Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day knitting

Twisted Edge Shawlette in progress.

This is the perfect holiday mindless knitting - Twisted Edge Shawlette. The pattern repeats are easy to remember without having to carry around a copy of the pattern. Great for knitting while chatting with friends or when you have a few minutes here or there. Yarn is Pear Tree Yarn - Super Soft. It really is super soft! This was meant to be a hat for hubby but he didn't care for it. That's has now been repurposed to a Shawlette for me. I'm ok with that.

I think Boxing Day is my favourite day of the holiday season. We're still in the glow of Christmas but haven't moved into the frenzy of the New Year festivities yet. A quiet day to sit and knit and drink coffee and eat chocolates and play with new Christmas toys.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ready or not! Here comes Christmas!

I think we're least, as ready as one can be.  Turkey is brining away, presents wrapped and under the tree. Veggies prepped and ready.  House is clean and tidy enough, dog has been washed and brushed. Handmade ornament for my sister just finished and wrapped. I have an hour to sit and knit before getting ready for the usual Christmas Eve festivities.
Lopsided tree
No one is going to care that I only baked one kind of cookies or that my tree is lopsided or this or that. Anything that is not done at this point, is not important. No one is going to leave my house just because I didn't dust in all the high places.

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Paper houses

Paper houses
I've been playing with my Silhouette paper cutter and made a bunch of paper houses.  Basically, you buy a template and make as many as you need. I'm going to make more for a Christmas village.

So it turns out, my thumb has healed but I have no feelings on the top of my thumb and limited motion. Not good for fine detail work. I have to go to Physio to see if I can improve the range of movement. Holding scissors is a little difficult - can't do small accurate cuts. I can knit again but spinning is still awkward. Stupid freak accident.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

December 2013 Desktop Calendar

December 2013

I really thought I might not have a calendar to post for December.  It was not easy coming up with one image that sums up December for me. Then I read Tammy's post at My Flower Journal  with a tutorial on how to paint watercolour lights. It reminded me  that as much as I love everything about December and Christmas, it's the lights that I love best.

When I was a child, I used to love sitting in the dark with just the glow of the lights on the Christmas tree. It was magical.

Lights were sketched and painted in Sketchclub on my iPad, transferred to Artrage for the watercolour paper texture.

To use, double click on image and save.

Linked to Art Every Day Month, Day 29.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Need to do something creative

Stitches came out today but thumb is still really bruised and sore. I'm bored! Can't knit, can't sketch. I missed Monday's Pen & Ink class. I can play around on Sketchclub if I don't work on anything that require fine motor I made a couple of backgrounds.

Wet paper texture

Paint drying texture

Sometimes you do need to watch the paint dry even if it's only virtual paint.

I did say I was bored.

Done on Sketchclub on the iPad.  The layers are left intact so I can change the background colours to use in other projects.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Today started like any normal wet November day - typical Vancouver weather. Despite the weather, things were going well. Quiet day anticipated at work. Come home on time, knit, work on my drawing, lounge on the sofa.

That would have been the plan had I not tripped on a door and cut my thumb, which resulted in spending the rest of the day in emergency for six stitches.


No knitting, no sketching but lounging on the sofa is still doable.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day

We won't forget

Thank you doesn't seem to be enough to say to all the men and women who served in our military so I can have the life I have today. I am grateful and thankful for the sacrifices you and your families have made for me and my family.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A slow day in my brain.

Today's creative thing so far was just a couple of rows of knitting.  It was a rough day at work, followed by a frantic phone call from the son.  Everything's ok now but still feeling a bit stressed out.  I think I will go work on my Sunflower picture some more. 

I had decided to take this Pen and Ink drawing class because I wanted to learn more about the traditional art techniques and to see how I can use the techniques to improve my digital art.  Now, I'm finding that I really enjoy drawing with actual pen and paper.  I love the meditative aspect of zoning out when working on a drawing.  It's very calming. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Pen and Ink Sunflower

Pen and Ink sunflower

Homework for the week - pen and ink drawing of a sunflower. This is one of my favourite pictures. The original photo was taken with my cellphone two summers ago of a giant sunflower in our backyard. The thing was huge!

This drawing is not quite finished yet. I'm still working on the fence.  The assignment was to do a stylistic drawing of a photo, using patterns and texture to show tonal contrast.

I've decided to take part in November Art Every Day Month at Creative Every Day.  I may or may not create something every day but I'm going to try. The point is to do something each day, no matter how big or small, and share it with people. I love going to the different sites and seeing what other people are making. It's a great way to get inspired. I know there's going to be days where I do nothing. That's ok too.

