Well, look at that – a whole year since my last post. And my new website still isn’t up. And then my blog got hacked, so I re-posted this in February 2017, but this post originally went up a few months before in December 2016. But you know what? Some things are a little more reliable, and by that I mean that the 2017 My Dog Panda calendar is here! Incredibly, for the fourth year in a row. Orders are currently flying out the door, and I wanted to include a little update here in case somebody randomly reads this blog, you know, once a year or so :)
I am truly amazed to be posting about Panda calendars for the third year in a row! It’s really touching that Panda keeps friends and family smiling all year long with her photos and antics. Lucky for me, it means that I get to keep snapping pictures guilt-free.
For guaranteed grins on a monthly basis throughout 2016, feel free to indulge in a little gift-giving for yourself – and, if you’re stumped on gifts for the animal-lovers and welfare-activists in your life, this should do the trick!
If you’ve been a fan of Panda’s for a while, this year’s calendar will not disappoint. Running, smiling, office-helping… what a good girl she is. If it wasn’t for the Frontier Animal Society, she would have died before we even got to meet her. As happens all too frequently in their dedicated work, they saved her life with literally one or two days to spare. They richly deserve every bit of support that comes their way, and they will be receiving all profits from this calendar. Check out their Facebook page to see how much they truly care about their furry little wards, and remember to always adopt a rescue.
Panda says thank-you for your support, and please send carrots to help her prepare for next year’s rigorous photo shoots! Happy, happy 2016!
It’s been a little quiet on this blog of late, partly due to the usual ongoing careful management of health-related things but also, mostly, due to the percolation of a few projects. The first one being my NEW WEBSITE, which I am so excited about! It should be launching sometime within the next month (vague? Yep, but as a designer I have learned to grin and bear the persnickety, fickle nature of deadlines) and my integrator is currently working his magic on it. I can’t wait – long, LONG overdue.
The other project is one that I’ve been sitting on for quite some time. I loved the idea, and wanted to do something about it, but having a chronic illness that requires thoughtful diligence makes you hesitate. A lot. That being said, the thing about life (brace yourself, this is something you’ve only heard five zillion times) is that you kind of have to heed all those quote clichés once in a while and carpe the day, seize the damn diem, or what have you. So that’s what I’m doing.
I’m throwing a craft fair, here in Hudson, at the end of the summer. It’s called Bohème, and you are all invited – all eight of you who read my blog that is, and if you’re feeling kind, anybody with whom you share this information with.
Am I afraid I’m going to blow it? Yes, yes I am. I can think of so many junctures at which I could screw this up. But it could also be wonderful – fun, and festive, and community-building, and fun, and indie-celebrating, and tasty, oh and also FUN. p.s. fun doesn’t look like fun once you’ve written it more than a few times.
Luckily for me, I have a very good friend and colleague who is helping me navigate the process. The growing pains are tough and the hours are long, but things are coming together and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m currently working on finalizing a venue, the application forms are up (makers, designers, food artisans, take note! The deadline is July 10th!), and I’m gathering up an accomplished jury to curate the heck out of this thing. In the immortal words of Wham! : If you’re gonna do it, do it right.
Summertime in Hudson is the best – our weekends are packed with visitors, barbecues, trips to Finnegan’s, shopping at 2 Barn Owls, snacks at Mikko’s, walks on the beach, and on it goes. People love coming here, and I want to share that love with as many as possible. I can’t think of a better way to accomplish this than by organizing a festive day of shopping, snacking and celebrating the talent of our independent Canadian makers and designers. I hope you join us :)
This project is even closer to my heart than usual because it’s for my sweet husband Christian. Christian is an accomplished lighting technician who has worked in the film industry for years; he’s also a very talented handyman who has helped us transform every place we’ve ever lived in together. Put together his home improvement know-how with the predictable down-times of the cinema world, and it was only a matter of time before he started up a second business for himself. He’s currently completing his studies to obtain his RBQ number and has been working with local construction companies for the past year to sharpen his skills – so naturally I had to help out with a logo and a website.
Since we’ve got bilingual ground rules here in our Belle Province, he went with a friendly name that everybody understands and that emphasizes his approachability. Renovations are messy and patience-testing – yes indeedy, ask me all about it – but they don’t have to be scary and the process doesn’t have to be murky. We’ve encountered challenges with every single contractor we’ve ever hired and I’m sure that many people can relate, so hopefully Christian’s approach may present a refreshing change from the norm.
Christian just recently finished his first project for our friends Marie-Eve and Mike – Marie-Eve wrote a lovely blog post about it here – I love this project! Marie-Eve has impeccable taste as you probably already know. As usual, she’s inspired me to tackle more than a few of the neglected corners in our own abode. Congratulations honey, on your new business! Oh, and I have a kitchen for you to look at… it just happens to be very nearby. And a bathroom… and… xo
Incredibly, last year’s fun little project wasn’t just a one-time thing. The evidence is right here in my office, in a box that arrived over the weekend. I’m so excited that Panda calendars have made it back for another year! The tradition continues: all profit will be donated to the shelter that saved Panda’s life. Without the tireless work of the Frontier Animal Society, our beloved Panda and hundreds of other sweet, furry little souls simply would not be here today. Their dedication and genuine concern for all those in their charge is truly heart-warming and very special.
If you have a pet lover on your holiday gift list, this will provide them with a year’s worth of smiles and the knowledge that you have also contributed to a very fine organization. Or, if you’re in the mood to treat yo self, this is a fabulous opportunity to do so and give to a good cause to boot.
