Monday, May 25, 2009

In and out

Well, we made it. I'll be in and out of touch with a computer as we'll be staying at a few places with no Internet connections. (who knew that this was a possibility in this day and age?) 

The trip was a good one, we stopped at the Enchanted Forest on Highway 1 and I'll include some pictures in an upcoming post with some other shots of our second day on the road. 

In the meantime here's the play list from our trip, listed by artist

The Faint
Depeche Mode
The Kaiser Chiefs
The Cure

Saturday, May 23, 2009

First leg

Friday, May 22, 2009

road trip

We left on our trip to Alberta this evening at 6pm. The Peanut had had a long afternoon nap so any hopes of her sleeping in the car were dashed. The excitement of heading over the top of the mountains to Grandma's house was enough to keep her happy in the backseat for about four hours when we stopped for gas and a potty break followed by another hour to the motel we are staying in over night.

Wild life spotted: one deer eating by the road almost missed it nice to see, one late deer on the side of the road not so nice to see, one hawk riding the thermals.

I had anticipated meltdowns and at least one bout of motion sickness. The gravol did the trick with any tummy mishaps and we (and when I say we, I mean Peanut) managed to keep her diaper dry until the first pit stop. Our one and only meltdown happened just as we got the card to our room. Before we leave in the morning I'll take advantage of the motel wireless and post some more picks from our first leg.

Driving music

Once upon a time when I was young and impetuous I left the dance club with a good friend (also a boy whom I had a huge crush on at the time but he was also a friend first so that's not really the point) at 2 in the morning and drove from Red Deer to the Edmonton Airport to pick up some luggage for a hotel guest. My friend was working as a hotel bell boy at the time and had promised to get the luggage for the guests in hopes of a big tip. Only problem was he didn't drive and didn't have a car. Enter me with both car and license.

My friend was great conversationalist and had the same taste in music as I did (we were both big Depeche Mode fans) and the 1.5 hour trip was pleasant as was the two hours spent in the temporary parking lot waiting for the airline desk to open. One of the discussions we had while driving on the moonlit highway was what songs were good for driving to. I happened to have Martin Gore's Solo EP in the car at the time which kicked the conversation off as we agreed that the whole EP was an excellent soundtrack for a road trip; it has a kind of dreamy quality to it that seems to go well with the broken lines of the highway flashing past as you move forward.

Over the years my road trip music has varied a little but there are always a few good standards that we always end up playing. It's been a few years since we've been in a car for any length of time but we'll be bringing the I pod and car adapter for our listening pleasure. With the Peanut on board we'll have to include some of her favourites; Weezer's Pork and Beans and Depeche Mode's Wrong as well as a good sprinkling of Joy Division and Talking Heads are on her play list.

What's your favourite driving song?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Getting there without losing my mind

When we decided to drive to Alberta instead of flying, my first thought after getting a car sick kit together was how to keep the peanut entertained during the insanely long car trip.

I started to do the research and visited parenting forums to see what others had suggested or tried. Almost everyone who answered the forum posts I found answered the same. I'm not sure but I think it's fairly common knowledge that a portable DVD player is an essential tool in travel with kids. If not, one visit to parenting forums would surely drive the point home.

Yes, we have a portable DVD player. It was the first thing on my list of things to keep our Peanut occupied but it wasn't and isn't the only thing I want to take with us.

Growing up, I have memories of watching the landscape drift by as we traveled the TransCanada through the Rockies. We didn't have the luxury of portable DVD players, MP3's and game players (well I did have a Nintendo Gameboy; you know, the one that came with tetris when I was 18 or 19). I want a family road trip to include some of the same things I remember as a child, not least of which is watching out the window for a glimpse of a mountain goat or a bear.

When I was kid, road trip entertainment was a box of crayons in the back window of the Firebird (which usually caused the crayons to melt in hot weather), whatever book I was reading at the time and invisible ink activity books and for some reason legos. Of course there were also games of "Mom, she's on my side of the car!" and "Dad! she touched me" but no one likes those games too much or for too long. My sister and I would sometimes play Old Maid or Go Fish. Sometimes we'd play travel bingo. Other times my parents would make goofy jokes that depending on how old we were, either made us laugh or groan.

