Fawn & Unicorn

Symphony's FawnMecha-Fawn
Coral UnicornPink Unicorn

clockwise from top left: Symphony’s Fawn, Mecha-Fawn, Pink Unicorn (pending), Coral Unicorn

My first round of fawn and unicorn paintings are done and prints are ready as well (with the exception of the Pink Unicorn- it wouldn’t scan properly so I had to tweak the colours last night and now I have to wait until Monday to get prints done)! I’m planning on setting up an etsy shop in the next few days and I’ll keep you all posted as to when my fine art works will be available for purchase.

Back of the Cupboard Delight

Happy Sleepy Doggy

Sometimes I think the only reason I married Taylor was to get 24/7 access to his adorable dog.

On Wednesday night I made some experimental back-of-the-cupboard-delight* chicken for dinner and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

*BotCD refers to meals prepared with whatever random ingredients you happen to find in the back of your cupboard or fridge as opposed to using a real recipe. In this case it was this lemon pepper seasoning, lime juice (because I used up all my lemon juice), and ground ginger (because ginger goes nicely with lime but I was too lazy to go out and buy fresh ginger).
Complicated Ingredients

This might have been even more delicious if I mixed all this stuff together first but that’s not really my cooking style. I just put 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my hideously stained Pyrex dish, and ground/poured/sprinkled everything on it. This method also has the bonus of using exactly one dish. Then I cooked at at like 450°F for 45 minutes or so.
Ew Raw Chicken

I let Sym choose the side dish so I ended up serving this with a leafless salad: cut up veggies but no lettuce. That’s healthy, right/ This is the perfect amount for the three of us- Taylor and I each get a breast and I just pull the little fillet parts off for Sym.
Yum Cooked Chicken

Only Awesome Things

I’m still in a pretty low place, but last night and today I’ve been really trying hard to stay posi. I’m going to focus only on good things in this post.

• Symphony had piano last night. She’s been taking lessons since mid-September and they are going really well (as in, I’m NOT wasting $100 a month on them). Yay!
• After dropping her off at her dad’s house I bought two huge bags of vegetables and made a giant salad for dinner.
• Then I drank a beer and watched figure skating (Joannie Rochette!) while I worked on my latest fine art project:
Mecha-Fawn (in progress)
Mecha-Fawn! (Still a work in progress, obviously.) Please note the rocket feet. I LOVE IT!
• Earlier that afternoon I realized I didn’t have any grey acrylic paint, so I called Symphony’s dad and asked him to stop by the art supply store near his work and asked him to pick me up a tube. I think it’s pretty cool that even though a lot of our relationship was a disaster and our split was NOT amicable, nowadays we’re good enough friends that we can ask each other for favours like that.
• This morning I had a new client start graduated entry. Sometimes it can be REALLY awkward- on the first day the parent and child both stay for two hours, so I have to do all my regular child care stuff while also making conversation with a near-stranger who has decided to trust me with their baby. It actually went really well though, it wasn’t awkward hanging out with the mom and her little baby is so cute and funny. I’m really looking forward to working with them!
• I’m wearing my favorite jeans. A few weeks ago they sadly developed holes in the seat, but I took them to Simdy’s Fashion Alterations by my house to get patched up. I picked them up last night and OH MY GOD the work is incredible. I mean, look:
Patched Up Jeans
You can’t even see where the holes were! Amazing. I also appreciate that according to their website they are “conviently located in Downtown Vancouver,” because that’s exactly what I always say about myself. Except I know how to spell conveniently.
• I got my Cassandra Warren-designed business cards in the mail, as well as a little crochet heart and knitted flower pin from Molly Knight Crafts and The Hero Complex. They were sending little gifts to all their e-friends who donated to Haiti, how sweet is that?
• Right now, like literally this second, I’m eating some awesome McCain Superfries.
• Tonight I’m going to make a healthy and delicious dinner of chicken & veggies and Taylor, Symphony and I are going to watch Spirited Away. I love that movie and Sym has never seen it- when she was younger she thought it was too scary, but she LOVED Ponyo so I think she’ll really like it.
EDIT! • I just discovered that yesterday today (why do I keep thinking it’s Thursday?) my children’s living room was posted on Ohdeedoh! How cool is that??

Wanted: More Hours in the Day

I’m having a hard time staying posi today. I’m feeling that between working 50 hours a week, parenting and trying to spend time with my oppositely-scheduled husband, I don’t have any time for ME. I haven’t been to the gym in weeks. Taylor and I were going together but his injured knee put a stop to that, and I’m really not happy with the shape I’m in right now. Although work is going well, as I mentioned yesterday, today I am resentful that I have to work at all.

