Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Okay, how is that for a cool word? It's sounds kind of naughty, doesn't it?  In reality, it's another name for leap year - a bissextile year or intercalary year.  Or so Wikipedia tells me.

February 29th is known as a leap day and as you know, it only comes around every 4 years.  It makes me think we should all be out playing leap frog to celebrate.
Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Club

I'm off to a book club meeting tonight. The "Girly Book Club" was started in 2008 by a family friend in London, England and now there are also groups in Toronto, Denver, Oklahoma City, Nashville and New York City - how cool is that?  There are over 500 members in the Toronto group, 92 of whom have said they are attending tonight's meeting, which will be my first, so I'm not quite sure what to expect.

The book we've been reading this month is called "Sister" by Rosamund Lipton.

I can certainly recommend it. It's not the cheeriest story - it's about a woman who is murdered and her sister's attempts to find the killer - but it is extremely well-written with several twists and unexpected turns.  The ending is especially surprising and, I believe, very clever.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Feeling a little bit like Goldilocks tonight - who has been sleeping in my chair?!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I've had a quiet but busy Sunday. 

I started my design for the Toronto Bead Society's Bag of Beads project.  The big reveal is coming up in less than 3 weeks' time, so I need to get busy if I want to be done in time.  But I have an idea that I'm excited about and I appear to have all the supplies on hand, so that is good news.

I was looking forward to watching the NASCAR Daytona 500 race today, the first one of the season, but it was rained out.  They've scheduled it for tomorrow noon instead but alas, I've got to work so I'll have to miss it.  I like to watch the races because I can sit and bead or journal while I watch but after 5 hours of doing the same with Coronation Street in the morning, it's rather too much TV, I usually end up doing other things instead with the television on in the background.

Today, for instance, I spent about an hour clearing off the top of this dresser.

Which may not seem like much but I can't tell you how much lighter I feel emotionally as a result.  This messy, cluttered area was really bothering me.  I found a few things that had been missing, put away several things, put a number of items in a bag for Goodwill.  There still a lot more to do in this area but it's a start and it feels good.

One of the things I found was this newspaper ad for India, which features a gorgeous picture of a tiger walking in the woods with a shaft of light filtering through the leaves of the trees.  I've already pasted it into one of my journals (not well, as you can see from the wrinkles!). I don't intend to do anything to the picture, I like it too much as it is but I will enjoy looking at it for inspiration and pure visual enjoyment.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some more beading to do. The Oscars ought to be just the right accompaniment...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2nd Hand Treasure and a Giveaway!

It was the annual second hand "stamps and stuff" sale at Bizzy B today. 

Customers/vendors can offer whatever supplies they want to get rid of, the store provides a location for the shopping to take place and the rest of us can take home some pretty amazing bargains as a result.

There was quite the selection of goodies:

I picked up a few things, like these large font alphabet stamps for just $5.00:

a set of six Somerset Studio magazines for only $5.00:

and a bunch of new rubber stamps (these 5 for $20):

including these 4 cute little ones, which I got for only $3.00 for the set:

For those of you who couldn't make it to the sale, I'm giving away these two stamps - a foursquare botanical design and a border strip design.  If you are interested in receiving them, leave a comment on this post and I'll use a random generator to draw a winner on March 1st.

Of course, I had to put some of my new supplies to work right away, so I made this journal page soon after I got home from the sale.  The theme was "green", which I used for today's photo in the February Photo-A-Day Challenge:

Friday, February 24, 2012


I've been a commuter this week.  For 3 out of 4 days, I rode the subway and on the fourth day, I had to drive across the city during morning rush hour (shudder).  I have to say, I don't miss it.  I used to live downtown and would drive 45 minutes to work every day, then 45 minutes home each night.  Of course, if there was weather or an accident or construction, 45 minutes could be an hour to 1.5 hours.  After this week, I am happier than ever that I chose to move close to where I work and now my regular commute is about 10 minutes each way in the car (or less than an hour's walk, if I am so inclined, which I occasionally am) - bliss!

I took my camera along for the ride today. We were supposed to have a major snowfall of 5 to 10 cm, they've been talking about it for days, warning everyone to prepare for the worst but as usual with this winter of 2012 that hasn't been much of a winter (at least for the City of Toronto), it didn't happen. We got lots of rain instead, which meant lots of puddles and a damp wait for the bus.

But nice and dry inside the subway car (I get on at the end of the line, so it's possible to be in an almost empty car for at least one stop before the rest of the rush hour hoards embark).

When I had to switch trains, closer to downtown, it was three people deep on the subway platform.  Or so I thought, until I turned around and realized there were several more rows of people standing behind me. 

Even if you aren't claustrophobic, this can be an unnerving experience, especially if you are forced to stand near the edge of the platform as a train is coming in to the station.

I was attending a work-related conference for the past two days, hence the reason for the trips downtown.  Why do hotel conference areas always have such bland walls and such funky carpets?