One joke my father would always tell at a specific point on the highway, "put your hand on the window" he'd say at the beginning of a large curve in the highway. Then at the apex of the curve where a large hydro building was located he'd turn with a smirk and say "Did you feel the pane? Get it?" Typical, punny Dad joke and it never failed to catch us as we'd always forget the punchline from the last time we made the trip. Once we were old enough to recall it we'd request it. I can still remember the coldness of the glass on my palm and the small part of me ready to quickly pull my hand away in case it might hurt.

Our trip starts Friday night. I'm hoping the Peanut falls asleep on the road and we can quietly transfer her to bed in the motel in Kamloops. I'll be documenting our trip and posting off and on while we're gone. Because we'll be on the road, I'm putting further 5 questions on hold. In the meantime I'm getting all things packed, cleaned and organized.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

PCGS: bloop bloop went the little cement fish

This is my favourite piece on our street and my daughters as well. I like it because it's so unobtrusive and simple. He sits placidly at the entrance of the short driveway and watches the world swim by.

On a walk to the library last week I hit another mother load of PCGS one of my new finds surpasses all those I've seen so far. The statuary in this house is, well if you compared a paint by numbers painting with a van Gogh; that would be an accurate comparison. I'll be photographing the street behind ours once we return from our upcoming road trip vacation.

In the meantime I've been included in a stunning butterfly treasury please go and have a gander, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

5 questions: Painted Pink

A few weeks ago I suggested one of my favourite Etsy Shops to Mod3rn Art's Featured Artist Contest. She chose my suggestion and I was fortunate enough to receive one of her recent featured artist's prints. The wonderful thing about winning this contest is that not only was I able to share one of my favorite Etsy artists but I gained one in return. Last week I posted about winning Shay Dodson's print and it looks so lush and juicy in person that I can only imagine how delectable the original painting is.

Whether it's a subtle play of monotone colours or a dizzying dance of pigments; the paintings in Shay's Etsy shop are sublime. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art with a concentration in painting and her mastery of the paintbrush is a testament to her education. in her Artist Statement, Shay refers to a life-long love affair of color and she uses it intuitively allowing the viewer a little insight into her subjects thoughts and emotions. Shay goes on to say "color always has an emotion to express." and she expresses these emotions so beautifully and energetically through the medium of paint that I can almost see her paint each stroke as I look at her work.

I really enjoyed Shay's replies to my questions, she has a wonderful way of explaining herself that is almost as painterly as her art. You can see more of Shay's work online at the Saatchi Gallery. As with all of my five question features please click on any of the images to learn more.

Can you describe the palette you use to create with, what colours do you always reach for?

First and foremost: pink. It has cultural and socio-political connotations and I believe it to be the perfect neutral. I appreciate the fact that in the West it is a color primarily associated with little girls, romantic and relaxing, where as in other cultures, it has a strong masculine presence. Pink is controversial, gender-bending, and looks like luscious candy on canvas.
Second: white. I rarely use many darks or true neutrals. Third: light blue-green and a bit of pure cadmium red, my favorite colors to decorate with. These colors have a strong presence in my home and usually show up in anything I paint.

What has surprised you most about selling your creations online?

The thing that has surprised me most is how much publicity I’ve been offered through artists’ blogs like this one! It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve met many amazing artists and crafters through Etsy. Everyone has been so supportive!

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

I definitely prefer to have music playing when I am painting or drawing. There are a few mixes I’ve made especially for this purpose, including songs by Tori Amos, Portishead, Muse, Sneaker Pimps, Jem, Uh Huh Her, Garbage, lamb, The Cardigans, and Iron & Wine. I like a mix of energetic, electronic, and really mellow music when I’m painting, because that’s how I work. ‘Sudden chaos, then quiet passivity’.

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

Like my paintings, I always consider myself a work in progress; never finished. An influential professor and mentor of mine, Nancy Morrow, has always encouraged my intuitive use of color and has told me to let my work be what it is, as I used to struggle to make my work look like someone else’s or be something that it is not. I’ve only had success with the paintings and drawings which were driven by intuition, where I wasn’t consciously aware of each decision I was making, or worrying anxiously that I wasn’t obeying conventional rules of painting. Nancy encouraged me to be completely myself, and that is something I strive for personally and artistically, each day.

If you were an animal what animal would you be?

