Monday, August 31, 2009

September Calendar Page

Crikey! But it was a crazy day. So much I need to do, I need to set some priorities, but for starters, my September calendar page:

My quotes for this month: "When I sit for meditation, I am standing for what I believe in" - Rinpoche and, "Let me listen to me, and not to them" - Gertrude Stein.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend Update

This weekend was made up of me going to bed at 5:30 yesterday afternoon (in my flannel pajamas, socks and under my down comforter) and waking up at 7:30 this morning - fourteen hours of sleep. I would wager I'm fighting a bug, which is hard to not get when one day your temperature is in the 80's and the next it is 51 degrees. I also managed to spend $186 doing a quick grocery shop this afternoon, that order did not include any coffee and the only meat bought was chicken wings. Everything gets so much more expensive when our Canadian dollar gains value. Makes sense to you too, huh? I am still a little shaky, hoping to wake tomorrow with the energy I usually have so it's another early night. But I didn't want to leave this for another day, or another week as it is already Sunday night.

I received an early birthday present in the mail from Brenda at the Crafty Chook, all the way from Australia (!), one of her angel canvases and Kelly Rae's "Taking Flight" Book. Good heavens - the mother lode!

And from Sara at Locasia, I received some collage material, handmade note cards and CHOCOLATE!!!! This CHOCOLATE intrigues me, I'm not sure if I should eat it as is or if it is meant to go in hot chocolate - there is a picture of a woman on the front enjoying what looks to be a cup of hot chocolate and since Sara lives in Mexico, the writing on the package is only in Spanish. Ah, what the heck, I'm going to try it as is.

I don't fully know what I've done to deserve such spoiling, but I'm very happy to be on the receiving end. One of my life challenges is to learn to accept. Accept all kinds of things but especially gifts from the heart. So thank you Brenda and Sara for helping me to inch my way along this path.

Gift of Jewels

If you want to be a part of the Gift of Jewels over here, better hurray (or hurry!) because the deadline has been extended until today.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Haiku Friday

Last week passed me by
Friday haiku not written
Woke Saturday, shocked

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day of School

First day, first grade. My heart breaks. His good friend, Pearle, is in his class AND they got to choose desks that are side by side. He has the teacher who is a little softer but who doesn't speak any English. He's already survived kindergarten in French school, maybe he will be just fine. Very long shadows this chilly morning.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My World

I have been following Snap for some time and one of her regular subject posts is called My World which she publishes on Tuesdays, showing parts of where she lives, points of interest - her interests and the area's interest - so with a salute to her and all the other participants and my tongue firmly in cheek, today I am joining in with My World. This is a shot of what is indicative of my microcosm:

It's from the inside of one of my scrapping/mixed media drawers. There is so much in there, in no apparent filing system - I don't even know what is there anymore. But it is really just a small reflection of the whole house. Since Riley has been home since the end of June and iMan has also been home since the beginning of June, I have lost total control of the clutter. (Interesting choice of words from someone who is working on her control issues.) I'm reserving time each day next week (ha! better make it for the next month!) to de-clutter and organize different parts of the house, beginning with my studio. September is the new January!

I was surprised at the instant response I got about the Super Nova Art Journalling class. I wasn't sure I could squeeze it in but I'm going to have a deeper look at it, Unravelling has only two weeks left and although I'll have dribs and drabs of that to do for...ever...perhaps this one class would be feasible.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Art Journaling Class

I was just over that the Land of Lost Luggage and see that she is offering an art journal class called Super Nova. I'm trying to decide whether I should overextend myself a little more.


*e*'s question number 30: Who do you need to thank?

I loved the experience of putting this one together. I knew I wanted the visual to be of hands in prayer position, with head bowed, mouth touching. I was about to set up my tripod to take a picture of me doing that when I heard a little birdie tell me to look in some magazines. I picked up an old "O" (all I have are old O's but the content is still dandy) and opened to the page showing a photo of a man in that exact position. Unbelievable! Scan, print, voila! It was so exciting to have that kind of guidance. I could have kept listing who I need to thank, but space was limited so it was just the first things that came to mind. Also, I was trying out a new stamper I just got so the printing is kind of shoddy. I did learn a lot about that tool doing this tag.