In my dream life, I would take Sym to school, go to the gym with Taylor when he’s done work (apparently my dream life is realistic about him still working night shifts), spend the rest of the morning and the afternoon painting or sewing and making the house nice, before picking Sym up at 3 and making a delicious, not hastily-thrown together meal. Then I could have a nice relaxing evening with my family instead of rushing to try to get dinner on the table (last night we didn’t eat until almost 7:30!) and feeling guilty about not going to work out.

Clearly I need to find either more hours in the day OR more money in my bank account. At this point, though, neither seems likely.

Anyway so this post isn’t all sulking I wanted to say GO KELSEY GO! Kelsey Serwa, Taylor’s cousin, is racing in Women’s ski cross today and she is KILLING IT. She was 4th in the qualifying runs this morning and I just watched her heat in the 1/8 finals and she was way ahead of the other racers the whole way down the run. EDIT: Same thing in her 1/4 final heat! She is amazing! EDIT: Oh no eliminated in the semi final! 🙁 FINAL EDIT: Kelsey came first in the small final, which places her fifth, but Canada’s Ashleigh McIvor won gold! YAY CANADA!

Where the Magic Happens

Until I get the library set up properly with space for a desk, right now I do all my fine artwork at the dining room table. I used to do it at the kitchen island so this is actually a step up! This is what it basically looks like at any given time, but especially this morning.

Art Table
a a jar of buttons. This is out because last week I was using one of the buttons to trace the small circle onto my light cover template
b the tulips I bought last week, now fully open. I had to cut them really short because they kept flopping over. What is the trick again to keep tulips standing up? I thought it was putting a penny in the vase but that didn’t work
c my Paradise Birds salt & pepper shakers and a bottle of soya sauce. This IS the dining table after all
d a moleskine. I think this is actually Taylor’s- mine is on the other side of the flowers
e tubes of titanium white and azo pink acrylic paint
f a little gladware container with mixed green paint. I used 4 different shades for the background on my current painting; they’re all in there
g a storage box with like, 50 cookie cutters in it (I use them to trace the hearts in the background). This is just my warm-coloured cookie cutters, I have another box of cool coloured ones O__o
h a package of carbon paper, for tracing images onto the canvas board
i the small unicorn picture for tracing
j a little gladware container with mixed pink paint. I used 3 different shades for the unicorn on my current painting; they’re all in there.
k the pink unicorn painting in progress!
l a plastic placemat that I use, mostly unsuccessfully, to keep paint off the table
m my eensy-weensy fiddly paintbrush
n sunglasses
o a tube of hooker’s green acrylic paint
p cellphone, for important calls

I Do Actually Have a Job


Work has been going pretty well so far this year. It’s been a super lazy month- one kid was away for a week on vacation and another is away for two weeks right now, so most days it’s just been one or two kids, plus Sym. Of course, that’s all changing this week! I have a new baby starting graduated entry this week, and in March she’ll be here 4 days a week as well as a new preschooler five days a week! It’s going to be crazy hectic for a while as I get settled into a new routine, but at least I have a mid-month week of relaxing in Maui to break up the crazy!


It’s not just new clients that have been making me busy recently- I’ve gotten tons of calls from prospective clients, as well as people coming up to talk to me at Sym’s school and in one instance, jumping out of her friend’s car and running across the street to catch up with me! Before Christmas I had zero kids on my waiting list, and now I have over a dozen!


When people come up to me or come to the house for a meeting I always end up having to write my phone number and email address on a scrap of paper, which is annoying and not very professional, so earlier this month I finally got around to ordering the business cards that Cassandra Warren designed for me. I’m excited to get them (I’ve never had REAL business cards before), but when I check the tracking number it just says

Status: Electronic Shipping Info Received

The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper on February 10, 2010 to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date. Delivery status information will be provided if / when available. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later.

That is like, the LEAST satisfying tracking info EVER >:/

A Professional Whimsilist’s Weekend

Sometimes I can’t believe what a giant dork I am. This afternoon Taylor and I took Kichou for a walk along the Seawall from Sunset Beach to English Bay, and before we left I stuffed my pockets with my vinyl Olympic mascots so I could take pictures of them ~out in the world~
Mascots & Crocuses
clockwise from left: Sumi the Spirit Animal, Quatchi the Sasquatch, Miga the Seabear, and Mukmuk the Vancouver Island Marmot (which is a real animal)

Taylor took this picture of me and titled it “Tanie – Professional Whimsilist”

Tanie - Professional Whimsilist

I took this one of him and titled it “Taylor: Mascot Portrait Photographer”

Taylor: Mascot Portrait Photographer

Miga on the beach.

