Friday, October 24, 2008


Alright, here's a time waster that's sure to bring a smile to your face. Check out Photofunia. You can insert your favourite images into templates that are sure to crack you up.

The only catch is that your files need to be 500kb or less. How do you know if yours is the right size? Right click on your image and then click properties. The size will be listed. The site gives you direction for downsizing files but that's only helpful if you speak gibberish. I used photoshop.

Anyway, take a look at my silly creations and then create some of your own. Have fun!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It's been ten days since my last blog... IEEE! I'm falling behind. I don't know what I'm doing with my time but I do know that the days are racing by.
This entry isn't about crafting so much as it is about a sense of completion. On Saturday I finally hung all our pictures and paintings. Finally. Six and a half months after moving in.

It took me awhile to get around to it because our lovely old apartment has plaster walls. Do you know what happens with plaster walls? Crumbling. Holes and lots of crumbling. So I needed to learn how to attach stuff to the wall without any major catastrophe. This skill I learned from my brother when we mounted my noveau record collection. (Thanks Stephen!). Since then I had been waiting around for mine and Dennis' schedules to mesh. I was waiting for an hour or so of free time to overlap so we could hang stuff up together... seeing as we both live here and technically should agree on what goes where, if it looks okay, etc. etc.

But Dennis doesn't like hanging pictures. It probably sits slightly below Chinese Water Torture and listening to Celine Dion on his list of favourite things to do. So I came to my senses and realized that in order to avoid unnessecary negativity and bickering, I should just roll up my sleeves and do it myself.

And how cool! I felt very empowered weilding a drill and hammer. I surprised myself with how easy I found it and now as I pad down my hall or sip tea in my kitchen, I am constantly admiring my handiwork. In another life, another time, I might have studied carpentry or cabinetmaking... Yep. I know it's just hanging pictures but it definitely makes me less afraid of trying out my dream of at re-finishing old furniture... seriously!

First off, this is my very. first. time. shooting in manual, so please excuse the funny colouring/blur on some of these pictures. I'm determined to not take my setting off Manual until I have it mastered, and that includes for blog pictures, so you'll just have to roll with it while I creep up my learning curve.

ANYWAY, in my never-ending quest for economical wall art, I came up with this snazzy idea. I have tons of snapshots I love to display and with my new photo class, I add to my pile every week. I wanted an evolving display that could change with little effort and expense. My front hallway is l-o-n-g so I knew whatever I was going to put up there, had to be economical because I would need like... a lot of framed items to fill it.

So I made a photo clothesline! All I needed was a 20 foot piece of jute string, 2 screws, a package of wooden clothespins and voila! Instant wall art! I think this would work well in children's bedrooms too, as a place to display artwork. I'm wondering if the pictures will end up curling around their edges but so far so good... keeping fingers crossed...

This display is on the opposite side of my very long hallway. In the middle section where it widens slightly for a couple of closets. This is a collection of some of the first photographs I ever took that made me go, "Gee, taking pictures is fun!"

This one is blurry I know, but it's the only picture I had where the hall light wasn't glaring back and obscurring the paintings. These couple of beauties were painted by my very talented friend Jessica for my birthday a few years back. I love the vibrant colours.

If I haven't already mentioned it, my mother is an incredible artist in many mediums. But her real passion is needlework and this is my favourite piece she's ever done. The picture obviously doesn't do it justice. In person, you'll see that the flowers are very textured and deeply coloured. I always talked about how much I loved when I went home to visit... so when I moved in here this Spring, guess what I got as a house warming gift?! Yay!

This little guy I received as a Christmas gift last year. He's a wee owl but a cute one! He comes from Lucky Rabbit Pottery which is a local pottery company run by husband and wife team Deb Kuzyk and Ray Mackie. Their designs are whimsical and beautiful and never fail to make me smile.

Speaking of my friend Jessica, she also gave me this funky little hook for the kitchen. It's perfect for oven mitts. I love how the mug and saucer are 3D. Here you can also see my awesome bird salt & pepper shakers AND my vintage purple and green reptillian-esque salt & pepper shakers that I absolutely adore.

