Thursday, January 31, 2013


I've been meaning to share a lip dub with you.  If you don't already know, a lip dub is a video of a group of people lipsynching to a song using a single unedited shoot.  This particular one is a pet adoption video made by the Wake County (Raleigh, NC) SPCA that my friend Laurie sent me a mere five days ago.

Except that when I went to play the link again today, I found that the video in the link she sent me has been removed.  Apparently, because they used ABBA's "Take A Chance on Me" song without permission, they were asked to stop showing the video because it was violating copyright laws. 

The video I have embedded above is the muted version, without the song.  However, it does include a link to the ABBA song that you can play separately. Or you can play your own copy of the song if you happen to have the CD or cassette tape or record album on hand. Or just sing along in your head. However you do it, I recommend that you watch the video, it's quite entertaining (although I do find the videographer sometimes focuses the camera a little too much on the pretty girls and not quite enough on the cute animals but these things happen).

What's even more interesting is the story posted on the Wade County SPCA's website about how they were asked by ABBA's legal team to remove the video more than a year ago.  Since then, bootlegged copies of the video have continued to circulate on the Internet, as recently as this January, including the version my friend Laurie sent me last week.

You can read all about it for yourself here.  Yet another interesting tale about the power of the Internet.

Enjoy the video (if the embedded version above happens to get removed on YouTube, there is also a link at the bottom of the SPCA's writeup).  Of course, I must warn you, watching it might make you want to adopt a lovable, furry creature - not that that's a bad thing!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Put Me In The Zoo

Did you read this book when you were young?

I found a copy at a local thrift store lately and remembered how much I loved it as a child (although I had forgotten all about it until I saw it again!).  It's about a leopard who can do tricks with his spots, like turn them different colours and move them around.  In the end, it is decided he belongs in the circus, rather than the zoo, given his many and unusual talents.

The copy I found is rather decrepit looking.  The cover is a little grubby and the spine is falling apart.

That's okay, I still enjoyed reading through the story again.  The book itself may be a good candidate to be altered in some way eventually but for now, I can't quite bring myself to do anything to it.

Of course, I Googled it and in so doing, I found this blog where the woman made outfits for her kids to match the ones worn by the kids in the book - if you check it out, you'll get a peek at some of the story too!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

An Artful Life

"Your life is already artful—waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art." - Toni Morrison

Diana Trout posted this quote on Facebook yesterday.  It made me think of the salt stains I'd noticed on the floor of the parking garage the past few days, that I wanted to take my camera downstairs and take pictures of them.

They remind me of pictures of the Earth taken from space.  The way rivers look when you're flying overhead in a jet plane.

Or inkblots.  Clouds. 

Lost continents, waiting to be explored.

Undiscovered galaxies, hidden amongst the stars.

Monday, January 28, 2013


What a strange day it has been.  Woke up to a very snowy morning, with dire warnings from the weather forecasters about approaching freezing rain. I thought about not going in but I live too close to work to justify it, so off I went.  No issues getting in to the office, although things were indeed very sloppy out there and there were lots of traffic issues around and about. 

As it happened, my assistant had called in sick and worst of all, our email system was down.  All day. It just seemed to throw everything off, not having that one system available that we rely on so much these days (luckily, we still had Internet access, so I could amuse myself by checking Facebook and/or my personal email from time to time as needed).  It starting working about 10 minutes before I left to come home and by then, it was too late, I was done for the day, mentally and physically.  Even then, there were only a handful of messages to be read, probably because most of the email traffic I receive is from internal sources, who hadn't been able to write any messages all day.  (Tomorrow might be a little busy as a result but I'm not going to worry about that now!)

It was such a disconcerting feeling all day to be working without current email.  At least my messages were up to date to last Friday but my boss' system had reverted back to a day in early December, so she didn't have access to any recent messages.  It could have been worse - our downtown office was completely without power and they had got sent home early in the day (sadly, we weren't).  I did have work to do but it was more challenging, since you couldn't send a quick email to ask a question or clarify a point.  I actually had to print out documents and hand deliver them to someone's office so they could review the changes I had made and we could discuss the content.  If I needed to ask a question and someone was out of the office, I had to call them on their cell phone and hope they weren't trying to drive in this weather while talking to me!

