Monday, December 29, 2008

I can fly

I dream of flying, not often, but I do dream of flying. coasting on air currents, swooping, diving, gliding. watching the land drop away as I rise, speeding over the edge of a cliff and out over the water. I fly joyfully and with ease and concentration. I think one of the best things would be to lift off and fly. Dreams when I can lift off are my favourites and I'm glad I am able to remember them.

I love watching birds fly. One day a few years ago I sat at the window of the Lonsdale Quay and watched a hundred gulls surfing the wind. They hovered in place, sometimes twisting and diving is response to air currents and shifts. It was a pleasant half hour.

Today, while Miranda napped and the husband went out for some quality Mother and Son time I caught another aerial ballet from the dining room window. Crows lifting and diving twisting and climbing in the sky. I caught myself wondering if they felt an exhilarating sense of freedom and joy in the dance or if they were riding the air in a bid for an adrenaline rush, to see just how far they could follow the currents before needing to twist out and regain control.

Monday, December 22, 2008

While the merry bells keep ringing

As the end of the year approaches, as all manner of holiday television special air and holiday music is played non-stop, things here are starting to wind themselves up and I am planning a wind down in shop activity and on the various places I haunt on the web until the new year. I'll be changing my shop announcements on Etsy to reflect this, although I won't be closing up shop; just letting any one interested know that there will be delays in order processing. I'm to obsessed with Etsy to want to stay completely away, but with Grandma and Uncle arriving to help us celebrate the season I want to spend more time with them and less time cruising the Etsy treasury and Time Machine.

This could very well be the last posting here until the new year, unless I feel compelled to post just because I've said I won't. It's likely to happen. In case I end up sticking to what I've said here let me now take a moment to wish everyone all the best this holiday season, whether you observe Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the Boxing Day Blitz, I hope your celebration is filled with good things, family and friends.

in as few words as possible: walking in a blizzard wonderland

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sometimes being a pushover pays off. I'm one of those people who find it hard to say no, case in point: I once opened the door to a couple of Jehovah's witnesses because I when I looked out the window to see who it was I wasn't wearing my glasses and I thought it was my sister at the door. They kept coming back for about two weeks until my parents told them not to come back any more. When telemarketers call I feel bad about hanging up on them so I end up listening to their whole spiel before I tell them I'm not interested, most of the time anyway.

Last week I was one of those times. Turns out the telemarketer was calling on behalf of Stats BC and they wanted people to take part in a literacy test. Sure I said, I'll take part. And what do I get for being so easy going? well there was the two hours guaranteed quiet at a computer and the monetary reward of $100 which wil certainly come in handy once the new year kicks in and we need to stock the cupboards.

Sorry, there are no photo's for this post. to make up for that I'll put up an all image no text post next week.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I am not a domestic goddess... that statement is only half true.

In a fit of holiday frenzy, I pulled out the baking sheets and the big white bowl and started holiday baking. I could say I started the holiday baking but this is the first year that I have baked in earnest for the holidays; and I don't count last years baking, because it was all done in November and was done for the holiday party I held for Miranda's friends and not just for us.

On the baking menu: Gingerbread Men (in Miranda-speak: Gingenbread friends), Shortbread, chocolate chip cookies, puffed wheat squares and rice cereal squares. If I get around to it I'll add butter tarts but since I've mentioned them here that's probably not gonna happen. Today we did the first two and I even had the table and kitchen reasonably cleaned up when we finished too.

It was a lovely morning of mother daughter bonding over cookie cutters and floured forks.

In other news; I had planned on starting a weekly feature called The Same 5 Questions where I would ask an Etsy artist to answer the same five questions that I plan on asking all the feature artists I'd like to promote here.

I shamelessly borrowed the idea from Jane Magazine, they used to have the same kind of feature in the magazine and it was one I looked forward to reading when I got the magazine each month. I plan on varying the questions as time goes on but I've started with some standard questions that I'm always interested in knowing about.

Anyway, what with one thing and another I'm postponing the launch of this feature until the new year. My brother-in-law and Mother-in-law are coming to spend a few days with us next week and there will be a more random posting schedule than my more recent try to post every day schedule. I want this feature to start and continue for the first while pretty regularly and that's going to be hard if I start this week. So this is your first fair warning, look for a new weekly feature, right here in the new year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm not happy anymore

It seems that potluck celebrations at playgroup are not working for my daughter. Too many crackers, not enough fruit and veg and no structured sit down time equaled tantrum time during circle time. While all the other little kiddies happily sang I'm A Little Teapot, she sat on the floor and cried, repeating "I'm not a happy girl anymore" which is one of the most adorable things she does when she's out of sorts, and at the same time the most aggravating too.

