Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Signs of Seattle

We toured around two neighbourhoods close to Seattle today, Fremont and Bellevue and one of the things I absolutely loved was all of the fabulous graffiti and vintage and/or vintage-looking signage on the various shops and restaurants.

Here's are some examples of the graffiti:

This sign is hanging on the wall of a coffee shop that T 'n T like to visit each morning. Tracy tells me the owner found it lying on the ground of the property, what a find!

This neon beauty hangs on a place called the High Dive:

This one was a few doors down from there:

and this one is just down the street and I was able to capture it in the late afternoon:

and in the early evening:

Aren't they fabulous?!!?!

Monday, January 30, 2012


There were six of us at PLAY that had been in Portugal together last June.  It was great to be together again, making art and having fun.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Everyone defines "play" differently.  The idea of this art retreat is that people can work on whatever they want, and some are more focused on their art than others. I would definitely fall in the "other" category.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, there is so much going on that I want to see and do, it's hard to focus on just sitting down and making art.   I have been doing all sorts of things, like:

- painting, drawing, making journal pages:

picking up some fabulous old ledgers and books at a local store:

walking on the beach, taking photographs:

doing cool things with light photography:

and having a delicious chili dinner.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday at PLAY

Teesha taught us a collage exercise in the morning and these are the results:

Tracy took us for a LOMO (photography) walk in the afternoon.  We're using 35 mm film and making double exposure photos. Jill Holmes took this one of me with the camera on her phone - I was making a goofy face and when it's layered over the picture of the tree, it looks like I'm trying to lick up dripping water:

It might not be the best example but it's kind of fun.  Here's another one, taken by Steve Salik on his phone (the rest of us are using actual cameras but the Smartphones can do it too), one shot of me, one of Tracy Moore, mashed together:

Surrounded by incredibly talented people, very inspiring!

It feels a bit like spring here, I saw 4 robins the first day and 6 yesterday!!  Although when the wind is blowing, you definitely remember it's winter!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Seattle to Port Townsend

Here's how yesterday (Thursday) went down:

Breakfast in Chinatown in Seattle:

Ferry to Bainbridge Island:

which included lovely views of the Seattle skyline and our first peek at the Space Needle:

Art store, bagels and lunch in Port Townsend:

Checking in to our "officers housing" at Fort Warden:

Grocery shopping for breakfast food followed by the whole group (45 of us in total) having dinner at El Serape, a local Mexican restaurant:

followed by opening remarks back at the fort in The Commons and setting up our work spaces:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Heading to Port Townsend

Woke up this morning to the sound of rain on the roof, which is such a delightful noise when you are snuggled up cozy warm in a comfortable bed and dozing in and out of dreams.  Not such a good thing when you've got a two hour drive to your destination and have to pack a lot of supplies into various cars, and will no doubt make our ferry crossing less scenic than it would otherwise be.  Hopefully the rain will stop before we need to get underway.

I arrived in Seattle only a few minutes later than promised by the airline.  My friend Laurie was not so lucky, not only did her airplane completely change her flight (which she luckily discovered two days ago, in plenty of time) but her plane was a good two hours late, so we didn't get a chance to see her last night, will catch up to her when we arrive at our destination, Fort Worden.

Teesha Moore and Jane Davenport picked me up at the airport and we drove back to Teesha's house, where Jane and I are staying while we're here in Seattle.  What a beautiful home it is!  It's like being in an art gallery, full of colour and fabulous works of art and everything combined together in such a comfortable and welcoming way.  It makes me want to rush home and redecorate my place!  Just as an example, here's what my bedroom looks like:

Those two packages on my bed were things I had ordered and shipped here, like the books I'd found in St. Augustine for Teesha and Tracy back in November and the Ranger paint dabbers I need for the class Jane is teaching next weekend. Jane and I each brought presents.  After last week's snowstorm here, I knew everyone needed a pair of these mittens:

Jane brought me (all the way from Australia) this vintage cookie tin that looks like a trolley bus (it looks orange in the photo but it's red). She has one she uses to keep all her pencil crayons in:

We have been talking non-stop, sharing stories and ideas, ordering goodies on the Internet after seeing something one of the others has, like the Dottariffic markers Jane brought - markers with a round end to make perfect dots in both small and large sizes.  You can find them here: Paperinkarts. 

