Thursday, February 25, 2010

rabbit hole alert: a 2 parter

two quick things. videos, actually.
that's it. that's all.

1) Jessica Gonacha Swift blogged about this little video yesterday morning and I have been hooked ever since (thanks Jess!). It has been kept open and playing on my laptop while I fumble around for the past 24 hours and echoing from within my brain on a continuous loop. I love the song, the voice, the artwork, the animation, the lyrics, everything. This Australian singer, Sarah Blasko reminds me of a mix of Sarah Slean, Chan Marshal from the band Cat Power, Fiona Apple and Feist. I know. Just see for yourself. *Classic* Rabbit Hole:

2) Temple Grandin. Someone on twitter mentioned the name, I had heard that HBO had made a film and then I remembered, I had seen something previously about her. She is amazing. It was only after watching the amazing HBO film (Temple is played by Claire Danes) that all the pieces came together in my mind. I thought it might have been a TED video a while ago, so off I went to check it all out. Yay! There is a new one! We can all thank the brilliance of the people at TED. Don't know about TED? Check it out; it has been my virtual learning playground for my mind for a couple of years now. For now though, lets just watch Temple Grandin, she has some really amazing things to say that I think we all should hear.

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

kickoff post: reading 52 books in 52 weeks

I love to read; I would venture to say I love books the way some women collect and love shoes. I have been a reader all my life. I read both fiction and non, tend to seek out Canadian authors, and go through reading phases, or Rabbit Holes. Sometimes I bounce between the two, inserting some light-hearted reading with some of the heavier topics I am often drawn to. So, a little goal I set at the beginning of 2010 (not to be confused with the formal pressure cooker known as the *resolution*) is to read one book a week and document it. Well, guess where *that* place is going to be?! Yup, right here.

In addition to continuing to read new finds, I am going to be re-reading some of those books on my shelf that, if you were to visit, I would point to and say *This one is SO good YOU have to read it TOO*, when in actuality I would be challenged to articulate any detail or reason as to why, if asked. I would like to change that. So let the postings begin!

First book up:

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Neffenegger

I blatantly copied this from the Amazon site. Why mess with the pros, I say? Here is a great summary by Brad Thomas Parsons. (in that link to the Amazon site you can look inside the book, read the first pages and see video of the author. A perfect *before you buy* option, I say!)

Following her breakout bestseller, The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger returns with Her Fearful Symmetry, a haunting tale about the complications of love, identity, and sibling rivalry. The novel opens with the death of Elspeth Noblin, who bequeaths her London flat and its contents to the twin daughters of her estranged twin sister back in Chicago. These 20-year-old dilettantes, Julie and Valentina, move to London, eager to try on a new experience like one of their obsessively matched outfits. Historic Highgate Cemetery, which borders Elspeth's home, serves as an inspired setting as the twins become entwined in the lives of their neighbors: Elspeth's former lover, Robert; Martin, an agoraphobic crossword-puzzle creator; and the ethereal Elspeth herself, struggling to adjust to the afterlife. Niffenegger brings these quirky, troubled characters to marvelous life, but readers may need their own supernatural suspension of disbelief as the story winds to its twisty conclusion.

I loved The Time Traveller's Wife; I will never see the movie. I went into it blind when it was still relatively unheard of, and found myself completely sucked in within pages. I loved it. I re-read it. I recommended it. So I was excited to see what Audrey Neffenegger would write this time. What did I think? Well, I really liked this book. Now, that means nothing to you, I realize, but I really got into the mystery of the story, the setting in the cemetery, the twins element, and the supernatural elements were written in an amazingly convincing way that reminded me of what I enjoyed about reading the The Time Traveller's Wife. If the above editorial paragraph/review appeals to you, I would definitely recommend this book even though it hasn't gotten spectacular reviews.

