Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do ya think a winter coat might've helped?

12:10 a.m. phone rings. It's my eldest. He's finished work and "closed" and ready to go home (he lives on his own). Bus hasn't come. He's freezing, says he feels like an ice cube, lol. I believe him. It's -27 degrees celsius and dropping. Nevermind the "windchill". Where are you, I say, and I'll come pick you up and take you home. Really? he says. And he called me because...?

So, I get dressed and off I go to pick him up. He's shivering in the bus shelter and looking rather pathetic, and yes, like an ice cube. He's wearing a thin hoodie over his t-shirt and jeans. No hat, no gloves, no boots, no winter coat. Where's your coat? At home, he says. He didn't think he'd be that cold or standing outside for any length of time. Geesh. Youth.

He warms up quickly in the car as the heat is on full, I take him home through the whited out night (visibility sometimes dangerously low due to all the blowing snow and the moisture icing over on the roads) and he's happy. Thanks, Mom. Yup, I'd do it again.

~ Shelley

Saturday, December 26, 2009

December in review

Whew, I have been negligent in posting (as pointed out by my wonderful husband) and thought I'd try to make a synopsis of the month. December just zoomed by me.

After fighting with my surface, I completed the Bobbie Takashima Santa for my husband's secretary. I am quite pleased with it. It's a lovely piece. I had problems (again) with the mdf surface and the JoSonja paints. I'm thinking it's the "type" of mdf. I liken the particular piece to masonite. The paint seemed to stay active and just "slide" despite glazing layers etc. (I had this same problem in June with a piece on the same type of surface that I did with Sharon McNamara Black). It finally cured and I completed and varnished the piece. Apparently the recipient loved it. Gives me a nice glow. Now to finish my own, lol.

My youngest went to a work party. Imbibed a little too much... again. Picture a young bull moose ping-ponging up the driveway and into the house, lol. Needless to say, his dad and I had little sympathy when he was a little green the next morning and talking to the commode, lol. We just relayed that we hoped this wouldn't become a habit and was just a "rite of youthful passage".

Held a full turkey dinner for my painting group executive members. We had a great time. I gave them each personalized brush roll-ups and a collapsible water bucket and they gifted me with a most awesome giftcard to the art store, DeSerres. Yippee Skippee! I love an excuse to go shopping!

I had a card making day for a couple friends and we made the TriShutter cards and had lunch and fun catching up.

Mother-in law will be 80 on New Year's Day so with the help of my sister-in-law, we prepared a couple of display boards of pictures and then I created a small album with the pictures and it can be added to with family pictures and photos from the planned party. Hope she likes it.

Christmas shopping took up a good part of the month. A lot of fruitless trips and searches, but ultimately success and everyone had a great day. Especially me...

My husband SPOILED me (again). No complaints. I love it. He is the most caring, generous, thoughtful, loving guy I know. He's mine. I say all this not because I know he will read this, but because it is true.

My very SPECIAL, FAVOURITE gift? He created a book from one of the online book creators. The theme? My beloved shelties through the years with little captions throughout. Wow. I was so touched. It is beautiful and a real treasure - for what it holds and for the thought that went into this touching, priceless gift. Wow. Yes, hubby is a keeper.

Of course I received other gifts, charms for my bracelet, Trans-Siberian Orchestra CD's (love the instrumental music), scrapbooking stuff, battery operated Ott-Light, magazines, giftcards, toiletries, a cool red high heel tape dispenser, chocolate... a lot more goodies.

My youngest gave me a McDonald's giftcard and a really cute little welcome dog figurine. My oldest gave me a small replica of the Roman Coliseum (he and his girlfriend visited Rome in early December) and a beautiful sheltie figurine. He went over the top and both my boys were so thoughtful.

We had dinner with my parents and brother and his family and my aunt at a downtown restaurant. That way no one has kitchen duties and we can go back to my parents for coffee and a leisurely gift exchange and more visiting.

Of course a couple days were taken up with grooming dogs (visiting dogs - a "tad" bit of hair, lol), driving my neighbour to her radiation treatments, visiting friends, giving my parents' cats their "pedicure" , visiting family, baking cookies for home and hubby's work, doctor appointments...

The dogs got dressed up by my youngest (ya, I know he's 18 but...). Not sure they were completely happy about it but they were good sports and one is still roaming the house with a "jingle" collar on. Poor things.

So... that is a little bit (well, okay... a lot) of the last few weeks. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and wishing you all the very best for a happy and blessed New Year.

~ Shelley

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dog day afternoon

Well, it started innocently enough. I'd planned to get some painting done (I'm a class behind as I missed last week and am painting a Bobbie Takashima Santa), laundry and start cleaning up the diningroom from my cardmaking extravaganza (okaaaay... CHAOS, lol).

However, I've been experiencing some computer problems and decided I better download and offload a whackload of files and extraneous "stuff". Holy hannah that takes time. Did I tell you I've always hated "filing"? Well, it rates right up there.

