December 10, 2010

The Ultimate Ugly Christmas Sweater

This year my husband's office is having a contest for the ugliest holiday sweater... This contest was made for me!  I decided that the ultimate ugly sweater had to have a few basic components:  sound, lights, motion, and bling.  I immediately started searching eBay for something ugly, but not more than that, I wanted something truly unique.

What I found far exceeded even my expectations!  No kitten sweater or country chic could beat this one!
The theme for the sweater seemed to be "gifts" as it had many different types of holiday gifts knit onto it.  There was a clock, gloves, a purse, a mug, and even a bottle of faux Chanel No. 1 perfume.  It was beyond good, but I knew I could make it better.  The best part was that the christmas sweater actually came with another tiny christmas sweater knit onto the front of it.  

Which of course led us to label it the "meta sweater".  
 To add the sound, I hand stitched a stocking with an animated reindeer onto one shoulder.  
The bonus being that the reindeer also danced while it played music! 
  I added lights powered by a battery pack, and then hot glued rhinestones and bells all over it.

** update 1: won the office party contest!  $100 gift card for Italian food.  Yum.
** update 2: won a gift basket from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group!  Delish.
** update 3: won the San Francisco Chronicle Ugly Holiday Sweater Jubilee.  Won two video games, some nice smelling soaps, and tickets to Shrek: The Musical.  Plus, a really hilarious write up.
** update 4: won $500 gift card from
** update 5: won $250 from Woman's Day magazine online


October 31, 2010

Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Warning:  These are even more tempting and addictive than all of that Halloween candy!  

You'll need: 
2 or 3 pumpkins (medium carving size)
4 tbsp oil (vegetable or peanut)
3/4 cup organic turbinado raw cane sugar (or other granulated sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp mace (or nutmeg)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt

Hollow out pumpkins for carving and reserve the seeds.  Tip... separating seeds from sticky strands is easier if you put them in a bowl of water because the seeds will float.  Each pumpkin should yield about a cup of seeds.  Set the seeds aside on a paper towel to blot dry just a bit.  Then place them in a 9x12 dish in the oven at 250 degrees until they are dried out.  You are not roasting them, so they should not turn color.  This is just to completely dry them out.  Turn and stir them every 15 minutes.  Drying takes about an hour. Let the seeds cool.

Prepare dry rub in a heatproof bowl.  Mix salt, spices, and 1/2 cup of the sugar.  Set aside.

Then, in a nonstick pan, heat the oil on high.  Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the pumpkin seeds stirring constantly until the sugar begins to melt and carmelize and the pumpkin seeds begin to lightly brown.  This takes about a minute or two.  Transfer seeds into the bowl with dry rub and toss.  Stir until coated completely.  Break apart any lumps as they begin to cool.
Serve immediately or cool and keep for up to a week (as if they'd last that long)...
Happy Halloween! 

October 29, 2010

Gallery Show: DIA DE LOS MUERTOS Opening!

Had an amazing time tonight at the Opening for the Dia de Los Muertos show downtown.  
It was a thrilling night of art and festivities.  

The evening started with a procession called a Novenario, down Olvera Street.
The incense burners and marigolds are traditional these processions. 
 The procession continued past amazing altars and ended in front of the gallery.
 My painting "Calavera" was on the front wall.  
My mother, Pat Langewis, also had a painting in the show which was hanging next to mine.  
The curator hung them together without knowing we are related.  Isn't that amazing?
 One of my favorite pieces in the show was a large installation by Gary Baseman.
Here's my daughter standing in front of it, dressed as a bride for the procession.
Brides and grooms with skull faces are traditional dress.  As are angels and devils.
 This is Gary and I in front of his wicked installation.
It was such an awesome night, I can't wait until next year!

October 26, 2010

Recipe: Candy Corn Cookies

This isn't exactly a recipe... just wanted to share with you something fun that I tried this week.  
I had to bake something for a Halloween carnival.  I thought immediately of candy corn cookies.  After a failed attempt putting candy corn in the mix.  And a second failed attempt putting the candy corn on top of the dough and then baking (the candy corn melts)...  Third try was the charm!

Just make your favorite chocolate chip cookies, heck you can even cheat and make slice and bake cookies.  I won't tell a soul.  Then, when they are fresh from the oven, press one candy corn into each cookie.  That's it.  You just have to press it into the still soft cookies when they are fresh from the oven.  Place on cooling racks and there you go.
  Instant Halloween fun.  Yum Yum.

October 23, 2010

Gallery Show: LAND OF ODD

The Opening tonight at the Land of Odd Gallery was so much fun!  My two skull paintings "Jardinero" and "Tierra" were on the main wall as you walked into the space.  They were hanging on either side of an amazing alter full of cool miniature artworks.  Everything looked great against the mustard colored walls.  It's a new look for this gallery which really worked well with the artwork.
I also ran into artist Sheri DeBow who makes amazing dolls, paintings and wall hangings.  
This was my favorite piece she had in the next room of the show.  
Isn't it brilliant?

October 16, 2010


I'm super excited to announce that my painting "Calavera" has been chosen for the gallery show "Sacred Memories" at The Pico House Gallery in Los Angeles.  The opening reception is October 29th from 6-9pm.  It's a really fun event.  I hope that if you are in the LA area, you'll come by the show.  It's a great chance to see lots of Day of the Dead art and experience the amazing food and culture of nearby Olvera Street.  Hope to see you there!

