Saturday, March 31, 2012

Project 52 Update

I skipped last week, so first, here's week 12: A rose from my grandpa's funeral - all the grandkids received one from the bouquets after the service. I really loved these greenish ones.

And here's week 13:My mom gave me this turtle teapot for Easter (early in case we don't get a chance to travel up again so soon). Isn't he adorable?! There's an insert strainer (in the same green ceramic) for loose tea & everything! I really want to use him, but at the same time, I don't. He's just too cute!

I'd love it if you'd participate with me in this challenge! The rules are simple - take 1 photo a week, for 52 weeks. No theme, just a photo of something that sparked your interest during the week. Feel free to use my Project 52 banner as well. Either right click on the image above & save it on your computer, or follow this link & download it from Flickr.

Once you've taken your photo, post it online somewhere & add your link in the submission box below.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sketchbook Pages

As promised, here are some collaged sketchbook pages I created this week:
This first layout was inspired by Donna of Simply Me - specifically, her Collage Monday post this week. Instead of working in my spiral-bound sketchbook, I used an old book that I've been slowly transforming, page by page. I used ledger paper as the background like Donna, though mine wasn't vintage paper (I added in some random numbers here & there). I used copper ink to age the edges a bit.
In Donna's Collage Monday post, she urged us to try using some supplies that have been hoarded for a while. So I pawed through my things & pulled out this antiqued architectural tag & sparkly star. The star is tied to a loop of paper with a piece of string - this originally held some ribbon. I stuffed some dried purple flowers into the ring & glued it all down with acrylic medium.
Donna also used pretty washi tape on her page - so I did too. I started with the polkadots since the purple matched my dried flowers - then I added some green & pink. Since I don't have ink like Donna uses, I doodled with Sharpies in matching lime & purple to tie everything together.
Lastly, I felt the section on the right-hand page needed a little something - so I added some scalloped circles. "Triumph" is a word that has been recurring in my sketchbooks a lot lately.
Sweet & simple - I absolutely love how it turned out!

I still had a piece of ledger paper left over, so I turned to my spiral-bound sketchbook for another page:
I collaged some green construction paper at the top & included washi tape at the bottom because it's so fun. Next, I wrote in a quote that I recently read online & loved:
"Dream" is another recurring sketchbook word, so I pulled out some stamps & went to town. I particularly like how the green polkadots look:
This small envelope was the perfect green, so I glued it down & embellished it with some fancy paper:
Finally, to tie everything together, I used lime green & yellow Sharpies to doodle a pattern that mimicked the pattern on the envelope:
The last thing I did was rip up some scrap watercolour paper & record a few of my dreams on them. I sealed these into the envelope for future reference.

The next day, I created this collage, still inspired by my previous pages:
I used a printed paper bag (from LCBO) & a paper doily as the background. I wasn't sure where to go next, but then I found these stamps in an envelope of ephemera:
I loved the colour, so I went through my files of clippings until I found this flower (originally from a card):
A bit of pink washi tape & a pink Sharpie finished the page nicely.

Last but not least, this page was inspired by another one of Donna's Collage Mondays:
Though my page looks nothing like hers, I accepted her challenge of using up some stickers from my stash. And I really went to town!
I have a lot of stickers, but for this page I tried to restrict myself to orange, blue, pink & cream.
I used 2 security envelopes as the background. I think it's wild, but fun.

Needless to say, if you're looking for some inspiration, check out Donna's Collage Mondays! Her sketchbooks are quite fabulous!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Creative Space

I haven't been in the mood for doing much of anything, but I have spent a bit of time in my sketchbooks & at my craft desk this week. I actually pulled out some beads & half-finished projects the other day. I didn't get very far, but I did finish this bracelet:
Here are some doodled sketchbook pages I worked on in the past week (I also have some collaged pages to show you, but I'm saving those for another post):
You can find more creative spaces here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

April Ad Opportunity

April is coming up fast & bringing spring, green grass, flowers & Easter along with it! March flew by & was filled with many fun projects, including the Map Project & my 31 Skirts challenge. These will be wrapped up in April, along with ACEO-X (4.0). You can also look forward to more recipes, book recommendations & collections in April & maybe a few fun little projects & tutorials here & there.

As you can see, April is going to be a busy & fun-filled month! That makes it a perfect time to advertise right here. There are only three advertisement spots on my sidebar - very exclusive. They aren't teeny tiny either, so you're sure to get noticed.

Have I mentioned the best part? Ad spaces are FREE! They won't be free forever though & first come, first serve, so don't delay!

You can find all the details here or by clicking on the "Advertisement Opportunities" tab at the top of the page.

What to do:

First you'll need an ad - make it jpg or png, 200px (width) by 150px (height). If you don't have one already, I can make it for you. Send your ad (or ad criteria) & the link to the site you're advertising to Please include "Advertisement Opportunity" as the subject line. If you have any questions, I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The First Day of Spring

There's a scratchy lump in my throat & I'm not writing this smoothly, all at once. My thoughts are a little disjointed, my cheeks a little wet.

