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Friday, April 29, 2011

A Birthday Present

So my sweet niece turned 9 just last week.
(YIKES Time is flying by!...)
I asked her 'Munchkin, what do you want for your birthday'
and she thought about it...

and than said "One of Your Birds With the Twigs...
But All in Black & White"

Well, who can resist their niece asking for a piece of original art, ha ha...
Her wish was of course my command...

I turned one of my 'Nubbin' birds into a black & white version
and painted a different bird on each side so she can flip it from time to time...

Happy Birthday Munchkin
You awesome little girlie You

XO Auntie Bijou XO

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things Making Me Happy

I've hit a few unexpected bumps the last couple of weeks...
I've been feeling really jumbled up,  slightly fed up and I admit a tad grouchy....
I know alot of it is just simply being tired and needing to refuel.
I know I am allowed to feel this way & I have reasons
I can't take a break right now and need to quickly re-align....
So I've been sitting here thinking on how can I snap out of this funk quickly?...
Perhaps I should take a pause, look around and....

Take in all the things that tickle my heart happy....

Things like...
Other artists and a wall of inspiring art in the bedroom that I wake up to every morning...

or the fact that I actually treated myself to this teeny tiny original by Juliette Crane
or that I won a print of hers ages ago which I'll soon be getting into a frame...

I get happy when I look at this greeting card by my pal Lori Portka
which is perched atop the living room armoire...

I love that we recently celebrated our Jinny's 5th year with us.
(which I am so grateful for, espeacially when my friend just lost her Sugie bun, who was not even 3 yet)
I am so grateful that our Jinster is healthy and happy and in her forever home.
Jin is 7 or perhaps older, we aren't quite sure but she's a sweetie-pie that's for sure...
and very soon we'll have oodles of time outside together.

It cheered me up to have a nice phone chat with my best friend Judit, 
I really needed her help with something and she gave great advice...
I must say I am so proud of my bestie whose oh so talented...
(I love having some of her wallpaper rolls hanging around my studio)...

And I love hearing about her itty bitty Bean.  Who I've not seen since last summer...
so this photo of him and I snuggling makes me smile and makes me happy.

I can't help but get giddy over these new soap dispensers...
I just couldn't resist...
they quench my beauty thirsty eyes quite nicely I find, ha ha...
and are tucked away safely to be revealed again when we finally remodel our 2 bathrooms this summer...

And I feel happy having spent abit of time this past Easter weekend with my family...
I just love this photo of me and my mom from last year, blurriness and all...

(Though I admit, as I sit in my chilly basement studio writing this post,
I do find myself missing my long hair which always seemed oh so warm, ha ha.)...

I feel happy that I have a honey who brings me awesome Indian food on Friday nights...
and who recently out of blue came home with 18 pairs of Fiskars scissors
just cause he thought I'd have fun with them.
A honey who will give our rabbit physio every couple of hours without any complaint
and a honey who just recently asked me 'So what will be my job in your rabbit sanctuary'
(ahhh swooning enters here, ha ha).

I could go on and on...
which is a really good feeling, ha ha...

HEH, This helped...I DO feel better...

It's all about slowing down in the muddle and re-aligning our perspectives isn't it...
What's making your heart zing and sing today???

XO Mandy and a very happy bucking romping Roo Boo XO

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter Every Bunny

Just hopping in to wish you all a A Very Happy Easter
...from me and 'Miss Egglantine', one of my favourite Easter images...

...and of course from the Easter bunnies themselves...
Ella Luna & Roo Boo...

 and Jinster & Grump-a-loo (aka Jaks)

Sending extra Easter hugs to all my fellow bunny slaves & their bunnies.

XO Bijou XO

Friday, April 22, 2011

Emmeline & Everly

I have been wanting to introduce you all to...

Emmeline and Everly

Emmeline is a gentile lady with a strong constitution and a love for the natural world and
the friends she finds there in, such as her dearest kindred spirit Everly, truly two peas in a pod

This is an acrylic and coloured pencil painting on muslin and companions to Tilda and Thorton.

(I'll let you know when prints will be available in my Etsy shop).

XO Mandy & her 4 pea pod bunny buddies XO

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April's Newsletter

Hi Everyone
Just hopping in today to let you all know that my April Newsletter has just been mailed out

If your interested in receiving my newsletters once monthly in your email boxes,
simply click right here for an easy and fast sign up.

Thanks lovelies...see you on Friday with a new illustration, I am really anxious to show it to you all.

