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Don’t Forget to Cook

That’s what I need to tell myself sometimes. I get so stressed out and the process of cooking can be so soothing. It’s easy to let cooking slide into the category of all the other things I hate about being a housewife (laundry, straightening up, doing the dishes, more laundry.) But then I remember that I actually like to cook. And I especially love cooking something that will be appreciated. There is nothing I can cook that will be appreciated by my young children, who would be happy to subsist entirely on happy meals and goldfish. So I mistakenly let cooking drift into the category of things I hate about being a housewife.

After the stress of getting 3 little kids out the door with their Valentines day crap, I realized I had neglected to eat breakfast and I made this. Fried polenta with a tomato basil brunoise, and feta scrambled eggs. And darn it was good.

Gradient Mesh Cherries

Cherries made using the mesh gradient tool in illustrator.

This is an exercise I did to learn to use the gradient mesh tool in illustrator. It was kind of self indulgent really, as it doesn’t do a thing to advance my drawing skills. It’s just a matter of tracing some shapes from a photo and then mapping them out with gradient meshes. The end result is kind of fun but not really my style – too air-brush-y for me. But there’s something really fun about doing it. Here’s a screen shot of what the “mesh” looks like:

Gradient Mesh Cherries Screenshot

It takes a bit of practice to get the gradients down the way you want them but I think it’s worth it to learn. This is a powerful tool in illustrator and some use it to make super photo-realistic art.

Here is my original photo. It’s one of my favorites, taken in 2010 at home using a lightbox:

A photo of cherries taken with a lightbox.

Candy Corn Illustration

Candy Corn Vector Illustration

Just a simple illustration of some candy corn, done more for practice than anything else. I’m trying to concentrate on 2 things these days: Getting better at illustrator, and finishing projects. I’m starting to understand that the quality of line is the single most important thing in vector graphics and the only way to acheive that is by practice. Also the overall palette is something that requires a lot of planning and strategy. Just using the eyedropper tools to randomly pick colors from the reference photo is not going to cut it.

I think this would look cute as a note card or a tee-shirt eventually, when the season is right.

Ode to a Tastykake

The Tasty-Klair
The Tasty-Klair

Everyone has a childhood food they crave. Lately for me it’s been all about the Tastykake; or more specifically, the Tasty-Klair pie.

I’ve had a hankering for one that will not leave me alone. It’s the kind of desire that will not go away until it’s actually been fulfilled. For some reason I’ve been resisting. I actually walked into a Wawa the other night to get milk and there were Tasty Klairs sitting there – on sale, nonetheless! But I turned away. Silly me, I was feeling virtuous, thinking about the gym, and how many minutes on the treadmill it would take to burn 380 calories and blah blah blah blah blah. It doesn’t matter. One must be eaten in order to make the desire go away.

How Many Calories in a Tastykake Tasty-klair
The next night I sent my husband back to the store to get one, bless his heart. Due to a miscommunication he brought back a Good Humor Chocolate Eclair. Not too shabby a treat, but nonetheless not a Tasty Klair.

Today at the supermarket I was determined to fulfill my desire but there were none to be found. Instead I came away with these:

Pretty darn good, but again, not the same.

There’s a lesson here, I think. It might be something profound, on the other hand it may be as simple as this: If you have a hankering for a tastykake, for goodness sake, just go and eat one. And also counting calories will get you nowhere. Consuming calories will get you everywhere and more.