To compound matters we took the bus today and left the stroller at home rather than try to navigate the slushy, icy snow piles that accumulate on the sidewalks and corners here during a snow storm. To leave was a drawn out affair involving a big long cuddle and hug followed by a declaration that "I'm not crying anymore", followed by a short spell of crying when I went to get her coat and she couldn't see me.

On the positive side, I feel very loved by my peanut butter pie and my cuddle quota has been exceeded for the day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not Gonna Happen

The best laid plans often fail after the first engagement, or in my case after I write about it in So anyway. Holiday letter? not gonna happen. I've written it and I'm not happy with it. too wordy, too boring, too full of blah blah blah. But there's always next year right? As it happens I'll be sending holiday cards out just in time to arrive in the new year.

Am I feeling any guilt over this? Simply put, nope. None at all. I'm doing the best I can and that's all I'm willing to contribute at this point in time. I think I've gone over the top just by getting the video plug-in feature in g-mail figured out for me and my technologically unsavy Mom. That in itself was a 2 month job. My Mom lives one province over and walking her through any computer process is taxing on the patience. This G-mail coup would be pop the cork worthy if I was a drinker. Now Miranda can sit in front of the computer and see her Grandma make goofy he he he he noises. Now to set up other Grandma and possibly the Aunties and Uncles too.

In other news, we built a gingenbread (Miranda's word for it, heads right up on the list with Skelet for skeletons at halloween) house Sunday night and we hit the Stanley Park Bright Lights Train ride last week. We bundled Miranda up in her white snow suit and headed out into the chilly night to ride on the train and look at all the pretty lights. I declined to bring the camera this time around (that's last years picture at the top in case you're wondering). If I'm carrying the camera then I'm shooting and when I'm shooting I'm not doing and I wanted to completely enjoy this family experience. Of course I wished I had the camera once I was there but then again it was nice to just do it and not shoot it. We did have our photo taken with Santa, and Miranda had her first hot chocolate, which she promptly (in her own words) spit out all over the car on the way home.

Monday, December 15, 2008

You know you've aclimatized when

I'm originally from Central Alberta where winter weather is full of snow and frigid temperatures, wind chills of -40C and blinding white sun reflecting off of the frosty snow drifts. You'd think that a minor wind chill of -15C would be a balmy temperature for this girl wouldn't you? Not so much. But then even when I lived in Alberta I always thought that the people dressing in shorts and no coats at the first sign of thawing, when the thermometer read 0, were just plain nuts.

So I've lived on the west coast for about ten years now and I find it cold when the temperature drops to 5C. I miss snow and love watching it fall. So when we get a snow fall I experience a sense of pure bliss, and I love going out in it unless I'm in the midst of a cold/flu fight, which it turns out I am. So on Saturday night I was at once pleased and annoyed with the snow fall. I'm still sneezing, coughing and blowing my nose at least once every 5 minutes so going out and enjoying the crisp air and icy snow is right off my list of things to do and when the weather report included a wind chill warning I decided to hunker down at home instead of head off to Playgroup 17 blocks at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue.

Call me a wuss and a suck but I'm acclimatized to the mild Vancouver weather now and -15C is now a frigid temperature. Not to mention that my little bundle of activity isn't ready for that kind of trek out of doors. Now if we still lived in Alberta that would be another story entirely.

In the past we've headed to Alberta for the holidays and always returned with a new sense of how warm our winters are in comparison, for a good two weeks after walking out of the Vancouver Airport and breathing in the moist not too cold air I can appreciate the balminess of the air and how delicious it feels on the face as opposed to dry stinging cold. This year we're staying put and I'm not only going to miss seeing family and friends but also the chance to know what true winter feels like.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An award for lil' ol' me

agoodwitchtoo was nice enough to pass on this cute little award to me. As I mentioned in my last post about wicked good deals, I was fortunate enough to wander into Witches chat room last week on Etsy and consequently onto her blog. The Copper Cauldron is chock full of fun little anecdotes, and features a lot of wonderful Etsy shops and artists. I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

Here are the rules:
1. Post a copy on your blog.
2. Mention who gave you the award.
3. Pass the award on to 10 others.
4. Leave a message on their blog letting them know the honor has been bestowed upon them.

