Thursday, April 30, 2009


It's a little funny with how obsessed I've become over my neighborhood's over abundance of poured cement garden statuary (PCGS).

I've started to make note of where it all is so I can document it, considered knocking on doors to ask permission to get inside of back yards and onto patios and decks to get a good shot. we'll see how invested I can get, considering I have an impatient two year old in tow on all my outings that may be a little difficult.

Here's this weeks contribution. This yard also features a birdbath/water fountain.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This and That

What with one thing and another things are happening around here. My list of Blogs to follow is growing at an almost alarming rate. Keeping up is getting a little rough and yet whenever I think I'm going to go through the list and cull I just can't do it.

I'll be honest, I don't religiously follow all of the blogs on my list, I'm loyal to about a dozen or so and I drop into the others on a semi regular basis. They all have something to offer be it a laugh out loud comment or a heart rending description of a perfect moment. I try not to be a lurker, but in the case of some of the more popular Blogs I notice that I'm a little more shy and less likely to comment.

It's funny how personality traits tend to cross over into the digital realm. I'm painfully shy in person. I don't know where the shyness comes from but I'm sure that my emotional state of mind has a heavy hand in it, I tend to stand back in social situations, I become unable to gauge how to act, and interact in groups of people I do not know well so parties are painful for me and the first year or so in a new school was always uncomfortable for me growing up. Moving anywhere is a sure way to get me to crawl back into my shell. I'm reading Sense and Sensibility right now and one of the characters makes a comment about how shyness is an indicator of self worth (at least I think that's where I read it) and I have to say that it makes sense.

It's the same for me in any sort of web based community. I tend to do more lurking than interacting at first. I'm working on that though. The hurdle of stepping forward is a little less daunting when it's in the virtual as opposed to the day to day. And watching how my daughter easily welcomes new people into her life each day is a pretty good example to follow. So I'm putting myself out there.

And so we come to the part of the post where I tell you what's been happening around here .

Last Friday was Etsy Day, I revisited some of my favourite artists and then went on to read some of the posts about Etsy Day that were on my dashboard. One of these posts had a contest in honour of the big media blitz. This particular blog; Stacey Winters is full of the most glowing photographic entries. My hands itch to pick up the camera and go out and shoot when I visit and I covet the quality of light she manages to capture. the prize for her Etsy Day draw was a package of goodies from her shop and I was one of the winners.

I'm so excited to have won and I can't wait to see what's in my package. I'll be posting pictures here when it gets here.

I've been toying with the idea of doing a give-away myself. I've held off on the idea (see reasons above) and think it's time to give a little too. I'll keep you updated on how things are progressing on the giveaway front.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Toddler art: House Painting

How to keep a two year old occupied for at least an hour, then of course there's the clean up which adds at least another 45 minutes depending on how much water gets spilled and if you add more containers for pouring and spoons for mixing. soap is an added bonus. Next week we make a mini aquarium for our road trip in May

Monday, April 27, 2009

If it's not one thing

There's this problem I have that I'm hoping to fix. It's all about momentum. It always seems to happen that as soon as things start to get rolling, a speed bump pops up. Sometimes it's a planned one and the gathering momentum comes from out of the blue. Other times its unplanned on all fronts and still others it's just an unplanned stumbling block that knocks me off course when I least expect it. How do you keep things moving along despite those small and major hiccups?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Etsy Day

Etsy Day is today. What is Etsy Day you ask?

It's an Etsy seller driven media blitz to help build awareness of the place to buy and sell Handmade. Yes there are other sites out there but Etsy is more than just a place to post your stuff and sell it. It's community of creative people who support each other through sharing ideas, offering constructive criticisms and advice on how to be more successful on and offline, new techniques for crafting and fine art practices and so much more. I truly feel a sense of camaraderie within the Etsy Community. People rejoice in each others success because when one of us has success we all have it.

In honour of Etsy day I'm revisiting some of the Etsy Artists whom I have featured in my weekly feature 5 questions over the last few months; designbynihan 's Geisha sweater pictured at right, for instance . Click on each photo to see what else they have in store. Enjoy!

5 questions: another short break

I wish I could say that something unexpected came up and that's why this weeks 5 questions is once again missing. The truth is that I just lost track of things and the major casualty happens to be 5 questions. But all things will be remedied next week. I've got a fellow Lower Mainlander lined up for next Friday and I'm sooooo coveting his stuff.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

it's like it's an epidemic

I may have mentioned this neighborhoods penchant for poured cement garden statuary. It's everywhere, well not everywhere, but it does have a major presence in the community. From urns to psychotic looking dwarf's, insects and animals this neighborhood is teeming with it. I thought for fun I'd take the camera out with me and photograph some of it, or perhaps all of it a little at a time.


