Click here to see my full list of goals for 2010

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hello, Friends. It's been a while...

My apologies for the blogging drought, my dear readers. It's been a busy, busy few weeks full of many distractions. A new house was involved (our first!), work challenges came and went, serious discussions about cat ownership occurred (although I am sad to report that we will continue to remain a cat-free household for the foreseeable future).  And in the midst of all this, I didn't work on much of anything.  It was a nice break, to be honest.

Then April came around and when I realized that I hadn't posted for a month I started wondering about whether to sign things off altogether.  It's tough to think about ending something that you've put so much work into.  Blogs aren't like other projects.  When they stop being new, they just end up being sad dead ends.  I know I feel annoyed when I check out one of my favourite blogs and see that they haven't been updated in weeks, but short of officially signing off on this one, that's really what this blog has become.  Maybe it makes more sense to post projects through facebook?  I'm not sure...

Anyway, I'm still mid-debate about this and maintaining my 'wait and see' approach.  In the meantime, I'm still switching things up to try and fit in all I want to do.  T and I recently re-adopted our old habit of working out in the mornings (so, so early), which has been pretty good at getting me back to the gym on a regular schedule.

I've also started popping into more open drawing sessions.  Below are some images from Thursday night.  Other than that, I'm going to keep on going the way I've been going.  Hopefully, that will mean more posts soon.

1 minute

5 minutes
10 minutes

15 minutes

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In like a...

I'm so glad to see the end of February! Despite the flurry of hearts and candy around the 14th, February is the pits when it comes to weather, fun, and inspiration. I want to walk around in bare feet and have drinks on a patio again!

March, on the other hand, is just the kind of unpredictable, wild, and eventful month that I've been craving. The days are getting longer (I actually get to see the sun before and after work!) and once the calender hits month three I always feel like it's safe to start expecting sunnier days and maybe even some warmth in the air. I'm also hoping March is going to bring a little more breathing room to my current schedule. Now that I'm beginning to build a little momentum at work and finally back to my regular gym routine, I'm working on getting back to my creative projects too.

First up is a much needed 2011 'Goals List'. It won't be 100 items long, but I'm going to pull something more formal together to keep me on track. I've also been looking at some new class options. There are some amazing programs in the city once you start looking for them: one day embroidery classes, weekend zine workshops, drawing sessions, that elusive screenprinting workshop that I always miss the registration period for. I definitely want to start committing myself to a few formal classes to keep me working. Nothing like putting a deposit down to keep you motivated!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Small Blessings

This whole balance thing has been pretty tricky lately.  Since taking on a new role at work, I've been consumed by my job in a way that I've never been before.  It's strange to go from a place of confidence and knowledge to a place of pure learning and bumbling around. Everything is new and, while I love the challenge, it's also been incredibly busy and, well, totally exhausting.

My valentine project was an amazing distraction during my first few weeks, but since completing it I've found it hard to pick up something new (and I'm starting to miss my 100 Things List!).  One habit that I've been trying to get into is on nights when I don't go to the gym after work (a good run has been my best de-stresser lately) I stop off at a coffee shop on my way home and write for at least a half an hour.  

So I've been gathering lots of scratches of ideas and waiting for inspiration to strike...

However, in the midst of all of this craziness, there have been so many small blessings that have kept me feeling optimistic.  Little things, like running into one of my super-cheery neighbours on the subway and having one of those sunny conversations that pops you out of the whole isolated-strangers-in-the-city vibe.  Or getting to take a walk on a freakishly warm February evening and remember how good it feels when winter is over (soon, soon...). Or coming home to lovely surprise packages in the mail from one of your favourite creative buddies such as these beautiful prints:

These are the things that keep me feeling energized and inspired.  And I'm so grateful for them.

I'll be off to the country this weekend, so I probably won't update for a few days.  I'm hoping that a bit of time outside the city will help me re-focus and get something new in the works.  At the very least, I'm looking for at least one day of pure slothary.  Preferably with cookies and an unhealthy amount of tea.

I hope you all have something fun and inspiring planned for the weekend!  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's the big reveal of the little Valentine I've been working on lately.  I've been dreaming about this work for ages and Valentine's Day gave me the perfect deadline to see it through.

The valentine is a little chapbook of a poem and a series of pen and ink drawings.  It's a little campy, but as soon as I had the poem down I knew exactly how I wanted the rest of it to look.

