Sunday, December 21, 2014

January 2015 Desktop Calendar

2015 January desktop calendar
Black capped chickadees aka pig birds as they're affectionally called around my place. They can empty a feeder in no time flat. They're not shy birds and will chatter at you as you're trying to refill the feeders as fast as you can.  These guys winter here on the West Coast. I love watching them from our kitchen window.

What I've learned in watercolour class does translate to digital painting. I have yet to try this painting on paper but really liking the painting on Artrage. Despite the awful lags, it is still the best app for watercolour painting on the iPad.

Bird painted with Artrage, imported to Sketchclub to combine into desktop calendar.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Easy Quince Tart

Easy Quince Tart

When I came across a recipe called Easy Jam Tart, I can't help but wondered if it's easy for normal people or easy for me, the baking challenged.  I tested it out yesterday and it really is that easy. In fact, so easy and so tasty that I'm making this for Christmas. Quince jelly provided by my friend, Gloria. She regularly gives me a jar of this wonderful heavenly goodness and it is absolutely perfect for this tart. I have enough to make one more tart.


The pastry is a short crust pastry, more crumbly than flaky, and no rolling is needed. Super easy, everything goes in the stand mixer. Super yummy!

My variations:
Bake at 375 deg for 22 mins.
Save the egg white from the second egg to make a wash to brush over the top before sprinkling the Turbinado sugar.
Jam amount used - 1 1/3 cups.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Needlefelted Totoro

Every year, my sister hosts her Annual Christmas Breakfast. You have to bring an handmade ornament. This year's offering is a needlefelted Totoro, just under an inch and half tall with ears.  She loved it.  I used the little blue felted balls I made in the summer. 
Needlefelted Totoro

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 December Desktop calendars

2014 December Snowman desktop calendar

2014 December Blue Bird desktop calendar
I know I'm a bit early for December...I'm rushing the holiday season.  :)

I got in the Christmas mood early and started making calendars.  Right now, I have the snowman one on my desktop.  I wasn't happy with the November seems that Sketchclub had a bit of an issue with things saving as a low res JPEG instead of PNG so the quality was not there. Sketchclub is fixed now but I didn't want to re-do it so I went straight to December. 

Snowman desktop - done in Procreate.  Blue Bird desktop - done in Sketchclub. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rest in peace, Mike.

I was at a funeral service for a coworker who was also a good friend.  It was rather sudden, taken away by the big C.

How do you find words to convey loss without sounding trite?  I don't remember much of the service for my dad but I do remember how I was feeling.  I wondered if it will be the same for his family? People going up to them to say their condolences. I think, even if they don't remember the words, they will remember the support and that people cared.

The pain never goes away.  You think it does and you might forget about it once in a while.  But when you're sitting at someone's funeral and you're watching their family cry, it all comes back.  I don't remember anything people were saying to me but I do remember the very moment when it hit me that my dad is truly gone and never to return.  I remember thinking the next day how surprising it was that the sun came up and the skies were blue.  People were going on with their daily lives as if there was not a great loss in the world and I'm in pain.

Mike, you will be sorely missed.  Rest in peace. 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

The perfect bag!

The perfect backpack!
I found the perfect backpack for commuting today! This makes me very happy. I actually made a list of what I wanted in a commuting bag. 

Two outside mesh pockets - one for my umbrella (this is Vancouver, after all) and one for my water bottle. 
Padded laptop area for my iPad. 
Easily accessible pockets for things like a comb, tissues, lip balm, etc. I don't want to carry a purse and a backpack. 
Secure outside pocket for bus pass and phone. 
A pocket to put my pens, pencils, stylus, etc. I don't like those skinny little pen slots...there's never enough of them. 
Room for my lunch bag, knitting, sketchbook, shoes, a book or magazine and still have room in case I want to stuff in a light jacket or sweater. 
Key fob. 
And the most important thing is that it's nice to look at and does not have butt ugly patterns all over it and those stupid extra straps and ties that I have no idea what they're for. 
This bag meets all my criteria and more. As for sturdy and durable, this bag has a lifetime guarantee!

Now I need to find the perfect purse! 

Friday, November 07, 2014

2014 November desktop calendar

2014 November desktop calendar

It's hard to believe that it's November already. This November marks a big change for us - my husband is now retired. I'm happy for him. He had a very physically demanding job that had caused all sorts of damage to his back. Hopefully, he will be able to recover. I can't wait until I get to retire. 