This spice rack has some family history attached to it. In high school I didn't have an allowance per say. Rather, I had a "magic drawer" in which spending money magically appeared every few days. I knew that in order for it to last, it was not to be taken advantage of, so I didn't. And it was awesome. Having a few bucks at my disposal instead of having to plead for money on a regular basis. I wish money still magically appeared in there!! (You can see my matching reptile saucer on the middle shelf, the sugar dish was broken in a move a few years back. Boo).

Lastly, here is... ME! My mother painted this and dubbed it the "cheesecake gourmet." Yes, cheesecake is one of my specialties. Don't spread it around. :) I love having this hang in my kitchen, a whimsical portrait of me doing one of the things I like to do best - bake, cook and putter in the kitchen!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Whelan Bat Colony

This weekend I went home to visit Mom and Dad. Well, I was there from 9pm Friday evening until 10pm Saturday and these days, that constitutes a weekend. Mom and I were supposed to finish up a top secret project but I forgot to pack a key component of said project (namely, a sewing machine part) so the process was severely impeded. BUT it didn't matter that much because I had some bats fluttering around in the back of my brain that were dying to be let loose. T'is the season after all!

As you know, I'm an avid blog reader and my "inspiration" list to the left down there is in dire need of updating. There is loads of inspiration out there and I have no less than 10 blogs I check daily. Anyway, I came across two bat project ideas that I just couldn't pass up.

The first idea comes from Domesticali. She designed these little felt bats she christened "Flappy Happies" and generously offered a tutorial on how to make them. They double as finger puppets or wine bottle tops! Mom and I had a mini assembly line going and made six. They're adorable! I want to make a hundred and give one to everyone I know because a) who doesn't need a bat? and b) they're awesome. I gave one to a friend at work to which I received a very enthusiastic response. That helps! I'm sorta kinda in love with these guys.

Mom's bat is to the left, mine is on the right.

The whole gang on display.

The second project comes all the way from Taiwan. Julie K in Taiwan designed some paper Halloween ornaments and they were so funky I definitely had to give it a shot. So while Mom cooked up a delicious turkey dinner, Dad and I sat down at the kitchen table and started cutting. Yes, you read that correctly. DAD and I made paper bats. And you know what? I think he kind of liked it. And he ended up doing something quite creative with his ears! The bat ears I mean, not his. If nothing else, I'm positive that Mom got a kick out of seeing me and Dad sitting at the table with rulers and glue sticks flying... :)

My paper bat.

Dad's paper bat. Note the cute pointy ears.

Father-daughter bat team.

oooOOOooo... spoooOOooooky!

I had a few strips of paper left over so once dinner was cleaned up (don't let that mislead you into thinking I cleaned anything up, my parents are awesome when I come to visit!) and I was waiting to make room for dessert (best. chocolate. cake. EVER.). I decided to hastily glue together a spider. It's not... um... a work of art or anything. But it does sorta look like a spider, doesn't it?

All in all, I had a great trip home and was glad to get some crafting in with my parents. The family that crafts together... ends up with a lot of bats I guess!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weally Wonky Wabbits

Well, I just gained a whole new appreciation for those talented sewers out there who can sew circles and curves. Whew. It ain't easy and boy am I humbled.

I was flipping through one of my new books, Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson, the other night and came across the cutest pattern for Peanut, the Wee Elephant. The design was credited to Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls. So of course I had to run to my laptop to check out her site... lo and behold she was offering free patterns to download and I immediately decided I needed to make a wee bunny.

I was very enthusiastic at first! I printed out the pattern and picked out my fabric. (That was definitely the easiest part!).
I cut out all the pattern pieces and I made the ears about 1.5 cm bigger all around because I thought I would like them bigger and floppier. You can see in the picture above the original line on the inside of the ear. In the end I'm glad I did because they would have been itty bitty I think.

Next I made the ears and pinned them on to the solid front piece. Easy peasy!

Then I stitched the two patterned back pieces on... it was at about this point I realized that I can't sew curves. I think I read somewhere that having a walking foot really helps with the whole curve thing. Um... okay, I admit it, I'm looking for excuses. I know what helps with curves: PRACTICE! But you know what? I wasn't daunted. So my wee bunny would have a wonky seam, big deal. Adds character right? (Meanwhile I'm nervously eyeing that round bottom piece...)

I was so preoccupied with sewing curves and circles that I forgot to leave an opening in the back for stuffing! Oooooops! Where's my seam ripper again? (aka my very best friend). That was a pretty easy fix.

