two thousand & eleven | two thousand & twelve

in the spirit of this letter writing style, a review.

a photo of myself and my new husband in downtown toronto.

two thousand & eleven
this was a bit of a flip year for me. things feel a lot better at the end than they did at the beginning

hearts | i got married in the spring of two thousand & eleven. things were tricky before that with the stress of planning and the related financial issues. but after the wedding, it has been bliss. i hate to be cliche "newlyweds." but i'm not sure that term is relevant because j and i had been together for six years and living together for almost three years when we got married. regardless, i do feel as if our relationship has grown immensely since the wedding. i honestly think we are closer than ever. we still have our tiffs (mostly my fault as i can be very fair weather), but we are just generally very good.

it was great to see my whole family and my old friends at the wedding (as much as one can at a wedding), and my parents came out to stay with us in august. i feel really pleased and proud of my parents this year. we become closer to equals every year, though i still call them with ridiculous child-like questions. we weren't able to go see our families for christmas this year but i think we were both okay with that. i do miss my little brothers.

clubs | from january to august of two thousand & eleven, i was working somewhere that made me incredibly unhappy. actually, the job itself was completely fine and the location was adorable but it was quite far from our apartment, and the person i worked for made me cry on a weekly basis. finally, after my parents left in august, i began sending out resumes to various galleries around town. i got lucky because one place was hiring and i didn't even know it! although money is tight, i'm now quite pleased with both of my jobs, and my schedule! (i begin work at 12 most days and have two weekdays off!).

in addition, my stationery business has been doing quite well. it still gives me great joy to create and sell my handmade goods.

diamonds | well, we just got married - how do you think our finances are? lol.

spades | i think making the job change has really contributed to my overall happiness. which kind of outweighs anything else i'm feeling!

a photo of my new colleague and myself at a really neat art exhibition entitled "never dine alone"

two thousand & twelve
while am excited at the prospect of a new year and do have goals, i am quite happy to be complacent with the way things are!

hearts | since things are so good with my beau, i'm resolving to call my family more often, and to write more letters to my friends. i have such a wonderful collection of friends and i haven't been keeping in touch nearly as well as i could. so more snail mail is the answer!

clubs | i have some really exciting projects on the go at work and i'm looking forward to working on them! at one job i am organizing a traveling exhibition of artwork to schools across canada (eventually). at the other i'm going to be putting together workshops with the artists, and some of my own with letter writing/mail art etc. we are also going to be doing a really sexy, cool exhibition in february! and the best part will be the huge art awards in the spring!

i'm really hoping to take my stationery shoppe to the next level. i'm going to start properly tracking my expenses and revenue and try to make it a real contributor to our income.

diamonds | well, you know. but on the bright side, we just made our last car payment so things should feel a bit lighter from here on out!

spades | as long as my little biopsy goes well and this cavity i had fixed doesn't need a root canal, then i should be a happy lady.


feature art | poppy and pinecone

in continuation of my new, developing obsession with water colours, i am posting these whimsical maps by elisabeth from poppy & pinecone on etsy. similar to the cityscapes created by watercolourist jessica durrant, elisabeth tugs at our heartstrings with her custom paintings of states, provinces and countries. as i begin to fall more in love with my city each day (my home now for just over three years), i often think about how when i leave (there will unfortunately come a day), i will want a portrait of this beautiful island to take with me. looking at these beautifully, but softly rendered shapes makes me think i've found the artist who can make that happen for me. 

below i've included some places that mean something to me - canada, british columbia (see me waving from the bottom of vancouver island?), italy (a place i must visit someday in order to feel like a true art historian/curator) and north america.


what i made | black and white

i know it's thursday and i usually post a fifty-two project. but i think i'm going to start spacing those out a bit. they make me feel a little bit stressful and there are a couple i'm not going to do anything (they involves strange irrelevant things like shot gunning beer and looking for broken umbrellas...). instead i will share a what i made post. which i should have posted yesterday.

but you see...it's begun again. the sims. i go through periods where i become totally obsessed with playing the sims on a regular basis. when i was in university i would even bring my lap top to class and play the game! and now they've introduced "sim's ambitions." which means i get to be an interior designer. i literally get to go into other sims house and paint, build, decorate etc. so if you don't hear from me, you can be pretty sure i'm out living my double life as gallerist (real life)/interior designer (sim life).

i posted so many new things in my shop today and i'm in the midst of creating even more. there is a really special collaboration that i'll be sharing with you on snail mail monday. i'm just bursting to show you pictures and tell you all about it but it's been planned for january so i'll have to wait - but stay tuned!


