Category Archives: Misc



Who would have thought a little egg painting would lead to such an exciting opportunity. Two of my projects, Painted Eggs and Painted Eggs II, have been featured in this weekend’s USA Weekend – a magazine with a circulation of 22

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Filed under eggs, Misc

Unsettle Me

Symbols of death, like tombstones and skeletons, help to create all those eerie and unsettling feelings we come to expect this time of year, and cemeteries provide the perfect inspiration. To mark the occasion, here are a few photos of artists’ graves I visited this summer in France. The phantoms and spirits were on their best behaviour during my daytime visits, and the only unsettling visuals came from the public washroom. There are times I’m SO grateful I can’t smell.

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Filed under Halloween, Misc

WordPress Bloggers Want To Comment Too!

Many of you are kind enough to visit my blog and leave a comment. Naturally, I visit back and  look forward to reciprocating. Yet more often than not, my comments are not accepted because my Open ID credentials cannot be verified, and it’s been driving me crazy! I looked into this maddening problem, and the always helpful Happiness Engineers ( don’t you love the name!) at WordPress explained what’s causing it. Just to clarify, this is strictly a problem with commenting on Blogger blogs. Continue reading


Filed under blogging, Misc

Year Two…

Looking fabulously surprised by my two years of blogging, aren’t they? Well settle down boys, it’s not so hard to understand why this has gone on for so long. Quite simply, blogging is fun and fulfilling, which is what drives most people to do it in the first place. So happy anniversary to moi, and a big thank you to those who take the time to visit, comment and follow. I really do appreciate it!


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A Year Already…

Much to my amazement I’m still blogging my heart out, one year later. I have to admit I’ve enjoyed it, and would recommend blogging to anyone who has interests, passions, and opinions to share, without the stress of an editor anywhere in site. It’s your space to opine and spew at will. Just make sure it’s something that makes you happy because let’s face it, few blogs will turn into The Book of Awesome, or generate enough income to allow you to sail off into the sunset. In the meantime, I will continue to dream up projects for children, encourage creativity, and share with you the odd story about my own experiences. I will periodically remind myself to stop obsessively checking stats, and suppress the nagging doubt that each visit may be no more than an accidental nanosecond in length. But we bloggers are a resilient bunch, and so, in the spirit of self-delusion, let the journey continue and thanks to all who read and comment. It warms the cockles o’ me heart!

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Making Mistakes

Detail from The Son of Man by René Magritte. Image:

Maybe Magritte just couldn’t get the nose right and gave up. In the world of arts and crafts, mistakes will happen. Some will be beyond repair and require moving on (sniff, sniff), like incorrect folds in your origami paper. Learn from your error, grab another sheet and start again. Other mistakes can be fixed with problem solving and patience. And sometimes you can build on your mistakes, which can lead to wonderful, unexpected outcomes. A willingness to explore and make mistakes can also teach you a tremendous amount about art supplies and materials; about the best ways to use them and unexpected ways of applying and combining them.

When making things with children, they can easily become frustrated if their creation does not meet their expectations. And rightly so. We all know the disappointment of something not working out as planned. Opening their minds up to other possibilities will help teary-eyed and demoralized little artists to look beyond their initial plan, and see that there are alternatives to destroying their work and stomping away. Mistakes can be happy ones. Accidental drips and blobs of paint can give rise to new creatures or intriguing abstracts and backgrounds. That “perfect” outline that didn’t quite happen can be transformed with varying thicknesses, adding more interest and movement. Unintended colours can be welcomed to stretch the imagination, or simply painted over and changed. Reassure children that even great artists made mistakes and chose to learn from them and work with them, or simply start over.

Finally, my apologies to Magritte, whose Son of Man is a fine example of Surrealist art. I’m sure he had no difficulty painting noses.

Detail from The Man In The Bowler Hat by René Magritte. Image:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
Scott Adams

“Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.” Salvador Dali

“It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent.” Vincent Van Gogh


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Museum Visits With Children

Making amends with ice cream in Paris.

A wonderful part of traveling involves visiting museums, art galleries, and historical sites. My children know that any whining to the contrary will only lead to one of my preachy, long winded explanations about how these places offer a way of delving into the history of another culture, and a myriad of other benefits. This is usually met with glazed eyes rolling about their little sockets, and eventual, grudging compliance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not standing there with a whip and guide book expecting my kids to recite dates at the end of their visit, I’m just hoping for a positive attitude and an openness to experiencing something new. And while this happens more often because they are older, for many kids, places like museums are synonymous with slow motion walking through endless spaces looking at old artifacts that can’t be touched. Where’s the fun?

The solution? Change your expectations so your children won’t look at these visits with dread. I now allow my kids to set the pace and roam freely, hoping their self-directed tour will encourage a little more curiosity because it’s on their terms. They don’t have to look at every single thing in every single room. They don’t even have to read the information cards posted on the walls. If they want to walk around with us and are inspired to talk about what they see, they can. If they choose to go through at break-neck speed, ending up at the gift shop, that’s fine too. I know these visits will somehow inspire them and enrich their lives. Persevere I say, because despite the scowls and expressions of pain, there are breakthrough moments that put a smile on your face, and assure you that it’s all worthwhile.


Filed under Misc, travel

Hunting and Gathering

Take some time over the summer to collect things in nature that may come in handy for future arts and crafts projects. Any kind of odds and ends you find in your garden, at a park, a cottage, or along the beach, will provide great material to work with. Consider things like twigs and small branches, flower petals you can press in books, seed pods, a small container filled with sand, even leaves and moss. The items you find can be hung up to dry or stored in a box until needed. Happy hunting.

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Thought Du Jour

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Stepping Back In Time

Ontario Specialty Co.

I grew up in a small town that actually had a general store. While this may conjure up images of one room schoolhouses and Laura Ingalls, I promise you it wasn’t that long ago, and I did not call my parents Ma and Pa. The shop pictured above, however, is exactly what it reminded me of.  It’s on Church Street in Toronto and has been around since 1939; the interior seems to confirm that.

It’s a gem of a store and when you enter, it really does feel like you’re stepping back in time. It’s a great place to take your kids for a visit and show them what kind of toys used to be popular. There are lots of wind up toys, a serious collection of sunglasses, as well as a nice selection of faux vomit and plastic poo. I have no problem fessing up to the fact that I owned at least one of those at some point in my life, and yes, it brought me great joy.

Be warned, you might end up hearing things like: “It winds up and moves forward? That’s it? No laser? I can’t connect with it?” Welcome to the past.

If you want to teach the young’uns about general stores, it’s all here:

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