As a result of this problem, I had to send a fax to someone today, a machine I think I have used maybe once in the past 6 months.  But even that was a frustrating process.  I sent one copy to Halifax with no problems but after an hour of trying to send a copy of the same document to someone locally, the second time I phoned the recipient's receptionist to confirm I had the right fax number, I was told "oh, but they were moving offices today so maybe their machine isn't hooked up yet".  Hmm, could you not have told me that an hour and 3 attempts earlier??!  Clearly, her brain was a little fogged up today as well.

As things are now outside my window.  Heavily foggy, in fact. The temperatures are steadily rising, the freezing rain quickly became just regular rain and the new snow we'd received overnight has melted or turned into very wet slush.  It's supposed to be 11 degrees Celsius tomorrow (remember this time last week when I was reporting it was minus 20 something?!  How quickly things change!)

The other strange thing that happened today was that when I checked the Toronto Hydro website about the power outage downtown, I had also noticed that my apartment was reported to be within an outage zone.  According to their website, the situation didn't change all afternoon so I was concerned about what I would find when I drove home.  Which I did, very cautiously, happily noting that streetlights were working and neighbouring streets had power.  When I got home, I found the power had never even been off!  So much for Toronto Hydro's clearly misleading website, apparently they were experiencing technical difficulties today too!

All in all, I'm glad to be home, warm and dry and already in my pyjamas!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


If you like what they call "bonnet and bustle" productions made in the U.K. and/or are an avid fan of Downton Abbey, you may also enjoy watching a gem called "Cranford".  It was televised back in 2007 and is now available on DVD.  It stars Judi Dench and a cast containing several familiar British actors, including the gentleman who plays Carson on DA and Michael Gambon, who is more famously known for taking on the role of Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series of movies after Richard Harris passed away.

It takes place in a small village in 1842, some sixty years before the time of Downton Abbey.  It is both laugh out loud funny and pass me another hanky tragic but all in all, very well done.  I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Calendar Girl

I've been keeping a daytimer style of calendar for almost as long as I can remember.  My mother found a stash of my earliest calendars last year, dating back to my high school days, and it was fun to read through them and see what I was doing (and with whom) back then.  I started keeping them as a way to keep track of school assignments, work shifts and social engagements and that system has pretty much carried through over the years.  I now have several boxes full of previous years' daytimers tucked away in my closet and I flip through them from time to time.

I usually keep the daytimer on my desk at work, since that's where I am for 5 out of 7 days a week.  In recent years, the focus of a lot of the entries tended to be "to do" lists of tasks that needed to get done on the job, which makes the contents a little less interesting.  I'm pretty sure that those lists of files and documents are not going to be something I'll care to read about in years to come.

As a result, this year, I wanted to do something a little more "artful" with my calendar, which I didn't think would be doable if I kept the calendar at the office.  Bizzy B started a calendar club a few months ago and that got me thinking I thought I might make a calendar for myself similar to what Kate Crane does, based on this tutorial she provided.  But I was feeling a bit lazy about the whole process and hadn't actually start making any background pages by the time December was drawing to a close, so I was glad when Santa left this basic desk calendar booklet in my stocking:

As usual, Santa knew exactly what I wanted.  The squares are just slightly bigger than the ones Kate uses and the pages are basically blank so I can do anything I want with them.

You can imagine how even more excited about the whole project my still-feeling-lazy self became when I discovered that Graphics 45 had come out with some calendar themed scrapbook paper with a vintage style. Bizzy B had the January, April and November pages in stock a few weeks ago (not sure why they didn't have the other months in stock, presumably they were either already sold out or back ordered but I will be sure to check next time I'm there to see if they have them available) so I quickly put this January sheet

to good use, cutting it up and gluing it into my book.  Here's how my page is looking these days:

It may be a little less personalized than Kate's style of calendar but it's still unique enough for my purposes right now.  I'm quite enjoying how it is coming along and looking forward to continuing with this project over the course of the year.  I do have to make an effort to keep the entries up-to-date or at least pencil little notes on various days to help me remember what happened when, although now that I'm into the 3rd week, it is getting to be more of a routine.  As you can see in the photo above, on those days where there wasn't anything worth reporting or I couldn't remember, I simply added one of the pretty Graphics 45 images to fill in the square.

