Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Day at the Museum

My friend Peggi and I went to the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa yesterday. We had been invited to the launch of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, a huge undertaking where breeding birds were recorded from 2001-2005. Peggi and I monitored the 10 km square in which we live (our names are in the front of the book as volunteers).
Before the launch we spent a few hours in the museum which is undergoing a major renovation. There is a dinosaur floor (wow!), a mammal floor and an entire floor on birds. Peggi took this shot of me pretending I was a seal. I was happy to get out of that hole before darkness fell, when the polar bears became 'live' (like in the movie "Night at the Museum"). Ha!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Place to Sleep, Meow and Bark?

Cinnamon, Cookie and Nutmeg all found a warm spot to snooze in front of the fire yesterday.
A Place to Bark needs donations (deadline is tomorrow!) in order to get a grant of $50K to help save more dogs and cats. They only ask for a $10 donation and need it from lots of different people (unique visitors) to stay in the running. I hope you can help.
Visit A Place to Bark's website. (They accept PayPal and credit cards.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mid-Winter Days

Freezing rain, threatening skies...good day to stay in and draw.

Don't you just love the new banner on the blog? The talented Susan Williamson created it for me and I think it came out great. (I look pretty professional now, eh?) Thanks Susan!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Perfect End to a Perfect Day

Yesterday it was -3C and sunny. Richard and I spent the majority of it cutting and dragging wood which entails lots of time walking around in the woods. I love how the curious chickadees follow alongside you, flitting from tree to tree. I love walking along the snow-covered frozen brook and hearing it crack underfoot. I love the dazzling light and shadow play against the pine trees. And I really love the Bailey's Irish Cream, served with icicles as swizzle sticks, enjoyed in front of a roaring fire. A perfect day.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sneak Peek: Technique in ATC Quarterly

Yesterday was our monthly ATC trade and my friends Carol and Elisabeth usually drive in from Montreal a little early so we can have lunch together. Yesterday I asked them to come even earlier so I could photograph Carol creating ATCs out of salt dough. She had traded ATCs made out of this dough in December and they were so popular I figured they'd be a good technique to show in the spring issue of ATC Quarterly. Carol demonstrated an easy, step-by-step process showing how to create these ATCs. The dough is cheap to make; the technique easy. I think you might want to give it a try. Full description and recipe will be featured in the next issue of ATC Quarterly, due out at the end of March 2008.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cold, Bright Days

We've had 2 days of very cold (-22C) nights and very clear, sunny days. It's very pretty with all the snow and bright light. Kind of feels like you're driving around in a post card.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Free to a Good Home

Barney the barn cat, looking to move out of the barn and into a real home. (Name change optional.) Sweet natured. About 8-9 months old. Will have shots and be neutered. Bonus: extra thumbs. Free delivery available (within reason).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Working Cat #1

Over the years I've collected images of cats working in stores which I always found endearing. But these cats were workers, keeping mice at bay and wanting belly rubs. (Now that's serious work!)
Bogy was spotted "working" at the gargantuan Highway Books in Cobalt, (northern) Ontario.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wild Animal ATCs

I had saved plastic bread tags (the thing that keeps the bread bag closed) in a jar for sometime and when I dumped them onto the counter, they kind of reminded me of a cat or dog nose. I was surprised at the variety of colours they were made out of and just had to make a set of ATCs of wild animals using these bread tags as their noses.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Weekend in the Woods

Richard and I spent the better part of the weekend pulling in wood he cut last weekend. It was pretty cold (-20C) but it wasn't too bad if you kept moving. The wood we are gathering now will heat us next winter. Folks around here say that wood actually heats you five ways: cutting, splitting, gathering, stacking, and burning.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Double Take

In the just plain weird department, I was coming out of the grocery store and looked up at this vehicle and for the briefest of moments, thought there was a stuffed bear in the drivers seat. Turned out to be a fuzzy seat warmer; the bear's head was a sort of head rest. Ah, the ways we try to keep warm here in Canada, eh?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cairn Terrier Tile

A friend of mine has the cutest little Cairn Terrier named Emma. She asked if I could draw her likeness on a ceramic tile. I told her that I am not really a portrait artist but I could attempt to draw the breed (and not necessarily her dog!). She loved it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Art Journal

I did this collage for our round robin art journal. This is for Jen's book entitled "Theatre of the Mind."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow Cat

We're expecting more of the white stuff tomorrow. Good thing too. I just booked my art show for April 13 so that means I'd better get cracking at the drawing board. And if I'm snowed in, all the better!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Catching Some Rays

