Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stencil 201

I bought the coolest book last night. When I was at Bizzy B, Kelly had a copy of this book and both Laura and I immediately wanted one.  She had picked it up at Chapters so we walked a few blocks up the street and luckily for us, they had 2 copies on hand, one for each of us!
Photo courtesy of
It's called Stencil 201 by Ed Roth.  It's a collection of 25 different stencils, as well as a book with several how-to instructions on using the stencils for various projects, like t-shirts, furniture, plates.  Considering that you would pay $6 or $7 for a 6 inch square stencil from certain other companies, getting 25 stencils for about $1 a piece is a really good deal.

We walked back to the store and I had to use one of the stencils right away - the one of the typewriter, sure to be one of my favourites!  I added the word "writer" today with typewriter font alphabet stamps and embossing powder (which I thought was going to be white but turned out to be a pretty metallic blue colour).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Another Play Date

I can't believe it's 11:30 pm and I'm just getting home from another play date at Bizzy B with Laura, Kelly and Barb.  I had such a stressful day at work today, it seemed everyone needed something done at the last minute for month end - learn to plan ahead, people!!  It was nice to leave work (eventually, it was after 5:30 before I could get away) and head to the store for a few hours of making art and chit chat with my journaling buddies to clear my head.  It helps that one of them, Barb, owns the store so we were able to stay after hours and keep playing.

I've been working on backgrounds:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gladstone Hotel Architecture

Here are more photos of just a few of the architectual gems to be found in the historic Gladstone Hotel in downtown Toronto.


funky chandelier

the elevator cage

a vintage light fixture

a pretty pink stairway

stained glass

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Gladstone Hotel

When my friend Lorraine and I were strolling along Queen Street West last Sunday, we went into the Gladstone Hotel to have a look around. 

It's a restored hotel from the Victorian age, full of dark wood and unusual light fixtures. It even has an elaborate cage style elevator that needed an operator to take us up to the top (4th) floor. 

According to their website, the hotel was built in 1889 in the Romanesque Revival style and named after British Prime Minister William Gladstone (he was actually PM 4 times!).  There used to be a train station right across the street and the hotel was built on what was then the very western edge of the city.

Nowadays, the exterior beauty of the hotel remains, complete with very cool stone features, like these creatures carved under the windows:

There are 37 rooms and I was told each one is decorated in a unique fashion - check out some of the various designs here.  Each floor features artwork on display.  I found the hallways on each floor to be a little shabby looking (decorated with worn carpets and funky furniture that you'd find in a yard sale) but no doubt, the guest rooms make up for it.

Take this gorgeous chandelier, for example, it's timeless beauty slightly tarnished by the exposed pipe overhead.

But hey, who really cares about stuff like that, as long as everything else is clean and fun, which is definitely appears to be.

This was one of the public restrooms, too fabulous!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Picasa Updates

I use Picasa as my photo editing program.  It's free and it's easy to use, very intuitive.  When I logged in today, it automatically updated itself and suddenly, there are lots of new ways to play with photos.  No doubt they are trying to compete with all the cool photo apps one can get for photos taken with an iPhone.
I had fun trying out some of the new selections, using a picture of myself from Grade 2.  Here's the original:

 This is what they call the "heat map":

Here's the neon effect:

and what they call "pencil sketch"

There are lots to choose from. I think I'm going to enjoy these extra options. Maybe I don't need an iPhone camera after all?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday Afternoon on Queen Street West

Started with brunch at a French restaurant with Diane and Lorraine, sharing our journals from our recent voyages.  I would have gotten a picture of the three of us except I was too busy photographing and sampling the gorgeous pastries!  (the lemon meringue tart, pictured in bottom left of photo, was deeeelish!)

Afterwards, the 3 of us paid a visit to the Paper Place across the street, where I was able to limit myself to only 1 new roll of washi tape (mostly because I already own most of the ones they sell there!). Diane then headed home and Lorraine and I drove to Woolfitt's Art Supplies, several blocks west.
The art store is easy to find, check out the paint job!
Since Woolfitt's very kindly offers 2 hours of free parking for its customers, Lorraine and I decided to explore the neighbourhood and we strolled along several more blocks of Queen Street West.  We checked out all four floors of art on display in the historic Gladstone Hotel (more on that in a separate post):

checked out a few antique/junk stores (I found a Canadian geography text dating back to 1922 for only $10 in this funky place)

and of course, visited the yard sale mentioned in yesterday's post.

