Japanese Food Art Also Known As Artistic Makizushi Is Amazingly Fun

food art
As much as many of us love to eat sushi, Japanese food art or artistic makizushi is also a treat. A wonderful article found on www.Core77.com, Credit Where Credit is Due: Creator of These Amazing Sushi Roll “Drawings” is a Female Illustrator, Not a Male Sushi Chef Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe | 12 Sep 2013 clearly illustrates this.

Women are not permitted to become sushi chefs. This comes from a tradition as old as sushi’s popularity itself. Sushi became popular in the Japanese Edo Period. Since sushi is served cold, it needs to be made cold. A woman’s hands were believed to be too warm to make a cold dish. So only men could become sushi chefs.

Although, to my knowledge, that tradition has not changed, there is no restriction on “making artistic makizushi (cooked rice, vegetables and/or seafood rolled into a seaweed wrap)”. Initially, Takayo Kiyota, the creator of the amazing work here, was mistaken for a man. But that is secondary to her art. She is a master at it, even if she has warm hands.

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The above examples of Takayo Kiyota’s are amazing Japanese food art. There are many different styles and kinds of designs. The closest thing they remind me of is Fimo Clay Art.
fimo clay art
Kennick Kreations – Fimo Clay Beads & Fimo Nail Art

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Charles and Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter

Charles and Ray Eames
The Eames team design
Charles and Ray Eames. Picture credit: Library of Congress
I am a huge fan of designers. I guess you could say I am a design groupie. I am a fan of modern day designers equally as much as legends whose work has lived on after they are gone. Two of my favorites are Charles and Ray Eames.

Charles Ormond Eames, Jr and Bernice Alexandra “Ray” Eames aka Charles and Ray Eames, who are pictured at the left, are a perfect example of a team whose work has lived on and is highly respected both within and beyond the design industries. In fact, a wonderful tribute to them and their work aired recently on PBS, public television. It is called, ‘The Architect and the Painter’.

You can read more about the work of Charles and Ray Eames on another of my blog posts in the ART & DESIGN category. It is called, Reclaiming Forgotten Treasures for Fun and Profit.

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10 Healthiest Foods on The Planet

Ten (of the) healthiest foods on the planet, according to a Banoosh.com article, are salmon, eggs, berries, bananas, spinach, brocolli, shitake mushrooms, sweet potato, tumeric and tomatoes. Here is a visual sampling of the article. The image above and the slideshow images are all from the Banoosh.com article.

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There are many other resources about healthy food and, of course, many other equally as healthy foods to choose from.

For more information, explore the resources mentioned in ‘Ten Healthiest Foods’, as well as on Alison*s Art FOOD page. The food page of this website offers some background into my personal journey and evolution in the way I eat.

Visit the HEALTHY FOOD category of this website for lots more articles about healthy eating. The link is above this article. It is the green bar labeled HEALTHY FOOD. Here is what the three category bars look like with a link on each bar.

category bars

You can also visit our three facebook pages about food and eating. Pictured below, they are as follows, Alison*s Eat Free Earth, Alisons FOOD Heirloom Project and The Food rEvolution, a food journey from personal to political.

Alison's 'Eat Free' Earth fb page
Alison’s ‘Eat Free’ Earth: How It All Began
Alisons Food Heirloom Project
Alisons Food Heirloom Project: Where Things Are Now
the food rEvolution
The Food rEvolution: A Personal Food Journey That Has Become A Political Nightmare

We welcome your questions, insights and suggestions about this article and the topic of food in general. Looking forward to hearing from you, soon.

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Natural Painkillers in Your Kitchen

natural painkillers

These are kitchen ingredients that we consume normally as food, condiments and teas. But did you know, that when used properly, they can also be natural painkillers?