Created on the iPad with Procreate. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stick and ink apples

Stick and ink sketch of apples from my apple tree. 

Drawn with a sharpened stick from the apple tree. There's less control using a stick but I like the results. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pencil crayons and Alice Walker

Alice Walker

This week's class was about faces and their proportions and using complementary colours to create shading and tone. The face was done in class with pencil crayons. I wanted to finish the drawing but I don't own any pencil crayons. I have all sorts of paints, pastels, markers, a whole assortment of art supplies. But no pencil crayons.

The drawing was done using a newspaper photo as refernce. Unfortunately, I don't know which newspaper or any way of crediting the photo. It was in a bag of an assortment of photos the instructor had. I was happy to sketch Alice Walker. She's someone I've always admired for her activist work and her writings.

I scanned the floating head into my iPad and finished up on Procreate. I'm pretty happy with the results.
Pencil and pencil crayon on paper 

These classes have been great, although I do miss not meeting up with my fibre friends Wednesday nights. If you guys are still reading my blog - Hi!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

October 2014 Desktop Calendar

October 2014 desktop calendar 
Week three watercolour class - This is a tree I sketched from a photo, then painted with watercolours. We had to look at the photograph and decide on one primary colour and then use the complementary colour as the accent. 

For the desktop calendar, I scanned the painting into my iPad and reworked it in a series of painting apps. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014


So last night was the first watercolour class, needless to say I had a ball! The class was small (3 people) and the teacher is quirky. You know its going to be good when the teacher starts the class by reading out loud a children’s book “Ish” by Peter H. Reynolds. It’s about a boy name Ramon who loves to draw until a snide comment made him doubt his abilities when his drawings don’t look quite like the real life objects. It wasn’t until his sister commented that it looked vase-ish that he realized that drawings don’t have to look exactly like the real thing as long as the feel of it was there. I don’t know if that was the intended message of the book but that was my takeaway. 
Anyway, we started with some blind contour drawings. I’ve read about them but never tried that before. This is my first…a little stuff bear. I looked at it and thought yep, bear-ish.
On a side note, Peter H. Reynolds is also the author and illustrator of another favourite book - The Dot. Google International Dot Day. He’s right. A signature makes your picture better. 😜

Thursday, September 04, 2014

September 2014

2014 September desktop calendar
September is one on those in-between months where it's not quite summer anymore and not quite Fall yet. It's time to start looking at cozy sweaters without worrying about heat exhaustion. It was a really warm summer. The plus side is that our garden loved the heat...especially the tomatoes.

Tomatoes are at the end now, time to harvest what's left in the garden.

Painted in Sketchclub, Procreate, & Glaze on the iPad.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Hotel Europe

Photos taken and manipulated in phone camera.  Stairs and lobby photographed at the old Hotel Europe in Gastown.  A very cool building - it's called a Flat Iron building with the whole building shaped like a wedge or flat iron.  It was built in 1909 and it used to be a hotel.  Now it's low income housing.  The lobby still has all the original marble stair and brass railings.  The tile mosaic work on the floor was absolutely gorgeous!  Apparently, rumour has it that these may be the haunts of two ghosts!

Brick wall was a photo of a really cool brick wall I saw in Chinatown.  

Friday, August 01, 2014

August 2014

August 2014 desktop calendar 
It's August and the year is more than halfway over. Hubby has another two months to his retirement and I have another two years to go.

As a kid, August was a time of laziness for me. It was ok to lie on the cool grass for hours at a time and do nothing but watch the clouds go by. August was endless.

As an adult, August goes by way too fast. August is the other side of the year. The days feel shorter now.  There always seems to be so much to do and so very little time to do everything. A two week vacation is gone in a blink of an eye. I feel like I'm running out of time.

August 2014 was done in Procreate, filters created in Glaze, with everything imported to Sketchclub to combine and final editing. Calendar insert is from here.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Scary blank pages

Why are blank pages so intimidating?
I've been trying to break the curse of the blank pages but not having any luck. I have no problem picking up my iPad and doodling away but staring at a white page is so intimidating. Tomorrow, I will face my fears.

Doodled on my iPad using Sketchclub.

