Monday, April 30, 2007

Walk in the Woods

What a glorious Sunday we had! My neighbours, who live in Ottawa and own the property up the hill from me (where there is no water or electricity) had phoned the day before to say they were coming up to the farm to have a picnic and we were invited. Richard and I arrived at 1:30 to a full spread of sausages (cooking on the Coleman stove), coleslaw, potato salad and wine. Along with that, my neighbours brought 2 German exchange students, who are in Canada for 6 months, in order to learn English.

After our picnic, the sun came out and we went for a long walk through the woods. We were lucky that there were no bugs out yet. When we returned and sat on lawn chairs outside, the mosquitoes started to emerge. I got my first bite of the season. Let the games begin.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Girls Came for Lunch

It was our monthly ATC trade day and Elisabeth and Carol came from Montreal. First we had lunch here, then a terrific artist trading card session at the Dunvegan Recreation Hall. About 20 people attended plus 5 or 6 sheets of mailed-in trades. We spent a good 20 minutes looking at all the offerings and then at 2:15, I yelled "Let's Trade!" And the trading was fast and furious. Three little girls from down the road attended as well and they seemed to be happy with the cards they got.
All in all, another successful ATC day.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wild Blueberry & Orange Loaf

I am on the committee of the Glengarry Pioneer Museum, which is just down the road from me. Last night was their Annual General Meeting and along with speakers and music (from an 1856 Melodeon, no less), there was also a potluck supper. The recipe for this quick loaf has been pinned to my fridge for nearly a year so I finally had an excuse to try it.

I came home with an empty plate. Sixty-five museum attendees can't be wrong! (If you try it, drop me a line.)

1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup blueberries + 2 Tbsp. flour
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. orange peel (I used lemon peel)

I small bowl, toss together blueberries and 2 Tbsp. flour and set aside.
In medium bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside.
With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add egg, orange juice and peel. On low, add dry ingredients and mix till well blended. Stir in blueberries.
Put in greased loaf pan and bake for 55 - 65 minutes at 350.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Spring is a great time for the kitties to go out. I have a huge cat cage for them behind my house. There is a ladder and shelves for them to climb on, dirt to dig in and grass to munch on. They love it and I know they are safe. Seen above are Cinnamon and Cookie, two of the five, who are best friends.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Birthdays

Tomorrow Richard and I are going to Ottawa to take my Aunt Sylvia out for her 89th birthday. She laughed on the phone, saying that everyone was making a such fuss about her birthday...and she was only 89!

The big milestone of turning 80 was celebrated recently by my ex-boyfriend's father, Jim. The celebration was held at my house and we brought in the birthday boy's big day with a wonderful supper and party of roughly 40 party-goers. Since Jim is a retired farmer, the cake was a natural. (Chocolate oreo crumbs doubled for earth.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Time to Journal

The round robin art journal I'm involved with arrived this month and the theme is "Time." I thought of all the songs that mention time and somehow Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle" got into my head. The visuals are simple but I think it kinda works.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Homage to Dotti Potts

A few years back, when I told my friends Wendy and Judah (who live in Toronto) that Richard and I were going up to the Muskokas, they told me we had to go see Dotti Potts. Dotti Potts? Wendy said that their pottery was colourful and dotted (natch) and I'd love it.

So I downloaded a map (they are indeed in the Muskokas, near a place called Skeleton Lake) and off we went. What a treat! Sandra and Gavin Silberman are both lovely people and their porcelain is fantastic. I bought a small serving tray plus some small bowls and I use them all the time. I can't wait to get back there.

These artist trading cards are my homage to Dotti Potts. I used a 'window writer' (the kind you are supposed to use to draw snowflakes on the window) to make the dots so they'd be 3-D, just like they are on the real pots.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Old Graveyard and Headstones

Yesterday, Richard and I went up to Wakefield, Quebec, to visit his mother. We picked her up and went for a Sunday drive to Fieldville, where Richard grew up and where his grandparents and aunts and uncles are buried. We walked around that old cemetery and some of the headstones had aged so gracefully. I wish I had brought a sketch pad with me. It was a warm, windy day and there was something very moving just being there and standing on that ground.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Quadruple Chocolate Cake

I'm going to a dinner party tonight in Montreal and was asked to bring a cake. After much consideration of what I was going to create, I decided it was an adult party and therefore no dinosaurs or ninja turtles decorations (made out of 'too-sweet' icing) were called for.

Instead I came up with this: the cake is chocolate soaked in Kahlua. I poured a dark chocolate ganache on top (chocolate melted in whipping cream), then topped that with milk chocolate buttercream rosettes and in those I placed hand-dipped European chocolates.

I hope the guests at the party like chocolate!

Friday, April 20, 2007

I've Always Wanted a Bluebird Box

When the old spruce tree fell over, Richard chopped it up and once the weight of its upper branches were removed, its 5 ft. stump righted itself, right back into place. Richard and I went to the local wild bird supply shop and found a bluebird nesting box. I've always wanted one and just never had the right place to put it. And now I do. The spruce tree's legacy, I guess.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fictional Convention

Wouldn't you like to go to a room filled with famous artists? This set of artist trading cards fantasizes that some of the great ones have gathered together for an artist's convention...and what their identification badges might look like.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Goodbye Ol' Spruce

I'll miss that old tree. It provided shelter to many birds and last year a family of Kingbirds nested in it. It also shaded my front yard from oncoming traffic and wind. Richard left its tall stump and suggested I put a bird feeder or birdbath on it. I think that's a great way to memorialize an old friend.
Spruce will be missed.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Just When You Think Things Couldn't Get Worse

No water. No heat. Then I went out to get my mail and discover that a lovely mature spruce tree got flipped over by the high winds -- right in my driveway. I called Richard to grab his chainsaw and remove it so that my propane guy could deliver my gas. What a day!