Here are the awarded:
1. ...Ramblings of E
2. ArtMind
3. Black Mustard
4. dilly-dahle
5. Has Anyone Seen My Cape?
6. I am the Burgerfan!
7. Is There Any Mommy Out There?
8.Kitty Genius
9. Melody and the Pier to Forever
10. The Adventures of KJ & The Dreamy Giraffe

These are all great blogs, I like to check in on them every time they post, if you have a chance you should take a read too.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wicked Good Deals

So, I'm checking out the chat room at Etsy and I come across a room titled "The Witching Hour". I'm a little witchy myself and I'm a little intrigued, so I enter to see who's there and to see what's up.

Turns out the room is part of a promotion that agoodwitchtoo is putting together for her online radio show called The Witching Hour on Blockhead Radio, To find out more about the show visit A Good Witch Too's blog The Copper Cauldron, here.

This is a new thing for agoodwitchtoo, her first solo show (She co-hosts two other shows on Blockhead; The Morning BrewHaHa and Artisan for Artisan) was a little choppy to start, but she really caught her groove as she went along. I send props to her and and a standing ovation too, it's not easy to talk into a mic and talk to no one in particular and a whole bunch of people at the same time.

The show features Etsy shops with special sales and deals on Saturday. There is a treasure hunt contest spread throughout a number of Etsy shops with wonderful prizes, last week's prize was a $50 gift certificate to use in her Etsy shop the Copper Cauldron, for some of her luscious soaps. It's not just a talk show, there is also some music featured by some talented independant artists too.

The Witching Hour airs every Saturday Night from 5pm until 7pm EST (Th at's 2pm to 4pm PST where I am) I'll be listening in this week and I believe my shops, TMCPhoto, and PeanutButterPie will be featured in the show this week too. I'll be offering free shipping all day Saturday and Sunday to all destinations worldwide.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm not going to complain...

I seem to get hit by the flu bug a little bit harder than most. I used to think I was just imagining it but this summer I was given confirmation from a specialist that yes, I do get sicker than most people. So shy is this you ask? well let me give you the long story:

Last summer I thought I might be pregnant again. Lack of sleep, constant urge to visit the bathroom etc etc. So I went in to see if there was indeed a little baby sister or brother brewing in my belly or not. Turned out not. But my Doctor, thorough as she is, sent me to get some blood work done to see what might be up.

Said tests came back with an extremely low white blood cell count. Worryingly low. Now the low white blood count was not new. I'd gone for 4 blood tests the year before because of low counts, each time the Doctor said that the result could be from a virus and then a new test would be given and eventually I stopped going because, well have you ever tried to keep a toddler occupied in a medical lab once a week for a month? After hearing that it was more than likely a virus I just figured I was getting minor bugs that were wearing me down.

Fast forward to End of July.

So the blood count was alarmingly low. so much so that I was told that if I caught a bug there wasn't a good chance of fighting off any kind virus if it came my way. More blood tests were ordered, and an appointment was set up with a specialist to see what was so awfully wrong. Scary right?


So I started a major hand washing campaign to fight off any germs that my lovely daughter and her sweet little friends may have about their adorable little persons and settled in to wait the month and a half until the specialist appointment. Then came the phone call from the hospital letting me know when the Bone Marrow Biopsy was to take place.

Wait , did I hear that right? Yup, BONE MARROW BIOPSY. I know, scary right? My stomach did a loopy loo. I was a little more than scared. Bone Marrow Biopsy pretty much goes hand in hand with major illness. While I kept a pretty calm exterior inside I was a bit of, as the cliche says: quivering Bowl of Jello. But I kept it together for husband and long distance parents and after the initial shock I got on with things. I mean if it was really bad I'd have to deal with it, but until I knew what it was I wasn't going to dwell on it night and day.

I figured at worst it would be cancer which I'd fight and beat. Second worst would be Lupus. It runs in the family and can be treated. My mom has it and she does pretty well. At the very least it could be a virus that I wasn't able to get over all on my ownsome.

The day of the biopsy rolled around and in I went, nervous about the pain and early enough to sit and stew about it. Would I recommend having one for kicks? Well not so much. The pain was pretty extreme and I felt twinges for a good month or so afterwards.

In my all time top moments of extreme pain list it sits at the top of the list tied with the botched spinal before Miranda's C-section (more on that in another post if I run out of things to talk about some day) I can feel a tiny scar where the needle went in now and I'm kind of glad it's there. After the biopsy came more stewing, only not too much because I was told that the results would also be sent in to my doctor and if anything serious came up she'd let me know.

