Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Creative Space

So last week, here's where we left off my latest painting:
I had thought I would paint it sky blue, which would work well if my subject were a bird breaking free from a cage. This would symbolize my taking that next big step into the future. But then I started mixing paint & ended up with rich eggplant, grape & indigo:
It still looked like a sky to me - only the story I was trying to tell now began with a dark & stormy night. I liked how this fit with the uncertainty I had been feeling while beginning the piece.

The inking I layered on next tried to play up the night sky.
When it came to sketching out my bird breaking free though, I was stuck. I didn't want it to look like all the other birds listed on Etsy (they're quite the popular theme). So I Googled some "plunging bird" images & sketched away. It all came together one night while I was lying in bed, almost falling asleep. Wouldn't it be neat - different - if the viewpoint of my painting was from inside the cage instead of outside?
I wanted it to look like you're sitting in the cage, looking out at your sibling take her first plunge out the open cage door. I thought seeing the bottom of the bird would be an interesting perspective.
I painted my bird in shades of tan & camel, with an orange beak & legs.
I still need to add some details to the bird, but she's starting to take shape nicely.
Next up: the cage! Or perhaps a tree or nest? What do you think?

Click on over to kootoyoo to check out all the other amazing creative spaces out there!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Item of the day: New Growth

I'm not organized enough for a theme this week - I just want to show off a few pieces I love. Let's start with this New Growth print by groundwork (one of my favourite artists): simple & oh-so stunning.

Sick Day

So I had a sick day yesterday. Actually, it was more of a violently-ill-for-2-hours kind of day. A sore stomach crept up on my all of a sudden around 10:30AM - I thought I was hungry, so I had some juice & a handful of almonds. Next thing I know, I'm hugging the toilet bowl. Every half hour or so... Ugh. There's no way I can finish the rest of that juice carton now!

Of course I was feeling miserable, so I emailed Pat to let him know. He came home at lunch time - what a sweetheart. He cuddled with me in bed until I fell asleep - then he made me some chicken noodle soup when I woke up 3 hours later. I felt much better after that, so I thought I'd share his miraculous-instant-cure recipe.

Healing Chicken Noodle Soup


4 cups water
1 satchet of Lipton chicken noodle soup
1 cup Minute rice


1. Boil water.
2. Whisk soup mix & rice into boiling water. Turn down heat & let simmer for 5 minutes.

Enjoy & feel better! Honestly, nothing tastes better when you're sick!

What's your favourite at-home remedy when you're sick?

(And yes, I realize this sounds like morning sickness - at least 4 people have told me I might be pregnant... HA! Real funny guys! Seriously though, I'm on the pill & bled last week, so I'm pretty sure it's only a stomach virus. Let's see what happens this morning...)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Mr. Handy

Yesterday morning, Pat was parked on the street in 3-hour parking, so he moved our car into the back parking lot of our apartment building around 11AM, no problems. At about 5PM, we decided to go do groceries. And ... the car won't start. The lights come on, there are clicking noises, all the gauges are dancing at the lower limit & error after error pop up on the message thing on the dash: airbag failure, ABS failure, tilting the lights up failure......... CRAP. Now what?
Thank goodness I have a handy man. The first thing Pat did was page through the manual & his Haynes book (there's one for all car models apparently, tells you how to do everything), then we came back upstairs & he Googled it. Pretty soon, he had found a couple of cases that sounded exactly like ours: the battery was dead. Not just needs-a-boost dead, but dead-dead.

So, being after 6PM, only Wal-Mart was open (a big supercentre newly opened actually). We took the bus up the mountain & Pat carried the heavy battery on the bus back. Took him less than half an hour to change out the battery... and SUCCESS! The car is running just fine again!
What a relief! I don't know what I'd have done without my man (nevermind the fact I wouldn't have a car if I din't have Pat to drive me around in it)!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Tudors

I really don't watch TV - actually, I almost never turn it on. I didn't even have cable until Pat moved in. He'll have it on most evenings - the news, business news, football, hockey, UFC - but we don't really watch much else.
Except for one series I've been obsessed with (in a healthy manner). The Tudors, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers is amazingly good - I think it's the dose of reality that makes it truly riveting. There's nothing more dramatic than history. One of my favourite parts is the period clothing.
Since the fourth & final season is playing here in Canada (started last Wednesday), I thought it would be fun to make up a treasury with The Tudors theme. Click on over HERE to check it out. That Anne of Cleves doll in the first spot is uncanny in her resemblance to the girl in the show!

