Hey check it out! You can now download and print my Indie Book Store Map at the Coach House Press website! Isn't that nice of them?
I thought so! Yay for Indie book stores! Yay for books!
This map was commissioned by Coach House Books to celebrate Authors for Indies Day 2016 in Toronto. The map pinpoints every Indie book store in the central Toronto area. What a fun project! I gave them the "Full Tania" - meaning a total riot of colours and they loved it! Yay! You can click the map for a bigger view-
hello hello helloo ( I imagine an echo going there ...)
How are you?
I am good!
Here we have another round up of my instgram pics! oh lazy me but seriously! instagram is great!
It was just a lovely afternoon- lovely! There's my boy eating one of the home baked cookies Lana made the night before! Kids gave the cookies icing smiles!
Also, I read my books for my sons kindergarten class! How cute was that! Adorable I say.
The next week, the class gave me this card, signed by every child and full of photos their wonderful teacher took! Plus a new mug!!! I love mugs!
Also, this cracks me up. I found a lost moist moustache by the grocery store. If you are missing one give me a shout!
This time last week we had a major snowstorm, but now its all melted and lovely and springy outside. Everyone is so much perkier. The evenings are getting lighter and it's the best!
I've got some more instagram shots to show you- the new Willow book - Willow's Smile! My early copies arrived this week and I was taken quite by surprise! It is out officially on April 1st - yay!
I have been doing a bit of work which is wonderful. This is a snippet of quite a large map I did for the Kit Compact. It's a part of downtown Toronto where Toronto Fashion week is held within a big tent. I loved drawing this map, its the area where I used to work at my beloved library job at the CBC before Finch was born. I have also completed a super fun illustration for the June issue of Chirp magazine! A dream come true! I won't show it until it's published, but I will tell you it was a drawing of lots of plants! Talk about a wonderful thing to draw in the dead of February!
I went to quilt Sunday at the workroom! Why I don't go every month is a mystery, it's such a pleasure. Everyone is happily looking at each others projects and chatting. I went with my friend and we sat chatting in a corner while I arranged little squares and beamed at everyone.
Here is a part of what I am making. My friend up the street showed me this technique where you arrange squares on fusible interfacing, iron it in place and then sew the rows to minimize them moving all over as you go. It looks great and is so easy. Since I've decided it doesn't matter if it's all crooked and wonky, it's going much faster. Plus talk about a great way to use up all the teensy bits of cute fabric I have hoarded over the years!
Getting all patterny again- this time TREES! I have had a couple of jobs lately which has been a blessing! Both involve some greenery and it's such a delight to draw vegetation in the dead of winter! I couldn't resist using some of my practice trees in a repeat for patterns- I never go to far with my repeats but its so satisfying to see them stretched out on my screen.
Now that my book launch is behind me ( phewf!!) I am feeling really exited about life in general! I was so very nervous leading up, but it went great! It is interesting to me that getting over that hurdle, one that filled me with trepidation and one I so wanted to cancel, has oddly opened up new doors. I was contacted this week to do a two page spread illustration for one of my favorite magazines (details to follow) and was contacted for two possible school visits with my book. I am wanting to make THINGS, someone ordered a bird scarf off my etsy shop ( one of two orders this whole year!) and in turn I ordered this off another person's shop to continue the chain. I can't wait to get it! Isn't it the cutest?
I also just this second discovered this blog, August Wren and idea of doing a painting a day for the year. I am a bit late and pretty much every January I start something like this but I loved what she talked about here. Struggling with shyness, with self doubt and whatever else that holds us back but choosing to just power through- it's a theme I have been working with as well and so I feel inspired and less alone! Working from home can be isolating.
So in this theme, and with this goal I will join into the #12monthsofpaint on instagram and here. January's theme is blue! I just happened to make this this morning and it's blue so yay.
So exiting! Here is a link to a little interview I did for our local paper.
I always wondered how artists got an article written about them, and it turns out you just have to ask! The reporter, Hilary Caton was so nice and was happy to interview me for the week leading up to by book launch. Thank-you!
Now I just have to spread the word in real time, meaning I have to hand out flyers to the mums at school and ask cafe owners if I can pop a poster up in a window. That's the hardest part for a shy person! Virtual promoting is no problem! Then I have to have a strong coffee and be brave for the actual event on Saturday ;).
I decided I owed it to myself to set up a book launch for my book! After all, I have never written AND illustrated a book before,
so lets celebrate! It did come out in September, but January can be so bleak, we all need a nice little event to attend!
