At this rate, he needs his own craft box!
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I didn't think much of the frother at first, but then he made me the most delicious hot chocolate ever! It heats up milk to your desired temperature and once it gets going, you can add hot chocolate or other ingredients to it. Plus the lid is designed to give your nice hot drink a frothy foamy layer. I was impressed! No more nuking milk in the microwave and trying to guess when it's done! For a one trick pony appliance it sure has a permanent place on the counter!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
I'm suffering from a strange sort of confusion. I'm not sure what I really learned in the last four months. The last two projects in drawing did not go well. Same with the final weaving project. I was happy with the piece, which I will share in another post, but that my teacher wasn't bothered me. I was trying a new technique out and instead of a finished piece, the weaving was more like a sampler or a sketch for another project. The potential in it that I saw kind of died away. Building skill is one thing, but retaining the thing that you want to use that skill for is quite another.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Weaving is not quite over yet, although drawing is thankfully. In mid-November we spent a day dying wool with acid dyes. Each student had to make enough samples of one colour series for the whole class. I ended up getting black, which turned out more purple gray! At least I could tell that there was light, medium and dark!
We could organize our samples any way we liked. Mackenzie jokingly said he would be disappointed if anyone made theirs into a unicorn. How could I not? :)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I am not a huge Twilight fan. I read the books because my friends had done so, and even those I found hilariously bad. It's kind of sad, because there were lots of good ideas there, and even a great story, but it was consistently buried by long romantic stares and constant whinging between Edward and Jacob. In the books I loved Edward, but in the movies I'm squarely in the Jacob camp. Taylor Lautner brings a real sensitivity to the character, whereas I don't think Robert Pattison does much for Edward at all.
Sure, there were intentionally funny parts, such as the wedding speeches, but others that were so unintentionally funny I'm amazed that the actors could play them with a straight face. The birth scene was not as bad as I expected and I'm glad a lot of the book filler was left right out. Can't wait for part 2!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I used the always nifty Random.org to pick Ayala Art. She is also a Libra and an ACEtsy team member :-)
Congrats! I indeed went to Las Vegas back in September. It seems like so long ago! I'm hoping that I will have a chance to take some photos of all the Art O Mat pieces. Maybe I'll get done that by Christmas :-D
Speaking of Christmas, I have already done two Christmas craft sales. I was at the Fort Calgary Artisan Fair with Bubblegum Sass and then Mom and I were at a community craft sale as well. I love November because it's the only time I get to meet and greet with customers in person. Unfortunately I have had to cut back because of school and work, so I just have two more left to do!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
But I have also been taking the time out to have fun - I went to a fabulous mystery destination. Guess where I went in the comments and I will pick a winner from the correct entries on October 31 at 6pm MTN. The prize? A fun piece of miniature art from an Art O Mat. Here are some clues:
1. It's very warm
2. The only American Droog store is there
3. I saw the giant Claes Oldenberg sculpture pictured below
4. I also saw a very famous glass ceiling in a hotel pictured below
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
The whole room was covered in drawings and it was really amazing to see!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
In 2005, I finally took some driving lessons through AMA, bought an old station wagon and then sat on my learner's until this summer. I really didn't think I could master driving or enjoy driving, but my friends Lisa Redfern and Calgary Wolf put in the extra time to help me out. There were also a lot of other people who were committed to my success and I'm so thankful to them. I passed my road test on August 27 and have been hitting the road ever since. Now I don't need to rely on my husband or my dad for rides and I think they're a bit relieved. No more getting up early to be at craft sales!
Mom spent Friday night at our house and then it was off to the Harvest Hills Alliance Church to line up for a registration spot. Years ago, someone set a precedent for lining up around 4am, and at 5:30am, we were 35 and 36 in line. We got a spot that we liked and well, I just think the church ladies are so awesome and patient! Looking forward to this sale in December.
We loaded up my station wagon, Remington, the previous night and once we paid for our tables, boogied on over to the University of Calgary for ParkSale, which was a nice venue for live music and handmade goods. It has been unusually hot this September, and while sales weren't great, I hung out all day with Bubblegum Sass who I used to work with. Here's a picture of her side of the tent. Cards plus wind are not a good combination, so most of my stuff was bunched up and weighed down.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
This was the fastest Etsy transaction ever made after I read about it on the ACETSY Yahoo!Group. Not only do I love it because it's purple, but the adorable girl and bird reminded me of myself and my dear budgie Moxie who passed away two years ago. As someone who is also owned by parrots, Kathryn really gets birds! Thank you Kathryn for creating this ACEO!
