Monday, 31 October 2011

C'est l'Halloween!

Happy Halloween Pals!

I'm dressed up as BikeGirl today - an imaginary super hero that was dreamed up due to a sticker on the back of my helmet. For those of you who don't know, I'm an avid cyclist. My bike, Judith Winchester III is a Slipstream electric assist bike - that means that when you're pedalling up a hill, you can punch a button and the wheels turn a little faster to help you up. It's PERFECT for the hills around White Rock!

Here I am in my costume - pink cape, pink helmet, pink "B," pink hair! The cape was specifically designed out of super sheer fabric so that it flaps behind me in the immense wind that I create while riding my bike (not). The pink B is made from sparkly felt. SPARKLY FELT. Felt with SPARKLES. Nothing is too sparkly for BikeGirl.

Enjoy the pics, and enjoy the day!

BikeGirl's rough-and-tumble attitude is no match for the mean streets of White Rock. 

Many mortals try to overcome her, but only a precious few have survived. 

A rare occasion - BikeGirl smiling. Don't think that this is a demonstration of weakness! 

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Tandem Painting, Anyone?

I have kept an eye on Debra Cooper's blog A Little Imagination and a Pile of Junk for at least 2 years now. I love her creative style and she often inspires me with her work. I've even tried copying some of her techniques, but my work never turn out as nicely as hers does.

Yesterday she posted a bunch of photos about working with her BFF (who I think should be ME) on a piece of art. She's done this a few times, and the end product is always SO INTERESTING. There is something to be said for combining two differing styles of art, borne of two different personal backgrounds, into one cohesive piece. 

Have a look at this post to see what I mean about awesomeness.

Wanna make art with me?


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Finished Product!!!


I got my sewing machine back from the repair shop on Saturday and closed myself in my studio the entire evening. My poor husband was completely abandoned on a Saturday night, replaced by my burning desire to finish an art journal!

So I've taken a bunch of photos to show you my process with this journal. I made up all of the pages this past week while my machine was in the shop. You can look at this post to see what pages I included.

Once I sat down to sew the signatures together, I realised that I had been WAY too ambitious planning my pages. The cover that I had made last weekend  was too small by about an inch and a half on the outer edges. After a couple of chuckles at my overzealousness, I decided that I would DEFINITELY make a new cover that would be even MORE awesome than the one I made last weekend! Since making the cover was the most creative and fun part for me, I was definitely A-OK with making another one.

I used orange embroidery thread to sew my signatures together.
Since this is the colour that I use the least in my sewing,
 I thought that I would use it for this job since once the book is done,
these stitches are hardly seen. 

Definitely too many pages for the cover I made last weekend!

Back to the drawing board to create a NEW, larger cover... a SUPER fun "problem"!
Assembling the art pages was a really fun part of the project. I have stacks and stacks of neat papers that I store away for a rainy day. For this project, I took out all of my favourite papers and put them into this book. Since it's my own art day timer for ME, I figured that I might as well use my favourite papers and fabrics!

Some of my pages were stitched together to include different layers of papers. 
My Contacts section was created using a set of alphabet tabs that I trimmed down, then sewed onto trimmed cardstock using a zigzag stitch. Very cool looking and just as strong (or stronger?) than glue!

Now for the Piece de Resistance! I've made a VIDEO to show you how the finished product looks. It's about 4 minutes long, and I am so proud of myself that I actually made a video and did the voice-over. In this video I share a lot of my techniques, how I store my papers, my thought process for putting the journal together, and a general tour of all of the things I've included. 

I would LOVE to read your comments, questions and suggestions on my new art Day Timer! Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

October 22 - National Color Day!

Did you know that in Canada we make the word "color" even more special by giving it an extra letter? That's right. When you play Scrabble in Canada, "colour" is worth more points.

The Monkey at White Rock Beach

Today is a day to celebrate colour. That means that pretty much every visual artist everywhere should sleep in and drink extra coffee (or tea!) until they are good and ready to start their day.

