Tuesday, May 31, 2011

home: an unexpected discovery

IMG_0973[1]It’s been a busy week/month over here. But to start it all off, I would like to make the following work related comment: I officially survived my first conference hosting experience with no major disasters (or even little ones to be honest) and I’m pretty stoked with it.

I have a couple amazing colleagues that helped smooth the way and for that I’m incredibly thankful.

But what I really want to talk about, aside from my conference hosting stress relief, pride of a job well done, is a conversation I had with a colleague who I’d invited to speak at said conference. The topic was about diversity in education and her presentation was about integrating diversity into your curriculum. Overall, one of the points she wanted to stress (this is a very reductive version of her presentation) was to see students beyond their culture because they are so much more than that.

For instance, she asked me, do you only identify as being from BC or are you more complex than that? The answer of course, is that I’m FAR more complex than that… but that’s not what I want to talk about right now. What I wanted to explore was my actual identification as a BC’er.

In Oct 2011, I will have lived in Quebec for 11 years. 11. How crazy is that? And for years I’ve talked about BC as home and let’s face it, it’ll always be home. That will never completely go away. However, I find myself realizing, more and more every time that I return to BC, that I am no longer really a BC’er anymore.

So in spite of my proud declarations of being from BC and my secret pleasure over people’s awe about my great French skills for a BC, it’s come to a point where I might actually have to rethink my identity proclamations.

I’m not a BC’er anymore and I haven’t been for a while. My heart is in Quebec. Both literally and metaphorically. My French is fine, but not great for someone who has lived here as long as I have. It’s time for me to take it to the next level. No more hiding behind my pseudo BC status. And honestly, every time that I go home, I realize that I don’t belong in BC anymore. Sure, I could go back, but my home is here. I love Quebec, shitty roads and all. I love that my province didn’t vote Conservative and that my values are reflected, in large part, by the things that are practiced in this province (ok, not all… )I love that I live in a place full of so many cultures and that speaks 2 languages and is a little Euro, a little Cdn, but all entirely it’s own: Quebecois.

Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver.

And even though I fracken hate winter and cold, I’d take it any day over months of grey rain. I don’t know when it happen, but Quebec, for better or worse, you’re home, which is perfect given that I’m about to buy a house here!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

internet find: book carving artist

Stumbled across this book carving artist: Brian Dettmer and a bit awed by his creations.

 I can't even begin to imagine how much time these must take him! But they're pretty amazing, don't you agree?

Monday, May 23, 2011

art journal adventures

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I’ve been spending a lot of time art journaling lately and have taken a somewhat different approach to it than I have in the past.

I’ve started to prep my pages in advance, in layers as it were.

Sometimes I start by just painting a background colour or texture on a few pages. Then I doodle on it another day and leave the writing for another day.

Other times, I draw in the doodles or template of what I want to do and leave the painting for another day.

Either way, I enjoy these processes because they give me ready pages for when I want to write. Nothing frustrates me more in art journaling than having to wait for the paint to dry. I’m trying to be zen about it, but since I’m all about the instant gratification, that’s not such an easy thing for me!

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The above images are pages that I did the backgrounds in first, and then came back to write/doodle later. Next up, trying to work on collage based art journaling skills!

Friday, May 20, 2011

mayla: a complicated cat

Once upon a time, I used to be the sole person that my cat needed. Nowadays I have to compete for her attention, not only with my husband, but also my in-laws.

They all think she’s wonderful, and she is, but I’m also enjoying them all getting to know her more devious or annoying behaviours. She’s almost 13 and her character is particular AND she’s part Siamese, so she’s pretty vocal about things.

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My husband is quite taken with recounting her more noteworthy foibles on his blog so I’ll spare you all the details. Suffice to say, I am enjoying watching their realizations about Mayla’s nature.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

scrapbooked: dancing with my brother

So, as some of you may already know, my little brother (one of 3) got married at the end of April. He and his wife have been together for 9 years (I think I did the math right…). They were/are high school sweethearts and it was amazing to see them get married after being together so long.

Of course, one of the moments that I loved most was cutting a rug on the dance floor with my little brother. We did it at my wedding and we did it at his. If the other two get married, I’m sure we’ll do it at theirs too.

But the best part of this round of dancing? That our parents were already on the dance floor and we agreed before joining them, that we were going to “show them how it’s really done.”