Tests came in and my Doctor didn't need to see me. Deep sighs all around and then the wait for the specialist appointment.

So the gist of this lovely tale of viruses, blood tests and doctors appointments? Turns out I'm just fine. Due to a number of inherited medical problems I have an Auto-Immune disorder that causes my body to attack certain types of white blood cells. My marrow awesomely does it's job very well and just makes more for me, but it seems that I just had a blood test done when the fighting was fast and fierce, causing a little chaos. Oh and the icing on the cake. The specialist told me that had she seen the initial tests she wouldn't have needed the Biopsy (oops)

It was an experience, and as an artist I think it's pretty important to experience what ever is out there within limits. Would I have gone out and got me a biopsy if there hadn't been a need for it, just to have the experience? Noooooooooo. So it would seem that do offer a bugs and viruses little more time to party. If you listen closely you can hear faint strains of The Village People and KC & The Sunshine Band emanating from my stuffed head. Whoo Hoo!

Monday, December 8, 2008


On Thursday night I was getting the beginnings of one huge throbbing headache so I took a Tylenol to head it off at the pass. Of course I should have known that the 65mg of caffeine would come back and bite me in the rear end.

I might have been fine if it wasn't for my daughter waking up crying at 12:30 AM. After that I was wide awake almost the rest of the night. I tossed, turned, tossed again. Went out on the couch and I tossed, turned, tossed again. Headed back to bed and I tossed, turned, tossed again, back to the couch and I tossed, turned, tossed again. I finally fell asleep around 5:30 with my daughter and husband getting up at 7:30 to start the day.

Of course the lack of sleep left the door wide open for a little flu bug to scoot on in. Long story short; the flu bug bit me. Biting is bad, it makes owies and then people don't want to play with you anymore. This is what I tell the Peanut on the rare occasion that she bares her teeth and takes a bite. I'm not sure that the flu bug listens to that kind of reasoning, and I'll be home bound until the bug flies away.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Rule of 3

Awhile back I posted about reading about Nick Hornby's theory on the need to solve a song in order to get past it and move on to another song. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it; You hear a song, it sticks, you have a burning desire to hear it over and over. You hum it as you walk down the street, you sing snippets to yourself when you're waiting for the lights to change, for the timer to go off, while putting a load of laundry in the dryer or snuggling your toddler after nap time.

Maybe it's just me, but I become addicted to certain songs and play them over and over until the husband asks "Hey can we listen to something else?" It's a little embarrassing to admit that when I let him play an alternate song that my ears are itching to hear my most recent addiction.

my recent over-plays?
Well, there's Keane's latest album Perfect Symmetry. And not just a single song, the whole album has been on permanent rotation.

There's A-ha's songs Forever not Yours and Did Anyone Approach you from the Lifelines album, plus the title song is pretty good with a wicked cool video (Do the kids still say wicked cool?)

and then in the spirit of the holidays
Raveonettes' Christmas Song.

I have a rule about buying music that I stick to very faithfully. I call it the Rule of 3 and it's never let me down. I will not buy an album unless I've heard three songs and liked them. I could be incredibly enthralled by a single, so much so that my whole life takes it on as a sound track. If I can't hear two more songs I may buy the single song or hit replay on Youtube and listen to it until it's run its course, but I will not buy the whole album. 3 is my limit. If I like two and there isn't a third song that gets me I can guarantee that if I buy the album I will lose interest quickly and the purchase will have been a waste of money. I've done this a few times and the albums are still collecting dust on the shelf.

The last album Canadian band Odds put out before becoming The New Odds is a perfect example. I loved Odds, I saw them live 4 times. My whole relationship with my husband is built around Odds, Monty Python and a mutual love of Pepsi. The last album came out and we bought it because it was Odds. I'm going to be honest here. I don't think I've ever actually listened to the whole thing all the way through.

If I like three songs on an album and the others do nothing for me, I know that with time, more songs will click and I'll end up loving the whole album. The A-Ha is a great example I heard one song and listened to it on Youtube hitting replay more than once, I listened to another and liked it not so much. Listened to another and was a little iffy leaning toward liking, fourth song was "Eh" fifth song I couldn't get enough of it. I got the album and have played the whole album at least once a week for the last 8 months.

I love Itunes and Youtube are perfect rule of three helpers, because they let me sample an album or song snippets risk free. if I love a song or artist enough I'll make a purchase.

