Thursday, August 25, 2016

18 Weeks

First, the bump. For the best comparison, here I am at week 5:
And at week 16, the last photo I shared:
And now, at week 18 + 3 days (taken on my birthday in the same skirt):
Not a huge change, but definitely some growth! It is so much fun comparing these photos - I just don't notice the day-to-day changes.

A few days later, we had a different kind of photoshoot:

This was our anatomy ultrasound - scheduled between the 18-20 weeks recommended by our doctor.... except, the technician said that the baby should be at least 20 weeks. Also, our peanut was measuring in at just over 17 weeks, so everything (like the chambers of the heart) was just a bit too small to have reliable measurements. All this to say - we get to go back on September 10th for another go at it! So excited I get to see our baby again!

As I mentioned yesterday, we also found out the baby's sex. This made it all that much more real for me - I can really start picturing myself with our little one, planning the room and picking a name. I'm SO excited! I can't wait for the (not too elaborate) gender reveal! Once I have the card designed and made (and delivered to the intended recipients), I'll share it here.

Based on these photos though, what do you think we're having? Boy or girl?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My Birthday Flowers

I celebrated my 30th birthday this weekend - nothing crazy, no big party, just a nice day being spoiled by my loved ones (especially my husband). We went out for lunch at one of my favourite places, did a bit of shopping, had a nice nap and then went out for dinner at an excellent Italian hole-in-the-wall. He topped it off by picking up tiramisu from the awesome bakery around the corner and surprising me with flowers:
I had a great day! But even more exciting for me was Tuesday, when we saw our little one again. We were able to find out the sex at this ultrasound and I'm looking forward to the "reveal" (again - no elaborate party here, just a homemade card I've been designing in my head and will soon put to paper). We'll be heading North to see our families on the long weekend (just over a week away), so that's when we plan on telling them. I'll post the coveted bump and ultrasound photos tomorrow.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sketchbook Pages: Whimsical Birds

As I mentioned, after sketching lots of birds, I decided to create a few more "finished" sketchbook pages. I had a few whimsical ideas, placing my birds in fun situations.

First, I drew a birdy birthday party:
I love how he has a less-than-impressed expression! Perhaps the cake was the wrong flavour?

The next bird has a peace offering to cheer him up:

I wanted to combine a bird with one of my girls, so I drew a friend on her shoulder:

I love tea, so I thought I'd share a mug:

The last page I'll share today was inspired by a different lesson in Alisa Burke's Beautiful Birds class - this one had us fill the birds with doodles instead of more realistic feathers:
I particularly love how this one turned out! The design gives it a more artistic feel.

All of these pages started with a pencil sketch and were refined with a black ink pen. Colour was added in with pencil crayons. Birds are such a delight to draw, don't you think?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

My Pregnancy

Now that I'm safely into my second trimester, I've started announcing my pregnancy. We told our parents when we first found out, right around the long weekend in May. I also told my gramma (and then my mom had to tell my aunt because my gramma couldn't talk to her without spilling the beans!). I was 5 weeks pregnant.
Please note: I no longer fit into these yoga pants!

Around the 12 week mark, right at the end of my first trimester, we told the rest of our family. Luckily, we had just had out first ultrasound, so we had a photo to show! It wasn't a very good one though... but since that ultrasound was for prenatal screening, and the baby was just a bit too small to take the measurements, we went back a week later (at 12 weeks and 5 days) and got this:
In the first ultrasound, the baby was wiggling around like crazy! This time around, our little peanut was probably sleeping. But the ultrasound tech was able to coax him/her around to get this great shot. Both times, we saw the pulse of a heartbeat. SO in love!!!

While we were on our trip, Pat took this photo of me in the ocean at nearly 14 weeks:

At our 16 week appointment on Thursday, we got to hear the heartbeat. So neat! Our doctor counted it out to 140-150.

And after work on Friday, I was feeling pretty good about how I looked, so I got Pat to snap some pictures at 16 weeks + 1 day:

I've had an amazing pregnancy so far - no morning sickness and minimal discomfort. It's been great! Lately, my "worst" symptom is that I'm hungry, ALL the time. Luckily, I've only gained about 5 pounds so far - well that, and a cute little bump!

Our due date is January 19th. We have our next ultrasound at the half way point, in about 4 weeks. I can't wait to see our little one again! So so so happy!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

My Creative Space: I Loved You Before I Met You

I finished a very personal piece last week that I wanted to share here as a sort of announcement. Before the big reveal, I'm going to take you through the steps I took to make it.

First, I started with a collage. This is very typical for me - not only does it add great texture, but it helps to provide a good base, a colour scheme. Plus, I really love the look of some of the patterns peeking through the layers of paint added on top. Here, I used book pages, scrapbooking paper, magazine scraps, a brown paper bag and tissue paper.

I haven't been creating much lately, so for this piece I wanted to use some techniques I haven't used in a while. With that in mind, I added the first layers of paint with a brayer. Here it is with the first layer of pink (I mixed gesso with naphthol red medium and permanent red violet) - I added a bit of gesso on top of this before moving on to stamps.

I haven't pulled out my many stamps in a while, so I went a little crazy with blank, brown and red inks. I used a bunch of different ones to add some texture, mostly around the edges.

Now that I was happy with the background, I started on my figure. I created a stencil using cardstock (you can see it in the left of the next photo), sketching the outline and cutting it out. I then used a palette knife and oxide black paint to fill her it - I needed two layers for optimal coverage. This photo is after the first layer.

I didn't include hair in the stencil since that was a bit trickier to cut out than a bald head. Once I had the outline down though, I painted in her hair. Since I did all the following steps in one go, I didn't take any more photos until the piece was complete... but basically, I darkened the edges of the figure and page with Faber-Castell Pitt pens (light and medium flesh for around the figure, and medium flesh and raw umber around the edge) and Gelatos (metallic melon). I stamped the sentiment on watercolour paper, cut out the individual words and inked the edges of each piece before glueing them down. My final step was covering the whole piece in a protective layer of glossy medium.

Once dry, I removed the tape from the edges of the completed piece and realized I had done the collage before taping... but I actually really like how it looks.
And there it is! SOOOOOO happy with how it turned out. This one deserves to be framed I think.

And yes, if you haven't guessed it by now, I am pregnant! So happy and excited! More in a future post.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sketchbook Pages: Beautiful Birds Sketched

Since taking Alisa Burke's Beautiful Birds class, I've been sketching a lot of birds. If I'm at home, I use my Golden Field Guide - Birds of North America for inspiration. Occasionally, if I get to work extra early, I'll take a few seconds and fill a page inspired by a google search. Here are just a small selection of those sketches:
Some are quick sketches, some are simple line drawings (either sketched with pencil first, or not). I'm finding my "bird style" - you'll see a few more "finished" sketches in my next post.

Monday, August 1, 2016

2016 Goals: July

Wow! It's already August! Where is the time going? I have so many things I want to blog about, but it's so hard in the summer. Who wants to be on the computer when it's so nice out? That being said, it had been very hot, so I haven't been outside THAT much, but we did go on vacation, so that counts too! More later - promise.

16 GOALS FOR 2016:
  1. Read 30 books. 19/30 
  2. Try 16 new Ottolenghi recipes. 3/16 (I need to go through Plenty More to put all this fresh produce to good use!)
  3. Try 16 new (loose-leaf) teas. 16/16 (It was cooler this weekend, so I worked on my goal of finishing some of the loose leaf tea I already own so that I can buy more this winter guilt-free.)
  4. Put up shelves and organize craft room. Make it inspiring. (Organized a small corner today.)
  5. Finish Amber art book - this year I WILL! (Only a few pages left!)
  6. Work in sketchbook daily. (I kept a travel journal while we were away, so I did well this month.)
  7. Blog weekly. (Hahaha! Each month is a new beginning, right?)
  8. Finish 2 cross-stitch samplers. (Worked on the Woodland Sampler today. Only 3 squares to go.)
  9. Travel somewhere new. (YES! Had a great time - more later once I go through my photos.)
  10. Sign up for and pass my SOCRA certification.
  11. Make an inventory of all my books. (I started with the books I have yet to read... an embarrassingly large number. But a good start.)
  12. Wake up earlier and practice yoga every morning evening. (I didn't do much of anything for most of July - after walking home in the heat, I was done. But I've started up again and going to try hard to stay on track.)
  13. Make a weekly meal plan and prep veggies on the weekend. (Keeping up with this one pretty consistently.)
  14. Get rid of junk we never use (i.e. downsize our "things") and organize storage and spare spaces. (Need to get on this one...)
  15. Work on making the backyard nicer (plant flowers, landscape, garden). (My garden is growing like mad! Still need to work on the rest, probably in the fall.)
  16. Set reminders in my phone to make me check in on my goals at least monthly (and blog about it). (6/12 monthly reviews - missed June.)
This month I will work hardest on numbers 2, 4, 7, and 12.

What goals have you crossed off your list lately?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sketchbook Pages: Beautiful Birds Doodled

I signed up for Alisa Burke's Beautiful Birds workshop back when it was first released. I finally got around to watching the videos and they are so much fun! I've been sketching and doodling away in my sketchbook and on random pieces of paper every chance I get. I love birds!

Here are some of the pages I created, starting with the more doodled warm-ups. I'll post more "complete" bird sketches in another post.

One way Alisa gets us to loosen up is to doodle randomly and then create a bird out of it. This was tricky, especially if you weren't thinking about it and created a wonky scribble!

Another technique was to create simple shapes and make them into birds:

The exercise I enjoyed the most though was creating "splotches" of colour, and then finding a bird within that splotch. I used markers and a black Sharpie for these ones and a highlighter and ink pen for the last photo:

This last page is probably my favourite of the bunch. I created the splotches of colour with gelatos (spreading them around with water) and then created the birds with a Sharpie:
So simple and yet so cute! I can't help but smile when I look at them!