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Monday Journal – Book Art Journal

It has been quite a while since I have gotten to do some art but I thought it was time for a Monday Journal.  Time to pull out my book art journal that I made by recycling an old book and covering it with a piece of leather.

Book Art Journal

I loved this paper (which is where I got the idea to use red on the cover) and used it for the inside front and back covers.

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I didn’t want to cover the old school illustrations entirely so just used a vintage plastic table cloth as a stencil over top.

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I always collect paint chips when I am at the hardware store so used one of them to make my title with my hand carved “Art” stamp.

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I added a few stencils and had some old house stickers laying around I thought it was about time I used them.  The “Love” washi tape I found at Ikea of all places.

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The finger stickers I found at Ikea as well.  They had this whole paper section that had tons of great stuff in it.

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Hopefully now the art making will continue.  Sometimes you just need to get something down to get the juices flowing!!

 I’ll have some news later this week about up coming classes so stay tuned!!

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.

Monday Journal – Adventure Awaits

I did this background last week when I felt the need to create but wasn’t sure what I felt like doing.  I just used an old school plastic placemat for the background, a 6×6 mushroom stencil that I kept flipping over and moving around to get the grouping and added the title “Adventure Awaits”.

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I am not sure if you have heard of Messy Nessy Chic but I totally feel like Nessy is a kindred spirit.  She writes from her little pad in Paris and I have yet to see an article she has written that I couldn’t wait to read.  She loves old photographs and abandoned places so you can just imagine what she finds wandering the streets of Paris (so jellie!) .  When The House at the end of the Street  popped up in my Facebook feed, as usual, I couldn’t help but click over to read it.  It is about this graphic designer named Matthias Jung who creates these surreal and whimsical houses through collage.  I immediately grabbed my journal and began to draw.

This house inspired…

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My little house on the mushroom, which led to an entire little village.

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This one was very Grand Budapest Hotelish.

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Which inspired this little guy.

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Last but not least, this really cool one inspired…

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the shape of this one.  All the houses had to be pretty small to fit on the mushrooms so I felt a little limited.  But it definitely was a lot of fun.

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Milah had an hour and 45 min appointment today as she was getting her braces on which gave me the perfect opportunity to bring my journal and finish it up.  The time flew by!!!

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Sometimes you don’t need to go far to go on an adventure, just open up your art journal.

Monday Journal – Enjoy the Little Things

I haven’t had much time to do art lately but this week I have really felt the need to create.  I found a quote that said “Enjoy the little things”, which is something I am trying to do more of instead of constantly looking at the bigger picture.  I printed it off and have been carrying it around waiting for a chance to use it in my journal.  Today, was one of those days where I had a ton of paperwork and stuff to do but I didn’t have a choice in the matter.  It was bigger then me, I had to open my journal and just create.

I had this piece (that was also inspired by Danielle Donaldson) in it that I had started last week by laying a bunch of papers down for the background then decided I wanted to keep the papers for her skirt.  So I covered up the background with paint and ink and then got stuck because it was WAY to shiny.   So I put it aside.

Enjoy the little things

When I looked at it with fresh eyes I knew I needed to tone it down with some texture.  I pulled out my old jar of gesso that had dried up a bit (I never throw anything away, cause it can always be used for something, haha) and applied a thick layer with a Moroccan style stencil.

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 I left the skirt pretty much as is with the background paper showing so it had a bit of a patchwork thing happening.  Added my quote and some doodling.

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 I think my black pen is my favourite tool and it is such an inexpensive and easy way to add detail.  It is my finishing touch to pretty much everything.  What is your favourite art supply?

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 Now she feels much better.  Sometimes you need to just step away and come back with fresh eyes, with art and in life.

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 Don’t forget to enjoy the little things this week!  I am trying to make this a bit of my theme for the year.

DIY Valentine Holders

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner I thought I would give you different ways to deliver your love notes by showing you some DIY Valentine Holders.  All of which are made with felt of course (you know me and my love of felt).  Felt is so easy to recycle, work with and it doesn’t fray.

The first ones I made are little pockets cut out in animal shapes.  I cut the top and bottom at the same time so they were exactly the same size.  I then sewed all of the little hearts and  buttons on the front piece before putting them together.

Valentine Holder

I then sewed on the back piece with some floss and a simple blanket stitch.  I left the top part open to make a pocket.

