Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes to Scare you Hungry!

Here are 2 of the 3 Halloween cupcake "cakes" I made for my sons classes, for their Halloween parties. Sorry for teeny pictures and poor quality, I was up super late and I just took quick photos with my Blackberry as an after thought. I actually forgot to take a photo of my 3rd cupcake cake?? Opps. It was of a haunted house with ghosts escaping out the windows. Nothing too scary as this was for my youngest son's Kindergarten class and I didn't want to traumatize any unsuspecting kiddies. ;) Hopefully my son's teacher will take a photo and I can post it another day.

These 2 shown above, were for my 7 yr.old and 9 yr. old sons. So I figured I could go all out in the "ewwwww gross" department! Heehee. Considering cupcakes are so roley poley and present such an uneven surface, I think both design turned out pretty well. Thank goodness decaying bandages and werewolf fur are very forgiving with whatever uneven surface lies beneath.
And it was sooooo worth it to see the excitement on my kiddies faces. I know how hard it is for them to have severe food allergies and not be able to ever eat the birthday cakes, or treats at their friends parties. Halloween is especially difficult for my middle son who is severely allergic to dairy. NO chocolate(or hardly any treats for that matter) that he gets during his trick-or-treating  can be safely eaten. My 1st and 3rd sons have anaphylactic allergies to all nuts and eggs, so they can't safely eat much either. Honestly the trick-or-treating stresses me out every year. But I think I now have them well trained to wait until we go through their bags together before diving in to sample their candy. So... this is my little way of making them feel included and to make something that is perfectly safe for all food allergies kiddies to enjoy together.

 I am really lucky to have this amazing cookbook called What's to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook by Linda Marienhoff Coss. It has so many great recipes that have the taste and texture of everyday baking and cooking. NO hockey puck muffins here! If you know of anyone who has anaphylactic allergies to food, I highly recommend this cookbook. I've tried to many over the years, and this is by far the best!

Happy Halloween everyone!!! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Illustration Friday- "Racing"

The furry friends were racing back home with their acorn treats.

I created this plasticine illustration for my critique group Creative Cup  and I thought it would be fitting for this week's theme racing  for Illustration Friday. If you get a chance please pop over to my critique group's blog, as we have been posting our interpretation of cup for this month's challenge.  It is so cool to see everyone's take on the theme. Everyone has such a unique style and such talent. It really gives some great, fresh perspective and inspiration :)

My 3 boys are really into creating contraptions out of everyday stuff and pieces of wood. So far they have built a tank at their Nonno's house and I think they want to try a submarine next??. They love watching the Re-inventors on TV. It is so great to see them stretch their imagination and work together as a team to problem solve and work to build something new. Anyway, I was inspired by them, that I thought it would be fun to have a contraption in this illustration too.
So after a bunch of sketches I came up with this silly nut-collector/wagon contraption for these two furry friends. I had a lot of fun making the old, cracked teacup, sardine tin, and even the Tinkertoy wagon wheels. Did I just really date myself by mentioning Tinkertoys?? Hopefully some of you remember those awesome building pieces-ahhh memories of the cottage when I was itty-bitty...sigh :)

We have a busy week with Halloween coming up on Sunday. I volunteered to make cupcakes for my 3 boys classrooms since they all have severe food allergies, and it is just the safest way to go. So I will be up to my eyeballs in cupcakes by Friday! I have to make around 90...wish me luck! I will post some pictures of them if they turn out ok. I like to treat the tops like a cake and hope todo something eerie and gross on top-heehee. I'm hoping to make a haunted house for the S.K class, a mummy/zombie for the grade 2 class, and a werewolf for the grade 4 class.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thanksgiving photos in Muskoka 2010

Here are a few photos I took one morning up at the cottage in Muskoka. I can't remember another time that the fog was that thick in the morning- crazy! Needless to say it was a great "kodak moment", and I am really having fun with my new Canon T2i DSLR camera. Enjoy the fall colours! And I hope everyone had a great Canadian Thanksgiving. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

IF- Spooky

Spooky fun!

This is my submission for this weeks Illustration Friday theme "spooky". It really has me in the Halloween spirit now. :)
Luckily I am "on the ball" this year and took the kids out to get their costumes a few weeks ago. I was hoping my 3 year old daughter would want to dress up  in something pink and girly, for her first Halloween going out with Daddy and the big brothers. Well doesn't it figure that she had her heart set on being Diego(yes that Diego from Nickelodeon). I guess that is what I get for having 3 boys with major influence...sigh. No pretty princess costume in the house this year. But she'll make the prettiest Diego :)

What are your kiddies going to be for this Halloween?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yipeee!! Guess who won Crystal Driedger's CSN Giveaway??

