Wednesday, December 28, 2011

OPEN STUDIO: prompt 'i am here..'

journaling reads:  i am here.  listening to my internal compass.  following the nudges towards my all that is. steering towards madness, joy, mindfulness, however you wish to describe it.  sweaty palmed and anxious, amidst leaning into vulnerability.  being seen. hearing my voice.  running with a torch in my hand. looking up.  looking beyond, moving forward. discovering a new order, decluttering, reorganizing, and deconstructing.  a new attitude and a new me. becoming more and more myself with each day.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Love these apps for my iPad: upad, label maker, amazing typewriter, and my bamboo stylus. I could just doodle and colour for ever.

Friday, December 23, 2011

guerilla kindness: take what you need

i saw this flyer over on kelly rae roberts, and thought i'd like to make a version of my own and post them around town.  myself..........these days, i could use a little bit of laughter.  actually a lot of it would be nice.

feel free to take what you need... xoxx

Thursday, December 22, 2011

winter solstice: releasing ceremony 2011

releasing ceremony (winter solstice) 
see pixie campbell's blog for details

Monday, December 19, 2011



I have a love affair with all things patterned paper. It's been an ongoing obsession of mine for the last many years. So much so, that I have collected more patterned paper than a girl can handle.

In addition, I also have an obsession with beautifully hand crafted artisan journals. All the journals I use are always made by me. It just feels so much more special when it's handmade.

Using my awesome stash of beautiful acid-free patterned papers for hand crafted covers, and filling the pages with only the best quality papers (Fabriano Artistico 140lbs cold pressed), I have handcrafted artisan journals for you as well. I'm certain that you will love them as much as I do.

I can't wait and am very excited to share them with you. I am a strong supporter of the handmade revolution and frankly, there's nothing like owning something that someone has made with their own hands, who has spent time loving putting it together. I strive to make my journals unique, and no two are ever quite the same.

Please take note, my journals are beautifully designed products, but not perfect. If you want perfectly aligned edges, and perfectly sized paper, then these journals aren't for you. My journals are full of quirky goodness and that's what makes them so beautifully unique. Perfect in their imperfection.

Not to mention, the size makes them easy to carry around with you in your purse, and take out when the creative spark hits. Keep them for yourself, or gift them to a journal lover.

Come visit my Etsy Shop:
Mushroom Dreams, on Saturday, January 28, 2012 HERE

Journal Details:
approx. 6"  x  8.5"
glue is acid free
acid free clear vinyl for covers (to protect the patterned papers on the covers of journals)
white, waxed linen for binding with a simple pamphlet style binding
all patterned papers and embellishments are acid free
cold pressed, Fabriano Artistico 140 lbs watercolour paper
90 lbs hot pressed Strathmore sketching paper

Shipping Details:
will ship to Canada, USA, International

Thursday, December 15, 2011

feeling the pull of the sea: squam 2012

(squam 2011 - sommers cottage)

a new website for squam. my head is spinning with excitement. so many choices. too many decisions. how am i to pick and choose. thinking of my life changing experience last year, at squam 2011 fall, blogged at here:, here, here, and here

(squam 2011 - the entire gang)

squam fall session; squam spring session; squam by the sea; and yes, even squam in italy.

i have such happy, inspiring memories of squam 2011, and i've been looking forward all year to see these new offerings. but now i feel overwhelmed. i don't want to miss anything. i want to see and do it all. i want to see friends made again. new possibilities. new adventures. new inspiration. new and old friends to meet.

(squam 2011 collage)

i'm being instinctively pulled by the sea. nags head, on the east coast of north carolina's outer banks. the idea of painting for three days in this class, in a beach front cottage, saltwater splashes, and sounds of waves soothing the soul, late night bonfires, hanging with like minded soul sisters.

yes.  i'm feeling the pull of the sea.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tutorial #1: Rounded Corners

i just love the look of rounded corners on photos. don't you?  

here are a few of my favorite pics.  i rounded the corners using photoshop elements 8, on my mac, and added some of ali edwards awesome word art, downloaded free from her website.

here's my samson, getting his fix of stinky shoes.  yes.  my dogs likes to lick stinky shoes and feet.  the stinkier, the better.  according to him, that is.  that's him going to town with elisa's slippers.

and here are two of my favorite pieces i created in misty's last class.  btw, she's running another on-line workshop, 'open studio', this january, which i'll be signing up for very soon.

see how much nicer pics look this way.  clean. nice.  i may be doing this to my every photo for the next little while.

and yes ali.  i agree.  love always wins.

so here goes how i do it.  don't know if it's the right way, but it works.  i'm sure there's a million other ways to do it but this is my version:

using photoshop elements 8
file  -  open
layer - layer from background
layer - new layer
go to the rectangular, rounded corners and click and drag across the photo from corner to corner
drag photo onto layer 0
layer -  create clipping mask
layer - flatten

and voila!

