Monday, 28 November 2016

Bedtime Stories (#2)

The chilly winter winds have arrived and are jubilantly playing tag
in and around the bare-branched trees, but Li'l Squirrel hardly takes notice.

A short while ago, Momma Squirrel tucked Li'l Squirrel into bed under her favourite 
cozy quilt and began reading the most wonderful story about a underwater world - 
full of adventure, peril, and so much excitement!

"Bedtime Stories" 
#2 in series (watercolour, approx 8"x10")

As she drifts off to sleep, Momma's voice begins to narrate Li'l Squirrel's dream...

  "It's up to you! You are the only one who can help!"
Quickly realizing the people of SeaMoria were completely depending on her, 
she gathered all her courage and strength and swam down, down, down, 
into the dark chasm, not knowing what she would encounter or when....

Li'l Squirrel had grand advetnures that night - fighting sea monsters and 
saving the people of SeaMoria from the dangers of the dreaded Ocean Ogres!

. . . . . . .

Hoping all your dreams under your favourite cozy quilts are just as wonderful! 


Friday, 23 September 2016

Introducing a New Product!!

Introducing the newest Inspiring Felicity products:


Dapper dogs, smiling-inducing thoughts and sayings -
It's all a fun way to add personality to any space in your home!

My original designs and drawings, hand-painted on each pillow!

Dog designs:
17"x17" and 12"x18" are available for $30 each
 Small, custom sized design (chocolate lab in photo above) is available for $15

Quotes and Sayings:
17"x17" are available for $27.50
14"x20" are available for $22.50
 More designs and sizes will be made available in the future.
Prices and sizes may be subject to change.

Available designs will be for sale at:
"Help Your Neighbour" fundraiser at 
Twenty Valley School in Vineland
Saturday, September 24, 2016
10:00am - 3:00pm

Orders can be placed at show or by email:

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Who Can Resist a Dog in a Bowtie?!

Today's post is short and sweet!

I painted these three cuties up to sell at my upcoming show, 
on Saturday September 24th.
I will make prints from the originals
so if you like 'em, but don;t get to the show in time,
there will still be a way to take one or all of these dapper fellows home with you!

Do you like Chocolate labs?

(acrylic on 8"x10" stretched canvas)

 How about scruffy pups?

(acrylic on 8"x10" stretched canvas)

Or wrinkly crinkly bulldogs?
(acrylic on 8"x10" stretched canvas)

I think these polished pups would be perfectly suited to a nursery or a child's room!

 Or a breakfast nook, or family room...
What room in your house would they bring a bit of fun too?

Hoping your bowtie is polka-dotted and your day is full of smiles!
♥ Cath-

Monday, 19 September 2016

Fun with Classics

Anyone who knows me well, knows I that enjoy Jane Austen's stories.
I love her observational humour. I enjoy getting to know her characters
and "listening in" on their interactions. She just wrote good stories!
I was sitting with my sketchbook one evening,
not knowing what to draw but wanting to draw something
so I began with drawing a pair of eyes in the middle of the page,
I thought of the popular portrait of Jane Austen,
and added the dark hair, the mob cap,
the grey blue gown...
I liked the fun style of what I was doodling,
the oversized eyes - there was humour in it, a sense of fun.
I notched a crooked smile smirk onto her face
and I knew exactly what I was doing then...
My interpretation of Jane Austen, how I envisioned her
writing with a sense of whimsy, sarcasm, humour,
it was all here in this simple doodle.
It made me think of the words she gave her character
Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey:
"Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again."
I didn't stop with Jane Austen,
I developed drawings of Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Bronte.
I developed doodles of Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell.
I made caricatures of them all!
With Jane Austen being my favourite
I grabbed a canvas and started work on her painting first
This is how it turned out...
The text was added on the computer (using the Jane Austen Handwriting font),
after scanning in the original painting. When/if I sell the original, I will write the quote
in my own handwriting, which is somewhat similar to Miss Austen's.
I was so thrilled with how it turned out, my literary heart and creative mind
got to work on some other quotes to develop paintings around:
Pride & Prejudice's ridiculous Mrs. Bennet...
...and her witty husband, Mr. Bennet:
 As well as two of my favourite quotes,
first from the book, Emma - 
Mr. George Knightley:

and last but not least,
Sense & Sensibility's Marianne Dashwood:
All of these are 8x10" stretched canvas, acrylic paintings
will be available as prints at my upcoming show.
I may even decide to put the originals up for sale too.
I hope to add to this literary collection over the next few months
using my favourite quotes from various 19th century authors.
Wishing you all a good book and a good evening!
♥ Cath-

