Posts Tagged ‘magic cottage’

Studio aftermath


Yours truly in front of the studio

Some of the stationary items for sale.

Mr. Gee decided to repair the dragonfly (that is normally perched on the front of the magic cottage) in the backyard.

Friends Susan and Rob dropped by for a visit with their little pooch Sam.

Signs were made and displayed to show the way…

Betty Ann – a frequent visitor of this blog dropped in!  Thanks Betty Ann! 

Jess Rice, a local artist and friend came by.  Thanks for the flowers Jess!

I will post some more photos tomorrow.

I just wanted to thank all of my family and friends and art lovers for showing up for my Open studio yesterday. Thank you so much for making it a special day! We were fortunate to have a lovely day so many of the attendees sat in the backyard having tea, visiting and checking out my art and the magic cottage. Thanks to Mr. Gee for all of his hard work – I couldn’t have done it without him!  As you can see Mr. Gee decided to repair the dragonfly during the open studio – he thought people might like to see art in progress.

Escaping the corporate world for the creative life

 I often receive emails from people asking me for advice regarding making the transition from the corporate world, looking after children and family, and retiring to a more creative life (read less structure). Where do you begin? I think first of all that it’s important to not criticize yourself and have the same expectations you had in your previous life. You are after all embarking on a new chapter in your life and you’re navigating different waters. How exciting to be starting out on this journey. I think when you come from a background of structure such as working a corporate job, or looking after children you feel lost when you’re standing in front of a proverbial candy counter of creative possibilities.

Now, I feel that since I lack a lot of structure in my life and often struggle with organization that I’m not one to ask. However since you did ask (or some of you did) – here’s what I think:

Sit down with a piece of paper and begin to write down all of your creative dreams. Did you ever hope that one day you’d have enough time to learn how to collage? Or did you want to learn how to sculpt clay? Were you always fascinated by the human body and wanted to learn how to draw from life? Write down all of these dreams without censoring. On another page write down the things you love to do as a child. My list would look like this – playing marbles, being in nature – close to water, drawing, daydreaming and playing school. The next thing I would do is to create a mind map with perhaps creative life written in the center. Here’s an example of a mind map:

From the central image you’d have radiating lines with ideas at the end of each branch. Make two separate mind maps – one for your creative dreams and one for the things you loved to do as a child. Note if there any similarities in the two. Can you assign a number to each idea in your mind map according to how important they are/were? Pick the top three items and on a separate piece of paper write them each down and begin to chunk them down or create “chunkettes” smaller action steps to move closer to the dream. The action steps might be for learning how to create collage. Step one could be to check out if there any continuing education classes on collage, or online classes. Step two could be to go to the library or bookstore and buy a book, collage. Step three could be to go to the art supply store and buy supplies. You get my drift right? So what you are in fact doing is creating some structure to lead a more creative life – you are corralling some of your ideas in order to not get overwhelmed with the possibilities that lay before you.
I hope you try this technique if you don’t know where to begin. Have fun with it!


Spiffy Open Studio

🙂  check out the little freak who is trying to infiltrate the talking heads

Yesterday Cintha came by to help me clean up the studio and office for my Open studio event this Sunday. I still have about an hour or so of cleanup to do in the studio but so far it’s looking pretty spiffy. As you can see I have my little freaks and talking heads, my Journal bliss book among other artful offerings. My little freaks look as if they are guarding the talking heads above them!

Today I’ll be busy making magnets and cutting greeting cards to have available at my open studio. The production will be little bit slower with my arm in a cast however I seem to be managing OK. And Monday I get the cast removed – HOORAY!!!!!!

You can watch a video of my studio here.

It’s Mr. G’s birthday today! Happy birthday sweetie – you are the best, so thoughtful, kind, patient, giving, creative and loving. I love you!

Check out this wonderful video I discovered on Tina ferguson’s blog – it will make you happy and maybe bring a few tears to your eyes – it did to me!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

I hope you all have a marvelous weekend! If you live in the area please come and visit me at the magic cottage:


1635 – 157th street, Surrey, B.C

Love, Violette xoxo


Inside Surrey's Magic Cottage

Photo by Brian Howell

Check out this article that Karly Paul-Morris. wrote for the Now Newspaper.  I was telling you about Karly the other day that she interviewed me.  Her interest was in the stories behind the furniture. Thank you so much Karly for a wonderful article and for capturing the essence of the Magic Cottage!  If you are interested in recycling and are inspired by stories about recycling you’ll enjoy Karly’s article.

A few years ago a friend of mine asked me why is it that my home, art and me have appeared on TV shows and in print media. 

I explained that it was because I had something to say and share and because I told them about me. Yes….i told them about me – I pitched ideas and angles with the hope that I would inspire people with my story and life. I think my friend was a bit annoyed that she had not been approached by the media. The thing is though she wasn’t doing anything about it either. Many of us think that magically we will be discovered, get that lucky break or get famous by sitting on our laurels waiting. It simply doesn’t happen that way unless you’re Lana Turner at the Soda shop. I believe in magic but it finds you only when you believe in yourself and put yourself “out there”.

