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Thursday, November 26, 2020

One Year Ago Today & One Year Cancer Free


A year ago today my love was going through his first cancer surgery, just two weeks after finding a big mass via scope. This was 3 months after countless ER visits, 6 cat-scans and almost dying from 2 deep vein thrombosis clots that lodged in both lungs which is when he was in intensive care for 3 days and his survival rate was 20%!

He's had 3 more of these surgeries since where the surgeon scooped out half of his bladder like a melon but this 1st time actually went so deep it perforated his bladder! It was a looonngggg day and night...15 hours in the hospital! He was home that same night but with a catheter and I had to stay up all night emptying the bag and watching for the size of clots coming out...the next day we were getting the catheter out and that night we were back in the ER with very scary and awful excessive bleeding, because of this for following surgeries he was kept overnight thankfully!

Then it was the torturous wait for biopsy results. We've done this process 4 times since. At this time we didn't know it was a highly aggressive cancer, "A Killer" as the doctor put it. We got that news the day after his 44th birthday, 2.5 weeks later!

As you might only imagine it's been an exhaustive time but he's beautifully and officially 1 year cancer free now. But of course for us the clock restarts every single time a scope is coming up or every time we wait for biopsies.  Every time he has a new pain we panic the cancer is back. 

That will be life now, panicking, being afraid...that's what cancer does to you, it instills endless fear, it snatches away your lightness of heart, it smothers any kind of joyful naivety that the bad things won't happen to you.

I'm surprised by how fast the year has flown by, but at least that means that the worst year of both of our lives has flown by too! 

He was my hero before all this, for his beautiful tenacious heart. But now he's also my warrior beast, I've seen him go through so much bone chilling immense amounts of pain, suffering and fear with more grace, kindness and toughness then I've ever seen before in my life. I love you Jonathan Peterson aka @deyfennslayd.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Mooshi-Haroo's 1st Year Homecoming

It was one year ago today that we found our Mooshi-Haroo outside in the freezing cold, eating birdseed to survive, in our very own front yard...it was the eve of my honey's 1st big surgery, a deep resection of a highly aggressive bladder tumor and the worst possible night for a rescue but how could we just ignore him...we couldn't, there wasn't any second of a doubt.  The odds of us seeing him was a miracle really, I just happened to spy him from the front window as I was sitting down to eat dinner & yelled to my honey, "Quick, Jonathan hurry, there's a bunny in the front yard" and out I dashed in my socks, in the sleet and snow, only stopping to run back inside about 40 minutes later because I couldn't feel my feet!  A neighbor called out their door "Is that your bunny" and after we caught him, I went to talk to them and found out that Mooshi was actually seen running around the neighborhood for at least a whole month and apparently he had a friend! He was seen with a bigger white rabbit!  Well I'll tell you the rest of that story on Friday, how about that, it's quite the tale ha ha!.


There was at first a desperation to catch him because I knew if he left our yard, it was unlikely we'd see him again since this was the first time we'd seen him at all and I am a bird watcher so I watch out the windows often!  He was elusive and wiley at first and my heart was in my throat as we tried again and again to approach him with no luck, he clearly didn't trust people.  But I quickly realized that he would follow Jonathan and I said "Babe, go to the back slowly and open the gate" and he did so a few steps at a time and sure enough, like the Pied Piper, Moo followed him cautiously but surely and then went straight into the backyard which is when we were able to close the gate and feel some relief because at least back there he couldn't escape.  It took another 10 minutes to corner him and pick him up.  He wouldn't eat or poop for 3 days after, he just wanted to drink bowl after bowl of water.  It took everything in him to survive out there.  The next day and night was a freezing cold blizzard, one which he wasn't likely to survive, talk about serendipitous timing!  I didn't want to keep him at first honestly, I wanted to get him healthy & find him another home because things were just way too much with my honeys diagnosis (and mine infact) but my honey without a doubt said we had to, "He was meant to be".  I am so glad we did.  He's a chewer for sure but he's also so so happy & dances all the time for us, he comes when called and has such a gentle warm personality.  We sadly suspect he was an Easter present tossed outside.  I wanted to call him Haroo, Jonathn wanted to call him Mooshi so Mooshi-Haroo it became, a brand new family member.