XO Mandy & Ella Luna who is getting her stitches out tomorrow morn XO

Monday, April 18, 2011

Do What You Love Feature

I am so excited to share.
The amazing Beth Nicholl's of the inspiring Do What You Love Blog,
has featured me in her 'Shared Stories' section. 
What an honor and joy. 

I am sharing my story alongside Helen Agarwal from the UK
and Karen Wallace, an art therapist & fellow Canadian.

I am so so proud to be in such good, inspiring, honest and beautiful company...
and the group will only get bigger and more wonderful as Beth kindly continues to share stories
of woman finding the power and inspiration to Do What They Love....

Thanks so much Beth, you rock.

I hope you'll all hop over to Beth's blog for a visit and a read...than come back here
and tell me what you think of my Shared Story.

See You Wednesday.

XO Mandy & Ella Luna who is doing really well XO

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ella Luna Is Back Home

Well Ella Luna is back home and on the mend...thanks goodness.
The time leading up to the surgery was stressful and I kept panicking.
The day of the surgery was terrifying as usual...passing her off the the doctor and nurses is always one of the worst feeling in the world to me...I have a really hard time with that.
BUT we have the best vet ever. 
He let us stay with her in a private room with binkies etc..
right up to the minute he came in to knock her out for the operation.

The cut is much more extensive then we expected for once he got in there the infection
was spread along that side of the body more than anyone thought....
But now she's home and on the mend. 
I am breathing normally once again
and our heart rates have returned to normal, somewhat, ha ha.
The cut looks good so far, and it's not bugging her nearly has much as her twice daily antibiotics
or the sweaters we are making her wear to help avoid little miss from picking out her stitches.
This darling of ours has had 3 surgeries before this one and every time she nimbly picks out the stitches!!!

You can find me sitting on the floor with her in the wee hours of the morning, making yet another sweater, since she pulls and nibbles on them so much, usually after a day they are worn out and don't fit anymore!

We are honestly pretty exhausted here in the warren of the Saile-Petersons, ha ha.
Jonathan had to use a few days holidays to stay home and help me with Ella.
Watching her and making sure she's okay, cleaning the wound 3 times a day, giving her the medicine, making sure she is not getting at her stitches, or getting stuck in the sweaters somehow! or not falling over on the sore side (she actually rolled over on her head and onto her back this morning whiles trying to wash her face!) is a full time job....we're even sleeping in shifts, so one of us is with her at all times.

Than there was the week before the surgery when my back went out, ugh!
and I had quite a few migraines due tot the stress no doubt but also probably abit too much painting...
Than I am feeling abit of stress knowing that the tax papers must be put in order and filed soon...
on top of sleeping on the floor and feeling abit bruised around the hips...
there's all the work to be done for my fast approaching solo exhibition...
plus I am nervous that the abscess will come back, which is a possibility

...but right now we're just happy our girlie is home.

My dad swooped in like an angel (an angel with a broken foot that is)
and took a bunch of my pictures home to make frames for them...and I know his framing rocks,
so that was a big weight off my pile...THANKS DAD.

Thanks also to everyone who emailed and wrote wishing her well, that meant the world. 
I passed along every single sweet word, snuggle and kiss that you guys sent.

XO Mandy and Ella Luna XO

Friday, April 8, 2011

Abundant In Light

A new coloured pencil illustration

"Abundant In Light"

(A print will be available soon)

I am quite happy with this one and sooo loving the coloured pencils on Stonehenge paper, it's like butter.

Well, we've finally made the huge decision and have booked Ella Luna in for surgury.
I know it's the right move but still, I feel like I can't properly breath....
I always get super anxious over any rabbit ailment, but operations are simply terrifying to me
and leave me quite muddled & useless until our precious hearts are back home and on the mend....... 
(I think a few panic attacks are imminent!) 
So, I am trying to balance my time between bunny snuggles and exhibition work,
which really really needs to get done but I just find myself constantly floating back to be near my girlie. 
The surgury will be to remove the abcess that we've been fighting for over a year now...
she's a tough little nut but the bump has just gotten too big and we don't feel like we have it under control anymore and even though she's an older bun, her doctor highly suggests it's removal...
so we're going ahead with it...

SO do please send Ella Luna some extra good energy on Monday morning....

XO Mandy & Ella Luna & Roo Boo

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Courage To Fly

The Question:

Have You Ever Taken A Risk On Yourself? 
Pushed Off The Branch And Flew Into Uncharted Territory
With Nothing But Inspiration Fueling You???

