Saturday, December 31, 2011

happy new year!

My man and I wish you Happy New Year from the Grand Canyon!!! I wish you much love, happiness, personal fulfillment and success in the coming year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

merry christmas and happy hanukkah...

©2011, Monika Roe

... and Happy All of the Other Winter Holidays in between! It's been a year since I posted my very first post on this blog! Thank you to everyone who reads it, subscribes to it and comments on it! I really appreciate your presence, it motivates me to keep posting and creating new illos outside my busy work schedule.

I wish all of you a fabulous holiday and most of all I hope you are done with all of your shopping because I went out there today and it's CRAZY!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

my risalamande recipe featured on TDAC

Until December 21st my illustrated recipe for Risalamande is featured on in their Red and Green collection on the homepage! I'm happy to be in this collection with other talented and creative illustrators from Las Vegas, Cleveland, OH, Providence, RI and as far away as Sapporo, Japan! WOW!

Friday, December 16, 2011

i'll have a blue (and red) christmas

©2011, Monika Roe

I had a few blue and red holiday illos kicking around here and I finally decided to finish them up! Hope you enjoy.

The holidays have been so busy for me here. I feel like time is passing by so fast and the holidays are slipping through my fingers. To slow it down I'm making a conscious effort to stop and enjoy everything I love about this time of year.

A few of the things I'm doing to stop and smell the Christmas cookies are:
• making a cup of spiced tea every night and taking in the magic of all of my sparkly Christmas decorations (notice I said tea, not coffee, aren't you proud of me?!)
• browsing through shops to enjoy their decorations
• taking the time to watch kids talk to Santa
• not stressing out about wrapping presents perfectly
• listening to Christmas music as I cook
• baking my list of "must-have" Christmas cookies
• sharing those Christmas cookies with people to get them out of my reach
• taking over the annual baking of the fruitcake from my mom who once took it over from her mom who was the one that found the most amazing recipe to pass down
• driving slow through my neighborhood to enjoy the beautiful lights. Most people don't consider themselves creative but all kinds of creativity comes out when they decorate their houses for the holidays!

I hope you're also taking some time out to really soak in the best parts of the season and enjoy yourself!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

it's an american girl holiday

There's lots to do this holiday season, especially if you have crafty kids! In this month's American Girl special Holiday Issue I've illustrated the steps to making cute polar animals out of edible mint dough and how to make your own edible village of candy houses complete with gumdrop trees!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

eat pretty for the holidays voting has begun!

The editors of have narrowed down the entries for their Eat Pretty for the Holidays contest to 30 and mine is included! If you like my illo for Jeweled Fruit Salad, please hop over to their site and vote for it!

It's number 13 in the queue and you can vote for it by naming it in the comment field. Thanks very much! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

monika roe illustration in 805 living magazine!

Want to add even more holiday cheer to your December? Pick up this month's issue of 805 Living magazine! I am featured on their back page (page 120) along with my illustrated recipe for Ultimate Peppermint Bark. If you turn to page 20, in their "Behind The Scenes" story, I share some of my holiday food memories along with an illustration of my favorite Christmas Eve dessert, Risalamande.

To read my features and take a closer look, you can go to their site and browse the digital edition.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

eat pretty for the holidays

I just finished my latest recipe illustration! It's for's Eat Pretty for the Holidays contest. This jeweled fruit salad with tasty lime/honey dressing was the perfect inspiration. I absolutely love vintage costume jewelry so I got serious and designed my dream necklace out of the variety of fruits used in the salad!

Take a closer look at the illo on's website!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

happy thanksgiving everyone!

I hope you have a lovely, bountiful Thanksgiving tomorrow, filled with friends, family, laughter, and most of all, a mouthwatering meal made with love! There is so much to be thankful for...

(Yes, my family likes the cranberry from a can!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I'm excited to report that my 8"x8" acrylic painting titled "Blue and Yellow" sold last night at the Small Treasures preview event!

Small Treasures is an annual show put on by the Paso Robles Art Association. Each piece is 8"x8" and signed on the back. You don't know who created each work of art until it's purchased! I have another painting left in the show and will be creating one to take the place of the one that sold.

It's so fun to see the range of work contributed by all sorts of artists! Besides paintings in every medium there are photographs, 3D work, collage, fiber arts and beaded pieces.