Journalling on the back, "My friends for recognizing what I need and lightening my burdens. Nature for surprising me every time. My dogs for bringing me out into that nature, especially when I'd rather stay in. My sista for believing in me. Riley for showing me sides of myself I didn't know were there and for bringing me gifts I didn't know existed."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Out of pickles, out of chips and dock etiquette

On Friday afternoon we decided to throw a few things in our bags and go to the cottage for the weekend. Last minute nellies, we got ourselves stuck in early rush hour-slash-cottage traffic and it took us twice as long to get there than it usually does. We took what we could from our larder, deciding to try to make it through the next few days without a stop at the grocery store. Much to my dismay, at lunch yesterday, I discovered that we were out of pickles and out of potato chips. A hot sunny day, sandwiches on the dock and nothing salty or sour. Naturally that made me head into the vodka earlier than usual, of which there was plenty I'm happy to say. But shouldn't there be a rulebook about dock etiquette? iMan and Riley went off in the peddle boat, I settled myself into a chair with my book, intending to take turns napping and reading. The men had barely gotten out of ear shot when my neighbor from directly across the lake decided to fish just five feet from my dock. Now, the lake is not owned by anyone except perhaps the federal government and he has every right to fish where he wants and he obviously lacks any sense of personal space when it comes to other individuals. He kept casting closer and closer to me, using a big collection of noisy spinners that made an enormous splash each time it hit and he hung around for almost an hour. Now if he had brought some pickles and chips, I might have shared the vodka.

And I think I'm allergic to this:

I used to think it was ragweed but I think it is goldenrod. It's name doesn't make me any less allergic and it is in full, swaying bloom right now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's Really Not All About Me

And because life really isn't all about me and my gripes and observations, I want to share this youtube video I found over here, which also made me cry for the bold truths. Ah, it is still good to be alive.

Books Etc.

My apologies to fellow blogger (and friend) Beth over at Books Etc. for the title to this post (consider it a backhand compliment). I had a bit of a hodge podge to write tonight and that was the title that came to mind and rather fitting. Earlier this week Beth mentioned that she had bought, and finished with, the DVDs for Season 1 of "Saving Grace", a television show I had written about back in the spring and highly recommended. She wanted to know if I wanted them. Well, yes! So they arrived in the mail today - thank you Beth, they are all in tact and I promise to not stalk you now I know where you live! It was a very generous gesture followed through with action. And me, the benefactor!

I have also neglected to mention the last three books I have read lately. None of which were knock-me-off-my-feet stuff, but not so bad that I would put them down. All authors are ones I've read a lot of but after finishing book three, it made me feel like I wanted to stop reading fiction for a while, just until something knock-me-off-my-feet does come along. The first was Anita Shreve's, "Testimony", second was Miriam Toews', "The Flying Troutmans" and last Meg Wolitzer's, "The Ten Year Nap". They were all okay and maybe it's just the mood or stage I am in that I couldn't appreciate them more. I don't even really know what I am looking for to knock me off my feet, something that makes me nod my head and think, "yes, oh yes, that is so true to me". I do have a series of books out from the library right now (the name of the author escapes me - Kate Jacobs?) but they are The Friday Night Knitting Club and the follow up book to that and another book by the same author. Has anyone anything to say about any of these? Can anyone vouch for them or the opposite?

Coming home after our trip was like entering the Munsters house. These guys had moved in, eaten all the bread and were fighting over the remote control:

Inside and out, spinning like crazy. Their ugliness fascinates me and being highly allergic to their bites adds that bit of excitement to their co-existence with me. And if I may throw another question out there, WTF is this?!:

It was firmly attached to the window screen in our dining room yesterday morning. We took turns trying to flick it off and all screamed when we were (finally) successful. It was a good two to three inches long and wide and thick. The day before (a particularly trying day) I had made a comment about having everything pass through our lives lately except locusts and that word came to mind when I saw it. I saw another one on the sidewalk today, it was dead, but really - can anyone put a name to it?

