Apr 25, 2011


Sometimes, sometimes, it just doesn't go very well.... I spent 2 hours trying to get Belle the Rat's hind feet to look like each other. Man, she's already a stubborn little thing!

In the end, I think they look pretty similar.

In other news, try a visit to http://www.freekibble.com/ to donate 10 pieces of doggy kibble to an animal shelter with every click! Then visit
http://halopets.com/store-locator.php to find a store and print a coupon to try Halo for yourself (well, your pet anyway!). For helping homeless critters, don't you think they deserve a try?

Apr 24, 2011

Come on in...

...to my studio. So, what does an artist's studio look like? Well, in my case it's kinda cramped quarters, with too much "stuff" and too little workspace! Good lighting but over stimulation galore! I stole some very precious getting-ready-for-the-show time to re-organize some of my studio space to allow for "critters in progress" shelves, a much needed open area where projects in the works could comfortably wait and be reached when the mood hits! You can see the nearly empty long shelf on the bottom and the quarter round shelves to the left of the desk. Yippy!

Here's my ever helpful Willow, wondering what I'm up to with the camera and here is the (extremely over-crowded) closet of possibilities! Do I need more mohair or what?!

Apr 23, 2011

Speak for the environment, express yourself!

Spending a day in Toronto last week with Shauna made me rethink my views on the upcoming election and I've been paying more attention to the parties and what they're "promising". Thank you Shauna! Perhaps you feel the same way that I do and were thinking of voting strategically, not so much to get anyone in but keeping a party out... Well, here for your review are a few things to consider. First, a review of the parties on key issues if you're a Librarian-type person:

CLA Member Bulletin - 2011 Federal Election Alert!
Party Platform Analysis

The Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, the Green Party of Canada, and the Bloc Québécois have all unveiled their official party platforms.
The following is a brief summary of key highlights and direct excerpts from each platform of what the library community should know as you head to the polls.

The Conservative Party of Canada
A re-elected Conservative Government will reintroduce and pass the Copyright Modernization Act, a key pillar in the party’s commitment to make Canada a leader in the global digital economy.
In spring 2011, the Conservatives will announce and begin implementing a Digital Economy Strategy, focused on the following five priorities:
Building world-class digital infrastructure;
Encouraging businesses to adopt digital technologies;
Supporting digital skills development;
Fostering the growth of Canadian companies supplying digital technologies to global markets; and
Creating made-in-Canada content across all platforms, to bring Canada to the world.

The Liberal Party of Canada
Of interest to the library community, the Liberal Party’s platform highlights the importance of digital technology and its potential to "invigorate our democracy, our economy, and our culture".
If elected, a Liberal government will develop and execute a targeted digital economy strategy, entitled Digital Canada, which is comprised of the following key factors:
Access to Broadband for All Canadians. Liberals consider access to a high-speed broadband Internet connection essential infrastructure. A Liberal government will provide $500 million in support, allowing Canada to achieve basic high-speed Internet access for all Canadian households within three years.
Closing the Digital Divide. A Liberal government will work with all partners to promote digital life skills and training, in particular for older Canadians and lower income families.
Fair balance Between Creators and Consumers. The party reinforces its commitment to pass effective copyright legislation, recognizing that consumers should have freedom for personal use of digital content they rightfully possess.
Flourishing Canadian Content, Culture and Identity in Digital Media. The party highlights that Canadians should continue to have access to ever more Canadian stories and Canadian content in the Digital Canada of the future, highlighting support for Radio Canada and the CBC.
Competition in a Healthy Business Environment that Rewards Innovation. Consumers deserve choices and carriers that invest heavily in the advanced services and infrastructure of tomorrow deserve the chance to earn a fair return.
An Open Internet. To ensure that the Internet continues to foster the uninhibited exchange that innovation requires, Canada’s Internet environment must remain open. It is noted that Internet traffic management must remain neutral, and maintain the open sharing of legitimate technologies, ideas and applications.
Open Government. A Liberal government will commit to putting Statistics Canada and other government data online wherever possible, after meeting all privacy and other legal requirements, which will strengthen Canadian democracy, help create and disseminate knowledge and spur innovation.
Protection from Digital Threats. A Liberal government will make security a priority in Digital Canada, working to advance it with the private sector and other governments at home and abroad.

