Wednesday, December 17, 2008

8 days and counting...

until Christmas! Phew. December has been flying by and I've been catching up on blog reading this morning. I'm a tad embarrassed that our tree is so minimally decorated after seeing so many other beautifully dressed ones among the blog world. There's still time to make some ornaments or pick up some if I dare brave the shops again in the next week.

This is the first Christmas tree for Dex (to our knowledge) and Suki's second, and so far they've both been pretty well behaved. A little paw batting of the red ornaments and rubbing up against the branches, but the tree is still standing. Since we spent last Christmas in Arizona, we opted to stay in Toronto this year. I wish our families could be here with us... I seriously don't have the energy to go anywhere. Working outside of the house for the past several months has drained me and I'm ready to hibernate until the New Year.

Creatively, I have felt a bit uninspired of late, but I hope to introduce some new things to the shop in 2009. As well, I look forward to sharing a new project that I've been working on with everyone soon. For now, I have to remain *hush hush* though.

Well, I best get busy and package up gifts to send to my family. If I don't get around to posting here again before Christmas, here's hoping everyone has a very Merry one!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hello, December.

I've been away from blogland for the past week and a half, so am late announcing the arrival of gift certificates in the shop. They're a Sweet Shop first.

Once again, I'm helping out this sweet gal at the One of a Kind Show, which is one of the reasons for the lack of blogging. The other is that I picked up some part-time work at a design firm down the street from us. Go figure that the almost perfect job for me was almost right under my nose, or only a 10 minute walk away. While I can handle working retail every once in a while, it is certainly not my favourite job in the world. Candice's booth can get pretty hectic at times - as her undies and briefs are a big hit - so by the end of a shift, I'm eager to get home.

Still, the crowds at the Show have not been that bad, and I'm sure they are nothing compared to the one that was gathered outside that Wal-Mart in New York this past Black Friday. Disturbing and crazy and sad all at the same time. Poor man. Matt told me about that incident while we were grocery shopping this morning and I almost couldn't believe my ears. My mom used to work as a greeter at Wal-Mart, and though Saskatoon is not nearly as populous as New York, when there are deals to be had, I know people can be pretty fanatical about getting them. I remember seeing long lineups outside stores on Boxing Day morning in Saskatoon. Heck, I think I may have even stood in one myself years ago. And all to save a little big of money on stuff you probably don't even need. Was it worth it, people? A man's life for $50? May he rest in peace.

On a happier note - I don't want to end the post on a dour one - I received a lovely email from one of my sweet sweet customers the other day. She bought the painting above from me a while ago and had it framed. Her daughter is now the proud and happy owner of this piece and I feel blessed to know that someone else is enjoying this in her home.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Sale Now On!

I feel so behind with the holidays this year. Every year around this time, I say I will start prepping earlier next year, but I still haven't mastered that feat. There's always next year to get my act together, though.

Since I don't think I'll have time to partake in any holiday shows, I'm having a big sale in my shop. (Click on image above to enlarge it) I've got an abundance of summer tees that I'd like to clear out to make room for new stock in 2009. So for every 2 tees or totes or a combination of 1 tee and 1 tote, you get a free tee/tote of your choice. The catch is that the free item has to be of equal or lesser value than the lowest priced item and also that the free item must be in stock.

Several new tees have been added to the shop and I will be listing more later today, as well as some other items.

I will be selling some of my goods at this event next Sunday, but won't actually be there. This lovely lady will be selling things on my behalf. Hope the event is a success. If any of you readers are in the Montreal area, please check it out.

And here's a cute image (I'm a little biased) that I came across the other day, c/o this awesome store's new site. They carry an assortment of my kitty items, which reminds me that I should send them some more stock soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Less than 60 Seconds or More than 90 Minutes?

Commuting is the topic and hmmm, that's a tough one. Let me think about it for a second... Not! Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, I am back working from home and loving it again. When faced with the choice of either getting up at 5 am 5 days a week and commuting for 1 and a half to 2 hours one way OR getting up when I please and walking up the stairs to my office, well, the choice was pretty clear. I mean I'd be missing out on priceless moments like the one in the photo above if I chose the former. And that is just one of the many reasons why I quit that job.

