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Animal Creative Consultants

March 19, 2013

I cannot tell the story online of how I got George.  You will have to buy me many drinks to hear that one.  (And maybe poutine.)  But I can tell you that he got liberated from a bad situation.

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george.

George actually got up and posed for this photo.  I was trying to get a shot of something else.  I know he posed on purpose:  when I went to the other side of the room for a different angle, he got back up and posed again.  George is a poser.

I suppose I would be a poser, too, if I looked like a panther.

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Dodie Goldney and the Instamatics

March 18, 2013

Dodie Goldney and the Instamatics

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Just working on some promo tonight.

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Art Therapy for Grown Ups

March 15, 2013

When I decided to start fixing up the Treehouse – before I’d even named it the Treehouse! – I started with paint.  Since there’s never a second chance to make a first impression, I began with the entrance hall.  Then my mom and I created the mural that ate my dining room.  Right smack in the middle of those two areas was the kitchen, so that seemed like the most logical next step.

My kitchen was the one room in the Treehouse I absolutely hated.  It was dark, pokey, long, and narrow.  I didn’t have any drawers.  The counters had been painted before I moved in, and were badly scratched and worn.  The walls were covered in awful flowered shelf-liner paper.  The floors didn’t look nice no matter how many times I cleaned them.  In 2004, I decided to see what could be done with it.

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kitchen before 2005

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My wonderful landlords offered me a new kitchen re-model, but when I saw that it would necessitate losing my mural, I had to take a pass.  But, since I knew they were going to rip out the kitchen after I moved out (a day that may now come only when I’m dead!), I decided to go to town with what I had.

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More Creative Interpreting

March 14, 2013

Yesterday I posted pretty much exclusively about my love for Deep Purple and the new Deep Purple tribute album.  Today I’m going to share a few more of my favourite, unexpected cover tunes.

When I was a kid, my mom had a fantastic record collection.   We had one of those blond wood cabinet stereos – an entire piece of furniture! – where the lid lifted on top and everything was laid out like a little bar.  A bar that served music.  I loved to lay in front of it, drawing and listening.

The first unexpected cover I ever encountered was through this stereo, and it was Aretha Franklin‘s version of Simon and Garfunkel‘s Bridge Over Troubled Water (click here for the original).  Honestly, if I’d been Paul Simon hearing this for the first time, I probably would have fainted dead away:

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Of course, most people know CSNY‘s Woodstock, but not a lot of people know it was originally written by Joni Mitchell (click here for Joni’s original).  Curiously, Joni couldn’t actually be at Woodstock, due to a previous gig commitment.

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Creative Interpreting

March 13, 2013

I had rather unusual taste in music for a teenaged girl.  I wore my Iron Maiden and Stevie Ray Vaughan concert t-shirts to school.  And I distinctly remember being asked, twice, by a very good-looking boy, what I was listening to on my headphones.  Both times, my answer was, “Deep Purple.”  Coincidence, yes.  But that boy gave me strange looks both times, and he never asked me again.

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I am blessed to have a musical mentor these days, who is so heavily influenced by Deep Purple that his face lights up when he hears or plays their music.  I think Ritchie Blackmore is his personal guitar god.

Yesterday, we were listening to some tracks from a new CD called Re-Machined, a tribute album of songs from Deep Purple’s Machine Head, and discussing all the creative things you could do with a song.  For starters, how creative would the classic Smoke on the Water be if it was re-imagined by Carlos Santana?

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Sunshine and Space Chickens

March 11, 2013

Thompson River

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This is the view from the Treehouse balcony.  You can see why I’ve never left here, right?

The signs of spring are starting to appear here at the Treehouse.  That usually means two things are on the horizon for me:  outdoor gigs and gardening season!

It’s just about time to start seeds for the outdoors.  Last year, I got going very late and relied on cuttings and offshoots from friends’ gardens.  A few of those actually made it through the winter indoors, including some coleus and this little begonia, which I was delighted to discover beginning to bloom this morning:

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Looking at the Overlooked

March 10, 2013

Keeping your creative juices flowing is really about keeping your mind open to possibilities.  Everything must be contemplated with new eyes and ears.

Like when you spend every Sunday in a friend’s backyard, sprawling on a pair of old, worn benches that you pretty much take for granted.  But then you realize you’ve been looking at them so long, you weren’t really seeing them properly.  And suddenly, you NEED those benches.

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bench

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I have really great friends.  When I asked my friend what I could trade her for one of the benches, she smiled broadly and replied, “A hug.”  Two hugs later, I carted both benches home and set to work fixing them up.  (Okay, just in case I sound like a bit of a weasel here, let me add that my friend is in the process of moving, and was not planning to take the benches with her.)

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Creative Thinking = Accidental Organizing

March 9, 2013

A couple of years ago, a friend tried to give me an unused wine rack she had been storing in her daughter’s garage.  Since I live in a small space and have never been much of a drinker, I turned down the offer.

Last last summer, though, when the tree hiding the parking lot next door got cut down, I had to find a way to block the pavement and vehicles from my view.  I asked if the wine rack was still on offer, et voilà!  Problem solved.

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wine rack garden jenglisch.

Miraculously, the wine rack also went a long way towards preventing the once-a-year bird/bat kill that usually happens on the balcony.

Of course, I didn’t want the thing to get wrecked when the snow came, so it had to come inside for the winter.  This is how, by accident, it became a food pantry in one of the hall closets:

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The Mural That Ate My Dining Room

February 26, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about reclaiming my unused table from the Treehouse dining room and turning it into my Mission Control.

Yesterday my housemate worked long and hard to retrieve a huge number of files from an old, dead hard drive of mine. I thought I would share some of those old pics, to show the evolution of that dining room.  I hope my mom forgives me for posting pictures of her without asking her first.  (Hi Mom!)  But if you want to know where my love of the arts comes from, this is the source.

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mom and mural

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Getting Paid for Creative Work

February 25, 2013

busker case

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If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me to play free music “for the exposure” – well, I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d probably have a couple of hundred dollars.

When you are starting out in any creative field, you are untested.  If nobody knows who you are, then yeah, you probably DO need to do some free stuff to get yourself out there.  But the other side of that coin is the expectation that you SHOULD give your work away for free:  you enjoy doing what you do, therefore, you should enjoy doing it for nothing, and be grateful for the opportunity while you’re at it.

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