Wednesday, February 23, 2011


So I've been bragging a little about our weather. There have been several photos of blooms and buds. Lots of green to be envious of so early in the year.

I felt sympathy for all those pleas for blue skies and warmer weather. I was compassionate for everyone who got stuck in a snowstorm, all across Canada and the US, and in the UK too.

I didn't feel terrible, because I lived somewhere temperate. I made the choice, and the trek across the continent to be here, so I've earned the right to be happy about it. And maybe flaunt a little flower or too.

There's something I'm learning though. We have winter for a reason. To hibernate. To rest and store up so we can be fresh for spring. I've been going full steam ahead, scoffing at the notion of winter.

I got my comeuppance.

This is what I awoke to this morning.


And it wasn't stopping anytime soon.


Everything shuts down when we get snow like this here.
Even if we know it will be melted in a day.


I spent the day watching this heavy blanket gain weight.

Wall of Sky

And the sky.
It was unmoving.
Like a wall with nothing beyond it.


Ever more.


And then, mid-afternoon, the wind appeared, bringing with it the sun.


And finally, shapes began to emerge.
And a little piece of blue sky.

Here's what I have learned today. I need a hibernation too. A chance to blanket myself away. Clear some projects from my plate. Feel the weight come off when they've been completed. And breathe all the way into my lungs. Full of fresh energy for the spring.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Alphabet Soup - M is for Me Day Mondays


My sweetie left for Cuba yesterday, with a gaggle of our friends. I miss him already. I made it through the night though. No nightmares. Now I sit back and relax and enjoy the rest of this week of bachelorette living :)

Okay, so maybe not that wild. I am proud to say that I went to bed at a decent time last night. It meant that I was up early to enjoy this day, which started out with a good chunk of time in bed, catching up on blog reading.

After the Breakdown (aka 6.8.10), my bed was my favourite place to be. Second favourite was the couch. Usually with the lights low and the curtains drawn. As I started to get stronger, I did the classic me and tried to do everything, and take on too much. I remember having low key weeks, time at home, an art class, an appointment or two, and then the weekend would hit and I would want to make up for it, and keep up with my sweetie. Needless to say, by Monday morning I was exhausted and needing recuperation time.

Except I would feel stressed and guilty about everything I wasn't getting done. J came home one Monday eve to me in tears because of all the things I felt I hadn't accomplished. We sat down together and wrote out a list of everything I had done that day. It was quite extensive. Though I hadn't left the house, I tackled what some people would take on in a week. Two things happened that day. First, I started making those lists at the end of every day, so I could bear witness to how much I was doing and connecting it to how I was feeling. It only took a week or two to get the point across.

The second thing we instituted was a "Bed Day". Just because I was getting better didn't mean that I had to be all the time. It was okay to have a day to put it all down. Just rest and relax and recharge, and do what I wanted to do, not what I felt I needed to do. I loved my bed days. I had a reason to say no to things, not schedule things that day.

As I continued to heal, my bed stopped being my favourite place to be, except when I'm curled up with my sweetie nodding off to sleep. If I want to be there at other times, it's a good sign that I need to recharge, or I'm getting sick. I was fighting off a bug last week, and it drove me up the wall that I needed to be in bed. I think that's a good sign

Now, I have Me Days on Mondays. For a while that meant At Home Days, which was needed to preserve and refuel my energy. As I shift away from that it gets a little blurrier... about what falls on which side of the Me/Relax line.

Not having my sweetie here this morning made me realize that the best first step to Mondays is not getting up right away. The rest I'm sorting out. I've really enjoyed having an art filled morning so far. Updating my 365 pictures on Flickr, spending time with Picnik, making a really cool folded origami envelope out of wrapping paper to send something to my snail mail buddy B at Sweet Limes... all made me happy and calm.

I can't show you what I sent B, yet.. though I can finally show you the ATCs I made in January :)

Now we shall move on to the photography portion of this program :) There have been a lot of floral photos in my collection lately. No apologies. It means I've been getting a lot a flowers lately!

Alli's theme this week at Happy Monday is Yellow. I love this picture. The petals of the pink flower in the background curling through, trying to embrace the daisy.

I had a little fun playing with it in post. Dropped the exposure a little and raised the temperature, which brought more of the yellow out in the centre of the daisy. I love the little dusting of yellow on its petals. And then, I couldn't resist and had a little rendez-vous with Picnik. A little vignette was all I needed...


