Friday, January 30, 2009

Paws For Charity - 2009 Art Book Project

What is this project?
An art book compilation of photographs or paintings from approximately 38 artists, featuring dogs and/or cats to raise money for breast cancer charity. (ie, dog, cat, dog and cat, dog with person, cat with person....etc)

Who will participate?
I am looking for up to 38 artists or photographers who are willing to contribute one jpeg file of a piece of art or photograph featuring a dog and/or cat. (copyright of the image remains with the artist)

What are the details?
Books will be produced through an online on demand publishing company (ie, or something similar).
Online price will be set at $5 above publishing cost.
Profits will be donated to a breast cancer charity.
Each page of the book will have one image and the name and contact information of the photographer/artist.
Copyrights of the images will remain with the contributors.

What do dogs and cats have to do with breast cancer?
I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 21, and have had a few scares myself over the past 8 years. My first Paws For Charity project was selling Crunch for a Cure dog biscuits when I owned a dog biscuit company. I believe there is a very strong bond between people and their pets. In a nutshell, I use this project to tie the two things together.

What is the commitment required of participants?
1. submit a jpeg image (resolution 300 or higher, maximum size 6.9 inches high/wide) of your art/photo to email address
with Paws For Charity as your subject line.
Participants will be selected at the beginning of March. If your image is selected I'll need:
2. A brief bio with your image detailing: - your name - the website or blog address you would like published in the book - a 1 inch x 1 inch black and white photo of yourself
3. contributors agree to include a Paws For Charity logo on their blog and/or website with a link to the Paws For Charity blog (this will be provided to you)
4. contributors agree to post an article on their blog about their participation in the project
5. contributors will be encouraged (but not required) to post articles on their blog about the other participants

What benefits will participants receive?
- all participants will be listed on the Paws for Charity blog, with links to their websites or blogs
- a separate blog post featuring each participant will be posted on two blogs: Paws for Charity and Dream Big
- articles about the project and participants will be sent to online ezines and hard copy magazines
- any known articles published will be communicated to all participants
- the completed book will be available at cost to all participants (however participants are not required to purchase any books)

Know someone?
If you know someone who may be interested in participating, please let them know about this project...the more, the merrier!

If you are interested in participating, please let me know as soon as possible.
Artwork submissions will be required by February 28, 2009.

Final Selections:
Final selection of participants will be made by me on or before March 6, 2009.
Contributors will be selected to ensure a well balanced art book of photos & artwork.

If you are interested in participating please send me an email or leave a comment with your email address. I'll email you with the details.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Paws for Charity

You may or may not know that I owned a dog biscuit business in Ontario for 10 years. In 2006, I worked with 3 other women who owned dog related businesses to create Paws For Charity. We all had products that we sold, with part of our profits going to breast cancer research. Over 2 years, we raised thousands of dollars. It was great to be involved with these women, and the synergy inspired us in our own businesses as well.

When I sold my business and moved to Nova Scotia last year, Paws For Charity went into limbo. Now we're going to ramp it up again and see what we can accomplish.

Our focus is still the same...taking our love for our animals and raising funds for charity.

We're going to be working on several projects this year, for several charities.

I don't own a dog business anymore, but I'm still a dog lover (and a cat lover too!) We own 1 cat and 3 dogs....well, it's more like they own us.

I'll be announcing my project tomorrow and hope I can create enough interest to get it off the ground (hint: I'm looking for artists and photographers). If you want to read more about our original Paws For Charity group, there was an article published on the ezine Women Can Do Anything and you can read it at this link.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Poppy painting on Ebay

Well, I gathered up my courage and this poppy painting is now for sale on Ebay. You can see the listing here.

And, for the curious, this photo is taken in our front hallway. The desk was my mom's, many years ago. Then my sister used it (painted white on the outside, orange on the inside). Then I used it (changed to blue on the inside). Then my mom had it refinished and gave it back to my sister. Now I have it again....including some teeth marks from sister's dog.

There are 4 bird houses on the stairs. These were a house warming gift from John's children and grandchildren. I thought they were too special to put outside, so they have a home on our stairs.

