Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Hello, Lolly Jo!

Below: When we first met “Lolly Jo” (a 26′ Contessa), her name was “Sterling”. For several years, she had been biding her time in a field of golden rod on a farm in Ontario, waiting for a good home. After several months of looking at many boats, we chose her.

Below: The challenge would be to transport her to Montreal. It arrived in late October. The sailing season was over, so it was prepared to bed down for the winter.

Below: During the long winter, plans were made  to get LJ in the water by Launch Day in early May.

Below: As soon as the most of the snow had melted and there was little chance there would be any more, the tarp came off and the work began. Though quite chilly at times, we worked on the boat, as well as had contractors working on larger projects. Here you can see the windows had been pried off, replaced with tape and plastic, while we prepared the new ones to go in.

In re-naming the boat, the previous owner had planned to name it “Lolly Joe”. I fell in love with the name. I think it suits her well.

Below: This past Monday, after all our hard work, Lolly Jo was hauled down to the crane. She looks so much smaller from a distance.

Below: Lolly Jo was put into the sling and lowered into the water. While she was still in the sling (though in the water) our contractor checked it for leaks. It turned out she was taking on water, so she was pulled out and taken back to the shop. They worked on her that evening and, on Tuesday, she was put into the water. This time there was no water in the hull. She wouldn’t sink! Hurray!

Below: With no mast on the boat yet (and the motor still needing to be repaired), she was towed over to a temporary slip. She looks so pretty!

There’s still much work to do (the engine, the sails, etc.), but she should soon be sailing!

Illustration Friday: "Hierarchy"

The Canadian Geese and ducks, have been making their way back up north. You can’t miss them as they make their presence known with their “Honk-a! Honk-a!” noise as they fly in their V formations overhead. Speaking of their V formation, have you ever wondered how they decide who’s flying where? How does that front goose get to be there? Does he volunteer? Is he selected by the others? Does he (or she, maybe…?) just step up and claim his God-ordained position there? Or maybe it’s more democratic and they all will take that first position when it’s their turn. Hmmm. Well, I don’t know the answer to that, but it’s definitely a hierarchical thing, hence my choice of this subject to depict this week’s Illustration Friday topic.


My husband and I spent the bulk of today working on our sailboat. It’s new to us and a bit of a fixer-upper, so there’s a lot to be done before it goes into the water this season (which is only a few short weeks away).  One thing we’re doing is replacing the windows, so we are in the process of removing the old ones.  We worked together to unscrew them, pry them out, and then tape plastic over the holes.  The new windows will all open up and have screens on them as well. It will keep the cabin cool in the summer, particularly on warm nights when I am sleeping there. : )

Thank You, Mr. Steele

Looking in some old boxes while purging stuff, I found this.  Circa 1968.  I’m guessing I was in 3rd or 4th grade.  This is one of my earliest illustration and cartooning projects, a booklet entitled, “Holidays of the Year–1968-2000”  In 3rd grade, I had created a cartoon strip called “Waterworks”, with the main characters being water drops.  And, yes, Mr. Steele, I STILL need to work on my writing. : )

Sketches: Church a Go-Go

It’s been a good while since I posted any sketches I’ve done at church.  Several reasons account for that, I guess, one being I’ve not done much sketching there in the last few months.  Also, lack of time in general has been a big factor since September, when I took on a number of projects that have kept me very busyful.

Paul was doing sound this morning so I went in early with him to help.  I’m glad I did as it afforded me an hour to simply sit and sketch.  It was relaxing and had me wondering why I wasn’t doing this more often.  Just for sanity’s sake, you know?  That right-brain activity stuff can be calming.

I left the first two pages as-is.  The third I opted to add some color to with the computer.

In other news, I suppose you can see that I’ve been fooling around with my blog here.  I picked out a new WP theme which has more space for images, a menu bar, and a few other behind-the-scene tools.  There seems to be a problem with activating the widget for my blog-roll but I’m working on that.  I’m thinking I want to make this space my active portfolio for now so you will probably be seeing me working on that here as time goes on.

And I’ve noticed several of my illustrator friends have been posting their 2008 accomplishments, along with goals for ’09.  I might do that here, too, when some time opens up.  Really, it’s all about time right now.  I’ve never been busier as an illustrator as I have been this year.  As I mentioned, since September, it’s been almost non-stop.  I’ve been having to fit in short vacations or the holidays, it seems.  And I don’t see things slowing down until sometime in March.  It’s all good, though.  I’d much rather be overly-busy than not busy at all. : )

Merry Christmas From The Orange Kitty

That’s my make-shift cat box for Orange Kitty to sleep in.  She spends a lot of time in there since it’s now cold and snowy.  Occasionally I give her food but when I do it routinely, she gets demanding, so I’m trying to only divy meals out to her randomly.  Believe me, she’s far from starving as she’s very plump.  I’d say she’s got 3-4 places she’s getting hand-outs from.  The ony danger here is my getting attached.