I think I would like to be a sparrow. I’ve always loved the idea of having wings to fly. Birds are not my favorite animals, but I enjoy the symbolism behind the tattooed image of sparrows and swallows. In addition to travelling the world then returning home, they are symbols of loyalty and fidelity; these birds mate for life and carry messages of hope.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Speaking of Momentum

A few weeks ago I posted about the challenge of keeping up momentum. I've been actively working towards this, trying to overcome lulls and create momentum for myself as well as grasping opportunity wherever it rears it's elusive head.

Having said that, I'm once more heading into a situation where the temptation to drop the ball is going to be high. We're going on Vacation next week and I'm a little worried about whether I'll be able to keep up with the Blog, Tweeting and TMCPhoto and PeanutButterPie.

With the worrying has also come the drive to keep things going. I'll be posting while we're gone (thank all Gods for Laptops) and I may even add a new photograph or two onto TMCPhoto while we're there. We'll be at my Mom's, the location of my Borealis Photo-shoot as well as the Electric Series. I'm hoping that I'll have the opportunity to take some new and fresh shots while I'm there. Since I'll have the laptop with me I'll also have access to my Creative Suite programs.

It's been over two years since I've been back to Alberta and I'm pretty excited about seeing my family. With the exception of my older sister and my two nephews who came in March for a Hockey Tournament; I haven't seen any family except on Facebook in all that time. I'll either be so homesick to stay at the end of the trip or ready to get out of Dodge and not want to come back until a suitable time period has passed. I suppose any posts I do while there will give clues as to how I'm feeling.

Speaking of momentum and grabbing on to opportunities; I was lucky enough to get in on the recent Etsy Treasury window. In honour of our upcoming road trip I've put together a selection of items that are just making me yearn to get on the road.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This Weeks PCGS

I'm itching to knock on the door of this house and ask permission to photograph in detail all the statuary on display. One of my favourite examples by far of painted cement statuary is the working fountain. Photographing the rest of the garden from behind a fence really doesn't do it justice.

Monday, May 11, 2009

a little like Mother's day was extended

Mother's Day was a nice blend of special day and laid back normalcy, just the way I like it. I called my Grandma to wish her a nice day and even though I didn't get a hold of my own Mom ( I managed to leave a message and I had a great visit with my second Ma. I received a beautiful hand drawn card from my daughter and a special treat from my husband too.

Last week I mentioned that I'd won the Etsy Day give-away from Stacey Winter's Blog. My package came today and what a package! I'm so pleased to have won and even more so with what was in the envelope. I want to thank Stacey so much for taking the time to put everything together so nicely. Here's what I got.

I was going through a few old photographs when the mail came

I eagerly opened my package to find a charming handwritten note,
a stunning photographic pendant necklace, and a lovely card
featuring one of Stacey's vintage prints

I'm afraid that my daughter is coveting the gorgeous scrabble tile necklace. I'll have to keep an eye on her and see that she doesn't make off with it when I'm not looking.

If you like what I got in my package as much as I do; take a peek at Stacey's shop and don't forget to visit her blog, she has some of the most fantastic photographs there. I like to pop in on a regular basis to keep my shutter finger a little itchy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

5 Questions: for your delicious bundle

Last Monday Amanda of Afterthebump featured TMCPhoto and PeanutButterPie in the premier edition of her If I Had Money Monday on her blog. I was pretty excited to be the first feature in this series and I'm looking forward to see how it progresses.

Amanda is an avid crocheter and the adorable hats and bags in her shop are a testament to this statement. There is nothing more important to a Mommy on chilly outdoor walks than a good hat; and a cute hat that also keeps little ears and heads warm is an added bonus. In addition to hats Amanda also creates wall art and the most attractive newborn to toddler headbands I have ever seen. I'm not big on headbands on teeny little babies but these, I would dress any little one in no questions asked. I only wish I'd been an Etsian when my daughter was tiny so I could have photographed her in the Royal Gerbera Daisy headband. I may order one for my next baby portrait session.

After The Bump isn't just for baby, there are items from newborn to preteen and even a section for moms with useful and stylish totes bags and handbags. All the items in After The Bump are made using fresh and stylish colours; and here's the kicker for those of you in the US, this month Amanda is offering free shipping on all her items through may 2009.

Amanda and After the bump can be found on Etsy at You can read her Blog; After the Bump, send her tweets on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook or become her friend on MySpace.

What got you started?