Friday, September 2, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
August's contest is really quick and easy! The prize will be a copy of my 2012 printable mini calendar, which is for sale on Artfire as a PDF. All you need is a Marvy Uchida square punch or an X-acto knife and a steady hand, and you'll have mini calendars to stick on anything and everything.
All you have to do is leave a comment below and answer these question:
How likely are you to purchase digital downloads in the future? How much would you pay for one on average?
Saturday, August 20, 2011
I took some pictures so that people can understand just how labour intensive a card can be. First, there's the ponies! The original pony card was made for my friend Noela Jewelry. I translated the pattern to my Pazzles craft cutter, but even that took some work perfecting as the software is fussy. Anyway, I cut a variety of bodies, manes, and tails.
Next comes drawing the eyes. Each eye is hand drawn and coloured with a fine marker. I use a dud pony as a template. It takes about a minute to draw each eye. Then I dot each one with a white Souffle marker to make it pop. Lastly, the manes and tails are glued on and decorated with Copic markers. By the time I got to the 30th pony, I was pretty worn out!
Once the ponies are assembled, I still need to assemble the cards. I cut 8.5x11" paper in half, then fold the halves, to make quarter fold cards. I use pastel colours because I like the way they show through the paper underneath. I print out a background, run it through the adhesive cartrige of my Xyron, and then stick it onto the cardstock. I could use white cardstock and just print the image, but full-bleed on scored cardstock is tricky for my printer.
I have a few designs - clouds, a rainbow and pasture.
But wait, there's more! The first batch of cards featured glitter stamped onto them. The glitter, while very fun, was very messy! I tried to move away from that with the second batch, but I didn't have an ink that was metallic enough. For this batch, I took a chance buying Tsukineko Brilliance metallic ink. It's really shimmery! The only thing I didn't like was that I found the little containers hard to open and I dropped them a few times :\
So 60 impressions later, the ponies are ready to go on the cards! It takes about 5-6 pieces of adhesive squares to secure on to a card. All the cards are blank inside, and some ponies get stickers on their rumps! Here are some of my favourites from this batch:
So far it seems like the most popular colour is white, which really surprised me. A few people have said to me, independently, that maybe it's because white is associated with unicorns. I dunno! We'll see what colour emerges the true winner after Christmas.
My friends Noela Jewelry, Lisa Redfern and I are sharing a table at Market Collective this weekend.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
And then there's places like Billy's News, which stocks an excellent selection of magazines. Now, us Canadians are modest folk, and we tend to downplay how awesome it is to live in Canada, but our connection to the Commonwealth ensures a steady supply of all things British, from Coronation Street to the royals. And right in between are magazines!
I forget why I was downtown when I popped into Billy's News a few months ago - I think I was hoping to find a weaving magazine - and instead I came out with two British card making magazines, Complete Cardmaking, which contains a CD-ROM with each issue, and Cardmaking and Papercrafts, which came with a free sample of paper.
This was just all too exciting - and it was pretty fun to pop the CD-ROM into my computer and play around with the graphics on it. The next issue I bought of Cardmaking and Papercrafts had a sample of Perfect Pearls glitter paint in it, and when I popped in today and saw that there was a bonus fairy stamp set, well, how I could I not buy it?
I think it's so cool that these magazines have samples and stuff. They don't even cost that much more than an American magazine. I find I like the styles better too for some reason...there's a certain enthusiasm for crafting in British magazines that others don't have. There was a special double pack of Australian paper crafting magazines, and I scooped that up too. Ah! I can't wait to rest and relax and pour over the pages!
Sunday, August 7, 2011
The best part was that my friend and former co-worker Bubblegum Sass came down to see me and help watch the table. Even better, she took pictures of the table! This is something that a lot of people forget to do! You can see the pictures up on her blog at the above link :-)
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Say congrats to Angelself and Kathy!
Now off to catch the bus!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
It's hard to decide what to make and how much. Usually by now I have plenty of new pictures, but the flowers were behind and well, it's just not happening.
Nonetheless I had Mom over on Wednesday for a little work bee. We packaged a couple hundred cards ans magnets. Magnets have proved to be my bread and butter item over the years and it was a pleasant surprise to figure this out. They are a gift that lasts all year and are easy to send with a card. I have tried different ideas over the years, but people are really attracted to magnets (no pun intended!).