And on a happy note, I can say that after four days of internal combustion, Riley woke this morning without a fever and was well enough to create this bit of art, with the help of a grape slushie:

We had walked to the local market for some peaches and tomatoes when we got caught in a downpour. Naturally, we had to take refuge at Wild Willy's, the ice cream shop a block away.

And to add a little more diversity to this post, I am looking for references, online or otherwise, for searching genealogy. I know someone whose father is not listed on her birth certificate but she is trying to find out more about the paternal side of her family. I have the name of the father, a date of his death within a decade, a city and place where he worked, the fact that he also had two sons with another woman but not their names. Does anyone know of sites, addresses or other references that might bear some fruit? She was not adopted, but raised by her single mother, so adoption sites would not be pertinent. Oh yeah, and this all takes place within Canada but international references are also welcome.

Wow, it feels good to have gotten all that off my chest.

Monday, August 17, 2009


We're back and it's been hot! It was hot in PEI, an extraordinary six days of non-stop sun and heat (and mosquitoes). Apparently it was also hot here at home, here is one of my hanging baskets:

And that's not all that is hot. Riley is sick, he fevered through the night, fevered off and on all day, just threw up the meager supper he ate and he's off to bed. It's been hard to gauge him since it is about 104 degrees with the humidex. It is likely viral (fingers crossed), I am hoping it will be a restful night for all of us (fingers still crossed). As soon as I get the dogs around the block, I'm crawling in with my boy. I am scheduled to work tomorrow. The house is a pigsty and the cleaners are coming. Yikes! More...soon. I'll be visiting my favorite blogs then.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Simple Arithmetic






and This


Eureka! School supplies for grade 1 (almost) done. Tomorrow we leave for a week on Prince Edward Island. Hopefully to beach it and enjoy some good summer weather (the eternal optimist), failing that, excessive eating and drinking. I'm hoping to take my computer but not sure if I'll have a wireless connection. Toodles.


I went into my studio very early this morning and drew this. It is my focus for today. I need to stay centered and remember to do one thing at a time. I have an obscene amount of things on my list today in preparation for our little family vacation tomorrow. I need to remind myself to breathe and for goodness sake, do one task at a time, finish it before moving on to the next one.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Well, I am on a tear this week. I've been getting up at my usual 5:00 a.m. but instead of working out or doing yoga, I have been spending the time in the studio until Riley wakes. And then when he's up I turn on the computer and set him up for an hour of Webkinz World or Build-a-Bear Ville dot com. So I've been getting about two hours of studio time, peppered with bits and pieces throughout the day. So I've also completed *e*'s Q29. One of the things I love about these questions is working the small size. It doesn't usually take long, although sometimes it takes me awhile to live with the question and find a creative way to answer it through the various mediums. Another thing I love about this is the variety of tools I'm using, often things I just grab, things I might hesitate to use because I wasn't "ready" or whatever. A little bit like cooking - throwing some garlic into the strawberry flan. And it doesn't matter if it doesn't turn out all that well, there is always another question and another tag around the corner AND the real work is the journalling on the back. This is a collection of "me" that combines my art with my thoughts, feelings, past, humor. It will be a fine collection when the year is up, something for my son for the future in which he can learn parts of me I would never think to talk to him about not because I'm withholding, but just because I wouldn't normally be putting these things down in this format. So, question 29 is, "Do you have a recurring dream?" And in fact I do!

Early this morning I took some photos of my old Singer sewing machine, ran them through BeFunky. com. This one has been Warhol-ized and warped but parts of the machine are still recognizable, to me at any rate. The journalling reads:

"Since I was a young child I have had a really weird recurring dream where I am being chased by a giant sewing machine in a room or place full of pillows and I can hear, see and feel the big needle eating up the fabric as I run...pock, pock, goes and the machine whines and whirrs." I don't see any sexual implications there, although I may be mistaken...

Thanks to Snap, I used my Pitt pen for the journalling and there was no bleeding from the fixative. Thanks Snap!

