Friday, May 30, 2014

Haiku My Heart: Maya

She wrote from the heart,
a phenomenal woman,
a voice for us all.
Rest in peace, Maya Angelou.

Haiku My Heart hosted by recuerda_mi_corazon.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Renovations Continue

Work continues outside my apartment door, albeit exceedingly slowly.  The drywall has been installed
and this week, taped and sanded.
By the time I get home each night, only a thin layer of white dust and the tools of their trade remain behind to show they were there.
I must admit, the sight of this roll of mesh tape sitting unattended was tempting to me.
If it was already open, I would have very few qualms about taking a inch (foot) or so for my journal (okay, maybe a yard) - the mesh adds a wonderful texture underneath gesso or paint. But it's a brand new roll, still wrapped in plastic, and I tell myself if I really want some, I can just head to the hardware store and get some of my own, no need to steal it.  So I left it there.  Every day.  For 3 days now.  Perhaps I am being tested.  Good girl or bad?

I wish they'd tidy up their stuff and put it away, or move on to the next floor. A girl can only be good for so long!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How Did I Miss That?

Do you ever have one of those experiences where you realize that you hadn't really been seeing something that you look at every day?  For me, it's usually a freckle on my face - suddenly one day, I'll notice one and think, "Hey, where did that freckle come from?" Then I ask someone, "How long have I had this freckle?" and they say, "It's been there for years!"

This time, it was my Tim Holtz design ruler.  I was reading one of his blog posts and one of the steps was to poke evenly spaced holes with a sharp tool using the holes in the ruler. I actually thought to myself, "Gee, I must have an earlier version of that ruler. Too bad mine doesn't have those holes."

(Hand slaps forehead) Silly me, of course my ruler has those holes. Honestly, I had never noticed them before!!
Of course, now I see them every time I look at the ruler.  Crazy.

Just to be sure I'm not missing anything else about this ruler I should have noticed by now, I'm going to watch this video very carefully!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Little Bird Book

My friend Laurie has pointed out to me that I hadn't posted any pictures of the book I made when I took a class with DJ Pettitt in Florida at the beginning of April.  Not sure how that happened but better late than never, here goes:

I call it my little bird book, not just because of the quail on the cover that DJ taught us how to paint
and not because of the bird's nest on the back cover (ditto)
but because I ended up adding a number of the photos of the birds I saw in Florida to the pages, with (in my humble opinion) great effect.
First, the individual pages were gessoed and then painted with a number of techniques we learned in class.  I tried to keep the results random and rather organic looking, using earthy tones.
Then we sewed strips of fabric to the painted pages. As you can see, I used a number of decorative stitches but again, I stuck to those that had a nature theme, such as leaves or flowers.  As the time, I was just thinking of the cover designs, trying to keep the idea of a quail and her nest.
The paper pages were interspersed with fabric pages made of cloth, ribbon and lace and whatever else we wanted to embellish them with.
The spine of the book was made with a similar combination of fabric, lace, ribbon and crocheted pieces, then buttons were added as the signatures were stitched to it.
In the end, it was as if the painted pages were made with the photos in mind, even though I hadn't taken any of the pictures before I did the painting.  When it came time to add the photos, many of them seemed to match perfectly with the way a certain page had been painted - a very serendipitous result!
For example, the painted area in the top right of the page below reminded me of branches and suited the look of branches in this photo and the way the bird was tucked into a shadowy recess within.
I'm so thrilled with how the book turned out. I like to flip through it from time and time and wonder about whether I should add more to it - another photo, a few more embellishments maybe?  For now, I'm just enjoying it just the way it is and thinking about the next one I'll make.

Here's just one more photo, of me and DJ together!  So glad I took the class and got to spend time with such a lovely person and talented artist.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ice Cream Weather

I'm trying to walk 10,000 steps every day. Today I was 1,000 or so short so I took myself out for a quick walk after dinner. Except my feet happened to take me past the nearby convenience store where I popped in to pick up one of these:
I couldn't resist, it felt so much like summer today. 

