Saturday, December 29, 2012

Year of the Snake Print Exchange

Well hello there! How was your Christmas? Hectic? Fun? Relaxing? I hope you're ready for the new year because I can see it's around the corner. 

For the past few years now I have contributed to an annual print exchange through PROOF Gallery and this year we'll be creating images to celebrate the Year of the Snake.   Below is my submission which is a drypoint created on a plastic plate and then hand-colored with watercolors. Below that is the artist proof in straight black and white and I think I prefer that version. What do you think? Which do you prefer?
Do you ever create a drawing and then regret coloring it?

You can view all the snake print submissions from around the world at the Year of the Snake blog

Friday, December 14, 2012

Illustration Friday: Snow

Why hello there! Christmas is almost here and there is still so much to do! Here's much submission for today's Illustration Friday subject: Snow. I created this little guy as a Christmas card and as a silkscreened ornament. He's cute don't you think?

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I will see online soon. : )

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Christmas cookie time.

Sorry it's been so quiet over here but I've picked up a second job and the blog has gotten demoted for things needing my attention. I've been made kitchen manager of a fledging bakery and cafe so I'm going to be able to make wonderful tasty treats this Christmas. I've toyed with the idea of having my own bakery but I'm not prepared for the immense amount of capital and hours that would be needed. With my current situation I'll be able to dip my toe into that dream and get a wee taste of what it could be like.

Source: JustB

I'm pretty excited about it and I've been working on developing recipes. As we're into the Christmas cookie season I'm trying to think of what treats we can offer. One of the items at the top of my list is a mini-gingerbread house that can be customized with someone's name. I have plans to make them hangable for the Christmas tree but that requires testing. 
In my research today I found some gingerbread sources for you. So many great designs. I love how creative Christmas can be. Check out Cute Food for Kids and JustB for some great ideas.

I'll be sure to take a picture of whatever house I create and post it. What about you? What Christmas cookies are part of your tradition?

Friday, November 30, 2012

How the show went at the Steveston Christmas Craft Fair.

It's almost been a full week since my show at the Steveston Christmas Craft fair but I finally have some pics for you. I haven't changed up my table too much from last time but I did add new things into the mix. This year was one of my best at this show and although I had told myself I wouldn't be doing next year, I just might. I have to say that attending is so much nicer when things are actually selling. Some items sold really easily like my napkins while my tea cups stayed idle. There are lessons with each show, aren't there?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A birthday cake for a musical 70 yr. old

Last week I sent out another birthday cake and I now have some pics for you. This chocolate devil's food cake was filled and frosted with Italian buttercream. Sized for 40 people, the cake was pretty substantial.

The "birthday boy" has always been involved in music and theatre so his wife requested a musical theme. Music notes and piano keys were to be included but I was careful not to add too much mouth-staining black icing. The letters were done in white chocolate with a mould which made it possible for me fit all the wording in properly.

The characture portrait was adapted from an image of  Mr Magoo. I like how he looks as though he's singing happy birthday too. The technique I used for the portrait is called Frozen buttercream transfer which is a fantastic method for getting a very detailed or specific image onto the cake. I did use a different  type icing for it though and you can find the recipe here.

  Speaking of is my birthday! It's kind of a big in the big 4-0. How did that happen? Stop by my shop and wish me a happy birthday and I will give you 20% off anything you purchase. This is valid for November 22nd only and it does not include shipping. Next year I think I will be 40 again.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Where to find me this season

Oh boy the time is just flying, isn't it? I'm getting kind of nervous about all the things I need to get done. Why isn't there 36 hours in the day?

Today I thought I would let you know about where you can find my work this season. Just in case you needed some awesome and cute gifts for your family and friends. *wink*wink*.

From Nov.15-Jan 15 I will be showing some original monotypes and a series of encaustic   paintings at the Langley Centennial Museum. The theme is moons and mushrooms and I have numerous pieces there under $100.

One November 24th I will be back at the Steveston Christmas Craft Fair 10am-4pm. I will be selling one-of-a-kind prints, ceramic tea cups and saucers, silkscreened napkins sets, magnets, tree ornaments and more.

If you're out in Coquitlam I have some silkscreened onesies and t-shirts, Xmas cards, napkin sets and some really cute polymer clay bird ornaments at the Place des Arts  Christmas Gift Boutique.