I can't wait for this final season - even if some girl on the bus told me it was a little disappointing.
What TV shows are you watching this fall?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Feature

Nothing feels more like fall than a mix of these colours (and woolly textures):

Friday Five

I had a busy week (so what else is new?):
  1. Monday I finished up my committee report & sent it to my supervisor. I made some revisions Wednesday morning & sent it to my committee. Meeting next Wednesday.
  2. Coffee house on Tuesday (free coffee & Timbits for grad students). Then I went to campus & ran the experiment I TA, just to make sure everything was running smoothly.
  3. Wednesday I TAed the first "real" lab. It's a 3-part radioligand binding experiment; the first week the group does a saturation binding experiment. Hopefully their results are fairly good so that they can move on to the competition assay next week.
  4. Thursday I went back to campus to find out that the scintillation counter we had picked up for free from the Chemistry department is broken. So much for getting that set up... I did get a chance to go to a career fair - but that was also a fail. It was pretty much only geared towards engineering & business students. Oh well, I got a free pen & two websites out of it.
  5. I listed some more Halloween tags - and I think it's just about time to start re-listing some Christmas tags. The holidays will be here before we know it!
What were you up to this week?
If you also posted a Friday Five, leave me a link in the comments so I can check it out!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Creative Space

This week my creative space - my desk space - has been divided into 2. I spent the weekend beading, but then Tuesday evening I just had to paint. Here's a peek at my desk - my covered sewing machine in pink on the left & my painting station just out of frame to the right (I love my large desk):
This is my beading station. You can see all 3 stages of the process here. A finished product:
A work-in-progress:
And a "design board" ... or rather a soon-to-be design:
I love beading - especially the design process, sorting through beads & deciding on colour - but painting & collage have become my real outlet. Lately I've been stressing over a major decision (what to do with my life when I finish my Master's in December) so I just let it all out when I paint. The first step is particularly therapeutic:
I cover a canvas in gesso & then just write freely (& messily) in charcoal, right into the wet paint. This time it was all about making a decision & taking the plunge. It doesn't matter what I say or how it looks, because it soon gets covered up. For the next layer, I usually go straight to collage. But this time I wanted to try something different.
When the painting was almost dry, I spilled some blue watercolour onto the top left corner.
Here in the middle, you can see how the blue paint & white gesso have mixed together. I added some texture with a paper towel. Near the edges though is where the magic happened:
The watercolour sunk into all the crack of the canvas & my writing. I love how the words are highlighted.
Once that was dry, I collaged over top.
I love the complexity collage & multiple layers bring to a piece. You can look at the whole painting & see a lovely picture - but you can also look closer & pick up meaningful words & symbols, patterns & textures.

Next up for this piece is some more paint & then some inking. That will mostly complete the background & I can decide what I want to put in the foreground. I'm thinking a bird breaking free from a cage might be appropriate.

Click on over to kootoyoo to see what other creative people are up to this week.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Item of the day: Fade Away

Here's another necklace, created by andrea0503, that perfectly captures the colours of the season: olive & topaz. Tourmaline is such a great stone - I love all its hue variations, but this combo is especially elegant.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Item of the day: Ginkgo Leaf

Burgundy is another one of my fall staples, but it's rather an overlooked colour. Which is a shame, since it is so versatile. It's practically neutral, pairing nicely with anything: brown, blue, black, grey, pink, white.... anything! That's why this fabulous enamel ginkgo leaf by VerreEncore is your perfect fall accessory:

My Morning Coffee

I'm having a bit of a slow morning today. I slept in, then had trouble deciding what to blog about (actually, that indecision stems from last night since I typically like to schedule my morning posts, but I thought I'd dream up something good). It's been a while since I've done a Science Byte, so I was getting that ready as Pat was getting ready to leave. He made his first pot of coffee of the season & offered me what was left after filling his travel mug. I took my mug out onto the balcony with me as I watched him drive away.

The air was fresh & crisp - coffee steam, sweetly scented with maple, warmed my chin. I paused for a moment & took advantage of just being there. It was nice.
Then I came inside & enjoyed my warm beverage.

I'm not really a big coffee drinker, but if it's sweetened & diluted with enough milk, I don't mind it. Plus, Pat likes this maple blend I pick up at a little coffee shop down the street, so it's actually pretty good.
Alright, as long as we're taking a look at my morning in photos, let's see what's on the agenda for today.
  • running a lab on campus (rescheduled from Monday)
  • pick up an OSAP form while I'm there
  • email off my finished committee report - as soon as I get more feedback from my supervisor
  • submit my dental info to opt out of the insurance while I'm still covered under my dad
  • Coffee House at work this morning (free coffee & Timbits for grad students)
I'm definitely going to that last one. Here are my things, all ready to go:
I like my English Breakfast tea in the morning (sorry about the flash - I couldn't get a good photo without it). I also can't forget my phone - & you can just glimpse my purse in the background. Now I just have to finish getting ready - I still look like the photos above!

When was the last time you stopped, took a deep breath & just enjoyed being present?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A day in the kitchen

I spent the day in the kitchen!

I made apple pancakes for breakfast. I learned a trick for perfectly browning them: keep the heat on low!

They were incredibly moist... but I hate grating apples!

I also made some bread. Look at it rise! It's this grape-rosemary focaccia I found on the Smitten Kitchen to be exact.

Pretty seasoning!

I loved the grapes, raw sugar & bread ... but the rosemary & sea salt wouldn't be my first choice of complement if I made it again.

The bread itself was quite delicious & fun to make though.

I had it for dinner with some breaded sole, salad & rice.

Yum! Next up, I'm planning on making loads of apple muffins. Some with raisins, some with almonds, some with pecan, some with carrots.... any other ideas?