As I go I plan on offering some of my favorite quotes or lines or personal reflections. For now, I am in catch-up mode and will post 2 books a week until I am caught up to the usual once a week book update that will follow. I am on book 7, and 1/2 way through it now. Its one I read in 2003 that I fell in love with, but was drawn back to for some reason. I will be sure to take some notes and share the details of why you might really like each book in the future.

So, for now, any recommendations? I would also love to hear your thoughts if you have read this one!

This is gonna be fun!

Friday, February 19, 2010

upcycling & art journaling: reusing the usual

Upcycling, though not a real word recognized by spellcheckers, is in fact a very real word, concept, some might say a philosophy or movement, developing and expanding today. For those unfamiliar or unaware, we can all be thankful, we have the Urban Dictionary to help us out a bit. I searched Upcycle which returned three definitions. I thought I would just share the search results here:

See that? There. Three somewhat similar yet very different definitions. I like all three and think they all have some relevance. Especially the third. HA! It is true though, Upcycling, like any artform past, present or future, sits on that fine line between presenting something new, making something extraordinary, and creating frankenstein. Lets be honest about it. It is a wide definition and subject to interpretation.

My own approach to upcycling involves a few key areas.

  • I have a basic love of anything early to mid 20th century design,
  • I love the challenge of finding vintage items,
  • I love giving vintage items new life in unique yet practical, functional ways

Both in multi-media artwork and in creating functional housewares, this approach fuels me. So, in a HUGE nutshell, this is how I see myself approaching upcycling.

Enter the latest project I have been excited to share. My newest, latest art journal. It is a honker. When the clunker arrived on my doorstep last month I all, ah crap, the phone book arrived. Time to peel the plastic off of last years and throw it in the recycle bin so I can jam the new one in its place on that prime real-estate shelf located in the hall closet. Not this year, my friends, not this year. I grabbed that bad boy (with both hands cause I am weak and clumsy and did not want to risk dropping it on my toe) and upstairs to the studio we went.

I covered the front, spine and backs covers with some podge and some thick patterned paper I had been saving, so it looks just like a huge book now. I am in love! Specifically? The thin newsprint pages are perfect for gessoing on both sides; that thickens them up enough so they dont rip so easily, and still remain fairly thin when the book is closed. Their thin weight is also perfect for layering papers on, watercolour paper and pages from old books are perfect for adding weight to a page too. If a page does rip, I tape it up or rip it out. There are 700+ or more to go through. The end is not the point, just having a space that you can only improve by adding your own free fun and play is the entire point of using this thing. Not like a leather bound journal. Those things make my heart pound some days. Some days I need to be creative free to expectation, free of squeeky clean white paper.

Here is what I speak of. My new art journal. So far I have the inside cover pages started, and 6 more pages in progress as well.

I dont really start one page, finish it and move on. No no no. That would make too much sense. I need to digest and work through each page. I treat them with the same intensity as anything else I create, be it a piece of furniture or a painting.

Most of my ideas start in a sketchbook, but art journals allow me to create with abandon. I like to start without an idea of what will come out. I make a mark, gesso a page, paste on a weird shape, start a pattern or all of the above, and then wait. I then gesso the next page, and do the same thing. When that page has dried, I flip back and look at the first and second pages. I make a mark on the newly dried third and fourth pages, paint a background, pick a colour or a pen I havent used in a while and just see what happens when it meets the paper. Then I go back to 1 & 2, and add papers, block out text and add in pencil drawings that I fill in with acrylic, or pastel. Add more details, wait to dry, flip back to 3 & 4. Gesso pages 5 & 6. Wait to dry, flip back to 1 & 2, add in marker details, add text. Finish. Move to 5 & 6, make first marks, paste on papers, go back to 3 & 4 etc, etc, etc, until the entire book is through. (note: none of these pages are actually done yet!)

