Friday, December 24, 2010

Big News!! I won 2nd place in the Toronto Star's Emerging Artist Contest!!

I am sooo excited to share with you my big news! A few weeks ago I submitted this plasticine illustration to the Toronto Star's Emerging Artists Contest, and to my delight I won 2nd place!!!! Weeehooooo!
If you can get your hands on a copy of today's paper (yes that is Dec 24th) check out page A32. There you'll see the full article and both my 2nd place illustration and the 3rd place illustration (way to go Kyle Tonkens!!). I want to send out a big congratulations to the 1st place winner, Kelley Turgeon, who's gorgeous impressionistic Toronto Streetcar graces the front page! Way to go Kelley!!

If you don't have access to the paper version you can also see the top 10 on the Toronto Star's Cover Art Article, and Online Gallery, just scrolled down and click on the Related- Art Cover contest top 10.

The theme for this years contest was "Winter Holidays in Toronto". I decided I did not want to do the typical iconic image of Toronto like the CN tower, skyline or Nathan Phillip's Square, I wanted to capture something iconic but unique. So I decided on the Distillery District because of it's beautiful architecture, and heritage. It has become quite a little neighbourhood now, with many of the old building being converted into lofts. I wanted to show Toronto's diversity too, so I incorporated different enthnicities, ages, and  lots of fun holiday activities.
This was a really fun and technically challenging piece. I haven't tackled this type of architecture before and I am pleased it turned out the way I had hoped. As always feedback and critiques are always welcome and appreciated.

As this year comes to a close, I want to thank all of you for taking the time to pop over to my blog, and for leaving such thoughtful and heart-warming comments. I really appreciate the time you choose to spend here with me- Thank-you! :)

I hope you all have a VERY Merry Christmas filled with happiness and laughter.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Big news to share on December 24th!!!

I've been bursting with excitement and jumping around my kitchen like a silly goofball for the past few days. I've got some amazing, knock-my-socks off, news to share with you guys...but I can't until Dec. 24th...all I can say for now is to ask you to pleeeeeease go out and get yourselves a copy of The Toronto Star (if you live in the Greater Toronto Area) or check out The Toronto Star's   website on Christmas Eve day...yes that's Dec. 24th. I will post about my awesome news that day too! I can't wait to share it with you all!!!
Now back to my happy dance...lalalalala :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holli Conger's Illustrations Tips and a Giveaway!

I wanted to pass along an awesome draw! If you hurry, pop on over to Holli Conger's blog, and leave a comment or blog post, tweet, FB mention etc. to earn a spot in her fantabulous draw for a chance to win  a
3 month marketing consultation! That's right you heard me, you get a chance to bounce marketing ideas around and learn from Holli herself! I know how great would that be?!! And for this wonderful month of December yes every single day in December, Holli is posting her thoughts on a different illustration topic. So far they have been little golden nuggets of wisdom. I can't wait to see what awaits for the rest of the month. Thanks so much for sharing Holli!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

They Draw and Cook Feature

HI Everyone,
Yesterday my recipe for Christmas Tree Cupcake " Cake" was featured on They Draw and Cook. I didn't win favorite recipe of the day(bummer), but after seeing the adorable recipe sent by Wilma Sanchez, I don't mind..she totally rocked it! Her Forest Spice Cake  was so adorable and looked very yummy. Congrats Wilma!

I have been rather neglecting my blog as of late...sorry dear bloggyblog. I have been busy working on a piece for a Holiday themed contest and finally submitted it today- pheeewww. The deadline is tomorrow so I was getting really worried it wouldn't get finished on time. But after 3 late nighters in a row I managed to pull it off.
I wish I could show you guys the illustration, but I don't want to risk being disqualified for posting it here. So once they announce the winners, I'll fill you in more.

