Wednesday, April 21, 2010


undisciplined, originally uploaded by Sophie_vf.

I was too restless to sleep, so I cracked out the pen and paper and wrote down a line from a song I was listening to, and thought I'd draw something related to it. But I didn't.
Instead I started a mandala, but soon lost any semblance of order as the lines started to escape the original pattern. Following life, I now realize.

Now that I look at it again, though, maybe it's not so much lack of discipline, but an irresistible force - after all, it's spring.

Monday, April 19, 2010

back on campus

great horned, originally uploaded by Sophie_vf.

on my "must get out of the lab or lose my mind" walk today, I found that the great horned owls had returned to their nests on campus. The light was really harsh this evening - I'll probably try to get better pictures later this week.

Here's how they looked last year - pretty much the same.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Light in the West

west window, originally uploaded by Sophie_vf.
I had an "eep"! moment when I saw that the  Quo Vadis blog sent out a tweet (tweeted? twitted?) mentioning a couple of folks, including myself, who have contributed to the Exaclair and Art Flickr page. I immediately felt the kick in the butt I needed to scan in some older sketches.

I've mentioned elsewhere that I draw in church (and have also lost many drawing pens there - I've looked under the pews, no luck) but hesitate a bit to post those sketches, lest they be perceived to have gratuitous Catholic content. But it's part of my day, and this one isn't too much in your face.

Anyway, here's something more secular: a rough map of my work environs and the fastest route to relevant locations such as my supervisor's office and coffee. 
Drawn at the end of last month, as one of Daisy Yellow's March Creative Experiments.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pioneer Woman picks a horse

pysanky horse, originally uploaded by Sophie_vf.
I was quite excited this morning to find that my Pysanky picture was picked by Ree (Pioneer Woman) for group 4 of the current photo assignment, Macro photography. Given the incredible number of entries and talented photographers that contribute to her PW photography assignment pool, I am quite stunned.

I don't take pictures, post or submit them, for the purpose of getting attention, but for this group in particular, I like to participate in the spirit of sharing  images that catch our eye, and have personal meaning for us. I love looking at the pool and seeing what other people see. It's fascinating and inspiring.

Getting picked is just gravy - good, drippy, beefy gravy, to be sure (probably on top of home-cut fries) - but the process of seeing, creating and contributing is really the main purpose: the joy of sharing our individual and collective visions of the world around us.

(Although, I admit I keep going back and looking at the group page to make sure I didn't just dream it)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


april is the cruelest month

A late spring storm that started as wind and rain turned to snow, and overnight, a blizzard which effectively shut down most of the city. Even before I knew that, though, I looked out my window and watched  my neighbours struggling to get out of their driveways, eventually abandoning cars and minivans and catching rides with truck-driving neighbours. So I'd already called snow day for the kids before we turned on the radio and realized that they had closed schools and were sending kids home, and that much of the other side of town had lost power.

Thus the kids and I spent the day at home. I had every intention of making them do useful chores, and to get some work done at home myself. We were off to a good start, before finding out that we had been asked to minimize water use and power consumption - thus, no laundry, washing dishes, or vacuuming. But come on. We figured we should at least cook, and I reasoned that turning on the oven would also help warm up the house (I use this rationale a lot in the winter).

So I finally had the chance to test drive the new Kitchen-Aid and  make french bread, while the girl made tiny cupcakes with ganache frosting.

pain francais

tiny cupcakes with ganache

I tidied up and decluttered the reading space in my bedroom so I could do some actual school work. But really I was too curious and interested in what was going on outside the house, and spent an inordinate amount of time checking the twitter feeds for Lethbridge to see how things were progressing and whether it would be safe to take a bath without feeling guilty.  My powers of concentration were not at their peak.

I can't work at home!

Everything began to melt with gratifying speed by late afternoon, and the neighborhood kids were out in force doing snow removal, but more importantly making sure there was a clear channel through the slush to the grate in front of our house, since it drains the entire street. There was great glee in this task.

keeping clear

We realize that we were incredibly lucky not to have lost power, as did the other side of town, and I don't think it's been fully restored yet. I could probably write something deeply philosophical about how dependent we are on electricity, clean water, and communication. But I'll refrain from pontificating, and just close out the day grateful for the safety of my family, for warmth, and shelter.

(This is my day in five pictures, by the way - one of Tammy's creative experiments for April)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Honest Scrap: ten things

I fully admit that I am a sucker for memes and will fill out questionnaires at a drop of the hat, even satisfaction surveys from my internet provider. So how can I resist, when Tammy of Daisy Yellow tagged me with  this Honest Scrap? These are so fun, and I love reading the things other people come up with!

Except that now I have to quickly think of ten arbitrarily interesting things about myself, and even more quickly, seven interesting bloggers to tag. The latter can be challenging - there's always an element of "quick, tag her before someone else does".


1. My current ambition is to be a homeschooling expatriate. I'm not sure how to actually accomplish this.

2. I'm an immigrant - sort of. I came to Canada when I was two, and so grew up fully assimilated, but with the indelible marks (read: quirks) of my parent's culture.

