30 May 2009

To Prepare for Parenthood:)

My "bubby" (Reuben) about 3 months old

We were at a baby shower last night, which of course brought up all the horror stories of early childhood parenting etc. It reminded me of this list...Enjoy!

1. Women: to prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After nine months, take out 10% of the beans.

Men: to prepare for paternity, go to the local pharmacist, tip the contents of your wallet on to the counter and tell the assistant to help herself. Then go to the supermarket and arrange to have your salary paid directly to its head office.

2. To find out how the nights will feel, walk round the sitting room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing 8-12lbs. At 10pm put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to bed. Get up at 12am and walk round the sitting room with the bag till 1am. Set the alarm for 3am. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2.45. Get up when the alarm goes off at 3am. Sing songs in the dark until 4am. Set the alarm for 5am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

3. Hollow out a melon and make a small hole in the side roughly the size of a golf ball. With a piece of string, suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy Weetabix and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an aeroplane. Continue until half the Weetabix is gone. Tip the rest into your lap. You are now ready to feed a 12month old baby. To prepare for toddlers, smear Marmite on the sofa and jam on all the curtains. Hide a fish stick behind the stereo and leave for a couple of months.

4. Dressing small children isn't as easy as it seems. First buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus in the bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this: all morning.

5. Forget the sports car and buy a Volvo. And don't think you can leave it out on the drive, spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that. Buy a chocolate ice-cream and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Jam a 50p piece into the cassette player. Mash a family- sized pack of chocolate biscuits down the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There, perfect.

6. Get ready to go out. Wait outside the lavatory for half an hour. Go out of the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again and walk down the front path. Walk back up. Walk down again. Walk very slowly along the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette end, piece of chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you've had about as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you. You are now ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

7. Go to the supermarket, taking with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child - a fully grown goat is ideal. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Do your weeks shopping without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy.

8. Learn the names of every character from Teletubbies or Power Rangers. When you find yourself singing 'Postman Pat' in the bath, you qualify as a parent.

9. Always repeat everything you say at least 5 times.

10. Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience and how they allow their children to run riot. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's sleeping habits, potty- training, table manners and overall behaviour. Enjoy it - it'll be the last time in your life you have all the answers.

27 May 2009

Last Night

After having spent all day yesterday cleaning and organizing my studio space, It was wonderful to sit down at my nice clean desk and do some work. I poured a cup of tea and tuned into A Prairie Home Companion.

It's my favorite thing to listen to while I work, my dad always listened to it on his shortwave radio when I was little while as he worked into the wee hours of the night, and I could often hear it from my bedroom, so there's something nostalgic about the show. It's the only thing that seems appropriate after 10 pm! (and I'm so spoiled to be able to listen whenever I want, thanks to the Internet streaming! That's an option dad never had, I think he actually may have based his work hours around the show!)
It also has a strange way of making you hungry, with all the singing about powdered milk biscuits and rhubarb pie...;)

After all my carving was finished, I decided to doodle up some quick illustrations in my favorite color combination. I decided to make a set of four, which I might make some prints of for my shop.

I drew the flower first, and then the bird. Then decided a bug and some mushrooms might be fun. None of these things really go together other than the fact that they're all "nature". The colors all sort of bring them together though.
Also, I forgot to post these last week, just a couple of watercolors I did while at camp. A bird, and a silly little group of owls that is supposed to be sort of a parody to my Dad and the youth group. (dad is a minister). The youth aren't really specific to anyone in particular, the youth group is always full of odd characters though so I just played with it. It was more fun than anything. We were sitting at the table in the mess hall during a rainy afternoon, and people kept coming up with suggestions. Mark told me I needed to make one with fangs...Lindi suggested one with horned rimmed glasses...(we were kinda bored, due to the rain)

Last but not least, I've found a solution to my watercolor woes. One of the sets I have is really bad for shifting. The little pans will slide all to one end (in their plastic pots) and every time I open it I have to put them all back again. (I carry the sets around in my back pack, so they do get shifted quite a bit).
Well NO MORE! I bought some "zots" last time we went to Michael's, and voila, life is simpler. I stuck a little sticky dot on the bottom of each pan and now they stay put. If I really need to pop one out, I still can. It's just a lot harder, which is fine. I have the colors memorized, and don't need to refill them THAT often:)
Top, Winsor and Newton Cotman compact studio set.
Winsor and Newton Cotman half pan studio set, 45 pans.

A Deep Clean

A deep clean...
Originally uploaded by corrabelle
Yesterday, I emptied everything...shelves, containers, what a mess! This was my desk during the big studio clean up. Yikes. All cleaned up now, and organized. I think I'm going to have to have a huge destash sale in my shop.

Oh, and a picture of a much cleaner art room will be posted shortly:)

25 May 2009

I blinked...

And they got so much bigger. Older. Less chubby. Tall, lean. Just as silly though. I just can't believe how tiny they were, and how big they are now. When did they turn from babies, to KIDS?? I've been looking back through pictures and comparing them to now....
Then. (spring, 07)

Sporting crooked goggles and water wings, baby, puffy tummies.

Zeke still had such a round little face, tiny little teeth, and a pudgy wrinkle over his nose.

A grubby boy is the sign of a pretty happy summer!

And Now... Spring 09
(taken at family Camp)

In front of a an old streetcar turned to diner. (SUPER BURGER!) More about this later;)

I can't get over how much they've changed. It almost makes me sad. I want to soak up every last drop of them being little, I don't want to miss a thing! I'm going to spend today playing in the mud with my boys, I think.

