Tuesday, May 31, 2011


glimpse, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

(As you might have noticed but I'm not holding it against you if you didn't) May petered out midway with a "glimpse" so I might as well finish the month with another one.
I bowed out of blogging, social media, online life for two weeks for the same reasons I usually shift into hermit-gear. I've also had to put up with a creative block which stopped me from managing anything. And, apart from homework, I truly have not had any other deadlines or projects to keep me going, distracted, sustained, bolstered, sane. c'est la vie
Hmm - so I now know I need busy-ness. I also know I can generate it (in spades) ... but this month I was trying to find out if I could get by with a relatively empty plate. #fail
Did I mention the creative block?
It's not even sunny much these days (or it hadn't been until an hour after I started typing!)
I could have made it if I'd just felt like creating something, but I didn't have any sparks. That is until I peeked thru the blinds a few mornings ago. Still a monochromatic world out there but such a fascinating stripe of potential don't you think? A hint of the bigger, brighter world might be like. A sparkling glimpse out of cloudy anaesthesia perhaps. I like that the view is compressed down into a narrow stripline, nothing threatening or overwhelming to begin with. Just a taster.
I think I could work with that ...


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

studio tuesday: the 'beach' series

A glimpse of what's going on over in the other blog :)

'beach' series: "
beach ACEO in wire and fibre
Some of my earliest childhood memories include beachcombing on a family holiday spent in south-western Scotland. My dad used to take me out for the morning, while mum dealt with my new baby sister. We would scan the highwater mark for valuable flotsam – wood, plastic, nails, string – which we could use to make sailing boats.


Monday, May 16, 2011

midlife monday: setting the tone

running in to finish
me running = a surreal vision
I've been able to prove to myself that I can work from home and work efficiently when I have deadlines. Meh, I'm not quite so good when there's no urgency, no 'must be done now' breathing down my neck, but it's a work in progress (or W.I.P). This is (allegedly) a Quiet Time Of Year for me; so far I've been battling a homework-induced creative block and tried to work on Being Less Busy aka Not Filling In The Gaps. This morning's Q dedicated itself to One Thing At A Time Day which was kind of (hipsterishly) ironic seeing as I was mixing up frosting for birthday party cakes, running a load of laundry and compiling a grocery list while listening.

Apart from the housework, oh and date nights, the only other thing missing from my schedule was regular exercise. It's one of the first items of personal care which disappear in a busy life and I need to remedy that pronto. There's the little matter of a 10k plus race I'd like to run this summer, and if I don't start some training I'll probably be slower than this year's slowest London marathon runner. Oh, and midlife is characterised by gaining pounds, inches and girth :(

But I think I've found a way to fit in some exercise and tackle some of the items on my 'to do' list, both at the same time, all without leaving the house thus preventing me from copping out with the 'I've got too much to do today' excuse. I ski while listening to podcasts (see, I told you I'd reveal all, Amber). We have an ancient Nordic Trak thingy in our basement. For most of its life it has been incredibly neglected by He Who Bought The Damn Thing. It doesn't fold up neatly or stash away anywhere tidily and has, until now, been one of life's little banes. Enter stage left my interest in podcasts, science journalism and Google Reader. I now have a stack of subscribed podcasts which I don't get around to listening to cos they're a little too long and gripping to fit in with my work flow(unless it's The Archers which I listen to religiously over breakfast). Assemble ski machine, click url, add headphones and voila! twenty to thirty minutes of brisk Scandinavian cross training.

See below for some suggestions for your daily twenty :)

I think that's good enough for a start. Happy skiing :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

words or pictures; what i did at northern voice 2011

for kokeshi
there's granola in there somewhere :) but nothing to do with nv11

Today I hid from the dense clouds, drizzle and greyness by staying at home, baking carrot cake, cupcakes and granola (a good use of time methinks).