The New Democratic Party (NDP)
The NDP platform highlights that they are committed to ensuring that all Canadians have access to broadband and a robust digital economy. If elected, an NDP Government will:
Apply the proceeds from the advanced wireless spectrum auction to ensure all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have quality high-speed broadband internet access;
Expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;
Rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-oriented directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to stand up for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies;
Enshrine "net neutrality" in law, end price gouging and "net throttling," with clear rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;
Prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs); and
Introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights.
The platform also highlights, under the banner of investing in Canada’s shared cultural heritage, that the NDP will develop a digital on-line culture service to broaden access to Canadian content.
The Green Party of Canada
The Green Party of Canada’s platform outlines the following priorities:
Ensure that copyright policy allows students to properly conduct and create research in a manner that is consistent with a thriving information commons, fair dealing principles, and moral rights.
Ensure network neutrality by supporting the principles of fair use, consumer information privacy, communications market competition, and rationalization of the statutory damages provision.
Recognize that access to high-speed internet connections is now a critical aspect of infrastructure and work to expand access to address the digital divide.

Bloc Québécois
The Bloc Québécois Platform highlights that the Copyright Act does not account for the impact of new technologies, particularly the arrival of the Internet, and must be amended as soon as possible.
The Bloc Québécois will ensure that the new Copyright Act is fair and does not put creators or consumers at a disadvantage. In particular, it will modernize the private copying system by applying reasonable redistribution royalties for artists to MP3 players and other digital media players, abolishing the education exemption from copyright payments, and immediately recognizing droit de suite for visual artists.
Canadian Library Association, http://www.cla.ca
Even if your party of choice doesn't make it, demand from whoever gets elected that they make the environment a priority. These two articles should make composing your thoughts and a letter very easy. The health of our environment IS the health of our economy. 'Nough said. Express yourself!

Apr 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

It was too cold to do anything fun outside like plant, so we enjoyed a day of cleaning, cooking, taking care of each other and having a long walk in the afternoon sun (just before the rain started!). Mom sorted through all the things in the garage that need to go to the hazardous waste depot and I dusted, vacuumed and tidied up the studio, both long overdue tasks. Willow supervised. Crepe with cream and pecans in maple syrup was dessert for lunch... boy, we needed that walk! All in all, a beautiful day to be on this Earth and so the following is my new motto:

"Live each day as if tomorrow will be a zombie apocalypse."

Apr 21, 2011

Happy Spring Everyone!

While we still had a wee bit of snow on the deck this morning, this isn't unusual for Easter... or so I keep telling myself! I wore my winter coat this morning to walk the dog, a hoodie and gloves! It could get warmer, please, any day now!!!

Here's a favorite Easter image I wanted to share (note the snow!), very Hallowe'enie! I don't know who's responsible for the image, sent to me years ago by someone who obviously knows me, but I wanted to share it with all of you!

Happy Spring!

Apr 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Cere!

Two days ago, this was Cere... Lots of poky wires, sometimes I wonder how I manage without impaling an eye!

But yesterday he was born!!

Yippy! Yes, about 30 hours in the making, Cere, who likes to have his name pronounced "Sir-ah", is now enjoying his freedom as a typical rat, investigating his surroundings and eating everything in reach!

Here are his incisors, my first rat with true ratty teeth, and I think they're nicer than the fangs... what do you think? (Lovely claws too!) One more step towards realism. Also, his ears are a bit smaller and set farther back on his head. He is definitely listening to his surroundings, you can almost imagine them pivoting about!

Hmm... it's going to be hard to part with this handsome bugger!

Apr 17, 2011

Tim Burton in Toronto!

After the late Jim Henson, I'd say Tim Burton has inspired me more than anyone else. Obviously we both share an affection for sharp nails and pointy teeth! What I like best is that his characters, often so alienated, creepy and/or scary are, at the same time, extremely hug-able! (Also there's the metamorphosis theme...) No one else has managed to capture that emotional combination so well and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is obviously almost worshipped, so when I heard (quite by chance) that an exhibit of his work was in Toronto I really wanted to go and see it! It was with great happiness that I learned a co-worker, Shauna, also fancied seeing the exhibit so yesterday we took the train to Toronto! Yes, the train was late, yes it rained a lot but we had a really good time!

