Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dinosaur Fred

We're still coughing, still with a fever and still dripping from the nose but not as bad as we were. My basil and the onions have sprouted and we've been making art:

Meet Dinosaur Fred and his pal the plain squid.

It's been a while since I've shared the Peanut's artistic creations. It seems that lately every time she picks up a pencil, marker or crayon she's drawing something equally fantastic and amazing, from ol' Fred to the cherry tree in our back yard to a hill with a princess and under the light of a full moon and stars. Speaking as a proud Mom I'm absolutely sure that at three she's leaps and bounds beyond anything her peers are drawing. Of course once I step off the Mom box I'm bound to admit that I just might be a little biased but did you see those teeth and the shape of that head? It just screams T-Rex and the three fingered claws? Awesome!

I'll stop with the gushing now...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saying Goodbye when you aren't there and cough and a fever

were just a few things I did on the weekend.

Last week was a little rough, but things seem to be easier now. My Cousin's funeral was held on Friday in the community hall that was used for our Grandpa's service. He was buried with our Grandparents and my Dad, which; I was told by my Aunt, was comforting; leaving him to be close to all of them.

I couldn't make it, as I mentioned last week our single income budget wouldn't allow it but I did my best to say goodbye on my own in my own way. What do you do to mark the passing of a loved one when you can't be with the rest of the family?

Of course with my mind on other things the Peanut got a little less attention than usual and to make up for it, she decided to bring the focus right back to where it belongs with a nice cough and fever combo (which as of this morning has developed into a leaky nose, cough and fever trio).

I'm a little tied up with booger wrangling and temperature taking today. In other news, the newest return of my 5 Question feature was a huge success, with lots of hits on the post. If you haven't read it yet go on over to it and let me know what you think. I'm really looking forward to next months feature.

So to leave you on an upbeat note here's what's been happening with our seedlings over the last four days. I couldn't be more excited about it... or impatient for the rest of them to show themselves

Friday, March 26, 2010

5 questions: *hollyhawk* Handmade Leather Cuffs, Purses, Accessories

So last winter, while searching for some unique items to gift our teenaged and young adult nephews I came across Holly Strate's shop; Hollyhawk. I was making an effort to shop locally as well as handmade and did a search within my province and Hollyhawk stood right out of the crowd, so much so that I was wishing we had the budget to allow for me to buy myself a gift.

We decided on an iphone case for one of our nephews and I sneakily asked him what type of colour combination he'd like most (which was good idea on my part, our original choice was not what he preferred). Holly sent out the case quickly and when I opened it up I was so blown away by her excellent craftsmanship.

I shouldn't have been surprised, since Holly finds working with leather extra appealing, which always means that there is a great deal of passion involved in the work. She says that there are so many interesting things that can be done with leather like dyeing, printing, stitching, embossing, molding, carving, painting, riveting... Holly transforms the material into unique, snappy wearable and useful items, and boy does she ever do a fabulous job.

What drew me was the combination of fresh colour choices (red, turquoise, purple, chartreuse and dusty sage) with beautiful, organic and modern graphics printed in ink. We went with the rotary phone graphic for the tongue in cheek factor.

Holly is trained in Fashion Design, and she learned about leather work by apprenticing. Through experimentation, she became really inspired to make pieces of her own design to share with the world. to find out more about Holly and Hollyhawk you can find her on Facebook and Twitter where she keeps her fans up to date in what's going on; like the recent addition to her family in the form of a handsome baby boy. Holly also has a website that lists where you can find her accessories, purses and jewellery for sale and she has a blog where you can get more information too! As always; if you see something you like, click on it! All images are linked to Hollyhawk.

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

I love the contrast created by combining bright colours with more muted ones. I can’t always reflect this in my work though, being somewhat limited in the leathers that I can source out, but then it’s more of a challenge. There’s just something about working with leather that really appeals to me. It’s quite versatile and one of my favorite material to designs and create with.