To the left of the desk there is a niche that is usually filled with wood for the wood stove. We have emptied it out and are storing our wood in our screened in porch. Not sure what to do with this niche. Ideas?

Keep your fingers crossed for first painting on ebay!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bald Eagles #2

I mentioned in yesterday's post that we went to Sheffield Mills on Saturday to their 18th annual Eagle Watch event. (by the way, if you're in the area this event runs for the next two weekends as well. But if you want the pancake breakfast at the community centre, you'll have to go on Jan 31st or Feb 1st).

I have gone through all my photos and was a little disappointed in the quality...all of them were blurry. Not at all like my great puffin picture taking experience in Newfoundland, which you can read about here. It was difficult to count, but we thought there must be 50 or 60 when we were there. This area of Nova Scotia has one of the biggest bald eagle populations in Eastern North America. Here is a juvenile with some males in the background:Some male posturing: Pretty blurry, but I like the wing action in this photo:We were amazed that a crow would be this brazen. I guess he's not worried about getting eaten when there are dead chickens laying around. The crow waited for some leftovers and grabbed chicken whenever he could.Here is an eagle flying off with his meal.And some fine dining (notice the crow waiting in the background):Yum!And lastly, just a magnificent specimen. They look so fierce!I'd like to return next year. It was such a privilege to see these majestic birds.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bald Eagles in Sheffield Mills

Yesterday we travelled over to Sheffield Mills to their 18th annual Eagle Watch.

All I can say was awesome to see so many eagles in one spot. When we arrived, we could see 6 bald eagles in the trees surrounding the field and I thought it was fantastic.And then...

Then more eagles came. And they started to feed. And it was absolutely amazing. I went a little trigger happy with my camera and ended up with 400 photos. It's taking me a while to go through them, but here are a few to share with you...This is either a female or a juvenile male. As you can see, the colouring is completely different from the male bald eagle.Above is a male getting ready to land. During the two weekends of the festival, volunteers put chickens in the field for the eagles to feed on. That draws the eagles, which in turn draws the crowds to see them. (don't be squeamish...the chickens are not live!)Aren't they magnificent? Totally awesome. I'll post some more photos tomorrow.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Come on baby, light my fire

It's a little joke around here when I sing "Come on baby, light my fire". That doesn't mean any hanky panky is about to means that it's time to get the wood stove going. Seriously, for 2 "city folk", one of our biggest challenges in moving to the country was to figure out how to light a good fire.

The first fire we tried in our wood stove was a miserable failure, and you could smell the smoke in our house for days afterward. The fire never did start.

We've gone into stores that sell wood stoves to get advice. We were told by one person that we needed to drill a hole and install a pipe in our air tight cement walled house in order for the fire to be able to "draw". That seemed a bit extreme.

I'm happy to report that after 8 months of living here (mind you, we didn't light any fires in the summer months) we (that's the royal "we") have finally figured it out. It took a couple of months of burning the fire so hot that we couldn't stay in the room any longer. But now John can set a great fire, and have it burn just right for hours. Heaven for me.

The next story about fire is our burn barrel. Really, if you live in the country, you must have a burn barrel. Obtaining one was quite an adventure for John. Most people use old oil barrels. John went from business to business to track one down. Someone told him that oil barrels aren't a good idea anymore because "they don't make them like they used to". John was told the barrel would cost $50 and would last about 2 years. The man suggested John try an oil tank replacement business and gave him a phone number to call.

It turns out that this guy has 52 oil tanks that he has taken out of houses and replaced with new ones. He said he would clean one out and cut it in half for us, and he'd have it ready the next Sunday for us to pick up. He then forgot about us and it wasn't ready when we arrived to pick it up. He told John he'd deliver it to us the following Wednesday. Then he phoned and said he'd be a day late. He didn't show up, and it was getting near Christmas, so we decided to leave the whole issue until January. Then one morning he came with his truck and dropped off the 2 burn barrels...delivered to our door and put in place in the yard. He wouldn't accept any money and apologized for "being late". Geesh. I felt guilty for all the work he did for us!

