Saturday, March 17, 2012

Caturday: Birchy's Bathtime Adventures

Birch likes to keep me* company when I'm in the bathtub.

Or maybe "keep me company" isn't quite seems more likely that he's baffled that anyone would choose to get wet on purpose, and the concept is so grotesque to him that he can't look away.  At any rate, when I'm in the bathtub he has a tendency to come up to the edge and stare at it with trepidation...

...And then lightly pat the water with his paw as if checking to make sure it's really there and not just a mirage induced by some bad kibble...

...And then recoil as if it bit him.

...Usually several times in a row.

When he gets tired of ascertaining whether the bathtub is in fact filled with water, he'll jump up on the edge and pace fretfully back and forth, pausing frequently to stare into my face and make sure I'm okay.

"Just say the word and I'll go get help!"

Sometimes, he'll actually calm down enough to lounge on the edge of the bathtub for a bit.  On at least two occasions, his tail has fallen in and he just sat there oblivious, swishing it back and forth through the water.  I don't know how he didn't notice his gaffe.  My bathwater is hot enough to boil cabbage in.  

The last time he accidentally dunked his tail, the realization did hit him eventually...all at once.  He jumped about a foot in the air and then tore out of the room like a maniac.  Naturally, he managed to slash his soaking wet tail across my face in the process.  Why wouldn't he?

For the next hour or so, his tail had a visible high tide line on it.  On one side of the line, a luxuriant floofy column of awesomeness; on the other side, a gross, scrawny little whip made of gristle and vertebrae.  He kept thrashing it around.  It's unclear whether he was trying to air-dry it or he was just plain pissed off.  I'm guessing both.

It never stops surprising me how tiny and sinewy cats really are, underneath their fur.  Maybe that's the real reason cats hate getting wet - it's not because it feels gross to them, it's because they know that without proper fur coverage they look like ugly little mutants. offense, Birchy.  Wuv you!

*Only me.  Never The Boy - at least not since The Boy tried to pull Birch in with him. Never let anyone tell you that animals have short memories.


Do you live in Toronto?  Then you totally need to swing by my stall at the Arts Market!  I've just started selling necklaces and magnets with teeny-tiny prints of my paintings on them.  They are vibrant and beautiful and will add a glorious finishing touch to your sternum and/or refrigerator.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I've had my booth at the Arts Market for about three weeks now, and it's been an adventure!

First off, remember that giant piece of masonite that would later become my booth's back wall?  At the last minute I decided (well, realized) that the idea of taking it on the subway to save money was totally whackadoo and that it'd be faster and easier just to splurge on a cab (special bonus: I could also fill the cab with more merchandise and tools than The Boy and I could possibly carry with us while manhandling that board everywhere).  But the cab companies I called said that their largest car would accommodate items up to 6' long...and the masonite is 8' long.

"But I was finally ready to stop being cheap!!!!"

Soooooo, The Boy and I ended up taking the masonite on the subway, after all.  And then we walked with it from Pape Station down to Queen Street (I'd guess the distance at two miles?  Maybe?) because we didn't figure they'd let us on the bus with it.  I'd tied rope "handles" through the holes all along the outside edge, which helped a lot, but what really saved our lives in the end (or at least our poor sore hands) was each of us looping a belt through one of the top "handles" and using it like a shoulder strap.  It was still pretty harrowing though because it was a really windy day; on several occasions the wind shoved the masonite around hard enough to almost knock us off our feet.  I was a little afraid The Boy would be carried off entirely, like Piglet in that Winnie the Pooh story about the blustery, blustery day.

But we did make it there in the end.

Arts Market administrator Daniel Cohen is awesome, by the way!  He's happy to help each artist get their area customized the way they want - in my case, he attached some beams to the ceiling girders for me so my wall would hang properly.  Look how pretty!

Since then he and his crew have helped me hang a second wall, too!  I'm grateful for the assistance because even if I didn't need to actually alter the building's ceiling - which I'd never presume to do without asking - I'm terrified of ladders and would never have been able to get up as high as he did without either a) falling or b) fainting (which is still technically a form of falling...).  So now I have two beautiful walls hung up and I didn't even have to risk my cranial integrity. :D

Further adventures: last Sunday I brought a folding chair to the Market and sat by my booth all day, just to see what it's like there when I'm not focused on getting things set up.  Well, okay, I didn't sit all day - I also took some time to walk around and look at everyone else's wares so I can (hopefully) talk intelligently about them if given the chance - I want to support my fellow artisans!