Please join me on:
Saturday January 23 at 4:00pm
There will be lovely refreshments! I plan to read the book and do a little drawing demo with a question period.
There will also be "Starring Shapes" activity pages for the kiddies to work on.
I would just love to see you - come and brighten up January!
If you have three paintings, I think that makes a body of work! As you know I have been faffing about with some paintings over the last year or so. You have seen the one on the bottom, and maybe seen them all but I thought I would put them all together so I feel like I have accomplished something tangible.
I think I will paint another one with a pack of bottles all mashed in together ala Morandi. But in bright colours and patterns of course...better run! Schools nearly finished! A certain little boy is VERY stern if I am late.
I have been sketching the outfits the 3, 4 and 5 year old girls in my sons class wear. They put together the most fantastic combos of prints -stripes, hearts, polka dots- with such un-selfconscious confidence. I love it! They are my style icons! A few of them will pull on a favorite frilly skirt daily - probably from frozen- on top of every outfit. Many incorporate elements of halloween costumes - capes, wings, ears, and sometimes they have names for their outfit of the day ( My cat princess outfit, my bubblegum outfit). It is endlessly amusing and inspiring for me. I'll add colour to some more of my sketches and share them here for you in the coming weeks.
This is exiting- My book was reviewed favourably (a key to my good mood, some reviews have been mixed) in the Canadian Children's Book News. It's neat because I only JUST joined this organization and have my profile up there in case anyone wants me to go visit a school and do a presentation. I didn't know I'd also get the quarterly magazine as part of my membership, and then, la di da, I'm flipping casually through the pages and VOILA! My review! Excitement! Then, a week later my kind wonderful publisher sent me a copy too, with a handwritten note! I love them so much. Extra cool is that I am on the same page as superstar Melanie Watt's new book and the book on the cover too! Chuff. I needed a little pick me up to counter balance my ingrained panic at feeling like I am not "WORKING" right this second as there is not a paying project on my table. Deep breaths.
CLICK TO READ! :)
Please have a look at this amazing reel my brother has put together from a project we worked together on this summer! I did all the pen and ink elements and he is the magician who did the animation and motion graphics. I can't believe what a beautiful job he has done! However I am not surprised- if my motto has always been "Good enough is good enough" his is something more like "Stay up all night if you have to, but make it perfecto!" and he does, time and again! What a clever sausage!
Another instagram shot! My latest project is jazzing up this old tee shirt style dress I got at a clothing swap years ago. I wore it a lot when Finch was a baby, with long sleeves underneath and sweaters on top. It got stained and ripped a bit, so I thought a bit of a print might hide some of that! I carved a little softoleum block to use as my stamp. I often feel sheepish that the skit Put a Bird On It by Portlandia describes me to a tee! I have decided to embrace it! Nothing wrong with a birdy here and there - or in my case, EVERYWHERE!
I also have heard of this thing #slowfashionoctober, so I guess this can sort of be part of that too! Better late then never.
Please VOTE today my dear Canadians! We have got to get that man out of office this time!!!!!!
UPDATE!! WE DID IT!! we have a new Prime minister yippee!!!
Here are some crafty things I have been doing- Apologies if you also follow me on instagram, these are all from my feed there! Sort of a pointless way to do it but I can't quite get the hang of all this social media. Plus I can ramble a bit here-
I started this quilt 7? 8? years ago when the Workroom opened! Many of these scraps are from one of their first shipments of fabric. A lot are also from a bag of scraps I got at a swap there that year too. Tiny scraps I have since donated to my son's classroom's craft corner. I have made a lot of things (and here) from it and hope I didn't act too hastily in my recent studio clear out, but I think I was ready to pass them on.
Here it is being mashed through the sewing machine two weeks ago. My technique leaves a little to be desired -luckily you cannot see that warped, lumpy, crooked lines of stitches in the pictures- but I like to think done is better than perfect. I can't do perfect, I just can't. I take after my dad! Well, after all humans really. Good enough is good enough! That's my motto! :)
Here are some funny things I have started this morning. Those ridiculous Plastic disks come in the bottom of single serve coffee cups which you can't recycle. I prefer the refillable little baskets, but sometimes these are brought into the house so I actually dismantle them and save the cup, compost the filter and coffee grounds and some have these in them too. Anyway, I also donated a pile of the empty cups to my son's class craft corner and they have already used them to make these cute baskets for a googly eyed fuzzy ball creatures! These will possibly be brooches if I can make them look pretty enough. Can you tell I just finished an espresso? Chattering like a monkey here...