I learned how to crochet at a very young age, but I really started doing something with it when my baby boy was born in October. I quit my full-time job a few weeks before he came, not thinking I would need to find work again. My delivery was a bit unconventional and my little man had to spend some time in the NICU, so he and I racked up quite the medical bill. In order to put a dent in things, I thought it time, once again, to go back to work. My main priority will always be to stay home with my baby, so creating my shop, After the Bump, made perfect sense. Of course, my three sales haven’t done much to curb the bill, but it’s a start. A very, very, very small start.

What is your favourite tool, material to work with and why?
My favorite tools are my K, N, and P crochet needles because they give my pieces that chunky textured look. My favorite material is 100% cotton Lily Sugar ‘n Cream yarn. I love the vibrant colors and the versatility it provides. I can use it to make beanies, dishrags, and everything in between.

Who has influenced your work the most?

I don’t think I could pick just one person. Of course, my own delicious bundle inspires me every day. I look at him and my mind is opened to all the possibilities for babies everywhere. My closest friends and family have been channeling their ideas my way since I opened shop. That has really helped me to come up with my own ideas. Theirs may not make a lot of sense, but then I think about them, tweak them a bit, and I’ve got a new creation. And of course my husband. I still believe he thinks my shop is just another one of my whims, which will eventually fade away into nothing. But he still supports me, bless his heart.

What has surprised you most about selling your creations online?

Wow. What hasn’t surprised me. Occasionally I’ll browse Etsy for shops like my own (gotta scope out the competition) to see which items they’ve been selling and why some shops are more successful than others. I think I am most surprised by the originality and talent that surrounds me. The most unlikely creations are those that seem to sell the best. Because of this, I am trying to think outside the box a bit more. Not really a strong point of mine, but something I am continually working on late into the night (or should I say morning).

Which Children's book character would you be and why?

After much thought and consideration, I would be Angelina the mouse in the Angelina Ballerina series by Katharine Holabird. I remember wanting to dance just like her when I read the books. I loved her tutus and her pretty ballerina shoes. I suppose I could come up with some inspiring analogy of how Angelina’s dreams to become a prima ballerina inspired me to take dance classes and now, at the age of 24, I am a prima ballerina. But really, I just enjoyed the books.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm determined

One of the things I missed out on living in a one bedroom apartment when my daughter came along was the nursery nesting experience. Other than setting up a crib in our bedroom, there was no painting the nursery, choosing just the right lamp and all that other fun stuff.

I'm not a fan of gender specific colours (one of the reasons I was so excited about the Etsy baby shower was the colour choices my Mom had in her son's room) when I was pregnant and puffy I chose the colours I would use in the nursery if we had one, I wanted the colours of lime and strawberry Popsicles. Bright green and rich pinky red, when the light shines off of them. When we moved into a two bedroom last year I went in search of just the right furniture and bedding to suit.

As with most of our home decor, we ended up in Ikea. It's inexpensive and looks clean on modern. We picked out a mini table and chair set, a shelf and bin unit for her toys and a rug and bedding that matched the paint chips I had painstakingly picked out at the neighborhood paint shop. In addition we found a beautiful wrought iron bed on Craigslist and one of the grandma's donated a refurbished antique armoire and bed table, both painted cream to match the bed.

The bulk of the room with the rug and bedding was red and I wanted more green and something that was a little more one of a kind and specific to Miranda's likes. We also needed window coverings to help block out the early morning light (a 5:30am wake up time is not well received by either me or the husband) . A trip the the fabric store yielded a piece of black denim (to use as a light block) and a pre-made curtain in the exact shade I was looking for. To personalize it I decided to hand stitch ladybugs (one of Miranda's enduring obsessions) across the bottom.

One year later and we're in a new place; and I'm still stitching. I'm getting close though. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm determined that I'll have that curtain up in her window b the end of this summer. I have plans to bring it with me on our road trip and sew as we drive though the mountains, in between keeping miss motion sickness occupied of course.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

PCGS or in this case poured cement curb appeal

It's not really sculpture but it is poured cement. I'm still on the fence (no pun intended, Ok maybe a little) about whether I like this or not, it has potential to be really interesting but in the end I thin it just looks to contrived. What do you think?

Monday, May 4, 2009

A banner Week and a rocking weekend

Last week was pretty exciting, I mentioned last week that I won a blog give-away from Stacey Winters . It turns out that I've also won second give-away on another blog; Mod3rnart picked my comment from her blog a few weeks ago and I won an amazing print of shealeigh's painting Zoli, pictured to the left.