This next shot is something I hope to working on this week. I love this shot in theory. All I've done to it so far is a little crop. I want to soften out the skin, make it less pink, except that would involve masking and PhotoShop (insert scream from Psycho). I downloaded the MCP mini-fusion action last week and I have been planning to learn how to use it. It's on my list for this week.


Lucky me, Ashley Sisk, of Good to WOW, is going to be showing everyone how it works! Hopefully I will have something a little different to post up and show you on Thursday!

In the meantime, I will enjoy staring at that sunny day we had at the beach, and miss my sweetie something fierce.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hope Rocks

Today is officially the last day of my Experimental Art e-Course by Amelia Critchlow. I have immensely enjoyed it and I have gained so much from it. No longer do I fear the blank pages of my art journal, or cling to the simple and ordered. Messy, blurry, Big? Bring it!

Our final assignment was to embark on a little guerilla art. A while back I was wandering my pal Red's blog and read about her participation in something called Hope Rocks, a movement started by Woodstock Lily. What better reason to finally put this into action myself?

So, yesterday morning, I grabbed my sweetie and headed to the beach. It was super sunny and absolutely gorgeous. We had a lovely time, cameras in hands, stopping to admire the little things.

I collected up five rocks I felt to be worthy. The plan is to shoot them in their natural habitat, shoot their transformation, and shoot them in their new home. Here's the first one that I completed yesterday.

Hope Rocks - First of Five

This beauty was re-nested at the Home and Garden show. I hope that it will have a hope-full journey.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I want to share with you one of my new fave pics.

I took it a day after Valentine's, when the beautiful roses I was given by my sweetie started to open. It was late, and the light was low. Before spending time with Amelia in her Experimental Art e-Course, I probably would have dragged them under the light and shot them relentlessly until I got a bright, crisp, perfect photo.

Except I didn't. I climbed right out of that comfort zone. Sometimes it's necessary for the sharpness, yes, I haven't let that go entirely. Other times it's more beautiful to let things be softer.

I love how it turned out. Like something out of an Andy Warhol painting. Andy Warhol meets Georgia O'Keefe.

I was tempted to figure out how to flip it so it faces the other way. I fought the urge, and was rewarded by finding Kat Sloma's blog, and her interesting discussion about breaking the Rule of Thirds. This one doesn't follow the rule, I checked, and I am embracing that as well, in this photo and ones to come.

So thank you Amelia and Kat, for encouraging the uniqueness that results from knowing when to break the rules, or work outside of them. That's where we find ourselves sometimes, yes?

To add it to the portfolio submission, or not... that's a whole other question.

art course

Now, I want to share with you my new crush. Picnik. It's an online photo editing program that you can use to add some pretty neat effects to your photos. I'm still terrified of Photoshop and I think this is a really simple way to ramp up the look of what I've captured... until Photoshop and I become more acquainted.

Here's the Before

I sifted through several different effects, and settled on Lomo-ish.
One click, and...

Windy Day Edit


I knew I liked this program when I tried it on Valentine's Day...
Now I think it might be the beginning of love ;)

Windy Day Edit

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wishcasting - Artist

Wishcasting Wednesday:
What aspect of your personality do you wish to express more of?


The artist. I know I bang on about this a lot. It's on my mind right now as I prepare my application to the Visual Arts BFA program I'm completely excited about. It's a double major paired up with Computer Science, and just the idea of it makes me drool. Like Pavlov's dog, thinking about spending my days having art education poured into me, and releasing it onto canvas, clay, or film.

Oh, and confidence. I'd like to express more of that too, please :)

Click here to help me sort through my Portfolio submissions!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Alphabet Soup - L is for Like

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope to be celebrating with my sweetie tonight over a scrumptious dinner of bison steak and raw oysters! And maybe some baked pear stuffed crepes drizzled with the tiniest amount of melted dark chocolate.

edited in Picnik

And on this day dedicated to Love, I want to talk about Like.

I don't think I learned to fully Love until I better understood Like.

I had all the classic textbook behaviours and responses. Poor boundaries. Letting people in too easily. Sharing my story and my space, too soon. Accepting less than I deserved. Putting their needs before mine. Appeasing. Leaving behind a piece of myself each time I finally walked away.