Meet Warhol aka Pockets

hey art friends.
thought you'd find this interesting. charmaine, a co-worker of mine works with monkeys (both in Ontario and in Borneo with Orangutans), and has taught Pockets, who she cares for at the primate sanctuary, to paint. yes. he paints and even has his own gallery showing. all proceeds go to the sanctuary... check out the article  here
pockets has his own gallery showing.  some of his work has earned up to $400. 
funny, some people are arguing the sanctuary shouldn't use him to make money that will go towards the sanctuary.  the really funny thing is this.  if canada had laws to forbid the purchase of exotic animals, then pockets wouldn't be in the sanctuary in the first place.  the painting wasn't started or meant to be a money making venture.  it was meant to entertain pockets. 
moral of the story.  canada, get your shit together and ban the sale and purchase of exotic animals.  did you know that i could purchase a baby tiger and have him in my home as a pet.  yes folks.  there's no law that says i can't.  and that my friends, is so so wrong.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Daily: Day 1

can  you believe i went through all day yesterday thinking it was Dec 1st.  well, good thing i was wrong cause i'm now on time to start my december daily.  if you've been reading this blog, you know that i've tried doing this every single year, but never quite having the patience to document the day.   however, now that i have some new toys, it's making documenting and posting so incredibly easy, how could i not take part.

so thanks to my ipad, this is my first instalment.  day 1.

i'm so loving this little ipad of mine.  thanks steve for making my creative endeavors so much easier and faster.  right at my finger tips.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

pondering my new word: a year of madness

for the third year now i have made it a tradition to choose a word of intention to help guide my year.  last December it was this. and the year before that it was this.

so as i was blog hopping, i landed on this fabulous blog and was awestruck by this poem, by John Kerouac,

and so i have found my new word of the year.  'madness'.  i want to be mad about life, mad about living, mad about everything that i do.  i want to wake up and be mad about my day ahead.  i want to in a constant state of euphoria about living and being alive, and living with passion, and desire, and intent.

i knew these last two pieces i created would eventually make sense to me.  huh.  funny how things make their way to you when you least expect it.

and then, the other day when i opened up my halls throat drops and it gave me this message:

don't waste a precious minute, indeed. 

i want to be mad.  i want to invite and welcome and surround myself with 'madness'.  to live life fully.  to enjoy life fully.  madness.  it's a good thing, no?

what's your one little word? 

francesca xoxx

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

blog makeover

so the blog is gettin' a long overdue makeover. 
new blog header, with matching links to my pages:  flickr, facebook, two peas, and pinterest. 
and i think it's kinda cute. 
i'll be changing the blog header and page links when the urge strikes, which i feel may be often. 
so if things look a little wonky in the next little while, you'll know why!!!

and i need some HTML help.  how do i change the code in blogger HTML to make the margins of my blog wider.  any advice??

happy tuesday
francesca xoxx

Monday, November 14, 2011

creative frenzy

this weekend, dom and i made an impronptu drive across the border to do some holiday shopping.  we love shopping in buffalo, new york.  with the dollar doing fairly well, you can get some really good deals.  and the variety... gosh the variety. 

anyway...  i found myself at joann's.  and i. nearly. fainted.  i'm canadian folks.  we HAD a cheesy 'fabric land' but the closest one to me closed down.  we do have a fabric 'district' at Queen and Spadina, but it's out of my way, and expensive.  so, needless to say, i was like a pig in shit at joann's.  ALL those gorgeous fabrics, everything you could ever want.  bolts and bolts of gorgeous stuff. 

i ended up buying, two yards each of:  unbleached duck cloth; drill fabric; burlap; muslin, and a sewing pattern.  i have plans for each... 

i've been pondering my word of intention for 2012, and 'determination' keeps popping up.  determined to learn to sew.  determined to execute my ideas.  determined to take my creativity to a whole new level.  determined to be a better person. mom.  wife. sister.  and yes.  i want to learn to SEW.  hence, all the fabric and pattern. somthing i've been meaning to do for a very long time.  and to execute my ideas, I NEED TO DO THIS. 

this weekend was a creative frenzy.  aside from joann's, i started making 'macrame' knotted beaded bracelets.  a new fun favorite of mine.  i could do this all day.

after i did some of that, i stuffed my fabric in my knapsack and trekked on over to my mom's house.  i want her to teach me how to read and cut from a pattern.  it's actually easier than i thought it would be.  granted, i bought myself a very basic (beginner) pattern.

my mom has a lung disease and very weak these days, so we didn't get very far.  but it was a good distraction for her.  and a good learning opportunity for me.

hopefully i'll be wearing it next week.  i'll keep you posted with picture updates!  let's hope i don't break another sewing machine.

happy monday...


p.s. are you watching 'the walking dead', on AMC sunday nights?  damn, i love that rick and shane.  and glen is just too cute.  and seeing merle again freaked me out. he's such a creep.  love this show. and what the hell did jenner tell rick secretly? 

