May 28th 2010

It's the last day of the work week, and I think this weekend will be a great one! It's been beautiful here for a week, and I've been able to finish up some jobs in time to take a little break and enjoy some sunshine.

Good news! I just spotted a post on one of my favorite art blogs, My Love For You is a Stampede of Horses, featuring my fabric and linking to Anabela's post of yesterday. Thanks to both Meighan and Anabela!

It must be a "cat" day today, because it's also the two-year anniversary of our getting dear old Dre. Happy cat-iversary, old cat! Chris brought him home from the animal shelter and surprised me exactly two years ago. He's been the sweetest pet.

I'm just reinforcing my cat-lady image now, aren't I?

May 26th 2010

The weather is gorgeous, and has been all week so far. It's gotten really balmy, (especially considering it's not even June!). With the humidity, it's supposed to get as high as 35 ℃ today.

Between jobs and projects I've been allowing myself some breaks to run outside, even if it's just to drink an iced coffee on the porch. Yesterday, Chris and I got 90 L of soil from the local garden centre, and it still didn't properly fill all of our pots for tomatoes! I think I'll need to take another trip this afternoon.

I've also been keeping my eye on the mulberry tree in front of our house. Each spring it drops berries all over our front walkway and stains it a deep purple. I'm going to use more of the berries this year to make a nice batch of jam! I can't wait. I don't think I've ever had mulberry jam before.

When I finally head back inside, it's back to work on an illustration job I've been working on. I'll post about it at the end of the week. I've also got another job which could be quite exciting that I'll link to shortly. (I know, always so taciturn...). I'm still working away on paintings for an upcoming exhibition at Narwhal Art Projects in July. It's going to be a great show! Some of my favorite artists that they feature will have work included.

Speaking of which, I think it's back to work for me. I'll take another break for some sunshine later.

AH! I nearly forgot! Anabela made some beautiful cushions out of some of my Kitty Buds fabric! You can read all about it here.

May 21st 2010

I found out this afternoon that a friend and wonderful local artist had passed away. Will Munro was a pillar in the Queen West art community, and will be dearly missed.

For those of you who weren't familiar with Will and his work, here are some write-ups from local papers today :

Also, a write up on the Toronto Craft Alert website, and an interview by Leila Pourtavaf with Will pertaining to his last show, "Inside The Solar Temple of the Cosmic Leather Daddy" held at Paul Petro Gallery in March of this year.

May 20th 2010

A friend, (who knows the extent of my love for bikes and Audrey Tautou), sent me this video earlier, and I just had to share! It's so sweet and pretty! (And the song is really great, too!).

May 19th 2010

We had the best day out yesterday!

We went on quite the adventure through the city riding the tandem, eating good food, (and gelato from La Paloma!), riding to the St. Lawrence Market and through High Park. We ended the day with a delicious home-cooked meal of scallop and squid cassoulet, (with seafood bought fresh at the market that day).

It was exactly a year since we got engaged and now, with just less than a year til the big day, I'm getting more and more excited!

May 17th 2010

I had a really great weekend.

On Saturday night, some friends met up in the park near our house, brought hot dogs and marshmallows along and had a bonfire! I haven't been to a bonfire since my sister's wedding two years ago, so it was such a treat.

Our friend Katherine had never had s'mores before, so I brought the ingredients along to make them. I like to make them with Jersey Milk chocolate bars, Honey Maid graham crackers and store bought marshmallows. They're terrible for you, but they're so delicious! I had actually made a batch of marshmallows in the shape and size of graham crackers to use at our last attempt to have a bonfire a few weeks ago, but it snowed that day, (and we ate all of the marshmallows before we could use them at this bonfire!).

It was nice and chilly, but we didn't have to bundle up too much by the fire.

Tomorrow is our six year anniversary, so I'll be away from my computer all day. Chris and I are going on an adventure on the tandem bike. It'll be our first time out on it this season!

May 13th 2010

The Swedish Dala Horse (Dalahäst) is one of my favorite shapes, and I've used it quite a lot in my artwork.

The other day, Anabela stopped in to pick up some fabric, bringing with her the most amazing Dala cake pans! They're so cute! It's only been a couple of days, but I've been dying to use them.

This morning I made a batch of raspberry kefir muffins, and used a bit of the batter to make a tiny Dala Horse cake. I'm saving it for Chris, (as delicious as it looks!), because it's exactly one year until our wedding day today, (which means five more days until our 6-year anniversary!).

