Monday, April 30, 2012

No Vacancy

I am pleased to advise that Gus and Beans are enjoying their new furever home very much.  I've had a couple of follow up chats with their new mom in the past few weeks, who reports that they are settling in well and are absolutely fascinated watching the squirrels and birds outside the windows (sights that were quite limited from my lofty apartment viewpoint). I am missing them a lot but I am thrilled that they have found somewhere so wonderful to live.

Of course, when they left, there was a vacancy in this chair.

But not for long.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Afternoon

A sunny but still too cool for my taste Sunday afternoon in Toronto.

The trees are budding.

Some have started to unfurl their foliage.

While others are already sharing this season's blossoms with the neighbourhood.

Lunch at a Canadian institution.

Did you know they serve paninis now? (only at select locations)  They're big but mighty tasty.

Midday shadow shapes caught my eye.

Would like to paint the distressed look of this fencing, complete with graffiti, as a background in my journal some day soon.

Spent some time in my favourite store. 

Painted some cute little faces as taught by Mindy Lacefield.

A good afternoon.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Morning

Cleared off the table in the kitchen.  Replaced the paper cover. 

Set out new paints. Lots of pretty spring colours.

Got my palette ready (on a clear piece of acetate).

Painted background pages for Mindy Lacefield's online class, Paint Your Story.

Used the leftover paint in my journal.
Where did those bubbles come from?!
Planning to do more of the same tomorrow. :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bad Girl Art

My friend Adrienne has recently been sharing this hilarious artwork on Facebook made by Bad Girl Art.  I have been enjoying the artwork so much, it always makes me laugh out loud, but I hadn't really focused in on the artist before today.

Having now visited their FB page and Googled them, I can now tell you that the artist is a woman named Keithley Pearce from Richmond, VA.

Here's a couple of samples, used here completely without permission but with sincere apologies if I'm causing any offense or breaking any copyright laws:

Go here to check out the website (which is sadly not nearly as funky as their art work) or here if you want to buy something functional and/or unusual, such as a tampon case (with a clever caption such as "PMS doesn't bother me, you bother me"), featuring Keithley's artwork. 

Then go "like" them on Facebook and check out the many examples of hilarity to be found on their page.  Trust me, it will be worth it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Passport Pangs

I am currently a woman without a passport.  I handed in my application for a new one yesterday and as a result, my old passport was stamped "cancelled" and had the bottom right corner cut off before being handed back to me.  It's a rather disconcerting feeling to know that I can't just head to the airport and jump on a plane or get in the car and drive to the border at a moment's notice.  I won't be able to leave the country (legally) for at least two weeks, until my new passport arrives by registered mail.

As if getting my passport picture taken wasn't enough trauma for one week.  My goodness, it's right up there with bathing suit shopping for giving one a harsh dose of reality as far as your self image is concerned.

I was spoiled by the fact that I actually liked the photo in my old passport.  Granted, I always thought I looked like Puss 'N Boots in Shrek - can you see the resemblance?

Photo courtesy of
Those big brown, sad eyes?  Okay, maybe it's not the best photo either but trust me, it's soooo much better than the new one.

I'm not sure why you're not supposed to smile in a passport photo (heaven forbid you should be excited about travelling).  Why do they make you take off your glasses, I've never had a customs officer ask me to remove mine to ensure I am the same person as in the photo. 

Oh well, so it isn't the greatest photo.  If that's what I've got to do to be able to travel, then that's what I've got to do.  Besides, it could have been worse.  Say what you will about my new passport photo, it will never be as bad as this:
Nick Nolte's mug shot

Then again, it won't be this good either! :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My New Inspiration

Mary Ann Moss posted this video by Julia Warr on her blog the other day and I absolutely love it.  Not only do I want to be more like this woman, Maia Helles, both when I'm in my nineties and immediately (if only I had half of her limberness!), I am completely in love with the little cottage she is staying in.  I want to find one just like it and move in as soon as I can!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One Dollar Deals - Part 2

The auction my mom, my sister and I went to on the Saturday of Easter weekend also had some really cool stuff available.  All 3 of us wanted this fabulous cupboard:

I really liked this vintage amusement park sign from New Orleans but I found the clown face to be quite frightening:

There were Beatles magazines

and White Star memorabilia.