I have one exception to the rule of three and that's Depeche Mode. I'll buy them sound unheard based on my adoration of the music and the history of the bands music over the last 28 years. For me they are that good. I can't wait for the new album to come out so I can drive everyone nuts with the repeat all feature in Itunes.

So why am I telling you this?

Really it's to help purge these songs out of my system and make way for the next batch that I know are coming down the pipes. Depeche Mode's as yet untitled album for instance. I'd like to hear about what you've been listening to as well. Any songs that are circling round your head? On auto replay? I've told you mine....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

That came fast!

When I met him my husband raced cars. At first it was drag racing with his Mercury Capri, then with my Toyota Tercel. Then we moved from Alberta to BC and he took up Kart racing with a go kart that went 90 miles and hour around race tracks in Seattle, Portland and Spokane to name the big ones.

He liked doing it and made lot of friends, becoming a part of Camp Canada a loose group of Canadian racers who would set up camp together at the track.

A few years ago he started to play the bass. I bought him a used one for his birthday one year and he took some lessons, joined a few bands and now about three years later he's had his first big gig. After ears of being a wallflower I can finally say I went home with one of the guys in the band. I know I'm a big geek.

The band's name is Remnants of Ivan and they played last weekend the Scottish Cultural Centre in Vancouver. They play cover songs from the 80's, 90's and a few from this decade too. Very loud, very high energy and lots of fun to watch.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hey! you're out there

I was feeling a little discouraged today. I think the cloud cover and the quickly setting sun behind the cloud cover has a little to do with it. I was just going to update with a post written a few weeks ago about something non-time sensitive but has still been playing in my mind. Instead I'm writing this little ditty.

So I went into the Edit Posts option in Blogger and clicked on my lists of posts to find the draft I was thinking of and there they were. I had noticed a a few postings back that I had received a comment from Shawn Michel de Montaigne on a post called so much to do and I was pleased. No I was ecstatic, my first blog comment, Woo Hoo! Today while browsing my posts I saw more comments that have recently popped up over the last month on various postings and I've missed them until now.

I've been keeping track of the stats of my posts using Google Analytics and I know that people are visiting the site but I'm not 100% sure about what all those stats mean and how to use them. I basically look to see where my visitors are coming from and how many repeat visitors I'm getting. I also like to track the clicks on my links and photographs to see how well they are working to drive traffic to my shops. I started posting to help promote myself and my art and I realized that I really enjoy writing down my thoughts and sharing them with the world at large (or at small as the case may be)

I know people are finding me here and reading but it's hard to gauge whether I'm connecting with these readers or if I'm just typing to a large empty room, so to speak. It's so nice to finally see that there is a connection being made and to see what you think about my thoughts and posts. So to all those comments that I've missed up until this very second:

"Thank you."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

isn't it always the way?

Sometimes it just seems that the minute you feel like you're getting ahead something pops up to dampen your spirits. A little extra cash come in and must go directly to some unexpected need. A small triumph is followed by a tumble to the floor and a bonked noggin. It kind of makes you wonder what lesson the universe is trying to get across.

I'll be meditating on that one for a while. In the meantime you should head over to my new Art Fire shop (I've kept the shop title the same as in Etsy for branding purposes) I've added Art Fire to my list of venues to sell my wares. It's a new site, still in Beta format so there are changes afoot but I kind of like being in on the ground floor so to speak. I've posted a couple of items on there that are also available in my Etsy shops TMCPhoto and PeanutButterPie but as time goes on I hope to be able to expand my inventory to have some different stuff in each.

I like the community that is on Etsy and I won't be leaving anytime soon but I'm feeling like I need to branch out a little and not have all my eggs in one basket. I'm hoping in the future to also start selling locally in some brick and mortar locations. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Is anyone else out there trying out Art Fire or another handmade Internet venue? Share your experiences and your shop address here. I'd love to check you out. After all, no matter what grand message the universe is trying to send, forging new connections is always a positive.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Perfect Light

I keep dreaming of the perfect photo-op. I mean real REM induced dreams and not the stare off into space and think about what you'd like; day dream kind of dream. Those are good too, but when they come from your subconscious I'm sure that there's a reason for them.

I must really need to get out with the camera.

So what am I dreaming of? The perfect foggy morning and/or evening, is enticing my unconscious brain. There's a certain quality of light when you're engulfed in a fog bank. The light is dispersed evenly and the landscape becomes dreamlike and mysterious.

In my dreams I'm looking out the window as a mist is descending and the world is dressed in a shroud of light. Miraculously, I have full batteries and an empty memory card or in some dreams an unlimited supply of film. I grab my tripod and camera and head out the door; at which point I wake up with an itchy shutter release finger.

