Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm Having One of Those Days...

You know the kind. The wake up on the wrong side of the bed day. I just got off the phone with Matt, after snapping at him. (Sorry, baby... it was your day yesterday, but today isn't your birthday anymore) He probably doesn't know what he did to set me off. It's not his fault. I'm simply finding it tough lately to remain positive and upbeat.

I went for another job interview today, which went alright, but just the thought of having to work for someone else again feels like a defeat. Especially when it only pays $9 an hour, and I haven't even gotten the job. I still have to go for the second part of the interview which means working for free for an hour to see if they like me enough to hire me.

It's days like these that some kind words can help lift one's spirit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I got a nice surprise via email this morning. This sweet lady nominated me for a Brillante Weblog Award. I tried googling it to find out exactly what it was, or how it originated it but came up short. Roughly translated though, I think it means "Brilliant", so thank you, Stacey for thinking my humble blog to be worthy and for introducing me to several more great blogs. And thank you to anyone who takes the time to read my posts and especially to those who choose to comment. Growing up, I kept diaries for years, but never imagined that I'd be sharing my thoughts in a public format like this. How the times they change!

So as part of being nominated, I get to choose my own nominees... ooo, fun! I generally peek in on 20 or so blogs on a daily basis, but if I have to pick 7, here they are in no particular order:

Three Red Trees - a newly discovered blog from a former etsy customer and fellow shop owner. Stacey makes some darn cute sock animals and I hope she and her family become Canadian transplants soon.

Blacklilypie - another fellow etsian whose creations I love. Tara's blog is always a fun read as she has a great sense of humour and I always look forward to seeing what new things she has up her sleeve.

The Odd Bird Rant - another Tara in the blog world with a wicked sense of humour and generosity to boot. She encouraged me to approach several of the retail shops which now carry my stuff. She also makes some awesome creations herself.

Starryluvly - Nadia's a sweet and sassy blogger who I "met" through etsy, but of course! I was saddened to learn of her recent breakup, but feel she is brave for letting her readers know the reality of her current situation.

Natascha Rosenberg - I forget how I came upon Natascha's blog, but I'm glad I did. Her illustrations are wonderful and hopefully one day I will own some of her work!

Ma Petite Theiere - Anne-Julie's art is gorgeous and prolific and her blog is a joy to read. That she takes the time to translate her posts into English is a blessing for us English readers.

Aunty Cookie - I adore Shannon's (aka Aunty Cookie) quirky characters and her own fabric designs that she sells in her etsy shop. Her sense of humour shines through in her posts too.

Like Stacey, I will skip the last rule of the Brillante Award. Here they are for my fellow nominees:

1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you've nominated.
6. Write an acceptance speech in the style of the Academy Awards, thanking everybody's mother, father, sister, brother, aunties and uncles and kitchen staff at your favorite restaurant!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where's the Summer Going?

This past week sort of went by in a flash but I feel like I didn't get a lot of work done. Don't you hate that? Here's the latest portrait that I've been working on. It's nearly finished.

Tuesday was a busy day of sorts, but that day turned out to be an "errand day", aka. no work was done. Sigh. First, I met with our new cat sitter who will be looking after Suki and Dex while we're away next month. It will be the longest we've left them alone since being in our new place, and also ever. But I think they''ll be in good hands (knock on wood), as Gail already won Suki over with one of the cat toys she brought over and Dex even came out of hiding to check it out.

Later that day, I dropped off some stock at a relatively new store which is appropriately in Toronto's fashion district. The shop was opened by a fellow former designer from this other Queen street gem and her friend. Their shop has been doing alright since their grand opening in March, but they are seeking more independent and local designers. So if any of you are interested, check them out. Happily, I've already sold a couple of things from the limited stock I dropped off.

Right after I left the shop, I ran into another designer from the Collective, and we chatted about blogs, bikes and life in general lately. After parting ways, I ventured into the new Urban Outfitters on Queen St. but wasn't really enamored enough with anything there to shell out $50 on a shirt. I always consider browsing in shops part of market research though. *wink wink* Yeah, that's what I tell myself.