October 14, 2010

Eden Original: Milagro Manos

 I started this painting in 2008 and it has gone through several stages.  I wanted to express the healing power of touch.  So many times when people are ill, we don't want to touch them, but a hand or a hug might be just what they need most.  It may not heal the illness, but it can go a long way to heal the soul.

October 9, 2010

Making Christmas Blocks

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... in my Etsy shop!  I have just started to get things ready for the holidays.  First up, I took some plain wooden blocks and painted fun holiday designs all over them.  I painted each side of the blocks a different color... black, white, pink, red, pale green, and dark green.  Then using paint pens I doodled fun designs on some of the sides.

I had a great time thinking about designs that felt like the holidays to me, but in a really graphic way.  Little snowmen, trees, and snowflakes.  And I knew they'd look adorable on a tabletop... but I didn't know how addictive it would be to play with them.  I can arrange and re-arrange them for days!  Depending on which colors you have facing forward, it's a whole new look.... pink and green... red and white... black and red... it's really fun!

I have three sets of blocks now available in my Etsy shop.  Have fun!

September 21, 2010

Eden Original: Three Mermaids and a Skull

Just completed four new paintings.  Three mermaids and a skull.  They are acrylic on wood panels.  Love painting on wood because it gives the pieces so much texture.  All four will be available in my etsy store soon...

Halloween Craft - Basket of Roses

Running through Tarjay this morning and I saw that the good people working there are already moving some of the Halloween things over to make room for Christmas decorations.  I don't know about you, but I love Halloween, so even though it's not even October yet, I thought I'd better grab what I need now before all the bony skeletons are replaced by fat little Santas. 

My five year old daughter is that princessy age where if it's fancy and pink then it's good and everything else is just not.  I was suddenly inspired by the cheapo plastic pumpkin baskets, which this year come in green, pink, purple, and orange.  A super bargain at 99 cents!  I grabbed two in green which I thought I could later transform into something pink and fancy for my daughter and terrifying and ghoulish for my ten year old son.

I decided to make a basket of flowers for her to carry.  So, I decapitated a bunch of silk flowers and grabbed the low temp glue gun.  I say "low temp" because I knew I'd be using my fingers a lot for this one and didn't want to burn myself.  For this project I used a dozen pink roses.  I think this is the minimum you'd want, but you could always use more.
First, I took some green craft paint and painted out the black markings on the basket.  I don' t think this is strictly necessary, but I didn't want it to show through too much.  When this part dried, I started gluing the roses around the top opening of the basket.  I put the glue on the side of each rose so that they'd be facing up.  This makes sure that they hold really well and looks prettiest when people start dropping the candies in.
Then I turned the basket upside down and took apart some of the flowers.  Using just the petals, I glued them down in layers starting at the base and moving down the basket.  I glued down the center and the lower petals only so that there would be some overlapping.  I didn't mind if the green showed through (this is why I picked green).  When it was completely covered I glued down a few of the silk leaves here and there.
To finish it, I wrapped the black plastic handle with pink tulle.  You could replace the handle completely with ribbon if you'd prefer, but I wanted to have a little structure to it.  I tied the end of the tulle into a bow on one side.
I might add a couple embellishments later depending on the costume she chooses to wear.  Also, when you take the flowers apart, there are obvious holes in the middle.  You can cover these with coordinating craft paint, or glue on gems or sequins if you think they are too noticeable.
I also want to add that I got the flowers at the 99 cent store, so the whole thing cost me $3.  Now that's pink, fancy, and affordable!

September 16, 2010

New Painting - Marie Antionette

Sometimes when paintings are finished I will enjoy them for a while and then it's fun to take them down and completely rework them.  I'll obliterate the original either by painting over the entire canvas with white or black to give myself a clean slate, or by creating many layers of images and markings on the canvas until it finally feels like an entirely new piece.  

Often the entire original painting is obscured with marks, but with this particular painting you can see quite a bit of the original still life showing through.  I love doing this because it keeps with the style of urban graffiti I saw all the time when I used to live in New York.  Taggers would paint something on the side of a building over a movie poster or something similar and then later someone else would come along and paint over that until there were layers upon layers of brilliant artistic expression.

Here's my original painting in 2007.
To revamp this pretty painting I decided to keep the flowers, but I wanted to add some graffiti life to it.  I started by drawing some more floral shapes on top and dripping paint onto the canvas from the side.  I often do this in my graffiti paintings because I like the feeling of defying gravity when you see the paint dripping onto the canvas from the side.
I wanted to add a figure and the pale aqua background made me think of Marie Antionette.  I've had a bit of an obsession with her since my parents took me to Versailles for my 13th birthday.  I don't know why they thought I needed to see the bedroom of a young beheaded queen when I was just becoming a young woman myself, but that's where we went and it did have a tremendous impact on me.  I even stole a piece of the plaster from her bedroom which was under renovation at the time.  I remember holding it so often that it finally crumbled to nothing.
I stencilled stars onto the canvas because that represents the similarity between royalty in Marie's time and the way that Hollywood stars are treated today.  With adulation, until we get tired or bored and then they are discarded and thrown out with yesterday's tabloids.
Of course I had to add a bit of her famous phrase, "Let them eat cake".  This was also a wink at the Hollywood starlet fascination with beauty and living carb-free.  Just my way of saying you should enjoy life and eat some cake already!!!

The finished painting still has the roses in the background, but the focus of the artwork is now Marie's face.  And the painting is a riot of colors and elaborate delicious decoration.  Just like her fanciful court.  Too much is never too much.
"Eat Cake"
18x24 inches
acrylic on canvas