Just this once...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Construction Update

I had a quiet day yesterday, working on an art project that is a gift for someone. I meant to finish it last year and didn't, thought I'd work on it over the winter and didn't do too much. Now I just want to get it done but needed a few hours of uninterrupted time to get it really going and I finally had that yesterday. Still a ways to go but at least it's moving ahead now.  On the plus side, the recipient doesn't know anything about it so they don't know I'm running so late on delivery! :)

Today was a different story - more active, cleaning up and clearing out. Spent some time today cleaning off my balcony.  Quite a layer of dirt on everything after a long winter and of course, due to all the extra dust in the air from what is going on down on the ground:
The construction work continues, even on Saturdays. Yesterday was the first warm and sunny, summer-like Saturday we've had this year and I chose not to be out of the balcony because the noise of the trucks and heavy equipment is bad enough when just the windows are open a few inches.  Not to mention that they started work around 7 a.m. and kept going until late afternoon.  They're not supposed to start work until 7 according to the local by-laws but that doesn't seem to stop them from getting ready earlier than that, which yesterday involved banging those heavy metal buckets around starting about 6 a.m.  So much for sleeping in on the weekends, it's not possible in this neighbourhood right now!
At one point, I counted 9 dump trucks waiting to be filled up.
I'm not sure where that big pile of dirt came from or where it is going.
Luckily, they don't work on Sundays so today was blissfully quiet.  I carted a few loads downstairs to the garbage, clearing a bunch of stuff that had been accumulating on my balcony over the past few years, cluttering things up.  Once that stuff was gone, I washed a thick layer of grime off the table and chairs and vacuumed the rug.  I also had to sweep up a lot of leaves from the artificial tree I have out there - it sheds as much as a real tree in the fall! How can that be?!

Now all is tidy out there but I am worn out.  I think I'll turn in early doubt those dump trucks will be back first thing tomorrow morning to wake me up early!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Haiky My Heart Fridays: Brave

Newborns take first steps
Explore the world around them
So small yet so brave.

What I didn't know about my new camera is that it has a setting that allows you to take pictures while simultaneously shooting a video.  As a result, the photos I shared on this post the other day where taken while filming the above video.  So now we have the best of both worlds!

You will more Haiku My Heart here at recuerda_mi_corazon.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Church in Paris

My mom gifted me with this picture a few weeks ago when I was home to visit her.
She told me it used to hang in her parents' home although I don't remember seeing it there.  The writing at the bottom says "Paris Rue de la Montagne St. Genevieve".  It appears to be a framed print, rather than an original, but that doesn't take away from its charm.

When I Googled the words "St Genevieve church Paris", I discovered this picture of a church
which looks very much like the church in the drawing (which I found here on this Wikipedia page). Said church is known as Saint-√Čtienne-du-Mont.

I think I shall have to visit this church next time I am in Paris (which will be in about 6 weeks' time), just to say I have seen it.  I might even - can you imagine? - try to draw it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


When we came back to work yesterday after the long weekend, we discovered that the goslings had hatched.  I didn't see them myself but my boss, whose parking space is located very near to the nest, told me she had seen little heads in the nest when the momma goose stood up.  I had to take her word for it because every time I looked at the nest out my office window, the mother goose seemed firmly planted on top, just as she had been for the past few weeks.

