Monthly Archives: September 2010

Free E-book: Messy Canvas

The life of full-time motherhood is a lot of work. I’ve blogged about my thoughts on intersecting creativity with motherhood before, but it’s definitely something I’m fine tuning my perspective of every single day. My friend Mandy has inspired me that I don’t have to put my inner artist on the shelf while I meet the demands of parenting – I can put on my artist’s glasses and see everything as an opportunity to create art with my life.

She’s written a free e-book about her life as a Messy Canvas and being an artist. It’s awesome. I encourage everyone, whether you think you are an artist or not, to read this book. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:

I believe we are made in the image of a creative God. I believe His creativity is alive in us, and we are to express it in very unique and real ways. I believe art is a part of everyday life. It is what we do with our lives. It is our very life itself. We are given our own canvas to do with as we see fit.

You, too, are a Messy Canvas, just as beautiful, just as imperfect, and you, too, have buried dreams, larger than life fears, and an artistic, expressive voice dying to be heard.

We have the opportunity to not only create beauty, but to also invite others into it. That is the heartbeat of an artist. We follow the call of beauty, we give meaning to the world around us, we rescue from the mundane routines of daily life, and we bridge the gap to make a connection with our Creator. We look for ways to bring redemption to lost causes, to save hearts from growing cold by the inevitable moments of suffering, to dawn with great light on the things everyone around us has given up on. We arouse desire. We cause hearts to stir.

In the book she quotes Thich Nhat Hanh who says, “Everything we do is an act of poetry or a painting if we do it with mindfulness. Growing lettuce is poetry. Walking to the supermarket can be a painting. When we do not trouble ourselves about whether or not something is a work of art, if we just act in each moment with composure and mindfulness, each minute of our life is a work of art. Even when we are not painting or writing, we are still creating.” I love that.

There is a tree in my parents backyard that is being taken over by vines. I couldn’t help but think of the reference in her book that says, “if you’re going to thrive as an artist, you’re going to need to extend grace and love towards yourself and clip some vines.” I know that is true with me. I can’t expect perfection from myself – I can’t expect to always have a clean house or a perfect appearance or perfect kids. To me this phrase also means clipping away the excuses. I don’t have enough time or energy, I don’t want to make a mess only to have to clean it up later. To quote her again, “The only way to create a beautiful piece of art with your life is to allow mess.” Now, I can look at my messy living room and see it as a work of art, a mixed media collage of beauty that has been haphazardly created by my busy toddler. I can enjoy a warm day outside with my children as they discover the world around them, and that is us creating art with our life.

Please read this e-book. And if you do, let me know in the comments what your favorite part is!

Download the FREE e-Book:
Messy Canvas: You Are an Artist. What Will You Create?

Grace Design Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to the winner of the Grace Design giveaway – Summer! I’ve just emailed you to get in touch so you can receive your beautiful Obi Pouch. Thanks again to Grace Design for doing such a fabulous giveaway!

Paper Quilts

I love this idea that paper artist, Dawbis started a few years ago and is finally in the home stretch. Every month 12 new artists were invited based on their individual style and strong desire to help make a difference. They were given a packet of scrap paper, a tiny 3 1/2” x 5” bristol canvas and plenty of room to interpret the project’s theme, “A Day in my Life.” At the end of every month, the original collages were returned to eventually be sewn together to create 12 amazing and unique paper quilts.

Upon completion of this project, each paper quilt will be auctioned off. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go towards a charity chosen collectively by all artists involved.

Pretty amazing huh? Visit the gallery to see all the submissions. It’s worth the browse!

Interview + Giveaway: Grace Design

Alison of Grace Design recently wrote in about her new line of beautiful bags, clutches and home wares using found obi’s and kimono’s from Japan. I love the originality in her work and use of vibrant textiles. She graciously agreed to do a mini interview and a giveaway!

Tell us about yourself.

I am a girl livin’ in Toronto Canada. I’ve been making stuff as long as I can remember and the entrepreneurial urge has always been a natural inclination for me. I went to school for graphic design but strangely, sewing and working with textiles has always been a way more natural medium for me. One of my favourite pastimes is rifling through thrift stores and that is really how Grace Design began. I used to come home with bags of interesting found textiles and just started making stuff and selling it at local consignment shops. Eventually I went on a big adventure to India at the ripe age of 19 and came back with a backpack full of sari silk. I later went to Japan and discovered the gorgeousness of Japanese textiles and I haven’t looked back since.



What inspires you to create?

I am constantly looking at blogs, design books, magazines and flickr and it never ceases to amaze me the creativity that is out there. I need that constant nourishment to keep excited about making new things and coming up with fresh ideas. I keep images that inspire me on a big wall in my work area and I have various sketchbooks and journals that are full of yet more images. I love to see what others are doing and what is possible with different materials and then get new ideas from that. I am mainly excited by colour and pattern; searching for fabrics is very exciting and the process of mixing them with other fabrics in new and unexpected combinations. I love nature, I grew up on the west coast of Canada so the ocean and forests are a big art of who I am and what keeps me going. I love to write in my journal, collect my thoughts, morning coffee time is my favourite time of the day and, of course, my weekly trips to my local thrift stores!