musings | looking forward

as i sit here and wait for my name to be called at the dentist, i can't help but think about how much i dread it. the funny thing is that what i dread is not necessarily the appointment itself but this waiting, and this time leading up to it.

on the same subject but on the flip side of things, i also love the wait and the time leading up to good things. birthday parties, paycheques, drinks with the girls or a special holiday! i love thinking about events that take place in the future. it drives me, motivates me and gets me excited! but we all know that the event is rarely what we make it to be right? it never quite achieves the importance that we have given it in our minds. and so i just enjoy the waiting.

i think this is why i enjoy christmas more than most people. because i'm very aware that the month leading up to this holiday is the best part. planning gift ideas, shopping, listening to christmas music and seeing all of the houses lit up so magically. i absolutely thrive from december first to december twenty-third!

because two days later... it's all over. you have to think about taking the tree down, pack up the ornaments,* de-string the holiday lights, and then go to the dentist because you ate too many candy canes!

i'm wondering though if the waiting highs outweigh the "let down?"**

* i literally can't do this task. i make j do it because it just makes me so said. if it was up to me there would be a christmas tree up all year. but even i know that ruin the specialness!
** that word is a bit extreme but it does in a way summarize what i'm talking about.

snail mail | holiday cards

our mail box was absolutely inundated with cards this year! it's been absolutely delightful finding a card  every day. i think a lot of it has to do with the fact that j and i didn't travel back to ontario for christmas this year. but i think it's something else too. j and i got married last spring and strangely enough, i think that's the reason that we received so many joint cards. is it possible that people are still traditional like that? j and i have beem together for almost seven years, and this is our fourth christmas living together but never have we received christmas cards in such abundance - if any at all! how funny! 

didn't get the chance to send holiday cards this year? prepare early for next year!

isavirtue stationery | sale!


sunday sins | carbs!

okay. how did my cease fire on miscellaneous spending go? all in all - pretty good. especially considering it's christmas time. i had finished the bulk of my shopping but grabbed a few extra little things for j. we also bought supplies for a christmas dinner party we had at one of the galleries i work at. but instead of buying fun dinner party decorations - i made everything myself. and there were countless times i was downtown and had time to kill but i didn't buy anything. there was this however, as well as the curling wand i mentioned last week! oopsie. but you know what? i can do even better. and so i think i'm definitely going to continue this one and try not to buy things so randomly and sporadically. now that my christmas commissions will start to wane, it's especially important to watch my spending i think.

for the next two weeks i am going to avoid carbs. i don't know how. but i'm going to do my damnedest. please eat a bagel and think of me fondly.


a greeting | merry christmas!

to all my friends, loved ones and readers - have a wonderful holiday weekend!*

* that is, if you celebrate this holiday. if you don't, then enjoy december 25th when north america and europe grind to a halt!


feature art friday | aaron straupe cope

i am totally entranced by by these neon mapping images by aaron straupe cope. a man who is inspired and worked closely with "all things mobile, geo and 'machine-tag' related." appropriately called "pretty maps," the images and colours are based on data from various open sources. you can read more about it here. i think this connection/collaboration between art and technology is truly exquisite.* 

the last image is what came up when i searched my location - victoria, bc canada (that dark chunk is victoria proper. but the whole section to the left is the lower quadrant of vancouver island.

*science was like "ya'll are too slack and hippy dippy." and art was like "fine, we don't need to be friends with you! there's tons of other friends we could have!"


fifty-two projects | project thirty-five

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

project nineteen | write down the story of an incident in which you're lucky enough to be alive to tell the tale

alternations | i'm an incredibly safe person. i know - that's totally boring. but i don't really live on the edge or go on great adventures. that being said, i can't recall any serious incidents in which i almost died! so instead i will tell you about a time my brother almost died. some details are more clear than others, so i'll tell it in the style of my other memories.

my baby brother patchie! (not actually so baby, i know)

we were at the cottage. in my mind i recall it as late summer, but that might be because it was evening - it was cooler. my little brother had gone missing (he was so very very young - perhaps 3?). the whole family searched for him. in the cottage, on the deck, under the deck, at the forest line, down by the dock (could he have gone that far?). all of sudden one of my other brothers shouted "mom!!!". he was pointing to the hot tub. at the bottom lay my littlest brother (so very very young), unmoving. my mother moved so fast towards him - i didn't understand how anyone could move that fast. she pulled him out and while she was tending to him (do all nurses know cpr so well? even baby nurses?), dad was shepherding us to the boat. the boat ride to the marina was so quiet - just the wind (so cold!). the boat pulled in so fast the owner was already running to the dock when we arrived. she knew something was wrong! we were made to stay there for the night and my parents had to drive to the hospital (so far away!). i don't know what we did, but maybe we played games or something. i wasn't scared.