The collage I made last night (and described in yesterday's blog post) is located on the inside cover of this booklet.  I haven't decided whether I will do anything with the front cover, I kind of like it the way it is but I'll probably want to play with it a little bit (I have an urge to gesso over those flowers and layer things up a bit).  No worries, there's lots of time for that, it's only January after all!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Some Days...

I don't know about you, but some days when I get home from work, I just gotta collage something! 

Tonight it was this page in my 2013 calendar/daily planner.  I didn't take a picture of the blank page before I started but here's how it looks after the first few minutes:

I have a plastic box full of scraps of paper of different sizes and patterns.  I just kept rifling through it to find bits and pieces and then glued them down on the page.

About half an hour later (it probably shouldn't have taken that long, I was "overthinking" my choices too much!), the finished page:

Tomorrow, I'll show you what I'm doing with the rest of this calendar.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pie In The Sky

That's what this little cloud looked like yesterday morning.  Lemon meringue pie, I'm thinking.  Mmm, pie.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meeting Dominik

When the weather gets cold like this and the gray, dreary days of January seem to be dragggggging on like they will never end, we Canadians have to make an extra effort to keep ourselves entertained.

This morning as I was perusing Facebook while eating my breakfast, I happened to notice that Dominik Diamond (a.k.a. as "the Scot that rocks"), the evening disc jockey for Toronto's classic rock radio station Q107, was going to bee making an appearance from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Home Depot store very near to where I live and work.  As I often listen to Dominik's show as I'm driving home from work or anywhere else at night, I thought it would be fun to stop by the store on my way to the office and say hello.

When I arrived at the store, the Q107 van was parked outside:

I was worried the place was going to be busy with people lined up to speak to Dominic, so I was surprised to find that while some people were stopping to help themselves to the free coffee:

and some people looked like they were checking things out and might have wanted to approach their table:

most of the people (men) were just walking by, no one was actually speaking to Dominik or the other guy there with him, they were being totally ignored!  Who knew Home Depot shoppers would be so shy in the presence of a local celebrity??

When I arrived, the guys from Q had their heads down, each focused on the laptop in front of them

and at first I wondered if I should interrupt, as they looked rather busy and focused.  But as soon as I approached and tentatively said, "Dominik?", he jumped to his feet with a smile on his face and stuck out his hand to say hello.

We had a bit of a chat and the other guy (the one wearing the cool leather Harley jacket, whose name I didn't get) very kindly offered to take our picture for me.

They offered me free stuff - a toque, a t-shirt, a pen, a decal.  I took the Derringer in the Morning mug, since I love listening to John, Mo and the gang in the morning, and promptly put it to good use when I finally arrived at work (my boss is a Q107 fan as well, so she didn't mind me being late when she heard why!)


It was great to meet Dominik, he's just as engaging in person as he is on the air (although much taller than he sounds!?) and I was glad I made the trip.  Definitely a good way to brighten up a very cold winter's morning!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hello Winter

Winter has officially arrived this week, bringing extremely cold temperatures to most of us here in Canada.  Sure, we should be used to it, we are Canadians after all (as my sister keeps pointing out when any of us complain)!  But this is seriously cold, leading to somewhat amusing stories in the news about people not getting their mail on time because it was so cold, the delivery trucks wouldn't start - which is what happened yesterday in Winnipeg (affectionately known as "Winterpeg"), Manitoba, where early morning temperatures were as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius.  Believe it or not, minus 40C is the same in Fahrenheit - minus 40!  Brrr!

Here in Toronto, it has been cold too, although thankfully not quite that cold ("only" minus 25C overnight).  We had snow today too. I actually thought I was going to have to brush off my car for the first time this winter (that's how spoiled we've been this year, barely any snow accumulation) but luckily, it was very light snow and most of it blew away as soon as the car got going fast enough.  Still, this kind of weather means lots of accidents on the roads and cars that won't start due to dead batteries.

