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The Studio Cafe

I finally got to check out The Studio Cafe in Hintonburg and I just wanted to share this amazing space.  Open, bright and welcoming at the same time.

The Studio Cafe

I grabbed a delicious latte and got to sit and read my Somerset Studios magazine.

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They change out artists every few months and currently on exhibition is Laura Inksetter with her Flora & Fauna series.  They are gorgeous, btw.  The colours are amazing!

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I even took a little peek at the classroom in the back where they have all of their classes.  Nice big space with high ceilings.

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They have a Tea Party coming up where you get to paint and make a fascinator, you should head over and check it out!!

Tea Party

Mixed Media Map Class

I had a great mixed media map class last week and I just wanted to share the final projects with you.  Sorry about the pics as I took them with my Iphone.  Here is Mona-Lynne working her magic.

Mixed Media Class

Now Natalie doing her thang.  She was sure she would never finish a painting in three hours as she has been feeling like she has been in a bit of a rut.  She has quite a few unfinished pieces at home.

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She was wrong.  Painting done, gorgeous and ready to hang in her dining room!!

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Mona wanted to add a few touches from nature as this was a piece for her new cottage.  So she went home with it undone, shockingly she came in within a couple days with her completed piece.  It turned out amazing and she too had a completed piece she could put up immediately.

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 Such a productive class.  Here is my painting I got to work on.  I rarely get a chance to do a painting while I am teaching but the girls were working so independently I got to have some fun too!! I think this one will go in my living room.

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 Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I was busy organizing the Savoir Faire and I had a superb time.  I will be doing a post op on it shortly but in the meantime a lovely customer was so disappointed about missing the mixed media canvas class she organized her own at the store.  There are a couple spots left if you would like to attend.  The make-up class will be this Wednesday from 6-9.


Monday Journal – Bird Mixed Media

What a rainy miserable day today.  Great day to play around in my art journal however.  I knew I wanted to do a bird mixed media as I was missing hearing their songs today.  This was the last available page in my Book of Paris turned art journal.  I love that you can still see some of the images through all the paint and ink I have applied.

Bird Mixed Media

Most of this was already there from my cleaning up of stencils and using up leftover paint.  Love the colour combination.

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I wanted to keep this simple as I had the two youngest girls with me so not a lot of time to create.  (My oldest is gone to camp, 7 hours away from here for over two weeks.  She just left on Saturday and I am already going crazy without her.  Probably because she doesn’t have phone access so we can’t communicate at all, URGH!!)  Anyway, focus Renee, haha.

 So, instead of painting the inside of a stencil I decided to trace it and colour the outside with white Shiva Artist’s Oil Paintstick.

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I was sorting through cards I had received during the opening of the store and one of them had the quote “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it” by Ralph Waldo Emerson which is so true.  So I decided to cut up the card and incorporate this little reminder and stuck the first part to the insert page with a little washi.

Bird Mixed Media4

For the opposite page I did the opposite of the first and used the stencil properly with the white oil paintstik.  It was a little difficult to get the fat stick into the little lines of the stencil.  Won’t be doing that again.  I then just stuck the rest of the quote over the birdcage.

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Here you can see the entire insert where I used only part of the same bird stencil from the previous page.

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 Got it all done just in time for Amelia to wake up from her nap, YEY!!  Hope you all have a great week.

One last thing, I still have room in my mixed media canvas workshop at the store on Wednesday if you would like to come down and get your art on!!

Belated WOTY – Fearless Mixed Media

Fearless Mixed Media1

Boy has this been a long time coming.  Finally, claiming my word of the year-FEARLESS- half way through the year.  Doesn’t seem very fearless does it?  To tell you the truth, I knew very early on what my word had to be as I knew I needed something strong to keep me going through this first, difficult year in business.  My first year without knowing where money was going to come from and when.  I have been working full time for 20 years.  20 years…boy that makes me feel old, haha.  I have always had this huge sense of responsibility and inner strength but as I looked at the year ahead I became terrified for the first time in my life.  Afraid of not being there for my girls, my relationship falling apart and the store not succeeding. I felt I should be riding off into the proverbial sunset since I am getting to follow my dream.  Instead, stress and worry set in and there it has sat, in my gut, festering for months.  To the point where I haven’t been able to really enjoy what I am getting to do every day and completely taking it for granted I might add.