Friday, November 4, 2011

artfest 2012

so i'm all signed up for artfest 2012.  the fests of all fests created by the artist extraordinaire teesha moore.  every year is an awesome line up of very talented artists and workshops to choose from.  so many in fact, that it took me nearly a week to finalize my choices. 

orly avineri: 'outside the inside' i've been admiring her jounal pages for quite some time now.  very rich and textured and layered.  a visual feast for the eyes.  i can't tell you how excited i am to meet her in person and watch how she creates. 

misty mawn: 'open up' and  'portrait session' how could i pass up the opportunity to learn from my fav misty mawn.  yes, i'm taking both her collage class and her portrait class.  it's just absolute magic.  fucking. magic. when she puts the brush on paper.  not to mention she is the lovliest, most beautiful person to boot.  she just has this beautiful aura about her. 

ok, enough gushing. 

so back to artfest.  the 'trades' are the big thing at artfest.  well, most of you already know about this, but in case you don't, basically you create something, anything your heart desires (ATC; jewellery; postcards; collage bags), and then you make 100 (or more of them), and then on Saturday night you trade with the other participants.  so when you come home, you have 100 other goodies to enjoy when you get home.  how cool is that.  so this weekend i'm getting my stuff ready to create...  100 of 'em.  needless to say, i'll be buried under piles of paper, for sure!
not to mention i'll get to finally meet and share a house with these fabulous ladies:  lyn tivenan, carlanda brown williamson, phyllis peterson, jodi kincaid and more.. the sister act continues!!!  off to the nunnery we go... (ok, sorry, inside joke only we'll get).

and what i'm loving these days:

this 'grumpy looking' little red riding hood who didn't want to pose for any pictures.

this print that's gonna make it's way to my mailbox soon

these stones that make me feel better:  tumbled blue chalcedony

and fridays.  oh how i love fridays!!!

happy friday my friends....

francesca xoxx

Thursday, November 3, 2011

playing with colour

playing with watercolours, and golden fluid acrylics

in love love love with every shade of grey, combined with bright colours especially yellow

i don't think this new wave of playing is quite yet over.  oh. no.



Friday, October 28, 2011

nothing gold can stay

Nature's first green is gold

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

                                                   --- robert frost

Friday, October 21, 2011

Phillis Wheatley

i read this book last january.  it was also during the time i took my first ever online class, drawing and painting portraits with misty mawn. 

click on image to go to amazon

it's a fictional recount of the life of phillis wheatley.  i was so moved by her story, that i was inspired to portray her likeness for my first ever portrait drawing..  which wasn't a very successful attempt, but it started the journey that i'm currently on, so for that reason i'm exceptionally fond of it.

what brought this thing full circle for me was when we visited boston.  phillis' old stomping grounds.  i had forgotten about that.  and lo and behold this is what i ran into on one of our walks in the back bay area, imagine my delight

the statue is part of the boston women’s memorial on commonwealth avenue, a series of three statues of bostonian women by meredith bergmann: Wheatley, Abigail Adams, and Lucy Stone.

this poem, is inscribed on the memorial:

Imagination! Who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
Th’ empyreal palace of the thund’ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze th’ unbounded soul. “

and it's this poem, On being brought from  A F R I C A to A M E R I CA ...

'T WAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew,
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their colour is a diabolic die."
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.

....that really gets me when i read it.  what i wonder is... did phillis write what they wanted to hear because she knew she was being treated and held like a pet who does tricks.  survival mode.  renounce my origin.  say what they want to hear.  or did she believe it?  i like to think she was being facetious and fully aware of the game she was playing. 

go here for a complete list of her poetry.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Squam Art Workshops 2011: Group Pic

imagine being in a glorious location.  surrounded by powerful, magical, talented women.  and art.  yes, it was mighty.  and it all rests in a little piece of my heart.

Francesca xoxx

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hawk Totem

(image taken from google HAWK search - author unknown)

through the guidance one very incredibly talented wise woman and her guidance in her soulodge, i've become AWARE of my animal totem.  it's been the most interesting thing i've yet ever discovered.  so much more learning to do, and hoping to take her fall online course to further delve into the world of animal spirit guides.  here's how it all unfolded, between us:


Pixie, i really need your feedback, cause i'm feeling kinda crazy at the moment!!

i went into journey last night, and i'm in shock with what i came out with. a good shock. it was exhilerating. i just wanted to thank you for this experience, and at the same time i think i need some consolation that i am indeed not going crazy.... lol.

i just wanted to share a little bit of what i experienced... my totem is HAWK. it's HAWK. it was the only one to come to me. it was like it was waiting for me... patiently waiting... and funny thing is, i live in toronto canada, and i don't even think we have any hawks in the city. i don't know what a hawk looks like nor have i ever seen one in real life (that i know of). and what astounds me is that i immediately knew it was HAWK, and not eagle, or falcon, or whatever. it was HAWK. could it be?

what was even more incredible, was i became HAWK even before he presented himself to me. i was in my 'forest', my happy place by the fairy tree, and i went into the little opening in the tree, and found myself in blackness. wasn't sure where i was or what i was going to see.. when all of a sudden i could feel myself floating in the air. it startled me at first. but i kept on and before i knew it, i was up in the sky looking down into a beautiful wide open field of yellow wild flowers.. i was HAWK, i had wings and i was flying, and i had taloned feet. i then landed and was me again, and that's when HAWK appeared from above. watching me. and then flew off and i followed him with my eyes until i couldn't see him anymore. i wandered a bit not sure of what to do with myself, when HAWK came back and beckoned me with his eyes to follow him. he had these reddish/brown sparkling eyes. i followed and again it was like i went through to another portal, and this time i found myself in a very desolate, dry, windy, barren desert. the earth below me was dry and cracked, void of any life. the wind was howling and blowing wildly. i was naked. bare naked. all i could do was get down onto the ground. i found myself in a fetal position. not scared. not hurt. not anything. i just was. surrendering. HAWK was above me circling and circling and circling in the sky watching, protecting me.

ok. now that you think (and frankly i think) that i've gone completely crazy.

next thing i know i'm following HAWK back through the portal. i swear he was smiling. i swear it was like he was saying, 'it's about time', and led me back to the portal, back to my fairy house in the tree, back to the woods, and ultimately back to myself.

how did i manage to conjure all that up? am i just making this up? is it real? what do i do with this now? i feel excited, yet i must admit i think i'm feeling like 'ok, i am crazy, what am i doing?'

i guess i need to do this again, and see what happens. if HAWK comes back to me. gawd. i'd love your feedback if you have time.. and damn so wish i had talked to you at squam. but i guess i was feeling a little shy and awkward.




Ha ha! I'm laughing and crying and covered in goosebumps! I will write in depth later. My darling, you are NOT crazy. You are in touch with your primitive "all that is". I am so happy for you! It's like giving birth to yourself, isn't it?!


Warmly and more soon,



pixie! i'm crying just reading your message. giving birth to myself. holy c**&&^!

i've never felt so 'awake' in all my life.

funny thing, now that i think about it. the whole time i was at squam, and during my wanderings in the woods, my eyes and head were always looking up. like i was looking for something. i even used my iphone and video taped up to the sky and up towards the trees. and what's giving me the chills as i type this, i did hear one very loud 'rwaaaa', don't know if it was a HAWK since i've never heard one. but i now know it was.

thank you wise woman xoxx, you don't know HOW MUCH this means to me.
so peeps, needless to say, i've been doing much research on journey work, crystals, and smudging, and medicine bundles, and getting in touch with spirit.  thanks beautiful pixie!!! 
francesca xoxx

Monday, October 17, 2011

a manifesto of sorts

elisa:   "mommy, when i grow up i want to be an artist like you"

me:  "baby girl, you already are an artist"

i was reading this very powerful manifesto that really resonated with me, from a very talented and spiritual squammie sister, and it just gave me goosebumps all over when i read this particular piece:

"i have faith that my creative babies know how to birth themselves, that i am the carrier and the nurturer, but ultimately they have a life of their own to live, and i must give it to them"

it only took me almost 35 years to finally figure out what it is i truly want to be doing with my life.  i vow to help nurture and listen to my creative babies and act as a vehicle to help them birth themselves and their own purpose in life. 

it's a beautiful thing. 

francesca xoxx

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sketchbook Project 2011: part deux

sky, air, soar, transformations both inside and out

earth, roots, grounded, reality, responsibility

infatuation with bird, and his song

the sky, the head, the heart, and earth

daily affirmation.  i know i am.  i know i am...

reminders, messages, uniting with 'all that is'

a space for my viewers to add some journal love of their own

ideas, dreams, visions, messages coming at a dizzying pace

if you squint, perhaps you'll find her

a hummingbird:  legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration.  the hummingbird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life's sweetest creation.

thanks for visiting,

francesca xoxx