Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Angie's Art School

For anyone who lives near or in Calgary, listen up!

painted by Marcel, Age 2

I am so excited about this! My friend and talented artist Angela Rout is setting up an art school. Angie was the coolest person I knew growing up. She studied art, moved to northern Canada, and then came back to study architecture (I’m simplifying here, of course). Now she’s got two little kids and is starting up an art school in her home in NE Calgary. But this is no ordinary art school, Angela Rout has a vision. Art isn’t just about learning how to manipulate materials, it’s about taking an idea and doing something with it. Young children learn about expressing their ideas and older ones get into creativity and problem solving. Now, I find this especially exciting for the children who are often taken for granted as waiting to grow up. What a great gift it would be to treat their ideas as worth exploring. Materials and processes are secondary. But materials are telling – Children won’t be bringing home construction paper cut-outs to hang on the fridge and then discard, they’ll use real materials and make something to keep in the home forever. Because their ideas are worth keeping.

Now, for the adults Angela does a little reverse engineering – she teaches them to use materials first and then gets into exploring ideas. She says we have lost the ability to access instinctual creativity so we start with materials and work back to creativity. Perfect for anyone who’s looking to put a little depth into their art or someone who enjoys messing around but doesn’t consider themselves creative or someone who’s stuck in a rut. I could go on and on.

The program that I am most excited about (because I’m most likely to be able to do this) is her toddler art workshop. It’s not on her website but she emailed me about it. As I understand it (I don’t have the email here to refer back to) You mix the paint and your child paints the masterpiece. Angela helps you mix colors based on your home and gives the child some direction on painting. You end up with something that you created together – with a little professional help to make sure it all works out. Wouldn’t that be a great way to spend an afternoon or two with the kids (or grandkids or nieces and nephews...)? Wouldn’t that be the perfect piece of art to hang in your home for years to come?

And the finished masterpiece. Paints mixed by mom, painted by Marcel, hanging in the dining room.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I was included in a lovely treasury today by fellow Albertan Splurge! I can't figure out how to get a screenshot so you'll have to got there yourself: here
It's all felty goodness and it really is beautiful. Maybe I just have a thing for felt, but, I adore this treasury.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peridot Peas are back!

Remember this:

Well, now it's this:

Thanks to Roxanne for suggesting it be made into a necklace. Just listed in my store. Get 'em while they're fresh!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Studio Space.

There seems to be a renewed interest in blogland with setting up a studio.

Here are some great spaces:

I love how all everything is organized but in sight and easy to grab in this one. I can imagine how efficient working in this space might be.

Check out the light a wall of windows lets in! I would love to take photos here.

I love all the rings of wire lined up in this studio. Supplies can be beautiful.

And the dog on the floor is just priceless here. I love how the photos were taken without cleaning up first. Keepin' it real.

But this post really stands out: We can all pine over photographs and ideas of the ideal space, but I love the idea :

“make do and make peace with settling for less.

…if I waited for exactly what I wanted I’d still be waiting."

How to make the studio space you need without all the glitz. Read it if for no other reason than to understand why some people like everything white.

I think this was just the kick in the butt that I needed. There’s a little space in the house we’re dreaming about where I’ll be able to set up a desk and have some storage space and actually have a little studio…it makes me happy just thinking about it.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Balance is such a funny thing. First you teeter one way then you teeter the other way. You’re never really standing still. You never stop and say you’ve achieved it.

Maybe it’s the change of seasons, I’ve been reexamining my balance again. I’m having to let go of a couple of projects that were really important to me; 2 larger pieces for 2 separate silent auctions, and a project for my daughter, just about to start her first year of school. Here’s the thing: we’ve found a house we’d really like to buy so we’re getting ours ready to sell. Should be up on the market around the end of next weekend. We spent all weekend painting, fixing and reorganizing. Luckily we’ve already done a bunch of work so there’s not THAT much to do. But if you find me saying no to everything else for a while, this is why.

It’s just frustrating because I have more ideas than time, and even things made that I can’t take pictures of to show you. This isn’t really balance, but at least it’s not drowning. I am beginning to see this old quote from Baha’u’llah in a new way:
“Let your vision be world embracing rather than confined to your ownself.”
Sometimes you need to step back and take a look at the big picture of where you are going to appreciate the nuts and bolts of this particular day. I seem to be learning the lesson of perspective again and again and again.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The one with all the pictures...

Anyone mind if I indulge in a good old vacation slide show? No, ok, good, here are some highlights from our mini trip to Saskatoon last weekend.

We started the weekend off right with one of Eldest Daughter's fav. breakfasts. Really, how much sugar can this many colored sprinkles actually have anyway?? (anyone who knows me in real life is laughing right now about the sprinkles and wondering where I hid the healthy stuff.)

A good old fashioned tire swing! I haven't seen one of these in years!! You can see on our faces how much fun this was! Especially with a strong, tireless guy to keep pushing you...

And a picture of the Lovely Aunt Rox, our host and reason for driving all the way to Saskatoon (it's about 7 hours not including stops).
Not sure why Rainee just wouldn't smile that day... she looks pleased, or maybe tired?? She'll steal your soul with those peircing eyes...

And the lovely Miss.Rainee again modelling a new barrette I made on the trip (look, fall colors!). I was actually just adjusting the camera settings with this pic but decided I kinda like it, messy hair and all.

And Auntie Roxy modeled another new clip for me. I would have loved to have her model more but there just wasn't time for everything and we thought playing on the tire swing was more important...

So, that's it, a little random but I don't drag my camera around to document every little thing like I used to. Trust me, it's much more enjoyable this way. I do wish I'd gotten a picture of the kitty, though, especially when he hissed in Roxy's face - oh what a look he got then!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shop Local!

All right, I'm back!
Afternoon matinees, family swim time, breakfasts out with friends, farmers' markets and a trip to Saskatoon for a little visit with my sister .... Ahhh... where did the week go?!

First off there's a great bunch of etsy sellers from Alberta that I'm glad to be a part of. I was featured on the team blog this weekend (while I was away LOL). See the feature here.
And that got me thinking about shopping local. You see, i think it's a trend worth watching, just look at slow foods.

I realized sometime ago that I'm not all that original. In fact, most things I do area already being done by others, I just discover them for myself around the same time as everyone else (or later). One only has to look at the baby boomers to see what I mean. So, we've been careful with spending at my house lately, as have many others I've talked to. But I'm already thinking about Christmas - what am I going to get everybody? So, spending will open up a little soon. And with everyone thinking about saving the earth (groan) it's going to be a less "manufactured-far-away" kind of a Christmas. Well thought-out gifts with Meaning are "in". At least that's what I think, and we've already established that I'm just following everybody else...

So, my idea is this: what if we all put out adds - or maybe talk to our friendly local reporters - that say:

Shop Local!
to find local handmade gifts
go to
and search for
click on Shop Local
and enter your location.

wooden letters: Bouncing off the Walls baby carrier: Loopdiloops eden necklace: Wild Rose Jewels

plaid baby shoes: Little Jumping Beans cherry blossoms vinyl wall decal: FiggyandWink

It's that easy.

Just an idea.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Peridot Peas!

I need your help, folks! You see, the August birthstone is peridot so I dug in the bead box, started stitching and voila! Peas! I was going to make it into a broach (or brooch if you prefer) but it's just not the right shape. So, what does one do with a perfectly formed pea pod made out of reclaimed sweater felt and peridot? I'd love to list it in my store but don't even know what category to put it in....
Thoughts?? Please, anyone!

Ahhhh, but don't you love August - eating fresh picked peas and throwing the pods back between the rows in the garden.

Happy August to you!