Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blog on Blog Lov'n...

Since starting this blog I have admittedly become a bit of a blog addict. Prior to The Stay Lucky I would browse other blogs every few days or so, I really had no idea of how much cool, unique and completely inspiring stuff was out there. Being an all or nothing kinda girl I really have had to ration my time. Like cake, or a good bottle of wine I have to consciously browse other blogs - make sure I am making the best use of my limited free time while online. Otherwise I wake up in a heap on the studio floor covered in cake crumbs and red wine teeth having spent five precious evening hours lost in other peoples "10 things to do with an empty tin can" posts. Not pretty.
The Marion House Book is a blog that has kept my attention from it's beginning. Always inspiring, flawless design and style, it really is time well spent. Emma the creator of MHB is also a delight, she has crafted a blog that makes you feel at home, in her home. Her regular post "Hello Neighbour" is a very popular one. She gives you a peek into other peoples homes that live in her neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. We were fortunate enough to be one of those neighbours a year or so ago, before we pulled up stakes and hauled it to the country. 
When Emma suggested a trip out to Orono for a little "Hello Neighbour"/country cousin sort of post I was thrilled. And stressed. We were done, mostly. Just a little lipstick and rouge left to do...and wallpapering, and trimming, and staining, and door hanging, and, and, and. Luckily I work best under a deadline. So, we rolled up our sleeves and got busy. Most of it got done in time. Any stress I felt about what did not was smoothed away with a lovely meal cooked by Emma and Kristen (also a friend and the "Hello Neighbour" shooter), a few bottles of wine and a big ass piece of cake. Thank you ladies!
To see our country house view the newest "Hello Neighbour" post here. Really my house never looks more lovely or clean than on this blog (in my head that is the house I actually live in).

A couple of shots I took that weekend...

A walk in the woods after the photo shoot. Kristen being the best sport, sliding with my kids.

Bird watching with Paul...

Lastly I would like to give a blog shout out to Dawson Campbell and his new venture RELIK.
Dawson (as many of you already know) is one half of the brilliance that is Backshed Design. The guys that have been at the house from day one, taking it from a rubble filled shell to the home it is today. Dawson builds much of my furniture, and I have yet to make a request that stumps him. He and his sawmill recently moved to a gorgeous property just outside of town. He has set up shop in a barn, and will be making beautiful furniture full time. He also does interiors, exteriors, he will come to your property and mill your very own trees for you...full meal deal. You can view his work and contact him through RELIK

Time to share the wealth I guess, it would be rude to keep it all to myself. xo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Give a little bit...

Hi folks, today I am bringing you news of an event happening in Toronto tomorrow eve - Wednesday March 30th.  "Eternal Sunrise: A Benefit for Japan" is a benefit happening at Revival Bar (783 College St.) As most of you know a 9.0 magnitude earthquake happened on the coast of Japan March 11th. That combined with the resulting tsunami and damaged nuclear reactors has left the country in a desperate state. 
They need help. 
They need hope.
They need money.

100% of all the funds raised at Eternal Sunrise will be donated to Plan Canada. There will be performances by Jully Black, DJ sets by Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), DJ Shine (Nelly Furtado) and many many others. There will be a silent auction with more than 50 items up for grabs, including a piece done by yours truly for the event. 

Kokeshi Doll with Cherry Blossoms. She comes in three colour ways...13x19 print on Velvet Fine Art paper. 

If you can't make it out to Revival tomorrow eve I will be putting this item up on my Etsy store. I will donate all money generated by these prints (minus shipping costs) to Plan Canada. 

Helping others + getting cute art = win!

Love and Peace peeps xo

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Don't forget to tip your waitress...

I have waited many a table in my day. I met my future husband first as his waitress. The allure of my scowl overtop that coffee pot proved to be too much for the lad and he quickly offered up a happily ever after. I left that chapter of my life some time ago, hung up my apron in favour of a career in illustration. The days of serving grumpy ingrates put far behind me, or so I thought.
I then had twins. And it seems to me over the past year that I am again put in the position of waitress. A waitress who works in a restaurant where nobody likes the food and no one ever leaves a tip. It is rather frustrating to work to try and prepare some sort of appealing nourishment for your kids. Lord knows there are a kabillion experts offering up the importance of getting five servings of veggies/fruit/whole grains/gluten free/dairy free/protein/natural sugars only a day, only to hear the exclamation "I can't eat it Mama - it's cat food"! 
Sigh. That combined with the task of teaching these crazy little people colours and counting can put an incredible amount of strain on a person. 
Well folks, when life hands you a turd, roll it in sparkles. I decided that if I was going to be an employee around here I should at least be tipped. We needed a project that was versatile in the ways it could be used. So, we created cloth dollar bills for Georgia and Shep to play general store, or in our case, restaurant. I let them pick their own colours, I did all the lino cutting and any scissor work when they were napping to avoid tantrums and potentially getting shived by one of them.