So, the dogs, sensing I was not going to play, pet or otherwise entertain them, settled in at my feet. Three literally touching and two on the soft couch. Yup, right couch potatoes they are. The pic shows Molson in his favourite position. Totally lacking in any inhibitions, lol. That's our Molson.

The mailman brought a welcomed s'prise for me! Yup, my stamps from Impression Obsession! Yippee skippee! They're awesome. However did I miss that company? I got three chickadees and a various assortment of Christmas stamps. Super price, super service and super product. I'm a happy camper. Cards tomorrow after painting class!

~ Shelley

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Youthful rites of passage and grey hairs...

Weird. That's what he said. We're weird.

My 18 year old is a reliable sort. Goes to work. Comes home. Goes to school. Comes home. Goes to the movies... tells us. Goes to a friend's... leaves a note.

He often works "close" at his job. This means he gets home sometimes just after midnight. 12:30 a.m. at the latest. He's not home by the time I go to bed this morning and I think that's a little (in his terms)... weird, but expect he'll walk in shortly as maybe there was more to do this time, but I don't sleep soundly. I'm listening.

I'm still listening at 2:50 a.m. so get up. He's not been home. I'm a tad concerned. Okay... a lot. So I wake up my main man. He, too, is concerned so hops in the car to go check the area and see if maybe he can find our son. Nope.

What to do? This is highly unusual. Has something happened (again) in our small community and maybe my son is hurt or been swarmed or...? Call the police to find out. They can't divulge any information without cause. Geesh. I'm just a mom looking for my good son. Well, if you want to file a Missing Person's report, then we can check the system and put the word out. Okay. Can I "de-list" him easily if he walks through my front door? Yes, ma'am, but if you don't cancel the case number, we can have him arrested and detained until we can get in touch with you. Hmmmm. Okay. So, my son becomes a case number. Then I check with the hospitals. Nope, not there. Whew.

Husband goes out again to double-check. Manages to get in the front door of where our son works as someone didn't lock up. Uh-oh... are they tied up in the back? Nope... but the alarm goes off, lol. So I get a call that he'll just wait around for someone to show up about the alarm and explain his presence there. I tell him I'll take a taxi to the precinct to bail him out [grin]. Alarm re-sets after a bit and I call my husband at 4:30 a.m. to say "the son" just walked through the door as if nothing happened; however he's a little sheepish to see me sitting there waiting. Hubby comes home as no one has showed up for the alarm.

We have a little quiet chat, no big fanfair, but we want him to know that he should've contacted us and/or told us of his plans. We were worried as he just has never done anything like this. We're weird, lol. But he takes the chat well and seems to know he messed up. He just "forgot". Geesh.

Where was he? Well at one of his co-worker's homes in the area. We don't know the co-workers so... couldn't check. They were just chillin' out after work and introducing our son to the intricacies of a mixed drink with vodka. Yes, he was feelin' no pain. This is only the second time that he's had alcohol; the first being his cousin's wedding a couple months ago. And yes... I did consider NOT cancelling the Missing Person's report, lol. Somehow, the image of him in the back of a police cruiser gave me a twisted sense of justice. Okay... I did call and cancel the report.

Fast forward to a couple hours ago and he needs to get up for work. He's got SEVERAL alarms going off in his room. Sounds like an air raid alert. No reaction. I holler and he gets up to start his day. Still saying we're "weird". If the shoe fits...

~ Shelley

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Sadly, I've allowed myself to be pulled in too many directions this last couple weeks. Nothing earth-shattering or bad, but just lots of 'stuff. Something had to give. It was my 'puter, lol.

I'm still attempting to make sense of my cluttered craft table. I did have a rather large space cleared; however, it quickly got filled with more "stuff". Solution: need another cabinet. It's on the agenda for this week. But you know what happens; more space = more stuff to fill it, lol. I'll keep you posted. 'Course, the hubby doesn't help. He complains about my collections however, he continues to feed my passion. Case in point: down to Watertown for a day trip and he says let's go to Michael's. I say I don't "need" anything. Kindly takes me there anyway and uses my coupons to buy me more paper. Geesh. Love him! Of course, now I've taken over the diningroom table to make some Christmas cards, but am having a ball!

Kidney stone attack (we think). Lasted 3 hours and of course I decided to tough it out knowing the E.R.'s would be full to the brim of people thinking they had H1N1, etc. Left me weak as a puppy and begging for mercy, lol. Still have some lingering pain (kinda limited my staying in anyone spot for a few days, thus not much 'puter time, crafting time or anything time, lol) but it's abated and I have an abdominal ultrasound scheduled and prescription and finger shaking to up my fluid intake, lol (doctor and hubby nagging me, lol). No biggie. And life goes on.

Guild meeting and elections and we have a few newbies on our Board and I get to sit back and play Past-Pres in the new year. Yippee Skippee. Still a few "holes" to fill on our Board, but we'll just muddle along. We, too, suffer from a shrinking membership and a few-too-many who want a group but don't want to "serve". Sign of the times and we just have to be inventive and try to attract new members. Those that are there tho' are very supportive and want to be there and it is a wonderful atmosphere. Baby steps. I will be teaching Willow's Cockatoo to my guild in February at our paint-in and look forward to this. I've only ever taught "strangers" in a small shop, so am a little nervous, but... I look forward to this and will have fun.