Cindy Woods

I just wanted to mention that Cindy Woods, artist/sketcher,  passed away this past Saturday after a battle with cancer.  Cindy was one of several artist-bloggers who inspired me to sketch more (I wrote about it in this post).  I never met her personally, though we corresponded off and on by email and blog comments over the last few years.  She was well-loved by the sketch blogging community.  When I first encountered her sketch blog a few years ago, I was mesmerized by her art.  Even today as I was looking through the vast collection of drawings on her blog, I was utterly taken by her style and voice.  And Cindy sketched up until she could sketch no more, an artist to the bone.  Thank you for sharing your marvelous art with us, Cin.  You will be greatly missed.

Hello Kitty

This is the Orange Cat (O.K.) I took pics of and blogged about a-way back here and here.  As I said above, it looks like he’s decided to pemanently camp out on our balcony.  Oh dear, I say.

Random Rough: Le Wedding

Another random choice of a rough from a greeting card I’m working on.  I like doing my roughs in a thick, almost clumsy digital calligraphy pen.  It keeps me from getting anal about the look and to achieve that loose sense I long for.  I should just stop at my roughs. : )

So much time to think when you’re sitting for hours drawing and painting.  If you’re like me, you listen to some form of talk radio or music.  It depends on what I’m doing as to what I can or can’t listen to.  If I have to concentrate on something or concept an idea, I can only have music or nothing.  If I’m coloring or reproducing a rough to a final, the thinking’s been done so I can listen to people conversing.  TV’s not an option anymore in the studio since we got cable.  For some reason now all I get are French stations on my TV.  Besides, I can’t ‘watch’ something while I’m looking at the piece I’m working on.

Sometimes you have too much time to think.  Yesterday I got sad news about a friend.  A friend, my age, who I went to high school with, who became a friend 30 years after the fact.  A friend who left comments on this blog frequently.  Who would call once in a while to just catch up and share what was going on in their life.  So I got the sad news that this friend passed away suddenly this past Saturday.  And saddest of all is that it may have been intentional on their part.  I don’t know.  And I chatted with them briefly just the day before.  Nothing in the conversation indicated that they would decide that life wasn’t worth living.

So I’ve had a lot of time to think about that while I work on cards, on curriculum, on books, on baking bread, making soup, watching the yellow leaves fall off the tree out back, listening to the news of the day, etc.  Life going on.  And me drawing a gal and guy holding toasters.

Sketches: Ikeaville

I made two trips to Ikea last week, first to buy some shelving, then two days later to return it and buy some more (different) shelving.  In my quest to revamp my office space, I chose to use Ikea’s cheap utility shelving, their Gorm.  My first trip, they were completely out of the stuff.  So in looking around, I ended up buying some wooden shelving that looked a tad more appealing, but once home, Hubby Paul told me it wouldn’t be strong enough for our purposes.  So two days later, I took it all back.  Since I did all this on a week-day morning, the wait wasn’t bad at all, maybe 15 minutes at the most.  And I had my little sketchbook with me so I amused myself drawing some of the folks that were also waiting to return items.  Some thoughts:

– People in these parts (Montreal) dress well.  Everybody in there–from the patrons to the staff– looked good: had fashionable haircuts, clothes, shoes, etc.  I was the exception; me and my ponytail and crappy second-hand clothes.  Meh. Oh. Except for my deck shoes.  I paid retail for those.  You know, I don’t really care, but sometimes I think other people do…Look at me and say, she’s dressed pretty crappy.  I’ll stop. : )

– I think they need “You Are Here” markers in Ikea.  I stopped at least 3 times to ask an employee how to get to where I wanted to be (the warehouse, in this case).  “Go through that area, then turn left, then right, then left again and down the stairs…”  Huh?  When you enter the building, you MUST go upstairs before going to the warehouse to get what you want.  Probably so they can say to you along the way, “Oh…Didn’t you need a shower curtain?  How about some containers for those shelves you’re buying?”  It works.  I’m easily distracted by bins of stuff.