So now we have 2 burn barrels. And we have 2 men (John and his son G) who were anxious to test one out. But...looks like we're back to fire starting lessons again. Because despite these photos, the fire didn't get going (they managed to get some dried grass to burn!).
One thing I know, though. These guys are determined (aka stubborn) and they'll get it figured out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One World One Heart Giveaway

SORRY - The giveaway is now over and closed to further comments. And the winner is...
Nancy from All Pulped Out!
Thanks to everyone who participated!
I am participating in this year's One World One Heart giveaway. To win my giveaway, you need to leave a comment on THIS post. My giveaway is open to EVERYONE (you don't need to have a blog). Please make sure that your comment includes a way for me to get in touch with you in case you're the winner!

The event ends on February 12th, and I'll announce the winner that day. I'll send the winner an email to let them know. The winner of my draw will receive their choice of:
1. a matted 5 x 7 photo or art print of their choice from my etsy shop. (glossy or matte finish) OR
2. three unmatted 5 x 7 photos or art prints (or combination).
You could choose a matted poppy print (below) or click on the poppy to take a look at all your choices:
Here is the description from Lisa, the organizer of the event:

"The original idea behind this giveaway event was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way...This is more than wanting to win something.......that is only the the end it's about finding kindred spirits. Someone who may be fairly new to blogging, not sure how to navigate, find others and have others find them....Some are long time bloggers and in some cases well known in the art community. Whatever the case it brings all of them together...We are not solving the worlds problems nor are we curing anything nor are we changing the world. We are merely generating a closer community between humans through blogging."

If you'd like to know more about the event, and see a list of all the participants, click on the One World One Heart logo at the top of this post. (or on my sidebar at the right). This is going to be lots of fun. So far there are almost 300 participants! Enjoy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Awards and Poppies

Look what I got from Jennifer today!It's the Blogging Friends Award.
I came across Jennifer's In The Meantime blog last year, through a mutual blogging friend. The photos on her blog are inspiring, and I always enjoy her musings. We seem to have a lot of similarities.

Here are the rules of this award: "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find, and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight or more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Well, I only follow a few blogs due to my dial up computer life so I won't give away eight awards. Aside from Jennifer's blog, here are a few blogs that belong to talented women who inspire me:

And now for something completely different...Here are the poppy paintings I was working on yesterday. Both were done in acrylic, and both were based on the same sketch. The first is a 5 x 7 inch painting on paper primed for acrylic paintings. The second is much larger...I used a 16 x 20 inch canvas. I also used another medium for some added texture.Here's a close up. Can you guess what I used?I should have taken a photo of the two paintings together to show the large size difference. I'm quite happy with both paintings. I do of course want to get better, so if you have any feedback, let me know.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some colour for a dull day

This is a home in Blockhouse. Just the colour we need on such a dull day. It's been snowing all day today, with not a hint of sunshine.

I've been busy painting today...two paintings of a poppy...two versions of the same sketch. I'll try to post photos of them tomorrow.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Touring the Aspotogan Peninsula

Friday was very, very cold around here but a spectacular sunny day. Which meant a great day for touring for us. We headed to the Aspotogan of the few roads along the South Shore that we hadn't been on before. Off Highway 3, Road 329 runs between East River and Hubbards. We turned off Hwy 3 at East River and headed along the shore.

This is Deep Cove Road, not a spectacular scenery shot, but I really liked the lines of the trees, road and snow leading your eye to the ocean: I love old things. Old houses, old windows, old stuff. So much character. When I spotted this wagon, I knew we had to stop for some photos.
Someone had been trying to sell it. There was a "for sale" sign crumpled up in the wagon. Would have liked one of those wheels to take with me! But maybe not this wheel:Further down the road is Northwest Cove. Very picturesque and colourful!A closer view for you:Not to be outdone, here is what greeted us when we arrived home:And a nice fire to warm us up after taking photos in the cold!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Waiting For Her Man

I snapped this shot through our kitchen window. Cassie is sitting at the end of our front walkway looking down the drive...waiting for her man to come home.

John left at 9:00 this morning to attend our local council's Committee of the Whole Meeting (this dumbfounds all the councillors, as no one else attends). John used to be on council when we lived in Ontario and is quite interested in local politics.

