Saturday, February 28, 2009

Getting Snubbed in Kirkland

We had a lovely lunch with friends today, after which we decided to take a stroll along the waterfront and peruse the shops and galleries in Kirkland. After grabbing some much needed coffees, I spotted a furniture shop which looked rather like my kind of shop. As a graphic designer, I have a keen interest in all forms of design, whether it be industrial, interior, or textile design. And so I was very excited to come across a shop window displaying some furniture with beautiful, simple, unpretentious lines. Naturally, I opened the door and went in. And as it was mighty nippy outdoors, we brought the stroller in too. Oh boy, you should have seen the look of disgust on the saleswoman's face as we came in through that door. I almost turned around to leave, but thought "damn it, I want to check this stuff out." Besides, the kids sat there like angels, not a peep I swear.

After drooling over an Arm Shell Rocker and some fabulous mid-century inspired teak chairs, I made my way towards the back of the shop and past the two sales clerks (including the non-stroller enthusiast). I am quite certain that I hadn't suddenly become transparent, yet there was no hello, no smile, not even a nod. Ten seconds later, another woman walked into the shop and received a warm greeting, to which I promptly turned around, looked the sales clerk in the eye, and said " Hi! I'm doing well, thanks." Yup, I got snubbed in Kirkland. The sad part is that the shop is called Design Within Reach.

I think I'll just stick to flea markets and our local Farmer's markets from now on, where I am guaranteed to find smiles and a girl wearing tattered overalls offering my child a fresh organic carrot. Not much designer furniture, but definitely more my style.

Friday, February 27, 2009

belly bisou in Mothering

I have a subscription to Mothering Magazine (my bible) and always look forward to finding it in my mailbox. It arrived today, and I was tickled pink to find that they published my recent e-mail to them along with my painting "belly bisou" and the link to my Etsy shop! It's under their "Love Letters" section. I had sent them a few samples of my work in case they were interested in having me do some illustration work for them, and hadn't heard back, so this was a nice surprise. I can now officially say that my work has been published in a magazine, ha ha. If anyone would like me to do a 2 page spread for them, however, I might still consider it ;) Okay, even half a page. A quarter?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Business is Blooming

They're finally here! My new cards, the fleur series, arrived today just as the first crocuses are blooming in our garden, cheery yellow against the dark, soggy soil. I am happy with how the cards turned out, despite a bit of a mishap at the printshop and some of them ending up with creasing on the front. Those are being redone. There's always something isn't there? Anyway, I'm very proud of the fact that these little beauties are printed with vegetable-based inks on FSC certified paper, using 100% wind power.

I spent much of the day taking photos, figuring out packaging/presentation, and looking after the two kiddos who are now both sick. The house is a disaster, but that seems hardly a concern now that I've had a glass of wine!

mi casa

Other good news; it looks like I have found a mother's helper/nanny to come and keep the kids out of my hair and paint a couple days a week. She is a friend, has her own kids and is uber qualified so I hope it works out. She starts next week, perhaps my birch panels will be here by then and I can bring out my oils. I have yet to figure out where to set up my easel in our 1100 square foot house. The family room is chock-a-block full already, so it might have to be in the living room. At least the light in there is fabulous next to the large window. This keeps me dreaming of turning the garage into a studio...

Monday, February 23, 2009

There Once was a Book

I love books. I grew up in a house where reading wasn't just encouraged, it was as much a part of life as breathing and eating. Okay, maybe even better than eating. And so you can understand that I was very excited when Teacher Toni handed me Maia's book orders and apologized for her tardiness in handing these out and could I please return them by the next morning? Asking me to pick out books? By the next morning? What torture.

I drove home with generous pressure on the accelerator, raced through the door, prepared lunch for the kids in record time, forgot to feed myself, and sat down to peruse through my ─I mean Maia's─ book order, telling myself that I really ought to behave and have some restraint. I have a similar conversation with myself when faced with chocolate.

And so you can imagine my disappointment when, after leafing through the hundred or so titles, I had only jotted down three. First of all, it doesn't help that these flyers are designed to look like a Fanny's Fabric sale's flyer. But I could have overlooked that. Books piled on a heap of dog poop would still be books. Yet there was absolutely nothing delectable about these particular books; almost everything is based on a cartoon character, comes with a Hello Kitty trinket, or has a Barbie Doll on the cover. I ended up picking out a couple of Eric Carle's board books and one about a cow who waits by the mailbox and scares the living daylights of out the mailman. So much for the opportunity to expand our children's collection of literature!

So there it is: I'm a confirmed book snob. My children will have to make do with my careful, anti-Hello Kitty, anti-Barbie, anti-commercialist selection, as well as my beloved collection of books that has travelled with me since childhood and finally found a place up on my daughter's bookshelf. And I guess I'll just have to invest in some fantastically dark chocolate for my own consolation.

If you want to read more on this topic, Mothering just published this: Put the Book Back in Book Clubs

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I have been missing France recently and thought I'd share a few photos of the house and village where I grew up spending my summers:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

simona's bird

pencil and watercolour on paper
6" square

Friday, February 20, 2009

Surprise Visit

I feel a million times more human and mobile after going to see my wonderful acupuncturist this afternoon. Amazing what a bunch of little needles can do! He also did some acupressure on me which really helped. That and the fact that I was able to lie down for a whole hour, in the middle of the day, without having a toddler bouncing next to me or a baby attempting to stick his finger up my nose. It was heavenly, and a good reminder that I should never take my body for granted and that I most definitely need to look after myself a little more. I am going back next week, and have promised myself to make it out to yoga at least once this coming week. My little boob-monster of a son will just have to survive spending more time with his boob-less father.

My parents and brother arrived today for the weekend, it's their first visit since last May and it's lovely to have them here. Maia simply adores her Uncle Tristan, and spent a good hour chasing him up and down the road as he flew by on his rip-stick. The poor kid was so tired she actually asked to go to bed!! I think I could handle him coming down more often!

Prior to my parents' arrival, I frantically cleaned the house. It's funny, I really am not bothered by other people's houses being messy. In fact I strongly believe that a home ought to look lived-in and I feel far more comfortable in a space that is, well, lived in. And yet when it comes to my space, I am a complete neat-freak. As in I get extremely irritable if the cushions aren't plumped up just so and the bottle of dish-washing liquid has it's label turned away from me. So when I say I cleaned the house, I mean it. And I was a tired girl when it was all said and done. I was just cutting up my butternut squash for dinner in an immaculate kitchen when there was a knock at the door. Assuming it was my parents, I opened the door to find a different pair of Canadians: my beautiful friends Amie and Jacqueline were standing there, grinning from ear to ear. What a fabulous surprise! And I really do love it when people pop-in. I know it's not a very North-American thing to do, but for me it's something I grew up with in France. In the village it's not unusual for friends to drop by for a chat, get invited for an apperitif, and for this to turn into an impromptu potluck dinner as more arrive and dart back home to grab the half quiche from last night's dinner. I miss it, and thoroughly enjoyed having such a lovely surprise visit this afternoon.

Wow, I can't believe the time. I really must sleep, speaking of looking after myself and all that! I've got my newly finished painting tucked in under the bed, and a cat at my feet. I just need to convice Lonny to part with his concubine (his laptop) and I should be set for the night! Bonne nuit!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pasta Windows

This afternoon I hosted a playdate for the Attachment Parenting Group. We have regular get-togethers for our toddlers, during which we attempt to feed them a snack and do a craft without getting entirely covered in jam or glue or glitter. Or all of these. We never got to the craft today as the kids spent most of the time romping around the backyard dumping sand and dirt all over each other. They had a miserable time of course. And I always enjoy chatting with the moms. The stories we share make me feel sane, and remind me that it is possible for me to actually carry on a conversation with someone older than 3.

After surviving the happy but still somewhat exhausting onslaught of 10 kids, I opted out of my previously elaborate dinner plans and put on a pot for pasta.

Our house has single pane windows, and here's what happens:

Our neighbours (or neighbors to be correct) always know when we have pasta. They also get the privilege of viewing (in reverse of course) Maia's doodles, for my daughter can never resist the floor to ceiling canvas. This is why I don't bother to clean my windows!

And here's a terrible photo of the painting I am currently working on, with the beginnings of masking fluid applied last night before I finally gave in to sleep and crashed. Yes I realize this photo has nothing to do with pasta:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thank Goodness for Cookies

It's been an interesting day. That's the term one uses when commenting on someone's work/cooking/attire while trying not to insult, even if it's really terrible. But I don't have to worry about ruffling any feathers so I should be honest and say it's been a terrible day!

It all started when Kieran's
hat was thrown overboard without my noticing while at the grocery store. We have many more hats (and more than enough mitts and scarves and gloves to suit an army) in the closet, however, this one was on loan from a friend and therefore I feel quite awful. I will have to call the store and hope it has been found...

Then I put my back out while lifting my little boy who is apparently not so little. And so it has been an afternoon spent trying to rest on the couch or floor. This is not so easy because Kieran has taken this fabulous opportunity to actually crawl. Proper-like, not just the backwards shuffling. And of course it's lovely and wonderful, but he is into EVERYTHING! It really would be more endearing if I could redirect him without hobbling or wincing. Lonny has promised to be home on time today (for his own livelihood I think) and I am very much looking forward to seeing him come through that front door. In the meantime, I am very much enjoying eating far too many chocolate chunk cookies in an attempt to console myself. And it is helping.

On a more positive, less pathetic note, I am working on another painting. I have sketched it out on watercolour paper and it's at that wonderful stage where the paper is still beautifully white and taunting me every time I look at it. I've also ordered some gorgeous cradled birch panels and I simply can't wait for those to arrive.

cradled birch panels from

I lay in bed for almost two hours last night dreaming about them. I realize that's a bit weird. I haven't painted in oils for a few years and I really miss it. I love watercolour, but yearn for something less delicate after a while. I think what I miss the most about oils is that lovely buttery thickness. Sometimes I think I could eat the paint. Don't worry, I won't. I will, however, have one more cookie.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The title is fairly self-explanatory. Here's where I work everyday:

Hey, it's got a window.

Rocking my babies to sleep provides a wonderful opportunity to dream up paintings.

I admit I tidied it up a bit. Okay, a lot.

And here are a few projects I did last week for the kids (in all that spare time between 11pm and midnight):

Mobile for Kieran's room. Can't take credit for the animals, I am very embarrassed to say they come from the Martha Stewart section of Michael's. I did not die from the fluorescent lighting, and with the help of a hole punch and some string, voila!

Mobile for Maia's room. Now these butterflies I can take credit for :)

And out of an old oak frame and some scrap pieces of felt and velvet, I made this to match the mobile. Now I just need to find the time to hang it without waking the whole household.

And I finally put Kieran's name up on his door to match his sister's below.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Coucou c'est moi!

Well, I said I'd never do such a narcissistic thing as have my own blog...and here I am. I also said I'd never own one of those ridiculous jogging strollers which I associate with too much spandex, sparkling white running shoes and pink manicures. And you'll never guess what emerged from the garage for our Sunday afternoon walk. No spandex though, I promise. Just jeans and my birkis, and two happy kiddos.

So yes, here I am trying to type as my husband keeps peeking over my shoulder. I'm trying to explain to him that this is private, which I realize sounds somewhat ridiculous considering that I'm about to publish this for all of you lovely internet folks.

Why am I doing this? Hopefully the answer will come to me in a few months, when I look back on brilliant posts viewed by millions. Hmm, not so likely me thinks. Perhaps I'm here because my friends' blogs, particularly those who live far, have made me laugh and feel connected despite the great distances that exist between us. And also because I'd like to record what goes on in this small suburban house. We all have a story, and I'd like to tell mine. I am fairly quiet, and reserved, yet my life as a full-time mom and artist is busy, and I am trying to think of this blog simply as a digital version of my journal with it's tattered cloth cover. A recording of the happy chaos that is motherhood, my home, my drafting table...I won't talk about the garage.

And here are some photos of our year so far:

father-son study session

3 seconds before Kieran licked the camera

presidential inauguration

Maia hard at work making valentine's

good old potato stamps!

my touch of red, which I just finished: "Ginger & Poppy"