By 4 p.m., my propane was delivered and my heater was blasting heat and at 4:30 the plumber came and fixed the water pump (the pipes, it turned out, weren't frozen after all).

All's well that ends well I suppose. Once we split and stack the spruce wood, it'll keep me warm next winter.

A Winter Wonderland?

It is a major, wet blizzard out there. I guess no one told Mother Nature that it's actually April 16. I awoke to 6 inches of wet snow and frozen pipes. (Thankfully, I had some bottled water to make my morning coffee.) Although the lights keep flickering, I still have power. But then, to add insult to injury, I ran out of propane. And that's what heats most of my house.

So I'm sticking close to home, waiting for my pipes to thaw and my propane to get delivered (and for the serviceman to turn my pilot light back on).

Isn't it supposed to be spring?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sandwich Artist

I've always find it strange when I see an ad on TV for Subway and it refers to "The Sandwich Artist." It got me to thinking...what would happen if a famous artist got a job at Subway and became a sandwich artist? These artist trading cards are based on the idea that Jackson Pollock got a job at Subway.

The 3-D red and yellow paint is courtesy of both my sister and Jen, who bought it for me in the U.S. Somehow, I couldn't find 3-D paint in ketchup and mustard colours here in Canada. In real life, the mustard and ketchup look like the real thing. Wonder what Jackson would say about these ATCs?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Nutmeg's Day Out

In a few minutes, I'll be taking Nutmeg for her annual check-up. The cage is open and my leather fireplace gloves are at the ready. What lengths one has to go to for such a seemingly simple thing as taking a cat to the vet! Argh!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

ATC Quarterly Review

My friend Jen reviewed ATC Quarterly in her blog called Jenzart. I'm thrilled that she took the time to write up a review (and that she liked it). Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Oreo & Cookie's Excellent Adventure

Yesterday was check-up day at the vet for Oreo and Cookie, my 2 six-year-old cats.(Oreo is pictured above...I have yet to draw Cookie but I intend to one of these days.) Capturing those two is like a scene out of the TV show "24." I got the cages out and ready three days before the actual appointment. When we were ready to go, I put on my big leather fireplace gloves and nabbed Oreo (Cookie was sleeping at the back of the house so it was much easier to surprise her). By the time we got to the vet, the howling in the car was at a fever's pitch.

Friday is Nutmeg's turn. Anyone got a Valium?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Journaling in ATC Quarterly

In recent weeks, I've found that folks have used their artist trading cards as a way of journaling. Each day, they create a new ATC, based on the day's events. The results are really fascinating, so I've decided to run a new regular column in ATC Quarterly that features people who journal on ATCs.

The above set is my own attempt at journaling from a recent trip to Nova Scotia. I had pre-cut cardstock into ATC size and each evening, I sat with my watercolours and recorded the day's events. What a wonderful record of a holiday. The next thing I might do is colour copy them and bind them together in a mini-booklet as a keepsake of my vacation.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

It Snowed Again

It looks more like Christmas than Easter out there! Yesterday, Richard and I went through the trails in the back woods and brought in wood from dead trees he cut last week. We're going to bring in some more later on today too.

This drawing, of a trail not far from here, was done in mid-winter. My back 25 doesn't have this much snow...but if it keeps up, who knows. Think we'll still have snow in July?

I sure hope the Easter bunny is a snow-shoe hare!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Goodbye Tony Soprano

Tomorrow is the beginning of the end for the TV show The Sopranos. In it's last season, I think it's one of the best written and acted shows on television. Yeah, it's violent but it's basically a story about a guy who has foibles and troubles in his life...and just happens to be in the mob.
Anyhow, Tony and his gang are usually digging into some pretty terrific Italian dishes: pasta, parmigiana, gnocchi and the like. These artist trading cards I drew, celebrate pasta in all its wonderful shapes and sizes. Now I think I'll do a series of ATCs on sauces!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Waiting for April Showers

It snowed overnight and I awoke to a winter wonderland. Unfortunately, it's looking like November instead of April. But late this morning the sun appeared and melted almost everything away. Now, only the shadiest corners of the landscape still have a bit of that stubborn white stuff. Nothing seems to be turning green yet though. Bring on those April showers!

Above is a drawing I did of a neighbour's property, around this time a few years ago. Just a bit of snow is still peeking out from between the rows of unharvested corn.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

ATCs That Are For The Birds!

The birds are back north from their winter vacation. I saw my first Robin a few weeks back, pecking in frozen ground. The Red-winged Blackbirds are back too, making their distinctive squawks from every fencepost.

These ATCs are inspired by Martha Stewart paint chips I got at the hardware store. I loved the colour combinations and tried to illustrate birds on the chips that shared similar colour combos.

ATC Quarterly is looking for submissions for the centre spread for the summer issue. Fittingly, the subject is "Birds." We have already gotten some fantastic ATCs; one came all the way from Austria! Deadline is May 15, 2007. Submissions may be sent by snail mail or email. Click here for more info.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Round Robin Journal: The Egg

I'm involved in a round robin journal. Each of us choose a theme (mine is "dessert") and pass our journal ahead, so each person involved does a spread in everyone else's journal. In about 8 or 9 months, we'll get back our own journals and see what other people have done in them.

The theme for Jen's journal is "the egg." I decided to use a quote by Pablo Picasso who summed up his thoughts about the egg as a perfect form. Jen's book is a Victorian photo album and the antique, stained pages are cut in perfect oval forms, originally to place photographs within them. Instead I took advantage of those perfect forms for my own collage.


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