Archive for September, 2009

Blog pet peeves…

September 30, 2009

I just read an interesting thread in the Etsy forums about blog pet-peeves.  They ranged from instantly playing music to light text on a dark background and all topics in between.  One complaint was not enough personal information and photos on blogs.  So, I am going to share a little photo with you…here we are, M and J…  M is “mom” but my real name is Malea.  J is my son, park after tech museumThis picture was taken in a park in San Jose, California, just outside of the San Jose Tech Museum.  It is a great little place if you ever get the chance to visit!  When we went, tickets were only $10 USD which INCLUDES admission to an IMAX movie!  In our hometown IMAX movies, without anything else, cost more than that for one ticket! The exhibits ranged from computer technology to energy conservation and alternative energy production to to water technology.  It was pretty cool and very hands on.  Fun for both JP and I!  In this picture JP is pretending to eat his sour apple rock candy…as soon as the picture was taken he ripped the wrapper off and crunched away at that green, sugary goodness!



September 30, 2009

If you like M and J’s ACEO‘s (Art Cards Editions and Originals…ours are originals) or have an interest in our OOPS items (ones with mistakes), we would like to announce FREE shipping!  ACEO’s ship free within the USA and for a mere $1 USD to the rest of the world. the OOPS’s, well, we’d just like to get rid of them, and are shipping them for FREE to anywhere in the world!

Missing and Found: Creative Mojo!

September 24, 2009

Yep, that’s right…I’ve been missing my creative mojo!  J has still been coming up with great ideas and feeding them to me but everything I’ve attempted until literally an hour ago, has just not worked out.  Sigh…does anyone else have several days in a row like this? How do you handle it?  My solution has been to overdose on independent and foreign films.

An hour ago, however, I was fiddling with several in-progress ACEO’s (art cards – editions and originals; baseball card size) and watching “Dreams” by Akira Kurosawa.  And, suddenly inspiration knocked me over and climbed up my arm, over my shoulder, up my neck and into my ear.  Inspiration bored its way into my brain and decided to take a seat.  Within minutes I found myself cutting bristol paper to make ACEO’s, busting out paints in shades of blue and green, and getting to work.

These new ACEO’s will actually be designed as meditation or prayer cards.  Seems several people I know are going through some stressful times and a few have mentioned prayer and meditation recently.

So far, the cards are just in the early stages and have a lot more to be done but here is an early photo:

meditation cards 3

By the way, some of the best films I’ve watched over the last few days are:

  • Dreams – Akira Kurosawa (but skip the creepy short about a nuclear power plant explosion…it became gross and I had to fast forward)
  • On a Clear Day (British)
  • Pearl Diver
  • How to Cook Your Life (documentary about Buddhism and food)
  • Wendy and Lucy (depressing but good)
  • The Constant Gardener
  • What About Bob? (an oldie but goodie…)


September 20, 2009

We’ve had a change of heart and our blog will be sticking around after all!

M and J have just listed the following piece in our Etsy shop…Click HERE to go to the listing or click HERE to go to the storefront.

Octopus Triptych - Pen and Paint on Canvas

Octopus Triptych - Pen and Paint on Canvas

Ocean love…three octopi need a loving home…

This triptych of octopi is made with pen and paint on cotton duck canvas. Each features a two-color octopus on a bright green background with 3-dimensional dots surrounding the octopus.

red octopus
Each canvas measures 5in x 5in x 3/4in (12.7cm x 12.7cm x 1.9cm) and is gallery wrapped to be hung without framing (though, of course, you may frame them if you wish!). Each octopus has tentacles that roam over the edge of the canvas and back to the front.

red octopus 9

***Please note: Colors may appear slightly different on your screen. The colors are quite bright.***


red octopus 10


September 15, 2009

Mr. Squid in all his blue and white glory has officially been listed in our Etsy shop!  Check him out!

Mr. Squid on Women's Medium Short Sleeve Tshirt

Mr. Squid on Women's Medium Short Sleeve Tshirt

Preview of what’s to come…

September 15, 2009

Well, it is T0-Do Tuesday!  And, believe me, there is plenty to do today!  It all starts with a morning of household chores, followed by stenciling, photo taking, uploading to Etsy, a school test for J, more chores, more stenciling and uploading, and a tutoring job for M in the evening (I hope…details are still a bit up in the air!).

I am a total list maker!  I am obsessive over my lists to the point that I sometimes don’t get anything from the list completed but I’m working hard to fix that.  This past weekend I took all of my to-do lists (I usually have several going all at once) and combined them into one master list, broken down into categories.  Much easier to manage but I still haven’t gotten much done from that master list!  Hopefully by the end of “To Do Tuesday” that will have changed!  Stay tuned for an update later in the day…

In the meantime, I am so excited by the latest items being prepared for the M and J Designs Etsy shop that I just had to share a little preview!  The problem with projects that turn out exactly the way you imagine them is that you end up wanting to keep them for yourself!  These beauties are no exception…

A little preview of Mr. Squid

A little preview of Mr. Squid


More UFOs....

