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Reading… Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon. After seeing his painting The Deposition (which moved me to tears) at the Vatican, as well as the Caravaggio and his followers in Rome exhibit at the National Gallery in Ottawa this past summer, I’ve taken an extra keen interest in the talented but troubled artist.
Listening to… Cary Brothers’ cover of “Something About You”. I have always loved Level 42′s original song; this version is a bit more mellow, but just as beautiful.
Watching… The Walking Dead. After a friend raved about this AMC show, I made the mistake of watching the first episode just before going to bed. But I still got hooked.
Discovering… The fun in crafting again. The past few months were so busy with prepping for craft fairs and filling orders for shops and customers that I was too tired to really enjoy it. After a wonderfully restful holiday (with many naps), I am enjoying staying up late and making a mess with art and craft supplies again. It’s great to have my mojo back!
Learning… So much from my recent adventures in online dating. I keep discovering new things about myself (in a good way) every time I interact or meet someone new. It’s been a surprisingly pleasant experience, so far… I’ve even gone so far as to recommend online dating to other friends (which I never thought would ever happen!).
Loving… Handmade Ryan Gosling – This site is like porn for crafty girls. Without the nekkid porn shots.
Hating… The dread I feel about my work schedule – 11 events to organize and implement in 7 weeks means travel in winter conditions, sleepless nights in hotel rooms and back pain from too much stress. I hope I make it to March in one piece.
Feeling… Melancholy after spending 2.5 hrs on the phone with my oldest friend, who lives far away. So many of my closest friends live in other parts of the world, and I miss them dearly. I wish we could see each other more often.
Wishing… The mild weather could last all winter: +5C in January? Yes, please!
What have you been up to this week?
I came across this tonight while playing on my spiffy new computer. Here’s a little something to make you laugh by sketch comedy troupe Kids in the Hall (oh, how I miss them!):
I had resolved to do something creative every day in 2010. And things were going well. I was converting these:
I was practicing my calligraphy skills:
(Can you guess which movie I watched while I practiced?)
I was sewing new curtains and designing a card for a friend’s top-secret surprise birthday party.
Indeed, things were going well. Until day 5 of 2010, when I decided to go to the walk-in clinic to get my sprained ankle checked out because it wasn’t getting better. Four hours later, I came home with this:
Turns out I’d been walking on a broken ankle for the past week. When the doctors told me it was broken, I thought they were kidding (because doctors like to play practical jokes on their patients…right?). Even when they showed me the x-rays, I didn’t believe it. And even as they were putting the cast on, I was still skeptical.
So for the past few days I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this whole situation. The doctors have said I’ll need the cast on for 6 to 8 weeks. They’ve scared me into staying off the broken ankle with threats of surgery if I don’t comply.
Getting to and from the office is a huge struggle in the ice and snow. And to make things worse, I need to travel extensively to implement 13 events in the next 7 weeks. Yikes. I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll get it all done.
Although I’m quite happy to be single and living independently most days, I could sure use my very own Mr. Darcy right now!
So that “creative every day” resolution I was talking about earlier? Out the window. The good news is that I’ve been catching up on my reading. Right now I’m enjoying “Through Black Spruce” by Joseph Boyden (isn’t he a cutie?) and “When You Are Engulfed In Flames” by David Sedaris – exactly what I need to cheer me up.
Should’ve known I’d jinx it…mention spring and it disappears immediately. Argh.
Yesterday: 11C (52F) and warm, bright sunshine on a cloudless, carefree day.
Today: OC (32F) and a miserable, slushy snowstorm. Sigh.
To cheer myself up tonight, I’ll be watching a few episodes of these guys:
Flight of the Conchords are my newest obsession – and I don’t even watch TV! However, I’ve managed to watch every episode of season 2 (and a few of season 1) online. And now a co-worker has just lent me her DVD of season 1. Woo hoo – It’s Business Time!