Not that the job was without its pros. But the cons definitely outweighed them. See, I even made a list:

- a steady income (for a little while anyways, as it was a contract job)
- it was art-related
- I didn't have to deal with the public
- social interaction with artistic peers; breaks and lunch time were usually entertaining and I met some really nice people there


- the 1.5 to 2 hour commute each way to the middle of nowhere-land, I mean, Richmond Hill
- 5 am daily wake-up
- $10 a day on transit
- our somewhat decent hourly wage would be changing to payment for the number of "things" you completed in a day, which for me as of last Friday topped the charts at 4... which would make my new hourly wage less than minimum
- a serious lack of good communication between management and staff, a lack of organization and generally too much secrecy; we did sign a confidentiality agreement when we started the job, but I didn't think it meant that we, as staff, would be kept in the dark about what they wanted from us. Heck, we didn't even know how long the contract was for until last Friday. And that wasn't even certain anyways. Things could have been run a lot smoother but I suppose everyone thinks he or she could do things better if he or she was in charge. Honestly though, it's not like I was working at the Canadian Intelligence... I was simply, oh, better not say.
- it was a messy and smelly environment
- social interaction (which was also a pro, but being a naturally introverted person, by the time I got home everyday, I'd be pretty spent, which isn't fair to Matt or the cats)
- not having the energy to do anything else creative once I got home, or even on the weekends
- the cats (mainly Dex, the attention hog) didn't seem too fond of the lack of attention and made it obvious by destroying some of my possessions or wreaking havoc in my office area, so much so that I had to rearrange my desk set-up just so nothing major got damaged.

I think that pretty much covers the pros and cons. Don't get me wrong, though. I am thankful to have had this job, if even only for a month. Every bit helps these days. And thanks, Stacey, for letting me know that your Turkey Day (or Tofurkey Day) hasn't come and gone yet. I wondered why I couldn't place it on my calendar. For some reason, I thought people had already celebrated it.

I can't forget to mention some funny and priceless moments related to this job:

1. The fact that I was even hired is pretty amazing. After arriving late for the interview or test, rather (as the job was based on specific skills you needed), I had to borrow money from my eventual supervisor just so I could get home. I had no idea that you have to pay extra fare after a certain point in Toronto. Had my supervisor not been so kind, I could have been stranded there for a while. I was too upset and hungry to even be that embarrassed though... Lesson learned: always bring enough cash with you.
2. Lack of sleep led me to take the wrong subway direction one morning.
3. Lack of sleep also led me to bring cat food for lunch one day, as my lunch and the cats' food were in similar containers. This led to me having to run to the nearest coffee shop, or shall I say running 1/3 of the way and gasping and walking the rest of the way there. Needless to say, I'm a tad out of shape.

Hopefully I can get back into a regular exercise regime for the winter. If not, oh well, I'll settle for hibernating with this other furball.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm Back!

It's been ages since I've blogged. Okay, well only several weeks. I feel a little rusty though. I missed posting about Halloween, the beginning of November, Remembrance Day and American Thanksgiving. Now Christmas is just around the corner. And I haven't had a chance to create any new holiday cards this year as of yet. So the ones from Christmases past will have to do for now. You can find them here.

I'm happy to report that I'm back working from home these days. The job that I started only a month ago was making some changes as far as how we'd be paid, which made it all the easier for me to tell them "Sayonara!" (I'll elaborate more in tomorrow's post.) So I will hopefully get back to creating some new things for the shop very shortly. For sure there will be gift certificates available this year. And I'm considering a holiday sale to clear out an overstock of summer shirts. Check back later this week.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Long Weekend...

Well, for me anyways.
The concept of long weekends has not really been something I've relished for the past several years, since I worked from home and basically worked everyday. But last week things changed and I started a new job that actually required leaving the house. By the time I got home each day more than 12 hours had passed. Matt would leave the house 3 and a half hours after me, but would still get home before me. To his credit though, Matt did come down with me on Monday morning (that's a 5 am wake-up call) and for a guy who loves his sleep, that was very sweet of him, especially on his day off. Still, you can imagine my reasons for not loving the new job...
Of course, when you're faced with the probability that you may lose something (ie. a job, or freedom), you realize just how valuable that thing may be after all.

