This is just a sampling of what is available in my Etsy shop at the moment. I am offering 20% off everything (paintings, prints, holiday cards, tags and note cards) today and tomorrow. I don't hold sales very often and this will be my final one of 2014 so don't miss out! Use the coupon code THANKYOU2014 at checkout (November 28th and 29th, 2014. Coupon expires at midnight EST).
I also have a small selection of items on sale today on the Tributary Goods site. There you can use the coupon BLACKFRIDAY14.
Thank you for your ongoing support of my art. It is so appreciated!
About two years ago, I volunteered to take over a Canadian team on Etsy along with another team member. I have to admit that I volunteered somewhat reluctantly but it seemed to be the right thing to do at the time. The team was going to close otherwise. I didn't know the other volunteer and I wasn't sure at all what I was getting myself into.
It has turned out to be a very positive experience. My co-leader is Sarah Norwood of the Canadian handmade lingerie shop OhhhLulu. We've not only managed the team together but have helped it to evolve and emerge out the other side of several very big Etsy changes.
It was only after several months of working together that we discovered that we share the same birthday. We were both born on Canada Day. It was funny to find that out. It made us feel that we were somehow destined to be leaders together of a Canadian team. We correspond with each other on an almost daily basis for team business and just to share bits and pieces of our life. Sarah's a young new mom. I'm an older mom with two teenagers. She lives in a small town in Ontario. I live in the suburbs of a big city in Quebec. She's an early bird. I'm a bit of a night owl. She has a pug named Oliver. I have a wheaten named Meeko. She designs and sews exquisite handmade lingerie. I paint detailed, delicate watercolours. Somewhere in all of those similarities and differences, we have become good friends.
Our team was initially called Team Canuck. This fall, we renamed ourselves The Canadian Collective and have started to build our presence outside of Etsy. We are an amazing, diverse group of fifty Canadian handmade and vintage online shops and we are still growing. I do a lot of work behind the scenes but Sarah is the tireless ball of energy and ideas that drives the team. Thanks to Sarah, we now have our own blog and website. The collective members also contribute and collaborate in many ways and happen to be really nice people as well. So many teams on Etsy have closed down recently but, by remaining positive, our members have grown closer and stronger.
From November 21 through midnight (EST) on November 24th, we are having our first sale. There are 27 shops offering discounts ranging from 10 to 20%. In my shop, you will receive 15% off regular prices. Just use the coupon code CANADIANCHRISTMAS at the Etsy checkout. (The coupon is open to international shoppers.) If you'd like to know more about the other shops participating, you can consult our website or Facebook page. It's a wonderful opportunity to support small, independent handmade and vintage businesses across Canada.
Photo at top: 'Just keep climbing' poster from Ontario photographer Tyson of WildTravels, polar bear collage art by Nova Scotia artist Angela of SeeingStars, vintage winter painting from Corinne of Ontario vintage+handmade shop Untried, vintage navy trench coat from Angela and Beatrice of Ontario vintage clothing shop Two Moxie, infinity scarf from Alberta designer TeakaMarie, vintage blankets from Heather of the British Columbian vintage housewares shop theweekendshop, star map print from my shop, and a handmade velvet longline bra from Sarah's shop Ohhhlulu.
Wanna go on a walk with me? If you say yes, I'll show you the way.
It's over that way. You remember, right?
First, you walk past the tall grasses. Wow, it's a really pretty day today.
Wait, you're taking my leash off? Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Now you need to walk over the board that someone put across the little stream. The stream is already frozen. It's been so cold the past few days.
Hey Kathleen, how come you're lagging behind? Don't worry. I'll wait for you.
It's so pretty here this morning.
Look at those dried leaves and the sparkly snow.
That was really a lot of fun.
Wanna go on another walk with me?