This seemed to really spill over into my work as I started my usual WOTY painting well before January 1, 2014 but here I am at my Beyoutiful Souls art retreat in March still trying to work on my Fearless mixed media piece…

Fearless Mixed Media

and I worked on it for a bit, second guessed myself the whole time so I put it away again.

This last week has thankfully provided me with some clarity and the realization that nothing ever usually goes exactly according to plan and that is ok.  My favourite thing to say to students while painting is “there are no mistakes only happy accidents”.  I am now trying to apply this to life.  So here it is, my fearless warrior, done.  Finally.

Fearless Mixed Media3

I have realized that I may need to make some tweaks, detours and adjustments to the plan, but that is ok, as long as it keeps the dream alive, right?

Category: Mixed Media  One Comment

Monday Journal – Altered Photos

 For this week’s Monday Journal I did some altered photos as I was inspired by the theme for our upcoming Etsy Craft Party on June 6th.  I pulled out my journal that I had made out of a book to a spot that already had some yellow, blue and pink paint on it from previous projects.  Instant colour scheme.  I added some stars with florescent pink, aren’t they awesome?

Altered Photos

I didn’t take any in between photos unfortunately but this is mostly how is turned out.  It says “Be You, Be Happy, Be Free”

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I used one of my favourite photos of the girls and I on vacation in Quebec city for both techniques.  It took many tries to get us all off of the “jumpolene” (which is what Amelia calls it) at the same time to take that picture.

For the first technique I used paint pens and my favourite Faber Castell Pitt Pens.  Milah is flying away with her ankle wings and Ava sprouted horns.  Totally normal right?  It should be noted that all of the pens work better on photographs printed onto regular paper.

Altered Photos3

Here is the same photo but I embroidered it instead.  So many different stitches you can do with both but this technique worked best with actual photographs.  I got bear ears and Amelia some pink socks.  I then just stuck the photos in with good old washi tape.  I really enjoyed this project and will definately be doing some more.

Altered Photos4

 Hopefully you will come out to enjoy some photo fun with us on the 6th.  I am quite looking forward to it.


Etsy Craft Party 2014 – Gatineau


It’s time to (craft) party!!  Every year, people from around the world come together on the same day in locally organized Etsy Craft Parties to create art and inspire each other. In 2013, more than 11,000 people took part in Craft Parties in locations across the globe.

This year I am super excited to be co-hosting the Gatineau party with my friend Krysthle of Krythle Designs. It will be held at the most adorable Chorizo et Chevre Noire at 150 Rue Principale, Gatineau (Aylmer Sector).  They have the most amazing sandwiches and treats.

Etsy Craft Party 2014 - Gatineau

Our theme is Recapture your old photographs. We will be offering 3 small workshops (Each will be $5): the photo embroidery workshop, the photo paint workshop and the scrapbook page workshop (to put your new fabulous pictures on and make them frame worthy!)  They should be a lot of fun and we hope that those of you in Gatineau/Ottawa can join us and meet some crafty cohorts in your own community!

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To sign up and get further information you can head to Evenbrite and register here.  Please note you do not have to pay immediately to register.  Just click on the “Show other payment options” which will allow you to pay at the door.

What to bring:

the photo embroidery workshop: 1 or 2 pictures, black and white (recommended) or color

the photo paint workshop: 1 or 2 pictures, black and white (recommended)

the scrapbook page workshop: nothing really except the dimensions of the frame you might be using to frame your masterpiece once it is all finished.  Recommended sizes are 8.5 x11 or 12×12 inches.

Other ideas to bring rather than an original photograph:

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Hope to see you at our creative and affordable Etsy Craft Party!!