I got to polish up my slightly rusty retail skills* with some customers (mostly by chatting with them about other people's stuff, but still!) and I met some of the other booth-owners, who were all friendly and fun and generally awesome.  One of my immediate neighbours, Marjorie, even told me some cool stuff about needle-felting - an art I've always admired but never knew much about.  It's so cool to be surrounded by such creative talent!  I feel so inspired that I'm thinking of resuming my long-neglected Shoutout Sunday posts so I can write about a different cool market vendor every week!

So yeah.  I think I'm settling into the Arts Market nicely.  It's starting to feel like home. :)

I'll leave you with this picture of me setting up the inaugural wall of my booth.  This is just a bit of a tease - a hint, if you will, of what wonders lie in store.  It's the booth equivalent of cleavage.


*Believe it or not, despite my whole "painful shyness" thing I used to be a retail superstar.  Probably because I'm genuinely interested in helping  people find the perfect item - I don't have it in me to do the skeevy high-pressure thing.  Customers may have bought less with me initially than if I'd pressured them, but they liked me more and tended to give me repeat business so I figure I did better in the long run.  Selling my own products feels more awkward and scary than selling someone else's ever did, but I'll adapt.  Eventually.


Can't get out to Toronto to buy my work in person?  Fear not - you can always satisfy your cravings for funky, original paintings in my Artfire store!  In fact, I have some stuff on Artfire that's too, shall we say, family unfriendly for the Arts Market, like this "ad" for a sparkly pink lipstick or this pirate flag with a twist, so you get to see a side of me that my in-person customers don't. :)  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Caturday: My Cat the Supergenius

So, my booth at the Arts Market is coming along...although it's not nearly in the state I want it to be, yet.  It's surprisingly slow going when you have to schlep all your tools, supplies, merchandise, etc. on the subway an hour each way.  But in the process of getting things in order, I realized just how smart my cat Birch is.

See, one day I was sitting on the couch making signage for my booth, and I had paper and paint and foamcore board and wire and scissors and god knows what else spread all across the floor at my feet.  Birch - who had been asleep beside me - woke up and went to jump onto the floor, and I quickly stuck my hand out to stop him and said "Dude, don't do this right now, you'll mess up Mommy's supplies."

Birch's expression very clearly said "Well what the fuck am I supposed to do?" so I told him "You can go around, like this" and drew an imaginary line around my heap of art supplies with my finger.  Birch immediately hopped down and followed the exact path I'd mapped out for him to go to the kitchen.  After he'd had a drink of water, he came to the kitchen doorway and paused uncertainly, looking at me like "now what?" so I drew another imaginary line back to the couch and patted the cushion beside me and he followed my unspoken directions again.

At the time, this exchange felt totally natural to me: my cat had an issue, he mentioned it to me, and we negotiated a solution, simple as that.  But when I stopped and thought about it afterward, it occurred to me that these sorts of interspecies conversations are probably not standard.  And I'm no expert on feline psychology, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure expressing the sentiment "tell me how I'm supposed to get to the kitchen with all this crap strewn across the floor" with a single look and understanding the concept of "pointing" pretty much makes Birch the Stephen Hawking of cats, or at least the Carl Sagan.

I used to believe that Birchy isn't very bright.  I mostly based this belief on the fact that he'll do the same annoying thing fifty times in a row, even though I punish him; it seemed like he must be too dumb to comprehend the simple cause-and-effect of "putting my paw on Mommy's dinner plate makes her yell and push me."  Now it's dawning on me that he totally knows he's making me mad, but just doesn't give a shit.

So he's not just a genius, he's an evil genius.  I should probably start locking him out of the bedroom while I sleep.

Tell me about your genius animals!


You can purchase adorable original paintings of kitties - both evil and non-evil - in my Artfire store.  Go see!

Halloween pop art - Frankenstein cat - original painting - 4x6 inches