Some basic supplies for journaling include:

Paper: ANY paper. the cheaper it is the more relaxed i am about it. go figure. I also enjoy Moleskin journals and use them as well;

Gesso: the white primer stuff that creates a coating on paper allowing you to paint on it. available at any michaels or art supply store. You can also get spray primer at the hardware store, but remember with spray, comes fumes. Not great for indoors;

Paintbrushes: the packages of bulk brushes from the dollar store or michaels are perfect. you want a few choices, but 3 of varying sizes to start will suffice. cheap is perfect;

Paint: cheap Acrylic is a great place to start. Go for a set or individual colours. (an inexpensive set at michaels) or little ones from the dollar store to start. Worry about quality later, not to start out!) Cheap watercolours are also fun for washes and experimenting;

Adhesives: you can use tape, glue stick, spray adhesives or podge (my personal favorite) to apply pages, papers and accents to your journal. Mod-Podge, available at Michaels and art supply stores, protects the surface, but does leave a tackiness on paper at times, depending on the type you get and the thickness applied;

Additional: Pencils, coloured pencils, watercolour pencils, markers, crayons, water-soluble crayons, oil pastels, stamps, ribbons, pages from old books, stickers, glitter glue, watercolour paper, magazine images, poems, quotes... whatever you like can go into your journal. I like layering, so a combination of most of the above goes into mine.

You never know what ideas will expand or retire as you go through this journal, new advertisements and images shine through the gesso layers, the watercolours, and add to the richness of each mark you make. The surprises that arise never fail to inspire me. It never fails either, if I feel stuck I open a completed page in an old journal, and I am fueled to keep going. I love seeing how ideas emerge; a very rarely have intent when I start anything!

I encourage you to search art journals on youtube for some additional, live, in action inspiration. They were the thing that got me going, and providing guidance and motivation to try one in the first place. (You can even see my own art journal video from early 2009 online.) If you are interested in taking an on-line class I can vouch for my online sista Connie from Dirty Footprints Studio. She is currently teaching an online class (for a VERY reasonable fee) called Art Journal Love Letters, as we speak. It just started this week, and you can register & start any time. Her warmth and knowledge will blow you away. It is on my list of things to do, online instruction is a gold mine for me; it fuels.

So what do you think of upcycling? Are you inspired? Any fun journal ideas to share? Questions?

Lemme know :)

& Enjoy! leel

Thursday, February 18, 2010

brightness in your mouth, brightness in your day

i just made that title up. it sounds like a byline to a porno title.
kids, don't come here for classy.
come here for other reasons, but do not come here for class.
that's what she said

While the days are now getting refreshingly brighter through each afternoon and the sun is setting each evening later and later, the world is still a frozen ice block outside my doors. I like to bake when the days are like this. It makes the house smell nice, I get to stuff my face and share with friends and family, plus I and/or my sanity, gain a sense of accomplishment. See? We ALL benefit.

In the chilly days of February I long for the zestiness of life. Yellow. Lemon comes to mind. I love the the brightness of lemon, the tangy awakening citrus brings to the senses. I grabbed a bag of lemons on sale last week to add a slice here & there to my water to change things up and combat the winter scurvy I fear developing each winter. I also had almost a dozen free-range eggs from my friends chicken coop just sitting there, just waiting to be used and appreciated. Enter my trusty Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking cookbook, circa 1993. I open to a recipe I had tabbed years ago. The recipe for Sunburst Lemon Bars with the accompanying picture were prefect, it required the juice of lemons, many eggs, and I felt good attempting something else I have wanted to try for a while.

Sunburst Lemon Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened

4 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, prepare crust. Stir together 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix in butter at low speed until the mixture is crumbly. Press in the bottom of ungreased 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is light golden brown.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, white sugar, 1/4 cup flour and baking powder with an electric mixer until light, about 3 minutes. Then stir in the lemon juice. Pour the filling over the crust while it is still warm from the oven. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until the top is slightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool.

Once cooled, prepare glaze. In a small bowl, stir lemon juice into the 1 cup powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until the icing is of a spreadable consistency. Spread evenly & cut into squares.


