Friday, September 28, 2012

Lightbulb Moment

"I'd love to hang around a guy like Tony Stark or even Robert Downey Junior. No romantic stuff* but just to be around that kind of brash energy, fast-talking funny dialogue that's intelligent and actually makes you think. I'd love to be challenged by someone like this. Someone who is smart and confident and doesn't dumb it down for the people he's hanging around with, and in fact doesn't depend on feedback from anyone or validation, who just puts it all out there in a take-it-or-leave-it-I-don't-give-a-shit way.

You know what?  I don't want to HANG OUT with someone like that... I want to BE someone like that.

*unless he wants to, of course. : )"

As I was writing out my wish list of characteristics I'd love to have in a person-to-hang-around-with (friend or otherwise), I suddenly realized that I can actually BE that person.  And just entertain my own self.  HA!  My problem is that I keep a damper on a lot of what I say and do, lest I accidentally offend or allow someone to see me for real.  And that's fine when I'm talking to the principal at my kids' elementary school... but that's about it.

I'd still love a friend like this - how much fun would that be?!  But I think maybe instead of looking out there, I'm going to look right over here.  At me.  Time to let the cat out of the bag.

Look out... it's on.

Love Shelley!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh, the fury

I know this journal page probably looks all happy and cheery but really I was in the grip of a horrible rage when the writing just flooded out of me.  (That's why I blurred it all out, for your own safety.)  (Please note the high-school-like use of repeating 8s to blur it out.  I never said I was mature.)

Other than the ugly feelings that spilled out, I really like this page!  It's a fold-out in my journal and I'm especially partial to the "June" tab.  And of course the bright colours.  Even when I'm thoroughly pissed off, I still have that magpie eye for radiant, lively colours.

The megaphone was just clipped out of a magazine, and the rest is ink, gesso, stencils and stamps, with some washi tape for good measure.  You just can't go wrong with washi tape.

Today though: it's gonna be a shiny happy day.  Just watch me go.

Love Shelley!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm working on something...

But it's not done yet.  So here... this made me laugh and I'm all about having a good laugh.

I'm pretty sure I meant to ask my sister something important, but as usual our conversation immediately devolved into complete nonsense:



So when you see me furiously texting my sister, please don't think we're solving the world's problems, or even saying actual sentences.  You now know the disappointing truth.  I... I hope we can still be friends.

Love Shelley!

Monday, September 24, 2012


Don't you just want to run your fingers over them? 

The kids didn't have school on Friday so we picked up my mom and went gallivanting.  Among other adventures, we ended up at an antique store just outside of town.

Vintage type, in a mint-condition type tray.  Which he also wouldn't sell me.

Anyway, right inside the door was this tray of PURE GOLD.  I started to drool immediately.  He wanted a buck apiece for the bits of type, so I picked up a few.  I tried to get him to sell me the whole tray, but he said nope.  I think he figured he'd make more cash selling the pieces individually.  Rats.

There's a little dog at the shop named Zoey that comes to visit all the newcomers, and Zoey was pretty interested in my runners for some reason.  Then I remembered that we had done our chickens the weekend before, and that was probably what she was smelling.

Which made me think of this text exchange with my sister:


Don't worry, it was all very humane, there was no shooting or dancing... but the bottom line is that we have a freezerful of delicious chickens.  AND now that all the aggressive roosters are gone (except Henry, of course, he's a sweetheart) the hens are starting to lay the most beautiful little brown eggs.  I guess they were a little stressed out with being harassed all the time.  Now that they can settle down, the egg production should go way up.  And since we didn't make our fences high enough, they all pretty much fly over it and make use of our entire yard (not to mention free-rangin' it in the neighbour's garden).  Luckily they all still come home at night.  But wow... you should taste these eggs, they are UNBELIEVABLE.  Can't wait till we're getting a dozen a day and we can eat our fill.  YUM.

Pretty, and tasty too!
That's all for today.  Gotta focus on actual WORK, which is cutting into my art time.  Ugh.  I might have to have a word with my boss about that.

Okay, get going!  I'm sure you have things to do too.

Love Shelley!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pink, and yellow, and green, oh my

Holy crap, do I love this month.  It's not even my birthday, or Christmas, or anything, I just love the change in the season, the feeling of brand-new possibilities, the fresh start that the school year brings.  Everyone is back to school and work with a new determination, and it feels GOOD!  I love the change in the weather most of all.  Fall has always been my absolute favourite season, and this year is no different.  It really puts me in my happy place.