If you can't make it to any of those events you can always get up-close and personal with my work at Bird on a Wire on Main St.

As for my own Christmas shopping I will be checking out some of the local craft fairs in the neighbourhood. Time to see what kind of creativity is hidden in Langley.

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's Movember

November is a birthday month in our house. This year along with celebrating our birthdays my husband is fundraising for Movember. This fundraising campaign for men's health uses the multi-stylish moustache as "the ribbon" for the cause. This month you may notice more than a few staches sprouting on the faces around you. If you would like to get in on the fun, feel free to donate to my husband's campaign and maybe take a few pics of yourself with your own created moustache to put on the Movember and Sons website.

Here's  a picture of my daughter sporting a moustache of her own.

Just in case you absolutely needed to buy something to celebrate Movember, I found a few fun items on Etsy. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Work in progress

I'm currently working on a new drypoint that has to be done and shipped out by the end of the year. This is the first time I've used my press since we've moved and it's been a bit tricky to adjust my drums to the perfect pressure.

Here are a couple pictures of the plastic plate I'm using. This is a harder and smoother plastic than the Ikea bins I've used in the past so I have to be very gentle with my wiping so as not to remove too much ink. If it gives me too much more trouble I might re-draw a new plate.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another handmade Halloween

Halloween is finished and I don't know about where you live but here it dumped with rain. There were still plenty of kids trick-or-treating but I think plenty of people stayed inside or cut their night short.

Below are some pictures of the spooky yard my husband and the kids made for the visiting treaters.

Did you decorate your yard for Halloween?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

New cake order Ombre style

Yesterday I was fortunate to send out another cake order. Yeah! This time it was for a basic 8" chocolate devil's food cake with Ombre-style piping. I used italian buttercream icing for the piping and realized that for the price I was charging I probably should've used a more basic buttercream. 
The customer asked for a bavarian cream filling after my quote so even though I should have charged more I really wanted to make it. I could have used pre-made bavarian cream to keep the cost down but I was going to get to learn something new. Have you ever had bavarian cream from scratch? OMG! The scratch bavarian cream with the chocolate cake and the italian buttercream was soooooo yummy together. I almost wish the customer hadn't come to get her cake.

As with all the cakes I do, I learn something that I need to remember for next time. I see plenty of things on this cake that I would like to fix but I KNOW this cake tasted amazing and I think I was able to make Bill's birthday that much more memorable.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A plane birthday cake for a 3 yr. old

Recently, as a way to make some extra money, I started offering my creative abilities in creating custom cakes. I've posted up signs and put up some Craigslist ads and I've  gotten a little bit of interest from people. The other day I was able to deliver a custom birthday cake for a 3yr. old. I can now add airplane cake to list of cakes I've created.

The client decided on a fondant covered chocolate cake. Because this was for a little boy I decided to go for a cartoon look and give the plane a happy face. Thanks to the help of a Google image search I was able to get some idea about how to construct the cake. Below are pictures of how I created my cake. 

I'm pretty happy with how the cake turned out and luckily for me I have another cake order coming up. Stay tuned for that one as I will be doing a frozen buttercream transfer for that one.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Illustration Friday: Sky

Here's my submission for this week's Illustration Friday: Sky
It's a reductive monotype with chalk pastel. I haven't done a reductive print in a while......
I think I'll have to dig out that plate soon. : )

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New silkscreen napkins

Today I thought I would share with you a peek into a couple napkin designs I've done recently. Even though I had made plans to simplify my studio and have less stuff, my new studio is starting to get crammed with silkscreens. What can I say? I love creating and that seems to create more studio "stuff".

Created with my own illustrations, I'm making sets of four napkins printed with either a dahlia print or a teapot and cup design. I'm loving the pink dahlia on white which although you can't tell from the photo, is a shimmery colour. Perfect for tea don't you think?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Illustration Friday: Water

Here's today's submission for Illustration Friday's: Water. This little drypoint with watercolor seems to get a lot of love on Etsy. It's a cloud shape that I've worked on several times before and it must hit a chord with me because I'm on the wet west coast. 
This is one of the drypoints I did on plastic and it's made me think that I might not buy another zinc plate again. I did a previous post that explains the process here.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I know it's only the beginning of October but where we are we've already begun harvesting the pumpkins from the garden. We planted Sugar Baby variety to keep us well stocked for pumpkin pie. This year has been a great harvest and we had about 30 pumpkins. Now we have the great problem of finding what to do with all that pumpkin. Pies are a must but what else would be on your list?

