Show and Tell… 4 Things

Many red flowers, one yellow flower, there are no mistakes, Miles Davis, creativity, life.Do not fear mistakes- there are none.

Miles Davis

It has been a few weeks since my last post, but there have been so many interesting things that I’ve noticed and thought to myself, “I’d love to share that on my next post!”  Today, I want to do a quick show and tell to share some of those things, as well as what I’ve been up to around here.

  1.  I’ve spent a little time in the studio these past few weeks, mostly just doing some creative experimentation. I’ve loved pushing paint around, with no plan at all, just playing with the colours and textures.
Abstract painting, Carina Spring (Valerie), playing with paint creatively.
This was one of the paintings that resulted from my recent play in the studio.

As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward.

Vincent van Gogh

2.  I’ve also gone a bit collage crazy of late.

One of my less successful, but most amusing collage advetures was this saggy old satchel that I was going to throw out.  I decided instead to grab some scraps of abandoned, old fabric samples (very limited selection!), a glue gun, and proceeded to experiment a bit.

I rarely work with fabrics, so I just wanted to see what it was like to work with this material and a glue gun.

collage: crafts from old or found objects. Decorating an old handbag with fabric swatches.

Craft: Old handbag, fabric swatches,, collage with glue gun

Eventhough, in the end, I was not very impressed with the final look of my purse, I concluded that working with fabrics might be something I would like to explore further.

I commented to my son that the purse looked rather shabby, and was still just saggy and old. Then, I added that I would nonetheless try wearing the purse out in public to see if anyone would give me a compliment on it. My son chuckled and suggested that, at the very least, someone might give me some change.

Haha!  Clever boy.

Fun crafts: working with old and found materials to make a new handbag.
A fun learning experience.

This is what I wrote in my diary after I had completed the purse:

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time working on that bag.  In a way, that really annoys me because I don’t really like the end product, so it’s tempting to think… What a waste of time, and to feel upset. BUT:

  • I enjoyed working on it, so the time was not wasted.
  • I learned, and practiced using a glue gun (which I never use) and making visual art decisions (which is always useful).
  • What’s the alternative?  Sit around and do nothing?  Because there are no guarantees of how things will turn out (with anything, ever). You have no way of knowing and the only way to learn and improve is by doing and trying. And that’s how you gain confidence and experience.
  • It wasn’t all bad.  While I didn’t love the final look, it does have some interesting designs that I like.

Design details on a handbag made from old and found materials.

So, I’ll have to make some crappy stuff if I ever hope to learn anything because I have to go into territory with which I am unfamiliar and see how it turns out. That’s the only choice, otherwise one sits around paralyzed, dreaming and thinking, but not getting down to the doing.

Craft: Old handbag, fabric swatches,, collage with glue gun.

3. Just over a week ago, I celebrated my birthday.  This year, the gifts I received were all about creativity:

My husband has been spoiling me with his inspired culinary creations for several weeks now. Here are some highlights – I took some snapshots, but sorry to say that they don’t do the meals justice.

chicken parmesan/ parmigiana on my birthday week.
Chicken parmesan… right out of the oven, and there’s enough for the next night!
Steak barbecue, asparagus, and baked potatoes.
A barbecue on Monday night! Seriously!
Russian beet salad with walnuts, prunes, mayo.
This simple beet salad is one of my favourites!
sashimi, sushi, homemade!
Friday night sashimi!
pork roast, delicious treat!
Delicious pork roast.
Healthy and delicious homemade food, pork, salad, polenta.
Healthy and delicious food made at home. A side of polenta is one of my favourites!

He also made me a delicious birthday cake, but I was so excited to eat it that I forgot to take a picture!

…My son made me this adorable pinguin.

felt penguin with google eyes, a birthday gift.

…My mom gave me this beautiful, large painting she made herself.

Acrylic painting by Elsa, mountain goats in nature, by a river.

…And my aunt gave me this gift certificate for a craft store so I can stock up and make more things myself!

Michael's craft store gift certificate (cupcake), Leaf Rapids CD.
My aunt also gave me a CD of a local band, but I’ll post about local music later.

4.  Finally…

Have you heard of Loving Vincent, the first ever movie of its kind?   The story of Vincent van Gogh is told through his own painting style: 12 frames a second, each one hand painted by an artist working in his style.  It’s an 80 minute movie with around 57,000 frames.  Incredible.  Check out this trailer or this short news clip.

An edible terrarium… Wouldn’t this be a great home-made gift?

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend!!

Thanks for reading!


This is one of my favourite pictures because it captures such a genuine moment of shared laughter and joy.  It’s my son when he was about 9 months old, and we had stopped to get gas while on a road trip.

 “Laughter is an instant vacation.”

Milton Berle

Hurrah… It’s Friday!  Do you have any plans?  We’ve had a busy week around here, and I think we’re just going to relax after supper, and watch some comedies.

