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Monday Journal – Macaroon Mixed Media

I have been terribly neglectful of my blog and my art but what a better excuse then Mother’s Day to carve out some time for myself to do just that.  I hope you all had a relaxing day surrounded by loved ones, whether you are a mom or not :)  I got to sleep in, then breakfast and coffee were waiting for me when I woke.  I also got these lovely flowers.

Macaroon Mixed Media

I am a lucky lady.  The colours in the flowers reminded me of my Macaroon Mixed Media art journal layout that I had started and not finished.

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I had painted French macaroons as they seem to be available all over the place now (which is not a bad thing).  They remind me of my time in Paris and how then, they were all over the place there and not really available anywhere else.  These little delicacies also made me feel like a little kid and I am not entirely sure why.  Maybe because I knew that these tiny pastel packages of delicious sweetness were a special treat and they needed to be savored.  Just like all of the special baking during the holidays.

I picked up some new Prima Marketing rub-ons the other day to try out.  I know not many people use rub-ons anymore but I love them.  The ones I got are from the Christine Adolph collection and they are adhesive so you can put glitter or metallic foil on top which is such a good idea.

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I didn’t want to add either of those things to this page (I did save some from the sheet to try it though) so I just put podge over top once I rubbed them on to take the stickiness away.

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Isn’t the floral pattern gorgeous?  The French advertising bit was perfect for this also.

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I also found an adorable macaroon PAPAYA! card the other day which I bought just for this and tore off the back stuff and stuck it on.

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Then a little reminder to “savor the moment” to finish it off.

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Savoring the moments is so important and I am always reminded of how quickly my girls are growing up on Mother’s Day.  You can’t help but reflect on how it all started and the reason for the celebration: the amazing beings we have brought into the world that made us mothers.  Unfortunately, it also leads me to wondering if I am doing an adequate job and how much therapy they might need as adults as a result of me being their mother, hahaha.  I guess the main thing is to do the best you can and not be too hard on yourself.

Handing over the Reins

I have had to make some pretty big decisions in the last couple of weeks.  I have decided to quit something I have worked so hard for and put my blood sweat and tears into for over a year and a half.  Anyone who is an entrepreneur knows the sacrifice you (and your family) have to make when opening and running a business.

 I am always striving to do better and be better.  It is a part of how I am wired and who I am.  I try to give everything a 100% effort but in the last little while I have realized that I have spread myself too thin between work, running the business and trying to keep the family healthy and happy.  It has made it impossible to do any of those things well and I have actually regressed instead of thriving (not to mention I feel like I am taking my family down with me, oh the guilt of motherhood, haha).  My health and family have suffered and it is time for me to refocus on what is important because without both of those things, I have nothing.  So, at the end of this month I will be handing over the reins of the boutique to a wonderful and super creative artisan, Josiane Berube.  Some of you may know her as Romeo’s Factory.  She will re-christian the store as Romeo & Stella and will hopefully open June 6th, 2015.  Some of the tried and true artisans will remain and she will also be bringing some fresh stuff in so make sure to stop by and support your community by shopping local.

This process has obviously been heartbreaking for me as opening the store has been like having another child but my landlord, who is a fellow entrepreneur, came in to see me yesterday to congratulate me on stepping away from the store.  I was a little confused and taken aback at first but he said, any good entrepreneur knows when to quit and will likely quit many times in their life before finding the exact fit.  He said I should be proud of what I had accomplished and created.  It got me to thinking about why I had started this all in the first place.  My biggest thing in opening the boutique was to create a community of like minded individuals and provide artisans with support and a platform to share their heart felt wares with people.  I am proud to say that I feel like I have accomplished that as many of my artisans and customers have become friends and made connections through the shop and now Josiane will just continue to build upon that.

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Now, I can get back to the business of doing art and being grateful for what I have for a little while.  I know I will always be a busy person but I am hoping things will be more manageable as my girls need their mom and my man needs his spouse back.  I will continue to create, teach, run retreats (Beyoutiful Souls) and craft fairs (The Savoir Faire).  I am hoping to still continue to be a presence in the store by selling some of my goods and teaching.

Keep your eyes peeled as I will be having a retreat in Vermont in September and another in the Thousand Islands in the Fall.  I am also hoping to set up a studio space at home so I can do what I love near the people that I love.

Thank you to all of my loyal customers, artisans, supporters and family for helping make this dream a reality!!!