Because it will give me something to do and because it could make a pretty interesting photo-essay; I'm envisioning a solo show in one of Vancouver's Artist Run Centres.... or more realistically a collection of work to list in TMCPhoto

Monday, April 20, 2009

Treading Water

Every once in a while I start to feel like I'm floundering. Usually it happens about the time that I've had a bit too long of a break from my creative self or when I haven't had enough alone time.

Last week was a splashing, gasping for air and groping for the bottom with my toes kind of week. Between massive toddler meltdowns, a cold that would just not go away and the need to get something new down on paper and posted in TMCPhoto and PeanutButterPie I felt like I'd lost my ability to swim. Thankfully the husband and child let me alone for a few hours on Saturday and I'm back to treading water peacefully or at least treading water well enough to keep my head above water.

If you caught last Fridays post you know that I participated in the Etsy Baby Shower on Saturday. It was a great experience and I'm so please that my designated Mommy loved her painting. I'll be mailing it off on Thursday. I gave her a choice of something already in stock of my shop or a custom painting for her nursery. She opted for a custom painting with bees. She loved all the options I sent her to choose from but picked one as her favourite, I've listed the rest in PeanuButterPie.

While participating in the shower I had a bit of an epiphany. I've decided to eliminate hand made cards from my inventory and focus on doing the Nursery Blessing paintings. I'll continue with cards but I'll have them printed and offer them for a lower price. With the costs of shipping added to the amount of time I spend on each card; I think it makes more sense. Of course any suggestions or comments on this decision are more than welcome.

Friday, April 17, 2009

5 questions: Treasures Under The Willow Tree

This weekend I'm participating in the Etsy Spring Baby Shower. I'm looking forward to joining the chat on Saturday with all the new moms. It will also be a great place to find something special for your own new little person or for that baby shower you have coming up. The shower will be held in the Etsy Chatroom on Saturday April 18th at 1pm EST.

In keeping with my involvement in the Etsy Baby Shower I'm sharing one of my favourite baby and toddler shops on Etsy: thewillowtree. As a Mommy of a two year old and a friend to new and expectant Mom's I love to use Etsy to help with my birthday/baby shower gift giving. One of my favourite shops to browse is thewillowtree. Bright colours, fun designs and custom work combine to make one very inviting shop. Melody, the face behind thewillowtree is also a mom and a nanny so she knows the importance of a good lovey.

When my daughter was teeny weeny, her favourite toys were those with lots of manufacturer tags. She'd be occupied for hours fingering, examining, tasting and pulling on the tags attached to her stuffy and stroller toys. Had I known about Etsy three years ago I'd have bought one of thewillowtree's BusyFingers BabyBuddy - Green Dino plush infant tag toys. A soft green dinosaur with a variety of tag types, smooth, textured, and wavy edges would have been a huge hit. I've got a baby shower coming up and I'm eyeing one as my gift to the latest edition of our baby mamma group.

In addition to her bright and huggable looking sock monkeys, thewillowtree is also making adorable elephant plushies in her trademark bright colour combinations. These seem to just fly out of her shop as soon as they move in.

Melody can be found on Indiepublic,, plus you can look at her work and photography in brilliant detail on Flickr. Melody's Blog treasuresunderthewillowtree is a wonderful read as well full of her bright work and great stories too.

What got you started?

I have loved creating things ever since can remember! My mom always had fun projects for me to do. I learned to sew when I was four or five, sewing along traced designs on paper and fabric scraps with our antique Singer sewing machine. The very first things I sewed were a pillowcase (which I still have) and a shorts and t-shirt outfit.

My mom had a home business making dolls and rubber stamps, and my dad also created his own business, so I just grew up knowing that was something anybody could do.

Throughout school one of my favorite subjects was art. I loved it all- painting, sketching, ceramics, sculpting, sewing, and everything else! Years ago, I started making sock monkeys for all the birthdays in our family. Everyone loved them and kept telling me I should figure out a way to sell them. My mom had heard about Etsy and told me about it, so I signed up, and I'm so glad I did! I am far from being able to quit my normal job (I am a nanny to two little boys), but I love every bit of creating that I get to do for my Etsy shop!