in case you are wondering, my brother was fine. i was really proud of my mom but ever since then i was very conscious of just how far help or a hospital was. i can't help but wonder sometimes if that's why i'm so safe - you can't count on help all the time you know?


what she made | let's die friends

you know, i think i forgot to introduce the most recent addition to the make art a part (of your life) e-course! the drawing section of the course only had two projects, whereas many of the rest had three. enter kelly from let's die friends. i've always admired kelly's spunky blog and delightful drawings. when i approached her about contributing a project for the course, she agreed. below are some sneak peek's of what she came up with (hint: it's awesome!)


exhibition opening | annabelle marquis

lowercase gallery is now live!
admission is always free!

lowercase gallery is an online exhibition space in which i curate collections of inspiring artwork. the gallery is designed in such a way that visitors will feel as if they are walking through, admiring art on the walls. new art in the gallery will be installed bi-weekly. i encourage you visit often, and to share current exhibitions with your friends and followers.

lowercase references my penchant for lowercase letters. but more importantly, art is lowercase. in my world, there is no such thing as "Art." art does not have to be high brow, discriminating, confusing or alienating. in my work, i encounter people who are frightened of art, claim to know nothing about it, and even refuse to enter a gallery. well, you can enter this gallery! there is no judgements here, no sales pressure and you are not expected to find a deeper meaning if you don't want to. the only intentions this gallery has are to inspire you, fascinate you, and beautify your world.

it would mean so much to me if you tweet, blog, or facebook this little online gallery. in the meantime, i'll work on some social media buttons!

i am delighted to introduce the gallery's inaugural exhibition - a solo show featuring the incredible up and coming montréal artist, annabelle marquis. enjoy!

musings | falling in love with art

*come back soon for the grand opening of lowercase gallery!*

once, when i worked at the robert langen art gallery while doing my undergrad at university, i fell in love with some art. i didn't know it was love at first - but i would stare at this artwork* and become totally entranced by it. i used to get up and just wander by the pieces, admiring the intricate layers and clever use of materials. i even went so far as to look at the price book to look up the cost of a specific piece. of course, i was young, and the thought of buying something so large (and yes, expensive) was completely foreign to me.

but this is how i know it was love. a year later, the artist in question (bonnie lewis) came up in conversation and when i went home to google it, i felt the same as i had a year before. you know - i just had that feeling in my stomach, my heart and my throat. like butterflies and not being able to breathe. it felt as if i might burst with happiness. and so, i took out a loan and made it mine.

now two years later, it's happened again. don't get me wrong, i'm a one man kinda gal, but when it comes to my relationship with art...well i'm a bit...promiscuous. when i first saw this work by annabelle marquis...i thought i might have died because it sure felt like i was in heaven (look! i wrote about the experience here!). but i left. i had to! we have a wedding to pay off and that's the responsible thing to do. but love...that wicked mistress. i went back a month later and put down a deposit. 

and now, khroma is home with me for christmas! joy to the world! because of the christmas tree, i had to move around a lot of our art. so i put this piece in the bedroom temporarily. but everyone night when i go to sleep, and every morning when i wake up looking at it - i'm just so happy! so it may just stay there!

this is how you know when to buy art. when your heart beats fast, you feel nervous in your stomach and your throat closes just slightly. when you go home and you can't stop thinking about it. when one viewing leaves you feeling bouyant for days. when you worry that someone else will get to it before you (goodness no!). then you just make it happen, and you make it yours.

* i worked right in the gallery space - a fact which has it's ups and downs. half of the galleries i've worked at have been like this - others i worked in the lobby at the front desk. the "up" being that i am literally surrounded by the art, which is awesome. the "down" being that visitors probably don't feel entirely comfortable because i'm there.

snail mail | baby shower invites

below are some baby shower invites i made for a good friend of mine who is expecting in the new year. i know - they aren't really your traditional baby shower invites. i truly debated whether i should include images of babies, strollers, bassinets or girly things.* but in the end none of it felt very "her" so i went with something that is (in my eyes) just a little more chic.

i'm including a screenshot below of the actual invite. i love the way all the fonts turned out don't you? i'm going to play around with that for when i introduce wedding invites to my shop.

*she's having a girl - yay!
p.s. on a totally unrelated note - i got a curling wand and am so excited to try it!


sunday seller | hive & honey

this past month, i had the pleasure to meet* kaelah from little chief honeybee and hive & honey. rarely do you come across someone with such intense style and personality! she's spunky, super creative and passionate. in her etsy shop she sells adorable little pieces like the ones below. in my quest to make my hair look like this, i have purchased** the first bow - isn't it pretty??