Ultimately, one may need to seek medical attention for the cause of the pain. But for pain relief, they can be very helpful. Let’s take a look at some of them in detail.


pain relief
Some common kitchen ingredients that are natural painkillers, too

OATS can be used to end endometrial pain.
PEPPERMINT can be used to relax sore muscles.
GRAPES are good for giving the back some TLC.
HORSERADISH can help heal sinus problems.
GINGER is good for muscle and joint pain.
CLOVES relieve toothache pain (until you get that emergency dental appointment).
GARLIC can erase earaches.
TUMERIC is good for chronic pain.


pain relief
Some common kitchen ingredients that are natural painkillers, too

kitchen painkillers
good for an earache
In looking over the above (fairly) common kitchen ingredients, I have to admit that I am not sure how these foods are supposed to be applied to work their magic. Do you stick the garlic in your ear to ease the ache? I doubt it. Do you eat these ingredients, make teas or poultices out of them, or eat them raw or cooked?

Clearly more research needs to be done to see how these ingredients are applied and how they work as natural painkillers. I do know from experience that sucking on some cloves does relieve a toothache temporarily. I have used ginger tea for an upset stomach but do not know about joint pain.

natural painkillers
good for the back
I am glad to hear that grapes are good for the back. I love grapes. But I hope the application does not involve putting the grapes on my back and then crushing them the way wine is made.

natural painkillers
alleviates chronic pain
Tumeric has gained attention lately as a condiment that has all kinds of healing properties. It is supposed to be good for stiff joints. But the amount that needs to be consumed for it to have any effect is far greater than one can eat. Therefore it supposedly need to be taken in supplement form or by putting the powder in a capsule and swallowing it. I would still rather eat Indian food since it is a frequent ingredient in the dishes I find delicious.

All this information must be taken with a grain of salt. No, I do not know what adding salt would do. It is a manner of speaking. It means to not take this too literally or seriously without knowing what you are doing. I still can’t figure the garlic/earache relationship. But there is a wives tale about hanging a clove of garlic around a child’s neck to prevent them from getting sick in school. I am just not sure if the garlic actually keeps germs away. Or if the smell keeps all the other children away thus keeping the germs away.

natural painkillers
relaxes muscles
Speaking of smells, the last item on our list is peppermint. It smells great and makes a tummy soothing tea that can’t be beat. In fact, its fragrance is used in many food and dental items.

In all seriousness, there are some wonderfully helpful food items that can act as natural painkillers and even help heal us. (They can even look nice as decoration like the mint shown here. I also love the color of tumeric. It reminds me of autumn). But to stay on subject, let me end by saying that just like any prescription, one needs to read the directions, using as prescribed. So, good luck, feel better and send me your comments in the morning.

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Reclaiming Forgotten Treasures For Fun and Profit

label from a trashed treasure stamped on the bottom of the seat of a stool

Do you know what forgotten treasures are? Have you ever watched the PBS show, ‘Antiques Roadshow’? If you have, you will know that the difference between a forgotten treasure, and what is not, can be a very fine line.

Here are some questions to ask and actions to take to determine what you have, a forgotten treasure, a collectible, an antique or just a piece of furniture.

• The first thing to do is to observe what kind of condition the item is in. Is it vintage (perfect) or is it in a degree of less than perfect. That will determine what its intrinsic value is. If something is vintage, it is best to keep it as is, not do anything to it other than gently clean it, keep it or try to sell it.

If a piece is obviously damaged, then one wants to find out if it is an antique or a collectible. That involves research either online, in books or in-person. An antique is something over 75 years old. A collectible is less than that but at least 50 years old.

There was an old Queen Anne dresser on ‘Antiques Roadshow’ once that seemed to need a repainting. So the owner repainted it. But because it was an antique several hundred years old, its value was diminished significantly by the facelift. So one must be diligent in the research stage.

• The second thing to do is to look for any identifying markings. The stamp under the seat portion in the featured image of our stool reveals its origin. This piece of furniture was made by the Burke Division of the Brunswick Corporation.

In looking for the piece online, I was not able to find a picture of it. But I was able to find a set of chairs that had the same ultra-modern leg style. That was at least a clue that the stool was made by a known company.

forgotten treasures or collectible
Burke Swivel Tulip Arm Chair © Etsy.com listing http://www.etsy.com/listing/108347996/mid-century-modern-burke-swivel-tulip?ref=shop_home_feat

forgotten treasures before
Forgotten treasures can have second chances. Photo credit: Phil Jacobs
forgotten treasures renewed
The stool reincarnated and looking great. Photo credit: Phil Jacobs

I also found the above chairs on a facebook page, Retro Luxe Home that specializes in retro furniture. This manufacturer’s work clearly had some collectible value.