This is what followed (captured by my lovely husband who was smart and quick enough to photograph the moment for me):

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My brothers are all a lot younger than me (by 7, 12, and 14 years) and when I was still living at home with them I taught them basic swing dancing steps. I used to slide them under my legs and swing them out, even teaching the elder how to do it to the younger. At my wedding, Sean (who I’m dancing with above) reminded me that I taught him his first dance floor moves, so it was particularly poignant to me to be showing our moves off together at his wedding!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

washi teapot decor

Recently I have fallen in love with washi tape. If you take a gander at my etsy shop favourites of late, you’ll notice the majority are washi related.

So when Jessica from How About Orange came up with ideas for decorating with washi tape, I was ALL over it!

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So I was limited to the tape I currently have in stock, but no worries, this totally justification for finally buying some of my favourited washi tape online!

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And even better, if I get tired of the colours, I can just peel it off and pick a new design. How awesome is that? Washi tape, I [heart] you!

Monday, May 16, 2011

scrapbooking: trying to capture personality

I found this adorable B-day Bash * It’s a Party paper by imaginisce and knew that I had to use it to make a page celebrating my nephews:

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Instead of focusing on an event, I wanted to try to capture their personalities. The younger nephew, above, is a trickster. He likes being in the limelight and is definitely related to the men in his family. He’s outgoing and inquisitive and draws people into his world without hesitation.

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My other nephew, above, is quieter. He takes longer to warm up to people but when he reaches out to include you, it’s an amazing gift. He’s in school now and sometimes it amazes me to realize that I’ve known him for 5 years… he’s still such a mystery me in so many ways because of his shyness. But playing with him now means flying to the moon and beyond in his rocket ship or being part of the band (albeit always the back up musician) and it’s fascinating to watch how his school learning is making it’s way into his play.

Somewhere along the line I’ve become the artsy aunty, which is obviously fine by me, and I love spending time with them while their crafting. From one showing me their crafty room (just like mine) to stamping or creating sock puppets… I love watching them grow and their personalities emerge, change and develop.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

house hunting: am i really old enough?

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It’s been a while since I’ve really used this space and a lot has been going on over the past few months.

At the moment, my husband and I are beginning the process of house hunting, which, honestly, is a bit of a big freak out for me.

After all, who in the universe decided that I was actually officially old enough now to be a full fledged adult? Seriously? Cause I’m pretty sure I’d like to renegotiate some of the terms.

And more specifically, I’d like to know when I will actually feel old enough to be said adult!

When I was younger my Mom once said that she still feels like the 16 year old girl she was, which, for my 16 year old self at the time… well, let’s just say I wasn’t the most polite in my appreciation of her comment. I think my response was something along the lines of “really? but you’re so old!”

The kicker? I’m only 6 years from being the age she was when she said it. Life is nothing if not a lesson in humility!

Anyways…

Back to the house hunting thing. How does one go about actually picking a house to live in for an untold amount of years. Cause honestly, the idea is that this is it. This is the house that we’ll stay in for years and years together. My husband has lived most of his life in one house and I’ve moved so many times that we’re both naturally inclined to only move this one last time if we can. But the pressure. Seriously. My over analytical nature is freaking out. Ok, not really, I’m being melodramatic for blogging effect. But you do have to appreciate the quasi conundrum that it creates. After all, how do you know what you’ll like or dislike in a house when you’ve never actually owned your own house before?

I’ve lived in so many apartments that it would make your head spin, but houses… well those have always belonged to my parents so I never really thought about it before now.

Here’s what I know so far:
  • I need a kitchen that I can work in and has light. This is a deal breaker for me (it can be renovated but the space has to be conducive to said renovations).
  • I need a dining room like space that fits 10 people comfortably. Family gathering, which is fairly big in my husband’s family, requires this.
  • We need at least 3 bedrooms.
  • Paul wants a garage and a basement
  • I want storage space (Paul says this is what a basement is for… I’m willing to work with this).
  • We both want a house that requires only minor, surfacy renovations.
I want a home with character and I’m oddly attracted to a lot of split level homes, but wonder if I would grow tired of them in time. I also am vehemently opposed to living in a cookie cutter box neighbourhood, unless there is some amazing reason to justify doing so (living really near my nephews, for example).
Ideally I’d like to be within walking distance of the water and restos and cafes. Tall order, I know… but I have just the place in mind. We’ll see what the next months hold in store for us…

Monday, May 9, 2011

etsy love

I’ve been really bad about keeping up with my etsy shop and this blog lately. But to be fair, once I start playing catch up you’ll understand why….

Here are a few of the treasuries I’ve been featured in over the past 2 months. Thanks to all the lovely crafters who have shared the love (click image to see more):

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More updates to come…

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