* and by "meet" i obviously mean online. lol - is there any other way nowadays?
** oopsie - how's that gonna jive with my sunday sin?


isavirtue | new blog design


i'm delighted to introduce you to the new isavirtue blog design! it's a little softer and a lot more fresh. isn't it funny how you start to feel lackluster and it turns out all you need is change? this blog is my new haircut, and it feels good. thank-you so much to dana from wonder forest who did the re-design!

there's a lot of changes and fun stuff that i will be introducing as well. i've fiddled with the isavirtue blog schedule and this is what came of it:

monday | snail mail mondays (letters, packages and mail art)
tuesday | musings (first tuesday of the month is an art crawl)
wednesday | what i made (my own stationery creations)
thursday | personal project (currently: fifty-two projects)
friday | feature art fridays (artists who have inspired me recently)
saturday | anything or nothing at all (every other saturday is exhibition openings)
sunday |  sunday sins / sunday seller (great etsy sellers and indie artists)

i'm also very excited about these new additions:

about/f.a.q. | this is new to my blog. it's not normally my style to be so forthcoming, but i think this page will really help you to get to know, me, my blog and my shop.

lowercase gallery | opening on tuesday december twentieth, lowercase gallery is an online exhibition space in which i curate collections of inspiring artwork. the gallery is designed in such a way that visitors will feel as if they are walking through, admiring art on the walls. new art in the gallery will be installed bi-weekly. i encourage you visit often, and to share current exhibitions with your friends and followers. learn more about the gallery here!

art crawls | on the first tuesday of every month isavirtue hosts an art crawl. normally an art crawl involves wandering from gallery to gallery within an urban core, but in this instance it involves a link up. i invite you to link your blog to mine every tuesday and share about art work or an artist that you have discovered. bloggers will "crawl" from blog to blog and enjoy beautiful artwork! i hope you participate as i am very excited!

let me know what you think of the new blog design and new features!

feature art | valerie roybal

how beautiful are these pieces by valerie roybal? roybal uses bits and pieces from discarded books and magazines to create these perfectly balanced works of art. the various sections of colour and the multiple layers make them complex and pleasing to the eye. i love art that incorporates emphemera from the past. i like to imagine the how each sliver (antique post cards, handwritten letters, recipes, reference materials and thrift store textiles), represents a sliver of someone else's life.


fifty-two projects | project nineteen

this is project nineteen of fifty-two projects. for more completed projects, click here.

project nineteen | write down the story of the best night of your life...more along the lines of past events that aren't so easily identified.

alterations | this is not so much a series of events within one night, as it is a very precise, very embarrassing moment that i feel changed my life completely and sent it in a wonderful direction. and to get technical - it was really more early evening rather that "night."

on march thirteenth, two thousand and five, i called my husband. except that he wasn't my husband yet - far from it. he and i had come from the same home town and had worked in the same mall together. for years we flirted, we fussed, we fought, we never even really dated - unless you count that time he made me cry and then took me to a movie.

but after all that, a week before march thirteenth, my best friend told me that he'd been asking about me. it had been months since he and i had talked - a conscious decision on my behalf because he wasn't "ready yet."

after she'd told me that however, i couldn't stop thinking about him. so i called him. and i invited him to come visit me at my university. he wavered, but he sounded like he wanted to come. i said "how about tomorrow night? he said he that he had to be in bed early because he was traveling for work tuesday morning. i said "how about tuesday?" and he said "i won't be back from my trip yet." and so i nervously suggested "wednesday?" and he said he had a prior commitment. i paused, took a deep breath and, feeling like a fool i offered "thursday night?" he said he had to work late. i knew i should stop that this point. i could hear my mother's voice in my head saying "katie, don't chase boys. let them chase you." but i couldn't help it...with a profound sense of sadness and exasperation evident in my voice i took one last chance and said "how about friday night? if you work late you can come here afterwards." i wanted to die inside i was so embarrassed at my own desperation.

i think right at that moment we could both feel the significance that his answer held. i feel as though we both knew, on some deep level that if he said no, that would be it forever. we would be finished and i would never get up the guts to try again. on the other hand, his saying yes would mean that our relationship would finally begin.

he said yes.

and for the last six years, we have celebrated our anniversary on march eighteenth.


what i made | deer, deer and more deer

i'm like the frank's red hot sauce lady - except i'm not elderly, and instead of hot sauce it's deer. but regardless "i put that s*** on everything!" okay jokes, but i told you i was going to put this deer on every product i had!