Anabela, thanks for the sweet pan! It works like a charm, and I can't wait to use it again! xo

May 12th 2010

In the last year, canning has become one of my favorite things to do. And for some reason, I'm always really drawn to unusual jars. I save all of my old Bonne Maman jars, even though I can't use them for canning again. I just love their fluted sides and gingham tops!

I've had my eye on these jars by Weck for ages, but only yesterday thought to check online to see if there are shops in Canada that carry them. I don't believe there are any, and I would have to have them shipped from the States, but I think it would be well worth it! They're beautiful!

One day I'll have a garden, (an actual garden, not this tiny flower bed of mine), and I'll grow lots of things and can them in the fall. What a dream!

I got my first raspberry bush yesterday. I hope it grows lots of berries this year!

May 11th 2010

Man, oh man. It's cold and miserable outside again today. I've been under the weather for a week now, and this weather isn't helping much.

Thanks goodness, though, for Aran Goyoaga at Cannelle-et-Vanille for posting gorgeous photos like this and reminding me that summer is (actually, really) on its way. A couple of days ago she posted about her assignment for Design*Sponge, to create a beautiful summery drink, (Ginger and Strawberry Bubbles!), using her own recipe. The recipe sounds incredible! She even made her own ginger ale to use for the drink! (Which I'm definitely going to try! Maybe even today! So excited! Ginger ale makes sick people feel better, right?).

She always makes things look extra special in her photos. They look so dreamy...

I'm also pretty in love with these two dresses from Anthropologie. I want to start wearing dresses again! And without tights! Soon enough, I suppose.

I want to thank blogs like Cannelle-et-Vanille, and shops like Anthropologie for keeping my warmer-weather-spirits up during these chilly, chilly days. They remind me that things can be warm and colourful!

I've also been looking at some of the wedding blogs lately, because it's almost exactly a year until our own big day! Yay!

Here's one last little something that cheered me up; a video of Jim Henson's first television show : Sam & Friends, c. 1961. I was listening to the Muppets episode of the How Stuff Works podcast while I painted yesterday, and found out about this show. I'm a life-long Muppets fan, and I hope this video makes you as happy as it made me.

PS - I apologize for the lack of photos of my own work in the last little while. I have a couple of projects I'm working on; one cover illustration and a collection of oil paintings, but I'm not at liberty to post about them just yet. But soon!

May 10th 2010

I had an Inuit soapstone carving given to me by my grandma when I was younger. I've always loved it. I remember going through my Mom's old art school textbooks, and one of my favorites was the one on Inuit art.

I've kept my carving above my desk, (along with some of the other things I like to glance at for inspiration), for a long time. Even though I see it up there occasionally, I was reminded of it the other day when I was having a coffee with Anthony in the park.

He was talking about a man that his mother knows that makes beautiful carvings of bears, and I mentioned this owl one that I've had forever. It made me want to run home immediately and start researching Inuit art again. Below are a couple of the images that I came up with online:

Female artist, Kenojuak Ashvak, is the creator of the piece above, which is quite famous in Canada, (and has even been printed on Canadian postage stamps).

The piece below is by Siassie Kenneally, an artist of the Dorset Fine Arts collective, titled Seal Gut.

Anthony had also mentioned an artist who's work he's admired for quite a while now; Annie Pootoogook. I looked her up, and she's now a new favorite artist of mine! Her work is so simple and beautiful, and tells such vivid stories. I also love that she shows the modern side of Inuit life in her work.

Oh! And before I forget! Thanks to Amy Hanson for the sweet blog post!

May 8th 2010

{ Lauchie with his wonderful wife, Shauna. }

As promised, here are some photos from Lauchie's solo opening the other night at Narwhal Art Projects.

Before stopping in to this show, I headed with a couple of the girls down to Hot Shot Gallery in Kensington Market to see Richelle's exhibition now up as part of the Contact festival. Richelle is part of the TLR, (Twin Lens Reflex) Club, a group of local photographers that explore the sites of ruined and abandoned buildings, documenting their hidden rooms and stories.

They're also in the process of publishing their first book as a group, titled "Modern Canadian Interiors". You can explore the pages of the book, and pre-order your copy, here.

My favorite photo in the whole show was one that Richelle had taken of the old Don Jail, which was closed in 1977. She and a few of her fellow photographers were allowed in to the old jail to shoot, and the photos she took away were quite stunning. If you're in Toronto, you should really head to the gallery to see the show. It's open until May 15th.

