Wednesday, February 29

Happy Leap Year Day!

Happy Leap Year Day!! I hope everyone is enjoying this extra day for 2012.

 I stumbled across this adorable animation probably a year ago, and just happened to stumble upon it again yesterday. "Simon's Cat" is a collection of animations of a very...ehm...curious cat.

This would be my favourite below. It reminds me so much of Oreo throughout the night and in the morning.:


Oreo does have quite the personality, and quite honest I think he assumes he is 'human' as well most times. 


Hope you all enjoyed the little video, have a good day!

Tuesday, February 28

My inspirations

Sometimes I'm able to find inspiration in a song. It might be the entire song that brings to me an idea, or just a few lines.
Love Song - Watercolour Print
Here was the inspiration for my watercolour print above: "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles:


Monday, February 27

Late Night Sketching


I found this old pad of paper from years back. It's really nice paper, so I thought I'd draw a little bit last night. I don't draw much from real items - it's usually photos, so this was a change. But I must say, it's such a tiny sketch for such a large piece of paper.


Don't worry, it filled up more as the night wore on.

Sunday, February 26

Looking Back: How I Got Here.


February 11th marked my "Etsyversary" - a quite important and significant day in my art career - 6 years selling...well, about a year struggling and then "selling" lol. Put simply, if my friend did not tell me about Etsy, and had I not signed up, I may not be anywhere close to where I am today. I signed up at first, thinking that I might be able to sell an odd item here or there and be able to buy more art supplies (I was a student at the time, so I wasn't able to 'indulge' as much in my art supplies).

Etsy in 2006. Saying things have changed is the understatement
of the millennia  
 I deal solely through the internet - the only items I have in stores are those through wholesale contracts, and other image use contracts. This works for me best: in the beginning I was in school and didn't have the time to do art shows and such; and now I'm working all the time and have no time to do art shows and such. I'm also pretty shy, so I enjoy and feel more confident with the arrangement that I have set up for myself.

My shop in 2007 - I wasn't able to find a 2006 screen shot.
I am so thankful we can hide / expand announcements now
 - look at all that writing!!
I am very thankful that Etsy was created, and that I have been able to sell through it over the years. It was slow starting, but it finally picked up. I worked hard to get myself out there, and although the results were delayed, they most definitely paid off in the long haul. I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, but quickly resolved them, and was very lucky to have such understanding buyers. It is hard starting out fresh, with no one to tell you what will and won't work.

The first painting I sold, after almost 6 months of being signed up.
To the newbies: persistence pays off, nothing good is ever easy :)

I know you will have a hard time believing me - but I sent out my first few prints in page protectors! Yes, that's right. I didn't know better, didn't know it looked totally unprofessional - and didn't have a clue where to find real cello sleeves. It's embarrassing looking back, truly I laugh a lot at myself. I would spend hours cutting up cardboard boxes for backing - until I realized that it's super easy to just order backing - and my sore hands were ever so thankful.

My first tree painting, "Polka Dot Tree"
My first tree painting is above. It was titled just that: "Polka-Dot Tree"...really original, isn't it? It was of a tree in front of the student housing that I was renting at the time. One day I was doodling on my porch, and I didn't want to draw all the leaves, so I did circles instead to 'get the point of leaves across' in the sketch. I thought it was pretty cool, so I painted it. Once this one sold, I thought I might have something, so I did others. There is no prints of "Polka-Dot Tree" I'm sad to say, and no high-res file. As I mentioned earlier - I wasn't smart about some things early on, and not keeping a good file of this was one of them. To the buyer of this lovely painting - you have the only copy of it, ever :) I hope you are still enjoying it!

THEN: "The Turning" 2006

NOW: "Show Your Feathers" 2012
"The Turning" was the first of my tree series, and it is still doing well today. You can tell that slowly my techniques have changed. What used to be loose, irregular circles are now tighter and more uniform. This is probably the result of painting circles for six years - lets me honest, if you repeat something enough, it's going to fix itself whether you want it to or not. I have been asked if I have a special tool for making circles, I do not. Simply: a normal brush and paint, and I let the paint fall as it may.

I do like seeing how I have incidentally evolved as an artist. I often find myself looking at the first sold items of artists I admire on Etsy to see how they evolved as well. You should try it sometime, look up one of your favourite artists - find one of their earlier works and one of their later works.

Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep

"Before I Go To Sleep" by S.J. Watson is a very moving novel about a women who's memory is erased each night as she sleeps. Each morning she wakes up to a man she does not know, to a life she does not remember - to a life 20 years from the one that she remembers. To describe it simply, it is a serious counterpart to the less serious movie, "50 First Dates".

Every morning when Christine wakes up, she is explained who she is, where she is, who her husband is - Ben, and the worse, about her accident leaving her the inability to retain memory from the day to the next day. She also cannot fully remember, or grasp memories from her past. Everything is a haze.

She is one day contacted by a Dr. Nash who very much would like to try and help her. Since he has been previously 'rejected' by her husband, he suggests that they work in secret from her husband. He encourages her to keep a journal, and it is through the effort of keeping the journal and reading it each morning that Christine finds she is not only starting to dimly remember things, but full memories are coming back  to her.