You see, I have a secret love affair with colour. I get so excited poring over paint chips at Home Depot that my grubby little hands grab them by the fistful! When I see the blues, oranges and pinks of a sunset over White Rock Beach, my heart skips a beat or two and my breath is whisked away with the ocean wind.

To celebrate Colour Day, I've taken some snapshots of some colour pages that I've designed. Enjoy!

Orange - Gratitude

Brown - Includes a quote from George Sand

Red - I'm loving Mandalas lately...


Pink - Amour (love)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Hair-do? Hair-don't!

As promised, here is an account of my "hair-don't." I can honestly say that the colour is too bright for me. I was hoping for a little more of a Barbie pink colour; instead I got what you see in the "after" photo below.

I used Jerome Russell's Punky hair dye in Flamingo Pink. Even though the colour looked a little on the magenta side, I kept envisioning flamingos. Nice, soft, pink flamingos.

So here are my before, during and after photos. I'm washing my hair 2-3 times a day now, trying to get the colour to fade. I really do admire the vivacity of the colour - it's SO bright and the product itself is pretty awesome. It was easy to use, smelled nice, and is sticking to my hair like crazy! :)
After. Tadaaaa!
Super awesome hair colour -
 just a little darker than I had wanted.

Before - a blondie.
During - a bag lady.

Like I said, the product really rocks, and the colour is vibrant, even, and ultra solid. It's just darker than I wanted. I would definijnltey use Punky brand colour again, just not in the same dark colour. With my skin tone, I like to have things a little lighter...

Unfortunately, Jerome Russell's Punky doesn't come in a light pink so I have to go elsewhere...

Next time I'm going to consider trying this one that I found at Walgreens online.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Update - New Journal is ALMOST DONE!!!

Alright, so I've been going CRAZY working on pages for my new journal.

A list of my pages to include:
- week at a glance
- grocery list and meal-planning
- actions list
- project planning guide
- daily activity record
- daily BBT record/graph (for baby-making!)
- calendars for 2012-2013-2014
- pockets to stuff cards and notes
- art journal pages
- inspiring quotes including one that I had my mother write out so that I would have it in her hand-writing!
- contacts a-z
- a page for my contact information and useful phone numbers (services, emergency numbers, doctors, etc.)

A lot of stuff, right? Well I didn't realise how much stuff I actually wanted in there until I went with all of my pages back to my journal cover. Yep. WAY too much stuff. In fact, my journal would be over twice as thick if I included all of the pages that I want. Of course I want to have a journal that I can use day in and day out, but to what end, right? Do I really want to carry around a suitcase just so that I can bring my journal with me everywhere?

My solution? include everything, but pare down the quantity of each section. For example, I had about 75 week-at-a-glance pages printed out. This takes up over half of my journal once they're folded in half to make the 5.5"x8.5" size that I want. I also went from 20 sheets (40 pages) of project planning, activity, action list and grocery list sheets down to 10. I figure that once they're folded in half, I will still have 20 sheets double-sided, which is a total of forty pages for each of these things. Definitely enough, right?

The cool thing about paring down the size of my journal is that I have almost enough pages for a SECOND journal! This means that I can be working on numero dos while I'm working IN numero uno! Love it! :)

I am DEFINITELY going to show you the different pages that I've put into this journal in a future post because I've customized ALL of them to suit my own needs and I'm pretty darn proud of them. Stay tuned!

Oh wait! The reason why I wanted to talk to you in the FIRST place is to tell you that in the midst of all this creativity making my new journal, my SEWING MACHINE BROKE DOWN!!!! How inconvenient! I'm going to drop it off today at a local repair shop with the hopes of getting it back tomorrow (fingers crossed!)

Monday, 17 October 2011

A New Journal is in the Works!

Yesterday, as I was dying my hair flamingo pink, I decided to do some sewing on a new art journal/daytimer. Inspired by iHanna's blog post from earlier this year, I began planning out how I wanted it to look.

I started by determining the size of planner that I wanted. I used some templates from DIY Planner to decide that I wanted a standard 8.5" x 5.5" journal. That's the same as a standard sheet of paper folded in half. I figured that I could include templates of pages and my own creative pages more easily if they were all a standard size. More on the pages themselves later.