Yesterday and Friday I was more adventurous (very adventurous on Saturday = transit) and trekked over to UBC for Northern Voice 2011. For the uninitiated, it's a social media and personal blogging conference (last year was my first) stuffed full of useful tips to maximise your online life. Last year I took in one day; this year I signed up for the whole deal (minus the after-hours party stuff, which is difficult to fit in with parenting and living out in the 'burbs). Conclusion = definitely worth it.

Friday, my tinnitus was ringing and my mood wasn't that great thus meh, though I did glean some great links on science blogging. However ... casual presenting = no thanks for the hearing impaired - please use the microphones and for heavens sake stand up to 'project' when you address in a large lecture theatre. Likewise please no rustling chip packets and don't hold the door open if a presentation runs over just to make a timekeeping point (noise from the corridor successfully blanketed sound within the room). /rant

But it was most likely my mood/tinnitus (refreshments, organisation, facilities and so on = excellent as per last year).

Today's rain
rain rain rain

Saturday was a whole different kettle of fish. The keynote was fascinating and I learned something new in each of the other sessions I attended. Choosing between the parenting session and the hyperlocal blogging session after lunch was tricky but (sorry Amber) the other Strocel won. Two sessions absolutely made my day though. First was the wikipedia editing war walk-through by Tim Bray, who presented with flair, passion and authority. I'm almost persuaded to become a wikipedia editor or at least take a more active interest in it (I certainly seem to link to it enough). I thoroughly enjoyed his style of delivery - he was easy to follow and I didn't have to strain to hear.

It's close, but my absolute fave of the day must go to Anthony Marco's session on podcasting, complete with some awesome music clips to illustrate his point. He was really enthusiastic about his subject, and the session just flowed so well. A true delight to attend. As with Tod Maffin's podcasting lecture last year, I was totally inspired to explore this as a way of blogging. I really loathe my speaking voice so this might be a bit of an obstacle. On the other hand, it might be difficult to shut me up :)

Following on from the "back to the olden days" theme a couple of weeks ago, I spent a morning playing around with recording software and my mini disc player. Using a very easy editing program, Audacity, to record and convert the mini disc input, and then following a straightforward slideshare tutorial I created my first podcast and hosted it on Archive.org to embed the widget in this post.

My next soundscape was a little more straightforward, using the microphone on my netbook to capture the Wee Guy's piano practice and comments. With Audacity it was easy to record the piano and the voice as two seperate tracks then combine them, fading the music in and out through the Wee Guy's words. Very basic but it's a start. Note - I could have added echo, a beat track, and a waaa waaa effect too so count yourselves lucky ...

Stay tuned :) friday forte as a chipmunk?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

friday forte: calling names and telling history

capsule wardrobe challenge: day five
judging by the types of account favouriting this image on flickr, these hunter wellies count as sluttish attire :(

Two radio tidbits got me thinking this week.
One was the impending release of the latest in the Duke Nukem games series (a much welcome piece of news to a vast number of eager but ageing - this release has been in the works for over 15 years apparently - gamers. The other is the rise of the Slutwalk movement, including a walk here in our very own downtown Vancouver (May 15th).

So, how are they connected?
Well, Matthew - today's interconnected theme is societal attitudes to women (woah, that is a heavy topic). Especially, attitudes to women and their perceived sexuality, sexual availability, and their sexual preferences.

For those of you too young to remember, Duke Nukem was originally released in 1991 as a side scrolling video game available in that venerable old format, DOS. I think vertical scrolling was also a feature, and here I should probably also disclose that I was not a games player at this time so never knew Duke Nukem from anything other than magazine ads or overheard conversation (which, since I wasn't hanging around with geology students* or teenage boys, wasn't much). So, let me repeat, I haven't played the game. In fact, my first 'game' would be Myst (definitely not side scrolling) and side scrolling is just as it sounds, the game scrolls left to right or reverse if you need to go back (duh). After the 1991 edition, Duke also spoke (according to wikipedia he was the first talking alien game blaster shooty person) and oh boy, they were some impressive one-liners according to a CBC-R1 interview I stumbled across (yes, this is truly reearched posting). I think the term is 'misogynistic' ... but this was back in the early nineties (and I don't think he will be any more pc in the proposed June 2011 release). Twenty years ago life was different (remember this point).