This is my most beloved necklace! Made for me by my dear friend Krissy and hand delivered to me at the day of Word on the Street. How kind! It is like gumballs and so nice to play with like worry beads. They are ceramic, she has been making wonderful clay things these last few years!
Because my two books are finished, I was busy all last school year, now I am a bit casting about. I think I have probably said this already! I need to focus on this time as a lucky time of idea gathering instead of feeling antsy and panic stricken that I am not "working". The idea gathering is an essential part of my job and I must work on not feeling guilty! I am working on generating ideas for possible books, coffee helps!
Perhaps my next post will be about my beloved Bialetti coffee pot. Just seeing it on my stove, waiting for me, fills me with good feelings. How can I love a inanimate object so much? Its so easy when it gives me soo much! ;)
I drew this picture after imagining it one evening before falling asleep. I pictured this funny round shaped man, happily plucking the last of the weeds from a portion of his garden. It is somewhat inspired by many of my neighbors, older Portuguese people who have the most wonderful gardens. Gardens that I can only dream about growing!
Also in the fall I look to weeding my life, gathering stuff to take to the charity shop and cleaning up my studio - getting rid of endless bits I have not used in years and likely will not! It's nice to feel I have some control over my surroundings, since I have no control over the mountains of cars my son has or stuff my husband brings home. I can at least vacuum and recycle and donate! Having turned 40 this year, I also feel I need to begin to turn my attention back to myself again. I have been busy looking after a certain little boy for 5 years and have neglected my own needs. I want to get back in the pool for aquafit, and start to focus again on what I need to do to feel happy and fulfilled outside of my family. Perhaps get back into a drawing routine! Time to brush out the cobwebs!
What do you do to take care of yourself? I would love to know!!!
Hello! It has been a nicely busy few weeks. I was asked to present my book at two events. Here are Finch and I horsing around in front of the end paper image of Starring Shapes. It was all up on a big screen! Technology! This was for Corus Friends and Family Day. Corus is the parent company of my publisher, Kids Can Press.
It was a fab day! Finch got to meet Toopy and Binoo ( I won't link to them! Too much cutesy noise) and we had a free BBQ lunch. The best part, I finally got to visit Kids Can's new offices and it was such a treat.
Yesterday was the Toronto Word on the Street Festival. It was a glorious sunny day down at Toronto's waterfront. Finch got to see Island airport planes taking off, Paul got a tee shirt and my presentation was smooth going, despite a wicked cold I had picked up. Yay! I did it. I am always nervous to do presentations and usually the kids dictate how deeply I go into discussing my process. These last two, I only read the book and did a drawing demo. The kids were exited and little and I'm sure would not be able to listen to me ramble on about thumbnails and final drafts! Kids Can created some lovely colouring pages for the craft activity following my talk. It was also so so nice to see one of my favorite people Krissy and she made me this!
I must make an effort to do more promotion and school visits!
Here is a bit of teensy shot of the spring catalog for Kids Can Press and I am beyond chuffed to have a page of my own!! Who knew I would one day have 5 kids books to my name!! It's beyond a thrill and I am so grateful.
You can see the next Willow book will be "Willow's Smile" and is out in March. It is about picture day!
Please follow me on Instagram if you can, I seem to post there much more often these days!
Hello friends! School's on and Starring Shapes was released on September 1st! I am beyond thrilled to have been invited to present at this years Word on the Street Festival here at Toronto's Harbourfront.
I am going to be a tad nervous! It would be so nice to see some familiar, friendly faces, so do try and pop in to say hello! I'd be overjoyed! It's free and fabulous- wall to wall books and great kids activities!
Hello there! I am here! These are some of my latest things on instagram. Finch is in camp this week so I can pop in here with ease- I made these shrink plastic earrings yesterday! To feed my polka dot problem, I can't get enough! Then I celebrated by making a poached egg and stove top espresso- doesn't sound like much, but my kid has decided he is afraid of the stove so it's always a big to do when I need to use it! Which is every day!
A little outing on the subway to Mimico creek! Isn't it pretty? I used to walk in this park as a little girl with my dad and our dog Tilly. Finch likes to come here because there is a freight train track going across the west side and subways across the east side! Also a lovely flock of duckies in the river to feed breadcrumbs to.
The progress of another sock I have been knitting for ages and ages. I just love the way the rows all line up so beautifully.
Painting pictures of the cat at the kitchen table.