I hope everyones Christmas shopping, baking and festive gearing-up is going well, pheww... this is such a hectic time of year.  I am really looking forward to some quality time once the kiddies are off of school. Hopefully we'll get some snow. Areas just to our West, North and East got a humongous dumping of snow last week but we barely got a sprinkle. :( My hubby says to stop complaining as I'm not the one who does the shovelling- heehee

I do love a white Christmas.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My submission for "They Draw & Cook Holiday Recipe Contest"

I just love the illustration/recipe blog They Draw and Cook. It is such a fun idea! And I find it not only has some fabulously yummy recipes served up, but the illustrations of those recipes are just so amazing and so varied that it really gets the creativity flowing and serves as some awesome inspiration!

 I was over on it the other day and noticed that they are holding a fun Holiday Recipe Contest. I thought, since I hadn't had a chance to send in a submission yet, that this would be the perfect time to do so, and the top winners could be featured on the Food Networks blog The FN dish. Well how is that for some great exposure! Count me in, it sounds fun, and the top 4 winners could even win some cash too-bonus!

Above is my submission. I even did the lettering in plasticine for a fun touch. What do you think?

I actually made 2 of these cupcake "cakes" for my kiddies classes 2 year ago. Here is a picture of one of them. Even the angel on top is edible(gum paste).

 As some of you know my children have various anaphylactic food allergies to milk, egg and nuts, so this is a recipe I have adapted that has become a staple in our house for birthday parties and anytime the kids need cake or cupcakes that are safe and yummy.

I thought it would be the perfect festive recipe for contest. If anyone wants to try it out yourselves for your kiddies, and have any questions please feel free to contact me, I can elaborate on the process if needed.

Now I'm in the mood to start my Christmas baking- yuuuuummm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My tools and yummy plasticine colours

I have been feeling under the weather for a few days, and felt like I had been neglecting my poor blog. I wanted to reorganize my plasticine and thought it would be a good chance to snap a few fun shots of all my yummy colours. I just love seeing how other artists/illustrators organize their art supplies...such eye candy. I thought, since I was tidying up a bit, I would also take a second to organize my gazillion tools for a fun photo as well.   They're usually stored in a tall container all shoved in together so I can paw through em' and grab what I need quickly. Don't they looked so glorious all lined up and pretty??

 OK I know, they are just art supplies, but they make me happy. tee hee :)
 I was even lucky enough to take a trip (solo!!!!lalalala) to my favorite art supply store Deserres yesterday. And to my delight they reorganized the entire shop so I had to meander down every isle to see what goodies they had to offer.
Anyway it helped me feel a little less sick, and put a little spring into my step.
Have a good weekend, and I hope your family isn't coming down with whatever yuckiness we contracted-bleach!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What I'm working on...

I have been working on a new plasticine illustration piece inspired by the glorious fall colours we are so lucky to enjoy here in Ontario Canada. I wanted to do a piece that depicted the beautiful red/orange colour palette of our fall foliage in a rural setting. Just like something you'd encounter on a drive along a country road up north.  So far I have the background and middleground started. It will be a surprise what fun, playful ideas I have for the foreground. You will have to pop by again in a few days to see it completed and find out!
I have posted a series of images below to show my process- Enjoy!

I promise to have lots of action and movement in the foreground, so please do pop by again to see the finished illustration!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes to Scare you Hungry!

Here are 2 of the 3 Halloween cupcake "cakes" I made for my sons classes, for their Halloween parties. Sorry for teeny pictures and poor quality, I was up super late and I just took quick photos with my Blackberry as an after thought. I actually forgot to take a photo of my 3rd cupcake cake?? Opps. It was of a haunted house with ghosts escaping out the windows. Nothing too scary as this was for my youngest son's Kindergarten class and I didn't want to traumatize any unsuspecting kiddies. ;) Hopefully my son's teacher will take a photo and I can post it another day.

These 2 shown above, were for my 7 yr.old and 9 yr. old sons. So I figured I could go all out in the "ewwwww gross" department! Heehee. Considering cupcakes are so roley poley and present such an uneven surface, I think both design turned out pretty well. Thank goodness decaying bandages and werewolf fur are very forgiving with whatever uneven surface lies beneath.
And it was sooooo worth it to see the excitement on my kiddies faces. I know how hard it is for them to have severe food allergies and not be able to ever eat the birthday cakes, or treats at their friends parties. Halloween is especially difficult for my middle son who is severely allergic to dairy. NO chocolate(or hardly any treats for that matter) that he gets during his trick-or-treating  can be safely eaten. My 1st and 3rd sons have anaphylactic allergies to all nuts and eggs, so they can't safely eat much either. Honestly the trick-or-treating stresses me out every year. But I think I now have them well trained to wait until we go through their bags together before diving in to sample their candy. So... this is my little way of making them feel included and to make something that is perfectly safe for all food allergies kiddies to enjoy together.

