Friday, December 30, 2011

Craft Time with Muffin!

At this rate, he needs his own craft box!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is for silly gifts...

My husband is the King of Small Appliances. Honest. From juicers to panini presses, small appliances fill up my kitchen. Every time he brings home a new one I try to find room for it. Usually the appeal of the new toy wears off pretty fast, but sometimes not. Last year I received a Breville Milk Frother as a belated gift. A milk frother, eh? This is a product photo:

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

School's Out

And boy, am I glad! I have not really enjoyed this past semester at all. One of the dangers of art school is that it can beat the creativity out of you, and I really feel that way. Last night I was organized some of my lovely patterned papers and just couldn't seem to find that spark. In the the box of paper I found a colour copy of an illustration that I did for a friend years ago and it made me smile. Part of the wonder of it was that I was making it for a friend, and that the idea came so easily.

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

My Colour Wheel

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? :)

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh, Twilight!

I saw the first part of Breaking Dawn last night with some friends and I must say, I have never laughed so hard in a movie before. I absolutely couldn't help myself. You know that one person that spoils a movie for serious fans with all their laughter? Unfortunately that person was me!

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

Whew, winner!

Oh man, it has been forever since I could sit down and blog. School has been c-r-a-z-y with several projects due at the same time. I also had to put in extra time for the second weaving project. Oh, how it went badly! I had to re-thread the loom four times!

I used the always nifty 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

September/October Blog Contest

Hi guys! I miss blogging. I actually miss having free time as well. Even though I'm taking two classes this semester, they proved to be the most time consuming. I have been spending just about every weekend at the college.

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

Happy birthday to meee!

I got back from vacation just in time to do a drawing marathon for today's class. I went on a road trip with my friends and it was such an adventure! The one thing I love about shopping in the US is all the stores we don't have, and I found my birthday gift to myself at Jo-Ann's. Jo-Ann's makes Michael's look pretty small! I found this Martha Stewart make your own knitting loom kit and I can't wait to try making something on it!
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

100 Drawings

Here is roughly about 90 of my 100 drawings. Each had a three minute time limit and it was a challenge to go with the flow of the ink and brush.

The whole room was covered in drawings and it was really amazing to see!
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Second Drawing Project...

So after making 100 drawings, we had to pick 10 and render them with fine pens. Muffin was a natural fave! I will upload the picture of all the drawings pinned to the wall soon. I'm actually on vacation but am getting some work done. Will be writing about that soon too!
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Off the loom!

Now to wash and finish it.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011


Whew! I finished my 100th drawing this morning. We had to use 12x12" paper so we wouldn't get hung up on portrait or landscape orientation. Ink and brush meant not worrying about perfection because they are so uncontrollable.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

More progress..

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

100 3 Minute Drawings

That is what we are doing today. This is one of them inspired by Stacy
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Monday, September 12, 2011


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Summery September

Yesterday was amazingly long and exhausting, but it was also a celebration of a new milestone in my life - I'm a driver!

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

Still threading the loom...

My drawing class got out early on Tuesday, so I went to finish dressing my loom. This is where I got 5 hours later. It's hard to thread because each one has to go through each heddle in the correct order. It's also physically demanding because of all the reaching and bending.
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

An ACEO from Angelself

Lucky blog contest winner Kathryn posted a cute photo of the magnet she won and I remembered that I had promised to blog about an ACEO I bought from her this past spring. It seems like forever ago, but I would not want to break a promise :-)

Dream Bird

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

Dressing the Loom

Don't ask me how long it took to thread 24 threads!!
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to school!

This is the loom I will be using all semester :)
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

August Contest!

Oh my gosh, I can't believe it's almost time to go back to school! For me that happens September 1st.

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?

That's all!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hold Your Horses!

So I did have the aforementioned crafty weekend last weekend. I made my entire inventory of pony cards for the fall season. As I get set to go back to school and practice for my road test, I'm worried I'll be scrambling to make stuff! My friends took my husband out and Muffin and I worked hard!

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.

Mail art!

Mail art poem that I made! Apparently it's the people's poetry festival in Kensington today. I will get a random poem in the mail back.

My friends Noela Jewelry, Lisa Redfern and I are sharing a table at Market Collective this weekend.
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Put A Bird On It!

My friend Lisa found this video and I love it! I love how birds are on everything these days, but well...just because you love birds, doesn't mean you really love birds!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Oooh, crafty weekend ahead!

Working downtown is going to be bad for my wallet. It is way too tempting to shop and spend money - I needed new work clothes, so that couldn't be helped. Sometimes I don't have lunches ready like I usually do, so I dash out to the food court. Then there are the coffee runs...