I ended up getting two more boxes of books for only $1 a piece.  Several of them have amazing 50's style artwork, like this gem:

And for my third dollar, I got a retro kitchen table that looks very much like this one:
Photo courtesy of,
set for sale for $600!
Can you believe it? For only one dollar!  I can't show you a picture of mine just yet since I took the legs off to transport it home and the pieces remain unassembled on my balcony at this time (it's been a little cold outside the past few weeks, not at all conducive to balcony activities).  Unfortunately, it was just the table so I'm on the look out for a chair or two to go with it but as summer's garage sale/outdoor antique show season approaches, I suspect I will have lots to choose from!

Monday, April 23, 2012

One Dollar Deals - Part 1

I've been so busy lately, I haven't had a chance to share photos of the deals that I scooped up on Easter weekend, most of them for just one dollar a piece. My mom, my sister and I attended not one but two auctions that weekend, one late Friday afternoon and one on Saturday morning.

The Good Friday auction was incredibly busy, there were literally hundreds of people there. When I signed in, I was given #360 as a bidding number. When I paid for my purchases only an hour later, they were already 300 numbers past that and people were still arriving (the auctioneer said he thought they'd be at it until at least 10:30 that night).  It was way too busy for my taste.  There were no seats, everyone was either standing four or five people deep around the tables of goods available or trying to move through the crowd, it was just too crammed to even see what was being auctioned off.  They had three auctioneers working, two inside and one outdoors.

We found out the next day that the reason it was so busy was because it's an annual event for them and over the year, they save a lot of amazing things especially for this sale, which in turn draws a big crowd of both dealers and regular folk. Gems like this vintage toy dishwasher:

and this antique sideboard, which looked hand-carved to me:

One thing in their favour is that they had a sign posted on the wall saying exactly where they would start and in what order they would proceed:

I positioned myself by the starting point and managed to win the bid on the very first item up for auction, which was a box of maybe 20 books. It only cost me $7.00 but all I really wanted were these two pretty book covers:

Outside, as I said, there was more stuff being auctioned off and I couldn't resist bidding on these two white cupboards.  Yup, they only cost me a dollar a piece - what a bargain!

I had barely put them down in the front hall before Gus jumped up to check them out:

After a thorough cleaning, I installed them in my kitchen, one on each side of the window.  After more explorations by the kitten caboodle:
Beans and Yonhee, checking everything out!
I have now filled them with art supplies, creating a lovely little nook for myself to play and enjoy the natural light.

Tomorrow I'll share some photos from the next day's auction finds.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Memories of Rome

I've been to Italy before, back in 2004 when I did a trip that included 5 countries in 14 days - England, France, Switzerland, Monaco and Rome.  Oops, make that six countries. I think we had a day in Florence, a day or two in Venice and maybe a day and a half in Rome, which was our last stop.  By that time, even though it had been an amazingly wonderful trip, I was so tired and we had seen and done so much, I was completely exhausted and totally over-stimulated.  I know we visited the Sistine Chapel but I barely remember it.  I thought Rome was okay but I didn't care if I ever went back - even though I had thrown my coin into the Trevi Fountain, which meant I would be coming back, if the legend was to be believed.
Sandi, Nikki, myself and Debbie,
about to toss our coins into Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain at night

Then I missed my flight home after misreading my plane ticket (d'oh!) and had to stay an extra day, which gave me a much better appreciation for the city than I would have had otherwise.  As a result, I am definitely looking forward to having two and half more days there to wander about and see things at a slightly slower pace. Not sure if I'll see the Sistine Chapel again this time around but that's okay, there are so many other things see and do in Rome.
The Coliseum
In the meantime, I've been looking over photos from that trip back in 2004, remembering the friends I made (several of whom I am still in touch with, all these years later) and all the fabulous places we went and the things we saw.
And of course, I've been looking up locations of flea markets in Rome.  Apparently, they're not as good as the ones in Paris but I might be inclined to check them out anyway. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Viva Italia!

I'm really bad at keeping resolutions.  For the most part, I've stopped making them, because I have learned that I never keep them.  This year, I told myself that I wasn't going on any more trips (after the wonderful time I had in Seattle and Port Townsend with Teesha and Tracy Moore and Jane Davenport at the end of January).  That resolve lasted about two months and I found the idea of not going anywhere for the next 8 or 9 months was quite depressing.  So for the last couple of weeks, I've been considering different options, checking out things on the Internet, feeling the urge to plan something, do something, go somewhere.  And although there were lots of interesting options, I just didn't find anything that felt like it was the right choice for me.