Painting done on iPad 

This is a painting I did on my iPad, using the Sketchclub app. I'm really getting my money's with from this photo.

Original photo

Monday, November 04, 2013

Kitchen Sunday - Blueberry Muffins

I love blueberry muffins. I make a batch every weekend and freeze them for the week. This is the easiest, quickest blueberry muffin I've found. The recipe was adapted from the Joy of Cooking cookbook.

Preheat oven to 400 deg F.

In first bowl, mix together:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix well and add in 2 cups frozen blueberries.  I've used fresh but found a great brand of frozen  berries. It's the Snowcrest Farm brand from Costco. Make sure all the berries are separated and coated with the flour mixture.

In second bowl, mix together:
2 large eggs
1 cup of milk
2/3 C Demerara brown sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp vanilla rum (original recipe called for vanilla extract)

Vanilla rum is Demerara rum with vanilla beans soaking for a couple of months. I keep a bottle of this just for baking and top it up with more rum as needed. I throw in a new vanilla bean every so often also.

Make a well in your dry ingredient bowl and pour your wet ingredients in. Mix well with a few strokes until the dry ingredients are just mixed. Scoop into your muffin cups.

I use a 6 muffin silicone tray because we like the big muffins. You can make 12 normal size ones. The silicone trays are great - no greasing needed.

Bake for 35 mins or until done when checked with a wooden toothpick or skewer.  Original recipe says bake for 17 mins but that's for the smaller no-blueberry muffins.  Time may vary depending on your oven and the size of your muffins.

Let cool completely on cooling rack before wrapping up to freeze.

Friday, November 01, 2013

2013 November Calendar

2013 November calendar 

November was a tough month to do. To me, it's always been the in-between month. The month between Halloween and Christmas.  It's neither here nor there. Weather-wise, some days are gorgeous and sunny and other days it could be cold and dreary - typical Westcoast weather. We don't get the drastic changes in our foliage like back East. The landscape is still green, soggy but green.

The photo was taken with my cellphone on one of our walks along the Deboville Slough in Port Coquitlam. It wasn't raining but it was a very foggy day. The mist clung onto the spider web and the droplets looked like little pearls. Other than the calendar overlay, I felt it didn't need any tweaking.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Look! A real drawing!

This afternoon I attended one of those retirement seminars. One thing she said that struck me as odd was that most people find it hard to adjust to life after work. And that one of the things they can't emphasize enough is that you have to make sure you have a reason to get out of bed each day. I'm not sure we will have that problem.

I've been taking a class on drawing with pen and ink and I'm really loving it. It was hard because traditional drawing is not something that's in my comfort zone. I look at these sheets of paper that I'm supposed to cover with stuff and it's intimidating! Plus, the fact you're working in pen means you can't erase mistakes. No undo button.

I find the classes pretty intense. We seem to be doing a full drawing per week. The first week we did three cubes using three different shading techniques. That was manageable. These flowers was the second week's project. By the third week, I was falling behind. It was a stipling project that was done on vellum. That was over the Thanksgiving weekend so we had two weeks to complete the drawing. Now I'm at three weeks with it and barely got half of the stupid lizard done. I've started my homework for the fourth week and have decided to ignore the lizard for now.  The classes are fast paced and I'm struggling to keep up but I'm having so much fun!

I don't think I've ever done a real drawing like this before. I can't wait until I retire!

My apologies to my Twisted fibre friends. I meant to come back on Wednesdays but have been doing homework instead.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Game Face

Game Face

Although I don't wear make-up anymore, every morning I wake up and put on my "game face". It's something everyone does, whether or not they admit to it. It's a way of protecting our inner thoughts and our vulnerability. 

Photo was manipulated in Sketchclub using the transform tool, mask was painted on a separate layer and feathered. Butterfly brush for the hair was created in Procreate. Hair and background was erased using a soft edged brush with the opacity down. I turned down the opacity in small increments as I worked into the figure to soften the blending and to make sure there were no harsh lines. Once everything was done, the picture was imported to Snapseed for the grunge effect and the border. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dressing up for Halloween

What? Doesn't everyone dress up for Halloween?

I'm running out of time...I need a quick simple costume.

A quick doodle on the iPad, using Paper53.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kitchen Sunday - Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

Ok, it's technically not Sunday today. But I was too busy lazy to write up a post yesterday. After the weekly blueberry muffins, I made peanut butter Nutella cookies. I found a recipe on Pinterest but decided not to follow their recipe. I made my usual recipe and instead of baking the cookies first then making the indent and put the Nutella in after, I made variations.