Here's this years new images on magnets. Hopefully I will have a few new flower photos by the end of the summer! Just leave a comment and I will pick 2 winners on July 30th at 6pm MTN from all the comments. Easy peasy! The winners will have their choice of one magnet from the above. Good luck!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I will tell you more about this piece in a few days!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Princess, a photo by Calzephyr on Flickr.
My portfolio is often lacking in animals other than horses and birds :-D Princess is a feral cat who adopted my parents over the winter. They have taken to feeding stray cats in their neighbourhood and slowly over the months, Princess has gained their trust. Dad can pick her up now and she plays with him so happily!
She's also a mouser though, and they can't enjoy squirrels and birds in their yard anymore! She will come into the house, but would likely panic if the door was shut on her. I spent today with my folks and I wish she was not so suspicious of the camera, but I am happy to get portrait of her :-)
Sunday, July 3, 2011
The Red Shores Racetrack was not too far from our hotel and Kelly deked in there, where we met some standardbred horses. Then it was off to her Mom's house where we had a lovely homemade surf and turf meal. Lobster is really not for me, but I tried it :-) After constantly eating out, it was so wonderful to eat home cooking.
After dinner it was time to hit the road and we went to Stanhope Beach. I have to admit that I saw a lot of the island, but I had no reference point for anything. We walked on the beach in the evening sun and Kelly explained all the different kinds of sea life that washed up on the shore, such as different shells and seaweed. As a prairie person, the ocean is always fascinating and enjoyable. It's hard to believe that large bodies of water exist :-D
Here's a great picture I took of the boardwalk at Stanhope - wish I was there again!
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Many people think that L.M. Montgomery's heroine, Anne Shirley, is a real person. Lucy Maud actually didn't live in this house - her cousins did and she visited them frequently. There is a lot to do around the house, such as the Haunted Woods and Lover's Lane walks. The actual house is quite small and charming! Usually it is photographed from the front. I wish it hadn't been so misty when we visited, but there was a serene beauty to the heavy fog.
I took over 400 photos while in PEI and I'm still working on them! I hope to share more soon.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
But, thanks to the strike, I haven't been listing much for sale online. I meant to write an earlier blog post about the digital downloads section on my Artfire shop. The most popular item are the mini calendars, but occasionally something else sells. I love the digital download idea - shipping is free, fairly fast and you can print as many or as little as you need. It's hard predicting just what people want though. Google Analytics tells me that most people would prefer it if they could download things for free :-D $1 is practically free, no?
Here's the newest digital download - a 4.25x5.5" notecard of a Canada Goose that is made for Avery notecards 8315 or similar notecard paper.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
The Woven Bag by Noreen Crone-Findlay by showing off the versatility of lap looms and potholder looms.
Surprisingly, the potholder loom is not something I have in my craft cabinet! I think I will buy a metal one the next time I'm at Fort Calgary as Michaels just has the plastic ones. The potholder loom is usually a kids toy, but Noreen shows off how to weave with yarn on them and stitch the squares together. Naturally a square is also a triangle when folded in half or a diamond when rotated the right way.
This book had great pictures of the projects and lots of good close up pictures of how to warp looms. It's funny how weaving is such a basic skill - and doesn't even require yarn. Some projects are made from upcycled materials such as VHS tape and t-shirts! Down the road when I'm working more I'll probably add this one to my own personal library.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
As a photographer and artist, travel is essential to me. Not only do I enjoy travelling and photographing what I find, but I love indulging in the local arts and history. It's hard to believe that two weeks ago I was in Prince Edward Island for a conference. When I was laid off, it was all too easy to give up the trip, but, I figured, I have my whole life to pay off the debt.
Prince Edward Island is Canada's smallest province, but one that is packed with history. Many of the buildings in Charlottetown, one of two cities on the island, are heritage buildings faced in brick or wood-sided houses painted in heritage colours. Charlottetown is also the provincial capital, and this city of 14,000 people is also the home of Confederation - the birth of Canada!
Pottery seems to be overwhelming popular on the island and it was enjoyable to visit art galleries and pottery studios. If I come back, I hope it will be for an artist residency. Travel lets me replenish my catalog of photos and bring back new stories for friends and customers alike. And speaking of stories...
It was unfortunately overcast when I visited this home to a famous fictional Canadian heroine. To win two greeting cards featuring Prince Edward Island's famous red cliffs, what is the name of this house? Comment with your answer by 6pm on June 30 and I'll randomly draw two winners from the correct answers. Prizes will be sent when the postal strike is over :-P
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Recently while looking for a specific pansy photo, I came across this picture in my 2009 folder and I wondered why I didn't do anything with it. The composition is good, the subject matter appealing. Sometimes it just takes time to realize the potential of a photo, I suppose! I will be placing this wagon on cards and magnets for Christmas sales this year, but you can order it right away on Zazzle.