Easter DIY – Bunny Canvas

My cousin Steph was coming to visit with her girls last weekend so I hopped over to Pintrest to find an Easter DIY project we could do with all of the girls while they were here.  I found these wooden bunnies and knew we had to try and make them.  I didn’t have all of the supplies but I am the queen of improvising.  I also adapted a few of the things to suit little people.  Instead of a piece of wood I had canvases that we painted brown to start.

Easter DIY

We then slapped on some crackle paste but you could just as easily use modelling paste or even joint compound to create a textured white layer over the brown.  Make sure to let all layers dry thoroughly.

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Here are the girls hard at work.

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I took out my button and ribbon stash and we went to town accessorizing.

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I used a little burlap and ribbon bow topped with a wooden button.

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The ears were created with white muslin and pinking shears so there was no sewing necessary.  Hot glued them to the top and added buttons to cover the glue.

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We used felt for the nose and teeth.  Then google eyes (which were self adhesive) to finish them off.

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Pretty easy project for people of all ages.

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It even kept my crazy little ginger’s attention enough to finish the entire thing.

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.

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  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!!

Love Mini Album

Love Mini Album

The day of love is tomorrow :)  Just in case you were looking for something meaningful to throw together for a special person in your life, I thought I would share the love mini album I taught in class last night.

I picked my colour palette from an Echo Park paper pack called Sweet Day.  Then added a little craft and black throughout.

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The base of the album is all cardboard with a white wash over them.  I wanted to keep things simple as we only had about three hours to finish so the only paints I took out were my Ranger Adirondack Paint Dabbers in the colour palette.  I used them to make polka dots on one side and applied a tree trunk stencil in the same colour on the opposite side.  No brushes, no mess, it was great.

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 I didn’t want it to look too contrived so used different things for the numbers such as stamps, office stickers and Webster’s Pages Storytellers.  I also treated each layout as a separate piece.

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I used felt hearts, vintage buttons, blue graph paper to write on and black throughout to try and keep it a little more cohesive.

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I always have to use vintage papers in everything as well.

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Loving the little paper bags to use as pockets for the things that might not be for public consumption.

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 Hope you all have an amazing Valentine’s Day and are able to celebrate it with the people you love whether you are single or not.  After all, love is what makes your soul crawl out from it’s hiding place.

Peaberry Grand Opening

Boy it has been a while, hasn’t it?  What have I been up to?  Let me tell you…

Last Friday I accomplished one of my dreams… opening my very own brick and mortar store.  It is in the quaint town of Aylmer, just outside of Ottawa on the Quebec side which is also where we call home.  I really wanted be in the older more historic section (which leads down to the marina and beach) and in a heritage building.  I was lucky enough to find a place that was just the right size with both of those attributes.  For the Peaberry Grand Opening I decided to host a wine a cheese and even bought wine from our local winery, Clos Baillie.

Grand Opening Flyer

My goal with the store is to offer unique, vintage and handmade goods through an enriched and personal experience by connecting individuals with the artisans.  I want people to have a relationship with the pieces they are buying and know that they are making a difference in an individuals life.  All artisans featured in the store are mostly local but definitely 100% Canadian.  It is sometimes difficult to find things in Canada and we have many talented people to be proud of so I thought it is my duty to help show them off.  I am also hoping they make it into the shop to teach workshops and share their craft first hand.

Here I am rushing out of the house unemployed for the last time (hopefully :) to try and get to the opening on time.  Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of pictures and have had to rely on getting some from friends and their phones.

Peaberry Opening

I had all of these little things I wanted to finish up when I got there but I had people waiting at the cash the moment I got there.  I know, I know, not a bad thing at all.  My very first customer (who is also a vendor – Urbanfete) Christine and her lovely daughter Jada were the first to make a purchase.  Thank god they were as I had to make sure everything worked, haha.

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One of the few gorgeous bouquets I received.

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A few fellow students from my business class who came out to support me (standing in front of my paintings).

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Friends admiring all of the goodies.  It just made me so happy watching people appreciate all of the hard work that goes into each piece.

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Here I am with my trues, embracing the 15 stress pounds I have gained through this whole process, hahaha!!  One of my girls was missing but she just had a baby so all is forgiven.

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Check out all of the peeps hanging out and enjoying some wine - LOVE!!