In this case, just a week into the new job, all the new hires were told that some of us would be laid off. Ouch! And we wouldn't know who the company would be keeping and who they'd be laying off until later this week. If you've ever thought about slacking off at a job, well then too bad for you. Pretty much all the stuff we'd been doing for the past week was a way to rate who to keep. Not like they had been planning to get rid of people, but with the lagging U.S. economy, their projected sales were not as high as they'd expected so they don't have the budget for the amount of staff that was hired.

So if you haven't already guessed, I was one of the ones who was kept on. Hence, the long weekend. I had prepared myself for bad news, that it wasn't the end of the world if I didn't get called back. But it is a bit of a relief since it'd taken me about nine months of job hunting to land this position. That's a whole other blog post that I will hopefully get around to writing soon. It'll be interesting to see who else is at work on Monday. Toronto certainly doesn't have a shortage of artists and creative types, so I feel for those who didn't get good news.

Today I've been house bound and am loving it. Working on a custom calling card and my own business card which I ran out of weeks ago, but haven't really needed since my shop sales have been kind of slow. That's the downside of working out of the house. I don't have internet access and by the time I get home, I'm too wiped to do anything but veg. Ah, well. Gotta pay my dues. And pay those bills.

Tomorrow is UN Day. The image above is from a yet to be published book that I worked on a while back, the second in the TCK series by Jen Munnerlyn. No new photos or illustrations to show, so old ones will have to do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick post before we sit down for our holiday feast. Yes, Thanksgiving Day is almost over in Canada, so this post is a little late. And yes, that's a frog, not a turkey. But I don't normally draw turkeys (or frogs for that matter), so a frog will have to do.

A big thank you to my lovelySweet Shop customers for helping me reach 800 sales the other day! Hope my fellow Canadian readers are enjoying the day and enjoyed the long weekend too. It was gorgeous here in Toronto and Matt and I ventured out to the beach to take in possibly the last warm weekend this year. The rest of the weekend was spent revamping my website, but I've not yet uploaded the new files.

I think it's about time to eat. I'm VERY grateful for my sweet hubby who made dinner tonight. Yum!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Times, They Are a-Changin'

It's Sunday, so what better day to reflect on things of the week past. The Clothing Show was pretty good, as my sales improved from the first show I did back in Spring - thank you to all my buyers for your support and purchases!- but they weren't so spectacular that it's convinced me to do another one again. Plus, as my post title suggests, the times, or should I say my times will be changing, so who knows if the show circuit is in my near future?


The most significant change coming up, or the one that has me feeling mixed emotions, is my acceptance of a job outside of the house. While I'm happy to have gotten the position - I've only been applying for jobs since the beginning of this year - it will require me commuting close to 2 hours each way, 6 days a week. Plus, rising hours before the sun comes up. Not a lot of fun, especially since darkness pervades these mornings leading up to winter. I swore that I would never take a job that required more than an hour of commuting one way, but (here I am quoting another song) you can't always get what you want.

It's been several years since I've worked outside of home - thanks to my dear hubby, without whom, I think I'd be in a heck of a bigger mess - and as much as I'd love to continue to do so, the reality of it, is that I'm not making as much as I need to be making to live a comfortable life in downtown Toronto. I'd love to say that I am. I'd love to say that Etsy allowed me to quit my day job. But really, my day job was working from my home. Well, IS, for now. For another week and a half. So my reality is that I have to quit my day job to make more money. How bizarre is that?

royal blue moustache kitty ribbed football jersey tee

My big concern is that the new job won't allow me enough time or energy to devote to my shop and other projects and commitments. I'm also upset that I haven't been able to "make it work" as well I want it to. I know this is just another leg of my journey in life and so I should embrace it and take things one day at a time, but part of me can't help feeling like I've failed a little. I certainly am not going to give up doing what I love, but this post is also to let others know that I may have to close shop temporarily to maintain my sanity.