I wanted to try cutting out some different shapes considering i had a 9x13 inch pan full. I used a heart shaped cookie-cutter to make some little hearts. ok, I bent an unidentifiable christmas cutter into a heart), cut out a row the same height as the heart shape, pressed down - HARD - carefully transferred each heart to the plate. once plated, I lightly dusted the top, sides and plate, and added some curled lemon rind to the top of each. I love them!

So, while chocolate will always be an intense fave in these parts, I'm glad I had a hankering for something bright and intense, something that reminded me of the good old days of tea with squares on doilies and plates. Something a grandmother would make. Something I imagined only having access to now at funeral receptions on dainty platters. I wanted to bake something I had never made before. And I did. And it rocks. No waiting for funerals for me!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

a little art 411

So, I thought maybe I should tackle a little 411 on myself and share some art.

I have been painting all my life. Painting rocks as a child with my maternal grandmother in the maritimes will always be the sweetest of my sweet memories. Through high school I hung out in the art room, the photography darkroom and painted a mural in the school hallway for a serior year project. After high school I desperately wanted to get a BFA (bachelor of fine arts) in painting. While I passed the portfolio interview portion of the application process, my 78% average was not getting me into any of the coveted 30 spots in the 2 schools I applied to. I did not get in. While obviously disappointed, I kept those rejection letters. I have always been simply happy to receive positive feedback on my ability as an artist. From there, I proceeded to obtain my back-up choice, a BA in Art History & Anthropology, graduating in 1996.

Working in an art supply store throughout university was an invaluable experience for me as an artist. It is there I learned about all-things supplies, met working, living artists, and got a fantastic discount. My friends used to refer to my job as art-camp. Access to supplies and product demonstrations fueled my fires daily. I would suggest it to anyone looking to learn about any and all things art. Since then I have tended to work in multi-medium; watercolour, ink, acrylic, cheesecloth, canvas, masonite, pastels, grease-pencil, charcoal, lino printing. Anything I can drag up and into my studio is fair game in winter. I have to wait for the milder weather for all the furniture fun I like to tackle. I seem to like anything that I can layer together, create texture, create movement, and then elevate that seemingly messy nothingness into something is what I do. Yah. Like that. (i am laughing at myself trying to explain this here folks)

My love affair with art is a life long journey. Just like life itself, it is rife with unexpected twists and journeys, highs and lows, crippling lulls and huge leaps forward. It is a relationship all its own with a part of myself. I wonder if it is like that for others who refers to themselves as that all encompassing, yet completely ellusive term: artist. I wonder if being a human is the thing that makes us all artists. I wonder about being human and the act of making art. I wonder about a lot of things.

So lets get some creative sharing going here.

What have I been up to creative wise? Well, besides the rabbit holes and baking going on over here, there has been some action in the generic Art sense. When the new year rang in, I decided to start a new art journal. I started keeping Discovery Journals (again, a whole other post) in the 90s, and the art journals emerged from there when I discovered the idea on YouTube a few years ago. I even made a youtube video of my journal from 2008! One of 2009 is planned for a later date.

Back to the present.

I started a new Art Journal for this year. A little late, but thats ok. This journal is huge. It was free, delivered to me, and is the holy grail of upcycling to me. Any ideas? Guesses? Ok, fine. It;s The Yellow Pages! I covered the front, spine and backs covers with some podge and sweet paper I had been saving, so it just looks like a huge book now. The thin newsprint pages are perfect for gessoing on both sides; that thickens them up enough so they dont rip so easily, and still remain fairly thin when the book is closed. I am in love. Making something from nothing kids, that is the name of the game for me! I will be posting a few pictures of that later in the week :)
Here are a few of my paintings. I AM SHARING! I know, I can hardly believe it either. Let the fun begin!

drive, 16x20 mixed medium & acrylic on canvas

untitled 12x12 cheesecloth & acrylic on canvas

momma said 16x20 acrylic & wax on canvas

How might they see? 16x20 mixed medium & cheesecloth on canvas

On another front (read: rabbit hole) I stumbled upon this little art video gem on the TED website this morning. Tom Shannon: The painter and the pendulum. The video below blew me away.