I read on the Internet that once hatched, the parents will move the babies quite soon, usually within one day but sometimes after about a week. As a result, I knew it would be a good idea to bring my camera into work this morning but when I arrived, I could see right away that the nest was already empty.  I couldn't see the geese and I was quite disappointed that I had missed seeing the babies.  All that was left was the nest, a cozy looking spot with lots of soft feathers and several broken eggshells.
Then I realized that the geese were nearby on a grassy patch, although I could only assume the goslings were tucked underneath their momma (I'd read online that they need to warm up under her every 15 minutes).
She kept a close eye on me, to make sure I wasn't a threat to her brood.
I went in to work and by the time I got up to my office a few minutes later and looked out the window, I could see the geese were on the move. Back downstairs I rushed, in time to take these photos.
5 cute little golden goslings, stumbling about, taking a few steps then plopping down for a rest, then up on their feet again.
The adults were very aware I was there and kept a close eye on me. I was careful to stay between two parked cars, hoping not to frighten them.  My last sighting of them was as they made their way to the opposite end of the parking lot.  
I didn't see them for the rest of the day. I'm not sure they will return, as they tend to move on very soon after the hatching, to find a water source.  There's a creek a few blocks away but it's hard to imagine those tiny little geese making such a long journey so soon.  I hope they stay safe wherever they go, there's so much traffic on the block around where they were born, I'd hate for any of them to end up under the wheels of a fast moving car.
Good luck, little goslings, be safe, be happy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring at the Cottage

Spring is still taking it's sweet time settling in.  This first long weekend of the season is when we normally open the cottage but the single digit overnight temperatures and frost warnings were a bit disconcerting.  We postponed our arrival until Sunday as a result.  
It was the first year I could remember being up there early enough that the leaves are still in the process of unfurling.  

The bareness of the trees and the cool temperatures made it seem more like fall and people were bundled up in thick sweaters and making jokes about cooking a Thanksgiving turkey!  This chipmunk was busy filling his cheeks as if winter was approaching.  Perhaps he knows something we don't?
The trilliums and the myrtle are in bloom, always a sure sign of spring!
There was a huge dead fish floating about at our shoreline, which my sister Janine discovered when she donned her hip-waders and headed into the lake as part of the process of getting running water.
One of our beloved birch trees came down at the end of October last year. It will need to be cut up for firewood but that's not on the "to do" list until next week.
For this past weekend, it was all about getting the water running and get things cleaned, dusted, vacuumed and organized, which we did in record time.  It seemed a shame to leave late Monday afternoon, just when everything was sparking clean and ready to enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy Victoria Day

Today we Canadians celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria.
Photo courtesy of
Don't ask me why, we just do.  It's as good a reason as any for a long weekend, don't you think?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Flock of Bird Tags

Diana Trout posted a video on her blog yesterday about doodling paisley birds - click here to watch it (don't worry, it's only 2:40 minutes long).  I had some free time today and I was in the mood to make something but didn't want to start anything too time consuming, so this project fit the bill perfectly.

First I painted a batch of tags after watching this video by Dina Wakley (whose video is a bit longer, just over 10 minutes, and is also bird themed):
and used one of them to make a bird. In this case, because the tag was rather heavily decorated, I thought a text paper bird would suit it best.
Then I went back and watched Diana's video again and decided I wanted to make some tags with a lighter, more watercolour look to them, so I stamped a few different colours of Distress Ink on my craft sheet, sprayed it with water and smeared several clean tags through the wet ink. Voila!
Then I cut some birds from patterned scrapbook paper and added them to the tags.
For this last tag, I used a Donna Downey bird stamp and Black Soot Distress Ink, then sprayed the image with water afterwards to soften the edges a bit.
Such a fun, easy project.   Thanks for the inspiration, Diana and Dina!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Haiku My Heart: A Sign From the Universe

Sometimes it's just there
On the ground in front of you,
A message of peace. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

More Journal Pages

Here are the pages presented by my fellow Journal Junkies at our monthly meeting this past Monday night.  The main theme was "accessories", the optional theme was "the sun" and the optional art supply was "metal embellishments".

Bette drew this pretty face and added an accessories border:
Marilyn put her own twist on the metal embellishments option by painting this owl with metallic paint and adding a hair tie as an accessory embellishment.
Her second page featured these medallions:
Kelly's first page made us laugh with its reference to her "bad attitude":
Her second page focused on the accessories she uses in her current job as a costume maker:
Helen's metal swirl intrigued us all (and reminded me of a Slinky!):
Believe it or not, Louise created this page using pencil crayons:

Great job, everyone!