Friday, April 30, 2010

5 questions: Little Clay Houses

I seem to be drawn to some of my fellow Canadian artists and artisans lately and wow are there ever a lot of great Canadian artists and artisans!

As I've mentioned here before, my goal for this feature is to put the spotlight onto some of the shops on Etsy that I have either spent my money in, or who I would love to buy from.

I initially came across the little red door shop through twitter, she's on one of my lists of super creative people and I've always loved her avatar. I've been known to laugh out loud to some of her posts but this feature is all about her super awesome shops and not her super awesome Twitter posts.

So I initially found her shop ages ago and then found her vintage and craft shops from there. Of her three shops SpaghettiJones is the least active with only one item for sale at this moment but her shop tag line is worth a visit and the cute robot greeting cards listed there really made me smile. Little Red Mercantile is chock full of amazing finds and well worth a visit.

When it comes down to why I love her shop I have to say that I just love tiny things. There’s something about the intimacy involved in both the making and the owning that really appeals to me. One of the main critiques I had in art school was my penchant for the small, while I’ve branched out size wise with my own work I covet it in others. From her signature tiny clay houses to tiny bowls, ninjas and an assortment of ceramic pendants and rings there is lots to choose from; and her colour palette is in a word divine. Plus, how enchanting would it be to give out tiny little clay houses as party favours for your next big event? Let me answer that for you: very enchanting.

As always each image in this article is linked back to Little Red Door's shop. See something you like? click on that puppy and get more information!

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

I use mainly primary and other bright bold colours with white and black. I'm not a huge fan of pastels. My signature colour is of course red. I'm of the opinion that most everything goes with red.

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

I listen to music all the time but most essentially when I'm creating. Without it, I'm in for a long lonely day of pottery.

My music collection is best described as varied. I like everything.
If I shuffle through my Ipod here are the next 10 songs that come up:

Sam Malone - City And Colour
Your Man - Down With Webster
Goodnight Goodnight - Hot Hot Heat
Rapture - Pedro the Lion
Hard Road - Sam Roberts
Tonight She Comes - the Cars
Time to Switch to Whiskey - Corb Lund Band
Sweetness - Jimmy Eat World
Just A Girl - No Doubt
Walls Fall Down - Bedouin Soundclash

What got you started?

I've always been a maker of things, since I was in grade school. Embroidery since I was 7. Drawing & painting in my teens. Cross-stitch in my early 20's. Papercrafting & photography since my late 20's. I'm approaching 40 and I've been working with clay now 7 years. I am one of those people that must create. It's my raison d'etre. I think everyone should make something everyday.

If you were granted 3 wishes to furnish your dream studio space, what do you choose and why?

1 - floor to ceiling shelving
2 - packaging area
3 - lots and lots of windows

I think they're all self-explanatory

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

Little Red Riding Hood. She wore an awesome hoodie and loved to visit Grandma.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Thousand Words

One of the things I'm working on

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Carbon Neutral

Someone is always talking about how to lower our carbon footprint, how to live greener and how to change how we live for the better. Some changes are easier to make than others; the Husband's habit of holding the refrigerator door open while he pours himself a drink or when I forget to unplug the coffee machine in the morning for instance. We are still working on those.

I'm a firm believer in making small changes all the time. In the last year we've reduced how often we use the dryer; hanging our laundry out on clear days instead, we've reduced the amount of waste we send to the landfill by composting our food scraps and we've eliminated the cost of having a car; opting for the car co-op, our own feet and the local transit system to fill our vehicular needs. We turn off the lights whenever we don't need the extra illumination and we've started cutting back on how much water we use by turning the water off while we brush our teeth, and wash our hands. little steps that are adding up.

We still have more to do and I'm always thinking about what else we can start to do as well. So, today when I came across this initiative that will plant a tree for your blog or website
from German based kaufDA I jumped on board right away. The program has been set up to neutralize your online carbon footprint for the next 50 years and it's as easy as writing a post to participate. All you have to do is add a badge to your site, blog about it and let them know you've done so. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. It's free and it's a good thing to do! My badge is in the sidebar.

In other news, keep your eyes peeled on Friday for the latest installment of 5 questions! I'll be sharing another tutorial in the coming weeks and there are some works in progress that will be making their way onto a post near you in the future too. Hope your week is going well!

Monday, April 26, 2010

There is a soundtrack

So I've seen a few blog posts around here and there and even back that way which talk about all the things that kids these days (that makes me sound like an old curmudgeonly cranky granny lady doesn't it?) don't get, appreciate or will never get to experience.

