Monday, June 29, 2009

I went to a fancy dress up party of Saturday night

which is something I never get to do on a regular basis. My husband plays Bass, he's in a band that plays together pretty regularly, he's made some terrific friends out of it and that's saying something. Both of us are fairly introverted. At parties I tend to lurk in the backgrounds not sure what to do or say, especially where I don't know a lot of people plus since the addition of the peanut to the family I never know what to do with myself when she's not around, especially if I'm in a gathering full of people I don't really know all that well.

The odds were high for this party that I'd probably end up doing the same and I'm proud to say that I only did the wallflower thing about halfway through the evening. I bought a new dress from for the night and gussied myself up as best I could and tried to picture myself as a bubbly witty person surrounded by admiring people who couldn't wait to find out who I was and fortunately the guests of honour are super friendly and super extroverted and the people I did know took the time to chat when I approached them. Once the band started to play though the wall flower in me came out and I hung out in the corner and watched my husband be a rock star with his cross-dressing band mates.

While we're on the subject of sharing, here are two more blogs that I think should garner a read from you; plus a really exciting give-away from a blog I've just started to follow:

mikiepillustrations has a fabulous shop on Etsy full of the juiciest and most adorable illustrations, eerie photographs of cupie dolls, sculpture, ACEO's and other cool stuff that I can't take my eyes away from my screen because I want to take it all in.

Right now Mikiep is having "The Mother of All Give-A-Ways. It's soo good in fact that I don't want anyone else to enter so that the odds are higher in my favour to win it.... Nah, that's not very fair of me, go now and see how to win what could possibly described as the best prize in the history of blog prizes ever; a custom illustration featuring you as your most favourite superhero in a childhood memory that you treasure the most.

All Things Tangled is always good for a fun read. Joan is a magician who creates things with yarn, hence the reference to things tangled. Her posts are shore and sweet and full of references to her knitting projects and of course which books she's been reading. The latest, We'll Always have Parrots sounds so good I'm going to go look it up at my local library.

cabin + cub is another of my favourites. Valerie is a fellow Vancouverite who regularly posts about herself, or stories she has hear supported by her fanciful retro inspired collage works. In addition cabin + cub also includes posts illustrated with her beautiful photographs. My favourite from this week is her post on the fuzzy donkeys she and her husband saw on the way home from berry picking.

Today is the Peanut's 3rd birthday, and I think it's time for some cake and a big crumb and frosting filled hug and kiss.

Friday, June 26, 2009

5 Questions: Stitched with care

This weeks feature is an exception to my usual feature on Etsy artists. Cindy of SewHappyDesigns has a shop on Artfire, so I didn't run across her on Etsy; which is usually the case with the artists and artisans I feature here, but through her blog.

Cindy loves creating anything with fabric and quilting, a tradition that came from her grandmother when she was very young. Fabric is her canvas and she's proud of the quality and detail of her work and she should be; the bright and colourful quilts, baby sets, pillow cases and kitchen linen sets for sale in her ArtFire shop are super cute and very well made. My favourite item in her shop right now are the On The Farm Placemat sets. It could be that we've just returned from a trip where we spent considerable time on two farms, but anything with cows is really big in our house right now.

In addition to sewing items to sell online, Cindy also teaches in her home classroom to learn more about her classes visit her website . You can find Cindy's creations in her Artfire shop, and on her blog,, where Cindy writes about sewing, Blockhead Radio and the bits and pieces that make up her life. In addition to the blog and her Artfire shop you can tweet at her, and plurk her. And if you are ever in Adams Center New York you can see her creations in person at Painfull Acres, an Amish furniture store there.

Here's what Cindy had to say in response to this weeks questions:

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

Colors depend on my mood. I love the colors of fall, but my favorite spring color combos are pinks and greens. I just like how they look and have done a large queen size quilt (FOR ME!) and many smaller quilted projects in that combo. In the winter, I LOVE to work on bright kids fabrics. Winters are very long here in northern NY and it just brightens up my day when I work on the bright colors on a stormy winter day.

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

I listen to music and have several artists that I play. I love everything from country to rock to a soft instrumental CD. I like Rascal Flatts and Sugarland, the Eagles, and the Beatles to name a few. (I'm definitely showing my age.) When in my classroom teaching I play soft piano instrumental CD's and light an aromatic candle to keep everyone I also have days when all I listen to is It is an Indie Music station. I am the station's number one fan and recommend you check them out for great music, fun and informative shows. It's a great family station with a great "family member" following. Oh, yeah, and my favorite Indie group is definitely The Stone Coyotes. I have purchased their CD through and listen to it lots.

Do you have any influences that guide your work?

I was influenced at an early age by my grandmother, mother and wonderful Aunt Barb who taught me patience when sewing, but also to strive for attention to detail. I will treasure those memories forever. I am also influenced by fabric. Sometimes the fabric will be my guide when I select the quilting pattern for the project, which is usually almost always the last and hardest step. Also, many times the colors are chosen carefully for the placement in the pattern. Colors can make or break a project. If it isn't working, it goes in a "can't touch this" (picture me singing to MC Hammer) bin and I will pull it out at another time to throw together a "green" shopping bag, or something neat for myself. Last week I took a can't touch this block and made myself a quilted sunglasses case. Life is good.

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

The biggest life lesson I have learned is patience, patience, patience. Teaching beginners to quilt requires a great deal of patience. Not everyone has the same level of sewing or learning skills. The rewards are great though, when I see their successful creations and see their enjoyment in the craft I love.
Patience is also required to have a certain level of toleration in my own sewing and quilting projects. If it doesn't pass my personal "eye of detail" it gets ripped out and re-done. I pride myself in the detail and quality in my creations.