I guess this means I have to plan a photography excursion; soon. With any luck I'll get a fog-filled landscape in the bargain.

And now (as the Python says,) for something completely different:
Visit PeanutButterPie and TMCPhoto and receive free shipping to any destination until December 2nd. I've added a listing for a set of custom cards for the holidays and there's an assortment of beautiful fine art photographs that will make a perfect holiday gift for your hard to buy for loved ones.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I should get out my camera

I've been a busy little bee putting together a handful of new cards that should go into PeanutButterPie, but for the past two day's I've been focused on other things.

"For instance?" you ask? Well, there was the picnic under the table A la Bing Bunny we had yesterday, or the crazy collage-a-thon held the day before. I'm spending some quality time with my peanut butter pie and that would be my daughter and not the Etsy shop.

I guess that's really not so bad. It's great in fact. I am, as my Ma-In-Law told me last night an Excellent Mother. Start your gagging now, I'll allow you a few moments to make faces and pretend to retch. If I was reading this I would too; and I accept your mocking remarks and truly, I am turning red at all the attention your throwing this way. I have this thing about really despising the media's unrealistic portrayal of being a Mommy. More on that another time.

I replied to that powerful bit of compliment with "I try."

The truth is that I do try. Most of the time I feel like a big old faker with how much I have to try to be a good mother. The fun stuff is lots of fun but the not so fun stuff is just a big energy drainer. I mean I used to do laundry rarely, now it stacks up in the blink of an eye and with the potty training moving into the big girl underwear faze it's a lot quicker than that. If I don't blink I can actually see the mountain of wet clothes grow, almost as if through time elapsed photography. As the days fly by her wardrobe choices dwindle to nearly nothing but summer pants and jammy bottoms.

I spend a lot of time promoting TMCPhoto and PeanutButterPie and she spends a lot of time watching Kipper Movies and trying to crawl into my lap to get my attention. Honestly the picnic was to make up for two days of Kipper on automatic replay. And I enjoyed it.

Today the TV is off, the barn and tractor are out and we are playing giraffe, gorillilla, penguin and sheep farm. Good times all around

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

so much to do

I've been working on some custom orders of greeting cards for some friends and family this past little while and feel as though I'm neglecting my Photography and PeanutButterPie shops. I've been busy creating up a storm though. My goal this week has been to work on two cards a night and so far so good.

I was included in a wonderful treasury which was put together by Artmind last week; and I didn't have a chance to mention it here, although I did plaster the news all over my Facebook account and fan page as well as one or two tweets on twitter to get people to look at all the beautiful images I'd been surrounded by. It really was a fantastic mix of black, white and sepia toned photographs and it made my day brighter to have been included.

So I've been diving deep into the networking pool and driving traffic to my shops and raising the views and hearts on my photographs and cards. In the midst of all this I've been wrestling with the idea of venturing outside of Etsy with my stuff and onto other sites that sell. My one reservation is that I don't want to spread myself too thin and burn out. I'm stretched a bit thin as it is. Once the new year rolls around I'm going to revisit the idea again.

I know I said in the past that I'm not getting down about my lack of sales. I know they'll come. I really do and I'm being as patient as I can, but. But there's always a but and the but usually follows some sort of self doubt. Am I pricing too high? Are my shipping prices all wrong? Is my stuff sell-able? I'll blame it on the down in the dumpses I had last week, and try, try, try to focus on each view or heart as a step towards that first sale. I'm looking at the whole thing like climbing a ladder; a very, very tall kind of ladder that could, at any moment shrink down to a height that would allow me to see the top. Right now the top is shrouded in a thick bank of fluffy clouds. Above those clouds is a clear blue sky and the sun and the moon are sharing the sky.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One of those people.

So I've become one of these people that writes and sends out a yearly holiday letter to friends and loved ones. How did this happen? I mean I always read them when they are sent to me but I have to admit that I also tend to pshaw them too. I mean a persons whole year wrapped up in no more than two pages with the focus on all the wonder-filled fabulous things everyone accomplished each year is usually enough for me to pretend to gag for a few seconds.

I suppose that it doesn't help that there are a few people in my life that tend to only tell you how fabulous everything is in their lives and then avidly hang on every word, pumping for gossip about how things are not so rosy for so and so and whosits. Out of all the letters I read last year only one was enjoyable and that was done by my Cousin Paul's wife Elizabeth. It was so well written with a sense of humour and play that it reminded me of how great that family is and how much I wish I was able to see them more often.