If you're a regular commenter/follower of Sonnet and Mayhem, you've likely already received your own copy through the mail. (Of course, I will feel absolutely horrible if I've forgotten anyone!) Likewise, I know that I have quite a few silent followers who might have missed out either because I didn't have your mailing address or I don't know who you are. If you fit into either of these two categories and would like your own copy of the valentine, please drop me a note with your mailing address and I will lovingly send one out to you.  

And please don't be afraid to email! I know how it feels to be a silent reader of other blogs and feel weird about actually sending a message or question to another blogger, but I've had so many amazing interactions by simply reaching out and commenting, entering giveaways, or posting about someone else's awesome creative work. I won't think it's weird. I will totally love it! And I want to send out as many of these as possible.  Just ask and you will receive!

I hope if you did received one that it brightened your day a little bit! It was the best way I could think of to say thank you to all of you for your continued support and love!

FYI - Here's the poem

I’m a workhorse, not a romantic
I wish you would remember that

and I rarely dream

I don’t skip
I might recoil, harbour, leap, ache, covet

But I never skip

My defences are

Bristling at a slight

While forgiving
greater tortures

You send me into battle far too often

But to be fair,
I often grow restless

If I had my way
There would be no roller coasters

or scary movies

Monday, February 7, 2011

Last Hint... I Swear

This is how I spent my evening. No further details until next Monday!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I love rollercoasters.  I thought I might love sketching one, but then I realized that it's really hard to draw a rollercoaster.

Nevertheless, here's a sample of what I was working on tonight:

Half way through...
Pretty much done... I think.
Another one for the project that I really need to finished this weekend!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I was looking forward to today because one of my favourite Toronto artists, Shannon Gerrard, was having a sale of her original drawings and prints to fund an upcoming road trip.  I have a number of her printed works already, but jumped at the chance to buy one her original drawings.

I picked up one large original sketch, a folio of silk screened prints of her series 'unspent love', and a few other smaller poetry creations. Such an incredible collection of work!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I'm still debating how much I want to show of my new project before Valentine's Day, but I just can't resist posting a few more of the drawings I've been working on for it.  I'm not sure if all of these ones are going to be included, but they do all relate to each other in some crazy way.

By the way, I got some hysterical feedback about my 'Option A' sketch and will officially NOT be using it.  In fact, I don't think either of those experiments will end up in the final design.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Playing Around

After a completely bonkers day (balance, balance, balance...), I opted for some relaxed experiments tonight for the new project. These are the first two options and I'm not sure which one I like better at the moment.  I think Option A might be a better match for the drawing I did on Sunday, but a more polished version of Option B could be really striking.

Option A
Option B
I messed up a few of the line patterns on the test drawing that I would correct in a good version, but the overall design is pretty much how I wanted it. 

What do you think?  A or B!  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Be Mine

I've got a new project on the go that will be a combo of a whole bunch of my goals: pen and ink drawing, writing, bookmaking, and a mailing!  The best part?  It has a deadline.  Valentine's day!

I'm sure I'll be sharing more bits and pieces as I get them done. Here's the start:
I'm kind of in love with anatomical hearts and I really loved drawing this one.  I just really need to stop starting my pen and ink drawings so late on Sunday nights!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I draw on the amazing work of so many other bloggers for inspiration, so it's awesome hear positive feedback about a post that I've written and how it has inspired others.  My sister-in-law recently re-started her blog A Space Aditi (best blog name ever) and tackled her own post on achieving better balance in 2011.  She's training for some serious marathon goals, so her to do list looks a lot different than mine.  However, at the end of the day, I think we're both looking for a similar type of work/life/exercise/pumpkin-scone equilibrium.

Of course, a propos of running, I decided to sketch my own running shoe tonight.  I had a pretty good run today, so I'm feeling fairly positive towards the little beast.

I'm again trying to practice keeping things fast and loose while sketching even though my brain can't stand messed up proportions. I really wish I could figure out why I love other people's rough and messy illustrations, but don't like my own. I'm also hoping to make it to another open drawing session this week, so I'll have some more quick drawing practice then.  

And now I'm going to put away my smelly shoe and go to bed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

100 Things Wrap Up

As I've been thinking about what my new 2011 goals list might look like, I took another look back at 2010's 100 Things list to survey my success rate and I'm happy to report that there are a bunch of items that I did accomplish that I didn't get around to blogging about.  The final tally for the list is 37 completed projects, including these:

1. Fingerprint poem - I did actually blog about this here and here.  Although, I don't have a 'polished' version (i.e. something I would send out to a journal), I'm going to officially consider this one completed.

2. Write a haiku.  Behold the glory of the one practice haiku that I jotted down in my notebook this year (titled 'Sunday Morning')!

