presenting | an isavirtue christmas

as i said, i know it is early days, but i got a jump on etsy christmas this year so that i'm not rushing around like a madwoman trying to make any custom orders along with keeping stock in my etsy shop. i'm going to leave it to the rest of the artists, crafters (and big box stores) to make cards. now, i know that sounds crazy but cards just don't get me excited and i can't do them in a way that i find satisfactory so i'll be doing christmas writing paper, christmas postcards and double side christmas flat cards to fit inside my (you guessed it), christmas envelopes! here's a sneak peak:


jewelry chooseday | sagalloc

awhile back i mentioned margaux lange - remember the barbie face necklaces? well barbie strikes again on etsy with creator sagalloc. sagalloc uses barbie shoes to make clustered bracelets and extravagant necklaces. i'm particularly drawn to the necklaces because i love pieces that aren't what they appear to be (lily allen's doe dress for example).


mail art monday | isavirtue packages

if you'll recall, i've been reworking my etsy shop packaging (mentioned here and here). there's just one more piece i'm waiting for - the hummingbird stamp which i will emboss in white on the black envelope. however, i just couldn't wait to show you how the packaging has come together.

below are black 6x9" envelopes with a white embossed "isavirtue" stamp, a "something good sticker," a wicked cool moo stamp with my pink hummingbird address label and some fun washi tape here and there. i've also included images of the little pink notes i'll be including in the package with my mini business card.  

i would love to hear your thoughts!


shop update | new journals!

see more isavirtue journals here

thoughts on | patience

today's post contains a bit of irony because although my last name is patience, and my blog is titled "isavirtue," my husband is truly the one with the most patience.

hold up, let me clarify that. the man looks like he's going to explode when he's stuck behind a slow driver, or while he's standing in a seemingly endless queue. but, when it comes to me, my husband has all the patience in the world.

when the situation is literal and he's waiting for me to get ready - he is patient. he never rushes me or tells me what i'm doing doesn't matter. when i'm upset (with him or with life) - he is patient. he lets me rant and rave, sometimes i even call him names but he is patient and waits for my mood to pass. when he is teaching me something and i don't understand the concept - he is patient. in fact he relishes those moments in which he gets to share his knowledge with me.

sometimes i feel guilty. why should this part of our relationship be so lopsided? but most of the time i feel like the luckiest woman in the world. because i have this caring, generous and oh so patient man to deal with my fair-weather emotions.

and besides, i don't mind line ups and i'm very calm on the roads - so maybe there is a bit of balance there after all?

feature art friday | alexandra hunter

i'm so delighted to announce that i'm making a bit of a life change and moving into a gallery position that is more suited to my interests. in addition to working for iconic yukon artist ted harrison, i will also now be working for a new gallery. there's really exciting things happening at this gallery, which exhibits and supports local emerging talent.

i know i don't talk about work very often, but i often share the art i discover at work when it inspires or touches me. i was incredibly drawn to the paintings at this gallery by alexandra hunter. there is something entirely magical about these pieces. the way the artist blends the blues, greens and golds together is simple stunning - the works have a glow and a real sense of joy about them. to get literal for a moment, this first work (which i believe is encaustic), makes me think of a life-time of birthday candles, all layered upon each other throughout the years.



fifty-two projects | project thirty-four

this is project thirty-four of fifty-two projects. for more completed projects click here.

project thirty-four | photograph your bookshelves. then make a list of every book that's on the shelves, putting a check mark beside the ones you've actually read. next, make a list of all the books that aren't on your shelves that you've read over the years. and then make still another list, this one noting all the books you want to read but haven't, yet.

alteration | i'm not letting you see my husband's office where the books are kept so i've pulled my favourites from my four book shelves and photographed them in the living room. i'll try to remember some of the books i've read that touched me, but i don't own - this will be difficult. i won't make a list of all the books i want to read, but will direct you elsewhere.

how do i feel about books? great! books can transport you to an entirely different reality. they can play with your emotions, inspire you and comfort you. i've been reading since i was very little but i have a rule to only ever read books that make me feel good. that's not to say i shy away from books with sad subject matter, only that i don't force myself to read things i won't enjoy because i think it will "better me" as a person. i also don't think books need to be babied and kept in perfect condition. i'm a big fan of the "dog ear bookmark."

i've divided my favourites into two shelves of books - art, and fiction. those are the only type of books on my shelves - except for some recipe books which i definitely do not read but am ambitiously keeping for the day i decide i like to cook. see below for my most adored favourites.

the above images show my art books, not including coffee table and picture books (though i highly recommend the banksy book "wall and piece" and andy goldsworthy's "time"). my first favourite art book* is "what makes a great exhibition?" (the blue one) which is a series of essays from people in various artistic and curatorial roles. my second is john berger's "ways of seeing." this book is hard to describe but is literally about art and the way we see the world around us. it's truly enlighting (the orange one, plus it's tiny and a very easy read so pick it up!). finally, i'm a disturbingly huge fan of "exhibit labels" by beverly serrell. i believe wall text can make or break an art exhibition and what they say can speak volumes about what the curator is trying to say.

an honorary mention goes to paul goldberger's "why architecture matters" because he basically proved/backed up the whole point of my graduate thesis (the space of a room or building can change the way art is perceived).

above are some of my favourite fiction novels. the first four in the first picture are my most favourite. i've read "the red tent," "the slap," "fall on your knees" and "summer sisters" over and over again. i also have  tons of jodi picoult and anita shreve books.

some books i've read and loved that i don't own are: "prep" (i really connected with the main character), "the way the crow flies" (another one by the author of "fall on your knees") and a really cool book about twin women - one gets lost during cruise/ship wreck and everyone thinks she's dead so the other twin steps into her place. i think it's called "a tangled web"??

i always keep a list of books i want to read on goodreads.com. feel free to friend me, i'm under "isavirtue" (obviously).