Texture Hunting

 I hope everyone had a great, long, Easter weekend.  I got two days off in a row, for the first time in a while and got to get out of Dodge and visit some family.  It was great.  One of the things we always like to do when the family gets together is all go for a walk.  This time we got to tour an old family farm property that I was a little more than excited to visit.  The property has an old abandoned home and huge old barn on it.  I had my camera ready as I wanted to do some texture hunting through all of the old wood and machinery.

Here is the old house that once upon a time housed two families and has sat empty for almost 50 years.

Texture Hunting

  The little addition.

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The front door.  I sooooo wanted to go in and have a look around.  Unfortunately the owner (Uncle Jim) was sick in bed and the place is always locked up.

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Check out the detail on the hinges.  They just don’t make things like they used to.

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The entire place was put together with these handmade nails, incredible.

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Old latch on the barn (of which I forgot to take a shot of the entire thing, ugh!!).

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Look at the amazing texture and colour on this door.

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Milah inside the barn.

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More metal work.

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The girls climbed up into the loft.  Love the colour of the old roof.

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This metal piece looked older then the rest.

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The old truck in the barn.

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You can see a bit of the old stone foundation of the barn here behind Miss Millie blowing her Easter bubbles.

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Such a fun afternoon and I just had to share some of the pics with you.  Thinking it would be an amazing spot for a photo shoot, hrm…  Can’t wait to go back!!

Monday Journal – Believe

I have been experiencing a bit of a lull in creativity lately.  I know that is normal and it brings to mind something Stephanie Lee said in an interview that it is kind of like breathing and is totally natural.  I am struggling to remember that as I am getting a little frustrated when I show up to the paper and nothing happens.  So, for this art journal session I decided to immediately start with a word on my page (which I usually tend to leave until the end) to force myself to BELIEVE that I will soon be able to exhale and have the inspiration come.


It started slowly at first, added some pastel lines (filling them in), polka dots and dashes, then…


I got totally into it and forgot to take pictures of the progress, haha.  I believed and this is what happened.  I was inspired by the cover of the book Creative Thursday by Marisa Anne.


Kind of hard to back track as you can’t see some of the layers in the background but I promise there were some cool looking ink drops (that you can kind of get a glimpse of).  Lots of pastel and some rub-ons but mostly I wanted to point out that you don’t always need to use a stencil in it’s entirety.  Here I used sludge in only three sections of the Crafter’s Workshop stencil Peacock Pattern.


I then used only one to give my balloon some texture.


Love the simplicity of their faces and the blue glow I created around them (so they don’t compete with the busy background) with my True Blue Portfolio pastel.  I love how they go on like butter, so creamy.


 Hopefully this means I am officially out of my rut.  Next week I think I am finally going to get with the times and do a video tutorial.  That way I won’t miss stuff.  Happy creating all XO.

Blossoming Love

Hi there, just wanted to give you a sneak peak and share the story of this commission piece I received last summer and thankfully the couple are friends of ours and there was no deadline.  I am sure they probably regretted saying that to me after all this time however, haha.

They handed me a bag of memorabilia from a trip to Japan they took many years ago and basically said “Here, do your thing”.  No guidelines, no colours, no timeline?  Most artists would love this but as I had a bag of precious momentos I was to create with, I was honoured and terrified all at the same time.

I started with putting the easiest thing down first, newspapers.  I love the look of them and didn’t have to cut them up.

Blossoming Love

I then dry brushed over them with a teal paint and added purple and white circles over top.

Blossoming Love1

Then my large scale wall panel that I use as a stencil with the Liquitex Spray Paint (which is great because you can use it indoors and it doesn’t smell).

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Next came using their ticket stubs for the tree trunk.  Then, I got stuck… for months and months it sat there.  This huge piece that sat in my dining room staring at me every time I walked by it in this ugly stage that I couldn’t get past.  Quietly urging me to take it out of it’s misery.  To make matters worse, I had a kids birthday party at the house and I had to get it off the floor to protect it and the only place that was big enough for it was above my couch in the living room.  Which put it in my sights even more.

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I finally decided to take control and bring it into the shop to force myself to get past the ugly.  I started working on the smaller branches and finally started to get excited about it again as it was finally starting to resemble the vision I had for it.