The next gem in this fest of induced interconnectedness is an interview, aka a heated exchange, between one of the originators of the Slutwalk movement and a feminist author. Given the almost quarter century age difference between the two, the use of the word 'slut' did dominate the conversation. Slutwalk's originator claimed that the action was proposed to re-claim the word for women everywhere, whereas the author could find nothing redeeming or historical about the word to support its reclamation. This was a discussion centred around a generational gap in feminist ideology par excellence, thus reinforcing the historical division of women in the feminist movement.

And my connection linking the two? It's the generational thing. Duke Nukem's attitude to women was in part a product of an age in which he was born (but I can still remember that the 'hot babe' 'Duke never comes early' references would have elicited a groan even then). Women's careers were accelerating into traditionally male-dominated fields and many were enjoying new financial freedoms. Laddism, as an antidote to New Man culture, was on the rise, and with it the denigration of women once more as a way of asserting traditional male dominance. Women could be referred to as slappers or sluts if they were available for casual sex or behaved/dressed like they were. Dressing the part but not delivering earned the monicker, prick tease. They were not a terms of endearment or in any way a positive message, and were applied by men on women they wished to demean (or worried parents attempting to control a daughter).  Life was different 15, 20 years ago.

While I applaud the organisers of Slutwalk for wanting to bring home the message that it's not the victim's fault and perpetrators should be the ones told to control themselves/modify their behaviour, I think that many women of my generation will find the choice of word to reclaim a difficult one because of its connotations and history. Slut has been used to shame a woman about her appearance, her apparent readiness/hunger for sex, and question her good girl credentials since 1450. It's never been strongly associated with anything other. We also didn't grow up in a time when pornography was so widely available for all with such easy access to explicit video clips. Neither were we growing up when pornography portrayed such horrifically violent acts against women (normalised gang bangs, multiple penetrations of any number of orifices, often simultaneous, and so on). We didn't grow up with standard issue clothing which sexualised us from a very young age. We didn't feel it necessary to parade our legs, tits, pudenda and asses on show daily - fashion was different and more was covered up I guess. We had relatively real bodies to emulate too, compared with today's stretched out parodies. We didn't 'have' to dress like 'sluts' as this wasn't the fashion. Things were different then and to many, slut is beyond redemption.

And Duke Nukem? Also a different era - but maybe instead of warring with 'older sisters' who 'don't seem to get it' maybe the young feminists today should revisit the past. Maybe today's young 'sluts' should play a few games of the old unreconstructed Duke to get a feel of what yesterday's feminists were up against. Bravo putting the blame where it is deserved, with the attackerand not the victim. Bravo being able to wear whatever you like without being labeled or propositioned. Bravo bringing awareness to some damn stupid comments made by someone in authority.
But slut? Please, no.

the footnotes
*at university, geology student were apparently the most active games players on campus - that's where this little personal observation comes from

and yes, it's saturday but blogge was indisposed for self portrait thursday so it go posted on friday, and friday's is posted today - you get the pattern?

Friday, May 13, 2011

self portrait thursday: new style


New glasses but still not a clue about my latest writing course. I'm annoyed cos it's throwing up a huge creative block to getting anything done, not just the writing. For some reason I'm just not getting it. My attempts feel contrived and false, and don't reflect what I'm trying to convey. In my eyes, it all looks like pretentious twaddle.
Then in one class exercise, instead of writing I found myself sketching the photograph I was studying as my 'source'. I lingered over the curve of the lips and the snug encircling of a knitted cuff. Noted the upward curve of the mouth offset by the downward grimace of the lower lip in misery. How can I tap into that kind of observation and translate it into the required words? Sigh.
Why was it so easy for me to convey homesickness in a piece of jewelry, yet now I totally suck at putting other ideas down in words?
Hoping for some kind of inspiration at Northern Voice tomorrow, ar at least a distraction :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

wordless wednesday: not

opera-length "winter hips" necklace: red aventurine and blackstone

Yesterday evening's last minute decision to go to Vancouver Opera's production of La Traviata was a good one. OK, so I didn't have time to dress up in the interlude between end of piano lesson, hastily scooped dinner and departure, but in the darkness of the auditorium no one can see your jeans.
(no, I didn't wear jeans, just a denim jacket for denim day) and no one can see you blub all over your favourite opera either.