They’re playing at Massey Hall later this month – the show is sold out, but I’m determined to find tickets somehow, somewhere. Got a few tricks up my sleeve yet…wish me luck!
Here’s a little something so make you laugh, by Canadian sketch comedy troupe Kids in the Hall (man, I miss them!)
I’ve run into Mark McKinney (the headcrusher) twice since moving to Toronto – it was quite the experience for me to come across someone I had idolized so much as teenager growing up in smalltown New Brunswick!
I remember when the episode below aired – I was giddy because Perth Andover is so close to where I lived!
Reading… Snow by Orhan Pamuk
Listening to… I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
Watching… Dexter (season 2 on DVD)
Learning… To speak Greek (at least, trying to without much success)
Loving… The sun finally making an appearance more than once in a blue moon
Hating… The freakin’ cold (will this winter never end? What’s up with -27C windchills in March, forgodssake!)
Feeling… Creative (got some ideas brewing, just gotta find the time…)
Wishing… I can really afford a trip to Greece for an old friend’s wedding…sigh.
What have you been up to lately?
Since arriving in Ottawa on Saturday I’ve been having a grand time – taking in Winterlude festivities, (almost) seeing Obama, reconnecting with old friends…it’s all good.
Once upon a time when I lived in Ottawa, I was coordinator of the Canada Snow Sculpture Competition (since renamed the National Snow Sculpture Competition). We had teams of sculptors from every province and territory (13 in all) spending a week in the capital, competing for the national championship. It was hard work and long days spent outside in the cold, but I relished the time spent with such a motley, creative group comprised of musicians, jewellers, potters, ceramicists, wood carvers, painters, welders, cartographers, and chefs (to name but a few).
On Saturday I arrived in Ottawa just in time for the awards ceremony for this year’s competition – Team Alberta won first prize with their carving:
Way to go Brian and team!!!
Keep in mind that these sculptures are 16 feet high and weigh 40 tons – scary and impressive at the same time. I was honoured to be invited to join the sculptors at their closing dinner and was thrilled to reconnect with several old, familiar faces. I always feel deeply nostalgic when I remember the competition and sculptors – I can’t believe it’s been over 5 years since I last coordinated this event…
I’ve been spending lots of time meeting up with old friends, reminiscing about good times (and not so good ones too!). It’s been a nice break from the constant frenzy of the pesky day job, although I did spend two days this week actually working (hence the reason I travelled to Ottawa in the first place). Tomorrow I plan to visit the Bernini exhibit at the National Gallery, and Saturday I hope to go back and take some better photos of the snow and ice sculptures at Winterlude. Saturday night I’m looking forward to spending time with dear, dear friends from a former job.
Today was President Obama’s visit in Ottawa, and everyone was abuzz with excitement. After a long lunch with a friend, I drove over to the ByWard Market to hang out for a few hours (and to stock up on beads and paper). I was walking around, when I noticed that police had blocked off several streets in the area, and 3 or 4 helicopters were hovering low. I figured they must be getting ready for Obama’s departure toward the airport, so I didn’t really make much of it.
Until two ladies walked into the store where I was browsing, telling everyone that they had just seen Obama buying a cookie in the market! By the time I ran outside, the President and his entourage were gone. Only later did I find out that he had bought the cookie at the Moulin de Provence, which is where I had parked my car! Obama stood right beside my car and must have seen it – sigh… This is just too much excitement (and disappointment) to handle in one week.
Last night was the first session of my Greek language course…aie!
We learned and practiced pronouncing and writing the alphabet several times. It was interesting to me how the Greek pronounciation is very similar to the French pronounciation for many words, which is definitely an advantage for me.
For the first time in my life, I am actually having to put effort into learning a new language. I was lucky enough to be raised in a bilingual household, where I learned to speak English and French simultaneously. It wasn’t an effort for me to learn either language; it just came naturally. Learning Greek is a whole new experience: learning a new alphabet, new sounds, etc. is a bit scary, but fascinating noentheless.
