One of the best things about collecting Blythe dolls is getting to meet other collectors when you travel!  Thank you Siri, Katie, Hsin, Micheal and George for arranging the meet!  We'd like to give a big thanks to Clayton & Jeff as well for taking us out to dinner and showing us around town.  It's a pity to forgot to take pictures with you guys!!!

We mostly hung out with friends and did some shopping on our last day.  We hit Saks, Kinokuniya, Uniqlo and a Japanese sweets shop, as well as revisited some favorite eats and rode the subway for one last time.  It was hard to leave this amazing city, hopefully we've taken home a bit of NY in our outlook.

 Rummage Sale
Block party/rummage sale.
It was fun seeing what NY junk was all about.  I feel pretty good about the Fremont Sunday Market now.  We do well in comparison. ;) If anyone out there is visiting Seattle I would recommend going to this weekly market along with Pike Place Market.  I should really do a "must see" post for Seattle visitors.

 Inside Minamoto Kitchoan NYC
Minamoto Kitchoan
I found this AMAZING wagashi shop in Midtown just as we were leaving town.  This is a must go if you like Japanese sweets.  Being in here made me want to go back to Japan so badly!  Everything is so lovely and delicious!  We bought a few things to take back with us.  They will also ship via their online store.

Traditional Wagashi
Seasonal and year round treats.
These are packed so well I didn't want to eat them!

 My Little Lovely
We had to get this lovely White Peach jelly bundle.  It's an entire peach that's been poached and set in jelly.  It was fantastic and so refreshing, I kept the packaging of course.

CUTE scarf/hanky in Kinokunyia NYC
Kinokuniya doesn't allow photography... I found out as I took this shot!  These were really cute hankies and I should have bought one, but alas I didn't.  I don't have the company's info either, it was in a gift shop on the 2nd floor.
I'm very lucky we have 2 Kinokuniya in town, one in Seattle and the other in Bellevue.  They're like the Barnes and Noble of Japan.  They have a great art and crafts section as well as a large selection of manga.

Good Bye NYC!
NYC was fantastic, I can't wait to come back and I'm sad I have to leave.  It's incredibly motivational to be around so much energy all week long.  I think the NY paste has inspired us to push ourselves a little harder and pack a little more newness into our everyday lives. Thank you NYC, Saks & Crayola, we'll be back!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

NYC Day 4 - Hitting the Museums

Rooftop garden at the Met
Being a tourist was the focus today with the "work" part of my trip behind me. My husband and I hit 4 museums, 3 tourist highlights and several favorite shops in NYC all in one day. We bought a one day New York Pass, if we had more time we would have bought a 2 or 3 day pass.  The one day pass is $80 and the 2 day pass is $130, less if you buy online ahead of time.  You really have to be disciplined at getting to as many of the locations as possible to get your money's worth.  Having the pass also gets you to go to more places.  I tend to be a lazy tourist, I like to stop by a district or neighborhood and just wander.  I seldom have an itinerary so having this pass gave me a game plan.  It's also comparable to the City Pass, but has more museums and gardens and sites associated with it.  I also recommend getting the 7 day unlimited MetroCard if you're staying close to a week in NYC.  This card will work for both bus and subway and you can use it as many times as you like.  Each ride on the subway is $2.25 and there's no transfer ticket.  So every time you get on and off it's $2.25, that can add up fast.

Us in front of the Guggenheim
Our first stop was the Guggenheim. It was the furthest north, we wanted to start there and work our way down. They were cleaning the exterior that day so we got to see a mid-air rope dance with the cleaners. I really enjoyed seeing Rineke Dijkstra's retrospective. A big thanks to some French ladies to took this pic for us!

Cleaning the Guggenheim
Cleaning the Guggenheim.
We also hit the Neue Gallerie, but they were closed to install an upcoming exhibit?  I was SO BUMMED!!!  Many of my favorite artists are in there.  I wanted to make a run for the elevator, but NYC has some of the biggest and toughest (looking) doormen!  The doorman was really nice at the Neue, I tried to talk my way in, but no luck.  I'll just have to come back next time.

  The Met
Our next stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  HOLY WOW this place is big.  I had no idea how huge it is and how much work was in there!  We spent more than 3 hours and barely made a scratch.  I could see visiting NYC just to see the Met. 