Do you listen to music when you create? If yes, what's on your play list right now and why?

Yes! Sometimes there is too much other noise going on (little kids, toys, a movie, friends over, etc) but when I have some time to myself to work on things, I crank up the music. I have too may favorite artists but here are a few that I love at the moment: Regina Spektor, Death Cab for Cutie, The Long Winters, Feist, and Iron and Wine. I like songs with a great rhythm and catchy melody, something I can sing along to! It puts me in a happy mood, and inspires me to make beautiful things.

What item in your shop is your most favorite and your best?

That's a hard question. Pretty much every new thing I make becomes my new favorite! If I had to choose, I'd say I like this Bella Bunny most right now because it is so bright and cheerful, and makes me feel like Spring even though there is snow outside!

As for what item is best- I don't think any one thing is better than another, they are all different from each other. However, this green dinosaur has been my best selling item so far!

What life or art lesson have you learned that has shaped your work?

Change is good! Change can be anything from improving design on one item, to trying something you've never done before and creating a whole new item, or even to stop making an item all together. This lesson has helped me think outside the box with everything I do. Sometimes change can seem frustrating or discouraging, but becomes exciting and refreshing when I realize the opportunities it brings!

If you were an animal what animal would you be?

For some reason the answer to that question has always been a deer. I think they are so pretty and graceful and quietly strong. And, they get to live in the forest! :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

busy day

I've signed on to the Spring Baby Shower on Etsy again. I'm pretty excited about being a gift giver in this wonderful event.

I went through my pregnancy a province and a half away from family, a little extra special something would have made my day and I'm happy to be a part of that for someone else. The shower will take place on Saturday. If you or someone you know is looking for a gift for a new little person join the chat, there are hundreds of fantastic gift ideas from the shops that are participating.

So in anticipation of the big day, I've been working on some paintings for my designated new mommy. I've also been working on some new baby buggy cards and will be listing them In PeanutButterPie over the next few days. In addition the paintings not chosen by my Mommy will also be listed in PeanutButterPie.

I spent today documenting my latest work for listing on Etsy. I'm pretty happy with how these photographs came out, especially the decor shots. Plus with the great back yard I have to work In I'm thinking that it might be time to rephotograph the rest of my inventory to unify the shop a little bit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

too sunny to make art

Or that's what seems to be the case. Last week we painted a most fabulous masterpiece with some of the paints Miranda got for the holidays. It was a blissful 2 1/2 hours of painting silence and intense concentration. I took pictures and was planning on showing them here today but somehow I managed to forget to upload said photographs onto the computer and then went ahead and reformatted my memory card to take pictures on Sunday.

It was a total brain fart and I'm sorry for it but life does go on. So it's been freaking gorgeous out for the last four days and I' m afraid that I've given my pasty white feet a little sunburn while sitting in the sun trying to work out a colour scheme for my Etsy Baby Shower gift. My mom for the shower has requested a bee painting using the following colours: grey, cream, black and brown with teal and orange accents. I'm imagining a nursery that is sophisticated and slick with fun little punches of colour here and there.

The laptop has to go in for some repairs, I don't know if I'll have access to it during this time. when I return I'll do a few wordless posts to make up for the big blocks of text I've been feeding you

Monday, April 6, 2009

Artisan Showcase

What a great weekend! The weather was lovely, we got a few more house things done and managed to fit in some quality family time. For the first time in what seems like forever we had more than two days of warm sun and clear skies. We went to the park on Saturday and stopped for ice cream sundays on the way home and Sunday was a family trip on the Skytrain to Commercial Drive in Vancouver. We played in the park, did a little window shopping, had a yummy lunch and did a little more wandering and some actual spending too. Eostara basket and gifts are now taken care of.

This Friday also marked the return of my 5 question feature. I will say that despite a small glitch in Google Analytics (read: I didn't realize I would need to update the link to GA in order to keep track of traffic to my blog when I decided to change my blog template; another tiny reminder that I'm not half as tech savvy as I wish I was) I think it was a pretty good success. The number of comments on the feature are among the highest in the feature's history which makes me happy since I love Finestra's work.

The return of 5 questions is going to be a little short lived as I'm going to be putting the next one on hold until after the long weekend. I don't want to sell my feature Etsy artist short, and I'm sure every one will be busy with family, bunnies and eggs. The feature will return on the 17th.