 I am really lucky to have this amazing cookbook called What's to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook by Linda Marienhoff Coss. It has so many great recipes that have the taste and texture of everyday baking and cooking. NO hockey puck muffins here! If you know of anyone who has anaphylactic allergies to food, I highly recommend this cookbook. I've tried to many over the years, and this is by far the best!

Happy Halloween everyone!!! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Illustration Friday- "Racing"

The furry friends were racing back home with their acorn treats.

I created this plasticine illustration for my critique group Creative Cup  and I thought it would be fitting for this week's theme racing  for Illustration Friday. If you get a chance please pop over to my critique group's blog, as we have been posting our interpretation of cup for this month's challenge.  It is so cool to see everyone's take on the theme. Everyone has such a unique style and such talent. It really gives some great, fresh perspective and inspiration :)

My 3 boys are really into creating contraptions out of everyday stuff and pieces of wood. So far they have built a tank at their Nonno's house and I think they want to try a submarine next??. They love watching the Re-inventors on TV. It is so great to see them stretch their imagination and work together as a team to problem solve and work to build something new. Anyway, I was inspired by them, that I thought it would be fun to have a contraption in this illustration too.
So after a bunch of sketches I came up with this silly nut-collector/wagon contraption for these two furry friends. I had a lot of fun making the old, cracked teacup, sardine tin, and even the Tinkertoy wagon wheels. Did I just really date myself by mentioning Tinkertoys?? Hopefully some of you remember those awesome building pieces-ahhh memories of the cottage when I was itty-bitty...sigh :)

We have a busy week with Halloween coming up on Sunday. I volunteered to make cupcakes for my 3 boys classrooms since they all have severe food allergies, and it is just the safest way to go. So I will be up to my eyeballs in cupcakes by Friday! I have to make around 90...wish me luck! I will post some pictures of them if they turn out ok. I like to treat the tops like a cake and hope todo something eerie and gross on top-heehee. I'm hoping to make a haunted house for the S.K class, a mummy/zombie for the grade 2 class, and a werewolf for the grade 4 class.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thanksgiving photos in Muskoka 2010

Here are a few photos I took one morning up at the cottage in Muskoka. I can't remember another time that the fog was that thick in the morning- crazy! Needless to say it was a great "kodak moment", and I am really having fun with my new Canon T2i DSLR camera. Enjoy the fall colours! And I hope everyone had a great Canadian Thanksgiving. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

IF- Spooky

Spooky fun!

This is my submission for this weeks Illustration Friday theme "spooky". It really has me in the Halloween spirit now. :)
Luckily I am "on the ball" this year and took the kids out to get their costumes a few weeks ago. I was hoping my 3 year old daughter would want to dress up  in something pink and girly, for her first Halloween going out with Daddy and the big brothers. Well doesn't it figure that she had her heart set on being Diego(yes that Diego from Nickelodeon). I guess that is what I get for having 3 boys with major influence...sigh. No pretty princess costume in the house this year. But she'll make the prettiest Diego :)

What are your kiddies going to be for this Halloween?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yipeee!! Guess who won Crystal Driedger's CSN Giveaway??