And speaking of sanity, Matt and I could only handle so much of Nuit Blanche last night before we returned home. We didn't see anything really related to the event aside from lots of people out and about, as we had our own adventure planned for the evening. Some people are okay with crowds, but we are not among them. I love the idea of the event, but maybe if I were 10 years younger, I'd be more into it. Hope whoever was out last night/this morning had a swell time!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fall Clothing Show Tomorrow!

I'm in the final stages of prep for The Clothing Show, so this will not be a long post. For any of my readers in Toronto, please come by Booth #513 if you can and take advantage of some great deals. Hint: Print the above image from this post out and you can save 20% off my New Fall tees.

I was thrilled to see another of my items on the front page of etsy the other day. What a great looking treasury for Fall too! Well, wish me luck at the Show! I'll let you know how it goes after the weekend.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Day of Autumn

This morning I was treated to a nice surprise when this made it to the front page. I love it when that happens!

Last week, this sweet gal wrote some very kind things about me and my shop.
Thanks, Kristen. You are a sweetheart!

Today is also the first day of my favourite season so I'm looking forward to the cooler days. No more need for a/c, lots of excuses for hot chocolate and less sweat exuded from my body (hopefully). Of course, I've yet to step outside. The day was devoted to making a ton of buttons for my various retailers and also the upcoming Clothing Show. Most of my stock is together, I just need to make signage for the booth and price it all. I will have some great deals on the Summer tees and older items, plus will unveil some new Fall stuff. If I have time, I'll post some pics of what to expect in the next few days.

The change of seasons also means all the Fall lineup of shows are starting up again. Tonight is Heroes, one of Matt's favourites. Tomorrow is House, I believe. Next week, there's Grey's Anatomy, my fave... So much to watch and so little time! Yes, we are tv junkies, but hey, it beats being addicted to other vices.

I forgot that the Season Premiere of House was on last week. Duh! And I meant Thursday instead of next week for Grey's Anatomy. Geez, where's my brain?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Clean Slate & A Blank Canvas

I didn't get around to blogging yesterday and really should be silkscreening some things right now, but if I don't do this now, I probably won't get around to it at all this week. After wanting to repaint our upper level for several months now, Matt and I finally did just that last Friday. His colour of choice was a dark greenish-grey to mimic a chalkboard and my colour of choice was white, hence the title of this post.

This is what that same wall looked like before we started painting:

Thank goodness the dark wall is just a temporary thing for Matt's next film project. (It will be painted white to match my workspace after he's done shooting.) I had previously told him that he wasn't allowed to film any more movies in our home. Since I work from home and need to be able to move around and make noise at any given point, filming a movie in the same environment can prove to be difficult. But in marriage, you learn to compromise. And so while Matt got his wish to film part of his next project here, I also got my wish (below):

In all his years of riding a bike, Matt has never worn a helmet. Until now!

Something new that I'm trying these days is having my desk up against the wall. If you're familiar at all with feng shui, then you know this isn't the best position in which to have your desk. Not only do you have something in front of you, blocking chi, but your back is left vulnerable. But for practical reasons - facing the other way meant I'd have to use a huge and unsightly extension cord - I set it up like this for now. Plus, all the cables and cords are kind of eyesore so at least this way they are less visible.

The main reason I wanted white walls is because I thought they'd make for better product shots. A good amount of natural light and decent photography skills don't hurt either, but I thought the wall colour before just didn't go anything for my items.

At least now I have a blank white wall to work with. My workspace is still a work-in-progress as there are a number of other things I want to get from here to complete it. I'm loving my new Judy dress form and red Lerberg rack though.

Those are all the photos for now. To see more from our fun day, you can go here. Sorry, Tara, no other after shots yet :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Makeover Madness

I don't get my hair cut at salons very often. Not because I've had any traumatic experiences... until yesterday, that is. See my hair in the photo above? Notice how long it looks? It's nearly down to the middle of my back.