One of my photographs has been included in this weeks Photography section of the Artisan Challenge on Blockhead Radio. River Walk Bridge is one of my favourite photograph's from my San Antonio Series. I love the rich blacks and the reflected light on the river.

Please go visit Blockhead Radio's Artisan challenge and vote. I'd like you to vote for River Walk Bridge but there are some pretty amazing photographs in the challenge with me, so vote for what you like best.

In other feature news I'm also happy to be included again in the Etsy Baby Shower. I will be gifting a mixed media artwork for the wall of a 3 month baby boy in Winnipeg, I'm so excited to be a part of the shower again. It was a lot of fun last time around and I really enjoyed feeling like an active member of the community.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finestra Designs: In some small way, making the world a better place

It's been a long and twisty ride but I'm finally getting back into a schedule. I'm slowly re-introducing the weekly features that I took a break from while dealing with the move, the fire and getting settled in a new home and community.

What first grabbed my attention in Kari Wilton's Etsy Shop Finestra was the stunning use of photography as jewelry. The vignettes of moody landscapes, trees and flowers really speak to my photographer's heart. They fall into the category of so good I wish I'd taken them myself. All of her work is done by hand in her home, her pieces are fade and water-resistant and made to last. Her newer settings are a heavier pewter and now feature her own tree design on the back. These come in both oxidized sterling silver and 14k gold finishes.

Finestra can use any image with any of her settings that a customer emails to her.Any of Kari's designs can be put into any of her settings; and Finestra does a lot of custom work too, one of my favourite pieces in her shop is the Ancestry bracelet. I love the idea of concrete family tree that is also beautiful and special just for me and my parents, grandparents and my children.

The other thing I love about Finestra is her altruistic streak. 20% all of all Finestra's sales are given to the organizations that she really believes in: : CARE , Doctors Without Borders , American Red Cross , Susan G Komen for the Cure , National Breast Cancer Foundation,
The Children's Health Fund ,The Nature Conservancy and AIDS Research Alliance. Her customers get to choose who their purchase is going to help.

To see more of Kari's stunning photography you can visit her website, Kari Wilton Photography

What got you started?

I was shopping on Etsy for Christmas gifts last year. I kept seeing "photo jewelry" for sale which was basically just a photo encased in resin and then put into a setting of some sort. I didn't like the look of the resin so much, and got an idea of how to do it differently. After about two weeks of research I'd found my materials. The Christmas gifts were a big hit and I decided to see how selling publicly would go. It's just grown from there.

Do you have any influences that guide your work?

I've always been incredibly inspired by science and nature. It bothers me that when we're children we're usually encouraged to choose to focus ourselves on science, language, or they're all separate... I chose a more language and art-driven life but always loved the sciences. It wasn't until I got a little older that I realized artists are scientists and vice-versa. The natural world and the incredible ways that it arranges and organizes itself fascinate and inspire me endlessly. I find a lot of meaning in it.

What is your favourite tool, art supply, material to work with and why?

It changes often. I've gone through lots of creative "phases" and get really excited with working with new materials...but my attention span isn't so long. I've loved painting and sculpture and pottery and drawing and gardening, but haven't really stuck to any of them to a professional degree. Photography is something I've done for a long time now and haven't gotten burned-out on. I'm loving my camera and Photoshop and the amount of creative control and opportunities they give me. I love that I can shoot a wedding one day and a series on seed-pods the next and find so much satisfaction in both. I think there's a lot of science in photography, too, which really attracts me.

What life or art lesson have you learned that has shaped you work?

It isn't done until someone besides the artist can see it. I spent a long time making "art" that never left my home or computer because I thought it wasn't worthy. It took me a long time to realize that in doing that, I wasn't just selling myself short, I wasn't growing as an artist. Sharing my work with others has been a huge step that has made the entire process meaningful for me and has inspired me to grow in new directions.

Rock, Paper or Scissors?

Who can argue with the rock? The rock is, was and always will be. I always had trouble accepting that paper covers rock. In real life, paper disintegrates and blows away. Rock rules.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Feeling at home

We've been here a month plus now and as I've said a few posts back I'm starting to fell at home. It's strange how familiar a place can become in so short of time.

I've always found that a place becomes more mine when I inhabit it in the dark. Watching the world outside my windows at night is as calming for me as watching a fish tank.

So this week marks the re-introduction of my 5 Question weekly feature. Be sure to visit tomorrow to see who I've been putting in the hot seat. I'm pretty excited about getting back on track.
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