Hi Everyone, I hope you are having a nice weekend. I had a wonderful surprise this afternoon when I noticed my Blackberry beeping, telling me I had an email message. Imagine my delight when I opened it to find that I had been chosen as the lucky winner of Crystal Driedger's CSN Stores Giveaway over on her blog. Yipeeee!!
 Maybe I should go out and buy a lotto ticket or something...hee. And maybe I should let Google's Random Number Generator pick my lotto numbers?? (Good idea Crystal!)
I am sure most of you are familiar with Crystal's gorgeous artwork. She does the most beautiful paintings and adorable illustrations . Lately she has been experimenting with her handy-dandy dremel and doing some surface carving on wood that she then turns into a textured painting...they are fabulous! You must pop over to Crystal's blog and see for yourself.
I can't wait to check out the CSN Store catalogue and see what goodies I can find...a wee bit of early Christmas shopping-hmmm

Thank-you Crystal!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Great Resources to kick Self Doubt to the curb

Firstly, I am having lots of fun playing with my new DSLR camera. Above is a shot I took using the macro setting. The plasticine textures are going to look fab!

I thought I'd do a post on a topic I often struggle with - Self doubt. Since having the kids back to school, and the start-up of another busy year of kids sports practices/games and shuttling them too and fro, I feel like I just can't quite get my feet firmly planted in an art production routine. I feel so unproductive. Arggg. I know I am my toughest critic and probably just need to be patient and remember it always takes a bit of time to iron out the kinks when trying work out all of our crazy schedules. Geesh, just wait until the kids are teenagers- I cringe at the thought.

Luckily, it seems to be a topic that a few great people online have been posting about this week, so I thought I'd sum it all up here in the hope that it will inspire you as much as it did for me. A good creative kick-start so to speak.
Let's start with the amazing Zero2Illo. It is a definite a favorite of mine. Jonathan Woodward is the creative genius, and very talented illustrator behind this site, who has his pulse on what aspiring illustrators want to know. He and his wife Leah have really poured  their hearts and many amazing resources into this site. It is a must for any aspiring illustrator. He did a great post this past week on tips for overcoming self doubt. It is encouraging to know many other illustrators also struggle with this problem., and many other aspiring illustrators shared their suggestions themselves in the comments section.

I also stumbled upon a website and blog by another amazing artist: Kelly Rae Roberts. I just love her tag line- cool word or what?  She created a series of ebooks entitled Flying Lessons: Tips and Tricks to help your biz soar. They look fantastic. She is another very generous artist whose willing to pay it forward and share all her great advice.

And during my morning computer/tea time, I came across Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift's ecourse  entitled The Declaration of You, mentioned on Khristian A Howell's beautiful blog. I don't know about you but I just loooove surface design!! It really invigorates my brain! Sorry I digress, back to the topic. Michelle Ward's blog has some great questionnaires to help get you on your right path, and she also has a great feature called Tough Question Tuesday, which, last week, also talked about tackling fear.

And if you don't want to shell out any coin right now and just want a bit of creative kick-start, look no further than Tara Gentile and her free mini ecourse on Creating Action. Tara's blog has such enthusiastic tips that really inspire and motivate. She offers Brainstorming sessions too if you want to speak with somebody who's been there , to bounce around ideas and formulate your plan. 

I am sure there are many other amazing resources out there that are not covered here. These goodies where just the gems I needed to feel re-energized and  ready with more tips and tools to tackle self-doubt and procrastination. Then I shut down the computer and cranked up some tunes, put in the earphones and took some time to just play around with my plasticine and create some art just for fun, without constraints. Getting into the zone, is also sometimes the best remedy. Because this is where we are happiest and free. And it reminds us why we love art and illustration so much.

Now go create something just for YOU!

Monday, October 4, 2010

It feels like Christmas!

Look what I got !!! I am just giddy with excitement. I have been researching DSLR cameras for a while, as I thought it would be easier if I could do my own photography for my website, promo stuff etc, and then I'd only need to rely on a professional photographer for client work. It really just made sense from a logistical standpoint.
So, after a ton of research, I  finally took the leap, and purchased a Canon Rebel T2i with a EF-S 18-55 IS lens, and tripod. I really have to thank the wonderful people at Henry's. My Henry's associate Ron, really took the time to go over all of my options, explain all the tech. stuff in terms I could understand, and  showed us so many cool lenses and other stuff that we might want to consider later on. He was so so helpful and knowledgeable! Thanks Ron! 