I love this shot of my cat Nutmeg trying to get a bit of sun on her back.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Warhol's Cats Cradle ATCs

I love how Andy Warhol drew cats and last year I bought a calendar of them. This year I am cutting up the old calendar and making it into artist trading cards...and imagining what it would be like if they played cat's cradle with bright orange wool.
The backgrounds are from an old wallpaper book. I've only made 3 so far and they are currently on display over my computer. Not sure these'll be traded so quickly!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Banana Nut Crunch Cake

We went to a really fun 3-person birthday party in Hudson, Quebec on the weekend. It was potluck so it was a good excuse to try a new recipe. My aunt bought me a big cookbook of all the Pillsbury Bake-Off winners over the years. This cake was the 1973 Grand Champion.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Up for the Challenge...

The challenge that Jen Worden posted on her blog this week was to open any art/craft technique book and do the project that you happen to open your book to. No choosing. Wherever you open it, that's the challenge you complete. I picked Bernie Berlin's book Artist Trading Card Workshop. I opened it to pages 48-49 in which ATCs were made with fun foam (thin, condensed foam rubber sold in craft shops, often in pre-cut letters or shapes). I happened to have a small square of fun foam left from another project. I cut it with pinking shears and followed Bernie's step-by-step directions. Very easy and fun and I'm pleased with the results. I would never have tried this thanks Jen for the challenge. It was really fun. To see more entries:

A Few Warmish Days

The snow has melted somewhat and now a lot of the corn stubble from last year's harvest is visible. As much as winter drives me nuts, it's so much fun to draw.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Big Things: Polar Bear

Richard and I went to Northern Ontario a few years back and encountered this giant polar bear in Cochrane. We also saw 3 REAL polar bears at the sanctuary they've set up there. You can actually swim with them (separated by a piece of glass in the pool). Pretty cool.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Think Winter ATCs

I got Christmas cards with polar bears on them and loved the images so much that I cut and sewed them into ATCs. I also found snowflake metal brads and added them too.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ice Storm 10th Anniversary

On January 8, 1998, our part of the world (Eastern Canada) got hit by a ghastly ice storm that didn't let up for much of the week. Most of eastern Ontario and Quebec lost power. We went without electricity for 19 days. What an adventure that was. I cooked all the meals on the woodstove. The army came every 2 days and attached a generator to our water pump so that we could fill every container possible with water. The sound of trees cracking sounded like constant gunfire. And wouldn't you know it. Our phone went out and my car wouldn't start. Boy do you ever depend on neighbours at a time like that.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Self Portrait??

Jen Worden has posted a weekly challenge on her blog in which you were asked to create a post card of a self-portrait, summing up last year and perhaps making resolutions for this one. I realize that mine came out more as a check list of what I did in 2007 and no actual self portrait. Oops.
Check her blog for other submissions.

I decided to redo the challenge: a self-portrait this time! Next challenge I promise to read over a little more carefully.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Warm Day in the Snow

Sunday was the beginning of a balmy trend and Richard and I decided to strap on the snowshoes and go for a walk in the woods and trim some trees. It was gorgeous but underfoot was kind of like walking in wet sugar.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I couldn't help myself. In my new quest to paint every bit of white ceramic I lay my hands on, I found these cow creamers. A zebra cow? Why not!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Button Snowmen ATCs

Old white buttons, little black beads, bits of twig and black paper made for a fun set of artist trading cards. I don't love sewing all that much so I cheated a bit and glued the buttons to the felt backgrounds. But I liked the look of the stitched edges so made sure I sewed them with embroidery floss so the stitches would show up.

Friday, January 4, 2008

American Goldfinch

I love winter because it's a great time to watch the birds who come to the feeder. The bird feeder is right next to my window so I get a terrific view of all the little guys who are coming in to eat.
Photo courtesy Richard

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Cat Journal

I am involved in a new art journal round robin and my theme choice is CATS! I've always wanted to do a Victorian collage and had saved old calendars, stickers, greeting cards and all manner of Victorian images over the years but never knew what to do with them. A-hah!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Baby Plates R Us

Here are 2 more baby plates I was commissioned to do. Emmett is 4 and Kaylee is 8. I am now on the lookout for unusually shaped plain plates to paint. (Say that 5 times quickly!) I love the triangular shape of these.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Had a great night over at a house party down the road. At midnight we all honked tinsel-covered horns, drank champagne from tall flutes and held hands while singing Auld Lang Syne. Nice to bring in the new year with friends.


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