Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sketchbook Pages: Stars

This page made me think of space, so I made up a perfect quote to go along with it:
"Look up at the stars and dream."
So true, don't you think?

I started out by experimenting with white on white (you'll see more of this experimentation in other art books). I created texture by using my brayer over a wine bottle holder (plastic with a diamond pattern) on wet gesso. Pressing this "stencil" into wet paint created this fun diamond pattern:

Then I tried another a new technique: adding acrylic paint and removing most of it with a baby wipe (or a face wipe in my case). I went with orange (Amsterdam standard series azo-orange) to give it an almost aged look. I love how the orange clung to the cracks and edges of the pattern! Of course, from there, I had to add more colour instead of more white!

I added some round stickers next, but didn't exactly love how it looked, so I gessoed lightly over everything. Finally, I doodled in some circles, dots and a quote to finish it off (with white and gold Sharpie pens and Faber-Castell Pitt pens in raw umber, light flesh and ivory):
I love this spread for a few reasons: I tried new things, I used up old supplies and I stayed true to my style. Love it!

Monday, August 26, 2013

28 List

Another year, another list. I wasn't very good about completing anything on my 27 Things To Do Before Turning 27 list... hopefully this year will be better!

First, let's recap:

27 Things To Do Before Turning 27:
  1. read 50 new books (45/50)
  2. finish my Krez short story - worked on it, but not nearly enough
  3. find a job
  4. read 5 French books (1/5)
  5. volunteer (animal rescue? Hospital?)
  6. take a course (dance, exercise, art, work, etc)
  7. learn (to read) Dutch fluently
  8. visit another country  - I'm willing to count this as crossed off since I visited a new province...
  9. bake 27 new recipes - Maybe? Didn't keep track...
  10. visit 3 new farms / wineries - Maybe? Didn't keep track...
  11. ride some roller coasters
  12. go swimming in the ocean - I'm willing to count this as crossed off since I swam in a new (to me) body of water
  13. go skating outdoors at least once
  14. find 5 new hiking trails - Maybe? Didn't keep track... can really only think of one or two...
  15. bike more than once all summer!
  16. develop a new exercise routine including daily yoga - working on this
  17. design logos for Ulixis, blog and shops
  18. design and sell another journaling workshop
  19. design a calendar for 2014
  20. start a new 365/52 project (collage a day/week)
  21. make 3 downloadable files for the blog (reading list, calendar, art, agenda, etc)
  22. increase blog readership by 50%
  23. run another ACEO-X
  24. finish 2 cross-stitch pieces - started a bunch, does that count?
  25. paint that plain tea pot
  26. make myself an article of clothing and wear it
  27. make 27 new coptic notebooks
So I officially crossed out 3/27 - or, if I'm being extremely generous, around 8/27. Not so good. 

Hopefully this year will be a bit more attainable!

28 Things To Do Before Turning 28
  1.  read 50 new books
  2. read 5 French books
  3. join (or start) a book club
  4. catalog all my books
  5. maintain a daily yoga routine
  6. go skating at least once a week all winter
  7. find a new place to explore (museum, hiking trail, gallery, etc) once a month (and document each excursion)
  8. cut down on take out to once or twice a month - pack lunches for work everyday
  9. grow an herb garden
  10. cook one new recipe from each month's Bon App├ętit magazine (and keep record of each one!)
  11. blog at least twice a week - take lots of photos on the weekend to make this easier
  12. revive Etsy shops, one at a time
  13. design new blog logo, layout and colour scheme
  14. design one or two tutorials (at least), including video, and post them here
  15. design and post a journaling workshop
  16. sew mom's bedspread, pillowcase and napkins (before Thanksgiving!)
  17. finish the 2013 woodland sampler
  18. write something daily - diary, story, whatever, however long or short, write!
  19. work out a design for my sister-in-law's tree "guest book" painting
  20. fill 2 regular black sketchbooks
  21. completely fill Amber art book
  22. completely fill Art of Spring sketchbook
  23. finish 5 canvases and post on Etsy
  24. finish all 3 of the Christy Tomlinson workshops I signed up for last spring
  25. finish the Healthcare Improvement course I started last year
  26. reorganize closets, including my wardrobe (extending to dressers) and jewelry collection (extending to organizing dresser tops)
  27. reorganize my desk and craft space to make it more usable and inspiring
  28. visit a new city and sight-see
I went for plenty of self-improvement goals - many of which will set me on the right path to maintain a healthy routine and accomplish my long-term goals. I'm looking forward to the year ahead - I'm planning on making it the best one yet!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My 27th Birthday, In Review

Wednesday was my 27th birthday! As usual, I was pretty well spoiled - except for the fact that I had to work and had a crrrrrrrazy day running around all over and back and forth between the hospitals. But it did end on a sweet note with dinner at a fancy steakhouse with the girls from work and an ice cream cake waiting on my seat of the car when Pat picked me up from the station. Yum!

I was also spoiled with gifts from my family. My mom sent my birthday package in the mail and I picked it up from the post office last Sunday. Inside, there were four gifts from my parents: one for each day until my birthday! There was also a gift from my younger brother and his girlfriend. Yesterday, I picked up another package at the post office - this time from my older brother and sister-in-law. Not to mention the cards from my gramma and aunts. So sweet!