When I was young I was super shy – my Mom will tell you she barely remembers me growing up. People wouldn’t notice me in a crowd and I was always overlooked when it came to choosing kids for teams at school. My voice would crack during roll call and I would be mortified. If I could have slid under my desk I would have. The only redeeming thing that stood out for me was drawing and marbles….i loved to play marbles. Perhaps that’s why my daughter would give me marbles as gifts or send them to me annoymously in the mail when I was blue. I have a small bowl of marbles on my desk to remind me of those days.

Is there anything that you can do today to make yourself or your art more visible? Take a few action steps that will move you closer to your dream. Nothing ventured nothing gained!

Sadly i have to sell my Glittergirl van……ASAP since roofers are coming to reroof the magic cottage (which isn’t so magical when the roof has a leak!).  They need the space to dump the shingles.  Mr. G started the Glittergirl van up so it is running!   So if you are interested in making me an offer……please do!  I can’t figure out how to make a hotlink e-mail thingy.  Just click on the little envelope on the righthand side bar.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…….it’s a long weekend here in Canada!

Love, Violette xo

Tell me what you want what you really really want!

I took this picture early last nite of the magic cottage since the Laburnum is looking so beautiful and I thought it framed the purple cottage in such a delightful way!

And the Winner is……

Thank you so very much everyone for your responses to my FAQ and Magic Cottage post….i really appreciate your questions. Some of them would never dawned on me to answer until you brought them up. I have such gratitude for all of you who participate and leave comments. Now the winner of the wee contest is Jen Vespaziani! Congratulations Jen! I used a random number generator to pick the winner so that it’s fair and square. Jen is a local artist – a fabulous collage artist at that. The other day I was in a coffee shop and saw some wonderful collages on the wall. I asked the coffee shop owner who was the artist. It just so happened that the artist was the sister of the owner. So I set out on a mission to find Jen – her sister said she was on facebook. As it turned out I Jen’s daughter had taken one of my workshops on collaged journals and when I met Jen and saw her art journal I gasped and thought “i would love to get to know this artist – we are kindred spirits!”. But we never connected until I saw her collages on the coffee shop walls and went on a mission. So Jen……if you could e-mail me you can drop by and pick up your print and sketchbook!

From fancy Dining room to Games room

Now back to getting what you want. We tend to be socialized by our parents, teachers, coaches and society in general how to be in life. We come into the world as little babies knowing EXACTLY what we want – crying when we are hungry and crying when we are wet and need changing etc. Something happens along the way though which changes things. Limitations begin to be set on us and we begin not knowing what it is we REALLY want. We adopt what others want for us. Here is a real life example. When I was married we bought a pretty fancy dining room set – table, chairs and hutch. It was pretty grand and big. It took up the entire separate dining room. My parents were pretty excited about it since they never had such a fancy dining room set. One day it dawned on me that I REALLY didn’t like it and would much rather have that space for a fooz ball table and a pinball machine. My son Ryan always had tons of friends over for lunch during school lunch break and I thought it would be fun for them to have something to do. So I sold the dining room set and bought a pinball machine and moved the foozball game into the dining room. My Mom was mortified that I would sell the gorgeous set. It dawned on me that I was living my parents dream and not my own. Today of course my Mom understands this and would certainly advocate that I create a room exactly the way I want to no matter how weird or colourful it might be! He he!

When I moved into the magic cottage it didn’t look so magical – or at least not the way I had envisioned it. So with the help of friends I set out to paint and decorate it exactly as I wanted. It was as if I had uncorked the genie’s bottle and all kinds of colours spilt out!

So What is YOUR DREAM? 

So are you living anyone else’s dream? Are you having troubles deciding what YOUR DREAM is? Why not sit down and make a list of things you want, things you want to be and things you want to have. You might say “But I don’t know what I want”. If you did know what you wanted what would it be? Look around your home for clues – what kinds of magazines do you read, what kinds of books, what kinds of TV programs do you watch? What kinds of blogs or websites do you frequent? Clues to your bliss lie there!

The Magic Cottage and FAQ's

The magic cottage at Christmas

The contest swag

How the Magic Cottage came to be

People often ask me about my home i’ve dubbed the Magic Cottage. How did it come to be, and how is it magic? Well the roots of it all lie in Sark’s book Inspiration Sandwhich which I read about 18 years ago or so. Sark had a Magic cottage which was really a converted tiny tool shed. All kinds of magical things were born in the magic cottage. So when I moved into my own small home I decided to transform it to become a magical cottage where all kinds of creativity would flourish.

I’m setting up an FAQ page and getting ready to write a piece on the Magic cottage and wondered if you could help me out? Would you mind leaving me a comment telling me what your questions are about the cottage and any questions you would like to have answered about me and my life? Here are some questions i’ve been asked in the past:

What is the magic cottage?

What is your Bohemian Tribe

How did you start creating art?

What is the best way to begin Art Journaling?

What does “Fly your Freakflag” mean?

How did you get your book “Journal Bliss” published?

How did art help you with your issues with depression?

Were you really born in Casablanca Morocco?

Whatever happened to the Glittergirl Van?

Why do you like to turn Trash to Treasure?

What advice do you have for someone who is just starting out in art?

How do you draw faces?

If you have any other questions and would like to leave them in the comments section I will enter your name to win a print and sketchbook of your choosing! How’s that for sweetening the pot? I’ll draw the winner on tuesday at 10 am PST!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I plan on spending quite a bit of time at my Mom’s helping her out and maybe even creating a scrapbook page or two under her guidance.

Love, Violette xox

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