But in the case of the stool in this story, the damaged condition of the seat part made it far from vintage. That was the sign that it could be given a new life and reincarnated. I chose not to restore it as another artisan, Shaun Guinan of Reworks Vintage, Pittsfield, MA had done with his table and chairs. I chose to reincarnate it with my own decorative flair, instead. Here is the stool, before and after.

I want to thank my dear friend, Michelle for lending me this stool to demonstrate one of Alison*s Heirloom Projects.

So don’t forget. The next time you come across forgotten treasures, don’t pass them by. They may be old friends that just need some TLC and a new life. If you are not sure how to do it, you can refer to, ‘The 5-Step Decorative Painting Process’ on YouTube.

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Paper Provides Two Artists with a Surface for Passionate Self-Expression

passionate self-expression
The Lido Hotel, once affectionately known as the Pink Hotel. Photo credit © Marck Webster

There is something about living at the beach, spending time by the ocean, that attracts artists and nurtures passionate self-expression. The community of Long Beach, NY is a mecca for all types of creative individuals. Two visual artists, in particular, use the traditional surface of paper. What they have done with paper is very different. At the same time, both are clearly artists embodying passionate self-expression.

The two artists featured here are perfect examples of this. They are Marck Webster whose Pink Hotel is shown above and Bob Shanley whose work follows as the second and equally talented artist.

Marck uses pen and color pencil. His technique is laborious. But as he explains, it is a timeless labor of love. He continues to amaze and amuse with what he expresses through these traditional tools. To see Marck in action, watch this creative gem from, YOLO Video Productions by Barbara Travers.


passionate  self-expression
It’s All In The Brush. Photo credit: © Bob Shanley

Bob started out as a reluctant photographer. As much as he loved to take pictures, his subjects were not enthusiastic. That has changed dramatically. His medium has also changed with the technology. An ardent Photoshop artist, he now creates amazing images on paper using features of this computer application to enhance his subject matter.

Almost every event that has taken place in Long Beach has been photographed by Bob. His creative seal makes events official and archives them in the annals of the city’s history. The images on his Facebook page demonstrate this.

Bob has also been the subject of a three part video series on LongBeachNY.tv the brainchild of another local creative person, Dave Feldman.

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The differences between the work of these two artists is transcended by their passionate self-expression. One is a color pencil artist. The other is a photographer. Yet both create colorful, unique, intensely creative and very moving stories.

Just a professional, personal note about Marck and Bob’s work. They both reproduce their work through a new technique called gicles. That way they can sell prints of their original masterpieces. Check their websites for purchasing details.

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The Story of a Heart Healthy TV Commercial

heart healthy cereal

Watch this recent heart healthy TV commercial from Cheerios as a YouTube Video.
Or click on the video arrow. Then answer the questions below the video.

• How did you feel after watching this commercial? (I thought it was very funny and sweet.)
• Did you notice anything unusual about it?
• Was there anything that you especially liked or disliked about it?
• Or would you say, ‘it was just another commercial’ giving you time to go to the kitchen to nuke the popcorn before the show resumed?

Did you know that this heart healthy TV commercial about Cheerios has caused a lot of controversy and attention? It is not about Cheerios and the pros and cons about their health benefits. It is about the bi-racial couple and the girl portrayed as their child.
Here’s a TV interview with the real life family of the girl in the commercial.

There was such a strong reaction to the commercial that YouTube had to shut down the comments section even though 95% of people had reacted favorably. But those who did not had the final word on YouTube. But then The Fine Brothers decided to use this commercial as a teaching opportunity. They interviewed a bunch of youngster about the commercial. This is what they had to say.

This is a TV commercial with the primary goal of selling a product. But it turns out to be much more than that. It is a commentary or a mirror of the current cultural make up of this country. It is also a sociological test. Did Saatchi & Saatchi have that in mind when they made the commercial?

Inter-racial families are becoming more typical of the American landscape. This commercial is merely a reflection of that. When complaints were made about the commercial’s family make-up, Cheerios did not withdraw the commercial from television. The company simply closed the comments section on YouTube.