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Stick a chocolate and a love note in it and it’s ready for the munchkin in your life.  BTW, there are so many free Valentine printables available online but Miss Tina`s are some of the cutest and the ones I used.

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The next are just little heart pillows.  I used some recycled fabric and felt I made from old sweaters.  Just take an old sweater (must be 100% wool) and throw it in the wash in hot water and put it in the dryer.  I am sure many of you may have done this accidentally before, I know I have in my younger years. Now I am constantly scrounging in second hand stores for old sweaters with cool patterns to do this to.  For these, I put the pocket on the front.

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Then used the same blanket stitch, stuffed them with batting and sealed them up.

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The last one is a little cupid arrow made from scraps of felt and BBQ skewers.  Cut your top and bottom pieces at the same time and don’t forget to cut slits in the tail so it looks more like a feather.  Then I just used hot glue to sandwich the skewer in between the two pieces of felt.

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Tie a love note to it  with baker’s twine and it’s ready to go.

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I think creating a quick and easy Valentine holder is just a little way to make your love notes feel even more special.  Have a great love day!!

Holiday trip to Vermont

Thanks to my amazing in-laws Chris and I were able to get back to Vermont between Christmas and New Years.  We try to do this every year for our anniversary and I just wanted to share a couple pics so you can see why we love it so much.  I didn’t get very many pics this time as I wanted to just be in the moment.

We picked up coffee and hit the road.

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 These are not relevant to the trip but I had them shipped to Ogdensburg from Modcloth and picked them up en route.  Aren’t they adorable???  Distracted by shoes again.

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 We always try out a new place every time we stay in Stowe and this time we stayed at The Gables Inn.  We got the last room which was quite small (so small in fact that I was joking that if one of us fell off of the bed we would hit the wall, haha), but the staff and breakfast were amazing.  You know it is good when the locals come to eat before they start their day.

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 Here is a view of the mountain right outside our Inn.  Since there wasn’t much snow, we decided to take snowboarding off the table on this trip and just tour around.

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 One of the many roadside barns.

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 Gorgeous covered bridge we saw on the way to Parker Pie.

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 One of the guys that work at our favourite bar, The Matterhorn (where we got to see Harvey Keitel play pool with his family btw), told us we needed to take a trip to Parker Pie.  One of the best pizzas in all of Vermont.  We drove almost an hour to go there for lunch but found out upon arrival that they are closed on Mondays in the winter and it was literally in the middle of nowhere so there was no other place to eat.

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The drive was beautiful though and we had no where we had to be (we were on vacation) so we drove another hour to the next town.

We saw this place along the way and I so wanted it to be open but it looked like it hadn’t been in business for a while and still had tons of awesome stuff in it.  What a shame.

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 Of course there were many, many churches but I LOVED the clock on this one.

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 We were headed for the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier (another place we were told we had to visit) and the drive was definitely worth it.  We had some AMAZING sandwiches, the bartender was great and the beer menu was entirely craft beer.

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It was dark by the time we got out of there.

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I of course had to stop into my girlfriend Mary’s shop Vintage Inspired Lifestyle Marketplace in Burlington.  I could probably fill a transport trailer with stuff I want from that place.  So beautifully curated and Mary is pretty talented so you can see her personal touches everywhere.

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 Mary took us for appetizers and drinks (to discuss a possible retreat together) at her son’s amazing restaurant Hen of the Wood.  It is THE place in town and luckily we had connections cause we would have never gotten in.  Food was delicious, atmosphere was nice (we were sitting by the fire) and of course, good beer.  They even had stuff from some Quebec breweries.  They change their menu every day so I got to take one home.

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  We were so busy running around on this trip that we didn’t get a chance to stop at my favourite artisan store in Stowe so I just snapped a picture on our way out of town.

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 Well, this was meant to be a quick post while my sick little one napped but it didn’t turn out that way sorry.  I do love Vermont.  Can you imagine if I would have had more pictures????  I also just realized that this post should have probably been entitled beer tastings of Vermont instead.