Wash of early light
Long curtains, rising slowly
Then softly falling

Not pretty, but I DID write one.

34. Hold an arts night - I imagined this on a grand scheme: tons of artsy people crowded into my tiny apartment, wine, ideas, projects spread out everywhere.  In practice, my arts nights played out on a smaller scale, but were still incredibly inspiring.  Special shout outs to Erin and Bethany for being such fabulous art night buddies!

43. Create an ideas journal - I wrote this goal in the hope that I could consolidate my ridiculous and scattered practice of having anywhere from 3 to 12 note books floating around at any given time.  Big ones, small ones, full ones, empty ones... it's pretty messy, but I just can't commit to one.  Still, even if I couldn't whittle the journal goal down to a single notebook, I've certainly filled enough of them with my ideas to satisfy this particular entry.

46. Enter a poetry competition - I'm counting this!

53. Make a stationary set - This was part of my top secret, pre-Christmas activities.  With the aid of a letterpress rental from the lovely and talented Tanya of Snap & Tumble, I made custom, blind-embossed stationary for some close friends and family.  Now that all of the gifts have been unwrapped, I can post a few pictures of the finished works.  Letterpress is such a fabulous medium and I'm so glad I was able to hang out in Tanya's studio again.  I would highly recommend the experience!

73. Research local printmaking - While I don't have a specific thing to 'show' for this one, I feel like I've spent the whole year exploring Toronto's printmaking community.  There's so much more out there to see, but I've definitely become a lot more familiar with the scene as a whole and plan to keep exploring in 2011.

84. Learn the hymn from Junebug - The hymn is 'Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling'.  I'm not particularly religious, but I grew up in a predominately Christian community and certainly learned my share of hymns.  If you've seen this movie, then you can probably understand why this particular hymn is so striking (even more so if you also grew up in a small rural community).  This is my favourite movie and I sing this hymn to myself all the time.  So beautiful (the movie version is much prettier than the one at the link).

97. Listen to live jazz - The Rex.  First week of December.  Fabulous.

99. Make a donation to a local charity - T and I chose to donate to Kid's Help Phone this year.  There are so many causes that I wish we could support, but in the end we chose this one as something that's close to both our hearts for many reasons.  We try to contribute to smaller things throughout the year, but this was our bigger 'trying to make a difference' effort.  I certainly hope it helps such an incredible organization and the kids who use it.

100. Fully document my goals list - Certainly not the most well-executed of my 100 goals, but I did try and show as much of the process - all the glory and horror - of my creative work.  Now if only I'd gotten around to making that darn pot roast!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Good Start

Things have gotten off to a pretty good start.  I've been working at getting my job into good shape with a serious 'To Do' list.  I'll be transitioning projects this week and prepping for a totally new role starting next week, which means a ton of work but also a sudden incredible feeling of relief to be taking on something completely different.  I just hope I'm good at it!

I've been getting my minimum four runs a week in (with assists from select Bollywood dance tracks and Bruno Mars - love it!). I also justified the purchase of a new pair of lululemon pants, because new running pants obviously translate directly into more and faster running.

Most importantly, I've been putting together work to send out to literary journals and the like.  My new writing mantra is get it out there, so I've been rounding up everything that's at the 99% ready stage and forcing myself to kick it out the door (and into a mail box, of course).  I've been thinking about randomly mailing out writing to anyone who might be interested in receiving poetry, short stories, etc. through the mail.  Is that too bizarre?   I don't think my great literary hero bpNichol would say so.  He once did something similar back in the day and his surprise creations must have been absolutely wild to receive.  I'm not even sure if he charged anything for it (he, being a professional writer, probably could have); I certainly won't.

I've also been brainstorming new ideas whenever I get the chance. I'm feeling a bit anchorless without my 2010 list, so I might end up creating a smaller, up-to-date version to spell out my goals. I've included a few recent sketches above (and my new Eiffel Tower notebook, which I didn't draw).  I should have something more concrete to post tomorrow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Phoenix, Arizona

Back home after a week of business meetings in Arizona (and very sad to hear about the terrible violence that happened there today). I'd never been to the southern U.S. before this trip and despite a lifetime of seeing images of the southwest in movies and t.v., I was taken off guard by how beautiful and open the landscape was.  Cacti, palm trees, brilliant skies, mountains, deep red dirt - just the kind of warmth and colour that makes my Toronto-based heart ache a little as we head into full on winter.  I didn't get much time to traverse the countryside with my camera, but I did snap a few images on my way to the airport.