3. I've gained about 5 kilos since beginning graduate work in exercise science, and am probably at the poorest fitness level I've been in about five years. I find that deeply and painfully ironic.

4. I've practiced yoga for almost 15 years and taught for 8. I sincerely believe that everyone can find some form of healing through yoga.

5. I grew up in the '70s with a feminist sensibility and thought I'd never, ever marry. But my husband is the funniest and smartest man I've ever known, so I couldn't help marrying him.

6. I love to run, and I love being outside. I become really hard to live with when I've gone too long without one or the other.

7.  I'm the oldest of five siblings. My closest male friends have (almost) always been the youngest of three or more children. Weird birth order stuff, eh?

8.  Everyone in my family of origin is obsessed with cameras, flashlights, luggage, and saucepans. It sounds like I'm joking. I'm not.

9.  Now that my son has a drum kit and my daughter's playing the piano, I think I'll dust off my gee-tar and see if we can't become the next Partridge Family.

10. If there was one food I could miraculously eat without it making me fat, it would be fried chicken. Sorry.

Passin' it on!
Though I don't know if they will actually have time to answer, I will nevertheless tag:

A Small Group of Thoughtful, Committed Citizens - she'll make you more thoughtful yet
Writing ....or Typing? of amusement and obsessions diverse
Lianne Raymond (of the near-legendary free eBook, What is Dying to be Born)
Daybooks,  even if she is unlikely to answer - go look at her sketches anyway
Spiritual Evolution of the Bean - what this woman can do with ink and paper boggles my mind
A Penchant for Paper - her drawings have a freshness I really enjoy
Em2a Cartoon,  because I just never know what she's going to say next.

Thanks for the tag, Tammy - this was fun!

garden shed

garden shed, originally uploaded by Sophie_vf.

the only green thing in the garden right now. Except maybe the first blades of lilys (sp?) and chives.

Also, an experiment in free lensing, which doesn't even look like a real word, but which means holding the lens in front of your camera body without mounting it. Thus the strange blurry effect. But for the moment, I am filing this under "stupid camera tricks".

Monday, April 05, 2010

picture test


I know it looks like it's a kitchen gadget, but it's really a test: is a picture marked as private on Flickr visible on Blogger? Yep, looks like it. But it should not be clickable to the Flickr photo page. Let me know if you discover otherwise.

Friday, April 02, 2010

The March Experiments at Daisy Yellow

As I've done in the last few months, I've been using Tammy's fabulous prompts at Daisy Yellow.  Some of this dovetailed a bit with Stories,  the March theme for  Leah's Creative Every Day Challenge.

Tammy's full list for March is here, and the ones I chose for myself are below:

Create art focused on a square (the concept of a square, something square, the shape)
Skim 2 non-fiction books and jot down ideas
Finish an unfinished art journal page
Write a page of thoughts on 2 days
Use colors you don't typically use in an art or craft
Explore a new-to-you aisle at an art supply store or a non-fiction aisle at a book store
♥ Listen to a creative podcast (I like The Creative Mom Podcast, CraftyPod, CraftSanity)
♥ Send a handwritten note to thank someone for doing something
Sketch, write, play a musical instrument in a public place
In line at the grocery store, take note of a person in line; write a character description for this person.
Draw a rough map of a place in your life - a favorite vacation spot, your house, school, the grocery store

Not too bad - though I squeaked in under the wire with the "square" and "map" prompts - both sketched within the last two days of March. I really need to do some scanning. In the meantime, here's some squares:


I've given myself quite a bit of liberty in defining "art journal page". Although I had some fun playing with acrylics and photo transfers earlier in the year, this is very much something I need quite a bit of time, and a clean countertop to work on. Those are few and far between in my life these days, which is probably the main reason that I keep coming back to quick sketches in my notebook, and photography. Both, for me, take up less room in the house, and less room on a physical desktop. I really enjoyed playing with those other mediums though, especially acrylic, and will probably do it again - not this month, though. So my definition of "finish an art journal page" is to complete or add color/commentary to a sketch I started on the spot - usually in church or while waiting for the kids.

Most items on the list came fairly naturally - for instance, I had long been planning to make some notes on Kelly McGonigal's excellent Yoga for Pain Relief while prepping to teach a stress management workshop, and as for a page of thoughts on two days I probably shouldn't really even have included this one as a challenge, since I do it regularly (perhaps even obsessively).  I used the character sketch to frame a story - however, this is the sort of thing I find utterly unpost-able. Maybe another time.

And I also caught up with one of the January items: play a board game with your kids - sequence and Clue.  My daughter kept reminding  me till I did.

I have no reason for not writing a handwritten note! I am AGAIN carrying that one forward. And despite having many art-y podcasts saved on my iPod, I totally forgot about them, even while stuck on a 6 hour bus trip with my kids and their judo teammates. This month.

Thanks again Tammy! and now, onto the prompts for April - looking forward to them.