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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Sketchbook Skool Inspiration

In January, I enrolled for Sketchbook Skool again. This is the fourth Sketchbook Skool course I have taken. The first course was called Beginnings, the second, Seeing, the third, Playing and this one is called Expressing. Each Friday, for six weeks, I get a new lesson emailed to me. Tomorrow will be my fourth week in this session. The lessons are very inspirational and they get me trying things I wouldn't otherwise try. So I am building my library of tools and techniques each week.

Our first lesson was on Lettering. I have always found my lettering lacked luster and professionalism. Honestly, I really didn't spend a lot of time on lettering, just wanting to get it done. But I found that if you spend a little more time, the result is really pretty nice to look at.

Here is one of my practice sheets

Here I used several different
types of lettering.

The second lesson was about documenting things in a handmade book. I have made some of my own books in the past, such as accordion books. Our teacher taught us how to make a 6 page book out of one sheet of paper.

Canoe Trip Accordion book

Our third lesson was about Info-graphics. These are drawings with commentary which tell something about the drawings. Below is my info-graphic.

I am truly enjoying the new things I am learning and trying to use them in my art regularly.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Inspired by Cross Stitch

When I was younger, I used to love to cross stitch. I could sit for hours with my lap full of a rainbow of colourful floss. Back then I had to have every colour floss that came out so I still have boxes full. I also have a lot of cross stitch fabric that I just can't bring myself to get rid of. Remember a few blogs back, I told you I was cleaning out my studio? Well, that job never seems to get done. I always find things that inspire me and so I drop the cleaning and begin making art.

So I found these boxes of floss, fabric and lots of cross stitch design books and I was inspired. I took to cross stitching small motifs that I could use on my cards and that would be completed quickly. I used the motifs for a jumping off point to design my cards. Have a look at what I came up with.

I really like the chicken series. Which ones are your favourites?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Relay for Hope Quilt Completed

Just as I was beginning to think the Mylan Relay for Hope Quilt was never going to be completed, I received an email which included photos of the finished quilt. If you remember that early last year I was making a section of that quilt which was to display all the Provinces and Territories of Canada. I believe my panel, The Yukon Territories, was completed in April 2015. The Relay race was held this past summer and the quilt would be completed after the race was done.

I have been waiting eagerly for these photos to see how it turned out with all the different panels. It became a huge quilt which has a large Maple Leaf in the center on a background of white. This Maple Leaf section traveled along with the runners from Province to Province and was signed by dignitaries in each place it stopped.

Below, I've posted the individual Provincial and Territorial Panels.


Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island






British Columbia

Yukon Territories

Northwest Territories


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Inspired by a Chilly Winter Walk

Today, I made sure to put on my long johns for my neighbourhood walk as well and my neck warmer and a good pair of gloves. Because there is now snow and ice on the ground I also put on my big winter boots. I am not a hat person and so I rarely wear a hat but I should also have put one of those on to protect my ears which were sore due to the wind. It was -6C this morning.

I have been snapping photos with my cell phone on my walks and also took a selfie which I used to make a sketch for today.

We see a lot of these driving around on these days of snow. This one does not have a salter on the back but most do. We spread a lot of salt in Toronto, however, the 2015/16 winter has not been exceptionally snowy.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

New Year Studio Cleanup

Most of my major projects are complete so today I started doing some cleaning up in the studio. I didn't get very far but I did purge lots of stuff I have never used so I created a little more space for the stuff I have sitting on top of my counters. I would love to clear those counters completely!

After lunch I left the cleaning and did a little artwork just so I didn't feel like I had wasted the day. I'll have to continue the cleaning another day.

I also went for my neighbourhood walk again today. I was a little nippy. Temperatures have dropped considerably this week and I think I will have to put on my long johns and a hat when I go out again. The cold makes it pretty impossible to sketch on location. My fingers don't take long to freeze. So I have been taking photos and sketching in my warm house. Here are some of last week's sketches.

Once, a few years ago, I painted my Amaryllis bulb as it grew which I really enjoyed doing because the Amaryllis grows so quickly. I had saved my bulb from last Christmas and put it outside in my garden letting it continue to grow. In the Fall, I brought it back inside and let the leaves die off by not watering it. Then I put it in my kitchen window and started watering again and it started to come to life. Well, as I watched it grow, it appeared there were only leaves coming so I was not going to sketch it. BUT, now I am seeing what I believe is a flower bud coming up and am excited to begin sketching!

I wanted to sketch the first snow but that is difficult to do on white paper. I tried to show some shadows and snow edges against the rocks and leaves. If you use your imagination really well, you can see snow. ;)

My poinsettia this year was white and not as dramatic as a red one would have been but I like it anyway.

After not seeing deer in a very long time in my back ravine, I spied this buck just sitting very quietly between the trees as the snow fell one morning. At first I thought it was a tree stump that was becoming covered in snow but then it moved its head and I saw these large antlers. Such beautiful creatures!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Easy Child's Art Apron Tutorial

I have 6 grandchildren and the three oldest often join me in the studio. They love to cut, glue and paint. They love to get right into the art making which means they sometimes get messy. For Christmas this year I made them their own Art Aprons that they could wear over their clothes when they are being creative.

The process is quite easy so I thought I'd share it here with you. These aprons can also be used in the kitchen with children who love to bake or cook. Just change the theme from Art to Kitchen.

I bought some raw canvas fabric and cut it into three pieces measuring 15" X 30". Then, using fabric paint, I had the kids print it with their feet and hands. This is best done outside where the paint can be washed away with water if it gets on areas other than the canvas. Once the paint was dry, I heat set it with an iron.

Using a pattern I drew on tracing paper, I cut out the shape of the apron from the printed canvas.
The length of the apron is 22 inches. The width is 15 inches and the armhole is cut out of the top section at 3.5 inches from each side and tapered out to the edge of the apron at 8 inches from the top.

From the left over  8" X 15" piece of canvas, I made a pocket for the front of the apron. I folded the raw edges all around the pocket under 1/4" and pressed them. I then sewed the top pocket edge to finish it nicely. Then I pinned the pocket to the front of the apron and sewed it along the two sides and the bottom, leaving the top open. I used some coordinating fabric to iron on each child's name using Heat n Bond.

I bought a package of double fold extra wide Bias Tape and 2 metres of  matching ribbon in fun colours for each child. The bias tape is sewn all around the raw edges of the apron. Using the matching ribbon, I cut 65 cm for the neck band and sewed it to the top edges of the apron bib. Then using the rest of the ribbon, I sewed it across the front of the apron just under the armholes and above the pocket. This is the waistband and tie. The neck band may need to be shortened with a knot or a few stitches if it is too big for a small child.


This is just an early, quick blog post to get the news out! I've been ACCEPTED into the SAQA show called "My Corner of the World" Canada!! I'm so honoured and excited! Out of 115 entries, 40 were chosen.

I will now have to fill out the necessary paperwork and write a Bio and send it off and then prepare my quilt for shipping to Stratford, Ontario where the show will be set up in the Stratford-Perth Museum. From there it will likely tour to different venues until December 2018.