Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sketchbook Pages: Spring Doodles

Some doodling in my sketchbook:
This last one is from the next page, as yet unfinished. I love these simple doodles - they are a very relaxing way to spend an hour or so!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring has Sprung

I don't know about you, but where I am, spring has finally sprung. I've switched to my spring jacket and started wearing short sleeves on a regular basis. I even painted my toenails in bright, spring colours:
I think I'm going to open my window a crack and let in a fresh breeze! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our New Couch

After nine years of service, it was time to retire our old couch. Cheap to begin with (my first big furniture purchase, on a student budget), it was too small and hardly comfortable. Actually, it was pretty bad - we were well overdue for a new one!

And here it is:
We went to have a look at La-Z-Boy two weekends ago, and to be honest, I wasn't expecting much. I had browsed their site online and didn't really see anything I liked. But we saw this sectional - with a chaise like I wanted and a recliner like Pat wanted - and were sold. It was delivered on Saturday and it's a perfect fit! We're really happy - it's SO comfortable! The imitation leather feels really nice and the dark brown fits in well with our decor. 
I'll be sure to share more photos once we have the rest of the room finished. Since a coffee table won't work with the chaise-recliner combo, we're looking to add a nice end table and a removable wooden tray for the end of the chaise. I also plan on stitching up a new pillow cover or two.. I just need to decide on fabric!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Project 52: March: Weeks 9 to 13

I'm really happy I have another month of photos for my Project 52. I've tried this project a few times now and was never able to keep up... this year I will! This month, I was a little late with week 12 and not very inspired for week 13, but I did it. And I think with the warmer months coming, this will just keep getting more interesting!

Week 9: our coffee station
Delicious latte for my breakfast!

Week 10: the Calgary Zoo
I couldn't choose a single photo, so I went with two instead.

Week 11: moon rise

Week 12: layers in my latte

Week 13: windowsill line-up
I'll need to do some re-potting this summer I think. And I plan on using these smaller pots to grow my herb garden. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring 2014 Goals

The weather here has been hot and cold - above zero springtime days followed by snowy evenings. But all in all, I do believe spring has sprung! And I am so ready for it!

Before I get into this season's goals, let's have a look back on my winter goals:
  1. Read the eight books on my winter reading list.
  2. Go skating as often as possible. 
  3. Get back into yoga.
  4. Make soup from scratch.
  5. Organize paper in office (go through filing system).
  6. Go through clothing and donate everything I don't wear or doesn't fit.
  7. Cook recipes from November, December, January and February Bon Appétit magazine.
  8. Make and blog a Valentine's day craft.
  9. Paint / experiment with Josée's guestbook painting.
  10. Finish two blocks in the 2013 Woodland Sampler.
Unfortunately, we did not end up going skating very often this winter. In fact, I think it may have only been the once... we tried a few other times, but the ice was always too crowded to be worth lacing them up. I did start to get back into yoga. I was really good for a couple of weeks... then I went to Calgary and completely fell of the wagon again. Arg. It's so hard for me to want to exercise. I just don't like it. I have little enough time for all my favourite hobbies plus general housework; it's nearly impossible to fit in something I just don't want to do. But I need to. I can feel that. So I must. This season!

I didn't do much organizing this winter, though I did get started with the papers in our office. I didn't get much crafting done either, though I did finish one square in the woodland sampler (July) and stitched two frames (not shown):
Not too bad. Could have been better, but not a complete fail.

Anyway, here are my spring goals:
  1. Read the eight books on my Spring Reading list.
  2. Get back into yoga.
  3. Finish a canvas.
  4. Complete six pages in my Amber altered art book.
  5. Visit an art gallery or museum.
  6. Cook recipes from February, March, April and May Bon Appétit magazine.
  7. Blog a workshop.
  8. Stitch two squares in the 2013 Woodland sampler and work on the spring sampler.
  9. Go for at least three hikes.
  10. Organize my closets.
  11. Find a dentist and make an appointment. Also book a massage.
  12. Finish going through the Art of Spring workshop.
A slightly longer list due to incomplete items from the winter. Hopefully I'll be able to cross out a few more this time!

What are your goals for spring?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Reading List

I really like these quarterly reading lists. I know I don't need to hold to them, but it helps breaking my huge library into more manageable chunks!

First, let's take a look back at my winter reading list:
  1. finish Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  2. The Wolves of Midwinter - Anne Rice
  3. The Gods of Guilt - Michael Connelly
  4. Helen of Troy - Margaret George
  5. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
  6. The Modigliani Scandal - Ken Follett
  7. Elephant Song - Wilbur Smith
  8. A Place Called Freedom - Ken Follett
Those that are crossed out have been read (except for #5, which is close enough to being done to count - my spring list will start April 1st for simplicity). Instead of tackling the last two on my list, I read a book borrowed from a coworker (Looking for Alaska - John Green) and a new book I bought while in Calgary (Boy, Snow, Bird - Helen Oyeyemi).

I enjoyed all of these novels - some more than others. Anne Rice, Ken Follett and Wilbur Smith are in my top 5 favourite authors, so I rip through their writing, though these three books (of theirs on my list) are not the first I'd recommend for each author. Helen Oyeyemi is a new favourite of mine - I enjoyed her Mr. Fox, so this one sparked my interest and didn't disappoint. The last three books I read have convinced me to read more from Tolstoy, Michael Connelly and John Green. 

As for my spring reading list:
  1. The Catcher and the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  2. A Place Called Freedom - Ken Follett
  3. Helen of Troy - Margaret George
  4. My Mother's Secret - J.L. Witterick
  5. The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
  6. Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
  7. Agnes Grey - Anne Brontë
  8. Stephen King - 11/22/63
The first is another new book I picked up in Calgary - well, a new book of an old classic I've been meaning to read. Then I added the two I skipped this winter and one I'm borrowing from mom. The last four were basically picked at random from my shelves. I will read more of my books!

What have you been reading this season?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jim Shore Basket of Flowers

I love Jim Shore. The intricately carved designs on his pieces are absolutely gorgeous. I have many winter and Christmas ornaments of his (including my nativity set and a few santas and snowmen), but until my trip to Calgary, I didn't have any "everyday" pieces.
Mom presented me with this basket of flowers as a thank you for bringing her to Calgary with me. It's the August basket, featuring August's flower (gladiolus) and birthstone (peridot). It's also a trinket box that opens up to reveal a tiny compartment... not sure what I'll hide in there, but it looks pretty cute on my shelf as it is (especially sitting next to that fun patterned jug I found at Target)!
Now I'm going to have to look around the Jim Shore website to see what other everyday pieces I can find!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sketchbook Pages: Outtakes

Here are a few outtakes from when I was working on my latest Amber altered book page - Angie's Garden. The colours were too good not to share! I'm really loving this colour scheme!
These are the (dollar store) alphabet stencils I used for the background. It was messy work, plus I used my fingers to spread around the leftover paint in another sketchbook, but the end result was so pretty! I didn't want to wash my hands after this!

Speaking of using leftover paint in another sketchbook - here it is. The paint is on the right side, spread around with my fingers after I finished the background in my Amber book. This weekend, I decided to complete the left side in "response" using gelatos (scribbled on, spritzed with water and then blended together with my fingers).
This is the paint side. My paint was mixed with glazing medium, so it's shiny and slightly transparent. You can see where some of the paint ended up in the "wrong" place in the gradient - this happened because I was messily wiping it up with my fingers from the palette. Also, since the paint had been drying while I used my stencils, the colours didn't blend into each other as much as the gelatos.

Here's the gelato side. The colours are even more vibrant in person - I love how juicy gelatos always end up. I also incorporated some metallic gelatos, so there's a nice sheen to it as well. Like I said, I just blended it all together with water and my wet fingers. So pretty! I will definitely be using this colour palette over and over this spring!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! We don't usually celebrate, but I will be spending it with my favourite Patrick (well, at least the non-work parts of the day)!