A project for a rainy day Wednesday "Mama gets paid"...

Get yourself a lino block (I prefer the rubber ones, but you works with what you gots), and draw out your design. I stayed pretty simple, but you could get fanciful with a portrait of good old Queen Lizzy if you felt like it.

You will need some of these bad boys to cut out your design. Please keep far far away from tiny hands, they are deadly sharp. And always cut away from the hand holding the block. This may seem like logic, but surely I am not the only one that has suffered lino injuries.

Cut or gouge out the "white space". You may notice my redraw of the dollar sign. I quite often draw these things the right way round and then inevitably am super bummed when they print out backwards. I caught this one in time.

Pick your colours and grab a roller. I use speedball products, but you could use regular acrylic craft paint too. I chose an old white pillow case as the material to be printed on. I cut around the seams and laid it flat. Cotton works nicely in this project.

Roll a nice thick layer of paint onto your stencil and press firmly onto material. I, with the help of little hands, reapplied the ink after each pressing.

Wash lino block in warm water to remove ink between colour changes.

Carefully hang your printed money to dry. I gave this a few good hours to set before I cut out the pieces.

Cut out prints...

To add weight and longevity to the pieces I then placed each onto felt and stitched them quickly with my sewing machine. Since neither of my kids opted for green ink I chose a green thread to contrast the colours nicely.

And there you have it...a big pile of money!


Sorting according to colour...

Shep eyeing up Georgia's pile...

No, I am not eager to teach my kids the ins and outs of capitalism. I do however see the need for them to understand value of things. For now we are a money bound society, and both their parents work very hard for these dollars. Food generally costs money, including that big old bowl of "cat food" I just plonked in front of you Miss Georgia. Taxes included, tipping is not optional.

xo Mama out.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It also comes in chocolate...

Just a quickie today folks. Yesterday was my Mom's birthday and she and my Father drove up to share the day with us here in Orono. I decided to try out the cake in a bowl idea I did a few weeks ago, this time in black forest flavour. I have to say, cake in a bowl is genius. You could crumble any type of cake and or filling into a glass bowl and have an edible work of art. It really takes the pressure off of icing a cake - which is great as I am a calamity when it comes to tasks that require a delicate hand . It would take a really concentrated effort to mess this idea up, it is fool proof.
So, I present Black Forest Gateau with whiskey soaked cherries and chocolate ganache filling. 

Happy Birthday Mama! xo

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Little Like the Shining...

That's how things are starting to feel round these here parts. Cooped up and sick of the cold, everything is grey, both kids are rum, red rum. And I know I am not alone in this one, everyone it seems is down in the dumps. What's a Mama to do? Well people, put down the axe and grab some sparkles. A few tricks we have tried around here to snap us out of it...

Sparkle birds...bring spring inside with your very own fancy dance birds on sticks.

Find some bird clip-art online, print out your favourites. We went with black and white, but colour would work as well as birds cut out of magazines. 

Spray glue, one of my very favourite things on earth, is super helpful in this project. Use that or regular glue to paste birds to card stock, cut out around bird shape.

Grab some glitter, white glue and markers. I keep chunky sparkles for the kids to use, much easier to clean up. The finer sparkles, the ones from Martha that cost about a kidney, I keep to myself.

Let 'er rip...

Grab some of those take-out chop sticks (I know everyone has stuffed in a kitchen junk drawer), and tape to the backside of your bird. Heavier tape works better.

Voila! Your very own flock of tropical birds. WARNING: keep a close eye on the sparkle distribution or your house will soon look like two three year olds held a rave there. I think it adds a fun and jaunty quality to the cat and dog. My husband however, disagrees.

Next good thing to keep on hand for sanity's sake...a dress up box. I made this one a year and a half ago, but it is only this winter that my kids are actually into it. son is into it, my daughter likes to direct what others wear, but will not commit to looking silly herself.
I got most of these costumes and funny hats at Value Village around Halloween. That place rocks for fun and affordable play outfits.

And last but not least, just go with it. Get outside, enjoy the season for what it is. Spring will be here soon enough friends. Back away from the axe. Deep crisp breaths...