The (Dr) Jonathan Miller staging of Verdi's famous opera of love, loss, and how to insult a woman definitely hit the spot. From the first thin strains of the strings to the final dramatic death bed scene (yes, an unhappy ending) I was entranced. Some of my favourite arias and reprises filled the QE theatre and warmed my creative heart. Bravo to the singers,stage hands and orchestra for sharing such a sumptuous yet minimalistic production.

This was the first opera I have ever watched with surtitles, the translationary teleprompter for the audience so it was also the first opera where I could follow the action word-for-word. Sadly, this emphasised how unemotionally the character of Alfredo was portrayed. It may have been a deliberate ploy to emphasise his shallowness,but I felt that he was almost uninvolved in what should be a great and tragic love affair. The only time when he showed any emotional response was in result to the shame of realising he was a kept man bu Violetta selling off her property to keep them in rural bliss. No - the most emotional and harrowing scenes I found were the duets and encounters between Violetta and her lover's father. I could see the torture that the father was going through in asking for Violetta to give up his son, and also his shame when Alfredo verbally abuses her in public. The death bed scene, as usual, was heart rending and impressive, sung from a semi recumbent position (bravo!).

The last night of this amazing production is tomorrow - beg, steal or gatecrash to get a ticket.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

fibre friday: 'embrace' wire and fibre collar

On the other blog I'm running a series of posts about work currently on exhibition - thought you might like a peek (and saves me writing by recycling a blog post).

fibre friday: 'embrace' wire and fibre collar: "

copper wire and fibre collar with polished beach pebble
My mother taught me to crochet.
My mother taught me to sew and embroider.
My father taught me to beach comb.
My mother picked and polished the pebble.
This is all held in an embrace within the necklace.
In return, the collar embraces the wearer in safety, warmth and security.


Monday, May 09, 2011

midlife monday: Dish

Dying tulips
fading tulips (drawn using Sketchbook Mobile Express on my phone)

Oh, these alliterative blog scheduling tricks make life so much easier (if I can stay on the wagon and keep them going).
So if friday forte is all about me getting through middle age and making sense of my life, how about a mid-life monday to share some of the awesome resources I'm shamelessly plundering for advice? (It seemed like a good plan at the time so bear with me).

Dish, by Barbara Moses (2006) is one of those aforementioned awesome resources. I read an article written by Dr. Moses which spurred me onto googling and thus finding this amazing book. It's subtitled "Midlife Women Tell the Truth about Work, Relationships and the Rest of Life" which describes exactly what's inside the cover and it doesn't disappoint. As a recently outed midlife woman who is searching for points of reference in her life road map, I was incredibly grateful my local library had it on its shelves when I went looking.
"I feel like everything is bubbling to the surface. Although I don't know what my 'what next' is, I have a palpable sense that it's almost around the corner."

The book is distilled from an email survey Moses sent out to women in her network and those in her career/life planning business (the survey questions are include in an appendix along with discussion topics suggested for book clubs). The chapters range from the corporate world thru career change, motherhood and childlessness, to relationships and friends. After reading the first two introductory chapters, introducing background and life experiences common to many of today's midlife women I glanced through the barely-relevant-to-me career chapters and settled into one my favourites, Moving Forward with Grace (Who You Are and What You Need in this Life Chapter). With subheadings like Finding Your Truth in the Second Half, and Everyone's Truth is Different, this chapter spoke volumes to me, seeming particularly apt for the times/questions I am going through. With an emphasis on grace, and a useful description of different types of truth seekers, this chapter reminded me that it is possible to move ahead seamlessly, accomplishing a lot without flurry but it is equally valid to 'make a big noise'. As she notes in the text,
"This is my time now" but concedes that the reason many women do end up conflicted  as they ".. are restless, if not unhappy, ... they are yearning to fulfill all their needs and play out all these roles. This is easier for those few women who are childless, or have adult children, no elder-care responsibilities, and a degree of financial freedom. For the rest, trying to juggle work and family or to save for retirement is an endless struggle." 
I appreciated the validation.

My next two go-to chapters were the whoppers; Motherhood and Relationships, both easily the largest in the book. A lot of pages were devoted to these two areas and a lot of useful wisdom imparted. Both discussed the turmoil, strifes and struggles involved with being a mid life woman in these aspects of life. The Mothering chapter explored the worries and insecurities involved in modern day parenting, the constant search for the right balance between "quality time" and investing in ourselves without screwing up the kids too much. No hard-and-fast road map but the worklist at the end of the chapter is a useful checklist. There are affirmatory comments from women who need the external stimulation that working outside the home brings in order to feel like a good mother, and also cautionary bon mots about being honest with your limitations.
"... countless workshops where a female manager says, "I always put my kids first," and then her staff roll their eyes. One woman confided, "My boss laves the office at seven-thirty, and routinely calls from her cell on the way to work at seven in the morning. She always brags about how close she is to her kids. Do the time math."
Mums - you really do owe it to other mothers to be completely straight up honest about how you manage your childrearing. Maybe then we won't get embroiled in the mommy wars over and over again.

The Relationship chapter is subtitled What We Want, Know or Should Know by Now and it delivers the goods, from women who are in steady and blissfully supportive partnerships to those who found the only way back to themselves was to divorce the guy holding them back. It is a no-holds barred look at midlife companionship, wedded bliss or otherwise, sex, affairs and being single. There is apparently nothing that mid life women are not doing. Each chapter features quotes from the email survey; in this chapter they are especially poignant, ranging from "My husband thinks my aspirations are less important because I make less money than he does" and "Many of my married friends are lonelier than I am" through "I fear growing old alone. It terrifies me" to "My partner is my second skin." There are some incredibly sad reflections on marriage and being single/divorced and there are also some amazingly comforting remarks about long term monogamy too. The chapter, Women Confidential: Secrets of the Sisterhood, about friends and their importance follows on from the exhortation to;
"Create a life that is not dependent on a partner. Maintain your interests and friendships. Have an identity outside your relationship. Be capable of amusing yourself. Only you can make yourself whole."

I totally enjoyed this book. It was one of a few which I have walloped through at a gallop, thus signifying (to me) engaging content, expert writing style and valuable content. I hesitate to recommend to any woman under thirty because you might just miss the point - mid life and coming into your own - but then again, there are some wise souls out there who can store away the nuggets for later use. I had a love/hate relationship with some of the type-casting that went on in each chapter. What kind of mother are you? and what kind of motivational type do you fit into? were initially peeves but on re-reading, they do help focus, personalise and digest the rest of each chapter. It's not a popularity contest and no one is overall winner. I loved how each chapter concluded with a work list of topics to address, and the end of the book was taken up with a list of fourteen secrets "for success" (early on in the book Moses confesses to unease about using the S-word). In short, this book made me feel that I'm not alone in trying to make sense of my midlife situation. Although a lot of it is career/continuation of career focused, it had a lot of reassurance for a longtime unemployed expat mother such as myself. I felt like I was in good company and validated, one of the most important relational needs to be filled once the basics of shelter, nutrition, etc are in place.

Add this book to your midlife road map - I recommend it!
(affiliate link below - spend at your peril)

Friday, May 06, 2011

friday forte: young and perky, not

Oh why I must get so unsettled the day after my first college class? Is it because I spent the evening in the company of young, perky bright young things who knew what the teacher was on about? Or is it because they all project this unfallible air of confidence? I'm sure not all of them know where they're going but they're just so ... young. It's that 'time on your side' thing again.

Or do I just envy them the relative simplicity of their lives, unencumbered by childcare, family, doubts, and age? Then I remember all the doubts, anxiety, etc etc etc that plagued my life at that age and sigh. Life was difficult then too, but different. I still envy the straightforwardness of their path though. Once I've psyched myself up to even consider employment or plucked up the courage to ask about it, considered childcare arrangements, cast aside ten years of unemployment and reminded myself that once upon a time I was a capable human being, wondered about logistics (domestic and work) and convinced myself that part-time is feasible, I'm crushed under the sheer weight of it all. I really do long for the days when all I had to worry about was two cats.

But then I don't (see above). All I wish is that life were a little easier once in a while so I could catch a breath, land an opportunity, and be a good contented mother for once. I'm finding it exhausting trying to support myself and stay positive.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

self portrait thursday: it's not about me

OK, this is me :) with some gorgeous soap by Olive who will also be at Got Craft? market

Sometimes on this blog it just isn't about me (please continue reading - I know you are disappointed but a little suffering is good for the soul). This evening I'll be getting my fix of moi at my first Personal Narrative session back at college (an entire semester writing about myself, whee!) so today I really ought to give an illustrated portraiture shout out to 'people who will be selling alongside me' at Got Craft? this Sunday.

Roots exhibition
beautiful and exotic bib necklaces from Groovy Glass Girl

First off is the wonderful Poppy, aka Groovy Glass Girl who makes her own glass then conjures up incredible wearable pieces of art with them. Her work features stained glass, fusing and metalwork - check out her blog for a Mother's Day coupon you can use at the craft fair.

crafting 365/d81
Etsy meetup with Christi second from left
Next up is the talented whirlwind Christi aka Buenostyle who works with vintage components to create unique, stylish contemporary jewelry. She's a regular at craft markets like Portobello West and a total powerhouse of creativity.

Urband Fair Vancouver June 06 003
Nicole aka It's Your Life vending in front of an inflatable walrus (no, really)
... and my last (but by no means least)(drumroll please maestro) Nicole aka It's Your Life. I first met Nicole at a disastrous craft market where we shared a prime spot in the sweltering heat in front of an inflatable walrus. It got a little windy during the afternoon and the walrus ripped free of its moorings. We continued vending with this shredded barrage balloon flailing away behind us. I made very few sales: Nicole got a wholesale order. Sadly, this may be your last chance to see Nicole in action in Vancouver as she's headed to Toronto soon :(

Other worthy mentions (sans portrait - should remedy this soonish) are Kris of a cagey bee whose incredibly talented work appeared on the cover of Common Ground last year, Irit Sorokin Designs (another rival jeweller!!! but she's lovely and her work is soooo amazing), and Roxypop aka Andrea who, along with her other half, Rob, runs the Got Craft? craft fair series (and makes damn fine apple cosies as well as being an all round super gal).

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

wordless wednesday: more time on my hands

QR code and logo cards

promo cards for Got Craft? this weekend
QR code (go on, scan it! (you now you want to)
i will be selling here on Sunday

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

back to the olden days

frittering away my time, created using Flame Painter online

When I first arrived in Vancouver, newly unsalaried as a willing trailing spouse, I had plenty of time on my hands. mr ebb was the fully employed partner; his job relocation was the reason we left London. I (willingly) gave up a full time research career to follow, with vague ideas of picking up part time work for the two years we'd planned on staying. As any new immigrant will tell you, it's not that easy.

I couldn't work because my qualifications weren't recognised in Canada. The research community was quite tight (a euphemism for not having canadian work experience). I was overqualified for shop work. I did meet a doctor driving a taxi. In addition, most part time jobs were for weekends and late hours - what was the point of relocating temporarily to a new land and never exploring it together?

I shamelessly and lazily bummed off my husband, becoming a kept woman!

So what did I do all day when the breadwinner was out er, winning bread?
We had a nice clean house. Regular meals were cooked from scratch. I found some great thrift shops. I looked for cheap and low cost things to do since I didn't want to be a financial drain. I went to free lectures at the public library downtown on new-to-me topics such as art and philosophy.  I volunteered. I walked my dog along the beaches (he loved it), took photographs with the cheapo digital camera which came with the desktop computer I bought myself (out of my last ever pay cheque) and made him a webpage to showcase the snaps we took (complete with a recorded bark soundtrack). Yes, really (on Angelfire). I learned how to create webpages on Publisher and upload them using ftp. I played with Photoshop, brushed up on Word, I wallowed for hours on the computer improving my technical mind ... and then (willingly) got pregnant.

So back to yesterday. Yesterday was one of those wallowing around on the computer days of yore. Yesterday I let rip with idleness, so to speak.

Result = one bamboo tablet and pen installed, a tippy-toeing around Corel Painter Essentials and a play with some free online tools. I played with brushes, opacity, pressure and stroke tracking. I overpainted, deleted, sketched and erased for an entire day (i.e. an entire school day minus the time it took to go vote and then deliver pizza)
Result = nothing productive (yet) but it reminded me how much time I used to take to immerse myself into a new software program. It reminded me of how much I invested in myself, in learning new skills and making the most of this sudden gift of time. From being vaguely proficient in Word and Excel I developed a website, created content and uploaded pages via the mysteries of file transfer protocol. All self taught from the internet with the gift of time. Not time wasted, time invested. It'll pay back soon.

Monday, May 02, 2011

time on my hands?

initial dots
I think not!
But I do have some 'space' to try out a few new ideas. Some ideas are productively creative for upcoming craft fairs (check out What's New? in the sidebar for info) starting next weekend with Got Craft? on Mother's Day (join me at the Legion Hall on Commerical Drive!).

And some ideas are to keep me 'up to speed' with what I was studying at college last semester. OK, so I haven't been packing in volumes of technical writing, and I don't have access to Adobe InDesign on my pc but I have been exploring digital design. The initial 'a" above was created using Microsoft Publisher, playing around with opacity of filled objects, and the dotty heart below was 'drawn' on my smartphone using Autodesk's Sketchbook Mobile Express.

Each project presented a different technique to master. The Publisher project was constructed from three different sizes of dots, filled with three different semi-transparent colours, which were inserted into an outline. Once I was satisfied with the layout, the outline was deleted. The Sketchbook project was 'drawn' freehand on my android phone (I use a Targa stylus though I'm waiting to get my hands on the Bamboo version) using a second layer over my initial outline. Again, once satisfied with the overall look I deleted the layer with the outline.

OK - there's nothing earth-shatteringly artistic about them but they are my first forays into digital art. With a little more time I should get my Bamboo tablet re-installed to see what results I can get with a stylus/touch pad combo (my tiny android screen is too small for sketching). I do have Corel Draw and, after seeing the amazing Masha Levene's presentation at the last PechaKucha night and the incredible digital art of Joyelle Brandt at the same event, am considering trying out both Art Rage and some Photoshop/Illustrator techniques as a summer vacation project while I'm travelling.

Oh yes ... I haven't told you yet about the travel!
Dotty digital heart

Sunday, May 01, 2011

a birthday weekend

Eight years ago ... how time flies!
And this is how we celebrated this weekend (roughly an hour for every hour of labour by my calculations).

lunch picnic at Cleveland Dam, instead of going skiing on Grouse (queue much too long - boo for the blue tram)

the aftermath of unwrapping

pride and joy: a light sabre for blue bear

all the fun of the fair

manly stuff

more manly stuff at teh Ocean concrete open house

Sombre celebrations
fun birthday meal out (it was, honest)

Birthday picnic
apple of my eye

ebb and flo by pomo mama design click to shop pomo mama design online!