This has got me thinking that it would be fun to head into the weekend with a focus on laughter.  So today, I’ll share some ideas, links, quotes, and yes… even jokes from around the web.

“I try to find a reason to laugh each day.  Somehow, if you can incorporate laughter into your day, every day, it really helps.  It’s the little things in life that make me happy. “

Faith Hill

I love to laugh… and who doesn’t, really?  Scientists have even observed that some other animal species engage in laughter, too.  Did you know that?  I didn’t, until I researched laughter for this post.  I guess it proves that everyone loves to laugh.  And why shouldn’t we?  I can’t speak for the other species, but I do know that laughing is a wonderful way to enrich our human life.  

Laughing relaxes us, and helps us regain perpective. It is like nature’s reset button.

In fact, there have been a few difficult times in my life when the laughter reset button has helped me… in my sleep!  I call them my laughing dreams.  I’ve only had a few, but they are surprisingly therapeutic.  In these dreams, some little thing will trigger my laughter.  It’s usually something that isn’t really that funny, but in the dream, it seems absolutely hilarious.  I laugh until my stomach muscles ache and tears are rolling down my cheeks.  Isn’t that a delightful dream?  Has anyone else ever had these?  I wake up with a fresher perspective, feeling relaxed, as if I’d just had one of the best belly laughs ever.

 “Laughter is important, not only because it makes us happy, it also has actual health benefits.  And that’s because laughter completely engages the body and releases the mind.  It connects us to others, and that in itself has a healing effect.”

Marlo Thomas 

Laughter is a way to connect with people we love, and a way to gel new friendships.

Laughter can also help us to defuse conflict and soften awkward situations.  Like the time someone at work ripped his pants (loudly).  As the leader of the group, my immediate reaction was to laugh kindly, smile at him and the group, and say, “These things happen… Good thing you’re among friends.”  Silence would have made the incident far more awkward, while laughter was able to soften the embarrassment.  The laughter became a source of support, recognizing that these things can happen to any of us.

“I believe in the power of laughter and tears as an antidote to hatred and terror.”

Charles Chaplin 

Here are some links about laughter.  Why not relax over a glass of wine or a hot cup of coffee, and check some of these out:  

Have you heard of this documentary?  I am curious to see it.

The Power of Laughter.  He gets a standing ovation at the end of this Ted Talk.  

Can you detect the different kinds of laughter? The very funny cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares many surprising facts about laughter.

This man helps people who are in rehab heal by getting them hooked on laughter.

A CNN news clip about  Laughter Yoga.

Want to try laughter yoga? Try this.   Warning: it looks silly. Very.  But I have to tell you this quick story!  The other day, my son was really grumpy about something.  I had just watched this video, so I said, “Hey, maybe we can try laughing yoga to improve your mood!”  I started to do one of the exercises.  He thought I was crazy and refused to participate, but the whole situation was so ridiculous, that soon laughter was bubbling out of him, as hard as he tried to keep a sullen expression on his face.  Within two minutes, his mood had completely changed and we were talking about our day.  So… maybe laughter yoga does work!

Four jokes and some reflection on humour.

Here are “50 terrible, quick jokes that’ll get you a laugh on demand“.  I have to admit, I haven’t read them all!  But I have included a sampler of the jokes, below, because 6 of these jokes are probably quite enough:  😉 


1) It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

2) If you want to catch a squirrel just climb a tree and act like a nut.

3) Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like banana.

4) My friend recently got crushed by a pile of books, but he’s only got his shelf to blame.

5) What’s the best part about living in Switzerland? Not sure, but the flag is a big plus.

6) What did Jay-Z call his girlfriend before they got married? Feyoncé.

Thanks for stopping by home  Have a great weekend!  

I just got one last thing, I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have.  To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get you’re emotions going.

Jim Valvano

A Beautiful Mess

“At the worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.”

Dame Rose Macaulay ((1881-1958)

An Oil-Pastel Drawing I made last year.
A space that allows us to grow and express ourselves is truly a thing of beauty, and that is one of the ideas behind this oil pastel drawing.

My grandma used to smile sometimes with a shrug of her shoulders and refer to the famous piece of French wisdom, “It’s a beautiful mess”.  Her home was always wonderfully kept; a welcoming place full of flowers and fresh baking.  But this attitude helped her enjoy her grandchildren and embrace life’s imperfections.

Because life comes first, and there is a real wisdom in arranging our priorities and our spaces with that in mind.


A home doesn’t have to be Pinterest perfect.  It doesn’t have to sport the most stylish and expensive decor.  It doesn’t have to be spotless.

Displaying special items collected through our experiences can be an inexpensive and uplifting way to decorate.

The real joy comes from creating a space where we can live fully.  A place that expresses who we are, and that enables us to do the things that really matter to us.

After all, there is a profound beauty in living life well.


Thanks for stopping by… I can’t wait to share my next post with you!

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