For the cover, I got two pieces of heavy cardstock (heavier than a cereal box but not as heavy as corrugated cardboard) that measured just OVER 8.5" x 5.5". I figured that I wanted the cover to be slightly larger than the pages so that the pages themselves would be protected. That's what a cover is for, right?

My Monkey and I went to a yard sale yesterday and I picked up a scarf featureing "Flowers of Barbados" in vibrant colours and beautiful images. This is what I used for the front cover. For the back cover, I went into my fabric storage wardrobe and picked out a nice blue striped bolt. I sewed these to the carboard with my machine, then sewed them to each other, leaving a space in the middle for the book's spine. So in the end, I had a piece of fabric that was made up of two bits of fabric sewn together with two pieces of cardstock at the ends. Here is what it looked like from the back:

You can see by the stitching that I had already embellished the front at this point,
but you can get the general idea, I hope!
After sewing the basic form, I then had a TON of fun embellishing the covers with ribbon, motifs and felt. I must say, my sewing machine was going at full speed for a good hour or so! It was super fun trying out different stitches and using different coloured thread.

Here is what the good side of my journal cover looks like now:

Pretty awesome, right? I think so too! I used a piece of felt to make the circle on the back and just sewed it on with a minty green zigzag stitch. I also went through my remnatns and scraps and found some cool designs like the swirly flowers on the top left. The heart is also done in felt and outlined with a zigzag stitch, and the bottom right wavy thing is where I played around with my machine's different stitches.

Here are a couple of close-ups:

See the cute leaf stitch at the bottom of the felt? Neat!

I *love* the light blue ribbon with the roses...

So NOW I have a front cover and back cover for my journal. All I need to do this week is get my pages together into signatures. Hopefully next weekend I can stitch it all together into a solid binding!

Front Cover

Back Cover

 How did the hair turn out, you ask? Wait 'til later this week for some before, during and after photos!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Stuffed Awesomeness

Last night I put the finishing touches on the last two of my Gremlins for this Christmas season. I'm calling them Gremlins for lack of a better name. They aren't REALLY Gremlins; they're cute stuffed animal-like beings designed purely for snuggling. I think these two new ones are my favourites so far - I LOVE their colourful "clothing." All of my Gremlins are button-free so that even the littlest of us humans can snuggle them.

The new ones that I finished last night.

One of my other favourites, featuring a faux-pearl zig-zag "necklace."

I LOVE this "quadropus" too!
I won't show you the rest of this year's collection - you'll have to wait for the show (A Real Piece of Work November 19-20) or find them on my soon-to-be-revamped etsy store, riggoo.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Sushi Excursion - We Save Trees!


My Monkey and I went to Richmond Sushi last night for All You Can Eat (AYCE). Uhmmmm YUM! The best part about AYCE is that you can try so many different items in small portions! Of course portion control isn't really the focus here, since you can order 14 of the same thing if you want to!

Ever thought about how many trees get cut down to make chopsticks? When you think that pretty much every sushi diner uses chopsticks - usually the wooden ones that the restaurants give you for free - that's a lot of chopsticks!

Monkey and I got some metal ones (metal as in the material and "metal!!" as in how cool they are) as a gift. Now we bring our chopsticks with us when we go for sushi. 

It feels GOOD to save trees! And using metal chopsticks is so chic - other diners and even serving staff ask us where we got them.

Metal is "Metal!"

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Paradise Lost? (or, Why I Don't Mind the Rain)

An inspiring shot from °°k°°'s photostream on Flickr. Thanks! 

Today's breath of fresh air is fresher than it's been for the past 5 months. After the overcast doldrums of June and July (rare for us here in B.C.), the stagnance of muggy August days, and the long-awaited (and wildly welcomed) heat wave in September, October's rainy windstorms are not only a lesson in seasons, but an under-appreciated gift.

While the rest of the city grumbles in their wellingtons, scarves, inside-out umbrellas and overcoats, I, for one, am welcoming the change into Fall. The grass becomes greener and lusher with every raindrop. The leaves are reminding us of our mortality. The wilting trees and crispy brown lawns are again renewed with the nourishment that only nature can truly provide. We are entering the realms of rebirth, yet we must endure patterns of decay and sleep in the meantime.  