I am lucky to live in Greektown here in Toronto, so I can already start practicing reading some of the Greek characters and words found on street signs and in stores. And for the first time in a very long time, I am having to memorize in order to learn – not such a bad thing after all, I guess.
I feel invigorated – and hopeful!
Yikes – looks like the Barenaked Ladies’ frontman is in deep water… Incredibly enough, I ran into him just a few days ago here in Toronto – for the second time! (At least, I could swear it was him!)
Have slowly been settling into the new place – can’t get back into making books just yet, as I don’t have a table to work on. Within two weeks, this should all be resolved…
In the meantime, I’ve been reading “The Gravedigger’s Daughter” by Joyce Carol Oates. Have never read her before, didn’t think I’d like this book but am really into it at the moment (I’m at page 210).
Also reading “No Logo” by Naomi Klein. What an eye opener.
Je suis également à relire ‘La Sagouine’ d’Antonine Maillet. C’est un livre vraiment génial, quand on arrive à déchiffrer ce qu’elle dit!
I can never really read just one book at a time – I always need to have several going at once…
…moving out of the old place and into the new loft. Although I’m very excited about the new place, I’ve completely lost momentum when it comes to painting and cleaning… I now figure if I’m living in the middle of the chaos, I’ll find the motivation to just get everything done. Moving out this weekend – yay!
…somehow finding the time to make books. Made three LP books on Thursday night – they are now at the Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik, Northwest Territories (in the Arctic Circle!). Hoping they will sell there – otherwise I may be able to trade them for artwork.
…making new connections. Last week, B. and I had a few brand new aquaintances over for dinner – two ladies from Findland and one gentleman from Guatemala. Although I was reluctant to have them over at first, I had the most fantastic time that evening, connecting with the most fascinating people from the most extraordinary cultures! It made me realize that I really need to push myself out of my comfort zone and meet new people (I am very much an introvert and painfully shy with strangers).
…making additional connections at work. I have offered to present a basic bookbinding class to my colleagues at the pesky day job, and 6 people have signed up already! I’m very excited about launching this new “Lunch & Learn” initiative and hope other colleagues will offer to share their special skills and knowledge as well. I’m thrilled so many people are interested in learning about bookbinding!
…pushing more boundaries. As I mentioned earlier, connecting with strangers made me open my eyes to new possibilities and made me realize that I need to push myself more out of my comfort zone. One way I can do this is by reading books that I would never normally touch. I have a certain style of books that I tend to gravitate to (Canadian or British literature), and I now realize that it wouldn’t do harm to try a genre that I would never typically be interested in (i.e. mysteries, science fiction, etc.). Do you have any books to recommend? Please share – anything goes!
…developing new workshop projects. I have one project that I desperately want to develop but am struggling to turn it into reality. I have the general gist of what I want to do, but I have no idea what the final project looks like! Argh – so frustrating! But I know that I need to push myself until I finish putting this idea on paper because I truly believe it’s worthwhile…more to follow!
I am looking forward to moving into the new loft this weekend – hopefully the new environment will inspire me to make more art and handmade books, without the many distractions I’ve had to deal with in the past several months. Wish me luck!
So this video has nothing to do with paper arts or bookbinding…except for the cardboard chewing part. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am NOT a fan of engineers (this despite the fact that a few of my best friends are engineers), but I couldn’t resist posting this video – the cat yodelling part had me laughing so hard I was in tears…enjoy!
I thought it was a brilliant idea. To visit my parents in New Brunswick for a few days. I hadn’t been home in almost 1 1/2 years, so it was a long overdue trip.
I checked the weather forecast. I checked the road conditions forecast. Some rain, but nothing I couldn’t handle.
So B and I packed out bags and headed out on our road trip, full of cheer and anticipation.
What was that, you ask?
Snow, snow, and more snow. A snow storm on the two-day trip there. Another neverending snow storm during our three days in NB. Shacked up in my parents’ house, unable to go anywhere. Not to the mall. Not to visit family. Not to visit long-lost friends.