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

When I’m feeling creative I to listen to Luke Vibert, his music is this amazing collage of sounds and beats, very inspiring and you can bob your head to it. When I need to get stuff done on the assembly line I usually listed to CBC radio, it’s made me an expert in useless information.

What was the last shop/ item you hearted on Etsy?
The Strap Less Dress in Golden Apples by LesEnfantsSauvages.

I like to eat fruit and nut chocolate bars while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer; what’s your guilty pleasure?

Dipping dark chocolate in tea so that it gets all soft and melty, but I don’t feel guilty about it.

Which Children's book character would you be and why?
Pippi Longstocking, when I was a kid I wanted freckles more than anything in the world, just like Pippi and my Mom would braid my hair into piggy tails all the time. She didn’t have anyone telling her what to do. It wasn’t as though my parents were strict, but I’m a Sagittarius and we love nothing more than freedom to explore.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


My Dad's side of the family was not huge but it was bigger than some. He had 3 sisters and two brothers (one of whom passed before I had a chance to meet him). Family was important to him, we socialized on the weekends with Aunts and Uncles and cousins. In some cases our extended network of family was so tight that cousins were best friends, pseudo siblings and to the death enemies... well maybe not the latter but there were feuds. Growing up, us cousins were pretty tight.

My sister and I fit right in the middle of the hoard; with cousins older, younger and the same age as us. T was in my age group, we played together when we were kids, He teased me and rough housed and made us laugh, we got along, we scrapped and then see each other the next time and all would be forgotten. Family was important, when my Dad passed, T was one of a handful who kept in touch as others drifted off. He'd drop in and tease me about the muscle pant guy who followed me home from school, or knock on the door late at night because he was in town and take me to the 7/11 for a Big Gulp, once he stopped in town and he took me for a ride on the back of his motorcycle. He'd stop at my sister's to see her and her kids on his way to see his own. His eyes were very much like my Dad's and his sense of humour too. I wish I could think of more specific memories those are the ones that stand out

T had been fighting a brain tumour for what seemed like forever, the last time I saw him he was in town for a blood treatment, he was loosing the use of the right side of his body, walking up stairs was difficult, his arm and hand wouldn't do what he wanted them to and the frustration he was feeling was hard to watch, at the same time we could tell that he was putting everything he had into getting better, staying strong. Soon after he got worse and had to go into hospital.

A few day's ago, after fighting for years, losing the use of his left hand, the only part of his body he had control over, losing the ability to speak without going into convulsions and so many other things T decided he'd had enough. He refused treatment except pain killers and stopped eating. He had his family around him, he'd made peace. He left us yesterday afternoon still knowing who he was, having fought a good fight.

T was family, like a brother only better. He had a kind heart. I'm heart broken, and that seems too little of a description for what I'm feeling, If this loss has hit me hard I can't imagine what my Aunt, Uncle and cousins (his brother and sisters) are going through, or his boys. The loss is too fresh to really grasp.

So in a nutshell yesterday was a pretty sucky day overall. On the other hand, knowing that he went on his own terms is going to make things easier at some point.

I won't be there when they bury him, he'd requested to be with my Dad and Grandparents and My Mom has given the OK for that. I wish that I could be but we can't swing it. Instead I'm trying to send out my love and support for his family from here. Not an easy task with a drippy nose leaky eyes and all the fun stuff that goes along with grief.

So I probably won't be posting here for a few days as I sort through all this emotional debris, I do have a post scheduled for Friday; my 5 question feature returns this week after that I'll see how things go

Monday, March 22, 2010

The trick is...

to let the Peanut know beforehand what's going to happen at the optometrist before you go, making sure to tell her what is going to happen two or three days in a row so that on the day you go in she sits in the elevator chair and looks straight ahead instead of over her shoulder to cheat.

Today we went to the Peanut's second appointment to confirm that she needs glasses. So our family is going to be a household of four eyes. It's a good thing that we all look good in glasses...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Planting and Eggs

We started working on the garden this weekend. What better way to observe Ostara and the first day of spring than to wake up the earth in our garden and sow some seeds for planting next month? Oh yeah and the eggs, we coloured some eggs and decorated the window with some tissue cherry blossoms.