Anyway, here's a small selection of the gifts I unwrapped this week.
Silver bird measuring spoons and owl candle holder from John and Emilie.

A beautiful watch from Pat - who even surprised me by having it ready for my birthday morning - and which I opened seconds after:
A beautiful watch from mom! You should have seen poor Pat's face! I felt so bad (even though I warned him about my list and told him to run his gift by my mom). I debated over them for a few days and finally decided to keep both. I think they're different enough to both get lots of wear.

Pewter bunny and Willow Tree figurine (Surrounded by Love) from mom (the one orange flowers). The one with the blue flowers (Forget-me-not) is from Matt and Terri-Anne. A perfect match and lovely additions to my Willow Tree collection - I almost have all the flower ones now!

Mini honey pot from Matt and Terri-Anne.

How lucky am I? And that's only about half of it! I love my birthday! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Royal Tyrrell Museum

As I said yesterday, Pat and I had a great time at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Here are just a few of the many photos we took there that day.

Let's start with a walk through the Badlands:
In our first guided tour - the Seven Wonders of the Badlands - we learned a lot about the features of this arid valley. The fact I was most shocked about: Canada has native cacti! Not a plant I typically relate to my country, that's for sure!
On our second guided tour, we were able to "dig" for fossils - we found quite a bit of petrified wood and a few bone fragments (which we returned for the next group to find):

After the bright, hot sun in the Badlands, we were more than ready to spend the afternoon in the cool, dark museum.
That last one is an imprint of dinosaur skin!

This is really only a very tiny selection of all there was to see at the museum - I highly recommend it if you find yourself near/in Calgary!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sketchbook Pages: Mini Collages

While in Alberta this May, Pat and I visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. We signed up for a couple of guided tours through the Badlands and spent the entire afternoon wandering through the past. The exhibits and fossils on display were incredible; it was a really awesome learning experience. (I'm just now realizing I never shared any of those photos... maybe I'll put together a post for tomorrow with a few of them!)

Anyway, I always have to browse through museum gift shops and, no surprise, left this one with a mini sketchbook. Made from recycled elephant poop no less!
The pages have a really great handmade texture - smooth on one side, "woven" on the other - and are thick enough to support mixed media. When I bought the notebook, I had no idea what I was going to do with it... and it sat neglected for a month. Finally, I figured out a use for it: as a place to "remember" some of the paper coordinates that I put together (since I haven't been blogging them recently).

Colours, patterns and textures that I like together, in a mini collage enhanced by quick doodles:
Now, when I need colour inspiration, I can look through this book. Or, when I only have a few minutes to create, I can pull some random papers and make a simple collage. Win-win!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


My toes needed a new coat of polish (My apologies to anyone averse to feet: my excuse is that I can't really paint my finger nails due to my job so my toes get extra attention. Plus I just like painting my toenails!). And since Pat was working this weekend, I had time to spare. So I decided to paint some watermelon:
Avon nailwear pro+ - Watermelon
Avon nailwear pro - Electric Green
Avon nail art enamel - Delicate White
Avon nail art enamel - Black Drama
Avon dotting tool

No, I wasn't inspired by the name of the nail polish. In fact, I was going to use a different pink when I remembered I had an even better shade. Lo and behold, it was even named for the goal I had in mind!

I LOVE how these turned out. I was tempted to make a mini watermelon on each toe (basically green and white French tips), but that sounded too difficult on my tiny nails. I was then going to just recreate that idea on my big toes (but was still debating what to do on the others) when I thought to make the babies green, with the white stretched between. Perfect! And so cute!

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Creative Space: Loose Doodle

Sometimes, a scrap piece of loose paper can be more inspiring than a sketchbook:
There's just something about loose, scrap paper that is incredibly freeing. No rules, no need to keep things neat or "pretty," no structure to follow. Just put the pen to the paper and go.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our New Bedspread

Ever since moving, I've been wanting to get a new bedspread. The brown comforter that we brought with us from Hamilton was fine - a gift, so I feel bad complaining about it - but it just wasn't me. A bit too dark, a bit too.... blah. Boring brown. (Brown, brown, dirty old brown! Mom knows the jingle...)

Still, it was perfectly serviceable, so a new comforter wasn't something I was actively shopping for; it was just something that was lingering in the back of my mind.

And then I saw this at Winners last weekend:
I was immediately sold. The colours! The pattern! The reversibility! (It doesn't get much better than two quilts in one.) It's perfect and perfectly me. And a really great fit for the blue furniture I have in the bedroom:
Dirty clothes on the floor = keeping it real (or that's what I'll tell myself anyway)

Also - I've had the blue side showing all week. I turned it to orange to take these photos (and because I'm thinking orange for summer-fall and blue for winter-spring... but I'm sure I'll be spontaneously switching it back and forth on a monthly or bi-monthly basis).
The pattern is just so good! I can't help but smile every time I find myself in the bedroom!

I've actually never had a quilt before - it's always been a comforter covering my bed. I used to think I preferred a comforter since they seem cosier. But I rather like the weight of this quilt: not too stiff or smothering (Pat's a hot sleeper who requires a blanket no matter the temperature) but not so light that we'll need a heavy blanket underneath for the winter (although we probably still will so that I can have the window open).

All in all, a very happy change. And perhaps just the incentive I need to "finish" that room a bit more (i.e. add some art to the walls and some organization to the dresser tops)...