Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Things have been busy around here. We returned from our trip out West last Tuesday, had the day off Wednesday and then worked Thursday-Friday. My two lab co-workers were off that week (vacation and sick), so the office staff and new trainees were trying to cope to our regular frantic schedule. Needless to say, I really felt the love when I returned ("thank goodness you're back!!!")... but there was a lot of catching up to do. A lot of samples to sort through, organize and ship. It was BUSY.

Then, we had house guests the whole weekend. Friday night, Pat's youngest sister made it in late. His other sister and her fiance arrived by train on Saturday. Sunday, we all went to Wonderland for the entire day. I had almost forgotten just how much I LOVE roller-coasters! The new Leviathan is extra tall, fast and long - but such a smooth ride. So so so much fun!

The last of our guests left this morning and I have to say - I'm tired! What a whirlwind couple of weeks it has been. And by the weekend it'll be June! I know I say this a lot - and more and more often as I get older - but the days are just flying by. Hard to believe we're almost half-way through 2013.

Anyway, I have loads to catch up on so it may continue to be quiet over here for a few more days. I will try to get back into my regular blogging schedule soon though. I have tons of pictures from out West to show still... so here's one:
*sigh* Dreaming of the mountains....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Back From Our Travels

Well, sadly, we are back from our trip to the mountains. We had such a wonderful time! It was just beautiful and so relaxing. The weather was perfect the entire time, all our hotel rooms were lovely and my friend's wedding was a huge success.

It was over before we knew it... too soon!

I have lots of photos to go through, but I picked a few favourites to show today because I know my mom is anxious to see them. Many more to come!
the Bow River, taken in Banff

the Bow River, from the TransCanada Highway running West of Banff

Marble Canyon, Kootenay Park, BC

the Wetlands in Invermere, taken on the way to Wilmer

Olive Lake, just outside of Radium

the Badlands, taken at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller

Monday, May 13, 2013

Garden Girl (She Girl #3)

Saturday evening I was in the mood for painting. I wanted to paint my next She Girl. And I wanted her on this background:
Of course, I had doodled with white Sharpies and a red Prismacolor a few days before I got started on my girl, but I had my "must-paint" blinders on, so I didn't think to take a photo before starting - or any in process. Still, with this red-orange background, I knew I wanted to go green for my girl. I was tempted to go with green hair, but leaves sounded a bit more appealing (and a bit more me). Definitely inspired by the seasonal changes going on outside!

I ripped a piece of dark green patterned paper before getting starting, knowing I would use it in part of my collage. Then I looked at my canvas and immediately "saw" my girl, sketching her out with watercolour pencils. And wouldn't you know it! The piece of green paper I had torn would be perfect for her bodice!

I mixed all my paint with lots of glazing medium to achieve a nice transparency. I wanted layers to show through. I started with titan buff, raw sienna and gesso for her face then mixed in a bit of burnt umber light for the hair and shading and sap green for the dress. Finally, I glued down her dress and a bunch of "leaves" after ripping leaf shapes from various patterned green papers. A glaze of sap green and raw sienna completed my first painting session:

Next, I added quite a bit of shading, mostly with FC Pitt pens in skin tones and Neocolor II and some gelatos. A bit of doodling around the outlines and some rub-ons here and there brought her here:
Now I think all I have left to do is add a bit more shading and a quote to the blank space at the right. Something in green to balance that colour a bit. I'm really, really happy with how she turned out though - almost exactly as a first "saw" her!

Anyway, it may be quiet over here for the next few days - we're off on our trip! I'll definitely have a TON of photos when I get back! Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Seven

Here's what I'm grateful for this last week:

Sunday: a beautiful walk along the waterfront
Monday: waking up early with the sun (and Pat) and knowing I have the morning to myself
Tuesday: nice fresh salad for lunch
Wednesday: having new help in the lab
Thursday: a fuller table during lab meetings
Friday: relaxing knowing I only have one more work day before vacation!
Saturday: lunch with Pat's sister and parents followed by an evening of painting

What are you thankful for this week? 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Creative Space: Playing with Gelatos

I've been meaning to write a more in-depth post comparing my gelatos and neocolors II, but I just haven't had much time, what with preparing for our trip and all. But I thought I would show you real quick what I've been up to while playing with these two great products.
Here I was directly comparing the neocolors (on the left) with the gelatos (on the right) in similar colours. I started with a spread covered in gesso and a few paint spots (where the colour palette came from) - you can see it at the very end of the post linked here. I drew circles with both products - the neocolours act like wax crayons whereas the gelatos are more creamy, like lipstick. When I wet the circles, I found that the neocolours held their shape a bit better:
Whereas the gelatos spread into spots of juicy colour. You can't beat the shine of the metallic gelatos either:
Once the pages were completely dry, I collaged on top. I found that the modge podge lifted a little pigment from both products, but I think that's because they're sitting on gesso instead of a more absorbent ground (as I've experienced with the gelatos on uncoated paper).

The gelatos are also fun because you can make sprays out of them. I combined two different colours for each of my sprays - light blue and lime for a nice aqua / teal colour and metallic silver with black for a shiny dark pewter. To make the sprays, you merely have to work the gelatos into the water until they dissolve completely. The teal spray turned out perfect, if a bit light in colour. I would have to add more gelato to get a darker pigment:
I like the pale washed-out look with this colour though. You can also see on this page that the gelatos drip beautifully.

I could have blended the black/silver spray more because it turned out a bit grainy:
This is  what you get when you press down the leftovers sitting on top of a stencil. I actually really like how it looks with all the black spots - just another layer of texture if you ask me.