So, what will we have in our garden? Onions, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, lettuce, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, peas raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. We are also trying our hand at a pumpkin and a watermelon and the Peanut grabbed a packet of Velvet Queen Sunflowers which will be adorning the small plot in front of the front steps because; as she said, we have to have flowers!

Now we have to start planning where everything is going to go... I've taken some books out of the library which have been helpful and not so helpful. My next step has been to see how other people do it. I'm wanting to go as green as possible, using companion planting and natural ways to help discourage pests. It's a little daunting when there is so much to learn and so little time to pick it all up. I've been reading this great book called Eat More Dirt by Ellen Sandbeck. It's full of advice and suggestions and reads like a magazine article in book form which is my way of saying that it is full of personal anecdotes and fun little illustrations and tidbits. As far as planning the garden goes, I came across a link to this site called that we are thinking of using to set everything out. I read about it on Flicker's Lair's blog.
in her post she also mentions a few books she finds indispensable and I'll be looking for them in the garden section of our library to check out too.

Next week we continue the celebration of the beginning of spring with chocolate and an egg hunt or two. Any chocolate in your future? what about gardening? Am I the only garden virgin out there this year?

Friday, March 19, 2010

I want to invite perfect strangers into my home

Well, friends and friends of friends. I've been keeping an eye out for tips about hosting trunk parties and doing craft fairs. The Etsy forums are invaluable for this. Again, one of the reason's I'm such a huge fan of the site, the community there is unbeatable.

I've also found a few blogs that have posts about selling out of home or in the neighborhood coffee shop. which I think is a great way to ease into selling at fairs or approaching a brick and mortar about selling my creations. One of the more recent posts I've come across in my search for real life selling ideas was on missmalaprop, She has done at least two craft parties, one in her home and the other at her local coffee house which sounds like a great idea to me, what with no house cleaning involved and refreshments offered by the proprietor of the coffee house. It's a win win situation and one that a local business would more than likely be excited to be a part of.

Of course, me being me I'll waffle a lot before I take the plunge. The harsh critic in me likes to point out all the negatives that could happen and of course I listen for awhile and then either forge ahead or abandon the idea until it's ready. And of course there are blog posts about the reasons not to as well as reasons why it's a good idea too. I also don't feel comfortable with asking friends and family to come and buy my things but I also know that I'm making some great things that have to be seen in person in order to show off their full beauty. So I'm considering packing all my finished items with me when we head to our home province in May. Who knows maybe I'll hold a party at my Mom's place and pay for our trip out there.

Anyone out there done a craft fair, held a trunk show or approached a brick and mortar? What got you past the harsh critic to just do it?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Thousand Words

some crows over the rainbow...well at least one

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In which the not dressed fairy finds her clothes

The Peanut loves wearing fairy wings, she'll drag them out of the dress up chest and put them on with mouse ears, ribbon tutus and most often and most likely nothin' at all but the wings. I'll be the first to admit that there is nothing sweeter than the Peanut in her all togethers and wings but if I've just finished dressing her in the days outfit (which in and of itself can be a half hours worth of work and a physical work out to boot) turning around to find a pile of clothes and a streak passing by with wings can leave me feeling like I've wasted my morning.

And then this is what I was gifted with today:

Monday, March 15, 2010

5 tips to working social media to your advantage--- or not

I updated my Facebook status the other day with the observation that I am more social online than I am in real life. To a certain extent this is true. When I try to wrangle that into creating traffic to TMCphoto or PeanutButterPie it's like stepping into a puddle of molasses. It feels forced and not authentic to who I am.

So I'm browsing around the blogosphere today and I come across this post, and I have to say that it hits the nail right on the head, and timely? I can't even tell you how timely it is(or maybe it's just one of those things that's bobbing around in my head and every once in a while it pops up right in front of my nose) examining my online persona. Mainly I'm just wondering if I'm offering something unique to the world at large and if not, what do I need to change? or should I worry at all?