I have 2.5 days left of freedom before summer vacation! I am proud of my kid, making it through Junior Kindergarten. Every day he says he wants to stay home but I'm pretty sure he has loved it.
So in between projects here, I have managed to finally update my portfolio with all the new books etc. It was really easy thanks to this platform, juicebox, which is the newer more snazzy relative of the simpleviewer site I had originally built years ago. I am proud of myself for getting to this! It's needed doing for over 5 years so, ta da! I like how my expectations and goals shrink due to the lack of time and space for them, due to the kid. Now that he is five, its way, way easier, but I still can't get to a lot of stuff, and I don't really mind. Oh, also, I turned 40!!!! Finch turned five and I turned 40. Holy Crow. Its kind of a mind bender for me, who perpetually feels like an awkward 15 year old.
I also updated my about page using good old HTML. I feel so analog. I have files on my old computer, that's now in the kitchen and used mainly for ITUNES while I cook ( yes I have heard of IPODS and wireless speakers) and I have to run up and down the stairs , shouting "Let's see if it worked!", to my new computer to test it as I upload it to my server via an FTP and edit it with appleworks on the old computer. Very silly, I am sure I could find a way to do it all on the new ( now possibly old already ) MAC in the studio. ANYWAY, I AM 40 after all. It takes me a while to get the old brain chugging.
I am so super exited to show you my new book! Starring Shapes! It comes out in the fall of 2015 and is amazingly already up on Amazon for pre-order. They even let you have a good look through the first number of pages. This is the first book I wrote and illustrated, so I am feeling really lucky, grateful and chuffed.
It has been such great timing- I was busy with this book and then the third Willow book all through Finch's first year of school, and my first block of childfree time since he was born, apart from a few mornings at preschool of course.
Willow is going to look something like this:
It's about picture day! Lana Button has done it again- such a lovely story! Willow is worried she won't be able to smile. I know the feeling!! I think Willow is actually me.... Please stay tuned, I will post the cover as soon as I am able!
Hello!! I have been so busy finishing up the illustrations for the third Willow book ( handed in! Not sure of it's release date... fall 2015? will keep you posted!) that I have not been able to blog at all. Today I am celebrating being done!
Today I made this, something to post on my neglected St.Clarens General Store blog!
I have made this cream four times and finally, this batch is just what it should be! Dreamy and creamy, just lovely. It's not as oily as my solid lotion bars because it has aloe vera gel mixed in, so it absorbs just beautifully. It took about half an hour to whip up and it lasts for ages, at least a season maybe longer in the summer when I won't be feeling so dry. I even think it would be perfect to mix a bit of zinc oxide powder into and make it a good sunscreen. I am just not sure how much...It is a variation on a recipe from a great book called Homemade.
you will need:
1 cup of aloe vera gel
5-10 drops of essential oil of your choice
3/4 ounces of grated or pellets, beeswax
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1.add your essential oil to your aloe vera gel
2.Melt the coconut oil and beeswax in a double boiler until the beeswax has blended into the oil as a liquid.
3.In a slow stream pour the oil/wax mixture into the aloe vera mixture, while whirring away on slow speed with a hand mixer until all oil is blended and it looks creamy and dreamy.
4. spoon into jars.
The book suggests you store it in the fridge but I keep it in the bathroom since I use it as a night face cream and it hasn't turned sour or anything.
My friend Chandi Fernando is a child psychologist! She has a website and over the years has hired me to do a few illustrations as promotion. It was so fun to do this latest one because I was encouraged to go with my default settings! Bright colours and bright patterns! She wanted something simple and cute and childlike, to remind clients she was available and that winter is OVER! ( sort of over, it's freezing today!) I really liked the way it turned out.
These are some ideas I sketched before I started the below painting. I am sort of new to painting, or perhaps, just revisiting it again. It is really restful to draw the image and then fill in the colours, without a client in mind. I just do it to have something nice to look at. I am trying to think of what to paint next. It is march break here and I have a babysitter for two hours in order to meet a deadline. I am done - some revisions to sketches for the third Willow! - so I am having a minute to play and pop in and say hello!
I have rediscovered The Commons on Flickr. How wonderful to browse all these archives! This one is from the Huron County Archives which is technically just up the road a bit from here. This is such a lovely shot, I remember doing this with Finch when he was a baby and I do it myself every chance I can get. I have noticed on instagram, spring blossoms elsewhere are blooming, but it is of course -16C here today and the trees are locked up tight for at least two more months.