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes (M&S 1)

Whenever I met someone new, I fell in Love, with the idea. Immediately. I saw everything I wanted, to see. I was blinded.

And so began the dance, the pitch, the performance. Marketing myself, driven by the fear of losing the opportunity.

If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

So I started to take care of me. Started to get to know, me. I took myself away for my birthday - stayed at a B&B with a hot tub, took myself out for dinner and bought myself a ring. Because I was beginning to Like me.

And I made lists. Detailed lists of what I wanted. Which helped me become more Discerning. Still, I was giving too many chances. Stuck on the possibility. Wanting to prove myself right.

Then, finally, I turned that corner. Realized that I would rather assume guilt, until innocence was proven. Or, rather, Unknown until proven Known. Love was allowed to rest on the shelf, until Like had entered the room.

And chances were not given. It was freeing, to decide "I Don't Like".

And so I will be found
With my stake stuck in the ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul

You have neither reason nor rhyme
With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine (M&S 2)

That's when I met the Love of my Life. In the most common of places. I took my time deciding if I truly Liked him. All of him. And he was busy teaching me about Love.

Now I have both, Like and Love. I don't think I could have had one without the other.

And when I started to realize that I truly Liked me, our Love blossomed even more

How glad I was to be myself
And use my heart once more

And love that (man) that I adore

Well my eyes shall see light again
And my heart shall bleed right again (M&S 3)

1. Mumford and Sons - Awake my Soul
2. Mumford and Sons - Roll Away your Stone
3. Mumford and Sons - Banjolin Song

Friday, February 11, 2011


Did I tell you that we felt an earthquake here this week? Just a little one, about 3.2 on the Richter Scale. Just enough to give you pause, and remind you that the solid ground beneath you is always shifting.

I've been shaking things up in my art this week too. Breaking out of some comfort zones. Now, I'm well aware of my penchant and passion for capturing on "film" grandiose, sweeping landscapes and super sharp, precise macros. Project 365 has been helping to kick me out of that box, pushing me to look for uniqueness at all angles, and I got an even bigger kick from Amelia this week, in my Experimental Art e-Course. We've been exploring the experimental edge of photography. Blurry shapes, shadows and more. I am so happy I was able to give way to this, because I've been getting great results.

Playing with less light.

35.365 40.365

Playing with editing
(Original here)
Whiter Shade of Pale

This next one is actually one of my favourites of all time, and will be making its way into my BFA application. Which I am working on this weekend!!



On the flip side, as I explore my way outside of my comfort zones, I've been finding and creating comfort as well. Another assignment I had this week, in an entirely different milieu, was to make a Comfort Box. Earthquake preparedness is part of the norm here, and students bring little comfort kits into their schools at the beginning of the year to be stored in earthquake bins in the school yard. This is kind of similar, except it's meant to bring you comfort and safety when you're feeling the unsteady ground emotionally. Plus I was able to decorate mine, and the items I chose to put in it are not only reminders of the love and support I'm blanketed in, they are also reminders of my growth.

I was really happy with how it turned out too. I was drawn to a sturdy tin, that smells like crayons inside. First I prettied up the outside. Then I added some broken crayons and blank card stock, and a mini iPod, and I plan to collage some messages into the lid and bottom. I've decided to keep my keys in it, so that I focus my attention on it every time I head out into the world from the comfort of home. And every time I return back to it as well.

This little project was also very timed. As you know, my sweetie is heading to Cuba for a week, and as much as I am overjoyed for him, I've been a little rattled. Nightmares like to sneak in and taunt me when they know that he's not tucked up beside me, my guardian. However, I am now feeling a little more settled and prepared, knowing that I armed with comfort.


Hmm... if only I could find a way to put this in there too. (My sweetie is almost always guaranteed a laugh, or at least a smile, from me when he does an imitation of one of our favourites) :o)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wishcasting - Dare!

I think when you've been broken, you gather up the pieces, and stash them away. In many different places.

If the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, then I wish to dare to be whole. To unwrap the pieces from their bubble wrapped hiding places, and bring them back together. In the light.