Panda would like to reassure you that many carrots were harmed in the production of this calendar. A special thank-you to my sweet Christian for taking these shop photos! Please help us sell out, which we almost did last year! You can purchase your very own Panda calendar here. Happy 2015!
The lovely Marisa from the washi tape heaven that is Omiyage kindly invited me to contribute my pick to the Oh My! Handmade Goodness gift guide for the holidays. Lucky for me, I was given the animal-themed category which was right up my alley. See my pick here and be sure to peruse the other categories for beautiful handmade ideas, they post a new one every week! Panda even gets a special mention – thank-you, Marisa :)
Speaking of Panda, a very special calendar is in production right now… expect an update soon!
I don’t talk about it often around these parts, but I have a chronic illness. It’s a pretty crummy chronic illness, as far as chronic illnesses go. The compromises are frequent and endless, and my patience and determination are taxed on a daily basis.
One of the huge compromises I face daily is reflected in my relationship with food. For the past two years, I’ve had to limit my diet to a handful of ingredients in order to help my body manage a massive and punishing flare. I’ve been able to stabilize somewhat but I haven’t had the freedom to expand on my diet very much – I’m still walking a very tight rope.
I had originally planned a very rose-coloured series where as I got healthier, I would illustrate the foods I was welcoming back into my life with open arms; but as the months went by I realized that this wasn’t happening freely or even regularly, as I had hoped. Putting that project on the back burner was yet another reminder that chronic illness can throw a wrench into the best laid of plans. So when my friend Anisa suggested that I just flip it around and illustrate the foods I COULDN’T eat (thanks Anisa!), I thought – why the tarnation not? And then my friend Belinda encouraged me to post about it (thanks Belinda!). p.s. Wow, I have a lot of friends with pretty names.
So anyway, here is my first entry in what I hope will become a fun and cathartic series. I’m starting small.
It’s a big deal when one of your clients celebrates their tenth anniversary; it becomes that much more significant when you realize that you’ve been with them right from the start. When my sister Sonja first told me about the Ten Oaks Project, Holly and Julia Wagg weren’t married yet and were hatching a dream – a dream that became reality thanks to the hard work, dedication and love of many caring folks.
Last Saturday, I hopped on a bus to Ottawa to join them in celebrating ten years of love, diversity and inclusiveness. It was a very touching event, filled with beautiful testimonials and heartfelt appreciation – not to mention glitter, crafts and cake. The Ten Oaks Project has transformed the lives of so many – if you haven’t heard of them, do take a look at all the good that they do. Over the past decade, as I shifted between agency and freelance work, I collaborated with them to create their Camp Ten Oaks logo, Bowl-a-Thon posters, their first website, their annual reports; Christian and I visited Camp Ten Oaks and photographed their very first summer. Whenever I could, I donated my services. I’ve watched them grow, thrive, and develop even further – notably, Project Acorn which my awesome sister Sonja dedicated so many years to.
Most recently, I had the pleasure of designing their tenth anniversary logo, badge and invitation. It was my first time designing a badge and I am so hooked – must design more badges. So much fun.
Dear Holly, Julia, Sonja, Mark, Lee, Hannah and the entire Ten Oaks team and family – congratulations on your ten years, and here’s to many more life-changing decades ahead of you. I’m so pleased and honoured to have been able to contribute in some small way, and I can’t wait to see what we come up with next. Happy, happy anniversary :) xo
(thank-you for the photo, Holly!! xo)
This post is about my mom. Her name is Marcia. When I was little, I didn’t understand why some people called her “Mar-sha”. Now that I know how to spell, I get it ;) There are a lot of other things I now get about my mom. For instance, at right about the age I am now, she was raising two girls on her own, working a full-time job (teaching – which is more than a full-time job) as a fine arts teacher, simultaneously studying to get her masters and also creating meticulous, beautifully abstract fine art. She has always been driven to create and has always had to carve out that time to make it happen. She was and continues to be a true inspiration.
Over the years she has amassed an incredible collection of work. Now that her girls are grown and she has been able to retire, she has finally had the opportunity to participate in a few exhibitions and is in the process of slowly getting recognized for her work. Unfortunately this is an area I don’t have much experience in – but when it became clear that it would be helpful for her to have a portion of her portfolio viewable online, I knew this was something I could help with.
This was a really fun project because not only was I able to give a tiny bit back to my mom for everything she’s done for me, but Christian took the majority of the photos so it was a real family endeavour. Feel free to take a look if you’d like your art fix for the day :) marciamassa.com. I’m so proud of you, Mum. I love you.
When I was very little, I remember my mum bringing home a borrowed projector and a bunch of NFB animation reels for us to watch together, projected on our living room wall. When I was older and studying Illustration & Design, our class had the privilege of being taught a few classes by the talented Ishu Patel. He even took us on a tour of the NFB’s offices and we were able to see some animation projects in progress – it was so motivating. I remember being so excited to visit a space where such inspiring work had been dreamed up.
I have friends who work at the NFB, my talented husband has worked on a few of their productions and we live in Hudson, the town that the inimitable Norman McLaren called home. Whether you remember The Hockey Sweater or The Big Snit (a personal favourite), every Canadian has a special connection to the NFB. So when they asked me to illustrate a timeline to help celebrate their 75th anniversary, I couldn’t have been more thrilled!
The best part about working on this timeline was becoming totally absorbed by the NFB website – watching movies and discovering even more about the people and work that are such a special part of our heritage. To see the entire timeline and to find out more, please check out their blog post – and if you haven’t already, I invite you to spend some time exploring the NFB site – it’s a whole lot of fun. Happy anniversary, NFB!!