 

Monday Journal – Inspired by “Creative Girl” Class

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!!!  This isn’t my official kick off the new year post, but I was actually able to get some art journaling done while on vacation and thought I would share.  I hadn’t been able to get any art done for over a month with preparing for the holidays and working 7 days a week.  So, when Chris and I went on our annual anniversary trip to Vermont (more on that later) I was determined to do something.  I was only bringing my Papaya pouch of supplies (which I crammed as many paint pens, Faber Castells and small Golden fluid acrylics in as I could) and an art journal.  It’s a Flora Bowley edition one, love it!!  It is the perfect size for a travel art kit.

Papaya Pouch

I was having a hard time getting inspired due to inactivity until I received an e-mail from Jeanne Oliver saying she was having a flash sale on all of her Creative Network classes (if you aren’t a member, you must sign up.  There are tons of classes, free videos and interviews).  I am not a fan of water colours but love Danielle Donaldson‘s style so when I saw that her Creative Girl class was on sale I was instantly sold.  Here is the first piece I did from her class called the Anatomy of taking flight.

Creative Girl

 Since I was limited in supplies, I didn’t do as many layers as I usually do and was just pounding out the pages.  It helps that I had tons of inspiration.  I always love doing houses and communities but this one is on stilts, adorable.

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Not much of a lettering person either but this was a fun and quick project.

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I decided to follow up with another one immediately, only highlighting the initials for the folks in my family.  Since Amelia and Ava both start with A, I used two colours for that one.  I also made the B and the S darker as those are the initials for our last names (Chris and I live in sin as we haven’t been married so half of us have Savoie and the other Baal).

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Here is the background for the last one I did.  Probably the most simple background I have done AND I left some white.  That never happens, haha.

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 Here is my Badass Girl, she has a cape and everything, ready to take on the world!!!

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Hope you all took some time to get creative over the holidays and relax.  I did and it certainly did me a world of good!!

Monday Journal – Winter Mixed Media

We had our first real snow fall today, WOO!!! Sorry about the photo quality as it is night time.

Winter Mixed Media

Most people dread it, but growing up in Canada, winter is inevitable so you might as well embrace it.  We have learned to find things to do during the winter season and we all snowboard as a family so it gives us something to look forward to.  It also means Christmas is coming :)

I felt inspired to whip up a winter mixed media page since I hadn’t done a Monday journal in a while.  I am in the process of moving my store so my supplies are all over the place.  I worked with what I had.  This page was already started with some stencil wiping.  Then I added more orange, purple and black.

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Then in came the Sharpie twigs and leaves which was inspired by a Flora Bowley painting.

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I then filled in between the branches with Golden Fluid Acrylics.  I used the interference violet over the white and a bit of the blue which you can see a shimmery purple shining through.

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I went over the twigs and leaves again with the Sharpie and then added the quote.

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A quick little art journal piece while watching Netflix to commemorate the first snowfall.  Have an amazing week all!!

Eric Nadeau Exposition – Montcalm Gallery

Chris and I happened to be at Gatineau City Hall the other day which turned out to be surprisingly nice inside.  Lots of windows in a cathedral, six story high, inside courtyard type of thing.  If that makes any sense, haha.  While we were there we came across the Montcalm Gallery.  I had heard of it but never knew where it was and I, of course, had to go in.  We were quite pleased we did because we were introduced to the Eric Nadeau Exposition – Machine Memories and Work Stories.

“In work, in human labour, in our daily tasks, narratives are born, intersect, and are woven into the fabric of our collective memory.   The artist’s creations are variations on a single theme: the work stories that reveal and unite us.”

Here he made an automatic weapon out of an old typewriter and if you notice the typewriter on the right the keys were replaced with bullets.

Eric Nadeau Exposition

There were quite a few of these characters in the exhibit made with old Singer Sewing machines, all with their own personality.  There was quite a contrast between the sweetness of these two and some of the weapons he had created.

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This piece was a deconstructed umbrella.  I wish I had of written down the names of all the pieces.

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More guns made from typewriters.  (Sorry about the photo quality, since it was an impromptu visit I only had my phone)

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Made from the top of an old wooden spool.  Would love to have this piece in my home.

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These little guys were made from steel toe boots.

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She was my favourite.  Not sure if it is because it was my favourite colour or if it is because I have the identical one (still in sewing machine form) that I inherited from my grandmother.

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If you are in the area, (Hull, near the Museum of Civilization) it is definitely worth a quick stop in.  I will also be keeping my eyes peeled for their next exhibit.