As if things weren’t bad enough, B’s severe allergies to my parents’ cats took a turn for the worse. He suffered horribly and thought he would end up staying in a hotel. I thought he would end up staying in a hospital. Neither event happened, thankfully.
Here’s proof of the trip:
The few good things that happened during this trip:
- spending time with my parents
- eating lobster (yum!)
- a visit with my friends for two measly hours. Yup, a bummer, but at least I got to see them for a quick brunch.
Mercifully, the sun came out on the last day of our travel back to Toronto. Redemption, at last.
Until today. When we received yet more snow. Mixed in with rain. Argh.
I’m happy to report that the bulk of the events I’ve been planning as part of my day job are now over – only four more to go until May, but who’s counting?
I feel like I’m finally getting my life back. Although I’m physically and mentally tired, at least I’m not suffering from the high levels of stress and anxiety of a few weeks ago. Last week I took two whole days off, and what a pleasure it was! B and I spent the day shopping at IKEA on Thursday – although I was only planning on buying a bookcase, we ended up with so much more: 3 bookcases, a coffee table, two side tables, two nightstands, wall-mounted shelving and a wall organizer thingy. Whew! That meant we spent a good chunk of the weekend putting things together, and we’re still not done!
Saturday night we had tickets to see the Cowboy Junkies and Ryan Adams perform the Trinity Session Revisited. B loves the Junkies, and I love Ryan, so we figured it was a win-win situation. Until I checked my emails on Saturday morning and found one announcing that Ryan Adams would not be performing due to an unforeseen illness! What?!! I was sooooo bummed out! I was really looking forward to seeing him perform, especially this song:
Since I’m not a huge fan of the Cowboy Junkies, it was hard for me to muster up any enthusiasm for the show. It was a nice show, but a bit too mellow for my taste (I think I may have even nodded off at one point – yikes!)… At least one of us had a great time – B loved the show (and Margot Timmins!) and raved about it. Lucky him.
Although I’m quite back to bookbinding just yet, by next weekend I’ll have my energy back, I’m sure. I’m really looking forward to crafting again – it’s been difficult and frustrating to not have the mental energy to do anything these past few months. And when I do get back to it all, my craft room will be super duper organized!
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that the past few months have been extremely busy and stressful for me at work. Since mid-November, I’ve travelled on business no less than 23 days, planning and implementing events as well as conducting site visits for upcoming events. I’m tired, bitchy and frazzled. I feel fat and gross from all the restaurant food I’ve been eating while on the road. I don’t sleep well in hotels, which means I’m seriously sleep deprived. Although I want to create in my down time, I don’t have the mental or physical energy to put into projects, which makes me bitchier because I’m so frustrated at my lack of creativity/productivity.
Because I have been travelling so much and working so intensely during the week, I have tried to unwind as much as possible on the weekends. Unfortunately, this means I’ve been vegging out in front of the tv or spending countless hours on the internet, not making art or books or anything else productive.
Then last night I watched “A Good Year” starring Russell Crowe. And it got me thinking about living a much simpler, more pleasurable existence. Although living in Provence would certainly be conducive to such an existence, I started thinking about small things I could do to live “a good year”, despite the challenges I’m facing at the moment. Firstly, I need to be more mindful of the food I eat and make my meals a happier daily ritual. And so tonight, instead of ordering takeout as I would normally do, I went to the grocery store and bought a myriad of vegetables, fruit, cheese, dips and breads/crackers. I figured I’d have my own version of a Provençal meal, complete with a glass of red wine. It was wonderful to savour the small bits and pieces of food, instead of scarfing down the usual heavy, super-sized meal.
Reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert has also got me thinking about slowing down and taking care of myself more. So I won’t be taking off for Italy, India or Indonesia anytime soon, but I can certainly be more aware of what I eat (and only eat what brings me pleasure), take better care of my body (I think taking up yoga would be good to help ease my back pain), and just be more mindful about loving and enjoying my surroundings more.