I must admit to being a little intimidated. This is my first DSLR camera and I've always just used a simple point and shoot. But the great thing about this camera is that it has many intuitive features and is considered to be one of the best DSLR cameras for beginners. I am really looking forward to seeing what this baby can do and learn how to make my plasticine illustrations look their absolute best.  I can see this getting rather addictive-heehee.  Thanks to Paula Pindroh, and Gisela for all your suggestions and advice.

I've been holding off putting up a website until I had better photographs of my work, as I think you really only have one shot at making a great first impression. So now I hope to rephotograph my artwork, and finally get a website up and running. 

It will be great to take better pics of the kiddies too. I can't wait to see how our annual Christmas card pictures will turn out this year! Yeehoooo. Say Cheeeeese :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Printable Back to School Sticker Sheet

I made these free printable  Stickers, Book Plates, and lunch label  for all of the "back to school" kiddies. The theme for September at the We Love To Illustrate Group Blog, was to create some fun printables for "back to school". You must pop over and check them out, they are so adorable and so much FUN!!! I plan on downloading all of them and sticking em' all over my kiddies stuff. And my stuff too!  
this project sounded so fun, and I thought it would be a really good learning experience with CS5 too. Obviously, I am still learning Adobe Creative Suite CS5.  This was my first ever contact sheet using the photoshop tricks to extract my little critters from crazy backgrounds. Not perfect but a start!:) And I am slowly learning my way around these amazing programmes.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My new, super-duper, Drawing Table

I  decided to set-up a work station in our family dining-room, since we only use it on birthdays or special occasions like Christmas dinners. I need a space on the main level that was accessible to work on my artwork and keep an eye on my kiddies when they are at home. Having my art desk up in the corner of my bedroom was fine for the evening but just wasn't working well during the rest of the busy day. And there just isn't another room available for a studio.  This all sounded great in theory until I started to think about what work surface would fit, and be organizable in a flash, if company was coming.  I wanted something that wasn't enormous like a standard drafting table, but also had storage, so I could quickly tuck everything away from curious little fingers if I had to make one of my  pick-up runs to the school.

 Well one day, during my little morning "me-time"  tea/blog surfing, I came across a post by the talented Phyllis Harris. She was was writing about her new, fabulous desk that her hubby had purchased as a gift. I know, she is one lucky lady to have such a great hubby! It was perfect, so compact, yet so functional and full of great storage!! I emailed her right away, and she was very kind to give me the manufacturers info.  I did a little investigating but alas, with the shipping  to Canada it was just too expensive.

So I thought a bit, and thought a bit more, and then I thought I should show the specs to my dad, who by the way is a contractor by trade, to get his input to see how much it might cost to have custom built. He said he'd talk to his brother who is a retired Fine Carpenter, and see what he thought. Well, those brothers are fast! The next time I asked him what he thought, he exclaimed that my Uncle Bob had it almost finished!!! Yippeeee, I did a happy dance, and thought to myself how helpful and kind it was for them to take on this project of mine. Check it out !!

How cool it this drawing table?? Don't you wish you had an Uncle Bob the builder too? The angled top has a hinge so I can put my work-in-progress inside to keep it safe from little hands; there is a flat top section to put my mateials and tools, so they don't slide around; there is a drawer and cuboard with shelves for storage; and at the side I can keep all my huge illustration board pieces upright, safe and sound.

I just ordered a drafting chair this morning from Staples, so hopefully I will be able to get "crackin" and start to work on my new AMAZING drawing table in just a few days!!  Thanks Dad and Uncle Bob!!! You're the best!! :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


"It's not the towering sail, but the unseen wind that moves the ship"-Proverb

I couldn't resist using one of my boy pirate series plasticine illustrations for this weeks Illustration Friday. I thought this pirate proverb was a fitting choice for this salty wee pirate boy...ARRRRR !