Friday, 16 September 2016

Inspiring Felicity

I started this blog just over 4 years ago.
I came up with the name "Inspiring Felicity" after a short brainstorming session.
I've always liked the word 'inspiring' - it's just packed full of potential! -
and I had long been intrigued by the word 'felicity' after reading Jane Austen's 
"Sense & Sensibility', in which you find Marianne Dashwood's happy declaration, 
"Is there any felicity in the world superior to this?"

I wanted nothing more than for my 'work' to inspire 
and promote happiness in others - it was a perfect fit - 
'Inspiring Felicity' was born! 

A few months ago, on a whim, I joined a craft show that was at our local school - 
I had five days to prepare and I had never done a show before - what was I thinking?!
Not only that, in the midst of all the organizing and prep before printing I made the decision to change my card 'company' name on the back of my greeting cards, 
from "Bunnies & Buttons Card Factory" to "Inspiring Felicity Card Studio".

So if you have a card from me with the 'original' card company name on it - it is now considered 'vintage' and I'm pretty sure 'highly collectible' - as for its rise in value, one cannot possibly predict! ;)

And with the name change, comes a need for a new logo!

I sat down with my sketchbook and with furrowed brow and a light tapping on my forehead in true Winnie the Pooh style - "think, think, think" - I thunk, thunk, thunk, and came up with this:

 A mouse - my go to animal when I'm sorting out ideas - 
but this is not just any mouse, this is a mouse that is inspired to felicity!

Here is the official logo that now represents all my artistic and creative endeavours:

...and this is the logo that you'll now find 
on the back of all my greeting and note cards:


With all my cards now sporting their new 'ink', I completed all my printing and packaging
with time to spare and the craft show went well! I was glad I had signed up - 
as impulsive as it was - it was good idea and it inspired me to join another show 
that is coming up on  Saturday, September 24th, again at our local school.
I have also started to sell my cards and art prints at an area gift shop.

So things are happening! 
I've been busy being a mom and I've been busy painting up new stuff -
new Inspiring Felicity products for the show and hopefully the shop too!

I hope to highlight some of the new things I'm working on
over the course of next week, the Lord willing.

Until then I hope you find inspiration 
and felicity in each of your days!
♥ Cath-

Friday, 15 July 2016

Long Time No See

I didn't forget about my blog,
I just became very busy with many other things!

Since the beginning of the year, I have been writing 5 days a week
for a Facebook group called G.R.O.W. It is a group that encourages
women to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord,
through Bible study and obedience to God's commands.

I was also busy with several commissions in the Spring,
one of which I will share with you today!

This particular commission was both exciting and nerve-wracking!

My best friend's husband asked me to sketch a portrait of their dog.
It was to be a gift to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.
 Sadly, Shadow had passed just a few months before.
Shadow was a German Shepherd/Coyote mix.

He had the most amazing amber hued eyes.

He was a great doorbell, announcing anyone he heard step
onto the front porch, but beyond that he was reserved unless
he deemed you qualified to give his ears a good scratch!

And wow, did he stop traffic - foot traffic, that is!
Rarely went on a walk with him, without someone stopping
and commenting on his good looks - it was those eyes, let me tell you!

He was a wonderful, well-behaved dog, and he is missed. 

So, it was an honour to try to capture his essence in a portrait.

I don't often think to snap photos of my works in progress, but I'm glad I did for this one!

Here was the progress...

as of  March 17th:
I had plotted out the main colour areas and facial structure in watercolours,
then began adding hair detail with PrismaColor pencil crayons.
You can also see that I already placed quite a bit of work and attention on his eyes
~ Oh, those eyes! ~
I needed to accomplish the eyes first, if I didn't get them right it simply wouldn't be Shadow!

as of March 30th:
At this point I have a majority of the facial hair placed - focusing on keeping
Shadow's eyes strong and getting his unique dark/black markings placed correctly.

This is a photo I snapped of the finished piece, as of April 7th,
just before I framed and matted it for delivery:

"The Guardian"
(watercolour and coloured pencil, approx. 12" x 12") 

She liked it, she really liked it!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

10 Things...

10 Things I Remember From Childhood...

1. Leaving a whole bag of DQ Dilly Bars on the basement floor because 
it was too scary to walk all the way across the basement to the chest freezer.
~ This is the #1 thing I remember because my family never lets me forget it!

2. Traveling down East and taking the ferry across to PEI
~ My memory of the ferry is basically: Sky... water... sky... water... sky... water...

3. Getting chased by a dog up a pathway that my sister and I were told not to walk down.
~ Running so hard that our feet were slapping the backs of our heads and our 
knees were crashing into our chins! Then my sister fell and I had to go back 
and start dragging her up the path, and she was all like,  
"Save yourself! Go on without me! Tell Mom & Dad I love them!" 
 [Cue the sweeping orchestral music]
Well, okay, maybe she didn't utter any selfless words like that - she was only 5 - 
but I did need to drag her and she did cry a lot, and so did I 
once we got home and my parents found out about our little walk.  
For some reason, they had absolutely no sympathy for the drama we had just survived!

4. Boiled maple syrup on snow.
~ Mom would boil syrup, while we were sent outside to collect snow in our foil pie plates. 
The syrup would be poured on the snow and we would sit at the picnic table and gobble 
it with a wooden popsicle sticks. Eating golden snow was part of the fun of living up North!  ;)

5. Dad cooking anything on the hibachi. 
Absolutely. Anything. 

6. Side yard skating rinks.
~ Sitting beside my sister in the scoop of the big oversized snow shovel. 
Dad would pull us around, flattening the snow down in our yard. Then 
my brothers would help him 'flood' the big rectangle with the hose.
If the temps held, a day or two later, we were skating!

7. Thinking I had cut my sister's toes off in the sandbox.
~  It was summer, my sister and I were digging in the sandbox. 
She decided it would be fun to bury her feet in the the sand. So I set to work 
digging a hole for her feet and I took the sand I was removing and packed it into 
a big ol' Heinz ketchup can. When I finished filling the can with every single grain
of sand it could hold, I told my sister to stick her feet in the hole and I picked up the can, 
flipped it over and started to shake the sand loose. The only problem is that my 6 year old 
self didn't always know how heavy things could be and how slippery metal cans are with 
sand covered hands and - floomp! Down went the heavy sand-filled container onto my sister's toes!
She screamed. I screamed. We both screamed - but not for ice cream!
I ran to my Mom (who was on the phone) with tears pouring out of my eyes. 
I just kept shouting, "I think I cut off Chrissy's toes! I think I cut off Chrissy's toes!!" 
with several 'I'm sorry's' authentically tucked in between. It turned out I hadn't severed
any of my sister's toes... she only ended up with some bruises on her little feet. Phew!    

8. Dukes of Hazard Influence
Watching my sister roll the windows down in our parents Chevy Impala, walk away to a 
respectable distance, then turn and run toward the car and jump in through the window 
like the guys on the Dukes of Hazard. ~ Let's just say that Bo and Luke Duke made it look 
easy - they never got their clothing caught on door locks and weatherstripping!

9. My first Crayola art kit!
This is probably my favourite memory! My Dad & Mom traveled to the States for a week 
and I have no idea what they brought back for my brothers and sister, but I do remember what they 
brought for me - a Crayola art kit!! The perfect orange plastic slanted 'table' looked like 
something a real artist would use! It even had built-in slots for holding crayons and 
paintbrushes, oh and it came with little pans of watercolour paint too! 
I felt like the richest kid on earth!!

10. The day my Mom had had enough!  
It was the middle of Summer and my Dad was away. The sun was beating down 
on all us kids and we could not find relief from its heat. We all started getting 
cranky and irritable. That irritability led to all out fighting with each other.  
 Picture this: Four kids, under the age of 10, continually pestering each other, 
the noise in the house was rising with the heat. My Mom suddenly stopped what 
she was doing, stood in front of us and declared that she had had enough! 
We were doomed - we pushed Mom too far - we were dead meat!
The very next words out of her mouth were forever written in my memory as the 
most unexpected AND the most relief-inducing words ever spoken by one of my parents:
"Go get your bathing suits on; we're going to the lake!"  

There are so many things I hope my kids remember when they look back on their childhood.
There are so many things, I pray they won't ever forget!
It is those important things that I want them always to remember 
that inspired me to make this design a few years ago:

   "10 Things I Want You to Remember"
(watercolour, approx. 8" x 10")

Everything we want to do as parents and everything 
we want our kids to remember about us while they're 
growing up and after they have grown up!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Springtime Reading

Sunbeams streaming through the windows 
and gliding across the walls 
draw our attention to the outdoors.
The warmer temperatures inspire us to step outside.

The sparkling emerald lawns call out to us 
as the soft breezes cascade over them,
"Come and play! Come and play!"

The moist mossy smells of Spring 
prompt us to inhale deeply
and take it all in. 


It's a beautiful word. 
It has a loveliness all its own
just in speaking it aloud.

. . . . . .

My favourite part of Spring is the greenness of the grass - I just want to bottle it!
And no one can deny that the sunshine and the light breezes are oh, so inspiring!

The idea of curling up with a good book in the beauty 
that is Springtime inspired this small illustration.

"Springtime Reading"
 (watercolour, approx. 7.5" x 7.5")

This li'l mouse found the perfect place to stretch out and read a good book!
The soft breezes waft fresh floral scents across the pages...
Simply. Perfect. 

I hope you too can make time to sit outside 
and simply enjoy the unique beauty of Springtime!

♥ Cath-

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A Play Date With the Masters

I will not deny I love drawing and painting mice!

If you were to give me a piece of paper and a pencil, the paper would eventually 
be full of mice and hearts and others li'l critters that skitter through my imagination.

A little while ago, I was in the midst of working on some commission pieces
and wanted to have a little fun in between "serious work" times and 
thought, 'what if I made my mouse drawings into famous works of art?'

That spark of an idea ignited and POW! 

Here's the result of my play date with the Masters...

I've always been a fan of the pointillism style of Georges Seurat:

And who doesn't love the swirls and twirls of post-impressionism?
This one in the style of Vincent Van Gogh's 'Self Portrait':

And how about the ridiculous amount of detail Leonardo da Vinci placed in the 
background of his famous Mona Lisa? Have you really looked at the painting? Wow!
This is my version of his famous work - 'Mousa Lisa':

During my adventures with the masters, I came across a little something from 
Pablo Picasso's cubism phase and decided to have fun with it:

An adventure in art is not complete without trying something 
in the style of Andy Warhol and his screen print pop art:

  ...because sometimes you just have to get an idea 
out of your head to make room for more ideas!!


Friday, 19 February 2016

A Bit of This, a Bit of That...

Sometimes the ideas run out;
sometimes the time runs out.

Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason,
just randomness. 

You know the 'spark' that I have mentioned over the past few years?
That Boom, Bang, POW! that occurs when a great thought comes along,
well, the past two months have been spark free
- not by choice, I would never choose to go spark free,
but sometimes it just happens
and I've learned to roll with it.

I don't give up on myself or my abilities,
I've learned to just keep drawing and musing 
and give myself time... 

That's not to say that fun things can't still fall out of the pencil!
They've just be all-over-the-place random!

Check out the variety of the last little while:

 "Sick Siamese"
(watercolour, approx. 5" x 7")
"Party Cat" 
(watercolour, approx, 3"x 5")

The above were custom made for a greeting card order...

Then things took an unexpected turn!

A few Sundays ago a lady came to church services with her young daughters.
That evening she returned with her youngest daughter and we got talking.
I soon discovered that this 8 year old girl was a writer - and had just
recently finished a book - she had it with her - she could show me the story!
It was mentioned that I was an artist and maybe I could draw some
characters to go along with her story...

Here are some character designs (based on author descriptions) 
for Amiee M.'s original story: "Candy Girl and the Revenge of Taco Man"

From top: 
Candy Girl (Aero Bar)
Julie (Mint Gum), Tootsie and Lara (Tootsie Rolls)
Calvin (Gobstoppers), Reese (Reese's bar)
Those were the "Good Guys"

Now, here are the "Bad Guys"

From top:
Taco Man (taco shell)
Adam (tomato), Juliette (ground beef)
Junior James (block of marble cheese), Catrina (salsa)

Here are a couple small story thumbnail sketches:

Candy Girl Triumphant!!

. . .

And to complete the 'never-know-what-is-coming-next' 
I was asked to paint a small sunflower:


 Yep, I've been all over the place and back again!

My current sketchbook pages show twirling mice,
hugging pigeons, and words written out in flowing script:
"happy" "joy" "love"
so at least I know everything's going in the right direction!!

Hoping your days are filled with unexpected fun!