Cool architecture and artwork abounds on this street in the heart of Toronto and it was the perfect day for a stroll.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Signs of Spring

Forget seeing a robin as a first sign of spring, the true test of the arrival of the season is your first sighting of one of these:

Yup, today was that day. Highly unusual for this time of year and especially for a Sunday afternoon.  The gods must have been smiling on us today.

For $1, I got myself a metal tin full of magnetic words, the kind you use to make poems on your refrigerator if you're so inclined. I'm thinking they might be cool to use on a journal page or two.  Also picked up a calligraphy pen for $5, which was a pretty good deal, seeing as I'd just seen some in a store earlier in the day for more than twice that price that weren't as nice.

Ah, spring! So glad to have you back (even if there are rumours of frost in the forecast for the next day or two).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Secret Life of Cats

I always wonder what my cats do during the day when I'm not here, if it's anything different than what they do when I'm home all day. It seems they are busy at night when I'm sleeping.  I found these clues this morning:

a pile of pennies on the carpet

the empty coin wrapper a few feet away

and a tipped over scratching post.

Two cats trying to look casually innocent as I started to ask questions.

A Rummoli game that got out of hand, perhaps?  Your guess is as good as mine.

At the moment, the usual suspects aren't talking.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Written Word

Thought I'd share a few more photos from the auction last week, as they seem to have bit of a theme.

I wish that we all still wrote with ink pens and had penmanship like this:

I'm also kind of wishing that I had bought the sewing machine in the case to which this label was attached:

How special it must have been to have received such a letter as this one from King George V:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Song Pages

Here are some more of my fellow Journal Junkies' pages from last week's meeting:

Betty did "She Loves You" by the Beatles (yeah, yeah, yeah!):

Colleen couldn't think of a song but got started on the background using a page from the journal for her recent trip to Mexico:

Here is Barb showing us her page. I'm not sure why Daniza (on the left) had that look on her face! Perhaps because Rod Stewart, the star of Barb's page, is not her favourite singer?

This is another one of Marilyn's pages (she did 5 or 6, 2 or 3 for each song).  Isn't it pretty? It featured that song by The Carpenters, "sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong...":

Alas, I don't know the name of the woman who made this page.  I love what she does with her Zentangle-like sketches:

Someone, it might have been Marissa, did a rock 'n roll themed page, using stamps of Tina Turner and Elton John and a picture of Bruce Cockburn.

And I believe this one was Joanne's:

Again, we all sang along to the song - "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" by the Righteous Brothers, made famous by the movie "Top Gun".  I loved the 3D effect of the little guy dancing on the piano keys.

Next month's theme is "steampunk".  I'd better get bizzy figuring out what I'm going to do for that one!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sing a Song, Journal a Page

The problem with waiting more than a week to post these pictures from the March Journal Junkies meeting is that already, I have forgotten who some of the pages belong to.  So apologies in advance to anyone who doesn't get the proper credit (please comment on this blog post or email me and I'll fix it right away).  The good news is I did take a few notes, which I'd written on the back of the receipt for the pizza I had for dinner that night, so hopefully that will help.

Diana did a Kate Bush song, "Running Up That Hill":

Kelly did "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles (I especially love the face in the jar, which of course was kept by the door):

and "Singing in the Rain":

This was one of our most fun meetings so far.  Probably because we sang through most of it.  Someone usually sang at least a line or two of every song that was featured on each journal page and I think we all sang "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen in its entirety! Unfortunately, I just can't remember who this beautiful page belongs to!

Laura did this "wordle", a collection of songs from concerts she has attended over the years:

and also this page:

featuring the song "Dizzy" by Tommy Roe ("I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning...").

The most hilarity came from one of Marilyn's pages (she did several, all of them pretty darned amazing) - here's Connie's reaction to the one I'm about to tell you about:

The song? Maybe you've heard it (I hadn't but I liked it, it has a real catchy tune), it goes like this:  "Well, I don't care if it rains or freezes, Long as I have my plastic Jesus, Riding on the dashboard of my car..."

Don't you just love her drawings?

If you feel the need to own your own dashboard Jesus bobblehead, just Google it - apparently they're available!

More pages tomorrow.