Well, Matt was in need of a haircut, and my hair was badly in need of a trim to get rid of the split ends. I asked for two inches off. THAT'S TWO INCHES PEOPLE! What ended up happening? My hair was basically massacred.

Before I knew it, hair was flying and a LOT more than two inches was lopped off my head.

The hair stylist said I had such pretty hair...
--- SNIP SNIP ---

The hair stylist said I had a lot of hair...
--- SNIP SNIP ---

Why didn't I say anything?

Well, it's a bit intimidating to tell someone holding a pair or scissors and a razor in their hands to stop. Plus, I was trusting her to listen to what I told her at the beginning. I specifically said "only two inches". Obviously her idea of two inches is more like 2 + 2 + 2 = 2.

Yes, it's just hair. It's not the end of the world. And thankfully it will grow back before it is the end of the world (hopefully). But seriously, by the time I walked out of the salon, my hair looked like "The Rachel" - you know, Jennifer Aniston's famous Friends hairdo - only not nearly as glamorous. Not to mention the fact that I was never crazy about that do.

So now my hair barely pulls back into a ponytail, that's how short it is. And the hair that makes it into that ponytail is about 1/3 of what was there before. I have yet to take a photo of the mess and I'm not sure I want to.

Needless to say, I won't be going back to that salon for my next haircut.

More makeover madness photos to come tomorrow though. This time of the home reno kind.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Can you "handle" this?

that's mister kitty to you!
I've been on a blog hiatus lately but only because I've been working real hard. A new design is here, finally! And yes, I've hopped on the moustache bandwagon, but only because it looks so cute and funny on this kitty. I'll be listing tees and totes with "moustache kitty" in my shop later this month.

Other new designs are in the works, along similar "dress-up" lines. With Halloween around the corner, I've been inspired by that theme of donning costumes. Stay tuned.

As well, the Clothing Show is just weeks away, so I'm preparing for my second time there. A lot of summer stock will be marked down and I will have some new items too. It may be my only show for the rest of the year, since a lot of the deadlines for Christmas shows seemed to have already passed. Please come check it out. Same spot as the Spring show. Booth 513. September 26-28.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I was admiring this beautiful treasury (wink wink) the other day and was thinking how lovely it would be to see on the front page and voila! It happened this morning. Sweet! And I have to thank Stacey and Christine for letting me know that it was on the front page, as well as Margaret for including me in the treasury.

I took the cats in for their annual checkups this morning and both got a clean bill of health. It was a bit tough juggling two cat carriers on my own, but can you imagine looking after 500 cats? Check out this link I discovered today. What an amazing woman! I think for the upcoming Christmas season, I will be donating a portion of my etsy sales to The Cat House.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Home... where the heart is.

I'm back home now... after going "home" to my parents' for a week. Funny, how I used to consider Saskatoon my home, but now I don't think I could ever live there again permanently. I told my sister that if Matt and I moved there, I think we'd just get fat. Saskatoon's not really a walking city like Toronto. Even biking seems kind of foreign there, as I didn't see very many people pedaling around. Plus, the way the sun beats down on you, you seem safer in a car. Though the skies are clear and blue there, as opposed to the smoky haze we noticed from the plane, as soon as we were over Toronto. If we didn't put on weight from being sloths, we'd surely gain some from all the food my mom fed us. Appropriately, we saw Wall-E while we were there.

And since it'd been more than 2 years since my previous visit, some things surprised me. Like the size of the trees in their front and back yard. HUGE! They never reached up to my bedroom on the second floor when I lived there, but now they soar above it. And the birds there seem plentiful. I heard and spotted a blue jay several times there and I swear they weren't around before. Or else I was too caught up in my teen angst to have noticed.

Then there was how dry it was. Almost every night I woke up having to go to the bathroom because my body wasn't sweating out the fluids. Even though temperatures were in their 30's most of the time we were there, it didn't feel as unbearable.

Still, there were some things that haven't changed. Most noticeably, all the brown in the house! If I work up the nerve, I will nominate my parents' place for a home decorating show as it is badly in need of some updating. Everything in their house is brown or beige. Well, almost. Their bedroom is an exception but baby blue curtains are not that hip either.