Entry at the Met
The lobby at the Met

Marble Sarcophagus
One of my favorite pieces in the Greco-Roman wing.
Marble sarcophegus
Roman, about A.D. 220-230
Dionysos on a panther with this attendants.  The Four Seasons as winged youths, Tellus (the earth) and Oceanus (a river), reclining.
Probably found in Rome. 

Fabergé Lily of the Valley
Getting to see some Fabergé work up close was also a treat. Being a carver of tiny things I'm totally in awe!
More pictures of the Met

We took a quick lunch break after the Met and made our way to the Whitney only to be surprised with a HUGE line!  I don't know what was going on that day, everyone was in line to see Yayoi Kusama's work.  We debated whether or not to spend our precious hours standing in line.  We had bought a pass already, but still had to wait... we stayed and finally got in.  They really need a better ticketing system, it was very inefficient.

Chrome Hearts in NYC
We were museum-ed out after the Whitney and decided to wander through the Upper East Side.  We popped into this TINY Chrome Hearts store and window shopped.  I like some of their stuff, my husband is a bigger fan.

Laduree in NYC
We made a visit to the Ladurée shop next door and purchased some sweets for later. ;)

Laduree in NYC
By now our feet have melted off our body and everything is sore from 5-6 straight hours of walking.  We stopped back in the hotel to freshen up and lay down for an hour.  We ate some macarons from Ladurée's and sipped on a giant cup of coffee from Starbucks.  I normally don't drink Starbucks when I'm in Seattle, there are too many great coffee shops here, but when traveling they're consistent and dependable!  We Seattlites will curl up and die if we don't have coffee in our veins.  LOL

OK!  The evening's sites include: Grand Central Station, Top of the Rock @ 30Rock and Times Square.  Can you tell I'm trying to pack everything in?  My poor husband got dragged along, he calls it "The Bataan Death March".

Grand Central at night
We took the subway to Grand Central, the sun was setting and I was losing light fast.  I didn't get a lot of good pics of Grand Central, but it was cool to be there at rush hour.  I tried not to get in people's way, but it's nearly impossible.  The crowd dynamics in NYC is much different than in Tokyo.  I would say Tokyo is much denser, but no one ever bumps into you.  It's pretty incredible how the Japanese can navigate a crowded subway.  I loved seeing the diversity in NYC though, there are so may distinctively different people and cultures.  I'm sure it's a cause for abrasion at times, but the variety you get to live within is well worth it.

View of Time Square from Top of the Rock
It was pitch dark by the time we made it to Top of the Rock.  I didn't have a tripod with me and my hands are shaky.  This is a shot of Times Square from Top of the Rock.  It's that bright spot in the dark.  The city lights are incredible from up here.  We decided to make our way to Times Square from here.

Walking Through Times Square
You knew where to go by the volume of light emitted!  What a stunning sight and total visual overload.  We were lucky to be there when a few streets were closed.  I guess they had a parade earlier in the day?  We got to wander through the streets without worries.

Walking Through Times Square
It was fun to walk through, I think night time is when Times Square really shines.

Goldie says Hello!
And that's it for our 4th Day in NYC! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Carving Crayons At Fashion's Night Out NYC

Getting ready for the festivities at the Rockefeller Center.

Me in front of the doors at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Walking to Saks the morning of the event.

Me on the 4th floor of Saks 5th Ave.  I was scheduled to do some carving just a few feet away later that night.

4th floor atrium

Setting up
Setting for the night.
The set up was a little crazy and we started about 15 minutes late.  Everyone was very friendly and helpful. 

 Carving at Saks
The carving begins!

 Carving at Saks
It was cool getting to talk to everyone.  They originally had set up some ropes around my table, but I wanted people to be able to come right up and see what I was doing.  I would have felt funny being roped off the whole night. :P

 Carving at Saks
I was carving for about 3 hours, but didn't even get close to done on that crayon.  I spent a lot of time talking with people.  It was also hard to concentrate with everything going on.  I had a lot of fun though, I hope everyone who attended had fun too.

The people, a very well dressed crowd.

A friend and I decided to joust with our giant crayons during the breakdown.  It was an amazing night.  A BIG thanks to everyone who came out!