Below are a couple of photos that I took, (after remembering that I'd brought a camera out with me!), of Lauchie's work. The image directly below is a wedding portrait of Lauchie, with his "painting wife", Stephen Appleby-Barr. Stephen is another member of Team Macho, along with Lauchie, Chris, Jacob and Nick. (Lauchie's real wife is pictured above).

The gallery was filled all night with patrons and well-wishers. It was so nice to see everyone!
Congratulations to both Richelle and Lauchie! It was a wonderful night.

May 7th 2010

After painting and posting parcels yesterday, and before heading out to see two incredible show openings, I made this small travel bag for my toiletries.

I had gotten some beautiful Nani Iro laminated double-gauze cotton, (essentially, the best oil cloth I've ever seen), at the workroom a couple of weeks back. I had planned to make this bag, (and possibly a new bike seat cover?), out of this fabric. I'd wanted some for ages. When I brought it home, in usual fashion, I dropped everything and started cutting the pattern out straight away. I started sewing it immediately, and was having some trouble with it. For some reason, the thread was looping terribly in the back, and I couldn't fix the tension. I stopped sewing and put the project down for a couple of weeks.

I was reminded of it when I read Karyn's blog post about her sweet new backpack/tote that she'd made with the same fabric. It was perfect. I wrote to Karyn to ask if she'd had any problems sewing with it, and she hadn't. I did notice in her email, however, that she'd used cotton thread, and I'd been using polyester. I assumed that because the fabric was laminated, I should use a poly thread... but this wasn't the case! haha!

So I picked it up again yesterday, switched to cotton thread, took the pieces apart, and had the thing put back together in about a half hour! And it's cute! What else can I make with the remaining fabric!? So many ideas...

But that will have to wait for another day.
And so will my post about those two shows I'd mentioned. I'll post photos and tell all about them; maybe tomorrow?
Back to work now.

May 6th 2010

Today has been a "desk" day. So far, anyway.

I got up early, ate some breakfast, made myself a coffee and sat down to paint at my desk. I heard a giant thump at the door, went out to have a look, and found a couple of giant packages of fabrics lying there from the postman. I packed up all of the orders to go out, and got back to painting. I'm going to take a break to run them to the Post Office shortly.

The reason I'm getting so much work done today is so that I can take a break tonight for Lauchie's opening! I'm so excited. I also have a great photography opening to see on the way, featuring Richelle Forsey's work. It's at Hot Shot gallery in Kensington Market, and is a part of the Contact photography festival here in Toronto. The show, titled Modern Canadian Interiors, includes some gorgeous photos of rooms inside decrepit and abandoned buildings. I can't wait to see the work!

Both openings are going to be so much fun to see.

Lauchie posted a link to his interview with Toronto Star art critic, Murray Whyte, this afternoon. To read his interview, follow this link.

May 5th 2010

A year or so ago, I became familiar with local artist, Kris Knight's work. He was showing at Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects. I've always been a fan of portraiture, but his are especially striking. I love the references to Canadiana sprinkled throughout his works. (It's not obvious in the pieces I've included in this post, but he often paints his figures wrapped in Hudson's Bay Point blankets, plaids, and winter parkas). I can appreciate his work that much more since I started working with oils again. It's quite difficult!

Also, Lauchie Reid's show is hung at Narwhal Art Projects and has already gotten a great response! Congratulations, Lauchie! The show opens tomorrow night, for those of you in Toronto.

May 2nd 2010

It's May! It's a bit cloudy and rainy today, but it's still warm and pretty nice out.

I wanted to take the time to thank a couple of people for their posts featuring a bit of my work in the last week.

First is Austen, copy editor for Canadian Living magazine and author of their craft blog, Make+Do. I met Austen at the Trunk Show a couple of weekends ago, and she posted about the new print she'd gotten at the show. This was the print that I made specifically for the show, (for those of you who aren't familiar with the workroom, it's primarily a sew-by-the-hour space here in Toronto). Thanks Austen!

Also, there were a couple of sweet, local girls that had a table just down from ours that day, and posted some photos of the wares at the sale, including my kittybuds fabric! Thanks to Carolyn and Alda of Beside Herself! It was so nice to meet you that day!

With warm weather, always comes my infatuation with picnics. I love a good picnic. Some day I hope to design a picnic basket like the ones by Cath Kidston, (which I used for reference in this painting).

Spring sort of makes me want to do this:

found on Camilla Engman's Flickr photostream today! So cute!