I personally love using the paint itself as the tool and the non-deterministic approach he uses. I love the colours, circles, patterns, possibility of each piece with each layer. I love it all. I am blown away. I may have tweeted such a sentiment.

So there we have it, a post on art. anything you wanna talk about art wise? fire away! i love it!


p.s. I am behind a recipe post. I know. Stay tuned, because I have that perfectly scrumptious recipe for Sunburst Lemon Bars that might just brighten any gray snowy day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

valentine (or olympic party!) papercraft garland

Boredom and cabin fever reign. Avoiding laundry never ends. I know. You don't want to hear about it any more than I want to live it. Such is February. February is also the time of Valentines. Not something I generally get too excited about, but this year I have time on my side, supplies overflowing, and the desire to make anything I can get my grubby little mitts on. (You can see my post, rabbit holes, for a full rundown);

Enter Paper Craft. I love finding things I can make; free things online. I figure, I love paper, I love sewing. I have been wanting to give sewing paper a whirl for a while. So you can only imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this great post for sewn paper heart garland on Indie Fixx. I knew it was the one for me since it was:

a) free & made by things i have on hand;
b) was something i actually thought was pretty cool, paper garland; and
c) would give me one little decoration for Valentines Day, something even I could handle.

Off I went to rummage through that ever-growing stack of paper I have on hand. Various colours and thicknesses, some years old, wait, some DECADES old, others i just picked up on sale and loved. The heavier weight ones are perfect for this project since I don't have any left over wallpaper to use. After weeding through the pile and picking out the colours I wanted, I made a heart template to trace on cardboard. I drew mine freehand and trimmed the size and shape to my liking, but feel free to trace or print out any heart you like.

Once I had my paper choices i was ready to start tracing and cutting. I chose: an embossed white floral pattern, a silver embossed floral pattern, some red, pink & striped paper scraps and some pink glittery striped paper. I knew these colours would look ok on my blue wall, so I went with them.

Once I was done cutting, I arranged the cut out hearts in an order I liked. I chose a sparkly silver thread, with a dark red thread in the bobbin. I wanted to twist the two threads together in the spaces between the hearts, but you cant really see colours from any distance away. My point? Thread colour does not matter so much. Go with whatever. I also found that the metallic mixed with regular thread was a bit crazy. The two threads were of different thicknesses, making for knotting and pulling etc. on the back side of the hearts as I was sewing. I was sure to leave enough thread between hearts so there was room to space them properly after the fact. It was a bit of a guessing game, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. I just pulled the mucked up threads through, CAREFULLY, and taped the excess on the back of each heart. I then twisted the threads in between so the distance was the same between each heart, taping excess bits to the back with tiny bits of tape. Voila! Done and done.

So here is the final project, hung above my dining room table bench. Pretty cute!

This is also a perfect little something to do while watching tv, say, the Olympics (go Canada!) as well. If you get creative you can do little skis or hockey skates or flags or better yet, maple leaves (go Canada!), if you plan on having a little Olympic bash.

I still have one more length to sew, but I want to try something different with it. I cant help but think that the mismatched thread weights made this project more complicated than I had originally envisioned. Next time I will try using regular thread, and make more of a hanging mobile out of them. The ideas never end I tell ya, so stay tuned :)

Happy Friday & Happy Olympics Everyone! (Go Canada!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

hate laundry? bake bread instead!

It's no secret around here, I tend to get most productive when avoiding another task. I suspect many can relate. Time to clean, I feel like painting; time to paint, I feel like cleaning, for example. Its just the way I operate. Turns out avoiding laundry has paid off for us all this time. Who knew? Go me.