Hi Everyone, I hope you are having a nice weekend. I had a wonderful surprise this afternoon when I noticed my Blackberry beeping, telling me I had an email message. Imagine my delight when I opened it to find that I had been chosen as the lucky winner of Crystal Driedger's CSN Stores Giveaway over on her blog. Yipeeee!!
 Maybe I should go out and buy a lotto ticket or something...hee. And maybe I should let Google's Random Number Generator pick my lotto numbers?? (Good idea Crystal!)
I am sure most of you are familiar with Crystal's gorgeous artwork. She does the most beautiful paintings and adorable illustrations . Lately she has been experimenting with her handy-dandy dremel and doing some surface carving on wood that she then turns into a textured painting...they are fabulous! You must pop over to Crystal's blog and see for yourself.
I can't wait to check out the CSN Store catalogue and see what goodies I can find...a wee bit of early Christmas shopping-hmmm

Thank-you Crystal!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Great Resources to kick Self Doubt to the curb

Firstly, I am having lots of fun playing with my new DSLR camera. Above is a shot I took using the macro setting. The plasticine textures are going to look fab!

I thought I'd do a post on a topic I often struggle with - Self doubt. Since having the kids back to school, and the start-up of another busy year of kids sports practices/games and shuttling them too and fro, I feel like I just can't quite get my feet firmly planted in an art production routine. I feel so unproductive. Arggg. I know I am my toughest critic and probably just need to be patient and remember it always takes a bit of time to iron out the kinks when trying work out all of our crazy schedules. Geesh, just wait until the kids are teenagers- I cringe at the thought.

Luckily, it seems to be a topic that a few great people online have been posting about this week, so I thought I'd sum it all up here in the hope that it will inspire you as much as it did for me. A good creative kick-start so to speak.
Let's start with the amazing Zero2Illo. It is a definite a favorite of mine. Jonathan Woodward is the creative genius, and very talented illustrator behind this site, who has his pulse on what aspiring illustrators want to know. He and his wife Leah have really poured  their hearts and many amazing resources into this site. It is a must for any aspiring illustrator. He did a great post this past week on tips for overcoming self doubt. It is encouraging to know many other illustrators also struggle with this problem., and many other aspiring illustrators shared their suggestions themselves in the comments section.

I also stumbled upon a website and blog by another amazing artist: Kelly Rae Roberts. I just love her tag line- cool word or what?  She created a series of ebooks entitled Flying Lessons: Tips and Tricks to help your biz soar. They look fantastic. She is another very generous artist whose willing to pay it forward and share all her great advice.

And during my morning computer/tea time, I came across Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift's ecourse  entitled The Declaration of You, mentioned on Khristian A Howell's beautiful blog. I don't know about you but I just loooove surface design!! It really invigorates my brain! Sorry I digress, back to the topic. Michelle Ward's blog has some great questionnaires to help get you on your right path, and she also has a great feature called Tough Question Tuesday, which, last week, also talked about tackling fear.

And if you don't want to shell out any coin right now and just want a bit of creative kick-start, look no further than Tara Gentile and her free mini ecourse on Creating Action. Tara's blog has such enthusiastic tips that really inspire and motivate. She offers Brainstorming sessions too if you want to speak with somebody who's been there , to bounce around ideas and formulate your plan. 

I am sure there are many other amazing resources out there that are not covered here. These goodies where just the gems I needed to feel re-energized and  ready with more tips and tools to tackle self-doubt and procrastination. Then I shut down the computer and cranked up some tunes, put in the earphones and took some time to just play around with my plasticine and create some art just for fun, without constraints. Getting into the zone, is also sometimes the best remedy. Because this is where we are happiest and free. And it reminds us why we love art and illustration so much.

Now go create something just for YOU!

Monday, October 4, 2010

It feels like Christmas!

Look what I got !!! I am just giddy with excitement. I have been researching DSLR cameras for a while, as I thought it would be easier if I could do my own photography for my website, promo stuff etc, and then I'd only need to rely on a professional photographer for client work. It really just made sense from a logistical standpoint.
So, after a ton of research, I  finally took the leap, and purchased a Canon Rebel T2i with a EF-S 18-55 IS lens, and tripod. I really have to thank the wonderful people at Henry's. My Henry's associate Ron, really took the time to go over all of my options, explain all the tech. stuff in terms I could understand, and  showed us so many cool lenses and other stuff that we might want to consider later on. He was so so helpful and knowledgeable! Thanks Ron! 

I must admit to being a little intimidated. This is my first DSLR camera and I've always just used a simple point and shoot. But the great thing about this camera is that it has many intuitive features and is considered to be one of the best DSLR cameras for beginners. I am really looking forward to seeing what this baby can do and learn how to make my plasticine illustrations look their absolute best.  I can see this getting rather addictive-heehee.  Thanks to Paula Pindroh, and Gisela for all your suggestions and advice.

I've been holding off putting up a website until I had better photographs of my work, as I think you really only have one shot at making a great first impression. So now I hope to rephotograph my artwork, and finally get a website up and running. 

It will be great to take better pics of the kiddies too. I can't wait to see how our annual Christmas card pictures will turn out this year! Yeehoooo. Say Cheeeeese :)


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