Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summer Adventure: Camping

 Last week we went camping at Bonnechere Provincial Park.

Our site was right on the waters edge.

We could simply push our canoe into the river and be on our way!

The kid took his kayak and yakked all over the place!

We could sit by the waters edge lazily casting for fish... then setting them free and eating burgers instead.

After the rain, when the fog spread over the water, it was particularly lovely.

The beach was quite nice. After a certain hour, when it was time for tired children to be fed, it was desolate and it felt like we had the whole lake to ourselves.

This fellow did sneak up on me while I was fishing with my feet in the water. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw him no more than two feet from my precious toes. He hung around the came and I nicknamed him Boop because he kept sticking his nose out of the water and I had an overwhelming urge to boop him on it.

Finally, a totally unflattering and utterly ridiculous photo of yours truly. It's terrible but I kind of love it at the same time, just like camping. It's messy and aggravating and far from perfect... but that doesn't mean it isn't fun and beautiful.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Summer Adventure: Meh

I'm clumping two adventure locations into one post today. 

First, the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Museum of Civilization). I've been here several times and it was always one of my favourite stops... so I'm sad to say this time was a disappointment. 

There were amazing and inspiring works in the First Peoples and Grand Hall.

It would have been so nice to have more information about the work presented. I mean look at this guy! I want to know about him and understand him... not just gawk at it because it's a cool object.

It was beautiful and really interesting to look at. 

But I would have loved to know the story behind this tiny dude.

Or this eye on the ceiling! 

Some items were very well documented, but if you're going to present us with 300 giant spoons it would be nice to know their purpose and importance so they could be truly appreciated.

There is some astoundingly beautiful and interesting work at the National Gallery. Just look at this Van Gogh!

And there are walls and walls of gorgeous classical and contemporary work.

There were giant paintings with perfect brushstrokes. Seemingly impossible images created in the 1600's. However, many of the masters works appeared... second rate? Big names with imperfect pieces that lacked life and vibrancy as though they had been sun faded. Not all Picasso's and Degas' are perfection and it's sort of like finding out your parents are flawed when you see proof of it.

On the plus side... look at this adorable baby JC who sort of reminds me of a Sea Monkey.

And this amazing work (above) by Canadian artist Jack Chambers called Messengers Juggling Seeds.

I love galleries and museums but it was hot and stuffy and there was an incredible amount of security in the gallery the day we visited. So much as to detract from the experience. My companions claimed they were following me! Ha! Sorry security peeps, while following me someone else is probably licking the Klimt

**Bonus Hieronymus Bosch because of the butt trumpeting

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer Adventure: Museum of Nature

I try my best to visit the Canadian Museum of Nature when I visit Ottawa. I never get tired of it. In fact I have favourite things I have to say "hello" to every time I visit.

The marble animal faces on the main staircase for example.

The touchable dinosaur poo.

The skunk butt.

And this dino dude who looks like he's either singing soprano or burping.

There's so much neat stuff there though! Like this meteor.

And bugs!

And this beautiful exhibit about the Arctic with its projections onto slabs of ice that you could run your hands over.

Just look at this beautiful display of butterfly specimens.

And these colourful sea stars.

And this whateveritis.

Did I mention the magical ice things?

Seriously, you'd be shocked how excited a bunch of Canadian ladies were about touching ice.

More summer adventure stuff tomorrow!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer Adventures: Dragons and spiders

I'm alive! I've been busy having fun.

Two weeks ago I road tripped with my buddies to Ottawa to see La Machine, a sort of interactive moving mechanical bit of madness and badassness.

A giant spider roamed through the market.

Look at the size of that big yellow beast!

People were so distracted by the giant spider that some didn't even notice the dragon lurking up the side street.

The giant FIRE-BREATHING dragon!

People waited and mulled around for hours to get a glimpse of these fellows. By dumb luck we ran right into them. We were so close it's fortunate we didn't get eaten.

This guy was incredible. In addition to breathing fire and smoke, his eyes opened and closed, those flappy things (which Im sure there's a name for but will be called flappy things for the time being) flapped, his mouth opened. It was an overwhelming experience.

Here's a pretty good idea at the size of that roaming fellow.

The beasts were also followed by musicians on cranes that played live music to accompany the performance.

They continued their roaming into night! But we counted ourselves lucky to have had such a close encounter during their daytime walkabout and decided to drink instead ;)

More from my holiday adventures tomorrow.

Until then, watch out for dragons!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Starry Tags with Tutorial for Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts

This month for Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts I've used their 3 tag set to create something starry and dreamy.

Starry Tags with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

With some layers of paint, chipboard stars and glitter those kraft coloured tags are transformed.

Starry Tags with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

They are the perfect backdrop for the sentiments and vintage images found on THIS Stars and Dreamers Collage Sheet (which is totally free to download because I love you.)

Starry Tags with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

If you need a little guidance putting these beauties together, I've put together a video tutorial for you.

Starry Tags with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

I do use a fair few layers of colour... but I honestly think that multiple washes add a depth of colour and visual interest that is incomparable to a slap of thick paint.

Starry Tags with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

But hey! if a thick coat of acrylic is your thing... go for it! Art and craft is all about YOU, the maker. I wholeheartedly encourage you to do what works for you.

Starry Tags with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

Here are all the bits I used to create these starry sparkly tags:

Gypsy Soul Tags
Keys Engraved
Printers Ornament Corners
Swirl Medallion Small
Deco Stars
Acrylic Paint (also used 
Metal Ring

Monday, July 24, 2017

Stars and Dreamers FREE Collage Sheet

“What Is Love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Stars and dreamers. Oh, so important.

Here's a free* collage sheet for you. Because.

Stars and Dreamers FREE Collage Sheet from

*Seriously, it's free but don't be a dink and pass this off as your own, or sell it, or redistribute it. Enjoy it and make good arty shit with it!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Wild Faerie Wands

Not all sticks are plain old twigs. Some are faerie wands hidden in plain sight! (I've mentioned this before)

I happened across a fair number of wands this weekend. I'm sure the weather has the wee folk a little more fumbly and droppity than usual.

Wild Faerie Wands - Nichola Battilana

With the plethora of wands scattered about, I thought I'd share some thoughts on embellishing wild faerie wands.

Wild Faerie Wands - Nichola Battilana

There are a number of things to consider when encouraging the wand to reveal it's magical nature. 

The type of tree the wand is from is the biggest determining factor to the type of magic that the wand will best preform. Here are some simple examples:

Locust (above): protection
Apple: fertility
Oak: truth and knowledge
Willow: emotion
Ash: wisdom
Cedar: cleansing

A quick google search for "magical properties of wood" will lead you to a wealth of information on the subject.

Wild Faerie Wands - Nichola Battilana

Charms can add to the magical purpose too! A key might be helpful for magic that opens the way to you. I think that acorn caps, buttons and found objects hold a great deal of magic in them. You could also sew beads and gems to those magical wands.

Wild Faerie Wands - Nichola Battilana

You might carve and shape your wand. Whittle a point, or carve patterns or symbols into the bark.

Wild Faerie Wands - Nichola Battilana

Colour can add to the magic too! Again, a little research will provide you with a lot of information on colour and magical associations... but don't neglect your intuition*. Faeries in your particular region may have a very different opinion of the colour yellow than the faeries in my back garden.

For a little more 'how-to' I've made a little video. Hop over to youtube and give it a gander...

*I have always read that faeries love milk. That leaving a small dish would be an appropriate offering. Mine HATE milk! The last time I left them some they turned all the milk in the house sour. So trust your experience over what some silly website says... even this one.