Monday, December 31, 2007

Bye Bye 2007! Hellooooo 2008!

New Year's Day Do's and Don'ts

Avoid breaking things, crying and wailing on the first day of the year, if you don't want to continue the pattern for the entire year.

Babies born on 1st January is said to be the luckiest of all throughout their lives.

Do not let money, jewelry, precious items or other invaluable things leave your home on New Year Day. Do not pay loans and bills or lend things to anybody, if you do not want to show just-entered fortune the way to leave during the year. People go to the extent of not taking out garbage or even not dusting their carpets on this day to ensure that nothing goes out of home during the year.

Dress well throughout the year by wearing new clothes on January 1.

Evil One and his attendants and servants hate din and loud noise. So, scare them away by being as loud in New Year celebrations as possible. Church bells are rung at midnight for the purpose too.
Full larders, cupboards stocked up with food and wallets and purses full of money bring prosperity in New Year.

If you have to deliver presents on New Year morning, leave them in the car since New Year Eve on December 31st.

If you must take something out from the home, let someone come with the present inside the home first.

Never leave the home before someone comes in first. First footer in the house should be ushered in with a warm welcome and should not have flat feet, cross-eyes or eyebrows stretching out to meet in the middle.

Pay your bills and loans before New Year Eve, so you don't have any debt left for New Year.

People do not wash hair on New Year and wear festive red clothing for happiness all the year round.

The direction of wind during sunrise on New Year morning prophesizes about the coming year. Wind from south foretells fine weather and prosperous times ahead, wind from north foretells bad weather, wind from east foretells famine and natural calamities and wind from west foretells plenty of milk and fish for all but death of a person of great national importance. No wind means joy and prosperity throughout the year.

Token amount of work on first day of the year means advancements in career but starting out a serious work project is unlucky on New Year Day.

Washing dishes and doing laundry on this day is said to lead to a death in the family during the year.

These superstitions courtesy of

Made Fresh Today- Dec 31/07- Queen

Of A Regal Nature

This is a free-standing sculpture, approx. 5" x 2", of a queen and her kitty. I rarely make things like this out of friendly plastic, though that's what the material was developed for: sculpture. I have wanted to create 3D objects more often but the time pressure of shows, and school, and orders don't leave a lot of space for research and development.

January is as close as I get to real down time and usually I like to just snooze the month away if I can but really, I should take advantage and do some R&D. This January I'm going to try to do some of the experiments that have been rattling around my brain. You never know what idea will be a really great one. And in my experience, you have to get a lot of bad ideas out of the way before the good one comes along, kind of like getting warmed up you know?

Anyway I like this. We'll see where it leads me.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Season's Greetings

Christmas is past and the New Year is almost upon us.
I just wanted to say Hello to anyone who's reading this and I wish you a great 2008.

Christmas Cactus 2007
size: 1" x 1/2"
materials: friendly plastic & glass beads

Illustration Friday: Soar

Just like Dorothy and Toto, you can soar unexpectedly and reap benefits never even imagined.

This is my first contribution to Illustration Friday
It is made entirely of friendly plastic, 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size.

Day Olds - Dec 29 2007 - Swamp Things #1 and #3

I made these years ago, maybe 2001? Maybe earlier. 1998? I had just started experimenting with drawing and painting and mixed media. I remember that I was selling in the lobby of the General Hospital here in town, and I had several different subjects in this style. They were all triptychs, as in a series of three related pieces, all made in this way. I had giraffes, dragons, moose, frogs, fish, cats and dogs. All of them had friendly plastic accents. Some were more successful design-wise than others. For what they were, there were a lot of steps. I haven't made these since. I do lots of one-offs, lots of experiments, and I usually just bring them to a show, hopefully sell them, or if I don't, they come back home with me and I misplace them to be found years later.

BTW I was at the General Hospital with my friend Tim of Mobius T-shirt fame and we loved going there to sell as they had THE BEST HOSPITAL FOOD ever! I know, I know, this is really not what you expect, but their scones! OMG they were to die for... oh. Probably I shouldn't say that when talking about a hospital eh? Hmmm.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Day Olds - Dec 28 2007 - The Queen Bee

I started cleaning my place today. I always find doing this very overwhelming and I never stick with it long enough to make a real change.
I hope that's different this time, time will tell, but the best part is finding things you forgot about. This piece falls in that category.

Oh my Queen Bee. She's all that and a bag of chips.

She measures an impressive 2 1/2 feet tall x about 2 feet wide. She's made of masonite that I cut freehand with a bandsaw. I then gessoed the masonite and painted it with acrylics and glued it together with wood glue and used a lot of small clamps to keep her pieces in place. Her shoes, purse, crown, antennae and facial features are all made with friendly plastic.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

All I did today was stare out the window

So I went to bed last night wondering if it was really going to snow as much as they said it would, this being 45-60cm, almost 2 feet of snow in the next 24 hours. When I got up and saw a 4" band of snow across the windowsill of the bathroom window in the second floor, I thought oh oh, the weatherman is right today. We all know they're sometimes wrong. But not today.

Looking into my backyard, I watched all morning as the snow overtook my solar lights, which I probably should have taken in by now, but they were useful to mark the progress of the snow. What you see here is a good foot of snow over the course of the day.

Kitty X lives in a whole other strata. 3 feet from the ground is her point of view. She won't go out into the snow at all, but she likes me to open the door so she can peek out the screen into the backyard. She sniffs the air, and this counts as "going out" to her and that means when she "comes in" she gets kitty cookies in her bowl. So we go through this game a few times a day. By the late afternoon her view was totally blocked.

She gave up and pouted.

Meanwhile at the front of the house some guy decided he was going to drive in this. Uh huh.

Every 4 feet the car got stuck, spun its tires, dug in deep, and these two guys grabbed their snow shovels and dug him out. Every three or four feet. I have no idea how far this guy got. You'd think he'd stay put, but no. Some people will not let a little weather stop them. I hope he took his shoveling minions with him.

I did at one point open the door to get a real look at poor Santa Star!

I put this Christmas decoration out for the first time ever this year. I've had it over 10 years I think, a fabric stuffed Santa with a black poodle on his lower half (nothing says Christmas like a black poodle folks!) and after only a week out he gets totally dumped on by the snow.

*sigh* Santa Star I know how you feel.

I just hope we get a sunny day tomorrow.

Thank goodness it's Winter Solstice soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

It came to me in a dream

Well. After much worry I finally retrieved the images from my memory card that I knew I took but didn't show up! Why I was desperate to do this was to show you this.

Friday night after the first day of the Carp Xmas Show I came home and the house smelled like gasoline. I live in a row of townhouses and the heating ducts are common to us all so when they repaint a unit, we get the full force of the fumes. The last time that happened I woke up in the middle of the night with a giant throbbing headache. So when I woke up at 4:30am Saturday morning I just got up. What was good was I dreamt this painting. It was on my mind when I opened my eyes and so I just got out the paints and did it. It's on a 24 x 48 canvas. I love it. Why I never thought to invert a character is beyond me but here it is. I can see many more like this and variations of this to come in the future. Thank you subconscious.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Carp Xmas Sale Tomorrow

Well it's my last show of the year tomorrow. The year has gone quickly by. It was a very productive and busy year. A good year. I have my final printmaking class today with my final critique by the instructor. We had our final drawing class yesterday, painting is Friday and photography on Monday. Then, with all this and my shows out of the way, I have to clean the ceramics studio for next semester, and find the time to make presents for friends and family. I'm looking forward to some personal art-making. Even feeling excited about it.

The only thing giving me some doubt is I think my cold may be re-asserting itself.

There have been some wicked throat bugs around and I had one about two weeks ago.

I walked around in my leopard print fleece pyjamas for 5 days,
drinking tea from a fantastic teapot
that I didn't make but did get to glaze
when it wasn't claimed for three semesters at school and destined for the garbage can. Too beautiful for that I saved it and finished it. Even with all that beauty I still felt awful.

And now I feel it in my throat again. I feel really tired again. And all I want to do is sleep but I have work to do so I have to work. And to that end I'd better go before my energy gives out. Better find some chicken soup. Ah! What better than Winnie the Pooh and chicken soup, together again?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Replacement Moose for School of Art

After selling my moose at the school art sale, I was required to bring a replacement for the empty spot it left on the gallery wall, so here's a second moose showing its lovely face.

Moose In The Hood is your young, or your casual moose, dressed comfortably in a black hoodie. Back in the day, we used to call this style of top a kangaroo top... anyone else remember that?