As of late I have found a desire to get back to cooking and baking. Making and eating real food. I garden in the summer and love to eat food I have made, it just turns out that I needed a break from all the years of cooking and baking, something i have loved to do since I was a child. So I did. We ate junk for a while. No longer. The break is over. Also, it turns out that when you are at home like i have been for the last 4 weeks in between contracts, its probably a nice idea to cook a few more meals for a very hard working husband: the bub.

Enter Suzie. Suzie Ridler, aka Suzie the Foodie, has been my inspiration to get back into food. She lives on the east coast, a place I call home, with her loving husband and she l.o.v.e.s. - loves- to cook. She loves to cook so much that she makes ME want to be cook more. THAT'S how much. Suzie blogs about her adventures in cooking, takes on both basic and more advanced recipes, explains steps with detail, substitutes without fear, and documents both her successes and failures equally. She always provides beautifully shot photographs. She reeled me in. She even tried one recipe I found last year for Pear & Zucchini Soup and blogged about it after! Turns out she is also a frickin awesome person too! I encourage you to make your way over to meet her via her blog. You will not be disappointed and will definitely leave inspired to try something old or new.

So, baking bread. Suzie made bread one day. Suzie said anyone could do it. I was nervous. I am afraid of yeast, and the only bread I had made was in the early 90s in a breadmaker. It always turned out like a weird shaped rock. Suzie said I could do it by hand, from scratch, and I tend to like a challenge. So, I pulled out one of my old cookbooks, Pillsbury's Complete Book of Baking (1993), and got to reading all I could about yeast and bread and baking tips (aka rabbit hole). It was great. Even though Suzi had provided a bread recipe, I started out with the most obvious of recipes in my own cookbook I have been ogling over the years: Delicious White Bread. How could I argue, with a title like that? So, I followed the recipe step by step, and what do you know?

EASIER than laundry.

As a result/in an effort to avoid laundry, I have twice baked bread this month. I am as alarmed as anyone else. I made the same recipe again the second time, except instead I decided to make the second loaf Cinnamon Swirl. The great thing about this recipe is that it provides alternatives to plain while bread. I know.Turns out the smell it creates in the home alone erases all guilt in avoiding laundry and placates spouses too. Awesome. And the result? Awesome! I mean, its all * Tea, a drink with Jam (i made last summer) & Bread (i made myself)* for days to come over here. What's not to love about this?

Thanks Suzie!


Monday, February 8, 2010

rabbit holes

In the deep dark winter months in Ontario I experience the painful aches of cabin fever. One thing that helps me get through is my dear friend the internet. I love knowledge. I love finding it, acquiring it, appreciating it, debating it, talking about it, all of it. That is what I missed so much when I graduated from university, being in an academic surrounding; the forum for the exchange of ideas. Now, thank goodness, we have the internet, our own learning ground, our own classroom, an endless resource to knowledge.

I often refer to falling down a rabbit hole. Alice in Wonderland reference, anyone? To me it refers to something I have recently found or discovered that has suddenly become all-consuming. It can refer to a new website, a theory, a concept, an artform, an author, a musician, a book, a person, a blog, an artist, a religion, an historical event, a culture or a geographic region. It can be ANY Thing. I never know what will trigger a new rabbit hole. I love that. I love the feel of discovering something new, seeing sometihng out of the corner of my eye come into focus all of a sudden spurning a new obession on learning about it and merging the new info with all my legacy data.


So, here is what is going to happen. Rewind and fast forward all at once. Back to the original intent for this blog. The rabbit holes. The creative rabbit holes that I fall down into need an outlet for all to roam around in. Where would I be without the great blogs I follow, religiously? I dont have any intention of being a great blogger, but I do think I can share with you what I find exciting in my virtual travels. Like it says in the little textbox up & over there --> share!

I have fallen into a couple of rabbit holes as of late, stumbled upon things that were going on that I had no idea were going on, which once found led to confusion and wonder as to how one survived without the knowledge said thing ever existed. (Please feel free to send me a better sentence to replace that last one. It is making me nuts too. Words are hard, yo.)