I am a daughter
I am a sister
I am a niece
I am an aunt

I am a partner
I am a friend

I am loved

I am an artist
I am a photographer
I am a model
I am a writer
I am a poet

I am joyful
I am perceptive
I am healing

I am the pieces
I am the whole

Abstract Collage

In response to Jamie Ridler's question:

What do you wish to dare?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday 13 - A keen eye

Last night, I sat down and read my first two posts from Sarah Robinson's 28 days to Getting Your S*** Together. In the second post, I was asked to distill myself down to one sentence. My core, or, my s***. I was able to narrow it down, though it was still floating in a couple of separate pieces. Ultimately, I am a creative problem solver. I am also an artist. And, I am sensitive and intuitive.

This morning, in the shower, where a lot of us do our best thinking it dawned on me. Perceptive. I am perceptive. It is the key to everything else. I can see the little details in art, and life. I can see where things fit best. I can see the potential connections, between people and people, or people and resources/solutions.

So, I'd like to share with you some lovely moments of joy from yesterday, that were made possible by my perceptiveness.

I've been feeling much better the past two days, and I went out for a lovely walk in a lovely neighbourhood. It was one of those walks that took longer, and was so much more precious, because of all the stops to marvel at the small wonders.

13 Pieces of Joy from my day yesterday:

1. I dropped my sweetie off at work yesterday. As I was heading back home the quick way, probably in a rush, I checked to see if it was clear to cross the intersection and got a glimpse of some crisp snow capped mountains. Plan change. Right hand turn, towards a slow drive along the water. Beautiful sunrise, almost the entire Coastal Mountain range in the distance, and sun glinting off the pieces of snow caps directly across the water

2. Then I came home and assembled the JOY photos into this lovely collage. So thankful for all the Joy photos that were submitted, as they brought me joy and they look so wonderful together.

3. Brene Brown. I finally watched her story sharing at TED. Wow. That's it. Just Wow. Watch it! Now :)

Here's her website, blog, and twitter.

4. A trip to the actual Bank was necessary. As I got into line, a woman came rumbling in behind me, and her cantankerous energy made me physically step away from her. I remembered Cinderita's story, opened my body language and smiled at her. As she was getting upset about the time, and the other stops that needed to be made, I smiled at the gentleman with her. She moved closer to the trash can and was trying to pull a clingy piece of thread from her sweater. I smiled at them both. They started chuckling about the desperate thread. Once it was successfully removed, the woman turned to me, with a big smile, and recounted a story of a play she saw when she was a little girl, and a skit where a piece of something relentless moves its way through the actors, and ends up back on the first person. JOY. I wasn't able to give them physical hugs. Though, I felt like what I had given them was the equivalent.

5. I went out for a walk. In the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. It was cold and bright and gorgeous. (ok, so cold here means O degrees celcius). I was feeling stressed about all the things I wasn't accomplishing in the day, and the walk was way more fun that.

6. I had company for my walk! A new friend I've inherited with the large pack that came with my sweetie. And her lovely dog. And her mom's dog. She is also doing Sarah Robinson's "28 days" and talking about it gave me a chance to learn some really awesome/admirable things about her. She lives very close, and we have another walk date planned!

7. Learning that the early cherry blossoms we see in February are actually plum blossoms! How cool is that!

8. The snowdrops are everywhere now :)

9. You can see little micro-bursts of green in many places, if you are open to seeing them.


10. Chickens photograph well


11.Dogs photograph well.

12. Pure maple butter on toast tastes like a maple glazed donut! Pure maple butter on toast, with cinnamon, tastes like a cinnamon bun! Amazing. (For someone like me, who's allergic to almost everything)

13. I climbed into bed last night, almost on time, all cozy and calm. Then I realized, with a heart full of hope and joy, that I had not yelled at anyone for the entire day! If you read back on what I've been dealing with the past couple of weeks, it will make sense :)

What little pieces of life, beauty, or joy did you notice in your travels yesterday or today?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday

Making Room

The load I carry is larger than my back
My eyes are bigger than my plate
I will loosen
where I need to loosen
I will tighten
where I need to tighten
I will find freedom
in structure
Less is

Check out Wishcasting Wednesday at Jamie Ridler Studios

Thank Joy!

Click to play this Smilebox collage

To see all the JOY photos in their full glory click HERE .
  • To vote for your favourite, check out that fancy poll in the top left corner of my blog!
  • Feel free to comment below on the photos here, or share your story or moment of JOY with us :)