Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ABC - get to know me

Hmm, didn't I rant a little bit about not joining in on chain letters/emails/Facebook statuses? Am I eating crow by posting this? Yeah, maybe.

I came across this on Crystal's The House of Hearts site a little while ago, but never really clued into it. Then Jessica posted it on her blog. I read it and liked the idea. A short while later I noticed another Jessica also posted it on her blog. I was feeling a little lemming-like and thought I'd join in as well.

Age: 33
Bed Size: King
Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom
Dogs: No fur babies, I have real babies to clean up after.
Essential start of your day: Shower so I feel human-like again.
Favourite Colour: Blue, Green & occasionally hot pink
Gold or silver: Silver
Height: 5 foot 8 inches
Instruments I play or have played: Recorder in elementary school... not musically inclined.
Job Title: Graphic Designer/Artist
Kids: 2 wee littles under 4.
Live: Sooke, BC
Mom’s Name: Barbara
Nickname: Neener, J9, but both rarely used.
Overnight hospital stays: A few with both kidlets. Was strangely REALLY into the hospital food.
Pet Peeve: People who don't wash their hands after they're in the bathroom. Pet peeve & disgust.
Quote from a movie: "What we've got here is a failure to communicate." Cool Hand Luke
Right or left handed: Right
Siblings: 1 younger brother
Time you wake up: Around 6:30-7AM
Underwear: So necessary.
Vegetables you dislike: Brussels sprouts & fiddleheads.
What makes you run late: Probably kids or hubby. I am often awkwardly early.
X-rays you’ve had done: Hand
Yummy food you make: Lately... scones, Finnish fish casserole & lazy lasagna
Zoo animal: Giraffe, elephant & hippo are all top tier.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Mail

Nothing makes me happier than to receive a hand-written letter, art or a postcard in the mail. Lately it's been a steady stream of bills, impersonal advertizing and very hideous looking fliers. I've had a couple of mail art packages arrive in my mailboxes over the last couple of weeks and I'd thought I'd share our correspondence.

First, my mail art pioneer and the originator of my new love for mail art, Jessica Gowling. I wrote about our first exchange here and this is round two.

Jessica sent me a fantastic package including her awesome first zine, Mountains of Fur. She also sent me stickers, a bear print and a lovely little note.

In thinking about my response to her I felt a need to tell her a little bit more about myself. About my background, interesting quirks, etc.

So I put together a set of bio cards. Each card was illustrated on one side and there was a description on the back. There was humour mixed in the bios of interesting Jeannine facts, like the fact that I used to drink large, ice-cold slurpees on the coldest days of the year and my amazing ability to suddenly become fluently bilingual after a... um... few drinks.

I also included something I've been experimenting with lately. I hate wasting art materials and paper and have been known to keep bits of paper I think I can use for 5-10 years. I had some leftover sections of a watercolour painting from a different project so I reused them. I trimmed them into strips, drew a section of houses from Holland and cut out the background. I scored the back in two places so it would fit nicely in my envelope.

She just posted about my little package here


I've been looking for other artists who would like to exchange art me and I remembered reading that Jessica Mack, who runs Brown Paper Bunny, was interested in exchanges as well.

I put together a small assortment of items based on themes I've been exploring lately. With a last name like Saylor, how can I not be attracted to nautical themed imagery? I've been illustrating ships and waves and created a little 2-sided piece for her, a row of houses from pictures I took on my trip to Bruges many years ago, an illustration of a tree with deep roots and a thick letter J which is the first letter in both of our names. I decorated the envelope with trees and rain cloud illustrations, which were inspired by my new surroundings. When Jessica received the package, she wrote about it on her blog.

 Jessica's very prompt reply included a watercolour dancer, a hilarious bunny suicides postcard, an adorable bunny linocut, an origami rabbit and some pirate stickers. A letter (with beautiful penmanship) was tucked in as well.

If you're interested in a mail art exchange, send me a note on Twitter or an email: saylormade [at] gmail [dot] com. I'd love to put together a package for you and fill your mailbox with little art bits and bots.


Monday, April 18, 2011

A Good Day

Our Saturdays are packed full of activities these days. I suppose that is what comes of having two small kids and a new house. During the week we often add items to our weekend to-do list so that we can hit the ground running when the kids wake us up. Our list was filling up quickly with items to buy (blackout curtains for the bedrooms, a new swimsuit & pants for the kid who wakes up several inches taller each day) and things to do (organize our garage, unpack boxes, fix deck).

This week my brother-in-law called to let us know that there was a special family day at the airforce base where he works. We could take part in the family activities and my husband was booked to ride on a Sea King helicopter. All the housework was quickly vetoed in favour of a once-in-a-lifetime ride.

Not only did my very lucky husband get to ride, but he was also able to FLY THE HELICOPTER for a short time. He wasn't expecting to fly it and when he returned to the base he rushed to find me and excitedly told me all about it. These are the photos he took during his ride and, yes, he was literally hanging his legs out of the back of the helicopter (while strapped in securely).

On our way to this epic event, we were also able to hit up a local art & craft fair / community garage sale. I was specifically looking for interesting art supplies, old books or materials I could use. I hit pay-dirt when I stumbled upon a large rubber alphabet stamp set.

 I talked them down a bit from their price (which wasn't much) and walked out with a heck of a lot of stamps. It's a full set of upper and lower case letters, numbers & symbols. I would have been satisfied with simply the ampersand and the hand, but having a full set is a huge bonus. They are all in very good shape. The rubber is soft and most have never been used.

Would you believe that we were also able to fit in a shopping trip in after all of this? Clothing was procured for my little beanstock so she won't have to wear skin-tight flood pants. Dark curtains were chosen so bedtime while the sun is still out will no longer be much of an issue.

The things that thrilled each of us on Saturday were quite different, but it was a good, full day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Neglected Sketchbook

I haven't been giving my sketchbook much attention lately. I've been spending my time working on mail art, experimenting with my unpacked art supplies and little projects that come my way.

I realized I should get back to it while working on an interesting painting/mixed media piece. When I am unsure of the next step, what to add or when to stop, I take some time out and play in my sketchbook. Here's a small peak at the painting.

I'm finding it refreshing to relax from the pressure of the larger painting and play with pens and marker. I know that the pressure is all self-conceived, that if it's not perfect, no one is going to notice or care. I'm not the only one who feels this strange apprehension, right?

Both sketchbook pages are ink, sharpie and pen.

I need to remind myself every so often to PLAY in my sketchbook. To watch a movie and make shapes and textures without much thought. It's the playful pages that I find ideas I'd like to explore further and can apply to other works. So, neglected sketchbook, I promise to pay more attention to you.


Monday, April 11, 2011


The blooming tree just outside my studio window has reached its peak and will now slowly start to shed its blooms. We will likely be trying to dig up and move our tree this summer as it was planted far too close to the house. It's already outgrowing the space and I fear its roots will start to reach our foundation soon. I am not optimistic that our relocation project will be a success, so I'm savouring its beauty this spring.

They seemed to open in an explosion overnight a few weeks ago and were tough enough to withstand a few frosty mornings. I crept outside a few times while the kidlets were occupied to snap a few pictures.

The buds start out pink and then open as white with the most delicate shade of pink. Against a very blue sunny sky (which is not very common here) the tree is truly stunning.

While there wasn't a strong scent for me, it attracted the entire area's bee population!! I could hear them buzzing from inside my house one morning and took this little video. Excuse my neighbour's car, I'm too lazy to edit the short video. The buzzing you hear is ALL BEES and not static.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Facebook Mail Art

I don't change my Facebook status to any type of chain status. You know the ones. I've always felt that they're pretty lame and if there is a particular cause I'm passionate about, I'd rather donate my time and money rather copy and paste some words into a box on my computer.

That little rant to say that I went against my word one day when there was a little message about a creative exchange. People who posted a comment would receive something handmade in the mail and were asked to post the same request in their status. I'm a sucker for lovely things in the mail so gave it a go. Shortly after we moved here a dear friend kept her promise and sent some yummy treats in the post. A few days later I got to work on a little piece of art for her.

When I was working on my Sketchbook Project I had a large section devoted to illustrations from my friends statuses. One night she posted that she would have to put her twin boys (her little peanuts) to bed by herself. I instantly imagined a happy jar of jam watching over her sleeping peanuts. Take a peek at the original, if you like. I painted something along the same lines with watercolour and went over it with ink. I wrote her a little note and sent it back. A wall post told me that she had received it and loved it.

I'm going to remain stubborn about the rules surrounding my status, but if an opportunity arises to exchange something handmade again, I'll be all over it.

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