Sumi at the Aids memorial
Sumi at the Aids memorial.

Quatchi in the grass.
Quatchi in the grass.

Mukmuk in the moss.

We also photographed some non-embarrassing things:

Crazy Girls!
These two girls actually went swimming. IT’S FEBRUARY.

This is a really cool sculpture called “WE” at the top of the hill above Sunset Beach. It’s made of letters in all different alphabets. At night it’s all dramatically lit from within but during the day it almost seems to disappear. It’s also super muddy from people climbing it.

My proof that we DO have snow for the Winter Olympics. Just not. Well. Anywhere close to the city!

Ultra Canadian
Whoever did this is basically the most patriotic person in the country. Canadian flag on a hockey stick, genius. (Aside: our men’s team actually just lost to the US. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we DON’T have another embarrassing hockey riot tonight.)

Apathetically Canadian
This guy is less ambitious but no less patriotic.

Looking east and west on Sunset Beach.

This is a sculpture called “A-maze-ing Laughter” and it’s a bunch of self-portrait statues of the artist standing in different positions and laughing. They are quite big and SO. CREEPY.
Creepy Metal Laughing Man

I mean:
Creepy Metal Laughing Man
AAHHH! Sym and I walk by this every Tuesday night on the way to her dad’s after piano and she haaaaaaates it. Kichou was also not impressed when I picked him up and put him in one statues hand.

He’s thinking :”I want to die right now.”

After we left the beach we stopped for frozen yogurt at Qoola on Denman.

Fro Yo
chocolate w/chocolate shavings & strawberries; original w/pineapple & cantaloupe

It was delicious but FREEZING- we had to sit outside because of Kichou and it really isn’t warm enough yet! When we got home I climbed straight into some cozy sweatpants and a heap of blankets on the couch.

We also did other things this weekend that I didn’t take pictures of- On Saturday Taylor, Symphony and I went to the pet store to buy dog food (Taylor) and freak out over the cage full of hamsters that were all trying to run on the wheel at the same time (me and Sym). Afterwards we had a super-late brunch at Hamburger Mary’s and then Sym had a playdate with her friend Ali and I read while Taylor napped for four hours. Later, after Sym had gone to her dad’s house, Taylor and I went to our friends Richard and Jenn’s for their Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Wii party (Taylor played; I drank wine and stuffed myself with humus and brownies).

Earlier today we had brunch with Richard and Jenn and then headed into the craziness of downtown so I could go to American Apparel to buy a tri-black raglan pullover. I have the grey one and I love it so much that I’ve been wearing it to death. After that I kind of wanted to wander around some more, but Taylor’s knee was starting to get sore- he hurt it last month almost bailing on the treadmill, so instead we came home. I was kind of bummed out- it was so nice and I really didn’t want to just sit around the house, or worse, clean it, but I also didn’t want Taylor to be in pain. I worked on my new unicorn painting for a little while and then Taylor said his knee felt better so we were able to go out and take all those awesome mascot photographs! I’m so glad- not just because it was fun but because Sunday afternoons are practically the only time Taylor and I can spend together, with just us, during the day.

Zut Alors!

Symphony always thought she didn’t like Nutella. Then she discovered you can just eat it straight out of the jar.

Symphony & Nutella
Symphony & Nutella
Symphony & Nutella

(This is my favorite way to eat it too.)

Midday Picture Post

Cutie Snack
I made Taylor a cute snack before he went to bed (at 1 pm): apple juice, little cheeses, grapes and slices of apple cut into the shape of an apple. Not pictured: my own, less cute snack of garlic potato chips.

Fat Cat
The unbearable fatness of Claire.

Tulips are my favorite flowers. I got these at a 3-bunches-for $5 stand, except I accidentally (I swear!) grabbed 4 bunches. Twenty tulips for $5, I’m not complaining.

Dougal Dog
I should make a regular feature on this blog, the Daily Dougal.

Mini Mascots

Last night while Symphony was at her dad’s, Taylor and I went out the Voltage on Main St to buy toys. I got this set of little vinyl 2010 Olympic mascots (with bonus Mukmuk). I think they are so cute! When Sym gets home she is going to FREAK OUT.

Mini Mascots

I learned about these from one of my favorite blogs/websites: Vancouver Is Awesome. The contributors there are always posting cool or fun or interesting things about or to do in our city, and with a consistently positive attitude (which is something you know I am on board with).