But alas, this didn’t last long as I started getting to the more personal stuff which I knew I needed to really cut into.  The hotel bills with their names on it, the e-mails about the trip, the little notes back and forth on things.  I felt a little bit like a voyeur but I realized that this time in their life was when their love blossomed and I am one of the lucky ones that got to witness it unfolding (without actually having been there).  I was already a huge fan of them both but it made me adore them that much more.  It was pretty cool but the guilt of cutting it up started to set in.  Luckily, the two of them happened to pop by the store, genuinely seemed to like the progress so far and insisted I keep going.  After all, that is why they gave it to me.  They wanted it out so they could see and enjoy it as opposed to it sitting in a drawer for years.

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Of course I had to do a cherry blossom tree because it was a trip to Japan and I turned the rest of the ephmera into flowers.  I mixed them up with traditional Japanese papers as well.

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In the middle of the tree trunk I wanted to add S + L in a heart but not all letters in English translate to Japanese.  Most translate into sounds and others don’t exist at all so instead I used the symbol for LOVE.

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Red is very much a colour associated with Asian cultures as it corresponds to fire (one of the earth elements), symbolizes good fortune and joy.  Which is why I chose to outline all the flowers with it but I used a Tattered Angels Glimmer Glam Paint because it is semi-opaque and you can still see all of the writing underneath.  I also got to use the coins they brought back for some of the centers.

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What’s next?  Put a bird on it (or two).  Scott who can talk to just about anyone is the more outgoing of the two so consequently has an open beak while Liz is the quiet strength behind the couple.

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Here is the finished piece I entitled “Blossoming Love”.  It seems far away because it is huge (yes, that’s what she said, haha)

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I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed getting to know them better and making it for them.

Monday Journal – Ink Blowing

Sundays are my regular kids mixed media classes and yesterday, all were sick but one.  I thought she was going to be bored but it worked out well as I was able to give her my undivided attention.  It ended up being one of the most heart warming experiences I have had as an artist and a teacher.  She asked if we could look at one of my art journals and insisted on an explanation for each and every piece, how I did it and why.  She even wanted to know the meaning behind each.   This girl is 7 (she also just happens to have the same name and middle name as my youngest) and I was shocked she was so interested.  That and the fact that she was so complimentary and in genuine awe, page after page.  Funny, as I have been in the same situation as her admiring someone else’s work but have not asked any questions.  She mentioned that she would never be as good an artist as I.  So, I decided I would sit down and create the ink blowing project right along side of her, both of us in our art journals.  I explained to her that I wasn’t a better artist, just one with more experience was all.  She just needed to show up to the page to gain that experience.

The first thing we did was gesso our pages so the ink would move around better as opposed to being soaked up by the paper.  We used india ink with a regular old plastic straw and blew it around.

Ink Blowing

We then created a heart stencil out of plain white paper and used the cut out part as a mask on the other side.

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 It was fun keeping things basic and not over thinking which products to use and where to place things.  That is my general philosophy with the kids “don’t over-complicate things”.  It was kind of a lesson for myself as well.  Why don’t I do that more often?  The only extra things I used were the Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 pencils (which write on almost anything and can also be used as a water colour) and the Faber Castell Gelatos (which are like liptsick and go on like butter).

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 I added some pieces of vintage pattern paper here and there.

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 I decided I would dedicate this layout to teaching due to the amazing experience I had just had.

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 I added the quote “The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.”

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 I just rubbed the Gelatos with my finger and used a vintage bird image to add a little something more as there were quite a few hearts.

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 My little addition to the quote.

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 I realized my little student also taught me something on that sunny Sunday morning.  Sometimes as adults we are so afraid of appearing to pry or being improper that we forget to show genuine interest or sincere appreciation and awe.  I will hopefully in future remember to be so bold and just ask questions.  If  they don’t want to answer, they won’t but if they do, I might just get to know them a whole lot better and make a genuine connection with another human being.

Category: Art Journal  4 Comments