So for today, I ask you this:

Is there anything better than lying in bed in the dark beside a warm body, listening to the wind whistling, the trees moaning and the rain pelting down on the roof? For me, that is Paradise Found.

Monday, 10 October 2011

aaaaaaand exhale!

 Last night's Turkey Dinner was a HUGE success!

New stuffing recipe: awesome.
Gravy: rich and so tasty!
Turkey: moist and flavourful.
Whipped yams: smooth and creamy.
Potatoes with bacon and green onions: a total hit!
Brussels sprouts: Roasted in the oven but a little underdone...

If the only complaint was the Brussels sprouts (which only half of the guests like anyway) I think the dinner can be called a success.

If you'd like to know more about my recipes and techniques for this dinner, comment below! I'll be happy to include some of my secrets in this week's posts!

The juiciest and most flavourful turkey I've ever tasted.
Our own adaptation of this recipe. Thanks, Monkey!

The rest of today entails a little bit of the following: deep breaths, sweatpants and slippers, blankets, pillows, a good book, my Monkey, and the kittens. I'm loving the fact that I don't have to cook for a few days! Life couldn't be better.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

It's Time for Dinner! (Last-Minute Thanksgiving Centerpieces)

I MUST show you some other ideas for Thanksgiving centerpieces. Of course my centerpiece for this year is the awesomest, but I have to say that there are some pretty cool ideas out there for cheap!

I was doing a little search for what to do for place cards and I came across this post from Laurie aka the Tip Junkie. While I tend to shy away from using other people's ideas and prefer to create my own, I got a little giddy about these upside down wine glasses turned into candle holders/pumpkin protectors. Pretty much awesome. Call me a domestic nerd, but I LOVE double-duty kitchenware.

Twigs in a jar. So smart!!

Then there's the old "throw some stuff into a bowl and call it art" centerpiece. For example, I see a lot of jars of cranberries, nuts, stones, leaves, etc. This creates a shot of colour in the middle of the table which I like and it can also make your house smell nice. Imagine stuffing some fresh cedar cuttings in a clear vase for your table. Instant art and incredible scent! Just make sure that you don't overpower your guests with different odours. They're there to taste your food, so don't distract them too much with other scents.

Rachel Ray's really good at the whole "things in jars" idea. (I know, I also cringe when I think of her, but you can't blame her for being a smarty!) She has some good ideas for centerpieces from the backyard. This post is AWESOME! Not only are these options cheap or free, but they're quick and they really give you that earthy, country look that makes for a cozy evening. I've already included a tree branch on my table (thank you, wind storm!) along with some mini pumpkins, dried corn, red leaves, and this really impressive pedestal serving dish that we bought at Home Sense. You can see my centerpiece here.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Getting Ready for a Long Weekend

In addition to TWO turkey dinners this Thanksgiving weekend (one hosted by yours truly and the Monkey), I'm hoping to get some time to do some art. I have two art shows coming up, so a lot of my creativity has been going into getting stuff prepared for them in November. In other words, I haven't had time to just sit and CREATE.

In preparation for this weekend, I've made some simple backgrounds in my 8x11 journal. I really like this journal because it is spiral bound and the page size is perfect for a good solid entry. Have a look and let me know what you think.

Origami paper and watercolor

Watercolor and pencil crayon

Close-up of double-face pencil crayon

Washi tape and watercolor

I wanted to show this one close up so that you can share my excitement about my awesome new Washi tape.
That, and I'm really digging the moody watercolor effects that I've been getting on some of these pages...

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Thanksgiving This Weekend...

A page from my current art journal
Canadian Thanksgiving is on October 11th - over a month before the American Thanksgiving. Instead of giving thanks to pilgrims, we give thanks to our fall harvest:

"On Thursday, January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:
A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed – to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October." (Wikipedia)

Not that all of us are farmers - far from it! But Canada's agriculture industry is pretty huge and so when the harvest is done, we all reap the rewards - and fabulous produce!