Monday, June 30, 2014

July 2014 desktop calendar

July 2014 
I skipped June. No real reason other than I was busy and didn't make a calendar. So much was happening in June. Work was insane with our annual recruitment, new members coming into our team, and old members leaving. I've been doing more knitting and spinning lately. Less computer stuff and more real life stuff.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I admit I'm a hoarder.

I think I've crossed that fine line between stash and hoard. I admit I have a problem with craft stuff. When I say I've tried pretty much any craft out there and have all the stuff to go with it, I'm not joking. This week is my annual clean the workroom week. It used to take a couple of hours, a day at the most but now it's taking almost a whole week. Mind you, it is a very thorough clean. Each box is opened and the contents inspected carefully, box washed out with a solution of vinegar and water and then repacked. Books are taken off the shelves, shelves are moved to vacumn behind them, washed with water and vinegar, and then books are sorted and put back.

This year I've been a bit more ruthless. WIPs that I know I'll never get around to finishing were ripped out and rewound. Odd balls of yarn that I'll never use went into a bin to go out. Luckily, all the natural fibres can be composted so that's a good thing.

Tossed out are all the pretty boxes that I've collected that I might someday use in a craft. I found a ziplock bag full of pretty shiny foil that I had no idea I had.

The hardest thing is not to get sidetracked. As I go through the boxes, I find stuff that I've forgotten and it's like seeing old friends. You want to stop and visit. I have 12 large paper bags of fleece...all washed and some are picked.  These bags are the big garden recycling paper bags and not your wimpy grocery bags. Yeah. I have a lot of stuff. I'm pretty sure I've stashed beyond my life expectancy.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


This is my Jenkins Lark Turkish spindle. I've had this for a while now and have not touched it since the first spin. Life and other projects came between us. It's light and beautiful and spins like a dream. The fibre is Falkland Islands organic merino/polworth blend. Very soft.

You don't spin on a spindle because you're in a hurry.  Output on a tiny spindle is much slower than output on a spinning wheel.  If you want fast and immediate results, you spin on the electric spinner.

I've forgotten how to slow down.  To wait for the results one inch at a time.  I'm still impatient when I see how long it's taken just to spin this little bit of yarn but I'm working on it. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Columbines in Gold

Columbines in gold 
It started with a new cellphone and a thought of what I could do with a then unheard of cellphone camera of 5 whole megapixels. It was a personal challenge to see if I can take decent pictures with a cellphone camera. I've upgraded my cellphone camera a couple of times and now 41 megapixels later, I'm hooked again on photography and all that it offered in digital manipulations. The best part now is seeing what I can do on my iPad and phone. Instant editing and so very portable. Apps are getting so good and so sophisticated that the line between computer editing and editing on the go has almost disappeared. When I see an effect done with Photoshop, I think of how I can duplicate the same effect on just the iPad or phone.

The picture above was editing directly using an editing app in the Lumia 1020. The textured overlay was another photo edited in the phone and blended with the columbines. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

May 2014 Calendar

2014 May calendar
April showers brought May flowers. Lots of May flowers. We had a few days of sunshine and was able to enjoy the full magnificence of the magnolia blooms before they fell and rotted.

Photo taken on the Nokia Lumia 1020 and edited on the iPad.

May is also EDiM (Every Day in May) where you challenge yourself to do a quick sketch a day. I've decided this year to actually draw something in a real sketchbook. So far so good.

I'm also going to keep going with the photo a day as well. I'm pretty impressed with myself that this will be the third month. Commit one month at a time.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Something I learned...

Gastown alley
...through the eyes of a camera to find beauty in my surroundings, no matter where.  I learned this from my dad.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Good together...

Good together...
Walked around at lunch today, trying to find things that would fit today's photo prompt - good together.  There were so many things. Rain and umbrellas. Moms and strollers. Muffins and coffee.

But the best good together combo was raw fish and rice, all wrapped up in bits of seaweed.  I've said before and I'll say it again - sushi is the best lunch food.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

In my hand...

In my hand...
In my hand I hold endless possibilities.

I'm my own worse critic. I need to stop worrying that something is not good enough.

With knitting, I look at the yarn and I see possibilities of what I can create with he yarn. The possibilities are multiplied when I look at the fibre that I can spin into the yarn. Every step of the creative process gives me more possibilities. It really is endless.

Picture of my hand taken with the iPad camera, edited and painted effects on Sketchclub.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

April photo a day

I think calling this "Faux" was a bit of a stretch. It's a colour photo edited on the iPad to resemble an old faded photo.  This is the March 31st prompt for A Photo A Day.