My point? I present to you my latest Rabbit Holes:
Saving Grace. The tv show. I know. Have you seen it? Heard of it? Been a Holly Hunter fan since Raising Arizona and Broadcast News? Me too. Yet I hadn't ever really heard about Saving Grace until the Golden Globe nominations this year when she was nominated for her role as Grace Anna Darko (which she also executive produces as well). Amazing show. It finished its 3rd season in August, and I am currently finishing the 2nd season. If you like True Blood then take that style writing, exchange Sookie Stackhouse for Homicide Detective Grace Anna Darko, exchange Bill Compton for a Last Chance Guardian Angel named Earl, substitute vampires and voodoo for cops and faith and you pretty much have Saving Grace. I love the story lines of each episode, the casting and writing is very honest, and the underlying theme of faith love and life in the world today have kept me hooked. Plus, Anna Darko is one kick ass character that i would love to hang out with for a day in Oklahoma City. Do you watch it (online)? Whatta you think?

Rabbits. I know. You may think I planned it like this. You give me too much credit if you think I did. Nope. This is just the way things go around here. So back to Cabin Fever. It is the beginning of February and I am stuck inside. No gardening (yet). No seeds to start inside (yet). So I have been googling something to make. Something that does not involve refinishing furniture. My husband, for some strange reason, refuses to let me spray paint in my studio. He maintains that while indeed it is a studio for me, it is still a 3rd bedroom on our 2nd floor, 10 feet from where he lays his head at night to sleep. Fumes will not be tolerated. I can accept that. I get that. BUT, now that the Quilts are finished and handed over I am finding myself increasingly bored and wanting to get onto another project to share. I want to sew more. Not sew clothing or anything like that, just sewing little things. Something quick to do while I watch Anna Darko kick some ass, you know. Enter Google. I had seen something on Martha Stewarts website, some free projects for making stuffed animals out of old gloves or socks if I remember correctly. I checked out some other patterns online and decided to alter them a bit to make a little guy for myself. I went by the local dollar store and found a cute white fuzzy pair of gloves for a buck, came home and got going. It really is very easy to make, as the downloadable free pdf on the Martha site illustrates in a few simple steps. It takes about 2 hours from start to finish, but most of that time I use to make the head, sew on the little nose with embroidery thread, sew on the beady little eyes. Needless to say, I loved this little project, hence the post. I have found myself travelling back to the dollar store for more fuzzy gloves, and an entire herd of cuteness has erupted. Even my husband cant help but smile when I presented them (yes THEM, the herd) to him. Cute alone is one thing, Cute en mass is another. See? I see them making political statements soon enough; holding protest signs. Giving society the finger. Spreading love and joy. You know, regular rabbit stuff. Any ideas for little t-shirts for them? Themes? The possibilities are endless!! See!

So, those are my rabbit holes. For now.

Some other blog posts to come may include such topics as:
  • You Too Can Bake Bread - Overcoming my Fear of Yeast;
  • Valentine PaperCraft - Killing Time;
  • Meatshock - one year worth of local, organic meat. And it is ALL in my basement;
  • Read It 2010 - 52 Books in 52 weeks. I am on schedule and getting ready to post what I thought of the 5 I have read so far. 1/2 of the 6th is in progress! I am loving it. Send your recommendations on over!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


warning: this post is a bit of a wanderer. and personal. so yah. if that is not of interest to you i completely understand, feel free to move along! More creative posts to come in the future!

What's up little pups?

Over here? I have been hanging, cooking, baking, crafting, organizing, reading, sleeping, procrastinating, thinking about a new job, a website as well as making a tonne of headway on some long seated issues. I will get to all the funstuff in the coming days.
Overall, In general? I would say Life has taken on a new glow. I am not sure why and am not hell bent on trying to examine it coroner style to figure out the basic elements, so regardless, I am happy to say I feel *better*.

Ok, Better. What does THAT mean?