So far this Sept. has been a flurry of activity, teacher meetings, try-outs, doctor appt.s, and writer's cramp from all the school forms-arrgg.  Once it slows down back to normal I plan to post more often :)

I hope everyone is having a good Sept. so far and thank-you to my wonderful readers who leave such sweet comments and brighten my day! You guys rock! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I couldn't resist making this plasticine illustration of a slice of yummy chocolate cake with a very hungry and chubby mouse helping himself, for this weeks Illustration Friday theme "dessert". I am craving something sweet!  Hmm... maybe there is some left-over icing in the fridge, from making my kiddies birthday cakes last week???- wish me luck!!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Boy Pirate Series: From sketches to plasticine illustration

I thought it would be fun to show another step-by-step tutorial on how I work. I have been working on a series of illustrations depicting a "Boy Pirate" and his "mighty ship and "crew". I hope to do 3 or 4 and include them in my portfolio to show my ability to maintain character continuity, depict different viewpoints, perspective, show a range of emotions, and tell a little story through a series of illustrations.

First, I wanted to try my hand at illustrating an extreme viewpoint. So I decided to do a "worm's eye view"  of this "boy pirate". I thought this view point would give him a majestic and grand quality, and hopefully lead the viewer to wonder what is he looking at through those binoculars? And where was he?

First I took a few reference photos by lying on the ground and shooting straight up at my models(OK I used my kiddies, they really like to pose for me).
Then I did a few sketches to work out the perspective, and tinker with the foreshortening. I broke-down the body into simpler geometric shapes and included my perspective lines for reference.

Once I was happy with that sketch, I moved on to sketching a tighter, more detailed  "boy pirate".

Then I started the background. I always smear plasticine onto illustration board first.Iin this case since I knew the sky would be above the "boy pirate", due to the worm's eye view, I didn't need to do an "under painting" and block in my colours, I could just use the sky blue I had mixed and cover the entire surface.

I wanted to give the illustration some dynamic movement and help to bring the eye back again to the central character, so I decided to depict the clouds diagonally across the background and with reflections coming off the underside of the wispy clouds to help show that we are viewing the sky from below. I actually lay down on the dock for a while to study the clouds....OK and relax a bit too. I think it works nicely to gives the piece some energy, and the subtle convergence and divergence of the clouds leads the eye around in an elliptical path back to the center.
Next I added the very bottom of the "ship". I purposely didn't show much of it as I want to viewer to wonder: what type of ship this boy pirate could own?Or was he in the crow's nest?  I also needed to show a portion of it to ground the character.

I then started to form the individual pieces of the character. I usually work from the background, and work forward, but sometimes I like to do a few foreground bits so I can place them on top, as I go, to ensure I'm staying on track with my proportions. And I really like doing toes, so I couldn't resist! :)

It can be a bit tricky when there are a few different layers of plasticine on top of each other, with a foreshortened image. And it can start to look wonky if I don't carefully flatten out, or cut out the plasticine bits that will be directly behind another foreground object.  So, I find it can be useful to have the foreground parts set aside to then be able to trace around them and make the exact cut, so it isn't noticeable.

Here he is, the "boy pirate", after a bunch of tinkering and sculpting, I think he is almost there. I usually like to put it away for a few days and then take a look at it again and tinker a bit more. It lets me look at it with a fresher set of eyes and spot any other problems. 

As always, I'd love any feedback, good and bad, it is always so helpful :)

I also worked on a close-up  of this little "boy pirate" and used it for Illustration Friday this week. I wanted to
show him saying "ARRRRRRR!", but not in a scary, mean way, but in a playful way. Here is the sketch I came up with:

I recently purchased this amazing book by Mark Simon called Facial Expressions of Babies and Teens. It is such a great resource if you need to do facial expressions. And it also shows a few models that have posed  over consecutive years so you can actually see how the face matures with the same child...very helpful stuff! I hope I succeeded in achieving a playful "ARRR". I must have scraped off each feature and started again like a million times??

I had a lot of fun with this illo. as I got to play with the textures of the hat, skin, and handkerchief. I had fun with the extruder to make the teeny feathers on the top of  his pirate hat. Sore thumbs though!  Here he is again, all sneery and cute:

Next up, I am going to do a double page spread that shows his "ship", "first mate" and surroundings. Here is a quick sketch of the layout and a tighter one of the ship and it's crew:

I think I might change the boy pirate's position and have him looking back and pointing so that he is engaged in dialogue with the other little "first mate". I want to show more interaction, so I will probably do a few more sketches to firm up my thoughts.

I hope you enjoyed this step-by-step tutorial of how I work. :) 

And thank-you all for the wonderful comments and for taking the time to pop over to my blog and see what I've been are all AWESOME!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Mouse Cake and a Camouflage, Army Dude Cake!

We had our annual birthday BBQ for our children yesterday, and as with every year, I made special cakes for my kiddies. All 3 of my boys  have anaphylactic food allergies, so this is my special way of making something completely safe and special for them. And it is really fun to see their expressions and the hollers of delight as they bound down the stairs and burst into the kitchen to see what I have made for them.

This year the party also happened to coincide with my Aunt Sharon's birthday as well, so I decided to make a mouse cake for her and my daughter. My aunt collects mice and I thought it would be fun to try to make a cake just like the little mouse in my blog header. I thought it would be funny to have one rubber boot off with a bare foot, just as my daughter would do. I painted the fur using food colour paste, but I had to make this mouse brown as my black paste kept appearing pruple when diluted. Here is a close-up of the head.

She was a fun little mousy to make, and the little girls at the party seems very smitten with here. And my daughter and wonderful aunt liked it too. Yeahh!!!:)

This camouflaged, army dude, creeping on the ground was lots of fun too. I had made a tank last year and this year the boys had said they wanted an army man cake. They are really into history and anything army related, so I thought doing a sniper type guy(minus the gun of course!) creeping along the ground would be interesting. I had to do my research online for this one, and find some photo references of a "ghillie" suit. That is what they call those crazy, hairy-looking, leafy jackets that completely camouflaged them into their surrounding. Hmmm, I learned something new too-haha :)

Here is a picture of him from the back. I even included tread and laces on the boots...I just love details! My fingers and forearms are still a bit sore from pushing all that fondant thru my clay extruder, but I think the effect worked well, and the boys really loved it! A few people said I should open up a cake business (wow-thanks!), but I said it was just a hobby, as I would be absolutely stressed and worried, trying to delivery these cakes-ekk. I am quite the clumsy, goof at times. No thank-you, I think I'll stick to plasticine, as I can always correct that without having to start all over.

Now the kids are already thinking about next year....:) 

Friday, August 27, 2010

IF- Immovable

The sea-battered pirate growled a hearty "ARRRR". He was an "immovable" force guarding his prized treasure.

This is my plasticine illustration for this week's Illustration Friday theme, immovable.  I have been working on a series of illustrations depicting a boy playing pirate, and his grand imagination.  I thought it would fit perfectly with this week's theme. I hope to share the grouping with you all soon. This is the close-up of him with his sneering "ARRRRRR". I tried to make him a little less mean and a bit more cute, I hope I succeeded. His expressionwas a bit too scary and mean at first, so I reworked. Please let me know what you guys think! :)

BTW, tomorrow we're having our annual birthday bash BBQ to celebrate all of my kiddies birthdays( as they were all born in the summer time). So I have been up late for the last few nights working away on some really fun cakes...I can't wait to share them with you! Hopefully I won't be burning the midnight oil to late again tonight :)...

Friday, August 20, 2010

IF- Atmosphere

The atmosphere during story time was electric with the children's wild imaginings of fantastic, underwater worlds.

This is an older plasticine illustration, but a real favorite.  I thought it would be a fun fit for this week's IF theme atmosphere.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

"Dog Days...First jump off the dock with the encouragement of big brother"

I arrived home yesterday evening after 4 days of awesome productivity at my cottage! I worked my butt off and managed to complete 3 new plasticine illustrations, and start on the background of a 4th!! Yipeeee!! It was so nice to really get into the groove and get lost in my work for hours at a time with the music cranked and the creativity flowing. My wonderful hubby held down the fort and was sweet to send updates via text message so I didn't feel too out of the loop.