The second thing this photo reminds me of is a trip to Lethbridge, Alberta, that I took in 2007 with my friend Laureen. It was an amazing trip and somewhere by the Old Man River Dam, Laureen found an old tractor weathering in the tall grass. She came upon it suddenly and there was enough rusty stuff around there to warrant a tetanus shot. Having more of a sense of self-preservation, I hung back while she dived right in. I bet that rusty tractor is still there, and I think I can find it again. But darn, I wish I had been brave like her! Shoulda would coulda...
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Last week's theme was "beginner" and the idea came very naturally - a young bird learning to fly. I didn't have a particular bird in mind when I sketched him, but he came out a sparrow!
Friday, May 6, 2011
I really enjoyed myself. I have traded with most of the other people before and loved catching up. There were also three young ladies there and it was so delightful to trade with them. ATCs are great for young people! And even grown-ups like me. I have to admit I feel very shy testing the artistic waters around town and these nights make it easier for me to get out there by having something in common.
I have two ACEOs left from that night...and these are the ones I brought home:
This is one is my favourite, I have to admit!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I forgot in my last post to link to Craftymoose's Ukrainian Easter Eggs that she kindly reposted. Go over and check them out! They are pretty intricate.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Designing any sort of new paper pattern is always tricky. It's easy to visualize it in your mind, but the actual construction can be a challenge. I remember designing a brochure once and being so pleased with the layout. But once I printed it and folded it on brochure paper, I quickly learned that brochure paper doesn't like to fold and crease as well as regular copy paper. Kind of the same thing here - cutting the diamonds proved to be somewhat inexact :-)
Don't forget you have until 6pm MTN time tonight to enter my ACEO contest for April!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
In real life, Blu is a Spix’s Macaw, which really is an endangered species. It was a great and gentle way of showing how species conservation is important. When smugglers steal baby chicks, they are robbing the future population by leaving only older birds to mate.
My big fear with a movie like this though is that people will suddenly want a parrot or other companion bird. This is where I have to put on my PSA hat and warn against anyone thinking of impulse buying a parrot, whether it’s a budgie or a cockatoo. Domestication is a relatively new thing for parrots and one is essentially still living with a wild animal, even if it's a little budgie!
First and foremost, you must love the bird personality. This means that you must love and tolerate their curious and expressive natures. Birds are extremely social and parrots moreso; if you want a pet that is going to be a decoration, please get a pet rock! A pet bird will want to be with you a great deal of time.
Then there's also:
- Birds are messy and loud. This is just a fact and the way that they are!
- Birds need specialized care. It’s important to budget for vet care as well as live near a vet. This website can help you find an avian vet.
- Parrots live a long time. A budgie can live past 10 with good care and a macaw up to 80 or 90 years.
- Birds need the biggest cage you can afford. Many bird cages are really birdie prisons and will literally drive a bird crazy. Find out the minimum dimensions for a species and then double or triple it.
- Parrots are highly intelligent and need room and stimulation or else they’ll get bored
Lastly, birds are fragile and there are risks to keeping a flighted creature in your home. Open doors and windows are the best way to lose a bird, as are toxic fumes and sprays, candles and stoves.
Entire books have been devoted to parrot care, and there are many excellent online communities where one can ask questions, such as Parrot Lovers and Tailfeathers Network. Please for the love of the birds, prepare yourself before you purchase one. And don’t forget to check out free to good home ads or the SPCA. Many wonderful birds, like Muffin, are awaiting a forever home out there!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
All you have to do is leave a comment and I will pick a winner on April 30 at 6pm MTN.
When I was thinking of this month’s prize, I wanted to share a special Easter tradition that others might not know much about. The eggs are more than just a decoration; it is a symbol of renewal and resurrection of course.
I learned how to make Ukrainian Easter eggs as a young person in Edmonton, Alberta. Edmonton has a huge Ukrainian population which is very proud of its culture. My first egg was made in Grade 4, but it wasn’t until Grade 7 that I really made one that was really good. Designing each egg takes a lot of thought. A tool called a kiska is used to scoop wax and draw with it. Anything covered in wax will have the colour preserved as the egg is dipped in different dyes. So the first layer would be white, and then yellow and so forth.