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

Inglewood Sunfest

Ah, to be blogging again! It's so nice to sit down and just chill after a busy week. Last weekend was a long weekend in Alberta; Monday is Heritage Day. But I spent most of it recovering from the Inglewood Sunfest. It was a blisteringly sunny day, which was great because some very ominous clouds covered the city the night before. I managed to get a terrible sunburn despite precautions. The Sunfest is a new festival in Calgary in historic Inglewood, which is usually considered to be Calgary's first neighbourhood. 9th Ave was shut down for several blocks and it was fun to just see people come out and play! There were street performers, a little classic car show, lots of food and much fun.

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


Morning peeps! Sorry this is late. It is so hard for me to get bakc into the work routine. Suddenly I have to get up earlier, get dressed (in nice clothes), wrangle lunch and make the 50 yard dash for the bus again. It's amazing how out of practice one gets :-D

Say congrats to Angelself and Kathy!

Now off to catch the bus!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another perk of summer!

Hi peeps, I hope you're all having a good week. Mine is about to get better because I'm volunteeringfor the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Not only am I supporting Calgary's culture, but I get to enjoy live music. So awesome!
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Friday, July 15, 2011

July's Contest

This post is perfect for a Friday! I was not keen to do another outdoor festival this year, but the Inglewood Sunfest seemed too good to pass up! The price was reasonable and 30,000 people attended last year.

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


Hi friends, I'm getting ready for the Inglewood Sunfest at the end of the month, but I thought I would take a minute to share my success! I entered a miniature tapestry in the 2011 Calgary Stampede Western Lifestyles Arts and Crafts Show and brought home a first! In case my American friends are wondering, our first and second places are red and blue. It won its class, but not the section. That honour went to a beautiful, lacey piece of large loom weaving.

I will tell you more about this piece in a few days!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Princess, A Feral Cat

Princess by Calzephyr
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

Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island

As I mentioned before, most of my trip to Prince Edward Island was overcast and rainy, but towards the end there were a few good sunny days and it was so fortunate that Wednesday, when I met up with a Facebook friend, that it was super sunny and warm! Like any place, PEI suffers from a touristy syndrome...Mom and I did a bus tour but it couldn't give us all the wonderful local knowledge that Kelly provided for us. She should be doing the tours :-D

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!

Boardwalk, Stanhope, Beach, Prince Edward Island

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June Contest Winners

Well, the odds of winning June's contest were very good because the pool was so small :-) Congrats to Pam of Always Artistic and Deb of Crafty Moose Crafts. Yes, the house is indeed Green Gables.

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

Yay! Snail Mail!

I'm so happy that Canada Post's strike is over. It's hard to believe we went just over three weeks without mail. In some ways it's telling of the day and age when the country didn't collapse as a result...but it sure was a pain in the butt! I enjoy getting things in the mail, after all. When I was a teenager and before the Internet, I had loads of penpals and every day was a new opportunity to see what my German, Canadian and American friends were up to.

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.

Goose Card

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Woven Bag

I'm all registered for school next year and I even got into the beginner weaving class. I'm so excited! It's a small class and has a limit of four students. But in the meantime I wanted to learn more about my new found crafting love, so I went to the library. It seems that weaving is really a niche thing because there aren't a lot of books about it. There are many times of looms, so that's probably part of the reason.

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

June Contest - Where Was I?

I feel so bad that I couldn't get a contest going for May, but the upside is that there will be two winners for June! That's some pretty good odds.

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

Another Patch of Alberta

I have so much to catch up on now that it's overwhelming. I should have the June contest ready for tomorrow. This was one of the pieces I was madly trying to finish as it was a benefit auction donation. It's another little patch of Alberta and it differs from the other ones in that I used three strands of floss instead of six. I also used a combination of colours and that let me get some really neat colour changes. I have to admit, it was hard to let this one go. There was something extra special about it! I did not quite make it to ACEO size - it's about 2.5x3". Things got a little bunchy at the top. Maintaining an even width it pretty tricky for me right now. The piece sold for $50.

A Patch of Alberta 3

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Buzz Buzz Buzz

Hi friends! I have not forgotten about May's contest. I will pick two winners on June. I have been working this week too and I'm also trying to finish things for the Stampede Arts and Crafts Show!
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Weaving today...

And Muffin is helping! Or at least getting cockatiel spit on everything :)
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New in the Zazzle Store - Wooden Wagon

The artistic life is full of shoulda woulda coulda moments, and this photo brings back two specific memories. The first one is where I took it, at Heritage Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Calgary is a relatively young city compared to others, and in the quest to modernize, many historic buildings have been long torn down and paved over. Calgary used to be called Sandstone City because of the number of sandstone buildings; it's definitely a city of steel and glass now. Fortunately there's Heritage Park, which is a lovely place to spend a day and immerse oneself in Calgary's history. It's bittersweet because it's such a fun place, but at the same time, the idea that one has to visit a park to experience history is a little sad!