While there are a few points here and there and back that way that I can totally agree upon, the anticipation of going to the record store to buy a new album or camping out in a mall parking lot to get tickets to a favourite band's live show for instance, or having the cute boy who works at the record store/ticket outlet get you killer seats for your first live show because he has a crush on you too.... these are things that I have done and remember fondly and also things that the Peanut will never get to experience for better or worse...

One thing that I've been thinking about lately is how we now have the power to choose the soundtrack that plays in the background of our day to day lives. The rhythm of our steps when we walk is timed to the beat of the playlists sounding in our earbuds. Of course because if the Peanut listening to music wherever and whenever is tricky, I don't want to miss out on her thoughts and observations or even her requests (because when she asks for a hug, that's a drop everything kind of request) I sometimes make do with one ear bud in and the other ear free. I get the best of both worlds here; music that suits my day, mood or activities and a free ear to take in the sound of traffic, the birds and the Peanut.

So my life has a soundtrack wherever I go, and it's poignant and moving and sing a longable and makes the time go smoother. Right now my soundtrack is stuck on a combination of Nada Surf, Greg Laswell and (as always) Depeche Mode. What song is playing in the montage of your life?

Shopping, an uninterrupted meal, poop and planting

are some of the things we did this weekend but I should explain, about the poop anyway, just in case you get the wrong Idea about what kind of blog post this is. We decided that if this weekend had at least one nice day we were going to transplant our seedlings into the garden. of course before that we wanted to spread the manure into the soil so our seeds and seedlings would have something good to grow on... so there was poop in our weekend.

I'm going to be honest and say that we didn't get everything in the garden that will eventually go in the garden; but by next weekend I plan on being exhausted, stiff and a little dirty. For now there are onions, lettuce, carrots, strawberries, watermelon and pumpkin and a nice hole ready for a raspberry bush sometime tomorrow rain or shine.

And yes I did manage a whole meal uninterrupted when the Peanut and the Husband went out after our family shopping trip for some father daughter bonding... heavenly.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Milestones should be celebrated

I've spent some time this morning going through some of my old posts and cleaning up my post labels and it's been a bit of work. I knew they were getting out of hand when the list of labels was way longer than the list of posts I've written. So I've chosen a handful of labels to help section out the blog. I'd love to have a custom blog with tabs to clean these things up but for now I'm doing this, a little at a time. I'm just hoping that I'm not clogging up your reading lists with old posts.

In a little under three years I've published over 300 times and it's been so much fun to do. And speaking of posting milestones one of the blogs I follow has an amazing giveaway to celebrate a handful exciting milestones both for her blog and her facebook page. Click on the picture below to find out more!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where to start...

It seems I need to get a day job. Or at the very least an evenings and weekend job. Why? you ask. Well, a number of factors are place here: it seems that having the Peanut when we did and then waiting until I was staying home with the Peanut to start requesting interest relief has combined into a coming back to bite me in the hind quarters. Had it lasted just one more year, 12 short months then we could have had the Peanut in school and I would have time during the day to go to a part time job. But alas and also Hooray hooray this is not the case.

I say alas for obvious reasons, the timing sucks. Hooray because I now have the opportunity to start working off those pesky student loans and to possibly do it on my own terms...

A while back, I posted in the Etsy Canada Forum that I was available to do product shots and I've had a little interest in that direction. The trick, as always is to keep the interest growing. I'll be posting a new thread in those forums to try to drum up some more interest and hopefully bring in some jobs. In the meantime, I'll be bringing out the old resume and giving it a polish too.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Thousand Words

If you like these shots: check out my Etsy shop TMCPhoto

Lethal Halo
some of my favourites from last weekends shoot

In case you are interested you can find out more about this incredible band on their official website

And just to celebrate Earthday:

Monday, April 19, 2010

I stood out in the rain

all morning on Saturday, I also crouched, lunged, tilted and a few other positions; all in the name of getting a great shot.

It's not often that I get a chance to photograph people over the age of four let alone a group of people none of whom had any children in attendance. So who was I shooting and what for? Let me tell you, but first some back story to set the stage, if you will.

The husband plays bass in a few groups. Recently he joined a cover band and, as it happens one of the guitarists in this cover band is also one of the guitarists for a local metal band here in Vancouver; Lethal Halo. I'm not a huge fan of Metal music but I can appreciate good music when I hear it; regardless of musical genre. Their music is really good. If you are a metal head, or know someone who is; send them the link to Lethal Halo's website.

So getting back to what I did this weekend; They were looking for someone to do a photo shoot for their website and upcoming albums and that led to me hanging out in downtown Vancouver on a very rainy Saturday morning with some really fantastic people. The shoot went off without a hitch, except for the loud and obnoxious junkie who didn't take too kindly to having us on her turf. I got some really great shots and I can't wait to see which frames they decide to use and whether they are the same shots that I like or not.