Good for Cheerios. Not only is their cereal heart healthy physically but their company also has an emotional heart. That is the way I prefer to see the situation. How about you?

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Examples of good design that make extraordinary art

IN ANY MEDIUM AND ON ANY SURFACE, GOOD DESIGN CAN BECOME EXTRAORDINARY ART. This blog post illustrates this by providing examples of good design that have become extraordinary art. The tools are unique and the surfaces are unusual.

Let’s start with the image above done by LA artist Man One @ManOneLA. He is one of a generation of artists who started doing graffiti. He has come a very long way. His work is part of a project called, the Getty Canon. A kcet.org article, Graffiti Scrolls Enter The Getty Canon begins with, ‘The graffiti scrolls of Los Angeles have been delivered. Handsomely bound into “L.A. Liber Amicorum: Book of Friends,” the 143 works on paper by Los Angeles-based graffiti artists were presented this month.’

good design

Another of my favorite artists, L’Amour Supreme, @LamourSupreme, cannot be pigeon-holed. His media are diverse. His canvases range from ordinary to out-of-the ordinary surfaces. Here is a sample of his work from a project for Red Bull. L’Amour Supreme and Red Bull Curates New York. Photo credit: © www.redbull.com

Tattoo art is a form of body design that has changed dramatically. Once stigmatized as the domain of less than good design, it has evolved into an extraordinary art form. My favorite tattoo gallery is Empire State Studio on Long Island, New York, @ESSTattoo. They daily exhibit good designs that makes extraordinary art on the bodies of their clientele. Every two months, they install an art show on their walls. Here are examples of their daily good work and wall art shown on YouTube. Owner, Tommy Helm, resident artists and the studio’s manager are interviewed.

Who remembers the day when the coolest sneaker to own was a pair of original Converse All-Stars? Even they have come a long way to stay in the game. But the competition is fierce. Extra Butter, another of my favorite haunts, shows why. I don’t know if I could wear these or would have to just look at them all day.

Good design can become extraordinary art from head to toe and everywhere in between. The remake of The Great Gatsby is a good example. It has inspired good design in typography, clothes, jewelry and more.

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These are just a few examples of disciplines where good design has, in my opinion, become extraordinary art. Please judge for yourself. Do you consider these examples good design? Have they become extraordinary art? Do you have other examples you would like to share? I eagerly await your comments, input and responses. Thank you.

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New Look, New Structure, Brand New Site

A new look, a new structure, a new site

Alison*s Blog & Website has a new home in high end design. It has a new look and a new structure.

The place to house new information, both curated and original needed to be better. To me, it is essential to present information in an environment of high end design. It is not just for looks. High end design includes the best functionality too.
The team of Wasmer & Huen understand the importance of high end design. The firm of tsdesignuk realized they needed a new look, as well.

From the inspiration of both high end designer firms, I realized that Alison*s Blog and Website needed to be a whole new look, a whole new structure and an additional website for Alison*s Heirloom Projects. I hope you like the results and find everything works better. Please let me know what you think.

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GOOD Wants to Be More

good wants to be more.

Good wants to be more, like in the footsteps of Ghandi whose magnificent example was to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Easier said than done. But somehow the inspiration on these pages helps alot.

This is thanks to the curated posts and photos on today’s issues of Alison*s Art Online Magazines. They appear under the blogs link. From them, one draws inspiration to create original material accompanied by the feeling that good can be more. Organizations like GOOD also help remind us that there are many people with minds and hearts like ours.

Good wants to be more
Give A Damn and Act Accordingly
Image Credit: Josh McManus

GOOD: Give A Damn and Act Accordingly
One of my favorite publications is GOOD. It is all about doing good. Good that wants to be more. It is so refreshing, an inspiration for me, especially when I wonder what it’s all about.

And check out these images of Scheldt, a 700 year old deserted town in Belgium. How can these buildings be torn down now that they are works of art? Once again, good wants to be more. The source of these photos is oddstuffmagazine.com.

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See how many things you can think of that are good and want to be more. Your comments, suggestions and questions are always welcome.

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