Category Archives: home

New Traditions

Wintery trees in Pink

Do you decorate?

I’ve always adored holiday decorations. Or, at least, I used to, before I had adult responsibilities and recognized that I was short on space. (Clutter didn’t bother me as much as a child.) Even the holiday decorations in stores made me giddy, and I dreamed of which “style” I would put up if I were grown up and had my own home.

Now I am, and I do, but I’m not very interested in decorating. Which makes me sad.

In fact, I’ve become less interested in decorations the bigger my home has gotten. I put more effort into decorating when I was 21 – and squished into a small apartment with 3 other people – than I do now. I don’t know why.

Well, yes I do. Now my priorities are different. My business is my focus. My studio has expanded exponentially with each move we’ve made, thereby rendering any “bigger space” irrelevant. I also grew to hate clutter, in part because I spend all my time in a messy studio. It doesn’t help that I try to be all minimalist and Zen. It’s hard to fit multicolored lights and reindeer into that. Continue reading

The DIY Deck in Pictures

My feet on the new deck!

When I purchased this home a couple of years ago the side stairs and small 3 by 3 foot landing were in pretty rough shape, but still usable. By the beginning of this Summer they were detaching from the house and were unsafe to continue using. My Dad and brother dropped by about a week ago and built this new 6 by 8 foot deck and staircase for me in one day.

This is the story in pictures… (click them for a larger image)

My Dad (John) the mason and younger brother (Stephen) the journeyman carpenter are awesome! I love you both and the new side deck rocks!

I’m looking forward to June or why May didn’t bring flowers

Beatrice Bird Face illustration

May can just go back to where it came from with it’s rain, fog, rain, showers and did I say rain? It can also take the piercing pain and intermittent numbness in my left hand away too, and the pain in my right shoulder blade away and the dizzying mind numbing heart palpitating hypothyroidism away too. This is why I haven’t been blogging much. I’ve been dealing with a vast array of symptoms for the last 30 days and just doing my best to just be with them.

This is the first cohesive thought I’ve been able to blog during the last 30 days. I got into see the doctor last week as my symptoms had returned with a vengeance. My medication was upped this week to combat the flight and fancy I’m feeling most days. It’s confusing as heaven/hell to feel like you physically have to run a marathon when your mind is quiet and sleepy, and must sleep or rest when your mind is full of vivid thoughts and imagery. This is the yin and yang of hypothyroidism.

It’s not pleasant to wake in bed with a start and then feel like you are going to fall over and have a black out. Focus is not easy right now.

studio - illustrator jessica doyle

And the backyard garden is too sogging wet to plant or work. I’ve been spending my time with friends and family this last month. I guess it’s a good thing that I’ve learned the art of phoning or visiting people when I feel bad or am having an attack as I like to call them.

I’ve been reading, learning and drawing up a storm too as I seem to be able to research, implement, read and draw. I’ve been reading about Bitcoin and hope to offer it on a few select products in June. I read Thomas Moore’s, Dark Night of the Soul, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, BigCartel Help by BigCartel, PulleyApp Help by PulleyApp and the Bitcoin wiki written by everyone.

I went to a charity clothing swap and got some new-to-me clothes. I’ve donated more art this month to every event and charity possible. I think I’ve been added to a ask for donation list. I went to an art gallery hop and I made a few new real life female friends too which is awesome as it’s been too long. I am going to my 20 year high school reunion next month childless and unmarried. I’ve got two awesome roommates who seem to be able to cope quite well with my health issues. I’m hoping to travel to Fredericton next month and visit with two of my best friends, Vikki and Dana. Vikki has hypothyroidism and has been instrumental in helping me deal with the symptoms I’m experiencing.

Anyway, it’s been a long month, a full month.

The art in this post is a piece that I finished recently, although the photos are only depicting her half finished. I’ll post the finished one once she is scanned in. Her name is Beatrice. Say hi!

The intelligence of machines during a recession

On Boxing Day evening I headed uptown with Karen to share a drink at Happinez before going dancing at one of the local clubs where we were to meet up with Lisa and Jilian.

We began walking down King Street so that I could stop at my branch’s bank machine to avoid banking fees to withdraw cash for the evening’s festivities. I placed my bank card in the ATM like I’ve done thousands of times, punched in that I wanted $80 and promptly took my card and left the bank lobby closing the door behind me.

Standing outside the bank’s doors I realized I was only putting into my wallet a bank card and no cash or receipt. I stared in through the door’s windows and saw my $80 still sitting in the dispensing slot! I again dug out my bank card to swipe to get back into blasted banking machine lobby and ran to grab my money. My hands were but inches from that money and the machine sucked it back in! Karen laughed. I did not laugh.

I still do not have that $80 and the bank is closed today.

I’ve got the receipt and I’m sure the security camera caught the stupidity on tape!

The photo is of the Christmas lights I hung in the sun room with a reflection of living room in the door.

Missy Two Shoes can haz Christmas

It’s so funny how cats can and do create little nests for themselves anywhere and everywhere. And come Christmas time when the boxes and bags of decorations come out they will indeed find happiness within the gold, red and green decorations.

Oddly enough she let me tie a bow around her neck and didn’t even try to take it off. I did remove the bow before turning in for bed yesterday as I was worried she would hang herself or something… if it got caught on a something you know…

And yes she has regained the use of blinking her right eye after that nasty cat punctured her head. Thus far that muti-coloured feline has not turned up on the backyard deck again.

The shoveling of Snow and housekeeping of home

On Sunday, Saint John received it’s first snowfall. And with that comes the task of clearing of said snow from walkways, stairs, driveways and decks. I was pooped after shoveling, only to have to clean up the house afterwords.

Each Sunday, I strip the tenants beds, wash linens and towels, vacuum, clean the bathrooms and basically restock toilet paper, hand towels and other common goods that are included with the rent. I’ve got it down to a science, after doing this for the last four months and it takes me about four hours from beginning to end to do the housekeeping chores. I look it at as my part-time job. I claim the income from the rentals and pay much extra for residential insurance as opposed to regular home insurance which will not cover you when you rent to more than one person within your own home. And I rent to up to three people at times. At the moment, I have two tenants; one long-term and one short-term and am hoping to have another tenant by mid-next week who is coming to Saint John from Montreal for a work contract.

By doing it by the book, I am able to claim a percentage of all cleaning supplies, toilet paper, heating, power, cable, internet, furniture, bedding etc that the tenants use. On top of that, because I run and operate a business within this home I needed additional business insurance and therefore can claim all related utilities, basically a 1/4 of the main floor of the house. I can claim about 4/5 of my home as business due to the rental and art business combined, and do pay dearly for the insurance of both. The paperwork of running two businesses is a another job unto itself!

I raised the rents from $125 per week to $150 per week as the expenses were a bit more than I initially calculated. However, when compared to other room rentals available within the city my rooms are on the higher end of renting but they are legal, clean, bright, spacious and well maintained.

And I guess, that is what matters.

Needless to say, come late Sunday night I was exhausted after shoveling snow for two and half hours and then cleaning house for four hours, as both are very labour intensive. I definitely do not need a gym membership.

Begin RANT – I was just today declined for life insurance. Don’t ever get Crohn’s disease and/or mental health or addiction issues as you will be declined if you are self-employed and single in Canada. This is frustrating. I can’t get health insurance and now life insurance to, unless I am employed by a company who offers group insurance or am married and under my partners plan. Thank god I live in Canada where at least health care is free. We do need to pay for dental, eye care and prescription drugs (which would be covered if you had insurance) but anything else is free. BUT STILL I’ve been in remission from Crohn’s for 12 freaking years and clean of addiction for four years! End RANT

You are invited…

…to my home.

For a Merry Christmas open studio & art sale
Friday, December 4, 2009 – 7:00PM to 9:00PM
Saturday, December 5, 2009 – 11:00AM to 4:00PM

Hope you can make it even just to say hi to Milton the Fish!

Original artwork & illustrations, matted prints, framed art, open and limited edition prints, miniature prints, 2010 Art calendars, regular and miniature greeting card sets and handpainted art boxes will be on hand.

Oh and ho ho ho!
My address is 40 Park Avenue
Saint John, NB

There is plenty of free off street parking or if you are taking the bus my house sits directly on the East/West bus routes.


View Larger Map

Merry Merry!

Handpainted boxes and getting messy

Something happened over the last month and my handpainted boxes began selling on Etsy. This makes me smile as I love painting little boxes to hold your precious items in.

retro-turquoise-boxes

I’m setting up a painting station in the living room directly between the sunroom to the right and studio on the left just beside the bookshelf. I need an area that can get messy with needing to be cleaned up.

living-room

Although, I have a large studio every inch of it is used for something other than messy creative work. I have the computer desk for the 27″ iMac; the printing table with two printers, the drafting table which is used as my cutting and packaging area, all of which can not have water, paint or bits of paper, sandpaper, wood, dust or paintbrushes hanging around on their surfaces.

rustic-infatuation-boxes

So, I’m expanding into the living room today and I’ll be painting directly underneath an illustration I created years ago entitled:

old-men-in-tree

The Old Men in the Tree
who’ll grant you a wish…
one
two
three…

Each box set is listed in the Handpainted boxes and objects section of my art shop.