I want to get the band their copies before I share with everyone. For now, you can see on of the locations we used above. I hope your weekend was a good one!

Friday, April 16, 2010

More Time Outside

It looks like we'll be spending more and more time outside as the days get sunnier and sunnier in preparation we've added a few things to our backyard to keep the Peanut entertained and active. I mentioned a few days ago that we got locked out of the house one afternoon which was a huge blessing in disguise that gave me some full on one on one time with the Peanut.

Not that she doesn't get me all the time or that I don't drop everything to attend to her almost every whim (while writing this post for instance I've gotten milk, poured cheerios, retrieved beads from the craft shelf, picked beads off of the floor, squeezed glue for making pom pom caterpillars and put on Bobs & Lolo for her to sing and dance along to while she colours) but with no distractions; the computer, my camera, the keys to the garden tools and any of the other things I might pick up while she's playing were out of reach we played. Really played.

So the plan is that we're going to do that more often, one on one, no distractions, action games. Tag, Simon says, stop and go, dance party, catch, fetch (see above link) Sand Box, T-ball and gardening. The problem is that the Peanut has a fairly short attention span some days. We need all the options that we can find for her to play with in the yard. We have a sand box and a few balls but I've got my eye out for some other backyard games we can add to our repertoire and possibly see if there are any games I can make. We have boxes from our move last year that we can bring out put together and build a castle that she can decorate and maybe we'll take some of the small plastic bottles that seem to accumulate here and turn them into lawn bowling pins and use the soccer ball as a bowling ball...

And then there are those awesome opportunities to win some backyard toys and games. We're keeping our eyes open for any and all opportunities that will give us a chance to add to our back yard toy box.

And of course there is a great give away at Melissa and Doug right now. One of my favourite toy brands is Melissa & Doug. I love the bright colours, the classic toy options like the building blocks and their arts and craft products are fantastic. There's something about their toys that just makes you think about having fun; and every puzzle, game or toy we've ever gotten from Melissa and Doug has been a great success with the Peanut. Their latest give away is for a $50 gift pack from the Sunny Patch line. I'll admit that I've been eyeing up a few of the games and activities (OK all of them) that are available. How much fun could be had for instance by playing a colourful game of Happy Giddy Croquet or Ting toss. And don't get me started about the gardening sets or the sprinklers...

Are you looking for some great out door fun? You can find out more about the give away here

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Going green

You know how it is when you're feeling overwhelmed, devoid of creative spark and in need of something new to think about, to get you excited and in the frame of mind to keep going, try something new or put a twist on what you've been doing to make it that much better? I have a great reading list of blogs that I follow where I can get inspiration and find new ideas to put me in that place. I also am lucky enough to be in a place that offers up some great inspiration whether it's my neighborhood, the Metro Vancouver Area or in my living room where the seeds we planted last month have sprouted and are now adding a degree of life to our living room I never realized we needed until the thought of taking them out to the garden to plant them.

I know that it's one of those cliches that growing a plant from a seed is a bit like a miracle. In fact it's one of those things that I have a habit of overlooking because of the cliche in a kind of yeah yeah yeah, miracle of life blah blah blah kind of way. But really, since we brought home the tomato seedlings we were given earlier this year, and we planted our own seeds; I have to say that I'm enthralled, I stop every time I go by the table they are sitting on to look and see how they are, to marvel at how tall the sprouts are to gasp at how big the pumpkin leaves seem to have grown each time I look at them. It's my next best thing to being pregnant again; something that gets less and less likely with each passing month. And another great side effect is that I'm feeling more and more in tune with the earth which is such a good thing.

So the seedlings will be headed out doors soon and I'm going to be missing the living green. Obviously we are going to have to remedy this situation. Did I mention that I have a lot of great blogs in my reading list that are a fantastic resource for me? Of course some of the ideas are less achievable than others; the living wall for instance. Oh how I would love, adore and am coveting a living wall after reading this post.
With my Student Loan interest relief coming to it's end this month little extras like a wally pocket are out of my price range but I'm thinking I might start small with a spider plant. Since I've had luck with them in the past, but wouldn't it be lovely to have a wall of living green to add inside your home?

Monday, April 12, 2010

On the outside looking in

Today I was busy busy busy. I did dishes, folded and put away laundry, did a quick tidy of the bathroom and started a new loaf of bread. I had plans for chicken soup for dinner and I tackled the Peanut's closet. Two years ago in an effort to organize our closet we got one of those adjustable closet organizer things. We used it in our own closet for six months and when we moved here the Peanut's closet got it. After one year of having the set up one way I decided to change things up a bit, make some of her clothes a little more accessible to her and of course tidy up in there.