Haiku Friday

An int'resting week

new look and old memories
A dichotomy

revisited; digging deep
for buried treasure

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I've been taking Susannah Conway's Unravelling class. We are now on week four, which is about memories. The three photos in my new banner are photos I took for weeks 1 and 2 of the class. It has made me look at photography and my art, the way I create and assemble so differently. It's also bringing up things I have buried. This week's theme had us looking at old photos - as old or "new" old as we like. It took me a couple of hours late one night to even find my box of oldies but I knew I had to. This is a mosaic I made of our little family. In Montreal we have a mountain smack dab in the middle of our city. When I was a child we used to go every weekend, rain, shine, snow. Looking back on these early photos of my sister, my parents and myself, I realized that my parents did look at us with affection. My memories are different than what these show, it's a little confusing because of the way things still are today, which is very distant, very cold-fish emotionally. I wonder where and when the distance happened and why we were never able to get back here. This is tough work.

And just so I don't get too serious, here's another one I made for this week, my jeany-ology (parents, grandparents).


In all the hustle and bustle that has been this week so far, I squeezed out my tag for *e*'s question number 28. My last two tags I have had some serious bleeding when I've sprayed them with fixative. In each case I had used a Sharpie marker which is supposed to be permanent. I'm not sure how I'm going to fix that, perhaps spraying with workable fixative then permanent. Any suggestions? Watercolor pencils, ink.

The journalling reads, "My favorite part of summer is the sun and the heat. It is the thing that gives me energy, rejuvenates me and can turn a cloudy, stormy mood around. I'm not a fan of winter so the sun is also my favorite thing then too, for all the same reasons." I don't sunbathe like I used to, partly my inner thermostat, partly my bout of skin cancer. But I still want to be a lizard lying on a rock in the sun.


I was so frazzled last night after getting this "New Do" up, after a day at work (last day before a wee vacation and you know how THAT always goes) followed by a Riley's soccer evening, that I didn't trust myself to even mention this. But now I'm more refreshed after getting up in the night only once with my son and three times with the geriatric english setter I love so dearly, I'm going to attempt to give credit where credit is due.

I found Beth's blogs - one here and the other one here - via another blog I read, perhaps it was the Queen of Arts, I don't really remember. And aside from loving her content, I fell in love with the look of her blogs. So uncluttered, but everything that was there mattered. (An analogy for how I dream my life will be one day.) So being the bold and daring soul I'm growing up to be, I contacted her about helping me make my own blog look better or, rather, more "me". And she responded quickly and eagerly. I sent her some of my own photos, she made a number of banners after collaging the photos and added the words I chose and sent them back, all in just a few days. I don't know if she wants that much advertising since she didn't charge me anything (this did not go unnoticed, Beth and I'll be contacting you about THAT too) but I wanted to publicly thank her for helping me realize an urge that turned into a piece of art that really screams "me". And as much as I liked my last template - with gratitude to Leah for offering lovely and free templates - it wasn't my own art so I think that is why I outgrew it so quickly.

My only bugaboo is the BlogHer ad, I'm not crazy about the way it dominates. I'm looking in to reformatting it but it is possible that in a very short time I've outgrown that too (with all due respect to BlogHer and the way they bring bloggers together and out in the world). But I guess that's the whole point behind an ad, isn't it?

Phew! Have I sufficiently covered my butt?!

Thank you Beth. I'm over the moon!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Black on White

There is something catching in blogland, the re-design of some of my favorite places to stop. Both Snap and Sherry Lee have new looks and oddly enough, so similar to what I, too, am trying to dream up. After visiting Beth's two blogs with some regularity, I contacted her to talk about the designs for her templates. I find them airy, spare but not empty, clean, just so refreshing. And as much as I liked my own new look, I feel as if I have out grown it already. It's back to basics, lots of white, lots of space to move and grow. Ha! Not so easy, but Beth is helping me out and with some luck and lots of hard work and coding (groan) I hope to be looking very different again by the end of the month. But in keeping with this simple theme, here is a photo of one of the feathers I have found recently, one very beautiful one, I think it's from a downy woodpecker (we certainly have enough of them):

This is a color shot, taken by laying the feather on a white piece of paper. The perfect polka dots amaze me.