So if anything, my foray into the holiday letter club is most definitely Elizabeth's fault and if mine is as boring and gag inflicting, I'll be putting the blame on her. At the very least I'll be feeling a little green with envy. This letter writing thing isn't so easy. I know the idea is to pick a few memories to commemorate and add coorosponding photographs but what to choose? With a toddler underfoot there are too many adorable, amazing and hilarious things to sort through.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Decking our halls

As the 25th of November falls in the middle of the week this year, we are decorating our tree today. This is the first year Miranda will help with the decorating. I'm excited about sharing the experience with her and a little nervous about the aftermath.... What if helping to decorate the tree gives her the idea that she can pull on, yank, or knock over the tree at will? It's a very distinct possibility.

I've already started with the pro-active "tell the toddler what's expected" mantra and I'm hoping for the best. I'll keep you posted on how well that's working out. Or if it's a spectacular failure I'll post full descriptions and pictures.

One of our family traditions is to add a new ornament to the tree each year. Because we've decided to do our holidays handmade this year, the new ornament this year is one made by Funktionslust We ordered it last week and it arrived safely in the mail yesterday even prettier in person than it was in the shop. Funktionslust is a fairly new Etsy shop opened in May 2008 and is chock full of lovely glass pieces from abstract sun catchers to gorgeous pendants and earrings.

My personal favourites are Abstract Distraction no.3, Abstract Distraction no.1 and Mossy Pendant and her tree ornaments are little works of whimsy to add to your holiday decor. We'll be treasuring our blue tree ornament for years to come.

Friday, November 21, 2008

it was so obvious now that I think about it.

I don't know if it has been apparent in my last few months worth of posts or not, but I've been experiencing a little bout of the blues. I did write about my relationship with depression in October and unfortunately the fug has managed to stick around a little longer than I would have liked.

Normally I'm pretty aware of why I'm feeling any given feeling at any given time. I'm an internalizer who reads a lot and I often find therapy sessions (when I have them) to be troublesome because of this.

This time around I haven't been so aware of where my sadness is coming from. I thought it might have been sleep related, or possibly that it was my way of mourning for the lost time devoted to my art because of being a mother, or because I haven't seen a single member of my family since last January. I mean any one of those things and a hundred others would cause a bit of the Down In the Dumpses but really they were just extensions of the real cause.

So here's my moment of clarification, and it came to me as I was catching up on a few Blogs yesterday. I was reading about a the latest in a series of emotional sculptures by ArtMind (see photo to the left) and then I went on to read a very sad post from another one of my favourite Etsy artists The Dreamy Giraffe, she was writing a tribute to her recently lost pet Buddy and it occurred to me, that while this past Wednesday is the anniversary of the day we found out I was pregnant, it also happens to be the anniversary of the day my Dad passed away. This year is a little different for me because I am now the same age he was when he reached the end of his life. It's a bit of a bummer (Understatements are my speciality).

One of my Aunts once told me a story about a dream my Dad had. It affected his whole life and was eerily prophetic. In his dream, a tear-away calender began to flip through the days in a month. As it got closer to 30 and 31 it flipped faster and kept going until it reached 36, where it stopped.

For almost all of his life he lied about his age, even convincing my grandma at one point that he was in fact the youngest child in the family and his little sister (my youngest aunt, who is about ten years older than I am) was older than he was. He made it to his 36th birthday and then died in his sleep about a month later, while he was away working on an oil rig in Northern Alberta.

Now that I'm looking back at the last few months I should have known what the problem was and I'm feeling a little relieved that it's a naturally occurring sadness and not a chemical imbalance. So I've been missing my Dad and a have been a little freaked out over passing this age milestone myself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's a sensory deprivation thing

So I've noticed that a lot of the photographs I really like, are the ones I take when I'm out of town, traveling, visiting. These are the ones I've posted on my Etsy shop. I guess it's because I'm seeing things with a fresh eye, noticing things that, if I lived there, would just be part of the background.

Part of the problem is that I work primarily in digital now, and spend no time in a dark room what so ever. I miss the dark room. I really do. When I was working in film I found that I had a different eye. Shooting and developing your own film means that you spend long hours in the dark or in deep amber lit rooms, with negative images flashing in tight beams onto light sensitive paper.