It is a constant battle for Christine of who is she, who is telling the truth, what truths are being kept from her and what lies are being consistently fed to her. She fights with herself of whether to trust her husband, Dr. Nash or even her own memories thinking maybe she just 'made things up.' With no solid memory to think back on, she completely begins to rely on her journal to reinforce what her thoughts are telling her. Only when she reads a simple small note that she made a week or more before on her journal that things spiral in a way that no one was expecting.

This was a book that I could not put down, especially during the third part of it. To me, it was disturbing to think that this is the reality for some - that they have no memory. But to read of Christine's journey and her determination to find out who she was very captivating. This book is a fictional memoir turned psychological thriller. Being told from Christine's view (most of the book is her journal that she kept), I got drawn into the complex of 'what is a lie, and what is a truth'. As a reader, you only know what Christine is told. Even when flashes of memory come, they cannot be 100% trusted as they could have been made up and she could be creating them as she infers certain events. The climax of this story was truly unexpected for me. An amazing thriller.

Saturday, February 25

Project 52: 6/62



Oreo likes to sleep on my workout mat. He also likes to try and sleep on it when I'm using it.

See more, here.

Friday, February 24

Weekly Review:

This week I set to the task of trying to rescue some roses that James got for me. They're the mini-pots that you can get anywhere. If you look closely at these plants, you'll see that more times than none, the entire "plant" is made up of 3-4 separate plants.

These roses got attacked by some nasty mites, and so I treated the mite problem, and then separated them and planted them in separate pots - putting them in separate locations so they could not reinvest themselves. I really hope they live, I love indoor roses, and I had managed to keep one rose plant alive and blooming year long for a couple years before - it was lost to mites that it picked up from a plant I purchased at a grocery store. Always check those plants before you bring them home!

I also got lots of painting done this week. I had a couple days off to make up for the weekend that I had worked. They're all listed in my shop at jellybeans.etsy.com It's nice to just tucker away at things. I also dabbled in my sketchbook lots and have planned some pieces to be started.

I'm also maintaining my working out. I'm not doing it everyday like before, but most days. The 30 day challenge really got me back into a mindset to want to work out. And I can't say that I can complain about the results.

Today, I'm visiting in Whitby. This post is a little late because I wasn't able to hook up my laptop to their internet, and I only just discovered the Blogger ap for my android phone. It's pretty snowy and storming here, so I'm just staying warm inside, getting all my tax information ready to hand over to the tax people, who send it off to the tax man. I'll be so happy when this is all sent off and done.

The picture is of a wierd fish I saw in the pet store the other day.


Thursday, February 23

My Creative Space

Marigolds remind me of my mother's flower beds when I was younger. They always had bright orange and yellow marigolds.








The end painting:

Marigold Collection - Botany Collage Watercolour Painting
See more creative spaces, here.

Monday, February 20

Shop Update

I did a major update to my shop over the past week. I thought I would share with you all what is now available. You can always look under my "Newest Items" tab in my shop as well to see the newest additions. I'm going to start with two pieces that aren't my 'typical style', and below those are some colourful trees :)
Such Great Heights - Original Watercolour

Poppy Collection - Original Watercolor Collage


Across The Miles - Original Watercolour

Show Your Feathers - Original Watercolour
Frosty Forest - Original Watercolour
Sun and Water - Original Watercolour
Make A Wish - Original Watercolour

Sunday, February 19

Spring Trends Shopping Guide: Sweaters

I know it might be a little early to already be thinking about spring, but with all the mild weather we've been having it's sort of hard not to. One fashion magazine is predicting that see-through / loosely knit sweaters are going to be a hit. I must say, I hope they're right: I do love those sweaters, which you can layer so nicely. Here are some of my favourites that I've found online:

Off The Shoulder Tunic Sweater - by Nanadelle on Etsy

 Peek-a-Boo Sweater - Aerie



Saturday, February 18

Project 52: 5/52


A new book I picked up the other weekend.

One photo a week for 52 weeks. See more here

Friday, February 17

Weekly Review

Last weekend was crazy at work, so Sunday night I packed up some orders and then curled up and went to sleep early. Monday was also a pretty chill day: running some easy errands, groceries and some light laundry.

Monday night we went to Blue Mountain for some night snowboarding. It was a lovely, lovely evening. It was so clear that we could see the city lights across the water - so beautiful. I would have loved to have taken a picture, but as a rule I don't take my phone / camera on the hills with me if there's the slightest bit of blowing snow - I don't want to hurt my phone by getting any bit of it wet. It was just so peaceful going down the hill with so many less people.

Wednesday it was back to the hill - this time we aimed a bit earlier and had a wonderful afternoon. It was a little bit more busy - a lot of school bring their students to the hills during the day. I aimed to tackle from black diamond runs too, and didn't do too bad. For reference to those not on hills: green circle = easy / beginning, blue square = medium, black diamond = hard, double black diamond = expert.