Even though I can’t change the nature of my job (working as an events planner will always mean a crazy and hectic lifestyle, no matter how organized I try to be), I know that I need to utilize the slower periods of the year to plan, plan, plan in order to minimize the upcoming craziness and to recharge my batteries. And during the crazy periods, I need to take care of myself as best I can (by living the Provençal, or Italian, or Indian, or Indonesian way…).
I know the craziness at work will slow down considerably in about a month, at which time I’ll be able to take some much-needed vacation days, so until then I simply need to take small steps to preserve my (and B’s) sanity.
Baby steps. That’s what it’s all about.
Yesterday morning on my way to work I I had a surprise encounter with Mark McKinney of Kids in the Hall and Saturday Night Live fame. Not exactly a household name, but for someone who grew up obsessed with KITH, I was starstruck. At first I wasn’t sure that it was actually him (he looks older than I imagined him to be) and so I couldn’t stop staring… I wish I wasn’t so darn shy so I could walk up to him and say hi. I’ve met a number of celebrities over the years, but don’t have any photos or autographs to show for it because of my immense fear of looking like a dork. Sigh.
Last Saturday night I had the opportunity to see another of my fave celebrities: Mike Ford of Moxy Fruvous fame. I’ve mentioned my love for Moxy Fruvous in past posts, and my sadness at their now playing together as a group anymore. The show was a benefit concert held on Ward’s Island, one of Toronto’s islands just across from its harbourfront. B and I were excited about the ferry ride over to the island, we we’d never been there.
When we landed, the show didn’t start for a while yet so we decided to explore the place. It’s very picturesque, with cottage-like homes (worth millions of dollars!). We came across a small beach where we found this piece of installation art:
Mike gave a great performance – I absolutely love his sense of humour and the playful songs that he writes. He even came over and greeted B and me during the intermission (he and B distantly know each other), which was thrilling for me. Fifteen years ago I’d have never thought I’d not only be meeting one of the members of Moxy Fruvous, but that my partner would befriend him! Very cool indeed…!
In bookbinding news…
I am very proud to say that this past Saturday, I taught my first male student! Teaching classes in a scrapbooking store, I can imagine how intimidating it must be for men to take a class there, even though I’m absolutely convinced that many of them would love bookbinding if they gave it a chance. Well, I’m happy to note that my student thoroughly enjoyed the experience and has vowed to come to my other classes. Yay!
And for an update on the bookcloth-making fiasco… I finally did manage to make a few half-decent sheets of bookcloth, although the PVA glue did seep through it in some parts. I’m not entirely happy with the final results, but it is much better than the first few sheets I attempted to make.
At first I had tried ironing a product called “Therm O Web – HeatnBond” onto the back of the fabric but that didn’t work. Not sure if I or the product was the problem…
I’ve since received some hints on making bookcloth from the ever-kind-and-helpful Astrid. And based on the amazing books she makes, I think I’d be crazy not to follow her advice! I’ll keep you posted on my future bookcloth-making adventures!
He’s a coulrophobic, just like me. Sigh.
I can’t believe it’s August in less than two hours! What the heck happened to July???
I’ve had the very best intentions for the past several evenings, but Mother Nature has put a damper on my plans. I was going to make tons and tons of books to build up my inventory, because I know I won’t have much time to devote to my bookbinding projects come Fall. But it’s been so bloody hot and humid here for the past few days (and it’s only going to get worse), I have no patience or energy for anything. I’ve been either sitting at the computer or on the sofa, trying to move as little as possible.
So I don’t have any new projects to show off. However I’d like to take a moment to thank several cool bloggers who have written about the Papermusings blog in the past month:
Now just as soon as the weather cooperates again, I plan on becoming a bookbinding maniac again! I’m especially looking forward to the long weekend coming up for an extra day of crafting.