I indented the cookie dough, put in a dab of Nutella, then baked them. They didn't look as good as the pictures in the original recipe - the Nutella formed a crust and fell out of the cookies when you bite into them. Still, they were tasty. I know they're tasty because I left 24 cookies on the rack to cool. This is NOT 24 cookies!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Just a moment to get back some sanity...

Squash Minion

A small squash and a couple of Sharpie markers can make a rough day at work much better. This is now sitting on a window ledge looking out to the rest of the office. Maybe it bring a smile to someone else too and make their bad day better. It doesn't take long to find a moment to create something simple and fun.

Don't ask why I have a squash in my office.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

October 2013 Desktop calendar

October 2013 - corner calendar

October 2013 - full size

I had a tough time deciding which one I liked better - smaller calendar on the corner or the full size one.  I might try one for a couple of weeks and switch it around to see which one I prefer.  To use, just open it and save to your desktop. Or print it out to use as a monthly journal page.

October is always a darker month than September. There's no more Mr Nice Guy with October. You know you're in full-on wet weather. Skies are dark and grey but still not as bad as November and December. I love October - it has Halloween! I love the spooky scariness of Halloween.

This picture was taken along the trail by the river where we walk the dog. The sun had just came out from behind clouds and from the angle where I was standing, the tree limbs looked so much like giant spider legs crawling out of the ground.

Picture was put through the various iPad apps so much that I've lost track of which app did what. Calendar was created in Procreate, frame was created in Snapseed, and everything was put together in Sketchclub.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kitchen Sunday - Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies

The usual Sunday batch of blueberry muffins were done quickly this morning. The weather is wet - very wet today. Just did not feel up to going to the Farmer's Market in this rain. Made peanut butter cookies instead. I think it was a great decision.

The original recipe came from a newspaper or magazine clipping way back from the dawn of time. It's a pretty straightforward recipe - 1 cup sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 egg, mix and bake at 350 for 8 mins. Over the years it's been modified.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
2 cups peanut butter (chunky or smooth works depending on what you like.)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Mix everything together. Scoop dough onto your cookie sheet, about a tablespoon size ball, and flatten slightly with a fork. Bake 10 mins at 350 deg. Let then cool slightly before moving off the cookie sheet otherwise, they'll crumble.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Funny bunny

I haven't done much this week - very little knitting, very little drawing, and a whole lot of Guild Wars 2 playing. I know playing computer games is a BIG time sink for me. I seem to go through phases. It's fun and for the most part, mindless.

When I don't know what to draw, I draw odd looking bunnies. They make me happy. That's reason enough for me.

Doodled on iPad using Paper53 app.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jelly Fish

Jelly fish at the Vancouver Aquarium

One of our day trips for our staycation was a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium.  I love the jelly fish tanks - they are so delicate and beautiful.  If it was up to me, I could stand there for hours watching them float up and down.

We were there for almost five hours but it doesn't feel like it was enough time to see everything.  I think we could have used another five hours in there.

Photos were taken with my cell phone. For the most part, the glass didn't present too much of a problem for reflections. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Everyone has a story

"In a city of 23 million, it boggles the mind to think that each one has an exciting personal story that no one will ever hear."

We drove by an old graveyard yesterday. I couldn't help but wondered about the people buried there. Did they still have families around? What were their lives like? Did they have secrets that no one else knew? What was their story? What was their legacy that they left behind?

Initial sketch done on Sketji, imported to SketchClub for everything else, iColorama for the frame.  It could have easily been done in SketchClub but I wanted to play with the pre-set borders in iColorama. Red and black colour blocks were digitally stamped on the background with the opacity turned down to 60% to create the feeling of an old worn photograph.

The world within

I sat and knitted and knitted and knitted some more today. I'm trying to finish this sweater before the end of next week. It was supposed to be a summer sweater but it's been too hot to knit until the past week or so. I have a sleeve and a half to go.

Tomorrow is the second week of my two week staycation. I love being at home like this. We've taken a lot of day trips last week, playing tourists in our own home town. Next week, hubby goes back to work and I have another week off. My plan is to read, knit, and draw on my iPad. That's it.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Daikon sketch

Sometimes when I don't know what to draw, I look in my fridge. Found an old daikon in there. A daikon is kinda like a big radish, about the size of a parsnip. This one was in the fridge for a while, little roots were growing from the tip.

The drawing was done in Sketji, imported to Sketclub for colour tinting.

Monday, September 02, 2013

A button

I've been working on this button off and on for a couple of months now. It never seemed like it was finished. Today, I realized it needed a background - the jacket for it to sit on. Now it's done. Sometimes you just have to be patient and let things work itself out.

Sketched on Sketchclub.