The closet was a big job, mainly because the Peanut was in the thick of it grabbing the baby toys and other toys that we've been storing in there and wanting to know what I was doing and why each step of the way.

The plan was to get the closet done, start the bread rising and head outside for some fun in the backyard. By the time everything was put back together and put away it was close to 3. I decided that in order to get out I'd take the vegetable for the soup outside and chop them there so the Peanut could get a little dirty. The peanut had her shoes on , her sweater and we were ready to head out, I had the veg, cleaned, a cutting board, the peeler and my chopping knife I put on my shoes and the Peanut followed me out the door. Closing it behind her. After she had turned the lock while waiting for me. We were locked out of the house.

With no distractions (once the veg was all chopped and waiting to be dumped in the pot) the Peanut let me help her make sand towers, we played soccer, catch and fetch where the Peanut pretends to be a dog, runs after the ball, tells me to say fetch when I toss it, tells me to tell her to sit, to roll over and pat her on the head and then toss the ball again. We played I spy and went for a walk to the end of our block and met the Husband when he got off the bus.

With losing the house keys last year about this time, forgetting that my keys were in the possession of my cousin's husband while they were staying with us during the Olympics and the Husband was off with the Dad's watching Hockey with his keys, and today's locked door episode; I mentioned to the husband that I was thinking of getting an emergency set of keys cut so that we won't be caught in a less than ideal locked door situation. And that's when he looked me in the eye and said "You seem to find yourself on the outside looking in an awful lot don't you" and chuckled to himself as he followed the Peanut into her room to play the Martha the dog has a really bad cold for a few more days game while I got dinner ready.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A big Grumpapotomus

Thank all Gods that the husband stuck close to home today and took over the Peanut. Lethal Halo; The band I'm photographing next week played a live show Saturday night and he went out to watch them and then slept in on Sunday. The moment the Peanut woke up all evidence pointed to a grumpy little girl. We've gone diaper free over the last 10 days and have remained dry all night but keeping her in the mindset of going straight to the bathroom first thing in the morning is a bit of a struggle even with the dry bum. There was a lot of whimpering and moaning and whining and a little crying and at lasted on and off all day long. When the Husband got up he was awesome and took over, going out with the Peanut to the park and shopping for supplies and letting me have a little me time.

Of course this morning is shaping up to be pretty similar. We are waiting on the call to go pick up the Peanut's eye glasses (It's been three weeks since they were ordered) and she's already tried to divert my exasperation with requests for hugs about 50 times. She's a smart little girl.

Friday, April 9, 2010

stretching boundaries

I don't know if it comes across here or not; but I'm a bit of a homebody.

Sure, I like to get out, have a little excitement , see people, do things, but overall I also like to hunker down and stay close to home. Of course this can lead to a severe case of being a Hermit and that's really no way to raise a child.

The Peanut has been showing some signs that she's got good rhythm and some other very clear signs that she loves music. She danced almost all night when we went to watch the Husband and his band practice one night. So the only thing to do was to get her into a dance class. This of course meant that I had to venture out from our little neighborhood and into other parts of town.

So we get ready for her first dance class today and we're waiting for the bus to come and it's there at the top of the hill just sitting there and it sitting there and it's the only bus that can get us there and it's still sitting there and ten minutes after the scheduled departure time at our stop it pulls away from the stop at the top of the hill and I am officially starting to panic because the community center is a few block away from our stop and even though I told myself that we'd do a dry run trip there before the class started; one thing and another happened, and we just didn't get around to it, and I have only a vague idea of where I'm headed and the 20 minutes I thought I'd have to get there from our stop turned into a lot less and we walked into the class a few moments late.

And on the way to the class there are a bunch of little shops here and there that I'd like to poke into and a specialty shop across the street that carries different types of flour that I'd like to go to; what with my quest to bake the perfect loaf of bread this year. So the point I was trying to make? Getting out of my neighborhood to get the Peanut dancing is looking like a good thing...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New to the shop

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was planning on introducing some of the 1000 Word photographs which I post of Thursdays here, to my Etsy shop.

Over the weekend I added a new shop section and listed two of the photographs from the weekly feature to boot! I'm listing these photos in 5"x7" sizes and will also add ACEO sizes as well. Not everyone has unlimited wall space or the funds to spend on wall art. Smaller prints that can add a splash of colour, or an interesting place to rest your eyes in your home seem to fit the bill.