On Sunday, I finally had a date night with my husband. We are fortunate enough to have friends in high places and as a result we were able to get on the guest list for Ladytron at the Commodore in Vancouver. Other than a crick in my neck and aching feet from standing/ dancing for four+ hours. The set was excellent for both Ladytron and the support act The Faint. The music was rocking and very danceable and if I wasn't already a fan of both bands I'd have been hooked.

You can see the video for one of my favourite songs by Ladytron here, and one from The Faint here

In other news I've been featured in After the Bump's blog. She's started a weekly feature titled If I Had Money Monday. I'll be returing the favour for Amanda of After the Bump this Friday.

Friday, May 1, 2009

5 questions: Wind Chime Art

Tim Kline of tskDesign is a fellow West Coast Artist. His work is simply stunning and breathtaking. There is great natural beauty here on the Pacific Coast, and Tim strives to bring some of that beauty to his work and succeeds beyond measure.

Working with
glass, copper, beach stone, and other materials, Tim works with a perfect melding of nature and fine art. One of my favourite pieces in his shop is the Suncatcher Kaleidoscope, a beach glass creation that reminds me of the glowing, tumbles of colour my daughters toy store version makes.

What make's Tim's creations so great is his philosophy regarding their use: a wind chime does not have to be just about sound ~ after all, the wind is not always blowing. A wind chime can be art (and even be hung indoors), and so can a bird feeder. Tim c
arefully selects his materials to build chimes that will look better and better over time. No paint to peal off, no strings to break. Many of his wind chimes are truly resistant to the elements; made from 100% glass and copper, others use beautifully weathered drift wood and tung nut oiled red cedar.

Visit Coast Chimes to see more of his brilliant work and you can read more about Tim on his Blog full of great details regarding his creative process, it's an excellent read and a perfect way to feel a little inspiration yourself.

What got you started?

It must be deep in my bones to create. For as far back as I can remember, I have always painted, drawn, made things. And I have also always appreciated the beautify in nature and art. One of my earliest memories is finding a piece of driftwood on a lakeshore in Wisconsin, and proudly bringing it home. It was smooth and lovely. Now, many decades later, what am I doing? Going down to the beach to find driftwood for my art! But I got started full time and business-like fourteen years ago, after moving to the Sunshine Coast, B.C., Canada, and facing the fact that I needed a job. This was about the same time that I discovered the Internet, and so all this came together. Since then, I have worked full time both on my skills as an artist, and on my knowledge of the Net, and marketing (for example, learning how to build a decent website).

Do you listen to music when you create?
Lots of what I do involves noisy, and somewhat dangerous, tools. That's not conducive to listening to music, not if I want to keep all nine and 9/10ths of my fingers (I cut the tip off my thumb a few years back, despite no music drawing on my concentration). That said, there are peaceful work times, too, and for years I listened mainly to talk radio. However, I just got an iPod Touch a few weeks ago, to use primarily as an e-book reader. While it is working great for that, I am also rediscovering (I used to listen non-stop as a kid) the joy of music. I've been enjoying NPR podcasts of 'All Songs Considered.'

What is your ultimate creator's block cure?

I have a deep dread of going into the red on my credit card. My monthly bills are considerable, for materials, tools, food and postage, and I can't rest until I know I have that covered. This gets me working hard, both making things and promoting. It also forces me (one of the more unorganized people you might encounter) to be somewhat organized, which really goes against my grain. Each night I actually make a short list in my head of the minimal I must accomplish the next day. If I don't cross everything off that mental list, I scold myself. I'm my own boss, but what an unpleasant slave driver I am! Also, if all else fails (and too often it does!), I grab my dog and we go for a long hike. After seven years with the pup, I am still surprised at how this refreshes.

What life or art lesson have you learned that has shaped your work?
If I can dream it, and make it, and put my heart into it, someone, sooner or later, will buy it. This shapes my work, as I no longer worry (much) about what others might think. I make what I dream, and let the materials speak to me, not the market. The few times I have made something to someone's specifications, I have not enjoyed the experience very much.

Rock, Paper or Scissors?

Rock, for sure. I love natural, smooth, rounded beach stones, and use them all the time in my work.

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