Even in the heart of downtown, you can still find a little bit of country.

This was me trying to sneak a picture of the teenager with the torn stockings on the trip home (rather unsuccessfully, obviously, but you get the gist).  Wondering how she got all those holes in the nylons and yet they still stayed attached to her legs?  However, she was wisely wearing warm wool socks on the bottom half of her legs, it is winter after all!

Glad to be home, glad to be done with the subway travels for a while.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Artfest Annex

If you've never been to Teesha Moore's Artfest Annex in Seattle, I thought you might enjoy seeing these photos.

It's on the 3rd floor of this building

The entrance is on the right, beside the cigar shop

Up two flights of very old, very worn wooden stairs

with grooves worn into the bannister

The studio is all one big room, with a front entrance area filled with artwork, several pieces of which are for sale.

I especially loved the painting sitting on the chairs above, which was painted by Teesha.  Just couldn't figure out how to get it into my suitcase.

There is a bathroom (not shown. No, I don't take pictures of everything) and a kitchenette

and a big comfy couch

covered with beautiful pillows that are works of art themselves.

There is a small office area tucked into one corner and Teesha's artwork adorns most of the walls

I especially loved this quote:

It's a very artful space in which to be creative, that's for sure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seattle Architecture

You may not know that Seattle has some lovely old buildings mixed in with all the modern ones in its downtown core.  Here are some photos of just a few of them:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jane at PLAY

My friend Jane made a video from our time at PLAY, you're going to want to have a look!

Monday, February 20, 2012


When I was in Seattle a couple of weeks ago, I came across this park where the trees had been "yarnbombed".  I had heard about this phenomenon but hadn't seen it in person before, so I made a special trip back to this spot to get a close up look at it.
Yesler Way and 3rd Avenue, Seattle, WA
Wikipedia describes yarnbombing (also known as "graffiti knitting") as  "a type of graffit or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk".   Much easier to remove than painted graffiti (of which there is a lot in Seattle), the knitted fabric can simply be cut off if necessary but is said to be "about reclaiming and personalizing sterile or cold public places."  These colourful wraps in Seattle certainly did the job for an otherwise rather grey and winter bare landscape.

Yarnbombing may have started in the Netherlands as early as 2004 or Houston, Texas in 2005 and has since spread worldwide.

The seagulls in this park didn't seem interested one way or the other and none of the humans appeared to even notice but maybe they were all locals and used to seeing it there. I was the only one taking photos and/or examining the trees, which appeared to be wrapped in the knitwear and sewn together with one seam.  It was a very thin fabric and seemed to my untrained eye to be knitted out of a synthetic fibre rather than cotton or wool.  Here's a closeup:

A brief search of the Internet revealed this website:, which has some hilarious photos of decorated statues in B.C., as well as stories about various installations around the world.  The Nov 17th post with photos of sculptural knitting is particularly cool, check it out!

I haven't seen any examples of yarnbombing close to home but will definitely start paying more attention. Might have to get my knitting needles out and starting putting something together!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Play Date

It all started last Monday night at the Journal Junkies meeting when Laura asked me if I would meet her at Bizzy B this afternoon to help her put together a travel journal for a trip she and her husband took to Newfoundland last year.  I invited Colleen to join us and she invited Kelly along and then store owner Barb brought in a bag of goodies to work on and next thing you know, we had a play date! 
L to R: Barb, Kelly, Laura and Colleen
We chatted, lunched on subway sandwiches and chocolate, and swapped ideas on products and techniques while sitting around the large table in the back, with occasional shopping forays about the store (Daniza was very helpful when it came to recommendations, the perfect craft supply enabler).  I worked on my Seattle journal (almost done), Colleen finished a journal from her recent trip to Mexico, Kelly worked on stamping and painting chipboard tiles with Distress Inks which she then covered with Diamond Glaze (something I definitely want to try), Barb finished a journal page and Laura readied her products for next week's 2nd hand sale and never did get started on her trip journal (after deciding that the best journal to use was one she already had at home) but now has lots of ideas for how she wants to proceed with the project.

It was a great way to spend a sunny but cool winter Sunday afternoon in the middle of a long weekend, thanks for the company, ladies!  Same time, next month?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

More Winged Pages

As promised, here are rest of the "wings" themed pages created by the other members of the Journal Junkies group that attended last Monday night's meeting:

Betty's page
Page by Chloe

Emma's page
Joanne's page
which had a pop-up inside!
Kelly's page

page by Kris
Laura's page
Detail from Laura's page, which
featured things that make her heart soar.

As if the Valentine cupcakes weren't enough to thrill us, Bizzy B store owners Tony and Barb had just attended the CHA event in California and generously donated a signed copy of Traci Bautista's new book, "Doodles Unleashed" they had brought back with them to the lucky winner of Monday's night draw, Joanne.  (The inscription reads, "Journal Junkie - live your dreams. Play. Dream. Be free. Artfully, Traci")