Making digital brushes and stencils.

Just like regular art journaling, you have to spend some time doing prep work. Like creating brushes to use, playing with different effects for backgrounds., etc. I made some stencils today for the days of the week. I wanted to recreate a block printing effect but that's still a work in progress.  Instead I got these...interesting enough to keep. They do look pretty cool combined with different filters.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

September 2013 monthly calendar

September 2013 monthly calendar 

I made this to be used on a desktop or printed out as a monthly calendar page for a journal. Feel free to use as you wish.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Night sky.

Did I mentioned I signed up for a pen & ink drawing class in September? I'm excited. It's a whole new skill set to learn - drawing without an undo button. No safety net.

I try to do something creative everyday, whether its a quick sketch on the old iPad or knit a few rows of a sweater. It keeps me sane.

This was done with the Sketji app. The effects are more like a brush painting than drawing. A fun app.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Time goes by fast.

What's on my desk. 

The weather is still warm but kind of cloudy and rainy. The mornings are dark when I wait for the bus now. Although August is not quite at the end yet, it feels like the end of summer. Another year going by quickly.

Drawing done on Sketchclub on the iPad.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

5 year journal, part 2.

5 year journal pages in Paper 53

I'm going to commit to doing a five year journal.  Just write one line a day.  I tried that before but got bored very quickly.  Maybe it will be different this time because I'm doing this on my iPad using Paper 53 app for this.  A quick line and a quick doodle.  I can do this.  This might be easier than doing a paper journal - I always have my iPad with me. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Old favourite shoes

Going through my closet and came across these oldies but goodies from the old Fox and Fluevog days. Amazingly, they're still in good condition. I gave the suede a bit of a brush with the suede brush and they look good as new.



Digital painting done on my iPad, using Procreate and Artrage for the canvas texture. Inspiration for this piece came from Splatter paint tutorial over at Tammy's My Flower Journal. Although the tutorial is for real paint and paper, the techniques can easily be translated for digital painting. I used the splatter brush in the spray can set in Procreate. Once the painting was finished, it was imported into Artrage for the canvas texture.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fifty two

Fifty Two

Something about turning 52 that wasn't there when I turned 50. I'm that much closer to retirement and have been thinking of how I want to spend my sunset years. In truth, I've been thinking of what I want to do when I retire and how to prepare for it. Financially, it's going to be fine. Hubby will retire first in less than than two years. In my retirement, I want to have more time to make stuff, sit around and read all day if I wanted to.

As part of my preparation, I've been taking a few drawing and painting classes. I've signed up for another one in September and I'm really looking forward to it. I think, one is never too old to learn new things. It seems weird to think about retirement already. I don't feel like I'm old enough yet.

The photomontage was done on my iPad, using Sketchclub for pretty much all of it and Artrage for the background texture. The text was done on Documents, imported into Sketchclub as an image load. I wanted it to look like an old newspaper clipping. This was done using the sepia filter in Sketchclub.

Photo corners courtesy of Retoucher07039 on deviantART, tweaked in Sketchclub to fit my picture.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

No Undo button in Real Life

Scribble Drawing
The idea was to make a scribble and draw something with it.  I did this using FinngrPro  app on my iPad.  The appeal of FinngrPro is there is no undo button. Whatever marks you make, you work with.  If you don't like something, you have to paint over it or make it into something else.  That was an interesting challenge. 

A metaphoric lesson on work with what you have and make the most of what you're given.  Sometimes you have to look at your mistakes from a different perspective. 

Scribble and drawing done on FinngrPro, imported to Sketchclub for the border (no reason, other than I wanted to), and for the signature brush.

Sunday, August 04, 2013


To Do
The question for yesterday was "What is the one thing you want to accomplish tomorrow?"  Interesting that it did not ask what I accomplished today but for tomorrow.  I started to mske a To-Do list but that was not the question. What was the one thing I wanted to accomplish?  The question made me more mindful of what I needed to accomplish not just for today but for my week off work. Although I still have my list of chores for this week, I'm going to make sure I have time to do things for me.

This journal page was done on the iPad with Sketchclub. I tried to do this page as if I had painted it, laying on the colours on one layer, rather than multiple layers.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

What did I have for lunch today?

Sushi, of course
Sushi is my go-to lunch when I don't know what to eat and I didn't bring my lunch. So far, it's three days in a row this week.

I know this is boring stuff but I told myself I will try and do something everyday. I liked the Everyday in May series. The prompts help...I think I needed someone else to do the thinking for me. When someone else tells me what to draw, it takes the pressure off me. I've been using the 365 questions for the 5 year journaling when I'm stuck for ideas. Trying to draw sushi was a challenge trying to get the rice to look rice-like. Baby steps, right?