Until earlier this week, when I read on Diana Trout's blog about a trip to Italy she is organizing and the fact that there was one spot open.  She'd written the post a couple of weeks ago and somehow I had missed it, even though I usually see her blog posts when she posts them on Facebook, so I figured it would already be too late, someone else would have taken that space.  But something about this trip spoke to me and I went ahead and contacted Diana (whom I had met at Journalfest 2010, when I took her class called "Journal Spilling" and from whom I took an online course last October) via email.  The anniversary of my dad's death always makes me feel a little bit of carpe diem (seize the day) mentality and this year was no exception.  Bing, bang, boom, I signed up to go. 

It's the last 2 weeks of June, just under two months away. I'll spend a couple of days in Rome before heading to Fabriano (known to all in the art world as the home of the finest watercolour paper), where Diana's group will be situated for a week. Afterwards, I'll have a few days in Florence (or as they call it in Italy, Firenze) before flying home.

I am so excited about this trip.  And also nervous for some reason. I think it's the idea of being alone in a country where I don't speak the language.  The only word I remember from my only previous visit to Italy back in 2004 is "andiamo", which means "let's go".  Which, under the circumstances, seems appropriate!
Photo courtesy of

Friday, April 20, 2012

How To Cure A Nightmare

Just saw this video on Facebook today, it is sooo darned cute that I had to share it!

There are several copies of this video posted on YouTube under different names, so I don't know to whom I should be giving credit, but thank you, whomever!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Seven Years Gone

I'm thinking of my dad today, on this the 7th anniversary of his passing.  Not that today is any different from any other day, I often think of him. 

It's funny what you remember about a person.  Just one of the things I remember about my dad was that he was always a snappy dresser.  My dad loved to dress up, whether it was a tuxedo on New Year's Eve or a fancy suit for a wedding or other festive occasion (always with a matching "puff"/scarf in his breast pocket to match his tie), or a shirt and tie under his dental coat at work. 

Nevertheless, one of my favourite pictures of him features this particular outfit, one that is famous in our family (pictured here circa 1972, I'm guessing) - the buffalo bathing suit.

Have you ever seen bathing trunks like this? I certainly never have, before or since.

Except, now that I look at this picture more closely, I'm wondering if maybe it isn't buffaloes on that bathing suit, as I have always thought all these years, maybe it's bulls?  Can't read the writing, which could be about a bull fight, who knows? Both breeds have horns, so it's hard to say. Here's a closeup (that sweet little baby-faced boy is my younger brother Jay):

It definitely looks more like bulls than buffaloes to me today.  But all these years, I thought they were buffaloes?! 

It's funny what you remember, even if your memories might be slightly inaccurate or distorted over time.  More importantly, I remember how much I loved him and that doesn't change.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Random Scribbling

I'm taking an online class with the very talented and super nice Mindy Lacefield, whom I met at PLAY in January.

One of the exercises she has had us doing this week (and I hope I am not giving away any class secrets by telling you this) is to practice scribbling randomly with both our dominant and non-dominant hands.  It sounds simple enough and technically it is but it's not something I normally do, so I did have to tell my inner critic to be quiet for a while and dig deep to let my inner child out of her box.

I was at work yesterday and needed a break, so I grabbed whatever writing instrument was on my desk(pencils, pens, highlighters of various colours) and here's what evolved:

I know, it looks like something a 3 year old would draw on the wall when their parents weren't looking and guess what? That's exactly what it is supposed to look like! Success!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Daguerrotype Boyfriend

When I read Mary Ann Moss' blog post entitled "Torn Between 2 Lovers" yesterday, featuring her fabulous sketch of an old black and white photograph, I was reminded of a website I'd heard about a few months ago called "My Daguerreotype Boyfriend" (which I thought I'd mentioned here before, but of which I can find no record, so forgive me if this is a duplication).  It features pictures of handsome men from days of old.  [At the moment, there are a few photos of men who sailed on the Titanic, some who survived and one who didn't - it certainly makes for fascinating reading, and not just because they are handsome.]

Thought I'd share a few from my collection:

Some of this gaggle of guys are half naked!

Even under the damage to this photo,
you can see this guy is sporting quite the beard,
which he probably thought was pretty spiffy.
I'm not so sure.
A handsome sailor

This gentleman looks like a movie star, doesn't he?
Check out those eyebrows!
I'm thinking these guys are acrobats,
working for a travelling circus.

This one reminds me of someone I dated right after
high school, who didn't have such an elaborate
mustache, I must admit.
(I also love the backdrop for these 2 photos)

Two more handsome sailors
(who don't look too pleased to wearing
these outfits!)