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


Every week, Illustration Friday tosses out a word for enthusiasts to draw, and just about every Friday my work is not among the entrants. Usually I think of an idea by Tuesday and just can't get it done in time for Thursday night. Maybe I would do better if it was Illustration Fortnight!

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!

Beginner by Calzephyr
Beginner, a photo by Calzephyr on Flickr.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Artist Trading Cards, Yay!

I know most of you are here for the ACEOs and ATCs, so I hope you enjoy this. I made it out to the artist trading card night at the John Snow House, which is the resource centre for Calgary's The New Gallery. It's the former residence of a Calgary artist, John Snow, and a cozy little space to meet and greet other ATC enthusiasts.

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

And the winner is...

I numbered everyone last night and hopped over to and it spit it out "4" at me. Who was 4? None other than Sunshine Shelle! Congrats Shelle and we'll be in touch!

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

Belated Psyanky

Easter has come and gone and like most holidays, I'm late for this year but early for next year! I wanted to get this done in time to send to my grandparents for Easter. Oh well! Granny is turning 89 tomorrow though!

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

The Birdie Life

We saw Rio on the weekend loved it! It’s an adorable family movie, and while I could have waited for it to come out on DVD, I had to see it! There’s nothing too special about the story or animation, but the animators and writers really got the relationship between birds and people right. I couldn’t even go through the first two minutes without crying. The movie opens up when Blu is a baby parrot and falls out of his nest by accident. Awww! There were a couple of things in the movie that weren't advisable though, such as feeding a parrot chocolate chip cookies (chocolate is deathly for birds) and birds eating out of a person's mouth.

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

I'm Ready!

On the last Saturday of every month The New Gallery holds an artist trading card session from 5-7pm. This time I have plenty to trade! I did them on the day that they forgot to book a model for our class.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Win This ACEO for April!

Here’s the prize for my monthly contest in celebration of five years of business. It’s an Ukrainian Easter egg ACEO/ATC. Another schnipster project, this one took a few hours to design. Schnipstering can be a little hit or miss at times :-)

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

Super Scarecrow Sunday!

There is nothing like the peace and quiet of a Sunday. Last week was full of super silly stuff! I'm looking forward to this week even though the big group assignment for PPRL is due on Wednesday. The pitch part of the proposal is taking place on the next two Wednesdays. Our group's name was drawn for this week, eek!

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


I'm going to say that my appearances here are going to be sparse for a while. One of my classes, PPRL200, has a pitch and proposal for the final project. It's a group project and quite a lot of work. I can't wait for the end of school because of all the projects I have on hold. It's hard not to procrastinate, especially on a day like today when it's snowing! What!! Maybe we'll have spring by Easter :-)

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

Back to Business...

It feels so good to be able to make my bloggy rounds this morning. Last week I was preoccupied with the Spring Show + Sale at ACAD. It's not as big a sale as the fall one, but there was still plenty of lovely student art. I only wish I had money to spend on it :-D I volunteered as a roamer on Saturday, helping customers, tidying things and asking people how they enjoyed the sale. The best time to go is on the first day, a Thursday, for the best selection.

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

Made It!

Well, I made it to ACEO size :-) Here's "A Patch of Alberta #2". I can't seem to get a good picture of it - the bottom edge is bumpy and keeps warping the perspective of the left size. It was really fun to do and I would do it again!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Feelin' Lucky?

Whew, this post is coming in under the wire! I have totally lost track of time lately. It was only when I saw fellow ACEtsy buddy Joann's post about it that I went looking for a green t-shirt. But I slopped yogurt on myself and ended up wearing a black t-shirt to school. One of my classmates pinched me hard and it hurt!

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


It’s nice to know that despite being unemployed, I can look forward to Friday just like any school kid or desk jockey. On Monday, this arrived in the mail:

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

Almost An ACEO!

When I learned how to weave, the idea of weaving an ACEO intrigued me. I found a hexagonal lap loom on Freecycle a few years ago and it seemed perfect. The nice thing about the lap loom is that it’s easy to measure the width and height of a piece. I have no shortage of embroidery floss from my cross-stitch days and the brilliant blues and earthy tones were perfect for this little piece, called “A Patch of Alberta”. The camera picked up every strand of floss it seems though.

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. much as I love drawing, I'm tempted to major in fibre more and more.

Monday, February 28, 2011


The winner of the red scherenschnitte bird ACEO is...art2cee2! Crystal's name was chosen by the most impartial judge I know, Muffin! Here he is pecking at the winning entry:

Thank you to all who entered and look for the next contest soon!