The 100 Day Project (The Last 50)

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I am more than a bit behind on following up with my 100 Day Project, since it ended in July, but let’s pretend that’s not so far in the past. After finishing my first 50 days of animals, I needed a bit of a change. At first I thought I would do 50 more birds, since a painting filled with birds has been an image stuck in my head for a while now. I thought, I’ll paint 50 birds that I see in my yard (nope, even though we do have a ton of birds that visit in the summer), then maybe 50 birds in Saskatchewan (nope). I finally decided on 50 things that I could find in my yard, and this was fun because it was Spring when I started and things in our yard were constantly changing and growing and all the wildlife was coming back out (and yes, we do have a resident backyard squirrel and many wild jackrabbits that scoot around the neighborhood). Each day I would go on a bit of a hunt for what to include – at first this was easy with loads to choose from, and sometimes I would take a cutting of a plant to paint, and sometimes I would take a photo and work from that. My husband surprised me one day with a photo of that robin’s nest with the brilliant blue eggs that had been secretly built in the back corner of our little pergola. After the rain the mushrooms came out, the stawberries appeared, and plants flowered at different times. Near the end though, I really had to get creative, which is why that tiny little gnome (the only not-found-in-nature item) was my last addition.

Maybe this is obvious already, but I did not plan out in advance where to place each drawing – I just started with the blue jay and filled in spaces from there. Had I done the drawings individually and had the ability to digitally move them around or change their sizes later, I might have changed up a few things, but in the end it’s part of the charm for me.

This way of working, of adding everyday to one bigger project may have been more satisfying than making individual drawings – I could constantly see the progress, and everyday my kids would come home from school and try to figure out what the newest addition had been. In the end, I love this piece because it’s so specific to our yard, as it is now. It made me look close, see what was happening in the sky and on the ground and I got to know those seasons better. Also, because it ended up being kind of personal, I always intended just to keep it and there was no expectation that this would become something for sale. That was nice.

I loved this project. I made a ton of drawing/paintings and remembered why I love that process (it makes my mind more still and focused, which is a magical thing for this spinning top that I have in my head, constantly). Again, I didn’t feel the need to share about it overly in order to keep motivated – as the giant page filled up, it created its own momentum. In short, if you’re thinking about doing the 100 Day Project – do it. Keep it simple and within a very short time period every day. Keep going, because whatever you make, the end is going to be kind of amazing.

 

 

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Let’s Make Dolls

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I had so much fun teaching this class (and who knew I could talk so long about fabric?). 10 lovely ladies joined me for the afternoon and they each created their own unique doll – some with button joints, some out of linen, and some with ears in places that the makers weren’t expecting, but that were a delightful surprise anyway. A room full of whirring sewing machines, and creatives who are so encouraging to each other, well, doesn’t get much better!

Thanks Summer

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I enjoyed this summer so much. So much more than the summers of recent years, and this happened simply because I decided I was going to enjoy it. I did very little doll making work, and instead we slept in, crafted endlessly, went to camp, rode our bikes, played sports, and saw our friends. Classic summer.

I stepped away from social media and from documenting my life in any way other than photos I actually wanted to take. And for a time I felt released of the pressure to tell anyone what I was making or doing. Because I wasn’t posting, I wasn’t responding, and because I wasn’t selling, I didn’t have to follow up on that. The to-do list was short, and there was lots of room in my head to think about other creative things. And I remembered, oh yeah, you do truly have to take a long enough break for this to happen. Nothing is going to collapse, you’re not missing out.

I perfected baking cinnamon twists and gifting them to neighbors. We grew sunflowers that are just now blooming, we had a birthday party for Bruce the tiger, and I mean, who is going to win World of Dance?

Thanks summer, you were the best in a decade.

100 Day Project (The First 50)

On April 3 I started the 100 Day Project – my plan was to illustrate quirky animals, maybe not for 100 days, but for as long as I could keep it going. I was excited and nervous, because this would be my second crack at it (I also attempted this project last year, and that ended only 5 days in…). I have always loved drawing, painting, just plain old coloring, and animals and cute things, so this seemed like a good project. This kind of art-making really isn’t something I give myself enough time to do, and it’s such a nice change from working in 3D with the dolls – this is so much faster and details are easier to add and erase.

