Friday, February 28, 2014

Haiku My Heart: Longing for Spring

Winter continues,
with no end in sight, frozen
hearts long for spring warmth.

Farewell, February 2014.  I for one will not miss you.  When the steam is rising off the pavement in those hot, scorching days of July, I always tell people, "these are the days I dream about in February". Only this year, I have had to dig deep to remember those sunny, blissfully hot and/or humid days.

Spring, the prelude to summer, is only weeks away, according to the calendar.  The end to this coldest winter in 20 years is almost in sight and yet still seems much too far away.  Forecasters predict the cold will continue into March, words which chill me to the bone almost as much as the wind itself.

The brown-eyed Susans in my photo above are a summer flower but you will forgive me when I say, I just don't care - give me a flower, any flower, one that is eager to break through the still frozen ground, unfold its tender petals and turn its face toward the sun.  That flower germinates in my heart right now, waiting impatiently for its turn to bloom.


You will find more haiku here at Haiku My Heart Fridays, hosted by Rebecca.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Even More Happy Mail

I'm a lucky girl, finding more happy mail in my mailbox today. Such a treat to receive something besides bills and junk mail. Many thanks to Jacqueline from Calgary for these special goodies!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lovely Bits of Lace

I've been busy sorting through a bag of lace I bought at Value Village recently.
I am enthralled by all the pretty patterns, each one completely different from the others.
The bag also contained some crocheted bits, I think they used to call this tatting.
There is some eyelet as well (right, below) and even a thin bit with tiny little hearts in the design (left, below).

I don't know what I'll do with all of this lacy treasure but I'm sure I'll find a use for it eventually!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Parking Lot Art

I took these images in the parking lot as I was leaving work this evening.

Do you know what they are?

They're the pattern left behind in the salt by the teeny tiny six by four inch square bit of tire that your car rests on all day when it's standing still (x4, of course!).  Different tires = different tread patterns.  I had never noticed them before tonight, perhaps because it has been dark by this time of day for the past few months.  Now that the days are getting longer, it's easier to notice things like these interesting designs underfoot.

The alarming thing was that in the time it took me to take these 3 images, which was maybe 30, certainly no more than 60 seconds, my hand was utterly frozen.  I had to take my glove off to use the camera on my phone, but the wind was so very cold (minus 17C windchill factor) that even in that extremely short period of time, my hand was chilled to the bone.  I put my glove back on, got in the car and started driving and it was literally five to ten minutes before my hand felt back to normal.  Man, I pity the people working and living outside in weather like this, I really do. I don't know how they stand it!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

More Happy Mail

Many thanks to Neija from Montreal, Quebec, who sent this pretty envelope to my mailbox, where I found it Friday night.

It was filled with all of these luscious little tidbits of art, aren't they wonderful?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Haiku My Heart: Olympic Fever

Olympic fever
joins the nation together,
we cheer as one voice.
Calling all Canadians: Donate your status for Team Canada
Photo found here at
Olympic fever
fills our souls with pride as they
take the podium.

Olympic fever
adds lustre to medals of
bronze, silver and gold.


What a wild couple of weeks it has been for Canadians as we have watched our athletes compete, struggle, persevere, overcome and conquer.  Congratulations to all our Olympians, you have been amazing and we are so very proud.

Haiku My Heart is hosted each Friday by recuerda_mi_corazon.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

An Eventful and Exciting Day

What a day it has been!  First I had to clear out all the stuff I store under my kitchen sink, because someone was coming in today to fix my dishwasher, which didn't drain properly the other day when I last used it.
Next, the Canadian women's team won the gold medal in curling in a suspenseful match that started at 8:30 a.m. EST.  I watched online at my desk while getting some work done (multi-tasking has its advantages!).
Photo: The best women's curling team Canada has ever had?

What do you think?
Photo from CBC Olympics on Facebook
We had about an hour to calm down from that excitement and then it was time for the gold medal match between the Canadian and U.S. women's hockey team.  Another closely fought match that was looking like it might not go our way, until the Canadians were able to score twice in the final few minutes of regular play, going on to win the deciding goal in sudden death overtime.
Photo: We'll be doing a post-game live chat with senior hockey writer Mike Brophy after the gold medal game.

Get your Qs ready!
Photo from CBC Olympics on Facebook
As if that weren't exciting enough, I also had an unexpected opportunity to speak with my 15 year old nephew when his trip from Quebec City to Edmonton included a layover in Toronto. It was nice to have a chance to chat with him but sadly, there is no photo to show for this part of my day - since he was in the secured area, I wouldn't have been able to visit him at the airport)

Next we had a late day snowstorm when we were expecting 25 to 50 mm of rain, making for a messy drive home.

Another unexpected treat today was waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home - happy mail from Victoria, B.C.  The perfect end to a wild and exciting day!

The only fly in today's ointment is that my sink still isn't draining properly, which I didn't realize until after I'd put all that stuff back where it belonged, which means I'll probably need to pull it all out again tomorrow morning! Then again, maybe that's what made the difference today and will bring an extra dose of good luck to our men's curling and hockey teams tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

30 Days Until Spring

It was such a nice day today - mild temperatures (above zero - whoo hoo!), a little bit of sun, no wind, all wrapped up with a gold medal bow in bobsledding for Canada at the Olympics! Quite a switch from the many extreme cold days we've suffered through the past several weeks.  The days are getting longer and a day like today makes you believe that sooner or later, those gigantic snowbanks are going to melt away to nothing.

But it seems that Mother Nature is just toying with us, for tomorrow's mild day is going to be served up with 25 to 50 mm of rain, 80 km winds and a possible thunderstorm, leading to dire warnings of possible flooding and/or power outages.

