Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Creative Space: Woodland Sampler

Last weekend, I made a lot of progress on my 2013 Woodland Sampler. One of my summer goals is to catch up on this and I'm pretty confident I can do that (I'm just not so sure I'll be keeping up with the summer sampler at the same time... but that's ok, I'll do what I can and for that one, like the spring one, there's always next year!).
I changed a few things for the April and May squares. In the pattern, the bunny is actually a jackalope (a rabbit with antlers) but I really just wanted him to be a bunny. So I adapted the pattern a bit, omitting the antlers and straightening his ears a bit. Now, in hindsight, I wish I had used a lighter shade of brown too - this colour is a bit dark, making his black eyes hard to pick out. Still, I'm really happy with how cute he turned out!

For May it was a smaller change: the pattern called for two dark sprouts and one light but I swapped the colours because to me, sprouts are a vibrant bright green.

Next up: June! I have the square all ready, I just need to get filling!

More creative spaces.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Vintage: Pumpa's Cuff Links

When I went North for the burial of pumpa's ashes earlier this month, gramma gave me and my brother's each a set of matching cuff links and tie clip that she had found while cleaning out pumpa's dresser. She wasn't sure where they had come from (at least one set was pumpa's dad's) but thought we would like to have a small memento of his. And even though I never saw pumpa wearing these, they will forever remind me of him.
My gramma said she chose this set for me since it was the most feminine of the bunch (plus, the others were perfect for my brothers: one set had the initial J for John, my younger brother's name and pumpa's dad's name - the other set was fishing-themed). I particularly love the scalloped setting.
After doing a bit of research, I think the milky-gray "stone" is fossilized or petrified coral. I couldn't find anything else that looked quite like these delicate sunbursts. So pretty!

It seems like a shame to have them languish on my dresser, unworn, so I'm thinking of turning them into jewelry that I'll wear. Earrings and a necklace or maybe a ring. I'll have to take them to an actual jeweler though since I don't have the proper tools to turn these into something I can wear. But it'll be worth it. They really are lovely pieces that would coordinate with the majority of my wardrobe. I just need to find a proper jeweler...  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Painting the Stars

I haven't really been painting lately. In fact, I don't think I've painted anything since we went out West mid-May. I have doodled and collaged and cross-stitched, so it isn't like my crafty gene is completely dormant, but I just haven't found time to paint.

Except for my toenails that is! It is summer after all! Even though I have to wear closed-toed shoes everyday to work, I love painting my toes in fun colours or designs. After seeing a "galaxy" design in a magazine, I thought I would try my hand at it - with my own easier/lazier spin:
Base: Stunning Cobalt (Avon nailwear pro+)
"Stars": Nicole's Nickel (Nicole by O.P.I.) and Yellow Glow (Avon nail art enamel)

Instead of making complicated nebula with a sponge and toothpicks, I simply painted a dark shimmery blue sky and added some yellow and silver stars (ok, fine, they look more like polka-dots than stars, but use some imagination...) using my Avon dotting tool. This tool has two ends, one slightly larger than the other, that you just dip in polish and dot away. Love!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Creative Space: Add a Quote

I haven't had much of a chance to photograph anything lately, so I thought I'd revisit the two girls that I mentioned in my Summer Goals. I really want to finish both of these "canvases" with a quote:
I'm pretty sure that's all that's missing for these pieces to be done. The problem is I haven't found a quote that suits either of them yet. I've gone through my quotes notebook a couple of time to no avail... looks like I'll have to do some random internet browsing. Or maybe I'll just come up with something on my own, a small phrase or maybe even just a word or two. I'm not sure...

Any suggestions?

More creative spaces.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Goals

This summer is starting off with a bang, that's for sure. Busy! It's been so busy over here. I can't get into too much detail as most of it is work related, but my job will be changing substantially in the next few weeks. Most notably, my shift will be changing from 1-9 to 9-5... so I'll no longer have leisurely mornings to slowly get ready, craft and blog (but I will have relaxed evenings where I can cook supper with Pat).

I have a whole new routine to ease into, and it'll take me a while to fit blogging into that. Especially since I haven't been consistent this last month (dang I was going to say "few weeks", but it's been pretty much a month since I was blogging regularly... time sure does fly!). But I really do want to keep up with it - I love this little space way too much!
Anyway, to follow along with my last post, I thought I would make myself a list of goals for this summer. Not only do I want to get some reading done, I want to accomplish a few things while setting my new routine. It's so easy to let the entire summer slip by, lazily, like a bead of sweat sliding down a cold glass of lemonade.