And so everyday I would sit down at some point, decide on an animal and go. I had pre-cut a bunch of 5×7 pieces of watercolor paper, and I used pencil, pen, acrylic paint, and pencil crayon for each of these drawings. Each one took between 20 minutes and an hour (drawing has always made me lose track of time in the best way). Eventually my goal was to make it to 50 animals, and I did it! I can’t say that I loved every single one, but looking at all of these combined is so satisfying – even though these first ones are from two months ago and I barely remember making them. I am learning a lot of things from this project, more on that after the photos…

 

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Some honest thoughts that I’ve thought during this project:

*Don’t start, you will quit again

*You should start, but don’t show anyone, that way if you fail no one will know

*This is so fun, I love this I love this I love this

*This is too easy, so it doesn’t count

*That’s not cute enough

*People are going to get bored of seeing these on Instagram

*I am not an illustrator (wait, am I? Am I using the term illustrator correctly? I don’t even know!)

*You could turn this into part of your business – wait, but that’s not really the point here

*What the heck are you going to do with all of these?

Some things I’ve learned so far:

*I think this type of project works best for me when it is really clear what I’m doing and I don’t have to make daily decisions about it. All I had to choose was the animal, not the paper/medium/theme.

*Once I really decide to do something I love, I will do it for myself (for those of you who have read Gretchen Rubin, I am a classic Upholder). That said, the comments and encouragement from all of you beautiful people on IG was so lovely. Thank you!

*Sometimes the act of sharing what I was working on, which I think it supposed to be inherent to the project, felt uncomfortable. I know this is silly, since people always have a choice whether to follow along or not!

*At a few points I missed a day, then caught up within the next few days. I knew it would be too easy to fall off the wagon if I didn’t keep the momentum up.

*Spring felt like a crazy time to start this project, when everything here comes out of hibernation and seems to go at full speed. It often felt overwhelming to add this one more thing to my day.

*Big projects can be accomplished a little bit everyday. I mean, we all know this, but I rarely see an end result like this for myself. I get why people do this project.

After the 50 day mark, I started another very similar, yet slightly different project to finish out the 100 days. I can’t stop now! Sitting down with my pencils and paint is now part of my daily routine that I look forward to. This feels like just the beginning of something good…

 

 

 

Thank You Little U!

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Little U is here! This beautiful little magazine (like a book really) from Uppercase arrived in my mailbox earlier this week and I have been savoring it and all the wonderful ideas and people inside. The pages are so happy, so bright and colorful and cute, and just all the things I like πŸ™‚Β  I was honored to be interviewed for the first issue, and to tell more about my story as a doll maker, creative person, and parent. If you are a kid at heart, and especially if you are already familiar with all the goodness that Janine at Uppercase puts out, I am sure you would enjoy this as well.Β  Creative inspiration, I love it!

(ooh, and here I am! One of the outtakes in trying to get a photo of myself to send along with the interview…)

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Boolah Baguette and Bamboletta

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I was delighted to be asked to collaborate again with Bamboletta Dolls! Bamboletta produces handmade, Waldorf-style dolls on Canada’s west coast – Christina runs a beautiful company and each doll is the work of so many people! This time around, we paired one of my animals, one of their sitting friends, along with matching clothing and a coordinating animal headband. There were 11 sets in total that were snapped up and have already found new homes. So grateful for all you doll-loving ladies out there!

Projects like this are an incredible amount of work, and these were in progress on my studio tables for almost a month. I really thought about my fabric choices and stuck with soft, natural materials for the clothing – using mainly organic cottons and hemp. When I look at these photos I see so much hand sewing, from each little flower and detail on the headbands to the sleeve openings of the jackets. Seeing everything together in the end was so worth it for me, and it feels good to have completed something on a larger scale. Also, the answer is yes, I will be making more unicorns πŸ˜‰

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