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

I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Harry is surrounded by good friends who help him get through the tough times. I have made some wonderful lifelong friends through my love of quilting and sewing and that is very important to me. And, I often approach a project with a "magic wand" feeling. I reach for fabrics and think, "what can I conjure up today?"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's like deja vu but not really

As time goes on and my Peanut Butter Pie gets bigger and smarter and more loquacious, as she starts asking questions and wanting to learn about the world she lives in; I have these moments. Moments where I begin explaining something to her and the words of my parents dance from my lips.

Whether explaining that "Bees will not hurt you if you leave them alone." or telling her as we look at the neighbors white and pink apple blossoms that "those flowers are where apples come from" Each time I tell her something I hear the same words spoken to me in similar situations. I clearly remember my Dad telling me the same thing about apple blossoms in the back yard of our house in Calgary when I was about 9 or 10 years old.

My Mom is still around but my Dad passed on when I was 15; watching my daughter and my nephews grow up can be very bittersweet at times. Not being able to share these moments with him falls into the bittersweet category very neatly.

I truly believe that he knows and loves is grandchildren and that before they came to us, he was with them. Not being able to share our day to day lives is heartbreaking. I just know that my sister's boys would be the light in his eyes and that my daughter would have had him wrapped around her baby toe.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I just shared a fresh cherry from the tree in our backyard with my daughter.

While I'm sharing, here are some of the brilliant Blogs I've been following lately. These bloggers catch my attention for a number of reasons, they make me laugh, they make me cry, they share some of their finds, they tell a good story, they share their work and their process and I keep coming back to see what they're going to be doing next.

Artmind I've been following Artmind for quite sometime. Her Blog is a mix of excellent how-to tutorials ranging from making a plaster mold to making your own sidewalk chalk. Mitsy also shares her works in progress, her creative experiments and her workspace. I return again and again to her posts for inspiration and to get that itch to make on my own. Her most recent post, a tutorial about colouring liquid porcelain clay and adding colour to it made want to run out and take a pottery class just to get my hands into some clay again.

Autumn Olive is another that I pop into whenever their is something new posted. Her posts are chock full of vintage treasures, tasty recipes and new projects she's been working on. With a new vintage shop opened up, I'm looking forward to her posts about making a go of running an online vintage shop. As an online seller myself I like to glean bits and pieces about how others run their business.

This week marks the return of the 5 question Friday feature. I have some great artists and artisans lined up for the next few weeks and I'm excited about sharing their answers with you all again.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More from the trip,

My mom is a proud displayer of some of the kitschiest poured cement garden statuary I know of. In her defense I believe that she makes some of the best use of it, she includes it in the landscape of her yard so it is a part of it and not the only thing you see in the yard. It helps that her yard is vary large and spaceous. My favourites are the howling coyotes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

stops and starts

I have a long tradition of stops and starts, I'm in the process of trying to bypass the stops but life always has a way of dropping a detour here and there. as you may have noticed 5 questions is still on a break but I've got some great features in line and we'll be good to go for the end of this month. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime here are some more vacation pics:

the dull gray areas on these mountains are dead trees; victims of the Pine Beetle epidemic. There were shockingly large areas along the Trans Canada where there were no living trees left.

Nearing the home stretch

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where is my mind?

Once upon a long long time ago I could listen to the first few bars of any song on the radio and tell you who was playing and what song it was. Somewhere over the last few years or so I lost that ability.

Sure, I could say that now-a-days all the songs on the radio sound the same or is it that all the bands on the radio sound the same.... but I know that that depends on which station is being played.

Some how I've lost touch with what's being played on the radio and who it is playing that song that's been stuck in my head all day long. Fortunately; I'm slowly gaining that long lost ability back. It's good to see that I'm gaining my mind back again. That new song by Glasvegas really rocks!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Road Trip Day Two, or how to continue a weekly feature on poured cement garden statuary on the road

On day two of our road trip we stopped at the Enchanted Forest. If you aren't familiar with this roadside attraction I think you ought to stop in the next time you're traveling the Trans Canada through the Shushwaps, not only is full of charming trails decorated with 1950's kitschy goodness plus there's no better way to run off excess energy for another long stint in the car than to run run run and climb and run, and crawl through little houses ad run and climb up a tree houses than to run it off in an Enchanted Forest.

I last visited when I was in elementary school and recall almost all of the same houses and statues. There were a few newer attractions but for the most part it was a walk down memory lane for me.

It seems that poured cement follows me now or perhaps I'm just seeking it out all on my own. This post features some of the forests finer pieces of fairy tale statuary.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trips here trips there and trips everywhere you could trip to

We've returned from our long and busy road trip vacation. It would seem that the peanut can withstand road trips now sans the children's gravol. After eighteen months since our last visit to Alberta we spent all of our time with family and we even managed to slip a visit in with some friends here and there as well as take in a wedding too.

We celebrated Christmas and birthdays and stuffed ourselves with our parents cooking. We stuffed so much in that I'm pretty sure I could use a few weeks off to get back into routine. Because my husband's parents are divorced we split our time between 3 homes and I never really feel like I get a good enough visit in with anyone. The peanut took center stage and charmed all grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as well as a one or two perfect strangers here and there.

We came back with more than we left with and today was spent unpacking and finding places to put everything. Also there was that ant problem but more on that tomorrow. I'll share travel pics over the next few days. (unfortunately unseasonal cold weather hampered plans for more storm photo-shoots and the sun wasn't cooperating for a borealis session but I think I have some new images to list on Etsy once I get through them all despite the husband being ill during most of our trip with insomnia and some kind of gastric bug)

It's good to be home.
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