My grandpa passed away on the first day of spring. Yesterday.

He won't see what this unusually warm weather brings. He won't see the trees in full leaf, or hear the birds migrating to nesting grounds. He won't be at my cousin's wedding in the fall. There won't be another Christmas in Powassan...

Gone with him are his jokes & his stories - of the cottage, the hunting camp, the shop, my dad as a kid... Gone: his knowledge, his stubborn determination, his sneaky smile, his raspy chuckle.

Honestly though, the sadness is for ourselves. His grandchildren who have lost their grandparents; his children who have lost their parents. We are the ones who grieve, who miss the strength & solidity of their presence.

But for my grandpa, there is no sadness. My grandma has been gone for 5 years now. Gone is the loneliness of an old man alone in the home that used to be full of the life & laughter of six kids & a loving wife. Now, he has no wants. No more pain or suffering or sorrow.

All that remain are the memories. These we will clutch to our hearts & cherish dearly. We will share them fondly so that we may remember.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ACEO-X (4.0): Spring Sign Ups

ACEO-X (4.0): Spring

To celebrate this first day of spring, I'm hosting the 4th round of ACEO-X! The first 3 exchanges were completely successful & a lot of fun for everyone involved. Hopefully you'll be able to join us this time around & add another fabulous ACEO to your collection (or perhaps start one off).

If you're unsure what an ACEO is, check out my webpage for more information. Basically, it is a mini collectible piece of art & must be 2.5" x 3.5".

The purpose of this exchange is to make an original ACEO & swap it with another ACEO-X member. The partnering will be kept secret. I expect you to send me a photo of your ACEO - I'll be blogging these so that everyone can see your lovely creations & wonder which is coming their way. The submissions for ACEO-X (1.0), ACEO-X (2.0) & ACEO-X (3.0) can be seen by following those links or by checking out my webpage.

The theme for this exchange is spring.
Feel free to interpret the theme as you will - no need to be too literal.

The schedule:
  • March 20 - March 26 : 1 week to sign up
  • Tuesday March 27 : partners assigned
  • March 27 - April 10 : 2 weeks to create an ACEO
  • Tuesday April 10 : deadline for sending me a photo of your ACEO & shipping it off to your partner

Interested? Want to join?

To sign up, send me the following information via Etsy convo (Ulixis) or email (
  • name
  • email address
  • mailing address (so that I can give it to your partner)
  • Etsy shop / blog links, if any (for my blog posts)
I will use the email address to send you your partner information & to remind you to ship on the deadline. If you don't think you can make an ACEO in 2 weeks & send it off by April 10, please don't sign up! Also remember to take a look at the rules below for more information.

The rules:

1. Create an ORIGINAL ACEO. It must be 2.5" x 3.5" (in either orientation). NO prints, reproductions or photos (although photo elements may be used in your design) - please put in lots of love and effort so that you would be proud to give your artwork as a gift.

2. Sign-ups will be open for 1 week. Feel free to help me get the word out - the more people in the swap, the more fun it is! After sign-ups, I'll randomize the participants & let you know who you are sending your ACEO to (this won't be the same person you're getting an ACEO from). Please keep the partnering a secret - the anticipation is the best part!

3. You have 2 weeks to create you ACEO. Please make sure to include the title of your piece, your name, the date & ACEO-X (version #) on the back of the card (or on an additional piece of paper).

4. Take a photo of your ACEO & email it to me by April 10. This allows me to ensure everyone has participated. These photos will be archived in the Submissions lists on my website. I'll also use these photos in a blog post so you can wonder which will be yours (and comment when you get yours)!

4. You must ship your ACEO to your partner by April 10. Please be prompt! It's unfair to your partner if you delay. You may ship your ACEO out ahead of time, but waiting the full 2 weeks allows me to make adjustments to the partnering if someone happens to drop out. You must be open to international shipping!

5. Please let me & your partner know that you've received your ACEO. You can do this in one shot by commenting on my blog post showing all the ACEOs in the exchange.

6. To sign up: send me your name, Etsy shop & blog links (if you have them), email address & mailing address via Etsy convo or email (

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekly Forecast

Last week was pretty good. I was fairly productive & had a few really good job search days. I was also more active than usual: I went for an inspiring walk, kept up with my daily yoga & went skating last night. I didn't create much, but I did fill a few sketchbook pages. I even pulled out my light box & took lots of photos of new items to list in my Etsy shops.

I'm definitely planning for this week to be more of the same! Here's the plan:
  • JOB SEARCH! Everyday & for more than a couple hours each day!
  • go for a walk & enjoy the weather
  • work on folding my Map Project - I want the folding to be interesting & reveal different art on the back
  • list something new in each shop, each day
  • paint & spend some quality time with my sketchbooks
  • cook a healthy meal each day
I was really happy with my blogging again last week & want to keep it up. The only thing I didn't do was open up registration for ACEO-X 4.0... I was going to do it late in the week, but thought it would be better to start it early in the week. So look out for that tomorrow, as well as:
  • updates on my yoga challenge, Map Project & 31 Skirts
  • a look at one of my coffee table books
  • a peek at the process I go through to make an ACEO
  • a new science post over at Science Byte
I hope everyone has a great week!