Now it was time to line up the bottom with the rest of the body. I was pretty excited and needed to start getting ready for work in 20 minutes. I tried pinning it together and the darn thing wouldn't fit. In fact, I had about an extra inch of circle and not enough body. So what do I do? Decide that I'll make it fit at the sewing machine. I sit down and sew away, casting pins aside.

The result?

Not so good. I've managed to create the wobbliest, ugliest, most puckered bunny bottom the world has ever laid eyes on...

So what do I do?

Throw some stuffing in there anyway!! I can't wait to see what my "completed" bunny looks like!!

If you look closely you can see a bottom gone horribly wrong.

I left it as is and headed off to work. I thought it would be kind of fun for Dennis to come home to a silly rabbit sitting on the kitchen counter. He said he thought it was really cute, God love him.

While at work I processed my bunny bottom predicament. I knew I wasn't going to learn how to sew curves and circles tonight so I needed to think up an alternate plan of attack... the bunny has three sides... what else can I do? AHA! A triangle!!

Yes, I made the bottom into a triangle. Hindsight is always 20-20 and this was not actually as brilliant an idea as I had thought. Obviously. Or the original pattern would have come with a triangle.

Oh, and I also deviated from the pattern (again - such a bad idea) by sewing on the eyes and embroidering the mouth and nose before adding the stuffing and sewing him up because I couldn't really imagine how to do that without having access to both sides (Please remember, I'm new at this!).

And then I realized that I didn't have a tail so I improvised and made my own. And when hand stitching the back closed, I sewed the tail on. And didn't really give much thought to placement because I already knew this wee bunny was beyond all hope. So I popped it on and now my ugly, deformed bunny looks like he has a hideous wart growing out of his back. Poor wee bunny. :(

Can you tell I'm delaying the unveiling?


Okay... prepare yourself!

He's drunk!

Note the wart... :)

He looks best from behind!
I've since removed him from my computer desk and put him on my sewing table. Wanna know a secret? I love him!! I laugh out loud every time I look at him and that deserves a whole pile of love in my opinion. I think I will keep him on my sewing table for a long time... for now as a reminder of "there's only one way to go from here... up!" and hopefully in the future as a reminder of just how far I've come.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Domestic Bliss (and a little advice)

My new work schedule looks like Friday and Saturday will be my days off for the next little while. This is a slight shift back from having actual weekends off, which I knew was too good to last. But beggars can't be choosers and two days off in a row is an absolute blessing when you're a waitress.

I did, however, work yesterday - but just the day. I was tempted to pick up the night so I could buy a pair of lulu lemon yoga pants because once Dennis said, "I'm going to start wearing those just so I don't have to look at you in them" referring to my favourite pair of grey jogging pants. But time off seemed more valuable to me so Dennis will just have to grin and bear those jogging pants for now.

When I got home I retreated to the kitchen. Nothing relaxes me and brings me more peace than puttering around in the kitchen. We have a pretty hectic week coming up and I'm trying to keep Dennis well fed so it's one less thing he needs to worry about between working crazy hours (and I mean that literally - 9pm to 5am!) and being a full-time student. I'm also trying to eat out less for both health and financial reasons. So I embraced the mood and made a yummy pasta dish, a pot of soup and macaroni and cheese. I figure we're good 'til Monday at least!

Next I cleaned the apartment from top to bottom. Well, in actuality it was front to back and you understand if you've ever been here. By the time I went to bed everything was spic and span and I was ready to wake up to a full day off with nothing to do except whatever I wanted to do... and that's always an awesome feeling.

I rolled out of bed around 11 and had some mac 'n cheese for brunch. Um, did I say I'm doing a lot of cooking for health reasons? Hah. Dennis and I watched the first half of Penelope (my new favourite movie! Go rent it if you like whimsical movies!). Then we had a youtube date and I got sucked into looking at Kayne West videos. I know, out of character for me, but I just recently discovered 'American Boy' (how long has it been out, anyway?) and I am in love with it. Youtube that shit, yo! Hahaha! :)

It was a beautiful, sunny day and I have a new photography assignment. This week we learned about aperture and depth of field in class. The aperture refers to how big the hole in your camera is, the hole responsible for letting light through. I know, how very technical of me. Anyway, a small aperture has a big f-stop. So f18 or f22 means it's a tiny hole. A big aperture has a small f-stop - f2.8 or f3.6. I don't know who the aperture genius is, but that's not very intuitive.