The Answer:


I would have to say that my first leap into the unknown with nothing but inspiration fueling me was my decision to apply to and
get into one of the best art schools in Canada, The Ontario College of Art & Design. 
With very little support and at the young age of 17, I packed up my nervous dream-filled self,
along with my awesome high school sweetheart and moved from a small town of only 50,000
to a big city 400 km away with a population of over 2 million.
I got myself into a school that out of thousands of applicants accepted less than 500 new students a year.
I definitely took in all the negativity everyone was feeding me about
my poor choice to pursue art as career. 
But at the same time I didn't care what anyone thought because I knew I would never really be happy
unless I gave it a real try, and the beginning of giving it a real try, in my opinion, at the time,
was to attend a top notch art school
(which I kicked butt in & graduated top of my class with honors associate standing, whoot whoot). 

I just knew, even at that young age, that on some level,
I was destined to be a visual communicator.
It would have been so much easier to choose a 'normal' path & study something 'normal' but than again
I've never been about taking the 'normal' route and I don't think I ever will be...
it's just part of the magic that makes me, me.

When I look back at those scary 5 years, and all the new things I did and saw such as;
The nerve racking times navigating the transit and streets of a city I always felt was way to huge for me,
(part of that time was during a period when psychos were pushing innocent by-standers onto subway train tracks!), going to my first rave, meeting and working day in and day out alongside some very inspiring fellow artists from around the world (cue the time I met my best friend, Judit from Hungry),
I was taking midnight classes in the core of downtown, saw a couple stabbings!!!
Somehow managed to swing (but barely, ha ha) rent, food, tokens AND art supplies, yikes!
Even had a swat team with full on gear and guns raid our backyard & knock down our fence!!! ha ha.
There were so so many brave, awesome and shocking 'firsts'.
I can truly, fondly and proudly think back on all of it,
on all those nerve-tattering days and realize that, that was me,
it was little teeny moi, who navigated this brand new life of
art school and the big city, wow
and I survived it all quite well...
which lead me to believe that if I can do that....well I can do just about anything. 

So, though not everything has turned out as planned or as expected by any means,
I have to say that my first leap into the unknown with nothing but inspiration fueling me,
is a leap I'd take again in a second.
The whole experience of that first leap has lead me to a heart-full of strength
that I proudly carry along in my suitcase of 'You-Can-do's'.

I've been an artist and have made the making of art a big priority in my life for a long time now. 
But I took my 2nd BIG leap of faith into creativity in 2003
when I decided to resign from my beloved job as gallery coordinator to pursue my artwork full-time. 
It was a huge decision for me. 
And again I faced so many people giving me the opposite of support!
(This seems to be an on-going thread in my artistic journey unfortunately!)
I heard it all, including one pal telling me I was 'crazy & stupid' to willingly give up
one of the only paying arts jobs in North Bay! 
But I was ready...I felt the stirrings of 'It's time to move on from this'
and after much coaxing and support from my honey bun, (YOU ROCK BABE)
I took the leap again... 
A couple years followed which consisted of finding my own creative voice, enjoying some very positive creative pursuits, honing my techniques, tending to my portfolio, adding to my artistic repertoire
& primarily building creative courage

Shortly after this period came another massive leap when I actually registered
& started my own small creative indie business called 'Bijou's Whimsy'.
(The story of Bijou's Whimsy and it's sole-proprietoress, your truly,
is of course as you know, still in the making)

I found myself taking another giant leap in 2008
when I finally started getting proactive with showing my work to wider audiences online. 
Turns out the Internet really isn't as scary of a place as I thought
but instead is full of amazing worldwide possibilities and friendships.
It was my leap into the Internet that's been allowing my dreams and creative voice to merge and align with one another more wholly.
I finally started to believe in the beauty of my own dreams.
I was suddenly seeing so many others just like me, living the dream,
making art and a creative life a full time gig. 
I started to feel that I deserved to live my dream too, if so many others can & were, why couldn't I.
Starting a blog was scary, espeacially since I've always been a fairly private person.
 When I started my blog, I still wasn't 100% sure what exactly a blog was or was suppose to be or do,
but I jumped in anyways trusting that I'd figure it out as I went along.
I could have went on only making work for my own eyes
but I again had that feeling of 'there is more'.  
I knew I had to start searching and finding my own niche, audience & online tribe,
despite how overwhelming the amount of talent online can be.
No matter the immense & constant work it takes to continually 'stand out' and 'keep peoples attention'

It was another leap to open my first online shop...
to actually believe I had something good enough that people would spend their hard earned money on. 
To even decide to spend 20 cents to list an item, well who did I think I was?....
...someone with talent, a unique voice and a special perspective to offer that's who, ha ha.

But really pretty much every one of us artists are practicing courage
and taking a leap into the unknown aren't we? 
We typically do not conform to 'normal society'.
  We are full of our own strong visions
and we do often choose the path less travelled...all because our artistic passions beckon us.
We leap bravely onto the blank canvas or whatever the medium and substrate of our choosing may be. 
We willingly & openly fill the pieces we are making with ourselves,
we lay out our often sensitive selves and hearts for all to see and judge.
And because our passions are so strong, we can survive the harshest of critics and critiques.
We let people see into our souls through our art and creations,
we bravely show and share our stories, for often nothing else but for the pursuit of a beautiful connection.

All of this is really one big GIANT LEAP into the unknown with nothing but INSPIRATION FUELING US. 

We tirelessly and constantly leap and push past ALL the
niggling fears and doubts that chatter silly things at us, such as....
'you can't paint', 'you'll never succeed at this', 'who do you think you are, that your stories count, that people want to see them', 'aren't you wasting your time', 'your not getting anywhere with this', 'do you really think you deserve more', 'do you really have what it takes to make it', 'you've been at this for so long, isn't it time to give up', 'there are so many doing this, there's no more room for you', 'what good is this art doing for the world at large'...and so on...

To live, survive and pursue the artist's life, is a brave path
(albeit, yes often too a very lucky and blissful one indeed) 
and takes it's very own kind of magic and strength 
to continually strive for more, to lean towards the next project and push on towards something bigger.
To willingly add our own voices and styles to the huge milieu of already established and
successful artists is a daily triumph of it's very own sort....Don't you think?

Every single time we create, we take that leap...small or big, it doesn't matter, it's a leap none the less.
So I say 'cheers to us'...
'cheers to all the brave artists out there' 
'cheers to our constantly risking brave
leaping creative hearts'....

I know one thing for sure, and that is that making images and pictures and living a creative life
will be a priority for me whether I make zero dollars with it or millions....
Being an artist and sharing my artistic talents with the world is in it's own sense
 just as necessary to me as breathing. 
Creativity makes up part of the 
rhythm of my heartbeat....
and I know I will ALWAYS ALWAYS find the courage to LEAP and to

How about you???

So there you have it, a tiny bit of my story...in a nutshell...ha ha.

Thanks so much for your time & for listening to my story.
Big thanks as well to Stephey Baker from Marked By The Muse for organizing this amazing blog hop
& thanks also to HandMade Spark for sponsoring the hop.

XO Mandy Saile of Bijou's Whimsy XO

p.s.  Today & This Post is the PERFECT spot for me to share one of my all time FAVOURITE songs...
one I listen to & blast in the studio atleast once a day. Love Love Love it. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Abundant In Strength

A new coloured pencil illustration.

"Abundant In Strength"

Just wanted to hop in quickly to show you this new image...
I've been a busy bee and have so many other new pieces to show you.

This Wednesday, I'll be guest posting for The Courage To Fly Blog Hop, so do make sure to hop in for that.  There's some amazing women, sharing some amazing stories on this fabulous blog hop being hosted by Marked By The Muse and it's not to be missed.

XO A very studio busy Mandy & 4 rain gloomy bunnies XO

Friday, April 1, 2011

Play Date

It was a treat to spend last Friday with Danielle Fraser from Her Painted Word
Danielle is a fellow Northerner, she lives about 1.5 hours North of here. 
We spent the whole day wondering around the downtown core, going from gallery to gallery, eating lunch, having tea & talking non-stop about our art & businesses. 

Most of the artists we admire, consider pals and who make up the majority of our artistic support circles live far far away from our little Northern towns, scattered around the world but mostly in the U.S. 
Before meeting Danielle, I was the only one in the area, that I know of anyways, that has a blog, an etsy shop and all that jazz, so honestly, at times, it can feel a tad isolating and quite desolate in terms of artistic support and understanding. 

I am so so glad I tracked her down and got up the courage to send her that first
'Heh do you live near North Bay' email, ha ha...
And that Danielle was friendly enough to say
'Heh I am coming to North Bay, wanna meet up". 
Hope your all feeling brave enough to forge some new connections this week.

XO An inspired and happy Bijou