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
The weather changed abruptly here this week. Last week, I was gardening with a sweater on. This week I am wearing full winter gear. Yesterday was miserably cold. Everything was covered in ice. The wind howled all day long and was bitterly cold. It was about -12C or 10F with the wind chill factor. I couldn't even face taking Meeko for his walk, a very rare occurrence. I did manage to harvest (hack out) some vegetables from the back garden though. You can see the photos here and here.
Today, it is completely different. The sun is out. There is no wind. Meeko and I were able to go on the forest path for the first time this season. It's too swampy to walk in the spring and the summer so we really cherish the months when it is walkable. As you can see from the photos above, we had a ball together. What a gorgeous morning. Thank you, Meeko my friend, for getting me out and into it.
The snow hasn't arrived here yet. I was able to work in the garden a bit today. My fall clean-up is pretty much done. It's nice when the snow waits until I am finished. There have been many years when I have been caught by surprise by an early snowstorm.
I took these photos a couple of weeks ago when I was bringing some hydrangeas into the house. I discovered some spotted stowaways and thought I would share my photos of them. I saw ladybugs today too. The warm sun seems to bring them out.
There are several months in the year when I am very torn between painting and gardening. The winter months remove that pressure. When it's cold and snowy, painting is the obvious choice. As much as I will miss my garden, I look forward to cozy studio time.
Last week I worked on a special painting. My friend Sarah had her first baby in October. I decided to create a painting with the baby's name and birth flowers as a gift.
I looked up October's flower and some sources said cosmos and others said marigold. So what did I do? I included both of them!
First I hand wrote the baby's names lightly in pencil: Isabel Winona. Aren't those pretty names? Then I widened the letters and filled them in with watercolour.
I surrounded the names with three each of cosmos and marigold flowers as well as some leaves, stems and a little heart. I worked on it over a period of three days. It was hard not to publish photos of it right when I finished it but I needed to keep it a secret. I mailed the painting last week and Sarah told me it arrived safely in yesterday's mail.
I had a moment of panic after I had put it in the mail. I found a piece of paper in my studio on which I had been sketching some initial ideas. On it, I had written both Isabel and Isobel. (Why? I don't know. It must have been a moment's inattention.) All of a sudden, I was terrified that I might have misspelled Isabel's name on the actual painting! I raced to the photos I had taken before mailing it and was very relieved to see that the painting said Isabel.
Here's my finished painting for a beautiful little girl and her happy parents, Sarah and Dan. ❤
I have loved leaves as long as I can remember. Although I admire them throughout the seasons, autumn leaves capture my heart. Whenever I walk with Meeko, I bring a handful of leaves home. So over a few weeks, my collection grows and grows.
Sometimes you can find leaves that are already perfectly dried on the ground and they will retain their shape. If leaves are still humid, they will curl up when left to dry on their own. This year, I figured out that if I placed light twigs on the top of a small pile of leaves, they dried in a very nice natural way. Previously, I've tried drying them by weighing them down with books but then you end up with leaves that are as flat as pancakes and you lose their lovely contours and curves. When I was in elementary school, I can remember that we used to iron them between two pieces of wax paper. Supposedly, they will retain their colour longer than way but they are, of course, completely flat. I prefer having some contour and curls.
When I return from walks, I tend to put the leaves I've collected in our dining room as I like to look at them. After a few weeks, the side table starts to look a bit like a display in a nature museum. A few days ago, I collected all my dried leaves into a box and brought them up to my studio. I couldn't resist arranging them by type and colour.
Last year, I bought a clear glass vase for my painting table and I now display some of my leaf collection in it, refreshing the leaves each autumn.
And I guess it will not come as a surprise that I painted some leaves too! Last November, I painted two maples leaves and a maple key. I thought the painting was finished at the time but it didn't feel quite right and I put it in my painting drawer.
This week, I added a curled leaf and maple key to the painting and the composition feels much better! I also added more colour and details to everything. The first photo below was taken yesterday. The second was taken at the end of the day today. I think it's finished now although I always take the time to stare at a painting for a while to know for sure.
The finished painting today
An excerpt from 'The Autumn' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning