Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fatou Fetch the Water

Here are some images I illustrated from a book called Fatou Fetch the Water, written by Neil Griffiths and published by Red Robin Books, UK. The illustrations are mixed media, gouache, ink, cut paper, acrylic and ink... It will be out later this year. I am very excited about this one, as my little sister is working in Africa again this year. Someday, we hope to go and lend a hand as well. This is my fourth book with this publisher - I just love working with them. Every book has been so different and this one was by far the most challenging and most fun at the same time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So much to say...

I have been a negligent blogger lately. Mostly because I have been so tired, and I have also been reveling in what 'NORMAL' people do on a nightly basis, without any of the crazy freelance work I've been doing. I have to be honest, it feels a bit empty. TV does not hold much stock for me, and so I've been shuffling around a bit lost. Don't get me wrong, I am glad to not have the added stress of extra work right now - with less than a month to go before our little one will arrive, I am trying to take advantage of the extra possibilities of sleep.

Anyway, this last week was an eventful one! Saturday started out with a lovely full page article in the Kingston Whig Standard about my books and family... and it just got better from there.

My students and coworkers from the Loyalist College PR post-grad program threw me a surprise baby shower, I went down for what I thought was going to be a serious meeting (and i was worried!!), and was greeted with a dark room and a wonderful surprise. It was a fantastic pot-luck, great games and such lovely unexpected gifts. The group brought in Children's books, and much to my suprise and great pleasure, many of them I do not have and/or had forgotten about how much I loved them. I have to confess though, they have not been saved for baby, Mo has been devouring them at a rapid rate. I know so many students are strapped for cash and I can't believe they did all of that, I am still smiling because of it!

This week so many things got done on the house too. Our dryer is back in working order after a lovely visit from our friend an electrician who pointed us to a separate fuse box where our dryer fuse was burnt out. Some history here - about 1.5 years ago we bought a new dryer, and it never worked. We thought it was because the squirrels we had had eaten through the wire. Anyway - long story short - there are some boxes that are scary to look into - and that was one for us... lol.

Also, we have have 3 of the 5 windows in our reno, and the new set of glass double doors (recycled), shawn took off the old wall inside that was crappy old particle board and pieces together (badly) to expose the gorgeous original siding of our house. It has some holes, but is otherwise pristine. So, it is coming, it is a long and laborious project, because Shawn has essentially had to do it all himself, I've been responsible for looking after mo and myself and baby, and he is doing a great job. It is so nice to walk out the back door and be greeted by our back yard - which we love so much. Cannot wait to sit back there with a nice glass of wine watching the stars.

On Saturday night we went to the Banff Film fest, my 9th year, Shawn's 10th. It was ok, there were a few great movies, but it seemed to really be lacking the environmental/humanitarian focus overall, awesome tricks and amazing footage of mind blowing athletes, but usually I am moved in one or two of the films and this time I just didn't feel it. However, the highlight was 'Finding Farley'. Lucky for us my sister works at the NFB and we have a copy of it at home... but it was a movie about a family canoeing through Canada following some of Farley Mowat's books. It was neat, their little guy was 2 at the time and so much like mo at that age it was crazy. Mo also started canoe tripping at 9 months... it was great. And well, we did not come up with the name Mowat out of nowhere, we do like Farley.

Anyway, life is good. It is busy, I am tired. But we have a roof, and food and the love of each other and friends and family. Who could ask for more?

Now we eagerly anticipate meeting our baby girl, sometime over the next month or so we will be holding her in our arms.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some new art...

I have been working furiously to get two books and two magazine pieces
finished in time for me to have a little break before baby. I am so
happy to say that I am finally, totally, completely finished. Here is
a piece for the cover of the April 2010 Babybug. More to come soon!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thoughts for Haiti

I cannot imagine how awful it must be to be in the midst of this crisis. As a mama, the tragedy that has occured - the loss of families and children and loved ones is truly devastating. I urge you to do what you can, as soon as you can - every little bit helps:

Red Cross
doctors without borders

Hug those you love and give thanks for what you have. Think deeply about what the people are feeling in Haiti right now as they struggle to find life and will struggle for survival.

Not sure I can say much more than that. We are all family, let's not forget that.

Thursday, January 7, 2010



Book: In the Snow

Author and illustrator: Peggy Collins

Publisher: Applesauce Press, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1-60433-027-4

ISBN-10: 1-60433-027-9

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Rating: 5 stars

     Do you remember the very first time that you ever saw snow?  This book tells the joyful story of a little lad who wakes up to find out that it had snowed while he was sleeping.  So he puts on his fuzzy hat, long socks, warm mittens, cozy coat, big chunky boots—and, oh yes, his snow pants.  Then he and his dad go out and play in the snow.  They learn about animal prints and feeding the birds, and they even build a "ginormous" snowman complete with a carrot nose.  But what would they use a screwdriver and a wrench for?

     Nothing could be more pleasant than a story in which a father romps in the snow with his boy.  Basing the book on her own son's adventures and using the same characters as her previous book In the Garden, author and illustrator Peggy Collins combines this pleasant text with vivid artwork to evoke the excitement of a youngster's first snowy day.  In addition to being a fun tale that will satisfy children's love for snow stories, In the Snow also encourages an interest in science and nature with the inclusion of backyard animals such as squirrels and rabbits and portrays a loving and warm father-son relationship.  I mean, what can be better than going in from the cold for a warm nice and a cuddly snuggle?  This book is a real keeper!

     Related website: (publisher)

Happy New Year

A belated New Year to everyone. We've been busy renovating, relaxing (did I just say those two things in the same sentence?), and we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. We had a lovely christmas with lots of family, it was wild and busy, but short. My baby sister is back in Kenya working with Free the Children under her new title as Kenyan Leadership Director. We are so proud of her and of the work they do there.

My other little sister is almost 19 weeks pregnant, and me - I am six weeks away from our due date for our little girl. My step-sister is 3 weeks away from her due date...

These are exciting times. I feel myself winding down a bit, and gearing up in a different way - readying myself for the near future... and I can't wait. This little girl is so busy already, I just can't wait to see her, hold her and kiss her!

On other good news fronts - my book, in the snow has been featured at Barnes and Noble, and on several seasonal lists - with great reviews.

My giveaway at Natural Mama Reviews is over and mailed out - so I hope the winner likes the books. If you have not visited this blog before - please do so, it has links to so many great things - esp for parents.

I have just about finished the book for Inhabit Media I've been working on, and I am just doing the last few Edits for FATOU for Red Robin Books. I am really looking forward to having some time off - it has been too busy for me right now with everything that has been going on, and with only a few weeks left before baby - it is time for me to take it a bit easier - and get to bed on time, and get the rest I need. Now I've been working till almost midnight every night, am up all night going to the bathroom and up at 6 to go to work - not optimal.

Classes start next week, so I am working hard to make sure my students are equipped with what they need should there be a faculty strike coming.

And this, is how we spent our new year. Every jan 1st we go somewhere for a little hike. This time it was Long Point, just south of Picton - which is just the coolest place. Every time we go there it is a different landscape. Who knew we'd be collecting shells and driftwood on New Year's day? We have a bunch of cool stuff now. We are going to make a mobile for baby's room with our treasures.

The best part? Time together, really. I'd give up all the presents and food for more of this for everyone.

And I, and many other people got exactly what we wished for this christmas, but for now that is all I can say... and it is far more special than anything that could be wrapped, boxed or bought.

Mo and shawn finding treasure among the rocks.

Seriously, there is never anyone around when we want a family picture, notice the piles of zebra mussels!

we were expecting iceburgs, but the ice was barely there.

A visit to the Mariner's Museum before the beach...