I had a lot of fun doing March but I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit for April but decided to go for it.

The first photo for April is Purple. A million purple flowers in the city and I do this for purple. What was I thinking?!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

April 2014 desktop calendar

April 2014

To me, April is Spring. April is the month everything wakes up again. Flowers and buds are showing up on all my garden plants. The magnolia tree is covered with fuzzy green and pink buds and you know that in a few weeks, the tree will be covered with soft pink blossoms. Tiny green buds are appearing on the apple tree in the back yard.

The snowdrops photo was taken in my backyard, using the Nokia Lumia 1020. Calendar bit was done in Sketchclub app on the iPad.

The last week of February and the beginning of March was a couple of rough weeks. I just did not feel up to making a desktop calendar. I think this is probably my favourite picture taken so far on the 1020.  I love snowdrops. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Chinatown, Vancouver


Chinatown has always been one of my favourite places in Vancouver. I remember walking around looking at storefronts that you never see open and wondering what kind of business they do, how do they survive and pay rent? Lately, there has been a quiet revitalization of the area. New stores and interesting business have been popping up here and there.  The old rundown storefronts were always interesting but I'm glad to see this area improve. Definitely an area in transition. 

Picture was taken on Nokia Lumia 1020, edited on the iPad using a variety of apps. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I am here...

I am here...I am here to make a difference 
I am here...I am here to make a difference.

Photo taken on the Nokia lumia 1020, edited with Fantasia Painter app in cellphone. It's a fun app but I like the editing apps on the iPad for better range.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Letter A


...Letter A, the letter we strive for in school, A for Achievements, A for Awesome, A for Annoying.

I've been doing the March Photo a Day challenge from Fatmumslim's blog.  Some days it's a real challenge coming up with something that suits, other days it seems like the perfect opportunity is just sitting right in front of  your face. 

Having a word or phrase in mind forces me to think outside the box and to go beyond the obvious.  In this case, thinking inside the box worked best.  By the time I saw this, I had taken a good many pictures but none of them seem to work for me.  Sometimes the best solution is the obvious solution. 

Taken on the Lumia 1020, and lightly edited with the camera app. 

Monday, March 10, 2014 a corner. a corner. a corner brings to mind the old saying "painting yourself into a corner." Getting yourself into situation with no or very limited options. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and walk out onto the wet floor and hope for the best.

For this picture, this was meant to be a twist on the saying. The photo was taken of a favourite corner of our house. The photo was then edited on the iPad using several filter apps.  I wanted the painted effect and the splatters to say yes, I painted that corner...I'm in control...good or bad.

Sunday, March 09, 2014


I'm not sure if this collage will make any sense. It's a head, lying on the walkway, looking wistfully up through the trees at the sky. This was for a Photo a Day challenge.

No real heads were harmed in the making of this picture. The head was cropped from another photo with the photo of trees overlaid on top then put through several filters.  The photo of the walkway was put through an app called Glaze, then through iColorama to highlight the colours and set as the background. All the pieces and the drop shadow effects were put together in Sketchclub.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A little lost...

A little lost...

I was feeling a little lost yesterday...dealing with a relatively new boss, new ideas, changes.  Different style of management - not in a bad way but just different.  It's been over six months now and I thought I would "get with the program" but I'm not finding it easy to understand.  I don't know why I should care so is not my life.  Or at least, it shouldn't be...

Life is treating me well and I have a lot to be thankful for.  It's just that I get a little lost sometimes.

 Apps used - Paper by 53 then Glaze.

Saturday, March 01, 2014


For Lynn
A good friend and colleague passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago. I'm just going to ramble here a bit so feel free not to read any of this. Her memorial service was today. I've known her for almost fourteen years. She was one of those people who quietly and wonderfully touched many lives.

Today at the funeral, I couldn't help but noticed over half the people were from work. It wasn't that she didn't have friends but I think it was a true testament to her that so many of us are friends as well as coworkers. I think I've finally understand why we're there, despite the stress and all our grumblings. The relationship I have with these people is more than just someone I work with but they are people I care about as friends.

I'll miss you, Lynn. You always had a way of putting things in perspective.  As bad as I feel, I can't imagine what her family is feeling. They were all very close.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A few photos...