Crafting my online persona needs to feel genuine to me. I know that I'm not alone in this either. I can't be someone I'm not, here, or anywhere for that matter. I could buff and polish who that is, tweak it until it's just right, squeaky clean; but if it doesn't feel real to me, the person who it's representing; then I'm not comfortable and it's not going to work.

How could it possibly? If you as a reader feel that all I'm after is for you to visit my shop, how can I ask you to stick around and find out what my weekend was like, what great thing I photographed for 1000 words, who I'm featuring for my monthly Q&A or what I'm currently working on?

Since I started doing this I've been so fortunate to find blogs and blog writers that I love to drop in on regularly, I have learned from, been inspired, cheered for and offered condolences and advice and received the same. For this alone I would keep things genuine.

You'd think we were tearing her limb from limb

It's not easy to get a three year old out of a place she's having fun at. Lesson learned have the what's going to happen when it's time to leave talk a few times before you even get there. But oh the blood curdling "you are ruining my life" screams coupled with the dime sized crocodile tears...

This weekend we did a jam session BBQ at our good friends place. Good food, good music (he wrote a beautiful song for her for their 23rd wedding anniversary) and great conversation always makes for a great night. The only draw back was the Peanut's response to the news that it was time to go home...

Last week I was fighting a nice little stomach bug. I had thought that it was something I ate but really not so much. So I was tired all week long, had little to no appetite and was running around getting things packaged and mailed. So not a whole lot got done. I managed to make dinner every night and a load of laundry did get done here and there. The bug made it's exit for Saturday, just in time for BBQ steak and prawns, rice and corn and a crisp green salad. We supplied pie.

Yesterday the husband treated us to brunch and then took himself and the Peanut out for the afternoon. I got some painting done and and I'm looking forward to sharing the new project I've been working on. I'm hoping to share soon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

it's all started out wrong

that's how it seems today anyway. Of course it's early and there's still time to turn it all around. It's spring break in our neck of the woods which means that the teens who live next door are partying (which means drunk and banging on the door while yelling in the backyard on the weekend) or in the back yard at 6AM dropping f-bombs as loud as they can in the backyard (that's right, this was how I was woken up today).

Either way, my sleep is interrupted. Today that meant all our sleep was shortened by at least an hour as the Peanut's attitude this morning is evidence that she was more than likely going to sleep a little later this morning than 6. Either that or she's turned over night into the whinge-miester.

Well, the whinging isn't really new today, it's been going on for a little over a week now. At the drop of a hat, or the first sign that the Peanut's will is being flouted we break into the nasal whine. This whine grates on my nerves and despite plenty of discussions about deep breaths and using words to express how we are feeling, the whine returns. on a related note I'm looking forward to some me time this weekend, just me, some paints and some glass.

So anyone else going through the whinge-fest? Gone through it? What are you doing/did you do to get past it?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Months have passed

since my last weekly 5 question feature.

Doing a weekly feature was taking a lot of time away from my own creative practice so I took a break from it for a little while to focus on doing my own things.

Of course I never considered completely giving up the features, they're one of my favourite things to do on this blog but I think a break was necessary for more than one reason. I put a lot of work into each 5 question feature I do here mainly because the artists and artisans I feature are some of my favourites and I'd love to be able to help them succeed, even if it's just in the form of someone visiting their shop after reading about them here. Putitng one of these features together each week became a pretty daunting task what with contacting artists, compiling links and adding photos not to mention the research I put into the features, I was working in some cases a month or more in advance of a post which meant that I was working on more than one feature at a time which really became overwhelming.

While I was focusing on my own work, I made a few decisions about how I wanted to do these features and I'm happy to announce that 5 questions will be returning at the end of this month as a monthly feature instead of a weekly so that I can keep up with the momentum I've built up over the last few months with my own stuff. I'm also hoping to keep you all informed about my own processes, tragedies and triumphs too, so if you think I'm a little behind in sharing feel free to give me a nudge...