– And their website.  You can check for availability of items but it’s not accurate.  First trip I took I checked and they said they had the shelves.  When I arrived, there. was. NOTHING.  “But the website said…!” I said to the  dark, curly-haired, glasses-wearing, yellow Ikea-shirted young gal.  Shrug she did.  Second trip (to return the items I bought), the website had said my intended shelving STILL wasn’t in, but I meandered my way through the maze to the warehouse to check and, low and behold, it was there!  Well most of what I wanted anyway, including a drop-leaf table I had been eyeing.  So to believe the website or not, that is the question.  It’s not a short or easy trip to go over to Ikea and just “see”.  A trip to Ikea is a trip you have to book in your schedule, you know?  Gas up the car, move stuff out of it so you can load it up, etc.  It’s an excursion.

So half the shelves I want are up in my studio.  I still need the wider shelves (which the website says are “unavailable”–ARE they really???) for the other wall.  Then we can toss our make-shift tables, shelves, etc. and hopefully have a more appealing workspace here.  It’s nothing fancy.  I’m simply trying to pair things down and not be working in a little cranny as I have been.

And for enders, I found this concerning Ikea, which I thought funny–and so true.

The Bachelorette

(Larger version here.)

You know, I kind of miss posting about the mundane of my life, like what’s happening around here, or just general musings. Illustration and art seems to dominate the blog and, well, even though it’s a work-related blog, I called it “Whatever-ings” for a reason. So…Let’s have at it then!

First up, I SHOULD be embarrassed to say that I am a watcher of The Bachelor/Bachelorette series that is an ABC franchise, but…I’m not. Hey, we all have our guilty pleasures and that’s one of mine. However, this season (The Bachelorette, which just wrapped up with the finale Monday night), I have been watching it with a friend. My friend (I’ll call her S) has been coming over every Monday night for our weekly dose of watching the pretty, 26 y/o Deanna Pappas try to determine which man, out of a hand-picked group of 25 bachelors, is her “soul mate”. Some nights we were able to coax my husband into participating. S and I were definitely okay with a healthy dose of snark, and Pauly was more than happy to supply. After a short while, though, it would become just too much for him and he’d exit (usually with a sassy comment or a good roll of the eyes–or both). But we didn’t stop there with our corruption. For the last two episodes, we managed to tempt two other gal pals (E & J) into joining us. Without seeing any previous episodes, they were mesmerized; spellbound. We had them hooked! And so this past Monday night, the four of us soaked up three intense hours of Bachelorette goodness. With drinks and snacks to keep our energy up (east coast finished at 11 pm and we’re all working girls), we watched with baited breath as to who-who-who D would pick. Would it be Daddy Jason or Snowboarder Jesse? We were all on team Jesse, to tell you the truth. And as it goes in The Bachelor franchise, when Jason was the first man to step out of the limo for his final approach to D, we knew he was toast. Like that final point that scores a victory, we screamed and threw our hands in the air with a collective “Yay!” Our Jesse was THE man! Unless, of course, Deanna did the unthinkable (like Brad) and not pick either. J had said she should pick both and move to Utah. Well, why not? See if Jeremy wants in on that deal too, while you’re at it. But, no, she had finally found her soul mate, as had Jesse. They were over the moon and in luuuuv. And all we girls agreed: good luck, you two. We hope you make it in the real world. But it’s been fun having you guys entertain us as you made your way through the labyrinth of love (or shredded that awesomely freakin hill of amour–or something like that) and found each other in the end.

O Canada!

–Please click here to download a FREE Canada Day greeting card!–


It was a long, holiday weekend here in Quebec (Fete Nationale), all the way up to yesterday (Tuesday). I took some time off to give my right arm a break (pain in my elbow, middle finger, and wrist) and some healing time, and to spend time with friends, family, etc. Also, this past Friday afternoon, our beloved Sam (the family dog) passed away unexpectedly. Though she was almost 18 years old, it took us by surprise as she wasn’t bad off. Alas, we miss her very much and remember her most dearly.

Whatcha Doin', Skunkboy?

As I was doing warm up drawings, I noticed out the window Skunkboy toodling along the fence line. Kind of late (or early) for him to be trekking about, I thought. So he became the inspiration for a little sketch. I felt like experimenting with the digital watercolors with this piece.

It’s so in my core to want to work in a “less is more”, “devil-may care” style, yet I rarely do (except for my quick sketches and roughs). As simple a style as it looks, it’s really not. Simple, minimal line has to pull off a lot of information and energy. Knowing that fine balance of what’s superfluous–what’s enough, what’s too much–is a challenge. The temptation to keep adding more “stuff” is always there along with the anxiety. And amazingly, these simple pieces can be over-worked mentally. Perhaps those who work in a minimalist style like this consistently over come all of that. Makes sense.

She Who Stares

…and stares…and stares…