Despite the frigid weather outside, Cassie kept wanting to be let out (unusual for her...after the morning walk, she's usually quite happy to stay inside until our 4:00 outing). She would just go to the end of our front walk, sit down, and look down the drive. And wait. (that is not a public road you's just our driveway in front of our house).

I thought it was funny, so of course had to take a photo. Nothing but excitement around here!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Frozen shoulders and other things

This is what it was like at our place this morning. Actually, it started out a LOT foggier than this, but by the time I dragged myself out of bed and went through the morning routine with the cat and 3 dogs, this is how it looked. Then the rain came, then the snow, then the wind. Thankfully all that waited until we got back up the drive after our morning mile walk to retrieve the paper.

Yesterday was a day of firsts for me. My first physio appointment. Despite a few moments of more pain than I enjoy, I'm very happy to be at physio. I spent the month of December in a lot of left arm decided that it was time to misbehave. A product of body misuse, or just general aging? I don't know. The doctor didn't know either and after a couple of xrays and a cortisone injection, he decided that physio was the answer. So last week, the physiotherapist spent 15 minutes with me and decided the doctor had misdiagnosed...she told me I have a "frozen shoulder". She was surprised that I hadn't heard the term before and went on to explain it to me. Of course, I googled it when I got home and couldn't believe what I read! The descriptions fit me to a T. (what does that expression mean anyway?) I am currently at the "frozen stage"...thankfully. Because I think if I was still at the "painful stage", I would be a basket case. So, now it's physio twice a week for me. And 1 hour of arm exercises daily.

However, being in the frozen stage is a little frustrating. Being restricted in my arm mobility affects me in ways I usually take for granted. I can't raise my arm to wash the left side of my head. I can't tuck the left side of my shirt into my pants with my left arm. I can't push or pull with any strength. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Aging is so much fun.

My second first yesterday was attending my first photo club meeting. This was a big thing for me because I went by myself, and drove in the dark by myself, and had to introduce myself to a group of people I had never met before. I really hadn't thought about it before, but since we moved here 8 months ago I have been attached to John pretty much 24 hours a day. Time to step out of the comfort zone.

Anyway, I will leave you for the day on a bright note. Here is a sunrise from last week at our place. I haven't edited the colours, or used a filter. This is the way it was. And isn't it spectacular?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Photos For Sale

I've been busy adding my photographs to an Etsy Shop. This is no small task since we're on dial up internet access and everything is very time consuming. But I've been obsessed about the job, and now have my shop up and running. I haven't had much luck with Etsy in the past, so we'll see what happens.

I will be closing up my Search Me Etsy Shop in the near future. Canada Post has decided to double it's parcel rates. I don't think anyone will be too interested in buying a Search Me pouch for $12, and spending another $12 on shipping! Too be honest, it was a little venture for me last year that didn't really go anywhere. I do have a lot of supplies, and am considering sewing up a bunch of pouches to donate to children at Christmas this year. We'll see how ambitious I am.

Please take a look at Sharley Studio and let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eye Candy for House Junkies

Yesterday was a glorious sunny day, although cold and windy. We headed out on the Lighthouse Route towards Lunenburg. Our planned destination was Blue Rocks and Stonehurst East since we had not yet visited there in winter. When we reached Rose Bay John asked if I wanted to turn right down a road we hadn't been on before. One of my New Year's promises to myself (resolution being too strong a word) is to say "yes" more often so my answer was "yes!". And we turned right. I was immediately enchanted by the homes and drive along the shore. Then I realized we were heading towards Hirtle's Beach, a place that had been recommended to us many times since our move to Nova Scotia.We stopped to take a couple of photos. Even on a cold and windy day, I love the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. The boardwalk leads to Hirtle's Beach, which in turn leads to the Gaff Point Hiking Trail. According to the sign posted, the hike is a 6.5 km round trip. We'll be back on another day to walk the beach and hike the trail....something I am really looking forward to!If you look to the left while standing on the boardwalk, there is a ridge of homes/summer homes. Doesn't this home look lonely? But I bet their view is absolutely stunning. After leaving Hirtle's Beach, we took a tour through the neighbouring roads.

