Category: Jamie’s Creative Life

The Magic of the Garden

The return of open windows is one of the gifts of spring. As the kittens enjoyed the fresh air, I followed their gaze into the backyard.

While they watched for birds and squirrels, my eyes caught sight of green!

Clearing Wire

I rushed outside to free the sprouting bulbs from their protective winter covering of leaves and chicken wire.

Bright Promise

Oh, the joy of discovery!

Tender Green

I love this tender stage of the garden – the sweet shapes, the fresh colours.

Tender Garden

As if that wasn’t joy enough, the sun came out just as I freed these new shoots.

The World of the Garden

That is the magic of the garden. As  I clear the way and discover new life, I feel close to myself, to the Earth and to my mom.

Look Closely for Beauty

From a distance, it looks like a big mess and a patch of dirt.

 Last Season's Leaves

But when you look closely, there is beauty to be found.

Garden Guardian

Finding Beauty in My Neglected Garden

My Neglected Garden

It’s fall and I’ve been feeling badly about neglecting my garden this year. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the intense work going on in the studio. I hardly got out there at all. Weeds grew to a massive height. Grass pushed the boundaries, establishing dominance over the garden borders. Stray morning glories wound their way tightly around phlox and roses, intertwining their fates for the season. When I saw my peonies covered in powdery mildew, I wanted to go back inside.

Instead. I looked a little closer. Here’s what I saw.







The beauty of life always and always finds a way and that always and always gives me hope.

Jamie photographing Shibumi & Scout

My Creative Weekend: a Yard Sale, an Art Sale & Art Day

Yard Sale

For the past several years, on a day in June, the neighbourhood yard sale takes over a larger area in the east end of Toronto. It’s become something we look forward to, a wonderful way to wander through our ‘hood, say hi to some neighbours and maybe discover a bargain or two, often accompanied by a story!
Mucha Calendar 2005

This year we didn’t buy too much but I was delighted to get this old Mucha calendar. I think the pictures will be great for collaging and many will make wonderful journal covers.

JRS Procrastination Bunny

I couldn’t say no to this little guy, especially after our recent talk of the Inspiration Rabbit and the Procrastination Bunny. It was meant to be! (By the way, you can see the Procrastination Bunny LIVE on this BtS)

JRS Our New Mirror

We also picked up this wonderful mirror. Justin was awesome and put it up immediately! So often we get these additions and they end up gathering dust in the corner instead of finding a new home. Not this time. Yay!

JRS Cat-Approved Magazines

Unfortunately that was all the energy I had for Saturday. I ended up feeling rather under the weather. Good thing I had my summer inspiration infusion and lots of good company!

Beaches Arts and Crafts Show

Sunday morning I woke up and was feeling much better. The weather was my perfect summer day: blue sky, sun shining, wind blowing and hovering around 20. Wonderful! I wanted to get down to the lake and feel the wind on my shoulders so Justin and I headed out and on the way we stumbled across the Beaches Arts & Crafts show!

Wood Cutting Boards

One of the first booths that we looked was Woodturnings. The gentleman selling these beautiful wooden wares was lovely and had such a nice energy that even though there were several other folks selling this kind of thing, we came back to Kjell Orrling’s work. We’ve been needing a new cutting board and haven’t found anything to suit but these two immediately felt like ours. A walnut one for me. A maple one for Justin.

 Flavours of Nova Scotia Honey

We also could not resist this amazingly flavourful honeys of Flavours of Nova Scotia. The honey and lemon is beyond irresistible! Justin and I had to set some guidelines about when we would treat ourselves to these delights – or else they’d be gone in no time!

At the Lake

Treasures in hand, we finally made it down to the boardwalk to get our fix of wind and sky!

JRS Art Day

With all that I still managed to make it home in time for Art Day with Shannon! We decided to connect via Zoom and work on whatever project was calling us. Shannon tested her new gel pens and I pulled out my magazine journal and had fun simply filling it up with collage images. It’s so fun to sit and create together over tea!
Scout Oversees Art Day

Scout wanted to be included. He’s such good company how could I say no?

Art Day: When Your Busy, Keep it Simple

Simple Art Day

Every now and then a week comes along where things seem too busy for our regularly scheduled Sunday Art Day.  With both the Creative Projects Seminar and Sparkles LIVE! coming up, as well as several special events (including Shannon’s birthday on Thursday), this was one of those weeks. I sadly asked Shannon if we could postpone until next week and she was, of course, understanding. And so, I worked and worked and worked and then around 3:00, I sent her a text, “Hey, want to spend an hour creating?”

We grabbed some simple supplies, mostly coloured pencils, and projects we’d been working on and tucked in. We coloured and chatted and before we knew it, we’d had some art day fun. It was just what I needed to dive into the week ahead.

Even a little creative time makes a big difference.

Art Day: Watercolour, Shapes & A Moose Mascot

Preparing for Art Day

Every Sunday is Art Day at our house! This week we dove into a Creativebug watercolour techniques class taught by Yao Cheng. We were excited to pull out the supplies and play!

Art Day Watercolour Basic Techniques

We experimented with circles and triangles, cool colours and warm colours.

 Art Day Moose Mascot

We chose a mascot for Art Day and new instantly this would become a tradition!

Art Day Table TopWe spent hours chatting, creating and having fun with colour.

Art Day Watercolour Play

Lastly, we experimented, exploring what we’d learned in our own way.

Pastel Moose Mascot

Clearly Moose approves.

Braving the Road to Belonging

On this week’s Behind the Scenes I shared some of this video of an amazing night out at choir, where we took to the busy Toronto streets and sang our hearts out! You could feel everyone come alive as they braved sharing their voices publicly, feeling bold, wild, even transgressive, and doing it together.

In that golden moment, I delighted in choir.

And I almost hadn’t gone. This time and many times. In fact, it took me years to arrive at this moment.

First, I didn’t go to choir because I didn’t want to intrude on something I thought was my sister-in-law’s thing.

Then, I didn’t go because even though my friends all wanted to go, they never seemed to be able to.

Finally, last summer a friend and I made it to choir – and loved it. Then she moved.

Then another friend joined me – and loved it. But was too busy to go again.

And another friend joined me – and loved it. And kept going without me.

People I’d told about it went – and loved it.  And never invited me to join them.

I started to feel lonely and sad and awkward about going.

But here’s what I know, both as someone who has participated in and as someone who has led experiences:

Exciting, beautiful, unique opportunities do not last forever!

So this winter I decided to go, no matter what.  I made it as easy for myself as I could. I set up a bag with my choir stuff ready to grab and go. I told my interested friends I was going every week and they had an open invitation to join me. I planned choir-night dinners so they were simple and I could get out of the house quickly. And then I went.

I went by myself.

I went in the dark.

I went in the cold.

I went.

I didn’t think about it. I just put on my boots and went.

It turned out going by myself was fine, sometimes even great. I found a surprising calm in doing this thing that was for me all by myself. No pressure to do anything other than just be there and sing. Sweet.

Sometimes my heart burst open with missing my Mom. She sang in many choirs over many years. I find myself wishing she could be with me here, experiencing this, and wishing I could go back in time and join in with her then. My mind wanders to my brother and sisters singing to Mom as she lay dying. In those moments I sing like I’m a raw pulsing nerve but I sing.

And I’ve gone to my dear sweet friend and told her I felt left out and hurt and we shared tears and love and all is well and healed.

And on the night of this video, I went with a friend and met another there. I smiled at people and they smiled back. As we poured onto the street, I hugged another friend I discovered in the crowd. As we stood there on the street, swaying, clapping, singing our hearts out, cars driving by, people walking past or clapping along, I felt at home.

I was with my people. I was doing my thing. I belonged.

Belonging took bravery and effort.

I’m sharing my tender story with you so that you’ll know that. You’ll know that I didn’t walk out the door one night, filled with ease, confidence and excitement, and stroll into a room full of fast friends, raucous laughter and immediate good times.

For this moment to arrive, I had to be willing to be uncomfortable. I had to be vulnerable. I had to be open to the magic that was available and not shut down when it didn’t arrive or took a different form than I expected. I had to show up, again and again.

I’m sharing my story to encourage you to be brave.

Don’t wait until the circumstances are perfect. Step in from wherever you are to what you want to experience.

Grab this moment.

Live fully.

More and more you’ll find you’re right where you belong.