Let me tell you, spring can't get here soon enough for me!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A New Face

I'd hadn't drawn a face in quite a while, so thought I'd give it a try yesterday on a newly created journal page, using a Stabilo pencil and a wet paintbrush.  I was quite pleased with how it turned out!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Encrusted Shrubbery

The third and final class taught by at last weekend was called "Encrusted Shrubbery Canvas" and was described as follows:  "To say it with Monty Python “First you must find... another shrubbery! Then, when you have found the shrubbery, you must place it here, beside this shrubbery, only slightly higher so you get a two layer effect with a little path running down the middle. ("A path! A path!") Then, you must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest... with... a herring!”

We will create a wonderful home decor canvas using (Nathalie's) Signature Stamps and Templates from Stampendous to create a kind of a piece of art... one with loads of paint and other media, just without a... herring!"
Nathalie's class sample
Whether or not you are familiar with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you will no doubt appreciate the lovely canvases that were created by my fellow classmates:
The pink group
The green/blue group

Here's how my canvas turned out:

I'm not quite sure what to do with it from here. I think I might need to add a few more layers of paint, it's a little too boldly pink and blue at the moment.  And it needs something else, some text or another image. I like how the tree and the birds on the branch turned out but they're a bit too small to be the main focus of the piece.  No worries, it's still a work-in-progress - sooner or later, inspiration will come to me!

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Don't worry, I didn't know what it meant either.  I'm still not sure I know how to pronounce it, but it sounds a lot like "art fig newton".  It's a made up German word that means "the pleasure of art", according to Nathalie Kalbach and it's the name of the class she taught last Saturday at Bizzy B.
The class was described like this :  "It starts the moment you sit down, an experience that is distinctly Art Journaling. A quick exhilaration, a sense of control, the art media’s surprising responsiveness as if they were simply an extension of you.  There is a word for this creative experience: Artvergnugen ! Artvergnugen is what makes your journal a piece of art.  Join Nathalie and play with different art media and supplies. Learn techniques, tips and tricks to take your art journaling further and turn it into Artvergnugen."
We laughed a lot, it was a fun day!
We spent the day learning various techniques from Natalie and working on pages in our journal.  Here's a peek at a couple of the pages I made, none of which are actually finished yet:
As a special treat, Marilyn brought in her puppies to visit us, they are the cutest little things!
One of my classmates, Marg, came all the way from Paradise, Newfoundland to take all three of the weekend's classes with Nathalie - she posted some pictures of the class on her blog. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nathalie's Texture Journal Class

Last Friday night at Bizzy BNathalie Kalbach taught a class called "Texture Journal".
The class was described as follows:  "Unleash your creativity while learning how to make the most of your art tools and mediums- including Nathalie’s signature stamps from Stampendous. Develop a small art journal filled with fun and colourful techniques, textures, and print layers to be used as a reference tool for later mixed media and scrapbooking projects."  And that's exactly what we did - Nathalie showed us various techniques for creating backgrounds for journal pages, using different mediums and tools like her new stamp sets (each package of 3 stamps includes a bonus stencil template!) and the Creative Palette monoprinting plate (which is similar to a gelli plate, but thinner, lighter and sturdier).

I ended up using colours I don't normally use - orange, black, lime green and red - and really liked the pages I made.  Here are some photos of the results, which include some of her stamps:
Dianne was sitting next to me and made a page using the same colours and wasn't so keen on the result, so she gifted it to me.  It was a heavier weight of paper than what I was using, so I decided it would be perfect for the cover of my little journal.  Thanks, Dianne!
I haven't quite decided what to put inside the book, whether I will just leave the pages as you see them above or add some text and/or photos. I thought black and white pictures would look really cool against these backgrounds and was going to use some of my vintage photo collection but it occurred to me today that it might be fun to print out some of the pictures from Nathalie's visit last weekend in black and white and put those in the book.  I think that is the way I'm going to go, just need to play around with the photo effects a bit first!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Haiku My Heart: Valentine's Day 2014

Remember that love
should be expressed all year round,
not just this one day.
Photo courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Haiku My Heart hosted each week by recuerda_mi_corazon.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sneak Peek at Nathalie's Classes

Yes, I know, I've been delayed about posting about Nathalie Kalbach's classes at Bizzy B last weekend, but it was a busy weekend, followed by a busy week! Thank goodness we've got a long weekend coming up, I need a rest! I'll be posting more details in a couple of days but for now, here's a few sneak peeks:

In the meantime, you can also read more about it on Nathalie's blog.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

More Journal Pages

Here are the journal pages from the rest of the group members who attended this month's Journal Junkies meeting this past Monday night.  We had a choice of two themes, either "favourite artist" or "an acquired taste".  Our featured product for the month was stencils.

Kelly chose the "acquired taste" theme for her page about the colour orange.
Louise also chose this theme and her page featured mocha cake, which her mother baked for all the family birthdays when Louise was growing up.  She told us that as a kid, she didn't much care for the taste but has grown to like it over the years.

For the other attendees, the "favourite artist" theme was a popular choice.  Helen joined us for the first time and brought her page about her favourite artist, Leonard Cohen.
Marissa's page featured a group photo taken during one of our classes taught by Nathalie Kalbach this past weekend at the store and was created using some of the techniques we learned - a sure sign that she enjoyed herself in class, don't you think?
Donna's page featured the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, who has long been a favourite of hers.
We were very glad to have Marilyn back with us last night, she has been away for several months due to illness but is feeling much better and glad to be well enough to start using her art supplies again. Here is her page (not based on either theme):
Stay tuned for next month's pages, based on "moods"!!