I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike…

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Throughout June I will be donating all the proceeds from the sales of this card to the SickKids Foundation

Some of you may already be aware that this month (June 2016) I am cycling for SickKids Foundation, raising money to fight childhood cancer. Read more here.

Now, this is the bit in a blog post where the author tells an emotive personal story that illustrates why they are involved with that particular charity or cause and in now way do I mean to belittle those stories.  The truth is that, yes, like many people reading this my life has been touched by cancer, I have family members who have fought (and won) against breast and cervical cancer, my beloved aunt died at 65 from bowel cancer, I had a cancerous (thankfully benign) tumor removed many years ago.  But, unlike so many other people, I have never had to sit and watch someone I love waste away and die, I have never lost a child to cancer and after becoming a father at 42, I can assure you the thought of losing my beautiful boys terrifies me.

So I signed up because I love to ride my bike, I wish I did it more often and spending the month of June riding to raise money is partly for my own health and partly to raise money and awareness.

My pledged target is a mere $500 and thanks to the generosity of many, I currently stand at $385. So here is how you can help and even though I am well aware of the demands on our wallets for donations, I would still like you to seriously consider it;

Tomorrow, Thursday 16th June is Kick Cancers Butt day.  On this day, SickKids Foundation Board member Jake has pledged to match every single donation, dollar for dollar. His son William was diagnosed with Wilms tumor when he was just 3 years old so he understands what these brave kids and their families go through as they fight this terrible disease. He is a long-time supporter of SickKids and truly believes in our work to live in a cancer-free world.

So tomorrow, I would like you to consider going to my linky >> Great Cycle Challenge page <<linky and donating just $1.  Ignore the suggested amounts and scroll down a little and type in $1.

That’s how we can help, one dollar at a time, because I believe that while grand gestures are great for Bill Gates, we mortals, with bills and dependents and lives to lead, we are mighty together and those $1’s add up to a hell of a lot of help to the fight to end childhood cancer.

And while you are doing that tomorrow, I will be upping my ride and cycling a minimum of 25kms to prove that I am just as committed to this as you are, track my ride updates on that page and if I beat my target, I will keep upping it through month of June.  Together, lets help kick cancers butt!

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Have a beautiful week

xXx

Adrian

Gilt by Association.

IMG_5347Over the last few weeks I have been clearing out my studio, tidying, recycling and generally mucking out.  And this weekend I remembered that I had a roll of heat reactive gold foil!!

I must have had it tucked away for a couple of years, a gift that I was never able to use, but I liked the idea of it and what it could be used for.  So pack rat that I am, stored it away and it slipped from memory.

Some may recall that I recently bought a colour laser printer so I could branch out into sticker making.  The machine I bought is the Xerox Phaser which has the capacity to print on card stock with a front loading manual feed.  Well, this weekend I found the foil that I had so carefully stored away.

The theory goes that, you can print an image using toner, place foil over it and run it through a laminator. Pretty great idea if you have in your possession a laser printer and a laminator.  Well as it happens I bought a laminator a few years ago to encapsulate my paper cut bookmarks and now I have the laser printer.

So guess what I did today after finishing up my chores !!  IMG_5350
Its a tricky process, the foil is so fine and light, it curls, and is a bugger to keep flat, so I ended up using a little scotch tape to keep it in place.  Passing it through the laminator was a nervewracking process, I was convince it would jam up the insides, but it passed through cleanly and once I removed the tape and excess foil I could breathe again.

But my goodness, how it shines!

I love a good knitting pun and have wanted to make this card for the longest time, but because I wanted it to have a nice gilt crown replacement above the text, never did.   Now I can and to see it in the flesh is a joy, it has that lovely ancient oxidised mercury look that you see in old mirrors.

And as legend says.  Keep calm and carry yarn.  I’m going to look at more colours, I hear there is a holographic one….

Have a beautiful week.

Lets run away to London

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Lets run away

A long time ago, in another life, I lived in London.
It was an adventure that I could have only ever done in my early twenties, because some reckless adventures are only ever meant for the young, but my goodness what a roller-coaster adventure it was.  I learned after a time, that while I love London and all the amazing, exciting and beautiful things it has to offer, life there was not for me and I moved away on another adventure.

However, there are few cities that still thrill me like London and last summer, when we took our sons to the UK to meet their UK family, we rounded off our trip with a  few days in London.

Our hotel in Lambeth had a sweeping view over the Thames and every night we watched Westminster Palace glow gold in the setting sun. We walked everywhere we could and took the tube when we had to, we ate, drank, saw the sights and soaked in every experience those few days would allow, I will never forget sitting on the embankment with my family looking at Westminster or walking around the National Gallery explaining to my sons why Turner makes me weepy.

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Little red phonebox

Life is an scary adventure, but if we are lucky, we get to experience amazing things and share them with the people who enrich our lives.

I love the idea of running away, the positive kind that is, the idea of upping sticks, packing away and going on adventure.  I guess that’s why I live in Canada now, a kind of running away, a safe adventure.  But, right here, in this moment, I couldn’t be more content.   I live a life I could never have dreamed about when I was a twenty year old on an adventure in London.  Twenty six years later, I have a fantastic husband and amazing kids, I work for myself in a beautiful part of Canada (the view from my office window is lush and verdant), the dog at my feet is adoring and snoring, and life -as they say – is sweet.

But still, lets run away and have an adventure…

Whats the deal with the knitting stuff?

Knit Stickers
Knit Stickers

That’s a question I was asked the other day

“Whats the deal with the knitting stuff, I thought you made cards?”

People who know me in real life know that its no secret that I am a knitter.  It’s an activity I have enjoyed for years, I like to make stuff…
I’ve never been good in groups of people, (I really like being in my own space), so I belong to a number of online knitting groups; Men who knit and Bearded Knitters (I kid you not) and I enjoy the camaraderie of the online manly pursuit of knitting without the awkwardness of actually having to interact personally.

I know that it was a pretty much just an honest inquiry about my work, but I got me thinking about how we get pigeonholed by others and how we pigeonhole ourselves when it comes to our skills and output.  Looking back at my work over the last few years I tend to find myself working in very singular directions – first Nature cards, then Bee Cards, then Science Cards and so on.  Most recently Knitting Cards.  I tend to design products that are related to the things that I enjoy most, the things that I identify with the most, that bring me joy.

It’s one of the reasons why I make other things than cards, I started making buttons a while back, because I like buttons.   I read, so I make bookmarks and I knit, so I make knitting things.  Most recently I started making stickers.  Why?  Well why not.  People like stickers, I like to learn to make new things.  Stickers are fun and a bit childish and bring a little joy.

One of my favourite quotes is from El Maestro – Frederico Fellini:

“You have to live spherically – in many directions. Never lose your childish enthusiasm – and things will come your way.”

I’d like to believe that doing different things, trying out new variations in my craft (it is called Paradise Papercraft, not Paradise Cards after all) is my way of living spherically, as for keeping childish enthusiasm, I think there is nothing more over rated than being a adult, so I will keep playing with paper and card and making different things that interest me and whats whats the deal with all the knitting things.

“All art is autobiographical.”  – Frederico Fellini

Drinking tea and being happy

Let us drink tea
Let us drink tea

I have a deep dark confession, I’m English and I drink tea.
Not only do I drink tea, I revel in it, I love the ritual, the smell, the taste, I love what it says about me, I love the stereotype of the English tea drinker.  I drink tea, hear me roar – well not roar as such, hear me quietly approve.

Of course this is no surprise to anyone who knows me in real life.  According to one recent online “test”  I am about as English as Stephen Fry walking a Corgi in front of Buckingham Palace, my accent is RP, my jacket of choice is Barbour, I have the love of a black Labrador, sarcasm is my second language and I listen to Radio 4.

What is different about me is that I am happy.  Not the forced public happiness that we present to the world, but deep down satisfied with my lot, truly to the core happy.  Its been a strange revelation, a while back I started using a meditation app called Headspace.  Ten minutes a day learning to retrain my mind to be still and to let the world pass around me, to drop out of the flow and be kind to myself.  Thirty days of foundation course later, I am different.

Its hard to pinpoint exactly what is different, but I feel fresher, happier, calmer.
i still get annoyed and frustrated, I still (occasionally) raise my voice when tired and my boys have pushed too many buttons, but I reset faster, I am able to detach myself from those feelings of anger and frustration and actually reason through them.  I’m slower to react negatively and faster to make amends when I do.

Its curious, I’m still the deeply sarcastic tea drinking Englishman I always was, just a little different, a little more considered and a little more focused.

Have a beautiful day wherever you are and if you can, try to spend ten minutes being kind to yourself just observing and listening to the beautiful world around us.

 

 

Something wicked this way comes…

Every year I have the joy of designing invitation cards  for some dear friends annual big bash Halloween party.  A new theme every year, a challenge and new design, I love it, it makes me think.

Usually, as my friends live in the next Province over, the design consult is done online, but this year they were visiting friends locally and we got to do it in person.  This years theme was Witches.  As it happens I am a fan of the late great Margaret Hamilton, known best for her role as the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz.  In fact, I like her so much that once I made a paper cut of her.

I'll get you my pretty

 

So after a few false starts and wrong paths (I am uncomfortable with sexy witches and crone witches are cruel stereotypes of the cunning women who were great doctors and midwives ) it made complete sense to me that she should be model – a strong woman playing a strong woman.

So she became our model.

 First of all I took a single aspect of the cut, her hand and shadow being the obvious parts that would make a good card.Witch01

 

I had two options.

The original shadow in black, which looks great, but has a weak square edge, or reversed with a stronger black area giving us a more solid card.

Witch02

Here we are with the two choices coloured black and green

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Finally the finishing process

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Card and Liner cut

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just a quick test to make sure it fits

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scoring the folds

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embossing in the branding

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Business name and website URL

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Scortape to hold it together

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All ready to fold

IMG_3273Just thirty nine more to make and I can deliver

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