Permanent food trucks in Portland
This was taken last year in Portland in the dead of winter, right after New Year.  For the most part, it was too cold to stand outside for food truck sampling.  Photo was taken with the Nokia n8, imported to the Lumia 1020 to try the editing apps.  Not bad for editing on the fly but not the variety one is used to on the iPad. 

Windy day on the dog walk
We had quite a wind storm here on Saturday night and the high winds cleared away the rain clouds for Sunday morning.  We were lucky that the blue skies lasted just long enough for the walk. 

Thankful for:
1.  Being able to see.
2.  Fingers to knit with.
3.  Being able to feel the softness of the wool.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Olympic Knitting - Part 2

Day 4
Sent off an email to the yarn company and they responded. They were very apologetic and offered to send 5 balls of the same dye lot by Express Post. That was very nice of them. In light of this news, I decided to take a rest day.

Day 5
The new yarn arrived while I was at work. I did not expect it to across Canada so fast!  I had the back fully knitted up and really was not looking forward to knitting the back yet again with the new yarn. Decided to start on the front instead.

Day 6
Ripped back the front when I noticed I did not use the smaller needles for the ribbing. Start again.

Day 7
Knit a few rows.

Day 8
Knit a few more rows.

At this rate, I should be done for the 2018 Winter Games. I think I'll just take my time, knit and watch the Olympics on TV and enjoy the show.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

2014 Ravellenics have begun!

The 2014 Ravellenics (formerly known as Ravelympics but due to a cease and desist letter from the 2012 USOC, the name as been changed).

Anyhow, the games have begun and knitters all over the world cast on their projects at the start of the Opening Ceremonies.  Due to the huge time difference, we recorded the ceremonies and I was able to cast on while watching the recorded show. 

Day 1 - false start #1.  I'm not really following a pattern.  I have yarn and the plan is to make a cardigan - my version of the the Olympic sweater.  I had made a swatch the week before as my "training" and worked out how many stitches I'm going to need.  After knitting 6", it was obvious that the cardigan would be too big.  Frogged back and started over again. 

Day 2 - false start #2.  I'm just about to bind off the back and noticed the colour was slightly off.  I checked the bag and realized the second ball of yarn was a different dye lot.  Bad.  Checked the rest of the yarn and saw that the company I ordered the yarn from sent me three balls of one dye lot and two balls of another dye lot.  ARRGH!  Annoying because the company is a reputable yarn company and should know better, considering we had a phone conversation when I placed the order discussing how much yarn I'm going to need to knit this sweater. Checking dye lots for a knitter is as fundamental as breathing.  Frogged back again to start over using one of the three and hope it's going to be enough for both the front and back, saving the other two different dye lots for the sleeves.

Day 3 - so far so good.  Halfway done with the back and feeling good.  Hand is a bit sore - I'm not used to knitting this much with very bulky and heavy yarn.  Tomorrow may be a rest day.  

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Happy New Year again! Gung Hai Fat Choi!

February 2014
February is a very busy month. We have Chinese New Year (technically, that's really Jan 31st), Valentine's Day, and Family Day. For me, February will always remind me of the 2010 Winter Olympics...more so this year with the 2014 Olympics about to start in a few weeks.

I love the Olympics and have my Ravelympics knitting project all ready to go. I'm not saying what it is until it's done.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year - January 2014

January 2014
It really felt like 2013 just whooshed by so fast. I'm really looking forward to 2014. I have a good feeling about this upcoming year. I'm optimistic that it's going to be a good year.

Things haven't changed much at work but I've changed. I think it's really finally sunk into my brain that it is what it is and I have a life to live. I think 2013 was my wake-up call.

I'm not calling these my New Year's resolutions but more like a To-Do list for 2014.

1. Creative everyday - it doesn't have to be a finished piece of work, just anything - a couple rows of knitting, bake some cookies, doodle during a meeting.

2. Make sourdough - make a sourdough starter and keep it going for at least a few months.

3. Bake more - hmm...that means I have to eat more baked goods.

4.  Go out for a walk at lunch everyday for at least 10 minutes - rain or shine.

5. Focus more on the good than the bad.

6. Knit at least two projects using Continental knitting.

I'll probably add to this list as I think of more things.

Pithy details on the calendar - original photo was taken one very foggy morning. Apps used - Glaze, Sketchclub, Snapseed, Artrage.