These images don't really do the landscape justice at all (it's pretty tough to get a decent mobile shot from the back seat of a cab that's speeding down the highway), but T and I are already brainstorming a road trip to the Grand Canyon for this summer so I'm hoping to get another chance to take some better shots.

As for creating every day, I tried to fit in writing this week whenever possible (no easy feat at a national sales meeting).  I ended up with a few scribbles to work on as well as some sketches for a new themed project.  I also read Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss, which is stunningly written and deeply disturbing.  I'm still trying to decide whether I'm thankful or sad that I didn't read it before my latest trip to India.  It certainly would have shaped my experience of India in a profound and unsettling way had I read it in early December.

In the little notebook that I carried with me on the trip, I also noted something a fellow conference attendee said to me when I mentioned how much I loved the landscape around the city.  She said: Yes, the desert does have its own kind of beauty, I suppose.  It's a response that seems to echo a line I've read or heard before, but I can't think of the source.  The way she said it, almost hesitantly, has stayed with me over the last few days and I'm trying to think of how to develop it.  If you can think of where I might have heard this before, please let me know.

I hope you've all had a wonderful start to the New Year.  I've really enjoyed reading all of the year end summaries and new goals for 2011 from fellow bloggers.  There's just so much great work being done by so many interesting individuals, and I feel so fortunate to have a forum through which to follow so many other writers and artists.  Which reminds me... I really need to update my 'Great Reads' list!

Monday, January 3, 2011


FYI - I will be away on a business trip in the U.S. this week so I likely won't be able to post again until Saturday. Expect a multitude of concrete poetry on to subject of corporate hijinks when I return.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


T and I have been awake since 4:30 this morning after arriving home from India yesterday afternoon and sleeping straight through New Year's Eve.  This might not sound like the best way to ring in 2011, but I actually feel energized and incredibly optimistic. If I can't fight the jet lag, I might as well take advantage of these early morning hours.

After an incredible trip through Paris and New Delhi, replete with snow storms, crepes, art, shopping, sarees (two!), incredible eat-till-you're-bursting food, and unforgettable family celebrations, I feel mentally, spiritually, and creatively rejuvenated.  There have been so many moments in the last two weeks that I'd like to return to in some artistic way and this wealth of the experience has erased the fatigue I felt towards the end of the year.

Paris - I can't imagine living in a city with exteriors this consistently stunning.
As my infrequent posts suggest, I really struggled in the last half of 2010 to find time for creative work. So many other things, work in particular, but also friends, family, health, events, celebrations, etc., pulled me in other directions, and I found more often than not that I didn't have the energy to pursue the projects I'd conceived. I certainly wasn't unhappy living mostly in these other worlds.  I really enjoy my job, despite its day-to-day frustrations, and feel very blessed to earn a living doing something that suits me and challenges me. I love my family and friends and the multitude of celebrations and gatherings that T and I are a part of because of them.  I love running, even when I'm dragging myself to the gym in minus twenty degree weather, and feel that this physical outlet is as equally important to my mental health as any of the creative work that I do.

Notre Dame - Interior
So my goal for 2011 is not to cut out anything in my life that has prevented me from working on my creative work, it's just simply to try and find a better balance between all of the things I love to do. It's a simple resolution, but a tough one in practice.  My list of ideas keeps growing, but the days stay the same length.  And at the same time that I'm challenging myself to find more time for creative work, I've also taken on a brand new position at work that will be big change for me (which I interviewed for and received while on vacation!) and committed to a more consistent running schedule (those amazing Indian carbs aren't going to vanish on their own accord!).  All kinds of great, exciting, challenging things coming into the mix at the same time.  How do I balance them?

Painted Trucks - One of my favourite sights in India.
To be honest, I'm no really sure. There have been a few moments during the last couple of months when I considered ending this blog so that I wouldn't feel stressed over how few posts I've been able to put up.  However, I love this outlet so much and it's been the best method I've ever had to receive feedback about my creative work. So I'm going to carry on at the best rate can manage.  

My two new sarees
As for my 100 Things list, it will still exist and continue to guide my creative endeavours. However, a new, more basic goal is going to be my 2011 mantra: Create Every Day.  Simple, fundamental, and exactly how I'd like to live my life. I'm not going to worry too much about quantifying what constitutes a creation, I'm just going to follow it in whatever way I can each day (and, of course, try to post as many creations as possible).

Dressing like a princess - Definitely not overrated.
So, as we begin 2011, thank you very much for following my adventures in this little blog world. I value each reader and each comment more than I could ever express!

Happy New Year!