And now for the weather

When I left for school yesterday this was view down the row from where I live looking north to the neighbouring yards. Snow and more snow. I thought my class could even be cancelled but having missed my 2 classes for the term I have to get there or fail my class, so I got there. In the Byward Market in front of the school it looked like this
and looking into the market it looked like this

If you look you'll see someone with an umbrella. I never know what to think of people using an umbrella against the snow. I suppose it'd be good to shield you from the wind, and I guess the falling snow, but it seems very ineffective somehow, and just another thing to deal with on top of the extra layer of clothes, the mitts, the hat, the scarf... is it really all that much of an advantage to use the umbrella in a snowstorm?

And when I got home this was waiting for me

a snowy doorstep and nowhere good to put my coffee down while I searched for my keys
standing calf deep at the
trying to get in the house.

Most winters I've gone through the whole season wearing running shoes. This is a winter boot year for sure. Unless it all melts soon...

A girl can hope.

Bathroom Surprise

So at the show I find the bathroom, and here, in this very careful school, full of things of wonder for the children, I find a box of wooden matches in the bathroom near the "No Scents Allowed" sign that's in the bathroom too. It struck me as odd... you?

Friendly Plastic for the Show

Lest you think I am not making friendly plastic, here's an artsy view of the sunlight kissing the shiny surface of my offerings at the last Christmas sale I was at. Lots of new designs for me, no chance to get pictures as it's been go-go-go, straight from school, to getting ready for a show, to at the show.

Denise Atkinson had her fantastic bears at the show. The brown one had a tongue, teeth and claws. I couldn't resist this photo-op. Look at the drama! The menace!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Book#3: What Makes Me Crabby In the Mary Maxim Catalog by Pear-Shaped Girl

O Pear-Shaped Girl! What a crafting cynic you are! How many of these lovely items were you given... and how many have you given away?

This book, and the two before it, were all made in the style of one page books. If you want to try and make your own, see this blog entry for further instruction---> making one page books.

Pear-Shaped Girl - What a Girl Wants Book#2

And here's the second Pear-Shaped Girl one page book. I think I could make these for a good while.

The Debut of Pear-Shaped Girl

Tonight there's a fundraiser for a local gallery called SAW Gallery and they had a call for sketches or doodles, or drawings, anything informal like that. I decided to enter something and submitted three one page books. I took it as an opportunity to bring Pear-Shaped Girl into the public arena and out of my private domain. I made three one page books for the fundraiser and I hope they are well-received. I loved making them myself and will not stop making them now!

I sold everything!

O Happy Day! I put three pieces into the student art sale and all three have been sold. Wow. I am thrilled. Here's a shot of the print that sold. I can't show you the other print as I am sending another print in the series to a friend and don't want to reveal it here in case he looks at this blog. Do you look at this blog Kelvin? Hmmm.

Now I get to replace my three items with three more. I'm working on that now... and working on getting my stuff together for the Parsifal School sale tomorrow morning. Much to do. Much to do.

Finishing Up

This is my last week of school and I am finishing up my final projects. It's also the time of year
when you get a chance to make things for events and fundraisers all across the city. It's hard to fit it all in, but you just do.

This is not the best shot, but you can see one of my submissions to the student Christmas art show and sale which opened last night. My Moose (ceramic in a white shadow box frame) sold before the doors were open to the general viewing public. Yay! Thanks! I also have two prints in the show, a completed woodblock colour reduction and a lino print. It was a challenge to get things ready for the show but I did it and now we just wait and see.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Morning

As a treat to myself I bought this book, solely based on its cover (yes I do that) and it's a book I will read and re-read. I took it for the bus ride to school and found myself having to put it away to save it for the bus ride home. I would have finished it in one go. I LOVE THIS BOOK. It put a smile on my face that didn't go away all day.

It's a year in the life of an artist, Maira Kalman, fully illustrated with paintings, handwritten text that doesn't look like the type style you're reading right now, (Times Roman Western), and a sense of angst and curiosity and joy that I love.

I love this book.

But I'm supposed to be talking about Saturday. To my mind, Saturdays are days off so it's hard for me to force myself to really work on Saturday. I have set aside this weekend to make things for my three small xmas shows that start next weekend and go for the next three weekends. No homework or school stuff this weekend. Normally this would be lots of time to get ready but what with all my final assignments coming due at the same time I don't see that I'll have lots of time during the coming weeks to make things so I need to binge work this weekend.

But before I start I am going to leaf through the enormous amount of flyers which were waiting for me on the doorstep when I came home last night, get some coffee while I do that (I really enjoy flyers), and look forward to getting back to my new favourite book. In between though, I need to make things. I'd better start my day.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Woodblock Reduction Part II

So here's the second week's results of my reduction printing project. I carved away the parts that I wanted to remain the first colour of ink that I printed last week. All those white areas won't print again. Now you know why Picasso called these "suicide prints". It's do or die. There's no going back.

And here are the results at this stage of the process. I love the blue and green one. It reminded me of ads from the 70's.. all those olive green appliances, remember those? And I swear I must have spent time in a room with this very combination of shag carpet. I remember my aunt had gold and orange shag and a special rake to bring the shag up after you'd vacuumed it. What a lot of work for shag...but it did hide a lot of crumbs.

After my nine prints we complete with their second colour, I had to cut away my block again. This one was going to emphasize my composition using either black or dark blue. You just sort of cross your fingers you can line things up good enough for the whole thing to work. What's surprising is how off you really can be and it's still least to my eyes.

Here's what the block looks like now. Lots of wood is gone. The lettering is almost non-existent, and just the kitty (Kitty X of course) is still intact.
This class goes by really fast. before I had to go (the next class was coming in) I managed to carve away the last bits of my block. I'm printing it in the morning and there'll be nothing left after that. I'm carving it all away. Block destroyed.

Here's a look at this final stage. Eyes, ears and remote control buttons. I hope to be done tomorrow. You'll know if I am.

In Love

I didn't sleep much last night. I think I'm in love with this night shooting business.

Like I need another passion.

On the bright side, I am now looking forward to going out at night in winter snow and seeing what I can get. Anything that can put a positive twist on the winter season is definitely a powerful thing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pictures at Night

Oooo. I think I've found something I really like. We had a photography class outside tonight. I love it. No one is expecting you to take pictures at night and you can just quietly snap away. It's anonymous and quiet and everything looks different at night to the camera. I am hooked.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Our 2nd year drawing class was able to show some of our work in the student gallery at school. Drawing is so challenging, so time consuming and so very satisfying when you finally get it right. My drawings are the two in the center done in black conte crayon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Woodblock Reduction Printing - stage 1

I had printmaking class today and we started doing woodblock colour reduction prints. Here's a look at the first stage of my woodblock:

I chose an image to carve and carved out all the areas that would be white, or the colour of the paper I am printing on. Here are four prints from this first block, all one colour prints.

The tools for making a woodblock print are decidely low-tech. See here a wooden spoon and my handheld wood-handled carving set.

Next week I get to carve away areas that will remain the colour I have printed, and the rest of the block will be inked up and I'll print right on top of these prints in a second colour, and a third and a fourth etc until the image feels and looks right.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's been a while

Hello. I've been thinking about my blog and about posting to my blog but everything piled up and then it didn't let up so that's why I've been so quiet. It's not for a lack of wanting to write here. And now that I am posting I am wondering why I thought it was so impossible?

So I thought I'd show you something that I made just last week. It feels like a breakthrough for my painting. We'll see what I do next.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Book #44 Cat Headgear

Those cats are so FIERCE! And so this was another one page book. Print it onto a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, fold, cut and re-fold, and enjoy this word snack. If you don't know how to do this see making one page books.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sorry for the lack of posts

I keep thinking that I'm going to get here and post everyday but it's not happening. School is taking up a lot of time (going full-time will do that), and the rest of the time is spent doing my part-time ceramic technician job during the week and the weekends are spent at the two markets. In between there are orders to be filled for wholesale and local customers.

It's a lot. Sometimes it feels like too much.

But there is an end in sight. My farmers' markets end at the end of October and that'll free up two whole days! Woo-hoo! My blogging should increase 200%.

For now I'll do what I can and hopefully that means doing a bit more that what I've done lately.

Day Olds - Sept 27, 2007-Beaver Mirror

I made these mirrors as a special order for a Canadian national park called Yoho National Park in British Columbia. I really love the friendly beaver on these. The teeth make them!