Better to me feels like the lump in my chest, right between where my ribs meet, no longer aches. No longer burns. My tear ducts have dried. Finally, after what seems an eternity to me, i can no longer cry on command, I am no longer continually willing back an ocean of tears at the thought of the future. The going-through portion seems to be ending, maybe over and the new-normal has finally, fucking finally, shown its beautiful face. Better in my world means a spouse looking at you and saying *you are different. you look happy. you smile now* and being happy about that.

The Better hasn't just arrived. I need to clarify that. I have been looking for better for 3.5 years now. During that time I wasn't very secretive with those around me that taking my own life was on my mind. I can say that, now. Here. I would never do anything, which is why i CAN talk about it. I have seen what that has done to people. I have seen my friends scream like animals when the phone call came in to say His Body Has Been Found. etc. etc. I have luckily, luckily, witnessed the destruction Life can take in Death. I see it. I have always been able to maintain that in times of darkness. For me, personally, as far as the human experience goes, I have too wonderful a life to go anywhere. I am also fiercely curious about what is in store for me, regardless of what that means. I embrace the fact that being Human means feeling like shit some times. Weathering the storm is all part of life, and i get it. I just wasn't able to find much light in the darkness for a while there. 3.5 years. Now, it is getting Better. And I am cautiously optimistic about it. That's not an easy task for a die hard realist like me.

As far as real-life stuff goes, I am in a holding pattern with my new ideas for a website. Cash flow is nil right now, and the exciting project I wanted to announce in January has now been pushed off until the fall (with fingers crossed!). Bummer of a birthmark, Hal. I have been off for a couple of weeks now; contracts have ended; i need a new job/contract. I have a couple of irons in the fire, so we shall see. I also have a classic case of February cabin fever, in case you have missed the flurry of tweets i have been cranking out over there. I have been chat.ty.

In deeper news, i have reconnected with my Dad. This is a great thing for me. After not speaking to him for over a year, I decided that something needed to give. I could easily just keep walking away from him and not have him in my life, or i could try. Simple. One or the Other. No pressure, just a little discussion I needed to have with myself as 2010 got going. I decided, and communicated to my Dad, that it is very easy for me to cut people out of my Life. My barriers, my bullshit make it that way. I do it with ease. I decided I don't want to do that any longer with him. At one point with my father, it became easier to just not have contact with him. I was angry and unhappy being around him, and I wasn't about to try and make it any easier without a real dialogue about what had happened and how he had treated us for the years leading up to the actual split. After ignoring one note and a birthday card in the spring I finally had the distance to be able to see how awful it was without him in my Life. When he discussed seeing me this Christmas like usual, I told my brother to tell him I didn't want anything other than a conversation. And if he could do that, then I could do that. So we met for lunch. We discussed things we have never discussed before, like adults. It was amazing. Shocking. Apparently someone else had been doing some soul searching as well in 2009; I was not the only one behaving and acting different that first afternoon at lunch.

Since that meeting my dad and i have talked about some other issues I have. That is big. My dad isn't a big issues guy and prefers to talk current headlines, politics, hockey or golf when enjoying a meal. One thing that is heavy on my mind is the idea of finding my biological Father. I may have mentioned here a couple of times in passing or in another blog post, but I have been pretty tight lipped since i first hinted at it a while back.

It HAS been on my mind, however.
And I think I am ready to find out some of the details.
I am ready.

Ok, so, imagine if you will my utter amazement when my dad brings up adoption, society and wants to discuss how things were when i was born and adopted in the early 70s. Turns out he watched a documentary on CBC about women giving up children in Canada and was moved enough to call me and discuss it with me. Thanks to google i found the documentary ONLINE! last week, watched it and cried and sighed, and then talking about it with my dad earlier this week. We actually discussed finding my Father. I think my Dad and I might find my Father. Can you stand it? I am floored. I cannot believe that this is the same man I was ready to abandon forever. Life has surprised me.

So yah, things are better. How are you?


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