These two prints are the flagship items in the new section and I will be adding new ones as time goes along. Are there any 1000 Word posts that you think need to be added to the shop? I have an idea of which ones I'm planning on adding; I'd love to see if great minds think alike!

The Peanut still has a cough but her sinus seems to be drying out. On the other hand the Husband now has a sore throat... Hope every one had a great weekend!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Oh boy,

So last weekend the Peanut woke up coughing a nice phlegmy cough with a mild fever, by last Monday she was dripping from her nose and by Wednesday her nose was spouting green. On Thursday the green was less opaque and was turning orangeish in colour, she was still coughing but the fevers were gone. And we are headed into day nine of her cold and there seems to be no end in sight. We're out of tissues and using TP (toilet paper) I'm considering getting out her old receiving blankets to make her some flannel hankies. This is the worst cold she's had and she's turned into a little emotional terror. If Mommy does something she's asked Daddy to do she melts, if she wants milk with her breakfast she doesn't ask for it she melts, if I can't find the toy that she was just running around with she melts... you get the picture.

My patience is like a yo-yo since I am not a martyr and there are lots of hugs being given out to soothe little egos and hurt feelings and sore noses. Somewhere in there the husband caught something and spent most of yesterday in bed and will probably stay there today as well. So far I've kept it at bay despite having boogers wiped onto my hands, being coughed on with impunity and sharing kissy kissy faces with the Peanut. My white blood cell count must be at an unusual high, keep your fingers crossed that I'm not jinxing myself.

Friday night we had roaring wind and heavy rain. At one point I was sure that I felt the house being shoved a few inches and I know that I saw the double glazed windows bow in a few times. We hunted for eggs yesterday and the Peanut bit the ears off her first chocolate bunny. I cooked my butcher's ham with a Dr. Pepper Glaze, garlic mashed taters, peas, carrots, salad and apple pie for dessert. The ham was big enough to feed about 8 so we're going to be heartily sick of ham by weeks end. My Thyme has sprouted and I think the pumpkin or maybe it's the watermelon but I think I'll have to try again with the rosemary.

In other news I have a photo shoot planned for the middle of this month. I'll be shooting a local metal band for their website and possibly their EP cover. It's a freebie meaning I'm doing it for free and to have my name in the credits. The guitarist is also in one of the husbands bands so it's a networking thing too. I'll be researching the work of Anton Corbijn to get ready and I'll be posting some of the finished shots here.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Muse: Giant Floating Eyeballs that explode in confetti= Awesome

The husband and I had a date last night. We packed up the Peanut and dropped her off at her Auntie C's and headed out to see what would; by the end of the evening, become one of my all time top five live shows ever.

My husband introduced me to Muse and their relentless grinding melodies a few years ago. I can remember listening to them for the first time and really liking the combination of the heavy bass line, driving percussion and guitar riffs and the falsetto voice of lead singer Mathew Bellamy. Toss in some incredible lyrics and it's pretty excellent combination.

Since Muse tops my Husbands list of favourite bands when we heard they were coming to Vancouver we got tickets for ourselves and some friends as soon as pre-sales came out.

This was my first time seeing them live although I'd been told that they were an excellent band to see live; I didn't quite realize how excellent the show would be. They played a nice range from all their albums to roars of approval from the audience. The stage set was amazing, featuring the band on three elevated platforms that rose and descended throughout the show. Each platform was made up of lights that projected images of the band, the audience and other visuals throughout the show. In addition to this, there were some fantastic lights and lasers that were at times blinding. At one point during the show I thought specifically that the light show was very Pink Floyd (a comparison I learned afterwards is often used for their live shows)

In my opinion I think that the best live shows are the ones where the audience is engaged and the band plays beyond the pristine quality of a music recording. Watching the energy that is Bellamy during the show I was reminded of this. Even though we were in seats that can only be described as nosebleeds we could see and feel how much playing the music was as exciting and engaging for the band as it was for the audience. Listening to Resistance (one of the songs performed last night) on the radio today was almost a let down after seeing and feeling the performance last night. The show climaxed is a the dropping of giant balloon eyeballs filled with confetti that bounced down through out the end of the show.

The show was loud (The rhythm and percussion shook my pant legs and altered the rhythm of my heartbeats) and rocking and yet I somehow didn't end up with ringing ears afterwards which is a glowing recommendation to their sound crew. In short I loved it, so much so that saying that I loved it doesn't quite encompass how good it was.

Which band would you put in your all time top 5 list of best live show?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Thousand Words

I wanted to catch that cloud, good thing I've got my net out

The promise of a juicy early summer

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