I can tell I'm still not back in the groove yet though, art-wise.  This page was a collage of pieces from a very old math book, covered with a light coat of gesso.  Then a bit of stamping at the bottom, then some Dr. Ph. Martin's radiant watercolors on top.  The colors surprised me a bit.  The gesso came up through the watercolor, the daffodil and cyclamen blended to become a beautiful orange, and then once it all dried, a lot of the orange changed back to a pink colour.  Very strange, and unpredictable, but I have to say I still like it.

Turns out, even with a generous coat of watercolors though, that Sharpies do not like to go over top of gesso.  I only ruined one this time before I caught on and switched to a paint Sharpie instead.  Then things got fun again.

That's it for today.  Maybe tomorrow my mojo will come back.  If you see her, could you send her home?  I really miss her.


Love Shelley!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This and that

My kids signed up for musical theatre and tonight was the first class.  They begged me to stay with them, and there were four chairs lined up against one wall, so I stayed to see what it was all about.

Close-up of Joelle's head.  I love the curve of her cheek.

I couldn't draw Cameron; he was too excited to be there and flitted around like a drunken firefly.  Maybe next time he'll be a little more still and I can capture some sketches of him too.

I know this isn't much, but I was pretty busy today and still managed to sneak in some art so I'm pretty happy.  In fact, I did pretty well on my whole checklist:

9, 3, 7, 5, 8, 3, 8, 8, 4, 8; overall 8!!
(I weight the answers however I want to, and I'm not consistent either.
It's my checklist and I'll jig the answers however I want to.)

I know it's a weird kind of checklist.  But these are the things I'm trying to focus on.  Otherwise whole days pass by and I've forgotten to jump feet-first into an adventure.  Or I haven't learned anything.  It's not meant to be an OCD "CHECK THE CHECKLIST!!!" sort of thing, just a nudge to remind myself to keep the balance of all the good things I'm trying to fill up every day with.  Things that fulfill me, things that make me say, yep, today was totally worth it.  That make me fall into bed at night with a sigh of pure satisfaction, knowing I seized the day and wrung every drop of juice out of it.

Speaking of which... this day is DONE.  In between everything else, I've put together an IKEA sofa table by myself, gave the chickens some TLC, did a bit of art, a 45 minute yoga dvd, and I got supper on the table on time.  High  five, me!  Off to catch some zzzs so that tomorrow will be equally as, or even MORE awesome.  I also have some bat pics to show you, so stay tuned.  If that doesn't get you all excited to come back, I don't know what will.

Love Shelley!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Still calling it in, I'm afraid

Right now I'm still feeling a little dry and boring and un-adventure-y, but I'm looking HARD at things I can do to change that.  The bright colours are helping, and I'm just going to keep pushing until the inspiration comes flooding back.  Right now I'm doing the fake-it-till-you-make-it program.  : )

And that's all she wrote... for now.

Love Shelley!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A colourful bit of nothing

I loved this background but as it turned out, I didn't have much to say on Friday.  I did play hooky and go see the new Bourne movie with my sister-in-law, but other than fuelling some new Jeremy Renner daydreams, it wasn't ... well, it wasn't a very adventurous week at all.  I was disappointed that I didn't have more to say, but that just makes me want to do something a lot more daredevilish this week.  So it's great for motivation, but not so hot for art.

I may come back at a later date and re-do this page.  I don't want to let this background go to waste, but for now, it's just a reminder to get off my duff and get out there and make some shit happen.

I'll report in; stay tuned.

Love Shelley!

Friday, September 7, 2012

More ideas than time

Any of you guys have this problem?

My mind is always bubbling with things I want to do.  I'll do a journal page and think of a whole series I could spin off from there. 

Brains!  Octopi!  Watercolour crayon on black backgrounds!  

Or I'll get a new cookbook and find twenty new recipes I want to try.  

I should totally be baking my own bread!  I bet we would all like panini sandwiches!  Why don't I ever use my waffle iron?  We need to eat more quinoa!  

Or I'll look around the yard and see sooo much that needs to be done to make it look nicer.  

Weed whack over there... the garage needs a new door... should probably clean up the junk behind the garage... need to buy grass seed for the edges of the driveway...  the front door has a lot of dirt on it...

I'll try something new (like putting canvas bits on my pages) and think of a bunch more ways that I could play with it - and want to explore that idea.  Or I'll look at the kids' bedrooms and think of all the decorating things I want to do for them to make their rooms ultra-kid-cool.  And omg don't even get me started on Pinterest.

But then reality kicks in and I remember that I still have to keep up with the dishes, the laundry, and even sleep now and then.  (Actually I'm a champion sleeper, so don't worry about me on that account.  Ha!)