Summer 2013 Goals:
  1. establish a new daily blogging and crafting routine
  2. catch up on the 2013 woodland sampler
  3. keep up with the summer sampler
  4. complete my two in-progress girls (both need a quote added to the background canvas)
  5. work on two in-progress canvases (green/black and small bouquet)
  6. try 3 new summer recipes and grill as often as possible
  7. put on sunscreen every day and wear my hat outside
  8. make a batch (or two) of vanilla lemonade
  9. find new hiking trails and a relatively quiet beach where we can actually go swimming
  10. actually start using the green bin (no excuse!)
  11. explore the city around us (find: a small bookstore, a gallery, a farmer's market, an unknown park)
  12. catch up with old friends (both online and off)
I want to make this a summer to remember!

What do you have planned this summer?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer Reading List

Now that I'm working ("now" like I haven't been working for over seven months! Still feels new some days..), I have lots of reading time at my disposal. I spend about 40 minutes on the subway each way, plus take an hour for lunch/supper, usually by myself. So that gives me lots of time, making me confident I'll be able to reach my goal of reading at least 50 books again this year.

In order to reach that goal, I have to read just over four books a month. That means I have twelve books to read this summer (June - August):

  1. finish The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch
  2. finish Darwin's The Origin of Species
  3. The Rise of Ransom City - Felix Gilman
  4. What Darwin Got Wrong - Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini
  5. The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
  6. Who Has Seen the Wind - W.O. Mitchell
  7. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
  8. Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
  9. Waging Heavy Peace - Neil Young
  10. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  11. Under the Dome or 11/22/63 - Stephen King
  12. Dr. Zhivago - Boris Pasternak
All these titles were pulled from my bookshelves. Since I've already finished two books in June (excellent books I brought back from out West: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan), I have a little leeway, but I really would like to tackle most of these. Unless I happen to pick up a new book or two... then I'm sure to read those first. I'll try to restrain myself though; I really do want to put a dent in my own-but-haven't-read list!

What are you reading this summer?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Creative Space: Cross-stitching

This last week, I've been steadily stitching on my 2013 Woodland Sampler. I've only been able to find small snatches of time to work on my cross-stitches, but I really do want to try to catch up on this one this month. The June square is going to be adorable!
(Sorry about the crappy cell phone photos - my camera's memory card is still full of photos from out West!)

I really want to catch up because I've signed up for the Summer Sampler. I haven't made much progress on the spring one, but I figured these (along with the fall and winter ones) would be a project to work on for a couple years. I love being able to pick them up on a whim and watch them unfold.

More creative spaces.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sketchbook Pages: Playing with Patterns

I was trying to decide what to blog about this morning - the thing about getting back into the routine is just to do it - so I started browsing through my May 2013 folder of pictures. I found quite a few sketchbook pages in progress that I have yet to finish. Perhaps tomorrow I will blog about projects I want to finish this summer...

Anyway, I found a few patterns among my pages, so I thought I'd share. These are from my experiments with Neocolors II.
A few quick pages in my "travel" sketchbook. I just noticed the date on the first page isn't the same as the other three... I definitely drew these all at the same time... Oops! I doodled the patterns and then coloured them in with Neocolors II. I decided to keep the waxy look instead of getting them wet.

Chevron in my long watercolour sketchbook. These were spritzed and dripped to see how well they would run... I just haven't taken a photo of the results yet.

Looking at these pages really makes me want to get back to my desk and pull out the paints, sprays and papers... let's see if I can find a few minutes before I need to head out to work! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bow River

Today I finally found a minute to go through some of my photos from out West. While there, we drove around quite a bit - from Calgary to Canmore to Invermere, BC and back - and along the way, we often found ourselves sidling the Bow River. The rivers I grew up with are fairly murky and brownish, so the clear blue-green waters of the Bow are simply astonishing.
These photos were taken in Banff, along the Bow River and really don't do the river justice. The sun was bright that day and you could see straight to the bottom - making things look a little brown - but you could see straight to the bottom. I just think that's pretty cool.