19 May 2009

A closer look

Some shots from our weekend camping trip. I went out in the woods and found a few things that would be fun to try with the macro setting on my twerpy little point and shoot camera.

I'm actually impressed with it.! I'm usually an SLR girl...but this wasn't too bad! (and a lot lighter to carry around all weekend..It's a Canon PowerShot A470).

I'm even more impressed that the bee let me get this close to it. (the lens was less than an inch from it's body.) The bee just went about her duties ignoring me. It was pretty fascinating!

My only complaint about the camera is the lack of aperture control. I'd loved to have been able to blur out the background. Oh well, I guess that's what photoshop is for, eh? :)

14 May 2009

Illustration Friday; A day early...

Because I won't be here tomorrow!

Ink, watercolour, pencil crayon. What kind of bird is it, you ask? Beats me!

11 May 2009

Campin' Season!

Victoria Day weekend is only about 4 days away, and that means its time for our annual family camp!
We're all looking forward to driving up to the church camp and relaxing for 4 straight days. Nothing but campfires, tuck shop, chubby bunny contests and good music.
(ok, here in Canada, they say "Tuck Shop". In the USA, we always called it the "Canteen". What do you guys call it? I'm curious!)

I'm really looking forward to getting out of the city, and up where life is calmer. Sitting outside and painting, carving, collecting little bits of nature with the boys for their "nature journals" that they're working on... I was looking through camping themed items today just because I have camp on the brain, and stumbled upon some of the neatest, sweetest, outdoorsey items that I've ever seen!

Birds on a Road Trip (Limited Edition Print) $18 by BarkingBirdArt

Air-mail 4x12 panorama print at PepperSprouts

Rustic and Natural River Birch Toggle Wood Wooden Tree Branch Buttons $14 at TheHickoryTree

Playground Scavenger Hunt Cards,$16 at BlynkenAndNod

Pink Bowling Set, $44 at GreenBeeGoods

Birch Trees in Winter Wall Decals, $145 available at


I'd love to snatch those for my studio walls, so that when I get home from camping I can still feel like I'm out in the woods...;)

Maybe this isn't a "camping" picture...but it sure does scream "ROAD TRIP!!!" It reminds me of all the neat signs that I used to see when my family travelled across the USA. (I just love the stormy background too, so exciting!!)

Cheyenne 8x10 Print $35, available at AnnWilkinson

Organic Black Cloth Hiking Hat, $27.99 at LeatherheadOriginals

I wish I had seen this earlier. I need a good sun hat. I tan really well, very dark, but I'm still worried about too much sun exposure. I think a good sun hat would give Mark one more thing to call me a nerd about (I just know he would!)

How wonderfully refreshing would this soap feel over dirty, bug bitten and sunburned skin?Backwoods Soap, $4.75 at SeattleSundries

I'm SO excited that someone is finally making these again. They remind me of the chairs my Grandma always had on her porch. Hers had seashell backs I think, but this is close enough! I want one! I might have to venture back to the USA to purchase it though, because here in Canada they're only selling them in sets. (or so I was told, I'll have to investigate!)

Garden TreasuresBlue Retro Dining Patio Chair, $35 at Lowes

4 May 2009

Pardon the long post delay, this is long overdue!

Life has been busy, both in business, and at home!
The weather has been gorgeous, so we've spent many afternoons outdoors in our garden (or the start of one anyway!) or at the picnic table doing *home work*.

We started homeschooling a couple of weeks ago. I originally intended on sending the boys to school just for JK/ SK, and then starting to school them at home for grade 1. There are a lot of reasons behind this (a list too long to even begin), but we decided to start early.

They're doing very well with it, and enjoying it. I've gotta say, I'm enjoying it too. At first I thought it might be really hard to balance everything, but we've actually settled into a routine that works well for us. We do the more formal work in the morning, on most days, such as printing, math, geography etc. In the afternoon we do our science (most of this has been outdoors because it's so nice out) and our reading once the boys have had some run around activity. That's usually the point when they want to come inside, and curl up on the couch with a good book.

I'm amazed at how well they're doing with their reading. Working with them one on one has been so enjoyable, and I can tell how much they're benefiting from having more time to work on their reading, rather than having to worry about finishing their work before "class is over". They take all the time that they need, and seem to soak up every detail of both the story, and the new "tricky" words or phonics.

We've got a busy week ahead of us. The boys got a new science book full of projects and observations that can be done in your own backyard. I'm pretty excited about this one!

So far the boys have already been digging and identifying various types of bugs, and planting native flowers (and some weeds) to attract various types of butterflies, and bees.

Apparently, Stag Beetles are hard to come by these days, especially in the city, but thanks to some old tree roots in both our back and front yard, we have plenty. Now what that means for the rest of the garden, I don't know. Are they pests? I have yet to investigate!

We've also gotten a used composter, (thanks mom!) and the boys have been busy "feeding it". They've personified it in someway, it isn't just a hunk of black plastic. This is a magical being with some sort of smarts to it. It is their FRIEND, who allows them to play in his worms. (and they're very fascinated now that they've learned that compost is WORM POO. In Reuben's words, "THAT IS SO AWESOME!!") I'm glad my kids can get excited over compost.

On a more ME note, I'm busy designing some new rubber stamps, and more illustrations. Here are a couple of quick sillies I made up for some greeting cards. I called the bird a baby sandpiper, forgetting that sandpipers have really long beaks, and stripes!...oh well. I'll need to find a new family for this guy.

Bird in watercolors and pencil

I made this so that I could have some more "boyish" designs. This is a rough one, I'd like to do a larger, cleaner version.

Watercolor and Ink