The opening reception for the public is today from 4-6 downtown Paso Robles at the Showroom Gallery in Studios at the Park, stop by if you can!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


©2011, Monika Roe

This week's topic over at Illustration Friday is "silent". This illo I did of Danielle Michaan is the epitome of silent meditation. To read more about Danielle, who is a Natural Gourmet graduate, a pilates practitioner, certified yoga instructor, world traveler and the Director and Manager of Katonah Yoga NYC, hop over to her blog A Fig-Mint of My Imagination!

Friday, November 11, 2011

lemon tart recipe

©2011, Monika Roe

Baby it's cold outside, so dream of past summers and let visions of lemon tarts dance in your head! My latest illustrated recipe can be seen on They Draw and Cook's website!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ideal home november

Time to curl up with the latest issue of Ideal Home! November is the "Home Comfort" issue so all of my Savvy Shopper illustrations are about cozy comforts! Here are a couple of my favorites:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

family circle beauty tip

Check out this link to Family Circle's website and follow my illos to apply tinted moisturizer perfectly!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

death, taxes, and a french manicure

Here's my cover art for the novel DEATH, TAXES AND A FRENCH MANICURE by Diane Kelly, released today! A fun novel for me to illustrate and even more fun to read! Get your copy from Amazon or check it out at your local book seller...

Robin Kaye, award-winning author of The Domestic Gods series, says: "In DEATH, TAXES AND A FRENCH MANICURE Diane Kelly takes us on a wild ride as IRS very Special Agent Tara Holloway tackles white-collar criminals and some...not quite so white. With a quirky cast of characters, snappy dialogue, and a Bernie Madoff style pyramid scheme--hunting down tax cheats has never added up to so much fun!"

Friday, October 28, 2011

friday apple

©2011, Monika Roe

A gummy worm caramel apple for Friday!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

thirsty apple

©2011, Monika Roe

Another caramel apple for October!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

banana peppers

A jar of banana peppers was one of the things in the treasure trove of goodies I received most recently from my friends at Rotten Apple Ranch in Sebastopol. It took a while for me to even open the jar because they were so beautiful! Before I opened them up I got out my paints and recorded them for posterity. Very inspiring!

Since my trip to Denmark this summer I've been obsessed with recreating the flavors of the open faced sandwiches we always enjoy there. After searching around I found a bread that is very similar to one of my Danish favorites. It's from Trader Joe's and is called "European Style Whole Grain Bread". 

After stacking this dark bread full of nuts and seeds with roast beef, dill Havarti cheese and remoulaude sauce, these banana peppers are the perfect final touch. (This is my favorite combo lately.) The garlic in the peppers is a nice background accent to their flavor which is mellow enough for the other flavors in the sandwich to come through. They have a subtle tang and, surprisingly, a bit of a bite to them at the end.

 I wish this jar was bottomless...

Friday, October 14, 2011

under construction show

"Under Construction" is the name of the show that just opened at the Showroom Gallery in Studios on the Park here in Paso Robles. My paper sculpture entitled "Disguise" is one of the works featured!

If this looks familiar to you, it's because it's based on an illustration I created in August inspired by the Illustration Friday topic of "disguise". When I heard about the topic of this show, I immediately wanted to create a 3-D version of this illo.

This show is made possible by the Paso Robles Art Association and runs until November 13th. If you're in town I recommend stopping by to see my piece in person since my iPhone photo doesn't do it justice!!! 

*I will get a better picture when my photographer man is in town. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


©2011, Monika Roe

No, I'm not obsessed with coffee ever since I gave it up two months ago!!! This is just something fun for this week's Illustration Friday topic of "contraption".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

tis the season

©2011, Monika Roe

Stores started stocking their shelves weeks ago with bags and bags of candy corn. The original kind, the weird and strangely addicting chocolate kind and the "harvest mix" which has all of the above plus those little candy corn pumpkins.

I usually buy a bag and put it in a pretty acorn embossed glass candy dish I found at a thrift store. It's pretty to look at, but to eat... eh... not so much!

In my garage, in the box marked HALLOWEEN I have Ziploc bags full of candy corn that I've used year after year to decorate with when this time of year rolls around. That stuff still looks great and could possibly outlast us all!

Whenever candy corn is mentioned a hot debate follows. People either love it or hate it!

Personally it reminds me of my friend Michelle who loved candy corn in high school. We would go to the local Food 4 Less when we were bored and dig into their bulk candy bins, filling a bag with candy corn to snack on as we were driving around in her Citation. Great memories!

Nowadays I find candy corn too sweet. What happened as I got older? I never dreamed anything would be "too sweet". But, alas, candy corn is in my category of "too sweet" that seems to be growing. I suspect food manufacturers are currently pushing the limit on how much sugary sweetness they can put in food. "More sweet" doesn't always equal "more tasty"! Some things are not even palatable because of all the added sugar. An example of this is the coffee house pumpkin muffin. I used to enjoy these as a once a year treat but yesterday when I bought one I found it sickeningly sweet. So that once in a year tradition went down in flames for me. Just yuck!

Anyway, I digress. Candy corn, love it or hate it???

Friday, October 7, 2011

a caramel apple a day...

©2011, Monika Roe

Doesn't keep the spiders away! This little guy is craving a sugar fix!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

nothing says october like farts and poop!

A peek at my illos for the October issue of M Magazine on stands now. This month's topics were hilariously fun to illustrate!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

american girl candy creatures

This month on American Girl Magazine's website you can play a game that I illustrated! It's called "Candy Creatures". Make all sorts of delicious Halloween creatures out of pieces of candy and have a lot of fun! A game for both kids AND adults! Look at my little creature below, he has chest hair made of sprinkles! HAHAHA!

Send me a screen grab of a creature you make and I'll post it on my Facebook page!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

national coffee day

©2011, Monika Roe

It's September 29th, that means it's National Coffee Day!

But wait! I haven't gone back to drinking coffee since my juice fast. (Incredible, I know!!!) So I celebrate this afternoon with a couple cups of decaf. Not just ANY decaf but decaf brewed from freshly ground beans from our local coffee roaster Joebella. Delicious!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

halogen tv article

They Draw and Cook has been getting A LOT of splendid press lately! Today this new article on Halogen TV's website features one of my illustrated recipes! It's my illo of Fluffernutter sandwiches.

Congrats to Nate and Salli for the recognition they've been receiving! They deserve it for their hard work and innovative ideas... great work you two!

There's much more to this article, go to and check it out!

Friday, September 23, 2011

rotten apple ranch

Rotten Apple Ranch is the brainchild of my friend Sheldon Rosenberg III. A year ago he started to seriously cultivate his family farm in Sebastopol, California into a productive and sustainable venture. Part of that plan was to develop a logo that represented the brand and that's when he called me!

A fan of vintage fruit crate labels, he wanted that classic look along with a "Rotten Apple" character that spoke to his earlier days in the Navy. After a few initial sketches we decided on this surly apple character showing off his tattoo with the farm scenery spreading out behind him. 

I think the biggest challenge here was the typography. There was more type to incorporate than a typical logo. Fitting all of the elements together, yet still maintaining a clean and easy read is something I enjoy about projects like this. I love the end result and I can't wait to see it used on the amazing products that the ranch is starting to turn out!

From left: a vegetable patch, walking through the orchard and sky-high corn stalks.

A few words from Sheldon about Rotten Apple Ranch:

Where our values rest, are in fresh local sustainable foods that give our friends the nutrition they should expect from their produce.

We don't believe food should be shipped farther than it can be without added refrigeration as it does more damage than good — all the while diminishing the nutritional value of said food. Because of this belief, those farther than 60 miles will be unable to receive our products, and we would suggest they visit their local farmers market and begin a conversation with their very own local farmers. 

However, fans of our ideals or produce/products should feel free to stop by and enjoy the farm and it's surrounding beauty whenever they are in town...

From top: the farmer's daughter (Ava), treetop view of the ranch, turkeys in the barn.

Rotten Apple Ranch will be launching their website near the end of the year. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, look for more posts about the delicious creations they've let me preview!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I went to a workshop on marbling and this was the result! I was going to do something with it, like use it as part of an illustration but once I mirrored it I couldn't bring myself to chop it up (not yet, anyway!). I decided to post it as is for this week's Illustration Friday topic of "mesmerizing".

The swirling inks are mesmerizing...

more fluffernuttiness

Today my illustrated recipe for a Fluffernutter sandwich is featured on They Draw and Cook's jumbotron! It's one of six in the "Happy Kids" collection that will be up until September 24th. Go take a look and leave a comment! Mmmmmm....

Friday, September 16, 2011

painting of my new shoes

©2011, Monika Roe — Acrylic and pencil on paper

Yesterday I needed a tray for the pineapple pecan finger sandwiches I was making to take to an art opening. All the trays I have at home are glass and either shaped like a fish, too cumbersome to transport or etched with Christmas motifs, not really appropriate!

So I headed off to the thrift stores hoping to find one of those etched metal trays from the '50s that were a staple in every respectable household. I found one at my first stop for $2 (relief!) and as I walked to the register stopped to check out the shoes. Oh happy day! There on the shelf was a perfect pair of 'Flora' flats by Nine West in my size. Never worn! I scooped them up at $4.95 for a total savings of $54.05 off the original retail price!

They are so pretty I was inspired to paint them last night!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

curried lentil soup

©2011, Monika Roe

It's still hot here. Not soup weather at all. BUT when it cools down I am looking forward to making this Curried Lentil Soup. I found the recipe about a year ago and have made it several times. It was one of the dishes I served at an dinner party my man and I had. I still remember that night because it was a whirlwind of cooking a complete Indian menu from scratch, it was hectic to get so many dishes ready at the same time but we did it!

I've been working on this illustration here and there for at least six months! It's finally done and you can see the full size illo (that you can actually read) on They Draw and Cook's website.

If you make this, and I hope you do because it's so crazy delicious, don't skip serving it with the lemon wedges. The squeeze of lemon gives it a nice brightness and adds another layer to the complex flavor.

Monday, September 12, 2011


©2011, Monika Roe

Here's my entry for They Draw and Cook's Cooking 4 Kids contest!

Since I found out about the contest I've been trying to think of the perfect kids recipe to illustrate and then inspiration hit me... a Fluffernutter!

This sandwich is most popular in the Northeast. In fact, it's been proposed as the state sandwich of Massachusetts! Even though I grew up in California, my mom used to make these for our lunches every once in awhile.

I particularly remember finding these in my lunches at summer school. Summer school was great, instead of our usual summer camp where we learned to tool leather and went on nature hikes, at this school we played soccer and softball, had acting class and learned computer programming (remember BASIC anyone???). All of these activities were punctuated by the sweet nuttiness of a lunchtime fluffernutter. So, IF YOU = "Hungry" THEN GOTO "Fluffernutter"
PRINT "Delicious!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

always remember

Ten years ago on September 11th I lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. That morning I woke up and turned on the television in the bedroom as I usually did to listen to the news as we got ready for the day. Instead of the usual chatter of financial markets and weather I saw smoke billowing out of one of twin towers. I woke my husband (now ex-husband) and we watched the events unfold. Horrified. Frozen.

My ex and I ran a small advertising agency at the time and we had a client meeting that afternoon. Like many people that day, weren't sure if we should continue with life as usual or not. We decided to go. Our meeting was at Holliday Park, a 94-acre park located on the north side of Indianapolis.

Once we were there we hardly had any sort of meeting. Instead we all talked about the days events and stared out the windows of the nature center listening and watching the many birds ate their lunch from the bird feeders in the trees. While terror and chaos raged in New York, we were in an oasis of quiet calm and reflection.

Reflection that continues today on the ten year anniversary of September 11th. I didn't personally know anyone that died that day but I do have friends that were living in New York at that time and their stories are always accompanied by a certain look in their eye. The look of a survivor.

9/11... always remember.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


©2011, Monika Roe

My illo for this week's Illustration Friday topic of "mysterious"...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Illustration © 2011, Monika Roe

This quote from Sandra Boynton was in my inbox this morning and I just had to illustrate something to go with it!

I remember Sandra Boynton's work most from the wallpaper she designed featuring her cute animal characters. When I was growing up my mom owned a wallpaper store in San Luis Obispo and I would go to work with her every Saturday.

She paid me $5 an hour to help out at the store doing things like sweeping the sidewalk, filing, lugging heavy wallpaper books around, answering the phone, occasionally helping customers (which I dreaded) and creating displays (which I LOVED). Reading this Boynton quote today brings back those fun memories!

Friday, September 2, 2011

ideal home september

My new Ideal Home magazine came in the mail today! What a great way to kick off the month! Shown above is my opening illo for the Savvy Shopper's Handbook which I illustrate every month.

I love the navy and white cover, so sharp! In the background is my illo of the Savvy Shopper putting her passport away and a few more of my faves are shown below.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


©2011, Monika Roe

For this week's Illustration Friday topic of "disguise"...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 peace walk

©2011, Monika Roe

On Sunday my man took me to Well Within Spa in Santa Cruz to soak my aching muscles and feet. (Is he a keeper or what!?) Every second in the hot water soothed my body while my mind reflected on the 17 miles I had walked for peace the day before.

I was invited to join the third annual Peace Walk hosted by the San Mateo County Gang Unit and John Malloy who I met through the Native American 500 Mile Run. This walk was to honor the way of non-violence and welcome home those men and young men who are working to transition their lives away from a lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and gangs.

As John put it, "The walk is part of transitioning and summoning courage to change. The inspiration for this walk comes from some of us working with the Jericho Project and watching multitudes of former incarcerated men thirst for meaningful social and emotional change. We know it is possible to achieve a sense of inner peace and freedom after a harsh, violent past. Humans have an amazing capacity for change. Former inmates and addicts can learn to accept responsibility for their serious crimes."

The walk started out in Marin County across the water from San Quentin prison. Takashi Tanemori was among the honored guests in attendance. Briefly, Takashi is a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He came to America to avenge his father's death and eventually found that forgiveness was more powerful and useful to him than vengeance. His story is worth exploring in more detail so if you have a minute, instead of reading the latest celebrity gossip website do your mind a favor and go to Takashi's website to read something real!

Opening Ceremony for the Peace Walk. The man on the left is Fred Short,
the American Indian Movement advisor for the state of California.

After the opening ceremony we walked single file, in silence, for the first mile. Then we continued the walk just north of Fairfax and walked all the way to Olema, near Point Reyes. We walked 3 mile stretches at a time, stopping only briefly to rehydrate. 

Walking in silence the first mile.

It was a hot day and you know me, I'm fair skinned so not only did I have a ton of sunscreen on, I wore a long sleeved microfiber shirt, my long yoga pants and a big ol' hat so I could avoid sunburn at all costs!!! The last thing I wanted was to cut my participation short because of a severe sunburn!

One of the goals of this walk was to share stories and get to know one another. It was great to swap stories and some of the conversation got pretty deep. I learned a lot from those I already knew and I learned even more from those I just met. I was honored that people shared their stories with me, especially the men from the Jericho Project who are trying to start their lives anew without drugs, alcohol and violence. Their willpower to work for a peaceful future for themselves is strong, it inspires and humbles me.

The first group of walkers coming in to the first stop.

We all wore Peace Walk t-shirts and a few carried signs so the public would know what we were doing. We had a lot of support from people driving by, a lot of waves, smiles and peace signs! There was one negative response from someone driving by, but it didn't slow us down at all.

At one point a woman asked us what we were protesting. When one of my fellow walkers, Bobbe, told her we weren't protesting anything, we were promoting peace and non-violence, the woman looked confused. I know we gave her something to think about.

Me, Mia and Bobbe before the Opening Ceremony.

Around mile 9 I was starting to feel the impact of the walk on my body! My feet weren't sore but my hips were starting to ache from the impact. By the end of the walk my feet were tired, my hips ached and strangely, my collarbones had started to hurt. I didn't get a single blister on my feet because another walker lent me a pair of her toe socks to wear under my regular socks. These prevented my toes from rubbing directly against each other and boy did they work! I'm grateful to Mia for her thoughtfulness because, looking back, I would have had a harder time without those magic socks!

The walk took most of the day and we made it to the campground before the sun set to talk about what we had just experienced and then ate dinner. Joe Leonor (detective and probation officer), his wife Monica and crew did a phenomenal job cooking for us. They provided breakfast, water, snacks, a great lunch, impressive dinner and amazing breakfast for everyone. It was a lot of work but they pulled it off smiling!

My man took pictures of the event and when I got to camp he had already set up our tent. Listen people, my idea of roughing it is a Best Western and only using a carryon sized piece of luggage! I haven't slept in a tent or "camped" since I was a little girl. So I had NO idea what to bring to stay overnight in a tent. But guess what? I survived and it was fun! Laugh if you will but that was a new experience for me!

Today I walked another 4 miles to keep the memory of the Peace Walk close to me. My first steps for peace on Saturday will not be my last.