Mosaic Monday

It's Mosaic Monday! I hope you'll join us - it's really easy! Just make a photo mosaic - you can use whatever photo editing software you like, or a website such as the mosaic maker & photos from Flickr - & then post it on your blog. Go ahead & pick a theme if you want, but don't feel like you have to. Have fun with it!

Make sure to include a link back to my blog so that everyone can participate. Then come back here & submit a link to your blog post (using the "add your link" button at the bottom). I'll be looking at & commenting on each one!

Here's mine for this week: spring.

Here's the list of mosaics for this week. Once you've blogged, click the button below to add your blog post link.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Seven

A few small things I'm grateful for this week:

Sunday: my sketchbook
Monday: generous friends
Tuesday: evenings alone with Pat
Wednesday: nice long walk in the early morning
Thursday: websites with diverse, health-related job postings
Friday: text message chats
Saturday: celebrating St. Patrick's Day

What are you thankful for this week?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Project 52: 11/52

Week 11 - here's my photo: A photo from my walk on Wednesday - I thought this old sign was the coolest!

I'd love it if you'd participate with me in this challenge! The rules are simple - take 1 photo a week, for 52 weeks. No theme, just a photo of something that sparked your interest during the week. Feel free to use my Project 52 banner as well. Either right click on the image above & save it on your computer, or follow this link & download it from Flickr.

Once you've taken your photo, post it online somewhere & add your link in the submission box below.

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Yoga Challenge (2.0)

I've completed week 1 of the 21-day intermediate yoga challenge! It was immediately apparent to me how this challenge differed from the beginner one: the sequences are a lot more challenging! So far, none of the routines have been new, but they have been the longer, more strenuous ones. I feel great though! I feel like this is a challenge I can accomplish (& fully intend on doing so).

That's pretty much all there is to it. I know these weekly updates aren't really necessary, but it's just one more way to stay accountable. The encouragement is no small thing either!

If you're considering signing up for the challenge, I highly recommend it! In terms of the beginner challenge, it's usually as easy as fitting in 15-20 minutes of exercise, which really isn't excessive (you can do it!). Some days are harder than others, but the rewards are phenomenal! I certainly saw improvements in my strength & flexibility within a week.

That isn't to say I can fully stretch out in down-dog or a forward bend (yet). My leg muscles are incredibly tight! But I'm taking it one day at a time & really enjoying the process. I'm looking forward to tackling even longer routines (& going back to some of my favourites from the challenge) once I've finished the next 2 weeks.

What's your exercise routine like?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

31 Skirts: Week 2

Here's week 2 of my 31 Skirts challenge. Once again, outfit details are outlined below except for tights, since I don't remember from whence they came (probably a department store).

March 8:
tanktop: American Eagle; sweater: American Eagle; skirt: Old Navy

March 9:
I wore the sweater to the hockey game - it was a cold walk!

tanktop: American Eagle; sweater: Bench; dress: Sirens; socks: Wal-Mart; necklace: Ulixis

March 10:
dress: ModCloth; socks: Wal-Mart; shorts: Old Navy
Yes, that's right - I cheated & wore shorts for modesty. I think these work really well with this dress & black socks though.

March 11:
tanktop & shirt: American Eagle; skirt: Banana Republic; socks: Tommy Hilfiger

March 12:
tanktop & shirt: American Eagle; skirt: Old Navy; socks; Tommy Hilfiger

March 13:
dress: Boscov's (I think... a department store in New Jersey or Pennsylvania that I'd never been to before); socks: Tommy Hilfiger; shoes: Madden Girl
I absolutely love the cabling on this knit dress.

March 14:
hat: Liza Rietz; sweatshirt: American Eagle; skirt: Old Navy; socks: Tommy Hilfiger; shoes: Nike; vest: Fairweather; rabbit pin: ThirdPlanet
This is what I wore on my walk yesterday. I debated what shoes to wear & went with these, my newest pair. I normally don't like running shoes with skirts, but the fabulous magenta & periwinkle colours make up for it (the pink is a bit brighter in person than shown in these photos).

I obviously wear my Old Navy skirt A LOT. It's just so comfortable! I want to try avoiding it for the next week as an added challenge.

My favourite poses are the first from March 8 & the second from March 9. My favourite outfit is from Sunday, March 11. The purple skirt looked fabulous with the muted pinky-purple shirt! Plus, the shirt is a gift from my mom, has a bunny on it & says "somebunny loves you" - how could I resist?

Which is your favourite look?

My Creative Space

I was all over the place this week.

First, as promised, the pages in my sketchbook inspired by the photos I took yesterday during my walk:A map of my walk.A page dedicated to the graffiti I saw.The patterns were the most inspiring:
I also added paint to my latest piece:
And sketched a page in my smaller (almost filled) sketchbook. This one was inspired by Carolingian art, as found in my Medieval History coffee table book.Here's a look at the actual piece:
Head on over here for more Creative Spaces!