I got lots of art work and 'administrative' work done on Thursday. It was quite the productive day all around. I even got some of my distance course assignments done, and I am ahead by a couple weeks now :)

Friday it was the last day of my 30 day challenge, and I finished it successfully!! Meaning: I worked out for 30 days in a row, and did not miss a single day! Yea for me!! I cI also am finding that I've been sleeping so much better, and I'm more awake when I am up and going. Just more energy in general. I won't be continuing to work out everyday, since on days where I got called in to work, and ended up being at work almost all day and night was challenging. But I will aim for 3-4 days a week for sure, and maybe just make those workouts longer yet on those days. Now, I get to go get a nice piece of clothing from a popular workout store - I'm pretty excited. I was going to order it online, but I think I'll get more satisfaction from actually going to a store and trying things on. So I will do that next time I'm in Whitby visiting James :)

Thursday, February 16

My Creative Space: Art Journalling - Watercolour on Gesso


Today I'm sharing with you the first page in my art journal that I've made previously. I wanted to try a technique that I read about in a watercolour magazine where you paint watercolour over gesso-ed paper. To make it even more interesting, I added some texture with a diamond pattern stencil and crackle paste.

Here is the video of the creation of the page. You may notice that I started in one direction and then took another. But that's just all part of the process of how this came to be :)


You can see more creative spaces, here.

Wednesday, February 15

Introducing Oreo

For those who are new, I would like to introduce to you Oreo:

Before Christmas, some couch cuddling...this is actually false, he's not much
of a cuddler...so it's more like me forcing him to sit with me for this picture.
I adopted Oreo about five years ago. That was his name at the agency, and it just stuck. He was an adult cat, with tons of attitude at the time already. I'm not sure how he came to the adoption agency, but after his first week at my place it was apparent that he was never an outdoor cat.
He actually likes to sleep like this, on his back all sprawled out
 What happened, it one day my roommate then  left the door open - still not use to having a cat around - and he ran out. Once I realized he was gone, I went outside to see if I could find him around the house. It was pouring rain, and where was he? All I hear is a bawling meow - he's under the back steps looking at me with a, "I didn't plan on it being raining" look, just waiting to be rescued from the wet.
Capturing his crazy thick and long whiskers
Another instance that demonstrated to me he was a true house cat: we were sitting in the backyard. I mouse jumps out, he jumps on the mouse, it squeaks - and he jumps off of it! What a silly cat. He has since then fixed that instinct, and has caught a mouse or two.

Like I said, he's not big on cuddling. But he does like people. He likes to be where people are. He'll sit where everyone else, he'll rub up against them, and he loves getting his nose scratched. He's been my partner in crime for a long time, and I love him dearly.

Tuesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day


I hope everyone has a wonderful day filled with love and smiles.

Monday, February 13

Smash* Journals


Upon looking for new ideas for my Project Life photo album scrapbook, I stumbled upon these little lovlies called Smash* Journals. It was a couple weeks ago (see post, here) that I first mentioned it, and I decided that I would only look into it further if I actually went to a Michaels. I wasn't going to order it online and pay for the shipping. Well, that opportunity presented itself this weekend while visiting in Whitby. I needed to go to Michaels to purchased a paint brush, and saw the display of them. With a 50% off coupon, I was the new owner.

Here is what I have smashed* so far, and a view of a page that I really liked:




As you can tell, it's more 'clippings' than tickets, and stubs and other memorabilia. That is because with Project Life, all those items are going into there. This journal is more of a bundle of inspiration and feel-good vibes.

Sunday, February 12

Recipe: Lasagne Casserole

Sometimes there just isn't time to layer a nice lasagne together. For those who might be a little bit more rushed, this is a perfect recipe for you! I've adapted my mom's normal lasagne recipe to a casserole style, and I added some extra hidden nutrition - because, if you're going to feast on pasta and cheese, you should be getting a little something good too :)

Ingredients:

  • Pasta - I used whole grain, and used spaghetti and elbows, just using up left over bits
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Ground beef - I used ground chicken because it was in my freezer, any sort of ground meat will work
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Cottage cheese, one large container
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can mushrooms, or fresh mushrooms
  • Fresh spinach, chopped
  • To taste add: garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes
1. Start boiling the water for the noodles, and browning the meat. 
2. Combine in a casserole dish, I am using my Dutch oven - cottage cheese, sauce, mushrooms, spinach (chop very finely if you want to hide it from picky eaters), handful of mozzarella and dry spices. 
3. Sautee onions and garlic, when onions are translucent - add to the casserole dish. 
4. Once meat is browned, and noodles cooked - add to casserole dish, ladle a little bit of the pasta water into the dish as well. 
5. Mix everything together, very well.



6. Top with shredded cheese and bake


I baked my dish at 400F for an hour. This may differ depending on the dish you have. You want to be sure that it is cooked thoroughly. I cooked mine covered for the first 45 minutes, and then uncovered for the last 15 minutes to finish off the cheese topping. The lid / cover helps keep it nice and moist as you can tell, it is all saucy above the nice crispy cheese: