Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Sugar Shacking!

A weekend or two ago, I visited my first Sugar Shack (or cabane a sucre). I always heard about this Quebecois tradition, but never quite managed to make the time to experience it for myself. So I and a few friends (and half of Montreal, it seemed! It was crowded.) went to Sucrerie de la Montagne in Regaud, Quebec on a bright, coolish, spring Sunday afternoon. What was the experience like? Photos and brief commentary below.

Below: Outside the main building where the banquet halls are to eat are located.

Below: Buckets on trees. Note. Snow on ground and noooo leaves. Arg!

Below: Things you do while waiting to eat…

Below: Inside the main banquet hall you….

Below: The main course…

Below: After all the maple sugar-laden food, wine & song, life looked like this…

Just kidding. : ) A fun time was had by all. I cut loose and played the wooden spoons. A lot. Must have been the maple wine (was it maple…? Everything was MAPLE!).

Thank You, Attune Foods!

Hi all. I just wanted to give a big thanks to the folks at Attune Foods for loving my sketch and personal like of Skinner’s Raising Bran, which I blogged about here! Annelies (the online community manager at Attune Foods) saw my post, left a comment, and asked me if she could send me a little something. Soon thereafter, a package arrived in the mail.  And in that package were TWELVE boxes of my very favorite (but often hard-to-find) raisin bran–Skinner’s! I am set for the year, that’s for sure! So I want to thank Attune Food for kindly making my day by gifting me with the Skinner’s. Their other products look mighty good-for-you, too: lots of other cereal brands and bars for healthy eating.

Gotta love the internet, for all the great things you can find–and for them finding you!

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada

Photos: Foody Stuff & Kitty

Some photos from this morning.

Below: Scrambled egg with smoked cheddar & and a few baby spinach leaves, tucked inside a corn tortilla; broiled tomato with same smoked cheddar; an orange. You’re welcome.

Below: Orange Kitty (feral kitty who nests on our balcony) looking inside (Reflection is of Christmas red pepper lights, in case you’re wondering).

Below: Orange Kitty now trudging off to get his breakfast I suspect. Someone else feeds him canned food, I think. He’s quite hefty!

Looking Back at 2009

It’s hard to believe a year–a decade!– has gone by already. I don’t know about you, but I find time not marching, but racing by! Whew!  So with the arrival of 2010, I want to take pause and reflect over 2009’s accomplishments, work-wise. I also want to share my plans for 2010, but will do so in a separate post. First up…Some highlights of 2009!

Illustration jobs were pretty steady–despite the recession–so I was happy to have had textbook work and repeat-clients from various book publishers and magazines for children, doing illustrations, spots and spreads throughout the year. I’ve been working on greeting cards for one company for a few years, and though jobs from them slowed down a little, I still was asked to do quite a few.

It was a special treat when Highlights For Children asked me to do a poster and sign them at their booth for the International Reading Association this past February in Phoenix. Talk about getting out of the studio! I had never been to Phoenix and it was fun to go and hang out with some of the folks from Highlights for a few days.

Speaking of my studio, my space is small and cramped, so earlier in the year, I did a little rearranging and changing to try and make it less so. It’s still not all I would want it to be, but it’s at least less stuffy.  And this was my first full year using the Cintiqs (I have a 21″ & 12″); they worked well for both the studio and traveling. No complaints.

As for marketing, etc., My website is still in need a of a mega make-over. We changed hosts a few months ago and that should make a difference this coming year. Besides my website and blog, I had folios on two other pay-for sites. I can’t say I reaped much from them so I am reconsidering what to do with those. I am still involved with Illustration For Kids and appreciate these creative gals and the benefits from having bonded with them over the last few years.

As for my work itself, I still have an on-going battle with liking what I produce. That’s par for the course for artists, I understand, but I wish there was a way to turn that switch off! I wasn’t quite as hard on myself this year (I don’t think), and it helped to have developed a new style late in the year that was looser and more painterly than my line work.

Coming up soon: hopes & plans for 2010.

Things I Love/Miss About Texas 2

Waiting in hole-in-the-wall taqueria’s….

…for food like this. That’s a sope. It’s a rare find, even in South Texas!

Sunday drives in the country where you see the likes of this…

And this:

Whimsy on a fence post (No, I left him there)…

Down town Corpus Christi at play:

Pretty Sunsets:

Things I Love/Miss About Texas

(Yesterday’s lunch from Howard’s BBQ, down town Corpus Christi Texas. Thanks, Buck & Jimmy!)

Oldies: Bicycle Tour Sketch 1

It’s a little busy here this week so I thought I’d post some old sketches. This sketch (below) is another from the bicycling tour I took a few decades ago. I quote myself here, from an earlier posting:

Many moons ago (1986…), I used to do a LOT of bicycle touring.  The kind where you carried all your gear with you (”self-contained” is what they call it).  In this instance it was 1986, early June, and I was doing a short week-long tour in the Texas Hill Country with a gal pal of mine.  The first day off we took a road that wasn’t accurately marked on our map as being a dead-end so, it being too late in the day for us to back-track, we ended up pitching camp in a vacant shooting range north of San Antonio called Kreutzberg Hall.

It must have rained that late afternoon, given the scene I sketched. My notes say, “Yucky weather brings us to a ‘quaint’ ‘lil place to spend the night”. I guess we waited out the rain and then pitched our tents. I really liked to use the splatter brush back then! And I drew myself with a huuuge nose. Nice of me. : )


How Long? (Illustration For Kids Postings)

Over at Illustration For Kids, we girls have been answering the question this week:  “How Long Have You Been Working As An Illustrator?” I posted my reply here.  So if you go over there to read it, please also check out what Holli, Jannie, Jenn, and Anette had to say. Hopefully Claire and Susan will also share their history with us soon, too!  I learned a few things about these illustrator friends that I didn’t know even though we’ve been together as a group for a couple of years. So please…Check them out!

The Red Leaf

Yes, really. I saw my first fall foliage today. Dag nabbit, it’s barely September!

Sketches: Apollo 11 Brooch

Below: Photo of  brooch.

Sketches: Sagapool at Stewart Hall

I almost missed this Thursday evening, thinking all the summer park concerts weren’t starting until next week. It would have upset me to have missed Sagapool, a band I happened upon last summer at the Montreal Jazz Festival. They were going by the name “Manouche” then, and true to that name, play a form of music that sounds like gypsy jazz a la Django Reinhardt. It’s like listening to circus/carnival music (fun and energetic), though they did one slow piece that sounded a bit like a carny dirge. And as I try to do, I sketched a little as I listened. I also brought my video recorder and made a little clip of the event, below.

Late Evening Sail

Our boat was never one to just be plopped into the water and ready to sail. Paul’s been working on wiring, electronics, the engine, etc., for weeks to get the boat prepared to be sailed comfortably. Only tonight did he get the last of the navigation lights working, which we tested out with a quicky evening sail. We could see some fireworks going off on parts of the island. June 24th is a major Quebec holiday so there is much going on this week and next (Canada Day) to celebrate. Anyway, I tried doing a quick sketch from the boat but it was dark and difficult to see what I was drawing. The photo was taken of the same scene I sketched about half an hour apart. I included a sunset photo. It’s beautiful from the water.

Sketches: The Tilley

So says this hat (which I purchased last Saturday at a garage sale) on a large tag on the inside crown. It goes on to say that, “It is the best outdoor hat in the world.”

“It floats, ties on, repels rain and mildew, won’t shrink, and will be replaced free if it wears out. (Yes, put it in your will).”

“Ten-ounce, USA-treated cotton duck, solid British brass hardware, sewn with Canadian persnicketiness.”

Ya gotta love a hat with a sense of humor–er, humour (since I’m typing this north of the border)!

As I said above, this was one of several garage sale purchases from my outing last Saturday morning. I paid more than I wanted to for it but I know it’s a good hat and what it retails for. (We had just bought my husband a Tilley for sailing.)  I’ve been on the look-out while garage sale-ing for extra hats of all kinds to stow on the boat. The seller was asking $20 and I couldn’t get him to budge at all on the price. If it hadn’t fit me, I would have walked away, but having a smaller-than-usual head, finding a hat like this that fits is rather rare. So I gave in. I gave him his $20 and walked off with my now #1 hat for sailing–or general outdoorsy stuff.

But back to the Tilley hat itself.

I had never heard of one until I moved to Canada. The Pointe Claire Village used to have a shop that carried Tilley-wear items.  And a number of years ago I had found a Tilley purse at a garage sale ($2, y’all!) that I still use during the summer months here. I also have a garage sale-purchase hat that looks almost exactly like my ‘new’ Tilley, but the brim is larger/wider. It also has a tag inside that lauds it’s origins, calling itself

“The Original SCAUP Hat…Designed in 1945 (by our designer) for the Ceylon Postal Service, quickly snatched up by cricket players around the world and more recently popularized in Canada.”

This is also made by a Canadian company (Merganser Outdoor Clothing). I don’t know what all the hat tipping to the other hat company/companies is about. There seems there was no patent on the design. Interesting…sorta.

Below are some links pertaining to Tilley-dom:

-Tilley on Facebook

-Leader-Post interview with Alex Tilley

-Recent Toronto Star interview with founder Alex Tilley

Merganser Clothing Inc.

-Merganser hat info