Monday, March 8, 2010

I think it was something I ate

that knocked me down all day yesterday. I won't go into details because well, you just don't want to know... I'm feeling much better today (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) which is good because I have some gallivanting to do.

Things have been hopping over the last few weeks, I've sold an ACEO, and a hand sewn card; I snagged a photo job and then had someone express interest and order a photograph that was featured in one of my 1000 words posts. Today, the Peanut and I will be heading to the post office, the bank and then to the photo lab. Then we'll go back to the post office and mail off my latest order of photographs.

It's kind of silly that I didn't think of doing it before, and it's kind of an obvious idea. I started the 1000 word posts as incentive to keep photographing, (not that I really need incentive but more of a good reason to carry the camera around). I really do love some of the shots I've used for the series, but it never occurred to me to list them in the Etsy shop (you can't see it but I'm slapping myself in the head with the heel of my hand) until my friend form high school contacted me last week about purchasing the print of the Japanese Maple that lives in the front yard.

I took the photograph after a heavy downpour and the sun had come out. I loved the glistening droplets that were clinging to the ends of the branches and the glare from the sun reflected off the wet pavement. The trunk of the tree is wonderfully tree-ish and the branches a riot of intersecting branches and trapped leaves, the look like a head full of dreads.

So, it looks like I should have been listing these in TMCPhoto from the beginning; I better get started...

Friday, March 5, 2010

I shot at least 130 people yesterday

And it was so much fun.

I managed to snag a project for my husband's work last week and yesterday I went in and took staff ID photos for use in the company newsletter, on their web page and for their security IDs. So out of this I get to contribute to the grocery bill this month and also book another session at Blim to make more buttons and magnets.

It was the first time I've left the Peanut and gone off to work since she came along and on the one hand it was fun getting out and being with adults all day but on the other I missed her too. I've got one more year until she's school aged and then we'll have to decide if she's going to be home schooled or if we'll be sending her off to either french immersion or regular school.

I'm of two minds about the whole thing: I'd love to home school her; I have reservations about how learning systems are set up in schools and I'd love to learn with her in a self directed manner. On the other hand I some how think that she would benefit from taking instruction from some one other than me. I've got another year of sitting on the fence. Anyone else out there go the home schooling route first off? start with school and switch to home learning? What were your reasons?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Thousand Words

After the Olympic Cauldron is extinguished
and on my way to Dinner with Friends

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's over

So I've mentioned my split personality regarding the Olympics.

On one hand, How cool is this?

or this?

or even this?

The Peanut was so in to the whole thing that it was hard to be anti-Olympics, not to mention the excitement of being in the crowded city streets as the closing ceremonies were going on ...

On the other hand we have an event that cost us 6,000,000,000 and a homeless problem that could be fixed with 3.5,000,000,000. The Red Tent campaign is about exercising the right to housing, as dictated by the Adams decision, during a time when billions of dollars are being spent on the Olympics and Olympic security. The goal of the campaign to raise the visibility of homelessness through the international media that will be attending the 2010 Olympic Games, exposing the Federal Government of Canada’s deep lack of inaction and urging them to do fund a National Housing Strategy. On Saturday we were lucky enough to walk by the Live City Venue just as the Red Tent Olympic Wrap Up; during this peaceful protest Red Tent wrapped the Canada Pavilion at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. You can see video here.

During the game there were people still living on the streets and people lining up for hot meals and room at shelters.

I'd like to say that I jumped on the Go Canada! bandwagon with a full heart; but knowing the facts, seeing the tents; the men and women lining up for a hot meal served out of the back of a van parked in the alley at the corner of Main and Hastings, stayed in the back of my mind even as I cheered on the athletes, stood in line to see pavilions, victory celebrations and mascots.

The big show is done and the Paralympics are just around the corner. Once it's all over the Media are saying that as a country we will have a new found sense of pride. Unfortunately we'll still have poverty issues; which kind of negates some of that new found pride.

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