The illustration you see above was based on this months "Dog Days" theme over at the We Love To Illustrate for Children Group Blog . It is so fabulous of the ladies over there to open up the floor to all of there followers, and encourage their participation...such fun. And it is really cool to see everybody's interpretation of this month's theme.

I hope you like it! Dog Days made me think of those hot summer days at the cottage watching the kids learn new things like taking that very first leap off the dock into the deeper water. It is aways so heart-warming to see siblings offer encouragement and support to the younger ones. It is a universal " moment" I know all parents of multiple kiddies savour, as it often only last a little while and then they are back to bugging each other (geesh).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Snorkel boy, bird feeding frenzy...and other random cottage snaps...

After beautiful sunny weather all week at the cottage, we were hit with torrential rain on Sunday...all day. After trying to entertain the kiddies inside for the day with baking, crafts etc, we decided to head home a day early :(.  We had a menagerie of birdy families visit our dock...maybe they spread the word to each other that our dock was "the spot" for free cracker and bread crumbs??? We had ducks, mergansers( see above) and  even one lone ducky who was brave enough to swim around with my boys in the water.


My second youngest amazed us all, he is only 4 yrs. old, but he was swimming all around the bay with my hubby in his snorkel, mask and little fishy.

I got a cool photo of this gigantic dragon fly. Not to bad for a point and shoot camera....oh I can't wait to buy a Canon DSLR soon. This little guy would make a great sketch!

I also snapped a photo of the flower box on the in full bloom are so pretty.

We had a great time at the cottage and I am very lucky( thank-you my most wonderful hubby!!) to be going up again this Friday for a few day SOLO...yes that's MYSELF!!! Yippeee! My hubby is "manning the fort" for a few days to let me go up north for some uninterrupted "art time" to get some portfolio pieces finished. Then I can hopefully get my website up and running??!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rachelle Anne Miller Giveaway!!!

Rachelle Anne Miller is having an adorable giveaway over at her blog here. She is an amazing illustrator (one of my favorites actually) and does the most adorable artwork...if you haven't seen her work before then here is your chance! Hurray on over to her blog as she is offering a great giveaway until this Wednesday...if you comment on her blog you get a chance to win one of these super cute backpacks from Dante Beatrix.  Aren't they so adorable? And they come with the most hilarious names! Enjoy! 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Going to the cottage for a week!

I haven't been able to post as much as I would like this summer, as the hustle and bustle of having everyone home has left me little time for blogging and artwork. But as summer is quickly evaporating, we have decided to go up north for a week or so with the kids to soak up some sunshine, and get water logged in the lake.
Then the following week I plan to return SOLO :) for a few days, to get some artwork completed. It will be so refreshing to get up north again!!! Yipppeeee!!
So I guess I should get starting folding my piles of laundry so I can get packing- argggg
I also wanted to wish all my fellow Canadians a Happy Civic Holiday today!! Yeah long weekend! :)
See you in a week or so!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


"Double Trouble" turns into "Quintuple trouble"!

This weeks Illustration Friday topic is "double". The first thing that popped into my head was twins and the "double trouble" they can get I thought this plasticine illustration I did for my good friend a while back, would be perfect. She has 5 great kids...the last 2 were twins!! She is one great mommy, who is a master multi-tasker. She even chronicles some of her hilarious family stories on her blog Five All Mine.

In this illustration the twin are in the middle goofing around with the rest of her that is double trouble...maybe even quintuple trouble!!! I'm sure all of us with kiddies can relate to this one!
Enjoy :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

My first Illustration Friday- Breakfast!

"Ohhhhh, look Wilbur... mmmmmmuffins for breakfast!!"

I have wanted to start taking part in IF for a while now, and worked late last night to get one done in time. I doubt I will be able to participate every week, but it is a great way to get the creative juices flowing, and add portfolio pieces :)
 My take on "Breakfast" is a cute little girl with a head full of unruly curls(bed head-heehee) sharing  yummy blueberry muffins with her beloved teddy, Wilbur. I tried to use a limited soft palette of colours, and lots of fluffy, and soft textures. 

I hope you enjoy, and it reminds of you when you were little and loved having breakfast with your favorite furry friends(real or stuffed) :)


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