I've had another couple meetings with people the last couple weeks (minutes to write and newsletter update for our painting guild to do) and an evening card party that I prepared for and hosted and went beautifully. Couple more card events to come. Christmas luncheon for our painting group and then I want to host one for just the Board members.

Then I've been trying to fit in painting between all this cardmaking and other goings on. Wow, see what I mean 'bout being pulled in a few too many directions?

And of course there is family "stuff" going on, birthdays, doctor appointments... Isn't there always.

And hubby is currently on holidays for a couple weeks so we're having together time which rules out me sitting at the 'puter talking to everybody for any stretch. Between just "together time", day trips, home projects and yard work (did I tell you our weather has been unseasonably awesome?)... well, I know you understand.

Plus... when I do make time to do crafting or organizing in between all this and WANT to take my 'puter with me... I cannot. Grrrr. Something has changed on our 'puter network and for some reason it won't recognize my 'puter if I want to go wireless so can't bring it to my craft area or anywhere else in the house other that hardwired at the kitchen table. Haven't wanted to burden hubby with another 'puter "woe", lol. This is not a bad thing (for me), lol, because I'm trying to strike a balance of not spending all my waking hours, while at home, on this dang thing. It's an addiction and I obviously have an addictive personality (and/or I'm a born procrastinator and waster of time, lol).

So... off I go for some laundry and... cardmaking. What else, lol?

~ Shelley

Friday, November 6, 2009

I couldn't stand it anymore, lol!

What?! Snowshoe feet! They don't belong on shelties. And they sure-as-shootin' don't belong on them in mucky, wet, cold, damp, leafy fall (or sticky snowball making winter, or muddy spring... not as big a problem in Summer, but...).

Well, almost two weeks ago now, 5 dogs plus the visitor for grooming got trimmed up. Whew, what a big improvement and nicer-for-my-house. It was worth the blood, sweat and tears (dogs, lol) and muscle aches and pains.

So today I have a couple extra four-legged guests. Their family is on a road-trip and not sure if they'll be gone a few hours or if something will pique their interest and it'll be an overnighter. No biggie. Sally is old. Older than my oldest sheltie by a year and a bit. So that makes her 15. And she's an old 15 so she just hobbles into a corner and sleeps like a log. Only waking up when the food bowls come out [grin]. Cooper is the youngster of the bunch. He's three and just a goof. His manners are impeccable in the house but when he gets outside, well, he just rips around and be-danged for anything or anydog to get in his way 'cause he'll just bulldoze it down with a big, sloppy grin on his face.

But it's damp outside. And he came complete with... snowshoes on his feet, lol. I know his owners think it's cute, but he's in my house, lol, so I took artistic license 'cause darned if the first go-see outdoors didn't bring in a multitude of unwelcome s'prises on those big hairy feet. He was patient as could be but decided he was going to lie down and not move (thus not the easiest to manipulate the scissors around the foot [chuckle]) while I did the deed then trimmed his nails.

So... now I'm happy. My house gets less of the outside in and Cooper got a big treat. We'll leave Sally alone 'cause she doesn't move enough to bring anything in, lol, although she'll get her nails trimmed later.

Wonder if his family will notice? Wonder if I'll be blacklisted? [VBEG]

~ Shelley

Sally (lying down) and Cooper (headshot)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

While I'm telling on myself...

I should fess-up now. I did vow that I'd never make/create cards. Yup. I thought it silly to spend that much time creating a one-of-a-kind card that was only destined for the recycle box, lol.

Well, I would like to take back that statement. It's the process and the journey and the enjoyment and the creativity and the release of stress while creating and, well dammit, it's just plain fun. And if I had all that fun and free stress relief while making them, well, then that's the ticket, right?

So, yup, I'm now creating MORE cards (last year I created/designed a few Iris Folding cards for my sheltie friends and family along with the other easily obtainable patterns).

Add craft-aholic to my list of weaknesses, lol.

~ Shelley

Noooooo, I can't believe I did THAT!

Yup, unbelievable but true. Hanging my head in shame here. I bought two new brushes today.

Why would I hang my head in shame? Well, because I vowed another brush would not walk across the threshold of my home. Why? Well, because I admit, I am a Brush-aholic. Yup. Probably should find myself a 12-step program.

I do NOT need anymore brushes. I'm working for a lady (Willow) who can supply me with just about every brush imaginable and then some. And has, lol. But... sadly, I was swayed. Gullible? Not likely. But someone whom I respect very much, Lydia Steeves, told us we'd be sorry if we did NOT try to find an Ultra-Round brush by Loew Cornell to do our next week's project with. We are starting a Lynne Andrew's piece and from what I've heard/read, with Lynne's technique, we really would be frustrated with trying to make some of our other multitude of brushes behave the way the Ultra-Round does.