If there's a developing machine to print with, your images go in one end and slide out the other. There's a lapse where you are waiting for one thing to end, in order to move on to the next. It's a methodical way of working that forces you to slow down. Working with trays, you have the sound of constant running water and the sloshing sounds of chemical agitation. You keep a careful eye on the timer or clock. There are brief forays into the light to check your exposure, the focus, the contrast, and then it's back into the dark to get it right or start all over again with another negative.

Once you leave that environment, you begin to see your word differently. Time in the dark causes you to look on your environment as a new comer. Things catch your lens and before you know it you're back in the dark again to see what you've captured. It's a sensory deprivation thing.

Digital is different. There's no sense of surprise in seeing what pops up in the developing tray, but depending on the number of memory cards you carry with you an almost unlimited number of shots at your fingertips and you know what's working and what isn't. Your time is taken in front of a computer screen and there's no emergence from the dark once your image is printed.

Don't get me wrong, I love my digital camera, it's served me very well in my photography pursuits. I'm just longing for a little time in the dark and a chance to view my world in that way again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

back to personal

Five things most people don't know about me. Or maybe they do, and I'm just fooling myself into thinking I'm all mysterious or whatever.

1: I'm an introvert who really lets loose when comfortable

2: I think I can sing, but don't in public just in case I'm wrong

3: If I didn't have to get out of the house (and by house I mean apartment) I would become a freaky shut-in (thank all Gods for a toddler and the need to buy food)

4: I like making lists and pretending I'm organized. (I am so definitely not organized. I am the exact middle of the spectrum of opposite of organized it's a little funny)

5: I have a craving for vanilla ice cream blended with hot chocolate powder and rice crispies right now at this very moment in time. Of course this craving could change at any time, into say, something like toasted pumpernickel bread with sweet pickles and cheese whiz. yup there it goes, now I'm jonesing for the sandwich..

Did I surprise you? Are you shocked at the depths of myself that I have opened up for your perusal?

I didn't think so. I'm a little white bread that way.

In case I'm wrong and your jaw is dangling and the words "well I'll be..." are echoing off your computer monitor, then I guess I feel a little vindicated.

Why not share with the class?
I'm off to make art for my shops PeanutButterPie and TMCPhoto

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A nice hot bath

I get it from my Mom I think, my love of a hot bath at the end of a day. There was a time when my day would end with the sound of water escaping down the drain and my skin puckered and wrinkled like a sultana raisin. Cliché I know but it’s truth so I’ll let it slide.

My daughter gets a bath every night and she uses this time to continue playing. Once she was big enough to sit by herself in the big bathtub this has become her modus operandi for bath time. And I wonder when her play will transform itself into the full submersion and meditation that bath time means for me. There’s a natural progression I think.

Growing up my sister and I bathed together up until the age of about 6 and 4 I think. I’m aging a little here so I could have misplaced actual dates but the point is that we spent this time constructing bubble bath garments, hairstyles and beards. We created tsunami splashes to make more bubbles and pretended to be in a canoe, paddling down a river with our hands or the back scrubber as paddles. Individual baths held the same activities. Bath time at my cousins house during overnight visits were riotous affairs with bath toys, boats and sharks, thinks we never had at our house and therefore a treat. And the tub at Grandma’s house had a shallow sloping back that was fun to slide down until Mom, Dad, or Grandma came in and told s to stop.

The older I got the less physical a bath became. Dunking my head under the water and trying to float transitioned into staring into space in a blissed out trance, complete with candles and aromatherapy oils. My mom now has an antique clawfoot tub that is super long and nice and high. Having a bath in there demands candles and bubbles and soothing music. Each of the grandchildren have been photographed in that tub and the day I got married I soaked in there for a good two hours before getting my hair done and the dress on. She has a bath every night, a luxury I take advantage of whenever we visit.

If you’re in the mood for a good soak or want a little fun in the tub try out these lavish and playful bath products from Etsy sellers.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How to shop handmade this holiday season

OK, I know I've mentioned it and then mentioned it again, but I think it bears repeating. I'm buying all my holiday gifts from artists and artisans this year. that means I'll be trolling the talent on Etsy for everything from stocking stuffers to that major, blow them away with my thoughtfulness, gift.

In anticipation for this, I've started my shopping way earlier than previous years. Mainly because I find shopping this way to involve a lot more forethought. You aren't just browsing in the mall for something that catches your eye in order to get the best gift, you have to know a little about the person you're buying for. In fact the more you know the better your gift choices.

Here are some items that I'm eyeing up so far in my online shopping travels. Take a look at what's here and if you see something you like why not buy it out from under me? I promise, no hard feelings.

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