Our big project for a few days was to paint the exterior trim on the windows and garage door. Matt had wanted to repaint their deck too but my dad said it needed to be fixed first... by the time we left, it was in pieces as it required more fixing that my dad originally thought. Sorry, Dad :)

Other than that, we spent a lot of time eating like I said, watching Olympics and playing an array of board games including PayDay, Monopoly, Clue, The Game of Life, Sorry and Scrabble. I didn't do an ounce of my own work or catch up on my reading like I had planned on doing. In fact that stuff didn't leave my bag while I was there. Typical.

I also brought my camera but never took any photos (which accounts for the drawings and Internet image). I certainly took my vacation to heart this time. Which means I've got to get my butt back to work. The Fall Clothing Show is coming up next month so new tees are in the works. And some new things will be added to the shop in the next little while.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Running back to Saskatoon

August has been really slow so far in my etsy shop but when it's slow, instead of getting down about it, I have to take advantage of that time for creating new things. I finally made some more girl aceo's which are all listed in the shop now. My favourites are the pink and yellow girls. If I didn't have black hair, I'd want to be a redhead.

In an effort to get some new wholesale clients, I pounded the pavement today along Queen Street West. After the first shop owner was less than impressed about my drop-in, I decided to just get the rest of the owner's/buyer's contact info from each store. Lesson learned. But you never know until you try. Plus, I don't have a ton of money to invest in getting catalogues printed and mailed out right now, so a face to face meeting is the most direct and cost-effective way for feedback right now, even if it means dealing with some up-turned noses and dirty looks.

The highlight of my excursion was when I spotted a woman wearing one of my Bad Kitty shirts. I even held the door open for her, but was too chicken to blurt out that I'd made her shirt. I think that was the first time I've seen someone wearing one of my shirts.

And last week when I stopped by the vet's to pick up more pills for Suki I got another ego boost. The receptionist asked for my name and when I told her, she said "Oh you make those shirts! I have one (bad kitty)."

The feeling I get when I sell one of my creations, especially an original painting or one of my shirts makes what I do worthwhile. While it doesn't make the tough times go away - how I wish it would - it fuels my fire to keep doing what I'm doing. After all, Bad Kitty was the original design that started off my line of kitty products. If people are still interested in her, then I'm doing something right.

Tomorrow, Matt and I are off for a week to Saskatoon. It'll be my first visit in several years - I can't even remember how long it's been, that's how long it's been - and Matt's first time ever. I'm looking forward to my mom's cooking, seeing my sister's place, playing Scrabble with the family, catching up on reading and checking out the annual Folkfest that I used to partake in. I'm sure we'll be following the Olympics too. Hopefully the kitties will be fine here (yes, that's an old photo, but I haven't gotten around to uploading new ones). Our cat sitter has promised to keep us updated with daily emails. While I will have internet access, I probably won't be updating my blog until we're back.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Sweet Giveaway

I love giveaways and will have one of my own sometime soon. But this one is from a new blogger that I discovered recently... she left a sweet comment on one of my recent posts. Her art is lovely and she's giving people a chance to win one of her very cute Birdie Says mugs.

These are my favourites:

If you're interested in a chance to win your own mug, check out Gisele's rules here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's My Birthday...

so I gave myself permission to take the day off and go shopping! The message inside the card (pictured above) that Matt's parents sent did tell me to "Be bad" after all.
In fact, "Be very bad!".
So I was.
My mom gifted me with some birthday money and told me to spend it on some new clothes.
So I did.
I was badly in need of a new bra and finally found one, aptly called "dream bra" by Maidenform. And with all the summer markdowns, I was also able to score some black capris and a new top both for less than the price of the bra!

And being the cat fanatic that I am, I was treated to some more feline greetings today: a hilarious animated e-card from my sister... it's funnier when animated, but the image captures still give you a sense of what happens...

and a sweet photo via email from a friend

Dinner's on Matt tonight at Red Lobster. Let's hope it's as good as I remember, from years ago.
And of course there'll be some kind of dessert. Yum.