Tracy was working late prior to being out of town for the next several days, so Teesha took us to dinner at the this authentic Neapolitan pizza place called Tutta Bella. We ordered 5 of the personal sized pizzas and shared, they were all delicious!  (I even liked the one that was covered in chopped up green olives, who knew?) We took the leftovers home for Tracy and went back to the house for more conversation and lots of laughing before heading to bed.

Gotta go shower, the packing of the cars will begin shortly. More adventures await!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Seattle Bound

I am headed to Seattle this morning. So excited I can hardly stand it.  Twelve days of artful pursuits in Issaquah, Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington with the likes of Teesha Moore, Tracy V. Moore and Jane Davenport.  Be still, my beating heart!  I figure I will become a more artful person simply by breathing the same air as these 3 phenomenal artists for the next two weeks, never mind all the other wonderful folks we are going to see over the next few days as we PLAY at Fort Worden.

I was worried I was packing too many art supplies but I am reassured by two things:  (a) my suitcase is not yet over the allowable limit - in fact, I have 6 kg to spare at the moment; and (b) I could not possibly be packing more stuff that Danger Jane herself, who posted a video on her blog showing exactly what she is bringing all the way from Australia.  Check it out here.  If I forgot anything, Jane is sure to have whatever it is and she is also bringing so many more things that I have never ever seen, it will be like an art supply smorgasbord!

Stay tuned, I'll be blogging live while I'm there.  Provided we have power, that is.  Last week's ice storm in the Seattle area knocked out the power at T & T's house for several days!!
Seattle's Space Needle is about one third the height of Toronto's CN Tower

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Photo courtesy of wallpapersdll.com

My sister got laid off from her job today.  When I talked to her earlier, she was still in a little bit of shock but also a little bit giddy at the thought of being free.  Normally losing your job would be a bad thing, it's never easy to be let go, no matter what the circumstances, and no doubt she will spend some time over the next few weeks worrying about finding another job, but I for one am very pleased that this happened to her.  She hated that job and I believe it was slowly killing her.  The stress, the long hours, the lack of appreciation, the demanding schedules - all that stuff takes its toll on a person over time.  I had a similarly stressful job years ago and I am still very grateful to have that chapter of my life behind me.  No matter how much money they pay you, no matter how much you learn from the experience or the friends you make, it takes a toll and life is just too darned short to be spending five days a week at a job that you don't enjoy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Punch Buggy Love

I've always liked the Volkswagen Beetle, both in its original incarnation and the latest model.  I can remember driving with a friend who owned one in high school.  You could see the road through the holes in the floorboards, that's how badly the metal had deteriorated.  Then again, the Canadian climate wasn't kind to those original Bugs so it's rare to find one of the old ones around these parts nowadays.  But there seem to be plenty in the southern U.S. still and last June, I took a picture of this pretty purple one in Portugal (not an original factory colour choice, I'm guessing, but still an excellent shade as far as I'm concerned - it totally fits the groovy vibe of the car!).
Purple punch buggy photographed in Portugal
Apparently several hundred VW cars were destroyed recently in Florida.  It's a sad story, about the end of an old man's hobby, which was clearly a passion for him, and the destruction of several vintage Volkswagen cars: click here to read about it.  It seems a shame that all of those cars were lost, although if you watch the video that accompanies the story (reproduced below), many of them shown don't look like they were salvageable.  But I love the look of old, rusty metal - something about it really appeals to me - so a lot of these images are fascinating to me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another Adoption

It was Tamana's turn to be adopted today.  I think she'll enjoy her new home, where there are 2 other cats to keep her company.  She seemed happy enough here but kept to herself a lot, as if having 5 foster siblings was a bit much at times.  I'm sure Gus will miss her but also be glad he doesn't have to share the bathroom tap with her any more, she tended to push him out of the way and make him wait for his drink (although he cleverly figured out he could lick the water off the top of her head if necessary!)
Sometimes he'd get priority though.  I love her expression in this photo, as if to say, "Fine, I'll let him have a drink now!"

He was always very gentle with her though, he's such a sweetheart.  He didn't seem to mind when she bossed him about and she knew he would never hurt her, even though he is twice her size.