Once inside the exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, we were caught up in Tim's swirling, mesmerizing imagination! Of course there were a lot of images and drawings and notes, but what I loved best were the props, especially Edward Scissorhands' costume and scissor hand, Cat Woman's costume (which was true to the story in that it looked like an altered rain coat with all sorts of things serving as claws on her gloved hands), the cape from the Headless Horseman (layers upon layers of fabric, stunning) and a pumpkin-headed scarecrow from the same film and, of course, the models/dolls from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. The detail was amazing up close, so beautifully done!!! How I drooled to touch and manipulate them!

In a separate room were images that Tim did early on and, while photos were not allowed some people (thank you!) have posted our favorites online: "Valentine", "Don't Shoot a Constipated Poodle" and "Little Dead Riding Hood"!

Afterwards, Shauna and I enjoyed shopping on Queen Street, which had so many bead shops, fabric shops, yarn shops, etc... we could only visit a few. Mokuba, the ribbon shop, was a must and we both went home with inspirational treasures.

So all in all: pretty darn amazing! The only sad bit was that there were no souvenirs from the exhibition, although amazon.ca seems to have a few new things of interest! I will get my Tim Burton fix, and maybe a movie marathon is in order... Popcorn, anyone?

(To see some of the exhibited material, visit http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2009/timburton/. )

By the way, is it true that there are no rats in any of Tim Burton's films or (gesh!) have I missed them? If you've spotted a rat, let me know!!!

Remember to say Thank you!

Look familiar? If you go to your local library, you probably see these all the time! This past week was Volunteer Appreciation Week and we at our public library had a party for the volunteers who do countless jobs for us all. What I love best is when they stamp our date due cards, a task I find particularly tedious, so to show my appreciation I baked this chocolate brownie cake with butter-cream cheese icing and a little talent! What fun! And everyone who commented said it tasted as good as it looked (and it didn't last long, that's for sure!). Added bonus: it was good practise for Hallowe'en cake decorating!

Apr 11, 2011

Out in the garden--back soon

I have two completely finished rat legs and 2 partially finished... not as far along as I'd hoped but... it's Spring! We were in the garden! It was so hot on Sunday we had ice cream outside! It was wonderful! And I had to take care of my roses, which still need to be sprayed with lime-sulpher to kill blackspot. This preventative seems to help, and it's environmentally friendly, although stinky!

I have finally finished moving the FaerieCon part of my website to a new space, thereby freeing up ad-free space for the Online Hallowe'en Tour. If you never have, check out our FaerieCon experience of November 2009 in Baltimore, MD. It was really magically, I hope some time soon to go again.

And finally a little Easter to get you in the mood. What, Easter? Yes, I do celebrate the other seasons as well, and the Easter eggs ARE black, made that way using chalkboard paint! (PS Hallowe'en is less than 200 days away!!!)

Apr 4, 2011

On a cloud!

I have amazing news! The Maple Leaf Doll Club will be hosting it's Doll Show this year!!! Yippy! Since 2008 it's been missing, but now they have a new location which can hold 50 artists/exhibitors and they're ready to go! How exciting! This area of Ontario has so much talent and incredible art in the doll and "Teddy" field, it's really wonderful to have this show back again! September 11th, be there! For details, visit my shows page. (The picture is from the 2008 event.)

This weekend saw Cere's feet come together, here's a picture. This is slow and careful work, but so much fun! I love seeing the Fimo claws line up properly and "come to life"! I had to switch out a few claws as I went along due to size, imbedded dust, etc... but that's why there must always be extras! The wires will make him poseable right down to his toes!

Lastly, this weekend was Stratford's Swan Parade weekend with lots of swan-related events. To top it all off, my swans were on view in two places: at the public library and at the Lyrical Goddess poetry event hosted by Gallery 96 and part of the "Goddess: the Art of She Within We" week-long celebration. All a little bit last minute, I was none the less welcomed by the organizing committee of three incredible ladies, Lucinda Jones, Lesley Walker-Fitzpatrick and Cairenn Russelo and given a wonderful opportunity to show my work as "instillation art" (as one lady put it) right on the stage! The poetry and readings that stirred the air that afternoon were powerful, magical and heart-felt, it was an experience! And it reminded me of the Goddess and how I used to be more connected and open to such experiences... ah, twice bitten, thrice shy! But perhaps there is room to grow new wings...