The point is though, that if you have a small aperture (f22) then you have more things in focus (think landscapes) and if you have a big aperture (f2.8) then you have less things in focus (think portraits with only the person in focus and everything else blurry).

This was a very exciting revelation for me!! It's one step closer to understanding manual. So today I hit the road with my camera on the A setting and tried to shoot as much as I could with a small aperture because that's my assignment - meaning I want lots of stuff in focus. This is opposite of how I usually shoot so it was definitely a challenge, on many levels. 2.5 hours of rambling and 250 pictures later... behold the results.

this is me outside the military base on gottigen

the marquee

if you ever need a torso...

i absolutely adore the fact that someone took the effort to create this piece of art

cool piece of art outside the north end library

an excellent piece of advice i found on agricola street

we should all be doing more of this!

and this!

a tree on the citadel

two trees on the citadel!

I'm not going to say any of those photos deserve an award, but I am proud of them because it's my first time ever taking my camera off P! Yay for me!

After my photo-walk, I made dinner: salmon, steamed baby potatoes and grilled asparagus. Yum! (Remember the casseroles and stuff are for when I don't have time to cook!). Then we finished Penelope. Then Dennis left for work. Sad. :(

But on the upside, I spent 2 full hours sewing!

After the 2 hour mark I knew my eyes were drooping but I was determined to finish one last square. And this is where the advice makes an appearance... Don't sew when you're tired!

yes, that would be sewed on backwards.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What To Do With An Old Record

My blog is 20 days old today. This may not seem like a huge deal to you, but for me it may hold the title for thing-I-haven't-been-obligated-to-do-but-am-still-doing-anyway award. Dennis says this is because I'm finally being true to myself. I think I'm inclined to agree!

This week has been really busy with work and other stuff (like tarot card reading parties - haha) so what I'm about to unveil has been completed since Sunday! And it has been burning a hole in my proverbial pocket, let me tell you.

At the moment, most of my income goes towards bills and paying off debt (curse you university) so when I couldn't handle the blank space on the wall above my couch anymore, I started exploring cheap... er, economical, ways to create art.

Enter Jessica from Juicy Bits.

Let me digress for just one moment. The blogosphere is an amazing place!! Since I have started WonkyEye I have been exploring other people's blogs as well... and h-o-l-y-c-r-a-p! There are oodles of talented women out there posting all their ideas and creativity and hard work on blogs and I never cease to be amazed. They are a constant source of awe and inspiration (as if my mother wasn't enough!) and hey, I'm not above "borrowing" ideas either so a blog is much cheaper than running to Chapters for a craft book or Fabricville for a pattern.

Anyway, I was linking through some of my favourite blogs a few days ago and stumbled onto Juicy Bits. This woman (whom I've never met and actually don't know much about) has a wicked blog and is kinda sorta the coolest mom ever. Especially if you're 4 and really like monsters. (I wish I could say that I made those guys! ---> ) I think I looked through every post she's ever put up and found her tutorial on fabric dots. I got the feeling she was a little embarrassed for posting such an easy project idea but who could argue that sometimes the most effective and beautiful ideas are often the most simple ones...

Moving on... let me introduce you to my brand new wall art!

I am so ridiculously proud of how awesome these look. And they were so easy anybody could do it! And these fabric dots were obviously destined for my walls because:

1.) When I went to Fabricville to get some fabric, all quilting material was 50% off!

2.) Dennis just happened to have 12 useless records leftover from his DJing days.

Yes, I did deviate from the tutorial in that I used records as my base. This worked out perfectly because I didn't have to cut anything, I got to recycle something that would have ended up in the landfill and they have pre-cut holes for hanging!

My brother (thank-you Stephen!) came over on Sunday to help me hang them. It was easy-peasy. We measured out 12 equally spaced dots, we drilled holes for 12 little screws (nails would work I think but my walls are plaster) and then we hung them. Okay, Stephen hung them because I obviously have difficulty with spacial awareness because in the time it took me to mount one record, Stephen had the other 11 up. I'm not kidding.

So, that's why I am feeling somewhat like a creative genius these days. And the living room looks so much better with something on the wall! Don't you think?

Oh yeah, I also have another fun (unadulterated) photo from my photography course. Little Belle. Awwwww..... :)