More UFOs....

Monday Munchies – Eggplant, Bell Pepper, Tomato Pizza

September 15, 2009

Love tomatoes? Eggplant? Bell peppers?  Put them together on top of a nice crust and you’ve got a great pizza pie for dinner!

The J half of M and J doesn’t like tomato, eggplant or bell pepper.  Thus, he got pizza crust with sauce and a drizzle of olive oil…and, because we are both allergic to dairy products, we opted for no cheese.  Try it sometime…cheeseless pizza is yummy!

pizza pieThe original recipe can be found at the Williams-Sonoma website.  We altered it a bit to suit our tastes, timeline, and ingredients on hand.

My altered recipe:

1 1/2 Cups frozen bell pepper strips (I like the tricolor mix); thawed
1 medium eggplant
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large, ripe tomatoe, cut into thin slices
4 Tbs. olive oil
1 C of your favorite pizza or pasta sauce

FOR THE DOUGH (This part of the recipe is from the original, it is very thin and crispy. Of course, feel free to try your own favorite pizza dough or prebaked crust)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup water

Preheat an oven to 450°F. (For those that wait until it’s really necessary, preheat FIRST…its really necessary.)

If your frozen bell pepper strips are not already thawed, thaw them now and drain any liquids.

Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and roast, turning several times to cook evenly, until the skin is wrinkled and shriveled, about 45 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a paper bag (SERIOUSLY…). Close the bag and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.

This is a good point to make your crust if you are doing it from scratch: In a bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the flour and add the olive oil and egg yolk. Gradually add the water, mixing the wet ingredients into the flour little by little with a wooden spoon. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until soft, smooth and elastic, about 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place until the dough puffs slightly, about 30 minutes.

While the eggplant cools in its bag and your crust dough rests, heat 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Add the pepper strips and garlic. Saute until garlic is translucent and peppers are starting to wilt. Place pepper-garlic mixture in a bowl and add olives.

Remove the eggplant from its bag and peel off the skin. Cut into thin strips (about the same size as your bell pepper strips). Add to the bell pepper mixture. Mix together and season with salt and pepper.

Lightly oil a 12-by-9-inch rimmed baking sheet. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle to fit the pan. Press into the prepared pan and trim away any excess dough.

Cover the dough base with the pizza/pasta sauce and layer with tomato slices. Drizzle 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over the tomato slices. Arrange the eggplant mixture evenly over the tomatoes and drizzle with the remaining oil.

Bake until the edges are beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Cut into squares and serve warm. Serves 6.

I did not have fresh bell peppers. It was great using frozen but I bet it would be even better with fresh. If you have fresh peppers, follow the link to the original recipe for instructions on roasting and peeling them.

I thought the crust was just right. JP thought it was too thin and crispy. Since JP really doesn’t like bell peppers, I left one end with just sauce and cut that portion just for him. I meant to put olives on it but used them all up in the pepper-eggplant mixture. He didn’t seem to mind.

This could easily be made vegan by replacing the egg with Ener-G egg replacer, flax or whatever your preferred vegan egg substitute may be.

Postcards and Stamps

September 15, 2009

I thought I would take a moment to share some of the postcards to most recently make their way to my mailbox.  And…one fabulous stamp, courtesy of my dear friend Valerie in France!

Sent from Finland

Sent from Finland

and another…

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

And, this is the nicest stamp I think I have ever seen…all the way from France:

France stamp from ValerieOne more postcard…

A postcard from Cameroon but mailed from the Netherlands!

A postcard from Cameroon but mailed from the Netherlands!

First day of new categories…

September 14, 2009

Today is the first day that I will be officially blogging on a schedule and using categorized days.  Mondays will be “Monday Munchies” so expect a recipe with photos later today!  I also have a postcard and stamp to scan and upload later in the day!  For those of you that don’t know me, I have several pen pals, collect postcards, and love unusual stamps!  My dear friend, Valerie, in France sent a wonderful postcard in her last letter and the stamp on the envelope is gorgeous!  Will be uploading both images later today… (it is only 17 minutes into Monday and I need to go to bed!)

If you like postcards too, please check out Postcrossing which is a postcard exchange program.  If you are interested in finding a pen-pal then check out Interpals, and if you just love written correspondence in general, take a look at the blog Letter Writer’s Alliance.  They are all FREE!

Introducing Categories!

September 12, 2009

Several fellow Etsyans were very helpful in giving me some advice about blogging. Starting Monday, expect to see the following on the Project-A-Day blog:
* Categories – kind of like themes for each day of the week, Monday through Friday
* Posts every Monday through Friday to help create a routine for myself and stay grounded and focused
* Better tagging