Sigh... I know she's (Lydia) right, but it just irks me to think that I just couldn't make one of my other brushes "do the deed", and felt the need to cave [chuckle]. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be much happier with the learning of the techniques if I start off with the correct tools of the trade. Shhhhh, you don't have to tell on me do you?

~ Shelley

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Facebook is a wonderous place...

Well... a searchin' I did go. It's been about 20 years and I thought I'd plug in my old friend's name and see what I could come up with. First attempt, nothing. So... off I went to google and plugged in Kim Kearley Haynes and what appeared before my wondrous eyes... a Facebook account. Off I went and yup, I recognized that face so sent a note.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Kim, obviously knowing more about Facebook than I, sent me an IM. Up popped this little box and my first instinct was to get rid of it as I thought it was an annoying pop-up and I'd decided Facebook mustn't be such a neat place if I'm gonna get those! LOL

Up it popped again. This time I was ready for it and decided to try a note back. It worked! So Kim and I did a little catching up. Twas fun. Just might do it again, lol.

I did add my own photo to my Facebook page as I thought it was a very "useful tool", lol.

Wonder what other adventures I can get into on this world-wide web .

~ Shelley

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Yes, it's cause for celebration! I finished a painting. No UFO (unfinished object) for this piece. It's in oils and I loved doing it and just need to maybe put a few highlights (and a tint or two) on a few of the petals and paint the sides of the canvas. But I'll do this in a few days when the piece has tacked up some so I don't put my fingers in the wet paint. The original design is by Barbara Jenkins.

It was a fun and relatively easy piece. Very relaxing to just putz away at a few petals at a time and then smoosh the background in as you went along. First saw it at this year's HOOT (Heart of Ohio Tole) Painting Convention and lusted after it. Found out which booth Barbara Jenkins usually displayed some of her packets and lucked in to the only packet.

Snowmen next week in my weekly class.

~ Shelley

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Whaddya do on a rainy day?

Well, groom dogs [grin].

Usually I like to take the weekends off from heavy-duty work (okay... truth be told, I like to take everyday off from heavy-duty work, lol), but it's a miserable, cold, wet day outside and I had a four-legged guest dropped off for grooming this morning.

Casey's family has gone to Montreal for the day so it was a perfect time to see if I could look after her for the day and maybe give her the full "salon" treatment. No biggie. Huh... if I'd stuck to the plan and done only one dog...

Casey is a dream to groom. Like most of my visiting dogs, she's used to me and the "whole deal" (or ordeal as some of the critters think). So... up she went on the workbench in the basement, desk light on and I got to work. Lots of music on the radio so singing along and prattling to her as we go along. An hour and a half or so later, and I had morphed her from big furball to svelte little sheltie. Darn I have to start remembering to do before and after pictures, lol.

So... hubby is busy elsewhere and planning to go out and I'm on a roll. Getting tired of the dogs going out in the damp and then bringing in all kinds of yard refuse (leaves, twigs, grass... sometimes even larger branches [grimace]). They're way past their tune-up. I've been very negligent.

So... corral them one at a time and up they go on the bench (oh... why the bench? It's the perfect height and darned if I can get to my grooming tables in the far corner of the basement, lol). A couple hours later my tummy is protesting for lack of food. No more furry slipper feet and extra flyaway ear hair. I'm pleased as it will cut down on our housekeeping, lol. Haven't given them a full, to-the-skin grooming but a lick and a promise and at least trimmed the errant fur. Four more dogs completed and just have to hunt down the fifth holdout (Whisper of course... say grooming or car ride and she dives under the kitchen table into the far corner of the nook).

Need sustenance first. Cabbage rolls purchased as a treat for me. Yummy. Okay... time to get to work, but dang, there's Casey in the corner of the kitchen looking so adorable (she's in the corner because she can see everything from there... food dropping, dogs moving...). She's not got the prettiest mouth but dang she's an exquisite little thing, a sweetie and dang photogenic (unlike her mother. Her mother, Hunter, is really the prettiest and most structurally sound of my bunch, but she sees that camera coming and she gets hang dog and "Hunchback of Notre Dame look", lol). So out comes the camera for the photo op and take some great ones of Casey that her family will love. Need a group shot. Too mucky outside so I point to the couch in the familyroom. Up everybody goes except Casey (Whisper and Hunter need a bit of help - they're getting a little less agile with age). She's interested in what's happening but when she realizes my intent to put her with, well, "those" dogs, she hightails it [chuckle]. I nab her and take a few quick shots 'cause she's so outta there, lol. One decent one. Her family will be happy.

Off to give Whisper a quick trim and then rest my sore joints and muscles. Get to go to the Sens hockey game with my wonderful hubby tonight, courtesy of my awesome Dad and Mom. Boston's playing. The hubby's favourite team. Will be a great night. He'll cheer for Boston; me for the Sens, lol.

~ Shelley

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Too much time on my hands?

So... I was still thinking about all the mediums, including the "new" ones, that can make a glass-like texture/technique. Figured I should pull them out and play with them and see if they were all created equal, lol.