Still, it could be worse.  I am NEVER bored.  Scattered? Mmm, yep.  But never, ever bored.

I'm not the only one who's like this, I know.  What do you guys do to get the most out of your day?  Please, share.  I could use the help.  : )

Love Shelley!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The same thing we do EVERY day, Pinky.

My plan for today, and every day:

This is one of the fold-out pages I have in my art journal.  I love the extra bits and pieces I've stuck in there - envelopes, fold-outs, tabs... all kinds of things that make it more interesting than just flipping pages.  This half-page is 4"x12".  This size was REALLY fun to work with.  I might add more things this size!

Here's a close-up of the top part:

I had originally sprayed some stencils for the background, and I liked the brightness but wanted to do something else with it.  I drew the tree-thing with a charcoal pencil and smudged and set it with matte medium.  Then I painted gesso on everything that WASN'T the tree-thing.  The colour underneath came through even though I slapped on two coats, and I really like the messy effect it created.  You can tell something is hidden underneath but it's not clear exactly what it is.

My motto for the day and possible tattoo idea: carpe diem.  I like to keep things interesting, try new things, have lots of good stories to tell.  The bottom half of the page was covered with a piece from a bag of chicken feed, which is where those cool scallops on the edge came from.  I LOVE the texture that it added to the page.

The tag on the bottom of the page is from Elle's Studio, by way of a local scrapbook store.  There were 12 in the package and I LOVE them.  The white lines are made with correction tape, and the "Wednesday" tab is from a sheet of stickers from the 9to5 line from October Afternoon.  I don't scrapbook but I sure love me some scrapbook supplies.  All those paper treats... be still my heart!  The rest is just the usual junk I have lying around... paint, pens, stamps, ink, and trash-to-treasure stuff.

So are you going to carpe some diem too?  C'mon, let's go kick some ass!!

Love Shelley!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

And now... ve do the dance of joy!

I confess, the last week has been a bit trying.

"Mom, can you tell him to stop LOOKING at me?!"

"She was lookin' at ME FIRST!"

Etc.  Ad nauseum.

By last night at 6pm I was seriously gritting my teeth.

I decided to get a little bit lost in my art journal and let the whining and complaining swirl around me but not actually get into my ear-holes.  Also I plunked them in front of the tv with cheese and crackers; that works sometimes too.  I call it "parenting by neglect."

On pinterest recently I spotted an art journal technique using canvas and Golden acrylics, and it looked really fun, so I started with the sun and then went from there.  It's not the fanciest page I've ever done but I still like it.

And guess what??

I MADE IT!!  They are on the bus on their way to school even as we speak.

Let fall begin!  I'm ready - so very, very ready.

Love Shelley!

Monday, September 3, 2012

One finished project! AH ah ah ah ahhh!

For my mom's birthday this year, my sister and I volunteered to, uh, "refresh" her laundry room.  It's undergone a series of changes over the past twenty-five years and it was looking a little rough around the edges:

Note the missing ceiling tiles, the glued-on vinyl remnants, the too-short countertop,
and the crumbling concrete on the floor.  Also the yellow paint... not our favourite.
Is it any wonder she doesn't love doing laundry?

We started by basically gutting the room.  Once upon a time there was some sort of shelf along the back wall there... we couldn't even remember what it looked like, so it was definitely time to polish things up.

Joelle, sweeping.  She's a clean machine, just like her auntie.  Couple of weirdos.

Wonder what Mike Holmes would think of this...

When we took out the washing machine we discovered that one of the taps had rusted completely off, and the other one wasn't in much better shape.  My plumbing skills are non-existent, so we had to call in the professionals.  (Thanks, Dad!)

Anyway, before you start to fret, I'll tell you that this story comes with a happy ending.  This is what it looked like when we wrapped it up this afternoon:

Slightly better, no?

New ceiling tiles, some carpet tiles repurposed from a different job, a big can of paint, and a LOT of elbow grease.  Not to mention some well-timed help from my dad for some of the jobs that had us standing there staring at each other with dumb looks on our faces.

I don't mind telling you that the carpet tile was the very worst part of this whole renovation.  The tiles themselves are great - 2' x 2' thin carpet with a nice vinyl backing on them.  It was the glue that nearly sent me around the bend.  By the time we were done I had glue on my feet, my hands, my shoes, my arms, I had glued the back of my thigh to the back of my calf, and when I came home and took those pants OFF, I discovered later that I had accidentally glued them to the carpet in my bedroom.  If you heard my eye twitching from wherever you are, I wouldn't be surprised.  Luckily the kids are going back to school in a couple of days and I can resume day drinking.

Isn't this the coolest drying rack EVER??  I don't even know where it came from - Kristy donated it from her basement.  I might have to go down there and see what other treasures she has floating around.  Clearly she's been holding out on me.

Obviously some of this stuff is just cosmetic.  My mom has had that washboard forever and really likes it, so we cleaned it up and put it back in the room, only now you can see it.  The three baskets on the shelf are mostly decorative, although when my mom came down for the big reveal and asked what they were for, we told her, "dust, spiders and crickets, respectively."  She seemed satisfied with that answer.

Oh, and that artistic blur in the bottom left is my thumb, I'm pretty sure.

 Same cabinet from before, spray-painted white (OMG I LOVE SPRAY PAINT HOW COME NOBODY TOLD ME HOW MUCH FUN IT WAS) and then we "borrowed" a different chunk of countertop from a bigger piece my dad had out in the garage.  Don't tell him that we spent like an hour wandering around the property scouting out stuff we could use one of the days that we were there unsupervised.

Actually he might not mind.  It would justify his pack-rat tendencies.  HA!

 The final touch - a sign about laundry.  Surprisingly, we didn't need to put it there to cover up a mistake... it just seemed to go well in that spot.

As much fun as this was, I think we're both planning on giving our decorating muscles a rest before we take on another project.  I have to admit though, it's extremely satisfying to finish a job like this and see the dramatic change.

So... what are YOU working on?

Love Shelley!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I didn't MEAN to take the summer off...

Well where the heck did July and August go?!

Never mind, they aren't coming back so let's not waste time pining away after them.

I'm rusty... really rusty.  I have to confess I haven't been making ANY art.  There are a couple of people who come around once in a while and step into my craft room, looking around hopefully, wondering if I've been holding out on them and secretly making great things and just not sharing.


Besides working, (I actually really like my job, so please don't think I'm complaining... just that it keeps me very busy) I've spent some time keeping these pesky chickens alive...

(Side note, go see my friend Heather's blog, she's an AMAZING photographer... seriously)

We started with 25 day-old chicks, and now they're four months old, so we're expecting to see some eggs any time now.  We have 12 roosters and 12 hens, (one chicken didn't make it) and we're ready to cull most of the roosters, because wow, are they ever turning into the most aggressive little five-pound assholes you've ever seen.  They beat up on each other, they beat up on the hens, and they've even started biting ME, which pretty much sealed their fate as far as I'm concerned.  (Bright side: the "pecker" jokes just write themselves.)  So I've been marking chicken recipes on Pinterest, and we're trying to figure out if we can make our own chicken plucker.  BIG THINGS GOING ON AROUND HERE, I'M TELLING YOU.

Not interesting enough for you?  I also wangled an invitation to go harvest honey from some beehives and my fascination with bees just grew about a hundred fold.

My friend Tracie, her friend Mike, and sweaty, happy me.  Those bee suits are HOT.
 No really, don't we look awesome?

Mike is a big-time firebug.  I think his favourite part of beekeeping is getting the smoker going.

Ever seen 80,000 bees up close?  It made my whole week.

... and I also got an A+ in the Photoshop course I took over the summer.  Yay me!

About that - I'm well on my way to earning a Graphic Design certificate, and the next course is one I've been excited about ever since I found out I had to take it.  "HAD" to, indeed.  Psshhh.  It's called Drawing & Illustration, and I cannot WAIT.  It starts on September 18 and then I'm probably going to bombard you with with my doodles like an enthusiastic kindergartener.  Lucky for you I can't demand that you all put them up on your refrigerator.

In the meantime I know I have to warm up my drawing (and illustration?) hands again and get comfortable with my art stuff now that fall's coming around.  Today I drew this young lady:

Eyes are wrong, hair's too dark, lips are weird... but her nose is MAGNIFICENT.  *proud*

And I'm not TOTALLY happy with her (besides the fact that she looks like she's judging me), but I can't be too upset because I really haven't been practicing.  Back in February I signed up for Jane Davenport's I (HEART) Drawing online class, which is just fantastic - drawing these girls is one of the first lessons.  And now she's doing a brand-new live version.  Once you sign up for one of her classes you have access to all the lessons and videos and message boards for a full year, so I'll get to see all the new material.  I'd join it all over again just to watch her draw, she is seriously talented, and a glowing ray of sunshine to boot.

So I'm mentally cracking my knuckles and getting ready for a busy fall - but this time it's gonna be busy because I'm doing what I love so much to do... making art.

(and eating chicken)

Thanks for sticking around!!

Love Shelley!