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Here are Brittany, my man – Chris and daughter – Milah toasting me while I cried my eyes out. Peaberry Opening8

I just had so much to say (and couldn’t) but words could not express the gratitude I felt and still feel for the amazing help and support of Chris, Milah and all of my friends who have become my family (with everyone out East).  Without them this would not have been possible.  I am truly a lucky gal and hope to help others follow their dream.

Join me here tomorrow for a tour of the store.

Peggy’s Cove and Amos Pewter

We are back from our whirlwind tour of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  The vacation was amazing but with so much driving I feel like we need a little vacation from our vacation, haha.  Do you ever feel that way?  We put 5500 km on our van in two weeks.  Pretty crazy!

So many beautiful spots but I wanted to share with you a little company called Amos Pewter we discovered at Peggy’s Cove (which was definitely one of the highlights of the trip).

Amos Pewter

Look how stunning this place is.

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All of the little galleries and artsy shops were so fun AND right on the ocean.  Can you imagine?  I could totally live here.  Minus all the tourists of course.

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The famous light house that sits atop the rocks, which the girls ran on for hours.

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When on vacation the girls are given money to purchase a souvenir.  We try to encourage purchasing something useful and not a trinket that will sit on a shelf and gather dust.  The girls found Amos Pewter while wondering through the town and insisted on going in.  I thought for sure it would be way out of their budget so tried to discourage them but it ended up being the perfect thing.

Gorgeous, beachy, tasteful pewter jewelry and super affordable, SOLD!  The guy even offered to show us how they are made just a couple hours away in their shop.

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 Here is what their moulds look like (an owl Christmas ornament, must order that for the tree, adorable).

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 They put the moulds in a spinney thing (very technical, I know) then the hot pewter is poured in through a hole in the top.

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 It hardens in seconds and they then pop them out and sand them down.  Pretty cool.

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 Everything was so pretty I decided to get myself one as well.  I got a sand dollar and one of their new feathers to add to it.  In hindsight I should have bought three feathers so I could have made earrings as well.

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Milah got a gorgeous starfish. I really liked it and almost bought the same one.

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The other two weren’t as co-operative with the photos but Ava ended up getting a shell and we bought Amelia a little turtle as she kept hoping to see one on our trip.  I was a little concerned she wouldn’t want to wear it as she is only two but she insisted on wearing it every day we were away, so adorable.

Something they can cherish for years and will always remind them of this summer, money very well spent I think.

Nuts and Bolts Sculptures

Coming home to where I grew up always brings me mixed emotions.  The less then perfect childhood vs the wanting to reconnect with my family, the horrible mosquitos and black flies vs sitting outside in front of a fire, watching things from childhood deteriorate and shut down vs hearing and smelling the ocean.  So many things, I could go on and on.

This visit has been no different, although I have really discovered where my need to create has come from.  I was snooping around in my dad’s shed as I was trying to find my great grandfather’s old tools to take some pictures. (They really are something else as he made most of them himself and used them daily on his potato farm many moons ago).   Anyway, as I was digging around I discovered some curious little nuts and bolts sculptures amongst all of the tools, junk and chaos.

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 I yelled for my dad and asked him where they came from…

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He just kind of shrugged it off and said “oh, I made them but they aren’t finished”.  Milah was standing next him and was shocked.  He has always worked as a machinist or millright most of his life so she didn’t picture him as the artist type.  She had no idea he was creative and said to me “Well now I know where you get your artistic talents from”.

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 Throughout my life my dad has always gone through artistic phases, he has painted, done soapstone carving and made pipes out of copper tubing but I hadn’t seen him do anything in a while.

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I guess between renovating his house, working full time and sorting out his property, he still felt the need to create.  He just found stuff he had laying around and went for it.  It just kind of solidified my belief that as artists we have no choice in the matter, we must create.  Even if we try to push it aside, it will always resurface.

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He had a whole finished band in the house.  The lighting wasn’t the greatest in there but this gal was my favourite with her pony tail and guitar.

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I guess no matter the turmoil it is always good to stay connected to your roots.

Category: Family, Inspiration  Tags:  4 Comments

Thankful Thursday – Gratitude for this week

My lovely friend Joyelle Brandt did a Thankful Thursday post over on her blog which inspired me to do one of my own – thanks gorgeous!!

These are the things I am thankful for this week…

1. My amazing, beautiful and supportive family.

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2. Week-end trips to Vermont. (This was across from our campsite)

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3. Getting to spend the summer with these monkeys and create lasting memories.