I have a confession to make...I am a house junkie. I love, LOVE looking at houses. I actually feel on top of the world touring around looking at all the different house styles and imagining what it would be like to live in that home, in that location. It's not that I don't love living in my own home. I am happiest when I get back home to our animals and our views and our "stuff". But. I am hooked on looking. Imagining. Dreaming. If any of you are house junkies, here are some photos for you of the Kingsburg area. First, a scenic view of the area:Here is a summer home all boarded up. Even the boards they use to cover the windows are colourful and look nice.
Down the lane towards "Hell's Point", there were many more homes.Here's a unique one:And I love the front door on this cottage:Imagine sitting on the deck of this home. What a stunning view!Here's a more modest home...still likely worth about $1/2 million.

Maybe if I won the lottery, I could have a summer home like one of these. Since I don't buy lottery tickets, however, I think my chances are slim. But it's nice to dream a little.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The story of Unusual Friends

I have tried to do a little painting over the past few years, but I am determined to try a lot more this year. I tend to be afraid to try. I'm not really sure why. Fear of failure? Not living up to my expectations? I lack patience and "stick to it-tive ness". Mostly I expect to be good without practicing (echoes of my piano playing 35 years ago).

Yesterday I put together a couple of simplistic paintings. My first attempt is below..."Unusual Friends". Can you see the wee mouse on the teacup? This painting is inspired by the fact that we seem to have at least one mouse in our house, despite all attempts to rid ourselves of these varmints. I have been hearing it sometimes in the middle of the night...running in our walls. John was in the kitchen the other day and we were talking about mice and how to go about getting rid of it/them. "There's one right here!" he exclaims, and there the mouse was....sitting there just as plain as can be right by the kitchen stove. Ugh. I have no idea where it disappeared to. Try as I could, I couldn't find any holes it would have gone through.

Just a reminder...we have a cat and 3 dogs! You think at least one of them could catch a little critter.I like the second attempt much better. Both paintings were done using acrylic paint on 5 x 7 paper.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Photo Books

Here is one last Christmas gift that I'll share with you. I made a couple of photo books to give. One book was for Miss M, and had photos of all our adventures with her in 2008. I don't know how thrilled a seven year old is with a photo book, but years from now when all her toys are forgotten, I'm sure she'll love to look at these memories. The other book was for John, and was filled with photos of our first 7 months in Nova Scotia. There are many book making sites on the web. I used and was very happy with the quality of the books...both the photos and the paper. Above is the cover of John's book: "Making the move from country to "real country". Our first year in Nova Scotia". The cover photo was taken the first day after we arrived in Nova Scotia...our first visit to our new home (10 days before our furniture arrived)
This is the inside cover photo...a shot of our home from the hayfield. The shed is to the left (with my "studio" on the second story). The shed and home are connected by a screened in porch.This page was devoted to our guinea hens...raising the hens from day old chicks was quite an adventure for 2 "city folks", and a real introduction to country living. When you make a photo book, you can choose the page layout you want, with or without text that you add. I chose to just use photos with no text. I used several photo layouts...some pages with up to six photos, some pages with only one photo.This spread covered our travelling adventures throughout the summer. Top row (from left to right): me in front of scallop boats in Digby, Stonehurst, a fishing stage just outside of Blue Rocks, John talking to a tugboat captain in Lunenburg. Middle Row (l to r): chasing tall ships outside of Lunenburg, John at Beach Meadows Beach, me at Beach Meadows Beach, the boardwalk at Risser's Beach. Bottom Row (l to r): Fishing boats at Vogler's Cove, our first horse pull at Conquerall Mills, John at the Rope Loft Restaurant in Chester, buoys.
Each book had 20 pages. Some of the other page themes from John's book: Moving from Ontario to Nova Scotia, our 4 animals, our family, our visitors, apple trees, adventures at Crescent Beach, LaHave Bakery, scenery.
I think photo books might be my answer to how to weed through the thousands of photos I take each year. Digital photography really changed the way I take pictures. When I used film, I always "waited until the right moment" to take a photo and often missed some good shots. With digital photography, I tend to take too many photos! All those photos just sit on my computer. I think if I print one photo book each year, I'll print my favourite shots and have some memories on hand to refer back to now and then.
My next photo adventures: joining the local photography club. Stay tuned!