Good, even wax coverage is necessary for a good strong line. The final dye coat is usually black or red. At the end of the process, the wax is melted off with heat from a candle and wiped with a tissue. The real name for the eggs is psyanky and you can learn more about them at this website .
Vegreville, Alberta, by the way, is home to the world’s largest psyanka! Vegreville is also home to the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, which is a wonderful historic park to visit, especially if you like Eastern European churches.
Whew, this post is getting long! Other Eastern European cultures also decorate eggs, and they have different styles and names. Wikipedia has a good round-up of Easter egg traditions if you want to learn more.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I'm formatting the proposal part, but just taking a minute to share my prize envelope from Sunshine Shelle had arrived on Friday! Here's what I won from her Oz Day Blog Party a few weeks ago:
I love it! It's so awesome. This is my second ACEO from Shelle. The first one was a spooky ghost for last year's ACEtsy Team swap. I felt so lucky to receive it, and I feel lucky again :-) Thanks for sharing your art with your fans Shelle! This card is so amazingly detailed and photographs don't do justice to her work. They are wonder to behold (and hold :-)).
Saturday, April 2, 2011
So on that note, here's the winner of the March contest - Ms. Lazyhawk - Marlene! Congratulations Marlene. I will email you shortly.
Watch for the April contest - I plan on doing either an Easter ACEO or 4x6" picture.
Monday, March 28, 2011
I didn't have school on Friday, so it was fun to come in the morning and discover that my miniature tapestry from my last post had sold! Maybe I'm on to something here :-D I also sold 15 photo cards. It was quite the ego boost! One of the things that holds a lot of people back is that their art may not be "good" enough, but art is tricky that way - people know what they like :-) I also got to see a few old co-workers, so that was cool to catch up with them. I can't believe it has only been a month since I left the office...but it feels like forever!
The weather has been awful lately. Instead of rain, we're getting we snow. I think this was a factor in the sale attendance. After volunteering, I popped down the way to visit Bubblegum Sass at Market Collective. It was busy, but still low key. And I still didn't have money to spend!
Ah well! It seems like I'm in a lucky streak right now. I won a scarecrow ACEO by Sunshine Shelle at her Oz blog party! I was thrilled to get the email last week. Her ACEOs are really awesome. If you're feeling lucky, don't forget that I have a coupon contest going on!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Anyway, it seems like an appropriate day for the next anniversary contest, which is totally based on luck! Just comment or leave your email address and I (or Muffin) will pick a winner on March 31st at 6pm MTN time. What's the prize? How does a 20% coupon to either my Etsy or Artfire shop sound?
It does take a certain amount of luck to be in business - either knowing the right people or which opportunities to chase...or pass up :-) Sometimes it's just the sort of luck that makes a picture great...or bad luck that makes a photograph one of those "shoulda coulda woulda" stories! I always feel lucky to have gotten some good bird pictures over the years.
Then there are things that don't seem lucky at the time...but turn out to be pretty lucky! I guess luck is one of those philosophical topics that one can write a lot about. I found an excerpt from a really good book I read a couple of years ago called Quirkology by a British scientist named Richard Wiseman. He set out to scientifically study luck and found out some surprising things about luck!
Friday, March 11, 2011
But my friend came over and we made five pans of lasanga to freeze, so I didn’t get a chance to play with it. On Tuesday I went for unemployment counselling and I was so gungho about updating my resume that I only had a chance to read the instructions. School happened on Wednesday and Thursday. Whew! So much for an excess of free time!
I won this little loom on eBay after losing a similar one by $1. Made by Spears Games in the 50s or 60s, this toy loom fit my budget. I had my eye on the Cricket, but had to scale back. Plus, I secretly love toys!
I also love how it has someone’s old project is on it. Everything about the loom is brand new. I picture that they received it as a birthday or Christmas gift and gave up when it bunched!
It was daunting to take the project off in case I couldn’t thread it again correctly. It took about four tries to thread it. I sense the young fibre artist had actually threaded it wrong although it seemed correct by the instructions. I went with my crafty gut instead. Can you guess what my first project on it will be? Stay tuned!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I really wanted to make it to 3.5”, but things started to bunch in the middle. It was hard to keep the tension tight on one side of the lap loom and once it starts to bunch, it’s very hard to keep it from doing so. Maybe my next attempt will work out better!
The mini tapestry has been donated for a miniature fibre show that starts this upcoming week at ACAD. Funds raised from the auction will go to support guest speakers and trips for the fibre department. Wow...as much as I love drawing, I'm tempted to major in fibre more and more.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Thank you to all who entered and look for the next contest soon!