That evening, I was also fortunate to get an email from a customer who bought one of my paintings recently. Turns out she works in the book industry, specifically children's books, and has offered to share valuable information with me since she knows how tough it can be for children's book illustrators to eke out a living. How generous is that?!

This weekend we're planning on taking in the new Batman movie. Although I'm not a huge fan of the movies so far - I always find the casting of Batman to be a bit strange - it will be interesting to see Heath Ledger's performance, there's been so much talk of it being phenomenal.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spoiled and a bit soiled

To honour the tradition of giving paper on the first wedding anniversary, Matt spoiled me with a three part gift, as he explained it. First, for the mind, I got 2 huge cat books and an issue of Bust magazine. There's also talk of a 2-year subscription to Bust for my birthday. I'm loving the cat books, especially this one which has tons of interesting cat facts and which I think I had recently stumbled upon online but hadn't mentioned to Matt. Some synchronicity perhaps? The other one will be great for photo references and ideas for new art, which was why Matt got it. What a sweetie!

The second part was for the body. I got a package deal for 90 minutes of soothing massage! An hour for my seemingly always aching feet and 30 minutes for the entire body. I'm looking forward to that in the near future!

And last but not least, for the soul, a Curry's gift card. The card itself is not paper, but plastic, but it's close enough. That will definitely come in handy for supplies, especially a new sketchbook.

While I would have loved to spend money on Matt, my bank account is on the lean side these days, so I honoured our anniversary with a handmade gift. I made a little book about our love story up until now, partly inspired by the one by this clever gal, which I could not resist getting.

I think the gift went over well though. My sweetie shed a few tears while reading it, and said it was the best present he's ever gotten. And I didn't even have time to really finish it... I still have to go back and ink all the drawings and lettering too. But here's a little sneak peek of one of the interior spreads.

I was quite impressed with myself that I was able to do all the drawings in one day, sans eraser too. If only I could illustrate other people's books that quickly too.

The rest of yesterday was spent cleaning up a bit around our place, as the night before we had some flooding from the big sudden storm that hit Toronto and surrounding areas. I didn't snap any photos of the soggy mess, as I was too busy cursing and mopping and trying not to cry. At least we didn't get the brunt of the damage since our unit is the third one in from the side of the building. The other two units had water all over their lower level and one of them had hardwood flooring! Yikes! This is the state of our lower level at the moment. Someone came by yesterday morning to remove our baseboards so they could dry out the walls and prevent any mold from growing, but we weren't home when they came back with the fans last night...

... we were out enjoying a dinner down the street, which was only semi-good, I'd say. The salad portion was certainly generous and I had my first Cosmo, a la Sex and the City. For some reason, I think the one they made was a lot stronger than usual, as it was much pinker than red and it only took a sip or two to feel a buzz.

Whatever the case, I had good company and that made the whole day worthwhile.

Friday, July 4, 2008

It's Friday, already?

The week sort of flew by, with Canada Day being on Tuesday. And I took a pretty long blog break, without meaning to, but life got in the way of blogging. Life being spending time with the kitties and Matt, and working on shop stuff.

The Kid Icarus Craft Sale last Sunday was certainly not a big moneymaker for me, but on the positive side, I met some new crafty and friendly people, including one that I traded with, and another who I bought stuff from. I was looking to get a new wallet and since red is my favourite colour, I happily traded some of my kitty items for the one below.

Isn't the interior lovely? I forgot to get the designer's business card, but luckily her name is in the wallet in case I ever want anything else from her.

And even though I shouldn't be spending money on unnecessary things, I couldn't resist these cuties. They are silkscreened onto organic cotton on both sides, which makes them all the cuter! Made in Toronto, by one savvy mom.

I also spied a fellow etsian as well as three Idol hopefuls out and about enjoying Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market.