Inspiration from Alison’s flickr stream

What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome as an artist?

I am always trying to find ways to work around the many restrictions of using found textiles. (eg stains, weird dimensions, fraying, making things last etc etc). Many of my counterparts have degrees in fashion design and I do not so I am always trying to become a better sewer and keep things looking polished and professional. I still have a full time job so finding time to run a business and keep my job is a struggle. Staying positive and inspired when sales aren’t always what you had hoped or anticipated. Being a home based business and the CLUTTER. Oh my god, the clutter.

Tell us something random about yourself!

I collect a lot of different things ranging from vintage Chinese tea tins to 1950’s angora and beaded sweaters. My home is about as crowded as you would imagine.

The giveaway: This is a little bag made from vintage metallic Japanese obi fabric. The backing is made from a solid red micro fibre ultra suede and it is lined with unbleached cotton.

To enter: Simply visit Alison’s etsy shop and leave a comment below with your favorite item in her shop. I will randomly draw a winner a week from now on Tuesday the 21st. Good luck!

I’m Giving Away Free Ads on evie s.

I was told last week about a neat project that I want to involve my readers in – 25 leading letterpress printers each created 50 limited edition notebooks with Loop paper donated by Mohawk. They are being sold on a special storefront on Felt & Wire Shop. 100% of the proceeds benefit kids via School: By Design.

In thinking of ways I could support this project, other than just blogging about it, I decided to offer anyone that purchases one of these $15 notebooks a little ad on my blog for a whole month! It’s a great deal – not only do you get to support a great cause, but you get a beautifully crafted notebook, AND ad space on evie s. for a month.

RULES: Go to the Felt & Wire Shop and purchase a notebook. Then email me your receipt (info at evie-s.com) showing your purchase. Then after approval you may send me a non-animated graphic (gif, png or jpg) 125 x 70 pixels with the URL it will link to. I will then add it to my blog on the sidebar. This is on a first come, first serve basis so act quickly!

Limit one per person. **I reserve the right to reject any ads that I deem inappropriate or unfit for my blog.**

School: by Design is a youth mentoring initiative that asks high school students–in collaboration with their college or professional design mentors–to redesign their school. A $10,000 award will be granted to the high school with the most innovative project to implement their idea. The program was created to give youth in under-served communities a real world experience using design thinking to communicate their ideas, exhibit their potential and take action in their own lives. {via the school: by design website}

Give Thanks – Free Download

Often times when we are going through a high point in life, it almost passes us by unnoticed. Everything is going just right, life seems perfect. Then, somewhere at the highest peak of the mountain, something happens.  It could be a death of a friend or loved one. A shattered marriage. Maybe a job that fell through. Something that sends you plummeting down right into a deep, dark valley. It’s in this low point of life, we forget about the mountain we were just on, and the good things God did for us back there. Remembering the good things keeps us grateful – no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in. Remembering God’s blessings gives us hope – that we won’t be in a valley forever.

I want to always take into account the wonderful things that happen to me and my family. I don’t want to overlook them and take it for granted. Inspired by some friends of mine, I created a “give thanks” list. Something we can keep at the center of our home, and when we encounter even the smallest blessing, we write it down. I have a feeling we will be surprised at the things we might have otherwise failed to notice, and that the list will get quite long. It will be a great record to keep track of the good things, and to be thankful and look back on during rough times.

I’m offering this as a free download, for you to enjoy and do it at home! Just print on 8.5 x 11 paper and post it on your fridge or other prominent place.  I’d love to hear how it goes for you if you implement it. The great thing about this list is you can save iit when you fill it up and just print out another!

Download the PDF

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Week of Paper: Fringe Garland

Well, I ran out of energy and daylight to get tutorial pics of this project, but I managed to get some of the finished product! This project is so easy, and if you create a bunch of them, it would create quite the festive look for a party!

What you need: Paper, scissors, stapler

Step 1: Start with an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper and cut in the four equal strips.

Step 2: Fold each strip in half.

Step 3: Start creating your fringe. (To quicken the process, cut two or even three strips at a time.)

Step 4: After completing all your strips, you can staple the ends of the strips together to create a garland. Give them a twist around before stapling to give the spiral effect.

Tada! You can make this as long as you want and would look great in bunches of different colors.

Now go decorate something with your festive fringe-y garland!

Week of Paper: Gift Toppers

Day 3 of paper week! It’s been a fun challenge doing this every day. A lot of work though! Today we are making cute little gift toppers.

What you need: Paper of two different colors, scissors, glue

Step 1: Start by cutting a large circular shape out of paper. Gift it some wavy edges so it looks like a flower.

Step 2: Continue doing this, making each successive circle a little smaller than the last and using two different colors of paper.

Step 3 & 4: Using just a dab of glue in the center, start glueing the layers, largest to smallest. Continue until you’ve worked your smallest circle.

Step 5: Start cutting lines in towards the middle, leaving the center intact. I cut in a total of 8 lines.

Step 6: Start pulling, crinkling and bending the layers to give some depth and structure. Continue doing this until you achieve the desired effect.

Voila! A pretty easy way to liven up a gift for a loved one.

I’ve got a fun project for tomorrow. Until then!