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4. These florescent goodies I picked up in Seattle a couple weeks ago at Dick Blick, which I am hoping to get to play with tonight.

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5. Mother Nature in all it’s splendor.  It never ceases to amaze and inspire me.  Aren’t those roots outstanding?  This was on the way to Smuggler’s Notch from Stowe, VT.  The mountain road was finally open and the drive was breathtaking.

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 What are you thankful for on this fine, sunny, summer Thursday??

I am still standing – Things I am grateful for

My apologies for this lengthy and intense post but today I am struggling.  This is something that is very hard for me to write, hell it is hard enough for me to say it, let alone write it.  In print, for all to see and forever look back on.  I am the strong one, the one people can lean on when they need to talk, vent or cry.  That is my thing, forever a part of who I am and part of what drives me.  Lately, not so much.  I feel as though I have come a little undone.

I have gone back and forth about writing about the details of my ordeal that happened a couple months ago, even if just to get it off my chest and hopefully start to lay it to rest.  I just haven’t figured out where and how to begin.  You see, I am not an eloquent writer and have no witty and entertaining way to write about what happened to me, to us.  So, I guess I shall just share it, as I did with my friends.  Break the silence so to speak as today, May 5, is officially I AM STILL STANDING DAY after losing a child or infertility.

Both of my pregnancies resulted in emergency C-sections due to pre-eclampsia.  So, Chris and I took some time to decide to have another, an entire year to be precise.  We both love kids and would likely have had many more if it wasn’t for my darn body and pregnancy issues.  We had pretty much decided we were having another but hadn’t officially pulled the trigger yet (tee, hee).  We were on our way to our annual snowboarding trip to Vermont (for our anniversary) and I received a text from one of my best friends that was a little suspect.  After a little prodding I managed to get it out of her that she was pregnant.  I was SO excited for her!  We had talked about how amazing it would be to be pregnant together.  That was the green light for me.  I knew we were getting pregnant that weekend.  So much so, that I bought an antique letter press #6 while we were there at my favourite antique store.  Chris and I, our three girls plus baby = 6.  It would go in the nursery.  I remember thinking while buying it that maybe we would have a boy and Chris will finally have more testosterone in the house and someone to complain to about how much toilet paper we go through every week, haha.

I am still standing

I was right.  Fast forward to 8 weeks later, I am crawling around on the floor in horrible pain.  Chris insists we go to the hospital as I am pregnant and he says “you just never know”.  Not wanting to put anyone out or traumatize the sleeping kids, I tried to change his mind.  Didn’t work, thankfully, as I found out later had I stayed at home, I likely would have died.  Can you imagine hearing that come out of a doctor’s mouth?  I found out that night that I potentially had an ectopic pregnancy.  I am not going to bore you with all of the details but doctors and specialists went back and forth all night as to what the next course of action would be while I lay there in disbelief and wanted them to be damn sure that was what was going on before they did anything that might harm the baby.    The morning ended with two doctors, a nurse and Chris running to the OR with me on a bed, writhing in pain watching the lights and ceiling tiles quickly streaming past.  I felt like I was in a movie and it wasn’t really happening to me.  I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy which resulted in a blood transfusion, my fallopian tube and a bit of my uterus being removed.  Our baby was gone and so were the hopes of another.

I read once while trying to find others that have gone through the same thing as me that “grief has a way of getting all up in your business” especially when you least expect it.  I wish I remembered where I read it so I could give her credit and return to read more of her wise words.  I just remember reading it and thinking how true that was.  At that moment and now.  Just when I thought I was doing fine and making strides with moving past it, today, grief has gotten all up my business.  The loss of what was and could have been.  People keep saying, you have three beautiful healthy girls you should be happy. I agree, I am totally grateful and always will be, but at the same time, I realize what I am missing out on.  What WE are missing out on.  It is tough.  Most days are good and I realize how precious life is and am grateful for the reminder of what is truly important in life.  Today it is tough.  I fear this has opened a part of me that I can’t ever close.  A me that will occasionally burst into tears at seeing a women who is as pregnant as I would be right now, a me that is so emotional and can cry at the drop of a hat, a me that has been a little impatient, when patience has always been one of my qualities I have been most proud of.

The rational side of me knows better.  I just need to get over the trauma of it all.  As I am grateful for my girls, I am also grateful to Chris and my friends for being so supportive even though they might not get what all the fuss is about.  I am also grateful for my art as it truly does help heal.

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