In honour of Canadian Thanksgiving, the Monkey and I are having 13 people over on Sunday for a traditional turkey dinner. On the guest list: both sets of parents, siblings and spouses from both sides, two nieces and a nephew.

On the menu: Turkey on the Traeger, stuffing in the crockpot, roasted brussels sprouts, potatoes, yams, carrots, corn, and cranberry sauce...ahhhhhhhhhh! For dessert? Cookies for the little ones and lemon meringue pie. Both the Monkey and I aren't huge fans of pumpkin pie, so we decided to switch it up a little.

To make sure that all 15 of us would fit in the dining room, I set the table last weekend. I'm using a mishmash of cloth napkins and a dark gray flat bedsheet for a tablecloth. The cork placemats in the photo are from Ikea - they'll serve as trivets for warm dishes, and they add a neat aesthetic with their tree images. I've been cultivating my centrepiece ever since I started setting the table. What do you think?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


It's taco day in North America. Funny - it's vodka day, too, but let's get down to business here.  TACOs!

From Wikipedia: A taco ( /ˈtɑːkoʊ/) is a traditional Mexican dish composed of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety. A taco is generally eaten without utensils and is often accompanied by garnishes such as salsa, avocado or guacamole, cilantro, tomatoes, onions and lettuce.

At the Old Country Buffet on Sunday, the Monkey and I enjoyed a Taco Bar! Ahhhhh... A buffet without a taco bar is like soda without bubbles: you can still consume it, but it's really nothing to get excited about.

What's for dinner on YOUR table tonight? We're having...tacos.

Sushi Washi!!

Pretty much awesome. Check out the sushi washi that I bought a few days ago. Cutest ebi EVER! Not sure how I'm going to put this to use, but the images alone were reason enough to pop it into my basket.

Do YOU have any go-to materials for your art? Whether it's a certain brand of yarn for your knitting, sequins for making book covers or whatever! What do you *love*?

Monday, 3 October 2011

Check Out THESE Gems!

Just came across the CUTEST specs on Zenni. Not that I want to promote any specific company or anything, but seriously, have a look at these! Complete with wings....<le sigh>

Art Journal Pages

I was all ready to washi-it-up on some my art journal pages, when I realised that I have some pretty awesome pages to show you first!

Home is Where My <3 is, especially when the Monkey's there with me. (magazine clippings, black and fine-point Sharpie, washi tape)

Experimenting with watercolors and fine-tip Sharpie. Creates a nice background for future musings...

Les Fleurs - Trying out new fine-tip Staedtler pens with some pretty card fronts...

Kittens Need New Clothes, Too...

My Monkey (aka husband) and I happened across some "dresses" for our girls over the weekend. Since Thanksgiving is coming up (Oct 10 in Canada!), we thought that our kittehs should get some new duds!

As you can see, they are over the moon with happiness and excitement... Note in particular the trendy hot-pink spaghetti straps on the right.

New Spectacles!

So for those of you who don't know, I have an eye infection and can't wear my contacts for a few weeks, possibly months. I spent about 5 days feeling completely sorry for myself, then I pulled up my socks and went online. I searched Clearly Contacts and Zenni for cool, retro-inspired glasses. I can appreciate the whole library-chic of glasses, but honestly, I like to make a statement and be different from the masses...

So here goes.What do you think? Did I achieve 50's style?

Cheap Art Journal Materials

Ok pals, I went to Daiso on the weekend. I know, I know, cheap Asian-made crap, right? Well, yes! That's a pretty accurate description, but man-o-man! What an absolute PLAYGROUND for art journals! I bought 8 rolls of washi tape for a total of six bucks. Nice! I'm going to play around in my current art journal and then show you the AWESOMEness that it truly is!

I also picked up some stick-on lace and of course some origami paper, which gives any journal page a quick and easy background. And yes, one of the washi tape rolls is pictures of differnt types of sushi... over and over and over and over....

While I'm not usually an advocate for cheap Asian-made crap (I shop locally and from small business as often as I can), I really couldn't resist this stuff... more pics to come!!