Sketched on my iPad with Sketchclub and imported to Artrage for the background. Newspaper background was imported in as an image load and distorted using transform. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Did I made a difference today?

I like to think that in some small way I did made a difference today. I used cloth bags for my groceries. I recycled my cans and plastics. I shopped local. These are all the things my family do now as a matter of course.  Little things adds up.

I think it's great that all these things are now part of our normal daily routine. By doing so, yes, I made a difference today.

The weather was much cooler today and I was able to get some knitting done. I found this project while rummaging in my workroom looking for some sock yarn. I forgot all about this's going to be a light knitted tee done with Habu silk. I'm about halfway through so I might be able to finish this before the end of summer. It's all stockinette stitch and knitted in the round so it's really boring.

Just because

I've been doing my digital journal pages like I would if doing them in a paper journal - layering things on, not worrying about things being covered or how it looks as long as it makes sense to me.
It's quite a liberating feeling.

For the first time in many years I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about work. There seems to be a real commitment for change. Same song, same dance, different partners.  Let's wait and see if things will really change this time.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

One hot summer day

It's funny how one thought can lead to something totally different than the original. I saw a boy walking down the street.  What was unusual was that he was dressed in black from head to fleece hoodie, long black jeans, black hi-top runners, black backpack - on one of the hottest days of the summer. I couldn't help but wondered if all that was for the sake of his fashion statement or was there something more? What was his story? Where was he going? Will he be comfortable when he gets there? As I started to sketch, I started thinking about where I was going with all this and I have no idea. I see some sketches people have done and I would have considered finished when they were at the halfway point. How do you know when something finished?

Life is a lot simpler with knitting.

Sketched on iPad using Sketchclub.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Flower arrangement

Flower arrangement
This started as a digital collage in Sketchclub, using some of the soft edge brushes to make jagged shapes to simulate ripped paper.

1.  Load base drawing/photo.
2. Create a new layer on top and fill with a colour you want your "paper" edge to be.
3. Using a soft edge brush, set it on erase and create random shapes.
4. Merge top layer to photo.
5. Select fill and set to erase.
6. Erase colour, leaving shapes.
7. In Sketchclub, how much of a "paper" edge remains depend on how sensitive you set your fill function.

Once I created several sheets of shapes, I imported them into Procreate. Procreate now has a selection tool so you can select specific shapes. You can cut & paste and move the shapes where ever you want.

The picture was then imported to the Glaze app for a painterly effect but this could be easily achieved in Procreate or Sketchclub using Smudge.

Picture was then imported back to Sketchclub for the pen sketch.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kitchen Sunday

Kitchen Sunday
Sunday mornings are usually spent in the kitchen baking the batch of weekly muffins and whatever else needed.  This week I made a batch of Charshu for noodle and soup.  It's a very time consuming process but so worth it!  The leftover marinade was used to make the soft hardboiled eggs.

The journal page was done on Sketchclub with a couple of photo edits.  I've been creating brushes in Procreate and bringing them over to Sketchclub.  I think my ideal app would be a combination of Procreate and Sketchclub.

Thankful for:
1. The realization that my life is not bad - as much as I grumble and groan about work, it does afford me the ability to enjoy my real life.
2.  Weekends are the best - I've been noticing I do get to spend a good deal of time on the computer or my iPad.
3.  My niece - she turned 20 today and I think the world of her.  She is funny, quiet, shy, unpretentious, quirky, and extremely creative.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

New journal book

Journal - July 13/13

 I bought another little journal book. It's small and black with a hard cover but soft binding so it will lay flat. The million dollar question is - will I use it? I'm not sure. I've been reading everything I could find on the Internet and the one glaring fact is that I need to just do it. You can't get better without practice. I know all that. But I really prefer my iPad. There's no undo in a paper journal. I will carry this little kit around until the novelty wears off or until I use it. Until then, it's an iPad page again.

It doesn't matter...I love new notebooks.

On the fibre front, I'm still knitting my sweater from the recycled denim. I regret doing this in 3.75mm needles!  It's going to take a long time!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Simple lines.

Simple lines
I've been reading so much lately about creating or making something everyday. It got to the point I felt overwhelmed by all the great stuff people were doing.  I didn't know where to start again.

Sometimes all you have time for is just a few simple lines of doodle or a couple of rows of knitting. And that's ok too.

Sketched on iPad.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Canada Day

I find it scary in this day and age that so many people still have so little rights. I am so very thankful that I live in a country where my personal right matter.

Happy Canada Day!