Unfortunately, it's not all ice skating and hot chocolate, cozy flannel pyjamas and Jack Frost nipping at your nose when this kind of winter comes to town. These bitterly cold temperatures are also dangerous to both humans and animals.  One homeless person in Toronto died last night, probably the result of hypothermia.  The city opens additional shelters and issues extreme cold alerts to encourage homeless people to seek out warm places to stay but it's not always enough.  There are also stories in the news urging people to bring their pets indoors and sadly, stories of people abandoning animals to fend for themselves outdoors.  It's heartbreaking.

On days like this, I am very grateful to be lucky enough that I can go from home to car to office with a minimum of exposure to the climate conditions if need be and even more glad that I can contribute in my small way to bringing some of those homeless animals in from the cold.  I'm giving my foster cats extra snuggles tonight while they hang out on the couch.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Guess The Theme (continued)

Here's the second half of my post about last week's Journal Junkies meeting (you can read the first half here).

Susan had attended the Stampotique demo at the store the previous Saturday, bought a number of the stamps and used them on her journal page. As a result, her pages were based on the theme of what she jokingly called "the money pit" (because she bought so many stamps!). She figured the stamps were saying to her, "you bought us, now what are you going to do with us?"

The top photo was layered above
the second picture, to great effect!

Donna's page had a techniques theme and was made using various products and techniques.

Marissa used a cold laminate technique for her Leonardo Da Vinci theme.

Diana couldn't make it to the meeting but sent her finished journal page, which focused on the theme of tea with the old masters.

Kelly made a totally beautiful, awesome pink and white page based on the theme of "change", because her pages are always, always black and this page did not even have a speck of black on it. Alas, I forgot to take a photo of it! :(

Next month's theme is "fugly", as in things that are (pardon my French) f'ing ugly.  So far, I don't have any ideas for my own page but no worries, there's lots of time. But I can't wait to see what everyone else does!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wacky Weather Today

We interrupt our regular programming to tell you about today's weather.  It's much colder than yesterday - at least 10 degrees so and even colder with the windchill, since the wind is blowing strongly enough for the authorities to issue a wind warning.  If that weren't enough, it kept changing from cloudy to sunny to blizzardy to clear to cloudy, over and over again.  But at the end of the day, it was a pretty as these two pictures:


We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Guess The Theme

This past Monday night was the January meeting of the Journal Junkies at Bizzy B.  Yours truly didn't have a journal page to show, as I'd been soooo busy working on finishing my Sketchbook Project entry (I took that for show and tell instead).  My fellow group members took turns presenting their pages and the rest of us had to guess the theme.

Laura's theme was recycling Christmas cards:

Louise also had a recycling focus - her page was made using paper from the blue box:

Barb's theme was "channeling Marilyn" (who was unable to attend this time but often makes several pages for each month's theme).  Barb had several pages to share with us:

Tune in tomorrow and I'll share the rest of the group's pages...

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Dangerous Outing

I went out at lunch today, braving the bitterly cold temperatures, to pick up a copy of the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Studios magazine, the Winter 2012 edition.  I had to get a copy because the Australian studio of my friend Jane Davenport was featured in it.  Jane and her husband have now moved to a new home so these photos are all that remain of that wonder studio, which those of us who took her Supplies Me course online often viewed and admired from afar.  In fact, if you watch any of Jane's videos on YouTube, you'll be able to get several peeks as well.  But still, I had to have the magazine.

Of course, after I'd found that magazine on the shelf, I had a peek at the others on display.  And ended up coming home with 3 more:

A dangerous outing, indeed, and an expensive one because I couldn't resist the temptation to add these magazines to my collection. So much for that New Year's resolution!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Sketchbook Project 2013 (Part 2)

Here are the rest of the pages from my Sketchbook Project which I mailed in on Tuesday.  As you may have read in yesterday's post, my theme was "mystery".  (click on any photo to see a larger view)
with flap closed
with flap open

I really enjoyed putting this book together. I don't think I've ever worked on a journal where I had to focus on a single theme all the way through, I kind of liked it. Limiting myself to use just black and white with a touch of red was both a challenge and helpful at times. Although I must say, while I was finishing the book with the deadline looming, I didn't let myself do anything else for about 2 weeks solid and during that time, I had so many other creative ideas going through my head, it was amazing! Of course, I didn't write them all down and now I can't remember half of them but perhaps they will come back to me! :)