*  it's so hard to choose!!


isavirtue feature | pie n' the sky girl talk

i am delighted to be on this week's on pie n' the sky's girl talk series. blogger melisa is featuring me as "the gallerist" and i've answered a series of interview questions. by golly that girl knows how to put together a beautiful blog post. her whole blog is like eye candy and i hope my girl talk section lives up to that!
head on over if you want to learn more about me. or click here for the rest of the girl talk series (including some of my other relevant favourites "the newlywed," "the painter" and "the artist.")


what i made | & where i sold it

back in july i heard about a local night market - and got really excited! my work schedule makes it impossible to participate in local markets because they all take place on saturday and sunday mornings. when i heard about one that happens in the evening, i immediately called the organizer and asked* if i could participate. i've done two already and there will be one more market in september. i learn a little bit more each time! below are pictures of my "booth" and the way it has altered to better accommodate the customers and the location.

p.s. as a side note, one of my "make art a part (of your life)" e-course students has been writing some pretty great blog posts about her experience with the course thus far. check them out here and here.

registration for make art a part is always open. click here to register.

p.p.s. next wednesday i'll be sharing the first of my christmas products**

* begged.
** i know! but selling online means i have to be way ahead of the game so that people who want christmas cards etc can buy them way in advance to mail to their friends and family.

jewelry chooseday | dernier cri

if you know me, or this blog, you know that i love art...but i love jewelry too. i have waaay to much of it. see proof here. so it's doubly hard that one of the galleries i work at sells art and jewelry. and when it's slow i have lots of time to wander around and add to my list of needs.* the latest on my list? these rings from dernier cri jewelry design. they feel so good on my fingers!

* correction: wants.


mail art monday | new penpal + what my dad made

one of my readers commented that she missed writing letters so i offered to be her new penpal!

i found this great blue and red paper at a local craft shop. although this entire piece is quite simple, i'm so struck by the print on this paper that i almost don't want to mail the envelope! i love that quote by marilyn monroe that is finished on the back of the envelope too...

while my parents were here i taught my dad how to do some stamping and embossing. i had no qualms letting him just go for it* as he has a really good eye and a steady hand. he even started experimenting after doing a couple! below is his attempt to mix two embossing powders. i quite like the effect don't you? i'll have to give it a shot.

 way to go dad!

* i even let him do some journals...which is kind of a big deal because they aren't easily replaceable - you get one chance to stamp with no mistakes!

sunday seller | getting hooked

as part of my etsy packaging reassessment, i purchased a little hummingbird stamp. i want to speak the same language in my packaging as i do in my products. this means a combination of black, white, pink, kraft, embossing and perfection. i thought it would be a nice touch to have a hummingbird stamp on my envelopes as a subtle connection to the little bird in my blog and shop banner.

so needless to say i was delighted to come across this little hummingbird stamp by getting hooked. i've actually seen a number of hummingbirds before but they are always soo detailed and are always sniffing flowers*. the hummingbird below will be easier to emboss with my powders - something that will be necessary because the envelopes i ordered are black. i can't wait to bring it all together!

getting hooked is neat because she handcuts all of her stamps from rubber in a linocut fashion. most stamps nowadays are done using digital images and machines so it's nice to see that this art form has not died out completely. not to mention this artist has a real sense of shape and form. 

* they just can't get enough of the flowers!


thoughts on | where you live

having my parents visit this past week meant that there was a lot of talk about where i live. for record, i live in victoria, british columbia, canada.* you can see my city in project three and project ten.

j and i moved out here a couple of years ago from ontario. luckily i had the excuse of attending school - i'm sure it's very scary to move somewhere on a whim because then you regret the decision if the place is not what you expected. i really had no idea what to expect but i knew i liked it even when we came to visit and scout out houses** a few months before driving across the country. i remember being downtown near the inner harbour and thinking "dear god, i'm actually going to get to live here??"

of course our parents want us to come home. but is that home anymore? is it home because that's where our families live? or is home where you wake up each morning and come back to each night? is home where your heart is? because it's official - my heart is in victoria and i may just leave it here if we ever have to go back to ontario.

i'll pine for victoria. i'll drive down the 403 highway from toronto to niagara and even though i'll drive next to lake ontario, and arrive at the falls, i'll regret that it's not the pacific ocean i'm looking at. and even though it will be the states on the other side, it won't be the olympic mountains rising up through the clouds and making me feel part of something bigger and grander. there won't be days where i wander downtown, buy a piece of fudge and stare at the water as it sparkles in the morning sun and the float planes land like giant insects in the harbour. i'll have drive in the winter and fear for my life instead of waiting for the bus on a misty victoria day. i can't fathom ever living somewhere that doesn't make my heart want to burst every single day with the joy i feel because of where i live. because of the beauty, the culture, the weather, the arts, and the people who are so nice and say thank-you when they get off the bus - it makes you want to weep.

but we will have to - because i basically promised that when we have kids, we will move closer to our parents. but by golly, i still have three to five years to entrench myself on the west coast before i have to worry about that...

as i told my mother - i think there are three things that affect where you live and one is so perfect and wonderful it will always outweigh the others.

one | family
two | your job
three | the place itself.

can you guess which one outweighs the others for me? what about you?

* stalkers unite! she's given us her location!
** unsuccessful at the time and scary. scary scary basement suite. luckily we found a great one a month later.