Here are some on my list: Whole wheat pumpkin muffins
                                       Pumpkin spice Rice Krispie squares
                                       Leftover pumpkin pie ice cream
                                       Pumpkin scones

Take a peek at my husband's blog "Brewing beer the hard way" to watch a video of the harvest (fast forward to the 3 min. mark). If you're in Canada and you can send him a good pumpkin ale recipe, he'll send you a dozen pumpkin seeds. Mmmmm....pie.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Online courses with

As I work towards a career I always feel a little nervous that maybe I don't know enough about being an illustrator because I never took it formally in school. I learned the technical aspects of printmaking but we were never given any hints as to how we were to make a living with our creativity. I know this is a common complaint of art school graduates but for some reason those students who took graphic design and illustration as their major were given those necessary building blocks.

As such, I have taken extra courses centered on illustration and the business of it. I have taken courses offline as well as online and I really enjoy getting the chance to work towards my career goals. One of the last courses I took, Digital Painting in Photoshop was online through with Will Terry. I really enjoyed the format of the course in that it was all pre-recorded videos that let me go at my own pace. I was able to draw and follow along in Photoshop which made me very thankful to be able to use the pause button as I'm still learning the program.

I really admire Will's work and I find myself regularly clicking his Facebook links and reading his blog posts. Each video and post has a wealth of information without giving the feeling that a career in illustration is insurmountable. Will teaches illustration  offline as well at a university and I find myself pretty jealous that his students have such direct access to this great resource. I'm pretty happy though that through and the wonders of the internet that I'll be able to keep learning too and I will be able to get closer to my goal of being a children's book illustrator.

I should clarify that doesn't just offer digital illustration courses. If you're interested in oil painting, ceramics,acrylic painting, screen printing, watercolors, or pastels  you might be able to find something just for you. Take a look at what they have to offer and know that there is no monthly commitment or huge course fees to pay. Yet another reason to love

Have you taken a course too? How did you like it?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My escape from work

I'm writing this during the second weekend of the Langley Art Studio tour and while it's relatively quiet for visitors it's been great to have so much time to create work and finish up some loose ends.I'm pretty content with this kind of work. This feels much different than my other work. In a previous post I had written about the serving job I had found near our new home and how it just wasn't bringing in the money I needed it to. This caused me a lot of distress because I don't love waiting tables. I've done it for the past twenty plus years because I've gotten good at it and it brings in the most amount of money for the least amount of time. For the past two months as I watched the bills grow and my income reach minimum wage levels, my body revolted and caused me to be in pain. I felt as though I had mild food poisoning for the whole two months. It was exhausting. I couldn't take it anymore and asked my previous employer if he would take me back. It will be quite a commute but at least I will see some cash. 

I mentally prepared myself for two more weeks of hell but found that as soon as I gave my notice my stomach started to become normal. I didn't have to endure the two weeks though because the restaurant cut me from the schedule. I'm probably better for it and if I needed any comfirmation that I made the right decision I came home with $1.46 in tips on my last shift.

They say that the things you focus on the most are the things that come to fruition and one of my biggest fears about moving to Langley was not finding a job that would pay enough. I'm going to take this as a reminder to focus on what really makes me happy and that I need to see myself making a living doing that. 

What about you? Have you ever had your body yell at you and try and show you the direction you need to go?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


This weekend is going to be a busy one. Lots goin' on. If you didn't have anything planned you might want to see me on the Langley Studio Art tour. While I man my table and chat visitors I will be preparing for Christmas. There's not much time left you know.

If you wanted to start this weekend right I suggest you go see FK IT DUDE which will be showing at the Hot Art Wet City Pop-up Gallery on 752 E. Broadway. This multi-artist show will be an homage show to the cult classic "The Big Lebowski". I don't know about you but I love that movie and when I saw the call for submissions I jumped at the chance to create something. 

I did a mixed media piece on cradled board that let me use a little digital painting and a little encaustic work. My piece references one of my favourite characters, "Jesus Quintana", and his love of a shiny bowling ball. Although John Turturro's part is quite small in the movie  it's just fantastic.What's your favourite character?

Digital and encaustic

I polished the encaustic so it was really shiny.