Anyway, lots more to talk about with these two products, but I'll leave it there for now. I'm definitely loving them though and will certainly be turning to them often!

More Creative Spaces.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Sampler

Of course I had to start with the bunny! Slowly but surely working away at this project. (Sorry about the so-so photos... my laptop is acting up and I couldn't upload the better camera version.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

12 Things to Love About Summer

After my poor-sweaty-me post yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to remind myself of all the things I love about summer. I made a similar list way back in 2009, and many of these items will be the same, but I thought it would be a good refresher. Especially if this season ends up being more than a couple months this year!

12 Things to Love About Summer:

  1. cold showers
  2. fresh tomatoes with fresh herbs (and endless summer salads)
  3. that wonderful coconut sunscreen scent (reminded me of Christie Lake when I first put it on this year)
  4. silky skirts against bare legs
  5. the fresh breeze through an open window (or better: at the waterfront)
  6. sitting outside to read, enjoy my coffee or while Pat barbecues
  7. everything green and flowering
  8. letting my hair air-dry (and having it take less than an hour to be completely dry)
  9. feeling the grass between my toes 
  10. swimming outside
  11. ice cream and popsicles
  12. hearing the birds chirping in the trees
Alright... I guess summer isn't all that bad. As long as it doesn't get much hotter than 25C - then I'll be a complaining ball of sweat once more!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Walking the Waterfront

It has been hot here all week. Hot enough to feel like the middle of July... and I feel cheated. What happened to spring? I want to wear my spring jacket and hat and tights with my skirts for a while longer. I'm so not ready to be sweaty all day, for my face to be uncomfortably hot and bright red and to not being able to find any clothes that are comfortably cool. Ugh.

Summer is my least favourite season. It's just so uncomfortable and sweaty. I'm so glad we have air conditioning this year... I just hate having it on all the time, and especially already. It's only the beginning of May for goodness sake!

Anyway, that's my little rant for the day. I really should be more grateful for the beautiful weather we've been having. I wanted to make the most of it this weekend, so Pat and I went for a walk along the waterfront. I didn't bring my camera, but I did snap a few pictures with my phone.
It was gorgeous. We picked the perfect park - it wasn't busy at all and had free parking on weekends (compared to another one a few blocks down with paid parking... odd but bonus for us). There was a lovely breeze coming off the water, so it wasn't overly hot. I even wore my jacket for most of our walk. In the end, I did take it off as it got hotter along the paths that weren't by the water - and I ended up with a sunburn. Ugh. Less than 20 minutes in the sun and half my chest is bright red. Yes, only half and very unevenly.

One week before I'm a bridesmaid (in a strapless dress). Awesome.

Can someone please remind me what is so fabulous about summer?

OK, fine, I'll take the blame for this one. I really do need to remember to slather myself in sunscreen at least once a day. And I need to grab something with a higher SPF: 30 doesn't quite cut it for me.
I just hope the redness fades in a week's time. It wouldn't be so bad if I could actually tan, but no such luck. Good thing I think blindingly white skin is much more attractive than a tan. See, the swans agree with me:
Anyway, one more week until our trip! I can't wait!!! Even better - we're going to the mountains so it's bound to be much cooler (last time we were there in mid-July, it snowed). In fact, I'll need to pack a few sweaters along with my t-shirts. It's going to be bliss! Besides that, I am so looking forward to an entire week of relaxing, soaking in hot springs, hiking and celebrating my friend's wedding. It's going to be good!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Seven

Here's what I'm grateful for this last week:

Sunday: talking all night with Pat
Monday: playing with my new supplies
Tuesday: deciding to wear skirts all week (and trying not to complain about the heat... but... ugh)
Wednesday: writing a correlative reference
Thursday: ordering a monthly stamp kit
Friday: Downton Abbey marathon (now if only Pat would download the 3rd season!)
Saturday: a great day of shopping (almost ready for our trip!) + new books to read

What are you thankful for this week? 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Creative Space: Warrior Woman (She Girl #2)

I finally finished my second She Art girl. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with the background - plus, it took some new supplies for me to finish her face and the flowers in her hair. I'm quite happy with the results!

Here's where I left off:
As much as I love love love the background, it was way too much, competing with the girl. But what to do with it? Finally, I decided a simple white-wash was the best way to go:
I mixed a bit of gesso with glazing medium for transparency and titan buff paint for a slightly less bright white. Next, even though I knew she wasn't done, I doodled the outlines to help myself see what was missing. At this point, I've also worked on her face and hair a bit more, adding some shading and highlights with paint and markers / Sharpies. 

I decided to add a bit of tone-on-tone texture to the background, using my white Sharpies and titan buff paint. But I still wasn't completely happy. The flowers were too "collaged on" and her face was a bit too severe, some marks too obvious. Enter my new Faber-Castell supplies!  
So, after adding texture to the background (as I said, it's tone-on-tone so it's very subtle - the circles in titan buff that I overlapped on my girl are the most noticeable, though you can certainly see more in person), I added some Christy Tomlinson rub-ons to complete her dress: 
Next, I used my new FC Pitt pens in skin tones to finish her face:
I used my new FC gelatos to finish the flowers and leaves in her hair:
And now... I think she's done. I think. The background still seems a touch bare and I could add a bit more doodling around the outlines... but we'll see. I'm pretty happy with her as it is. She exudes a stern, no-nonsense confidence. I like it.

More creative spaces.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Growing Garden

Miracle Grow = plant steroids! All my repotted plants are doing amazingly well (save the ivy, which doesn't look so good). There's just so much new growth!
Also, who knew hydrangea flowers were so long living? I've had these since before Easter, well over a month now!