Category Archives: art

Room for Two in the Studio

Ahem. There is hardly room for ONE in the studio but as Little R begins exploring painting and drawing she needs a space to work. So I reorganized and moved some things around to give her a spot. Of course, the idea that we could both work peacefully at our respective desks for very long  is a bit of a dream.  Still, having adjacent creative spaces pleases me. I have this notion that the areas that are set up for her to play and work should in some way fit with the way we use the house.

And, as a handy bonus, the bench (yep, I built that) I have set up as her table is perfect for me to stand on and reach the high shelves in the cupboard/closet.


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Sewing Cards

It has been a while since I posted about anything creative (as in visual arts, non gardening/livestock and so forth). It’s not that I haven’t been active in that way, but more that I tend to be making cards and gifts (slightly last-minute??) and never seem to document anything for this space. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with sewing some cards. It started out of necessity when I need to make a card and found myself short on supplies, but I’ve been rather enjoying exploring the technique.

My latest is a card with a picture of…..a goat. Just when you thought there would be a break from the theme. But, you know, inspiration from daily life and all. I’m still working on the logistics of this method but it’s a good project for me these days, since it is easy to start and stop. So, in between posts on gardening and animals, and the baby, you will probably see more of these.


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Enter the Studio

Behold my studio at Good Cheer! We don’t have enough rooms for me to have one completely to myself but we do have a little entryway off the front door (which nobody ever uses in the country) that I decided had potential. The entryway is between our front room and library, but can be closed off from both. And there is a nice closet that opens onto the chimney (um….maybe the ONLY closet) that is perfect for storing supplies.I also like that it is at the heart of the house, making it easy for me to grab a second now or then for making. It’s liable to be pretty chilly in here during the winter (you can see daylight through the front door…) but we’ll work on that.

I purposefully haven’t brought out all my supplies yet because I’m trying to keep things  a little simple. I think I need to do a little editing on the fabric/yarn front to pare down the “stuff”. The space is a work in progress, and if I’m honest I haven’t quite managed to “grab a second” for making, but somehow it is nice to just be able to see the space and to acknowledge the possibility of creativity as I walk through.

And one more…


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Action Word Art

Yesterday, I started teaching a winter-break class at the AGNS for 4-5s called “On the Move”.  As the Canada Winter Games are taking place in Halifax, we were asked to tie the theme of our class to the games, or more broadly, “movement”.

I had various things planned yesterday, one of which was a moving valentine, but I think one of the most successful was an activity I came up with as a “filler”. (These kids can get through a lot of things in 3 hours, since in general 30 minutes is the limit, at least for some.) I originally thought we would use paint for this, but since we had just been doing some painting for another activity, I turned to pastels and resist. (Oh resist, how I love you. You make EVERYTHING amazing.)

The children were each given a large sheet of water-colour paper and a box of pastels was placed on the table. Before starting we talked a bit about “action words” and I asked them to come up with some examples. Then I told them to each pick a pastel, and that when I said an action word, they were to make the pastel respond. I actually phrased it a few different ways, both making the pastel do the action, or making the line to the action. I gave them a few second with each word before asking them to stop, pick another pastel, and respond to another word. Here are some of the words I used: bounce, slither, zap, plop, ooze, fly, skip, ripple, run, zoom….

They were remarkably focused. I liked seeing how they approached negotiating the words. Some responded in a kinesthetic way, using violent scribbling for “zoom”, while others tried to show the action visually, with clean lines racing from one side of the page to the other.

When we were done (the pages had started to fill up!) I invited them to add some more colour to their work with water-colour paint. (did I mention how much I love resist?)

I plan to display these at the end of the class show, along with a list of the action words we used. If we have time we may revisit these later in the week, and see if we can spot the various actions hidden in the work.

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Filed under art, art classes/workshops, art with children

Woven Paper Card

Today I thought I’d share with you how to make a very simple card using paper weaving. Paper weaving is an easy way to decorate a card and is appropriate for just about any occasion.


blank card and envelope

recycled greeting card or decorative paper

craft knife


glue (optional)


Step One:

Decide on the size of the weaving. Keep in mind that the size should be a bit smaller than the recycled card or piece of paper you are using. Use a pencil to draw out the appropriate size rectangle on the inside of the card front.

Step 2:

Cut your “warp”. (In weaving “warp” refers to the verticals.) I recommend drawing lines on the rectangle so you will know how many verticals to cut.  The vertical strips can be thin or wide or a mixture of the two. Use the craft knife and ruler to slice down the lines.

Step 3:

Cut your “weft”. (These are the pieces you will be weaving with.) Use a ruler and craft knife to cut your recycled card or decorative paper into strips. Again, these can by thin or wide.

Step 4:

Weave! Following an over-under pattern, weave in your paper strips. You should always start and finish with each strip from the inside of the card, so you don’t have ends poking out on the front.

Step 5 (optional):

Secure the ends of the weft strips with a tiny amount of glue. Be sure to let it dry completely before you close the card. You can stop at this point or add a few details, depending on the look you want. I was thinking of a quilt when I created this card, so I added a simple border of decorative paper.

And you’re done!


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Christmas Card Change of Plan

As I said before, I was planning on designing and printing a new Christmas card, as I’ve done for the past few years. I even got a start on it. But then I remembered I still had my block from the Good Cheer print I made, and it occurred to me that it would make a nice card, Good Cheer being an appropriate sentiment for the season! And to be honest when I had a think about the other things I want to get done this seemed like a good solution. So today I printed 10 in green. Seeing them drying on the line reminded me of the Valentines for Haiti project – that certainly taught me a thing or two about printing large numbers!

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Practice and Pincushions

While I was casting about for a print inspiration my eyes fell upon an old pincushion that sits on my desk. As things seemed to be moving rather slowly in the creative department, I decided to go with it, almost as an exercise. I did a little research to come up with some other pincushion shapes and then away I went. I’m still perfecting the print as there are some tricky bits. I don’t think it is anything special but sometimes you have to work at the process of being inspired; it’s a manoeuvre that works best with practice. This pincushion print also suggests to me a whole bunch of possibilities using collections of everyday objects.

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