Having recently moved to small Ontarian town, I have spent a lot of time sat with the cats at the window, with a notebook. It is a wonderful way to develop ideas, the only downside is that I spend a lot of time staring out of the window at nothing much whatsoever. The cats quickly notify me when birds are in the garden, and oh-my, such pretty birdies: cardinals, woodpeckers, and other little wonders. It really is the little things that keep me going. 

I wanted to take pictures, but they just didn’t come back (mainly because the temperature dropped to -24 C), so I devised a very cunning plan and opted to make bird feeders.


Having collected pine cones at Christmas for decor, I wasn’t sure what to do with them after Christmas. Here is what to do with the left over pinecones:


Pinecones – lots of them.

Tie string/ribbon around them (in retrospect, string would have been better than leftover Christmas ribbons – squirrels enjoyed chewing through the ribbon just a bit too much).

Find something to poor the bird seed in, because this bit could get

Move on to the messy part, and smear a good portion of peanut butter on the pinecones, really get the peanut butter in the grooves, gaps and edges.

Roll it in the bird seed, sprinkle the bird seed, press it in there, get as much bird seed in there as possible.

Take them outside and hang them up. We attached the ribbon to paperclips to make it easier to tie them to branches, it meant we weren’t getting peanut butter all over our faces, hair and coats by attempting to tie knots.

I am sure that birds like them, but, erm…the squirrels got to them first. Still, a good effort to feed the wild creatures of our back yard!

I wanted to start keeping sketchbooks. It was a way to keep track of my development artistically.

I bought a battered sketchbook from Michaels during it’s sale for $5 (originally $16!) and painted the front and spine. This was my first real sketchbook since age 16, so I thought I’d make it count. For me, this book represented so much. I didn’t really have a theme at first, but as it’s developed, I’ve seen one come out. It’s really just a place for me to practice skills and explore my ability to create. There are a lot of handwriting samples, sketches of pill bottles and journal entries about my daily experiences. I come across things that I’ve forgotten about or discover things by looking at them from a different perspective. The far right painting was originally just me cleaning my paint brush and using up paint. I looked over it a few weeks later when I was listening to music and felt that the lyrics fit. This started my passion for Emeli Sande’s song and it developed into something more somwhere else (more on that later).

The paper in this sketchbook is far from perfect for paint, but that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most; painting even when it hasn’t been ‘right’. Breaking rules is a big deal for me, so breaking little art rules means more than what it sounds. It has been liberating and I would suggest that everyone have a sketchbook to write/draw and practice anything and everything. There doesn’t have to be an order, there just has to be ‘stuff’.