It's a bit sad when someone comes to adopt one of the other cats though.  Gus and Beans come right to the door to greet any visitor and could not be more friendly, throwing themselves at their feet and showing their tummies in complete trust, trying to get into their cat carriers.  Yonhee was quite friendly with this morning's guest as well.  It's as if they all knew they were potential candidates for the adoption, even though she had come specifically for Tamana.  I feel bad that no one is coming (yet) to take the others home but hopefully their turn will come soon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Michaels Madness

I met my friend Lorraine at a local mall this morning for coffee.  I broke the end off the adapter cord that powers my Polaroid POGO printer and she very kindly offered to lend me hers for my upcoming trip to Seattle.  Afterwards, we stopped in to the Michaels store in the mall as we both had this week's 40% off coupon.  We also knew that they were offering 25% off everything from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in what they called a "Madness Event".  (Even so, I was only thinking I'd get one thing, just to use the coupon. Ha!)

They weren't kidding.  I have no idea how they can stay in business at the prices they were charging for some of this stuff, it was definitely crazy.  I got this package of lovely Victorian style Christmas stamps for ninety percent (90%) off, I paid a whopping $1.69 for them.

As you can see from the photo, I also got a cute polka dot mouse pad and a couple of punches.  The blue one is a corner rounder, that was about the only thing I bought that was regular price so I used my 40% off coupon on that.

I picked up a number of packages of embellishments and tags in various designs:

I also got a bunch of letter and number stickers, which ran about 89 cents a package.

We both especially like these epoxy number stickers. They had a clearance price tag of $4.99 on them and the sign said 70% off last ticketed price, which meant $1.50 each, so we each grabbed 3 packages (all they had left).  Turns out they were actually 79 cents each - bargain!

I was really excited to find this pretty laptop bag with handles:

It was already 60% off, which brought the price down to $13.99 plus the extra 25% off = a final price of $10.49 - a steal!  Lorraine bought the same bag and a matching iPad cover for about $5.00 and she doesn't even own an iPad yet! :)  (I was tempted but managed to resist that purchase, going to wait until I get an iPad first!  Although perhaps in the spirit of "if you build it, they will come", I should have picked one up.)

Lorraine got the best deal though. She picked up a stack of 6 teardrop inkpads that rang through the cash register for only one cent.  One cent!!  Madness, I tell you.  Sheer madness!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

So Long, Etta

Etta James passed away today.  She sang one of my favourite songs of all time, "At Last".  What a beautiful voice.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mittens for Kittens

I popped into a thrift store near my office today at lunch and found this wonderful children's book called "Mittens for Kittens and other Rhymes about Cats".  The poems were "chosen" by Lenore Blegvad and the book is illustrated by her husband Erik.

From the look of it, I thought this was a very old book but it turns out it is merely vintage, copyrighted 1974.  It used to be a library book and still has the library card in the back (sadly empty of signouts, which is no doubt why the book was discarded).

The inside flap describes it as "an engaging selection of old rhymes about cats and kittens" and it is definitely that but it is the illustrations (reproduced here completely without permission) that I find most delightful.

"Do kittens wear mittens? Whoever saw little kittens with mittens?"  They do in two of the nursery rhymes in this book!  In one, the kittens are on their way to town to get some mittens - they appear to be trying on various pairs in this drawing, with the help of a kindly shopkeeper:

And then there is the poem about the 3 little kittens who lost their mittens and when they find them, their mother gives them some pie.

This picture is one of my favourites:

It illustrates one of the few poems in the book that I recognize, the one about the pussy cat who has been to London to visit the Queen. "Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there? I frightened a little mouse under her chair." Note the headline on the newspaper banner in the picture above - very clever, don't you think?

I think this was $1.99 very well spent!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lose Something?

I went shopping for bras after work today. I thought it would be pretty simple, since I knew my size and just wanted to pick up another bra or two in the style I have been wearing for the past few months, which is very comfortable and (I believe) flattering.  What I didn't realize was that they would, or so it seemed, have every size available except mine.  They would have my size but not my letter, or my letter but not my size.  Why?? Why??  Does everyone else in Toronto wear the same exact size and they just can't keep it in stock? Perhaps, but then again, probably not.  Anyway, I finally found a couple in my size but not necessarily in the colours I would have liked, but I bought them anyway.  Apparently, I can't afford to be too choosy.

For some reason, the whole experience reminded me of something we saw on the luggage carousel at the airport when we flew back from Florida last month.  Namely, this:

Makes you wonder, doesn't it? How do things like this happen?  Maybe someone's suitcase was damaged during the flight (they do warn you) but if so, how come there weren't other clothes strewn about the carousel? These were the only 2 items.  Not surprisingly, no one appeared to be claiming them.  (And no, I didn't check to see if they were my size!)

Want to see it again?