So... with that in mind, I pulled out the following mediums and applied them left to right onto some black cardstock:

1) Rebecca Baer's Clearly Elegant Stencil Gel
2) OmniGel (Speedball)
3) DecoArt Texture Glass
4) Golden Regular Gel (Matte)
5) DecoArt Glass Stain (clear)
6) Ranger Glossy Accents
7) DecoArt Triple Thick brush on varnish

The first pic is taken immediately after I applied each to the cardstock. As you can see, most took to the stencil quite well, all except the Glass Stain - too liquidy and it ran. It really needs to be "contained" in some leading or DecoArt Squiggle Writer (comes in gold, silver and bronze) or DecoArt Craft Twinkles in the writer format.

The OmniGel, Glass Stain, Ranger Glossy Accents and Triple Thick come in squeeze bottles. The Glass Stain and Glossy Accents with nozzles, the Triple Thick and OmniGel with pop tops. They work well for spreading. However, the Triple Thick also worked well with a palette knife.

The Rebecca Baer Stencil Gel, Texture Glass and Golden Gel all come in wide-mouth jars and are much thicker and "pastier" and must be applied with a palette knife.

All products dried clear and glossy. The Golden Gel I had dried with a matte finish (as was to be expected as I have the "matte gel" - duh, lol).

The Ranger Glossy Accents and Triple Thick have a more 3D "rounded" look.

So... for stenciling, the Rebecca Baer Stencil Gel, OmniGel and Texture Glass are all similar. The Golden Gel in matte is perfect too... just a different look. The DecoArt Glass Stain isn't any good for stenciling and the Glossy Accents and Triple Thick would be great if you want a more raised look, but not for stenciling for a background (least for me). None of the mediums buckled the paper. The Glossy Accents and Triple Thick were great for the Holly Hanley bears in the clear Christmas decorations. They'd also be good to highlight/magnify a special word or letter on a scrapbooking page.

Okay, experimented concluded [grin].

~ Shelley

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The possibilities are endless, lol!

I've been playing with DecoArt Texture Glass. It is a relatively new product; however similar to some others already on the market (Omni Gel, Ranger Glossy Accents, Close To My Heart Glassy Accents, Triple Thick, Clear Glass Stain, Rebecca Baer's Clearly Elegant Stencil Gel... and YES, I think I have ALL of them, lol).

The Texture Glass is great for tone on tone stenciling. You do your project, place the stencil where you desire, take a palette knife and sweep the Texture Glass (or other product) across the stencil - at this point, you can sprinkle some diamond dust or glamour dust or other glimmer product if you like - carefully lift up stencil and let dry and it will dry clear, letting the underneath colour shine through. It works great on paper, too. What I like to do with it is stencil on cards. Tone on tone; glimmer and glitz added; OR take the DecoArt Glass Stains and after sweeping the Texture Glass across the stencil, drop glass stain colours here and there on top, then sweep your palette knife across and swirl and mix the colours of the glass stains very lightly, lift your stencil and let dry. When dry, it looks a little like stained glass...

I've attached a photo of a piece of watercolour paper I've been playing on. I used a "bug" stencil I had and had fun playing with it making different colour combinations. The bottom butterfly in the second column had some glitter sprinkled over the Texture Glass. The butterfly and dragonfly just above that one are just plain Texture Glass so have dried clear and the white watercolour paper is seen through. The others all had the Glass Stains (red, green and purple - more to come, lol) dripped onto the Texture Glass and then swirled. Fun. And it doesn't buckle the water colour paper.

The Texture Glass is stunning used by itself as a stenciled background over an already basecoated surface. Just enough of a texture that it adds depth to a piece.

~ Shelley

The Quebec Show - October 15-18, 2009

Hi all! I have been so very, very busy lately and almost too busy and tired to post (yes, hanging head in shame here); however, my life has been filled with going to the painting convention trade shows with a large booth and painting and scrapping and cardmaking and family and ... well, life, lol. So... no excuses, but "reasons", lol.

I've just come back from a very successful "new" painting convention.

Wow and Wowsers! It was SOOOOOO very exciting. The Salon des Arts Decoratifs 2009.

This show "replaced" the "defunct" Passion Couleurs, previously held in Montreal (and a few other locations around Montreal the last few years). Natacha Watier, very able Editor of the Coup de Pinceau, and organizer supreme, and a few of her very close friends and colleagues, made the decision that should the Passion Couleurs show fold, they would put on their own painting convention. On the way home from the SDP in Tampa, the seeds were borne, lol.

Held in Boucherville, Quebec (east end Montreal), it was easy to get to and a fabulous venue. It was a CLASS act and event. The excitement was palpable and the exhibitors, attendees, teachers and public were treated to an A+ experience. Advertising was extensive in the area and Natacha 'bout wore herself out circulating throughout the event ensuring everything was as perfect as could be and that everyone was happy and had what they needed. She is VERY passionate about our industry and the Quebec show and it showed from beginning to end.

Yes, the language was a bit of a barrier, but not insurmountable. I spoke "franglais" (French/English), lol, most of the week and was 'bout wore out, but the registrants and public were so very helpful and patient. I don't think anyone was "in the dark" 'bout what was said or was going on [grin].

There were close to 10,000 people thru the event on the three Exhibit days! 10,000! Friday and Saturday were but a blur ('bout 7 to 8 thousand just on those two days). We even had a visit from one of THE biggest celebrity singers in Quebec... Ginette Reno (who just "happens" to be Natacha's mother). The show also happened to be planned on the weekend of a large Wood Show held up the street from our location. Kudos to Natacha and her crew (including her very able and handsome husband who also had an exhausting schedule of work).

The Quebec market is BOOMING. It is overwhelming and heartening to see the interest in decorative arts here. I don't think it is any bigger anywhere in the world right now than right here in Canada in the French-Canadian market (also spreading to France with a few people coming from France just for this very show). Also, the demographic profile of the average painter here is... young! Yes... the younger (maybe 30 something) crowd is alive and flourishing here. How exciting for our industry. I'm hoping that the excitement will roll out from this province/location and snowball across the country and border.

What was new: Faux Vitrail. Yup. Faux Stained Glass. It was EVERYwhere. I have been to 5 painting conventions this year (Mississauga, SDP, HOOT, Edmonton and Quebec) and nowhere was it a phenomenon until this show. And it is GORGEOUS and striking. They are using, almost exclusively, the Pebeo Vitrail paints plus the Gallery Glass crystal clear. I think this is kinda similar to what Jan Cumber was doing with her Gallery Glass projects that she debuted at a few of our conventions over the last couple years but in a much bigger way. I'm also thinkin' (ya it hurts, especially now I'm still so tired, lol) that perhaps the DecoArt glass stains and leading combined with the Gallery Glass might make a similar effect. In any case, it was widespread and beautiful and I think we will be seeing a lot more of it.

The Coast to Coast show in Mississauga April 28-May 2 is hoping to be able to offer some bilingual classes and attract some of those from the Quebec "French market". Audrey DeJong, Judy and Sonia were very visible promoting their upcoming spring show and had a lot of interest at their booth. I think this is a big step forward and hope it will encourage these painters to branch out into our conventions and perhaps imbue some new life and excitement for our art. By the way... they really don't advertise decorative art as "Decorative Art" or "Fine Art" in Quebec. It is ART only. A small terminology change, but seems important.

Many of the artists there were already familiar to me as I've been a regular "reader" of the French publication Coup de Pinceau (a very classy and professional decorative art publication). Meeting them in person was terrific. Whenever I "escaped" from the Princeton Brush/Willow Wolfe booth I wandered the Trade Show floor and checked out all the booths and the artists and introduced myself and told them I was gonna "talk up this show", lol. There were a lot of Quebec artists that you won't be familiar with, but I'm sure you will be seeing them in future throughout the country and at shows or magazines near you. Lise Rancourt was one of them. What a "pistol" this little lady. Just dynamic and fun and friendly. What a treasure. And a CDA that some from the SDP may be familiar with. I call her the French Strokework Queen. What a sweetie this woman is and a fabulous painter.

Other artists: Isabelle Desroches, Sandra Paul, Gisele Dumas, Manon Gagnon, Claire Marquis, Nathalie Lacrois, Marie-Claude Labbe (beautiful and really cute hangers for children in themes of princesses, firemen, hockey players, cowboys, etc), Gisele Bellem, Nicole Laurence, Marie-Claude Richer, Carole Marcotte, Suzie Fortin, Isabelle Desrochers (no, that's not a typo, lol... there was an Isabelle Desroches and Isabelle Desrochers), Johanne Morin, France Quirion and more. There were also booths/boutiques featuring several artists such as Atelier Plume et Pinceaux and DiffuzArt.

Some you would be more familiar with: Sue Beckerton, Tracy Moreau, Heather Redick, Joan Dixon, Willow Wolfe, Debbie Cotton, Holly Hanley, Lydia Steeves, Connie Clark, Gladys Neilsen, Mary Owens, Sharon McNamara Black, Wendy Fahey, Brenda Levert and Belinda Harris. Heather was looking elegant as always. She is such a fabulous artist. From strokework to die for to absolutely gorgeous children's designs and now seascapes in oils that are breathtaking. I was in the booth across from hers and got to gaze at the beautiful seascapes. Her art is more striking in person and her booth is well-turned-out. Della Wetterman was also there with her gorgeous tinware.

Joan, as you know, is battling cancer right now. But bless her heart, she did not want to disappoint her students and friends and came out with a full booth. Gladys helped her out with her Saturday evening class and Joan's husband, John, was there to support her and bully her into taking power naps for energy (bully is not really the word, lol. That man is a true keeper and loyal supporter of his soulmate). What a neat, neat lady. I was truly amazed and incredulous at her stamina and the fight she is giving this horrible disease that has invaded so many of our lives. If anyone can win this battle, it is this woman. My prayers and thoughts are with Joan and so many of our painting family that is fighting this. My hat is off to all of you and my great respect and admiration for the grace all of you meet this demon with.

Tracy brought her lovely daughter along. Her booth was always a busy hive of activity as Tracy demoed the DecoArt mediums and glass stains and showed how she is using them in her art.

Sharon McNamara Black was there with her husband Marty and friend Martha and their booth, too, was always hopping.

Our booth was incredibly busy as we had three artists present (Willow, Lydia Steeves and Debbie Cotton) as well as many Speedball products and a full line of the new Select Brushes by Princeton Art & Brush. Willow has worked alongside Princeton to design these and they are being very well received by students and teachers. They are a fabulous workhorse of a brush and the prices are phenomenal (if I may say so, lol). Their unique and eye-catching pale blue is also something that is being noticed and commented on positively. Can't miss 'em . Holly Hanley is also one of our Signature Artists however Coup de Pinceau (the store - no relation to the magazine, surprisingly) had made arrangements well-ahead of time to have her demonstrate in their booth as well as teach a seminar off-site. Holly was kept pretty busy and of course, was demoing with the Princeton Select Brushes which were flying out of our booth.

There were quite a few multi-media/altered art artists as well. Some were sculpting with a paper-clay type product that is truly incredible and interesting. I would love to take a class with one of them.

Madame Pickwick, one of the largest art stores in the Montreal area, was there, along with one of their other businesses, Studio Backstage. Apparently the artists from here have also done movie set make-up for many large productions. Wow. This you've gotta see. They did full body make-up/paint on a model on Saturday (with a body to die for, of course, lol). Wish I had had the time and the foresight to pull out my camera. She had the underwear "skin" on so of course was not nude, but if you didn't know... . They did her up like a beautiful lizard-type creature (ya, beautiful really is the word in a macabre type way, lol). She had medusa-type hair, forehead extension glued on and then was airbrushed and truly "vamped up", lol. Then she strutted around the Trade Show floor in her stillettos. You had to see it... what a work of ART. Really.

Willow was convinced to get her face painted up on the Sunday. Kind of like a beautiful dracula. She, too, was gorgeous in a macabre-type way. Now that was a photo op, lol. Hmmm, maybe my pics can be used for future bribery .

Natacha planned a Wine & Cheese get-together for the artists and exhibitors on the Friday night and it, too, was done with class. The wine, hors d'oeuvres, beer and conversation flowed and there was a draw for prizes (nope, didn't win anything, but had a really good time).

All in all, this was a terrific show and I am so very glad I got the opportunity to experience it. It is so very exciting for our future. Mark next October 15-18, 2010 and try to attend. I will venture to say that you will not be disappointed as it promises to be even bigger and better. Natacha mentioned that she hopes to be able to do the catalog with an English version. Also... google some of the artists and sites I mentioned above and get ready to experience some fabulous art.

That's it for now... I'm all "talked-out" (ya really ).

~ Shelley

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Glass Stain, Triple Thick, Glossy Accents...

Done. My piece is done and my experimenting is done. I'm a happy camper.

Let me share what I found.

In a previous post, I told you that I tested (on a very small area), the Glossy Accents by Ranger and the clear Glass Stain by DecoArt. For the 3D effect I wanted and needed, the Glossy Accents was a clear (no pun intended) winner.

So... I quickly painted up a couple of smaller pieces with an element of the design I was painting on a larger surface. I just didn't want to take a chance on messing up something I was taking more time on and wanting to display.

I used the Glossy Accents by Ranger on one of the doorknob hangers and Triple Thick brush-on varnish by DecoArt on the other.

The Glossy Accents was much easier to apply. Just used the nozzle on the squeeze bottle and spread it in using the nozzle to push it around. This medium stays put. I used a toothpick to pop any large bubbles. It dried well. There were a few small bubbles that appeared throughout, but they seemed to "add" to the glass effect.

The Triple Thick varnish is, in my opinion, a pain to apply with a brush. It is not forgiving and very "sticky". It needed a couple applications. Both products are self-levelling and so no "hills or valleys" appear. However, in comparing the two doorknob hangers, the Triple Thick application is much "clearer" then the Glossy accents application which has a yellowish tinge to it when they're side-by-each.

So... I hemmed and hawed 'bout what to do to my main piece. Yellow tinge that may or may not be noticeable, but will be an easy application and definitely give me the 3D effect I'm after; or clearer, "flatter", less 3D effect with the unforgiving, pain-to-apply Triple Thick?

Okay... I want to try something... I liked the clearer, less bubbled glass appearance, but I really wanted a 3D effect. What to do? Experiment, again, on my "good" piece, lol.

I used the Triple Thick varnish directly from the little 2 oz squeeze bottle (no nozzle) and "poured" it onto my "glass" Christmas balls (with trepidation, lol). Started in the centre and swirled out then took a little toothpick and kinda putzed and played and pushed it to the edges. It's thick. It worked fine that way and actually better than brushing it on and gave a more 3-D effect like the Glossy Accents 'cept a lot clearer. I had problems with one of the 3 "ornaments" on my piece when the Triple Thick got a mind of it's own (okay, I over applied it!) and ran out of the area I wanted it to stay put in, but I pushed it back with some cotton swabs.

Let it dry overnight and I must say, experiment is a success and I'm well-pleased. I don't think I will ever brush-apply this particular varnish again, lol.

~ Shelley

OhHungry!?... OhDusty!!

I should've known. Should've thought. But... hindsight is 20/20, lol.

It's one of two dogs. Princess Holly or "Hoover" Dusty. I vote on the latter [chuckle]. However, you've seen their pics, how could I point a finger at either of those sweeties, lol?

When I go out, I separate the dogs. Too much house to play in. Too many windows to bark at. Too much chance to have a little skirmish and I not be here to intercede (this I am thinking of our "golden" dog, Whisper. Her nickname is "Grumpy". She likes her space and doesn't discriminate between her "own flock" or visitors and she sure as shootin' doesn't care if they're "old and hearing impaired" and don't hear her initial warning to clear out, lol).

So... my crew get the crates in the basement. Hunter is allowed house privileges (she's old enough now she goes to a corner - usually right behind the front door so we can't "sneak in", lol - and sleeps). Visitors get locked into the familyroom/kitchen area. All is happy and my house is in one piece.

Fast forward to greeting time. Guests first. Unlock the glass bi-fold door and... hello, what's this? The potato bin which houses the dog food is in the middle of the kitchen floor. Oh, no, hopefully Dusty and Holly didn't bang into it and hurt themselves while playing.

Closer inspection, as I slide it back against the end cupboard, shows some telltale nail and tooth marks. What?! This bin has been in the same spot with the same contents for nigh onto 11 years. It has been through puppies, visiting dogs, my crew... even Dusty and Holly.

Geesh. Guess I better feed those dogs... after I sand the damage on the potato bin, lol.

And oh, ya... the rubbermaid container filled with peanuts for the Blue Jays that I keep at the backdoor? We've moved it back to it's spot countless times since our "guests" arrived. We've just "assumed" that Holly and Dusty aren't used to navigating it when they look out the backdoor. Hello? What was I thinking? Picked it up, again, skittered across the floor and yes, there too are telltale teeth marks. Poor starving dogs (ya right).

~ Shelley

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Princess speaks

Well, as I was writing my last entry (about my, ahem, "Craftroom"), my visiting doggies were slightly annoyed that it is well past their bedtime and I am still up.

Not sure exactly when their "usual" bedtime is, but they have been "telling" me in no uncertain terms all week that it is somewhere around 9-10 ish at night.

How do they tell me? Well, by stomping their feet, grrrrring and ruffing at me, whining, yapping, pawing me and generally being "busy" to get my attention. Did I tell you they won't go out at night for their "last call" unless I go with them?! I guess they (Dusty and Holly) are worried that my guys will ambush them in the dark. Or they've just got me trained, lol (probably a little of both).

What are my resident dogs doing while all this is going on? Well, they're trying to be better-than-perfect, lol. Really. Not harassing or being impatient or underfoot or begging or... I figure when Holly and Dusty go home, they'll be doing all the above... in spades, lol.

So... as I sit at my 'puter, stalling, Holly is looking perkily at me and ruffing to get my attention. I want my bedtime cookie and I want it NOW is what she'd say if she could talk. How soon they find routines, lol.

Well, Holly, your wish is about to be granted you spoiled little princess [grin].

~ Shelley

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Organized chaos

Well, I thought I should come clean... seeing as my craft area is not, lol.

I mentioned on the ToleFriends list that maybe we should share pics of our craftrooms. Horrors! The reason I mentioned this was because we're currently running a Tips Contest and from the sounds of some of these tips, I'm thinkin' the submitters must have the most organized craft/painting areas imaginable. I mean, really, I can think of all kinds of things to MAKE my creative space more manageable, but to actually implement them? So... I wouldn't post the ideas because someone might challenge me on them (especially those that know me [giggle]).

But... despite what my husband and non-creative people might think, I live in organized chaos, lol. I mostly know where EVERYthing is... just don't move the piles [grin].

So... I'm going to be one of the first to show a pic of my horribly cluttered craft area in the hopes that it will make some of my other list friends feel less guilty about their own. Hey, we're not all organized. I mean, my intentions are good and I do try to put things back where they belong, but then I get working on 1, 2... 6 projects at a time and... well, it just grows legs, lol. And of course, I do have a "life" (family, internet family/computer, dogs, crafting, friends, errands, painting associations/positions held, working for a friend at painting conventions, gardening, housework *cough, cough, sputter*...).

So... much as it will take away from my creative time, I am going to make every attempt to try to wrestle my craft area back into some semblance of order. I will not promise any "date", but I am going to go down there (it's in the basement) daily for the next while and work on it bits at a time. Hopefully I won't keep you waiting too long for the "after" picture.

My husband would love to have the kitchen table and diningroom back to their intended uses. Me? Well, honestly, they're little-used areas anyway, right? I'm re-purposing them, lol. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!.

~ Shelley