Today I walked a few houses down to check out a garage sale. Bought some books (mostly to tear apart and make into recycled books and envelopes), but also found these gems:
Let me explain – I LOVE steamer trunks (I own three others, but they’re in storage halfway across the country at the moment). This one is HUGE, and best of all, I paid all of THREE DOLLARS for it! I thought it was a mistake (these trunks go for about $100 in second-hand stores), but no…
The second big purchase was this:
The set of drawers was very inexpensive as well. The old-fashioned suitcase and cake stand were other recent purchases from the Salvation Army. Inside the suitcase I’ve thrown in all those prototypes of books that I just couldn’t figure out what to do with – in some cases, they’re botched projects, in others, not quite good enough to be able to sell… In the cake stand I’ve put these:
These are all 3″X3″ mini-albums that I’ve made for craft fairs and gifts. I thought it’d be cool to display them in an unconventional way…
I’ve spend the whole evening rearranging and cleaning the craft room to make room for the new set of drawers. It’s amazing what you can find when you actually clean the place once in a blue moon:
Take a closer look at that red circle on the wall – it’s a vinyl LP of The Who’s “Who Are You”. Don’t think I’ll be cutting that one up anytime soon…
It’s been a crazy week – between being sick with a cold, travelling by plane, and preparing for a new 4-hour workshop, I’m quite exhausted. Today I taught a workshop using the large star book as the project. Not only was it a fairly complex book structure, but students also had to learn coptic binding. I must say I was thoroughly impressed with how quickly they all caught on. It made for a great class with awesome projects…
Tomorrow morning I will be making record notebooks for sale, then in the afternoon I’m off to visit a Mineral & Gem Show… If time allows, I’ll be working on some new star books (I have three on the go)…
I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since my last post. Although I’ve been busy with bookbinding projects and work, I’ve mostly been busy dealing with stuff. Un-fun stuff. Tough stuff. Some days are good, some not so great. Like today. But I’m trying to plug through, keep busy and productive, and hopefully things will get better soon.
I’ve been doing fun stuff, too. Just over two weeks ago, B and I visited my brother in Ottawa for a few days. We went to the Ottawa Bluesfest and caught Van Morrison and Bob Dylan in concert. How could that not be good? And I had lunch with one of my favourite people in the world, a former boss who is more like an over-protective big brother to me. Good times.
B was back home for barely more than two weeks (after two months away). Just as I was getting used to having him around again, he took off to participate in an arts festival. Gone for another three weeks. This is certainly part of the un-fun stuff I’ve been dealing with.
Work has been a challenge too, for the past few weeks. Although I love my new job, during the course of the summer I’m in the planning process for all the events that will take place in the fall and winter. As much as I love organizing events, to me the planning stage is the not-so-fun-and-exciting part. It’s the boring and mundane part of the process, unlike the implementation stage when you’re actually in the middle of the event and your adrenaline is rushing and you can see the concrete results of your hard work.
So to help me get through all this, I decided I needed a goal of some sort. And I decided that reading through (and implementing) Getting Things Done by David Allen was going to be my goal. You see, I’m a very organized person at work. And at home, to a certain extent. Where I struggle is in synchronizing the two together. I’m hoping to develop a system that will help me better keep track of my home and work stuff better.
There are too many more to list here, but these two are the best sites. Just getting through the book and the websites has given me more energy, and I already feel my creative juices starting to stir. This system greatly appeals to the anal-retentive side of me that loves lists, order, time management, and organization.
Not done reading the book yet. I’ll let you know how it goes…
Instead, I get to travel twice a day on an overcrowded train filled with smelly, sweaty, crazy and/or obnoxious people. It’s that much more interesting when we get stuck in an underground tunnel for several minutes at a time…
There are, however, a few things that bring a reluctant smile to my face during my (mis)adventures in commuting:
- The entertainment: Today it was an accordion player doing his own rendition of “Satisfaction” – fun stuff
- The subway staff who announce the next stop over the intercom. I swear, some of them are secretly voice-over actors – they sound like that movie trailer guy who was in that Geico commercial too. Some mornings they really crack me up, they take it so seriously.