Happy 1st year homecoming Mooshi-Haroo Saile-Peterson, we love you so much buddy XO  and everyone don't forget that you can see Mooshi-Haroo on our rabbit micro-sanctuary stream on Instagram.

 


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Cosmic Fox

 I finished my "Cosmic Fox"...she's just plain old archival ink pen on sketchpaper...


I am pretty sure she's going to be going on some t-shirts soon, that's exciting.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Miss You Teela

 4 years ago today I lost my best friend, my soul baby,
my sunshine Teela...


The plain truth is she took a huge part of me with her when she died
suddenly in my arms.  I miss her Every. Single. Day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Kind Night In Progress

I am so happy to be back to blogging, hopefully with my normal regularity now!

Although I have come back to find that the Blogger interface has
completely changed and I can't say I am a fan of the changes whatsoever!

Anyhow...let me start to catch you up on abunch of new images...


...so bear with me as I figure out everything
and get a new font etc sorted out!!
In the meantime here's a new piece almost complete,
it's a coloured pencil on paper called "A Kind Night",
it's taking awhile as it's full of lots of detail but it'll all be worth it I am hoping.
I'll be able to show you the final piece soon XO.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Random Road Trips

 One of our favorite things to do has always been just to pick a road and see where it takes us....this time it was way out in the middle of nowhere on active logging roads where I had to pee on the side of the road and where we were racing in front of logging trucks because there was nowhere to pull off safely!  But in the spots where we could pull off safely the scenery was breathtaking.

(this butterfly is called an Aphrodite Frittilary...Isn't that the prettiest name!)


We ended up at one point along the shores of St. Bernard where there was a sudden & stark reminder of the world we've created by eating animals!
But it was also a good reminder that we're lucky we have a vehicle & the time to take these random spur of the moment road trips that help us clear our minds & hearts of life's stresses, it's one thing safe things we can do nowadays as long as we stay in the vehicle and far away from people!!!

Friday, November 13, 2020

A Year Ago Today

 It was a year ago exactly today that our world was turned upside down in what's feeling like a very permanent way even though he's now 11 months concer free!  My gut was telling me something was wrong weeks before when we were in and out of the hospital due to a foot injury that lead to blood clots that lead to him almost dying in the Critical Care Unit and all of that eventually lead to the discovery of a tumor but only after ALOT of things just kept happening to land him back in the ER!..the doctors missed this tumor again and again...Thank goodness for a random ER doctor that said "hmmm something is up here, you shouldn't have blood in your urine, lets send you for a bladder scope".   We want to find this ER doctor and somehow get a message to him to thank him for being on the ball and investigatory instead of just blowing the blood off as though it was nothing like our own family Dr. Elena Ayoub-Kolb did!


This day a year ago, my heart was pounding away in my throat as I waited in the waiting room as my honey got his scope.  I knew something was wrong the second the nurse came to get me telling me that 'my husband has had a bad scare and needed me'.  I was lead into the back to the surgeons office where I found my amazing Jonathan, usually solid as a rock no matter what, shaking like I've never seen him shake before & as I knelt down to comfort him, the doctor instantly put his hand on my shoulder...it was then that I knew we were in trouble...

Like I said, he's 11 months cancer free now...it's been a hell of a battle, a hell of a year with countless more ER visits after the discovery of the cancer, 4 big surgeries, 12 treatments, many scopes and almost 20 nights in the hospital etc etc.  Life hasn't fully uprighted yet honestly though, cause we're not out of the woods entirely yet and well I just don't know if it ever does once cancer has swooped into your life!  But I do know one thing, I have never ever been prouder of being this amazing man's partner in everything.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Meet The Maker - Day 6 - Shop Small

 Today's is the last day of Meet The Maker and the prompt is "Shop Small".

Supporting small businesses whether it's online or local is such a lovely thing and feeling...all of us small makers are just trying to make the world a smidge lovelier with our creativity and goodness knows the world
can use a bit of extra lovely lately!!


Every single order I get, no matter how big or small I do a happy dance
and get a burble of happiness in my tum.
I appreciate every single one so much.
It means the world that someone wants to spend their hard earned money
on my work and it also acknowledges my unique skills, training & hard work too.


Even if you can't buy from small businesses right now,
because let's face it, sometimes that just isn't possible,
there are still great ways that you can help us small indie businesses.
You can like our posts and I always encourage people to not just heart a post but to leave comments too....


....Reposting our work or things that you have bought from us on all or any of your social media platforms is one of the biggest ways you can help us out.
Saving our posts helps us get higher IG rankings which is a tricky beast!
and well just sharing our work & names with your family & friends
is a wonderful way to help us get our work in front of new eyes. 


Also signing up for our newsletters
and encouraging friends and family to check out our work is all super helpful. Any and all of these actions are a wonderful way to help us indie businesses out but are also great reminder to us to that someone out there is indeed paying attention and liking what we're working so hard on and in many ways that is just as important as the sales cause goodness knows we need cheerleaders, especially today in these turbulent uncertain scary & unprecedented times!

Friday, November 6, 2020

Meet The Maker - Day 5 - Community Over Competition

 Todays Meet The Maker Prompt is "COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION".

My experiences with this has been a mixed bag to be truthful.

I really think finding community instead of competition is a matter of finding and approaching the right people.  You have to approach people you admire but you also have to get lucky in that those you approach are friendly & willing to share.  Alot of people won't actually be able to find the time to converse and connect but don't get too discouraged when someone doesn't respond to you in a positive way, just move on down the line because some people will be happy to connect and answer your questions. It's not always easy to find your own tribe and I admit to still being in the process of seeking out mine!


I personally have been happy to share my knowledge BUT I am careful with my time these days too because simply my chronic pain takes alot of my time in the studio away and my studio time tends to be shorter than a regular artist who isn't chronically sick. I used to respond to every question like 'how did you start your Etsy shop' with sooo much detail & length and then I would often not even get a thank you in return!  So now I am also more careful with whom I spend my time responding too. But yeah, I think it's important to share the knowledge but there's also something said in trying to figuring things out yourself first too!

So whiles I have myself unfortunately experienced way more Competition over Community, I still remain hopeful that that's not always going to be the case & my experiences so far sure have made me appreciate any connections & sharing of knowledge that I do experience, that much more, especially online, the online community can be just as supportive, if not more
than those physically around you....
My advice is take it where you can get it, appreciate it & make sure to give back!
.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Meet The Maker - Day 4 - Silver Linings

 Today's Meet The Maker Prompt is 'SILVER LININGS'.

This one is easy cause I am a Silver Linings kind of person.
I live with two neurological diseases and a disease of the nervous system
but despite the chronic pain that's constantly ravaging and testing my body, finding Silver Linings is essential to maintaining a positive mental attitude
through the storms.  It might be something small like "Hmmm okay I might feel like I was run over by a truck" today BUT at least I have a wonderful honey who loves making me wonderful healthy meals to help me get through and that fills my heart. Or maybe I am stuck in bed feeling like my head is going to explode BUT all of the bunnies are eating and I can hear them eating and that's one of the best sounds in the world, it makes me smile right through the pain.
Or perhaps it's a really bad fibro flare day
and it's one of those days where it feels like it's taking effort just to breathe!
BUT I've got all of the Whimsical Colourful Joyful Artwork
I know I will get back to the second I feel better and that's surely a Silver Lining.

 
I think too in this unpredictable and scary time with the pandemic
Silver Linings can be found all around if we really look hard enough.
I have been latching onto the extra uninterrupted time at home
with my family, that's been extra heavenly.

And I have been feeling so very grateful to all of you lovely souls
who are supporting us Indie businesses...
especially all of you who have understood that I needed to shut down
my online shop during this turbulent awful last year with our cancer fight
but you still showed much needed support with DMs
and emails asking after and buying original work, which has been amazing,
that has truly been a HUGE Silver Lining in all of this unstable upset.
Thank You 💖 SO much.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Meet The Maker - Day 3 - New For Christmas

 The Meet The Maker Prompt for today is 'New For Christmas'.

I am super excited to get not only my brand new and refreshed website
up in the next couple of weeks
(I hope!)
BUT also my new shop...
It's been slightly overwhelming & confusing to me
to figure out but I am getting there, there's so much to work out!
I have decided to move away from Etsy and have my own shop on my own website AND the first batch of whimsical goodies I will be posting is a bunch of
my limited edition hand-pressed lino cut prints.


I honestly don't really know why I've never listed my linos,
I have always just sold them locally. But I have SO many new designs and people seem super enthused with them so yeah,
I am really anxious to start running the editions off and getting them listed
and then to keep doing so instead of just squirreling them away!

As always, because of my chronic pain life,
I always run slowly and behind everyone else,
but if you bear with me, these will be the first thing I list and I am hoping
it'll be in time for Christmas... I'll do my best! But in the meantime you can order
some of my colourful & whimsical goods from my Society6 shop.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Meet The Maker - Day 2

 Today's Meet The Maker Prompt is "PIVOT".

I had to think on this one as I didn't think it really applied to me at first &then I realized, wait a hot minute Mandy, you literally and figuratively pivot your butt off every single day!

Firstly, I swing around like a fan all day everyday in my life as a bunny mama. Doting on NINE rambunctious cage free buns, most of whom hate each other & most who are special needs is often a full-time job and I can only manage it successfully by pivoting constantly in an effort to spread myself as evenly as possible between them all.


Secondly, my broken and misfiring body gives me no choice but to pivot. It's a delicate circular dance of turning away from the pain that ravages me & with much tenacity plugging away at my craft (or else I would never get anything made) but then being willing to turn away from my beloved work to rest, regroup and take care of my body so that I can indeed get back into the studio sooner hopefully than later!


Last but not least Cancer. It's been my biggest pivoting point. Last December 10th, a day before his 44th birthday my brilliant honey was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of cancer. We pivoted instantly from a near perfect life to one full of constant pain, crippling fear & deep exhaustion. And Cancer during Covid well that's been a beast to conquer all of its own! We've had to constantly turn away from all of the scary big bad stuff to make sure we were still functional in life in general, still taking care other (because cancer really shows who your friends & family really are) and also of course taking care of all the demanding buns too...in fact our latest rescue arrived in our front yard the night before the very 1st big surgery!



Now at the 11 month mark of my husband being cancer free, after my shop being closed up for over a year (somethings did have to give!), I can more easily pivot away from the fear of the unknown & happily find myself SO ready to relaunch my website, reopen a brand new shop full of all kinds of whimsies & to brave the post office once again but also to pivot away from all that wasn't working...and that's exciting don't ya think???

Monday, November 2, 2020

Meet The Maker - Day 1

 I am excited to participate in on Meet The Maker Week on IG this week.

So Day 1 is to introduce ourselves so let's give it a whirl!

I am Mandy Saile, I am 42 and work mostly with coloured pencil in a very whimsical style. My work tends toward the very detailed, my palette is usually super colourful and I love to create stories about animals, the beauty of them and the importance of better/kinder relationships with them.
I am also a printmaker working in linocuts and sometimes I enjoy ink pens too.

A large part of my creative journey and life is dictated and ruled by the chronic pain I live with. I suffer from Chronic Migraine, Fibromyalgia and RLS (etc!!!) The pain I live with does hugely inspire my work. My art is like a life preserver, the whimsy & colour of it, keeping me afloat amidst all the suffering.


I am also a Micro-Sanctuary Mama. We've made our family with rescued rabbits for many years now & currently we dote on 9 cage free rambunctious souls; Flynn, Barnaby Fizz, Yuuji, Lesiel, Mooshi-Haroo, Lydia, Korra-Soleil, Misa Adora & Higgins. I can't imagine life without them. They inspire everything I do, to be vegan, to live cruelty free of course to draw lots of buns! They also make for a unique studio schedule as I don't just work in one spot but in several because I need to spend time with them all but they don't all get along, so I rotate between art projects as I move from room to room throughout a day, it's a really fun way to work & my inspiration is never ending thanks to them.

I live with my honey of 28 years in a small city by the lake in Northern Ontario Canada. We are surrounded by a sea of trees and are called The Land Of A Thousand Lakes. We've had the hardest year ever as the past year + my husband has been fighting cancer...it's a long exhausting story but he's cancer free now & I am super excited to get my shop etc back up & running & for things to get back to 'normal' as much as it can after cancer swoops into life!

When out of the studio you'll find me kayaking, diving into books & just being embraced by home, I LOVE just being home with my hon, buns, books & art!

So nice to meet you & thanks for hopping by💖.