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Woodland Trail Studio: Gary the dog

I had the privilege of being part of a special gift from one sister to another on her wedding day. I worked on Gary in secret (well, secret from Instagram!), and was thrilled to see how happy my client was with the results. I got dozens of photos of Gary to work from, showing every angle so I could match his markings as closely as possible. Although I haven’t gotten to meet him in person yet, I think I was able to see his personality through all the photos, and translate that into my felt sculpture!


(see more of my creations through Woodland Trail Studio here »)

FITC 2015: Eating the Frog

Sometimes, even when we know we have stuff we need to get done, even really important things that you should “eat the frog*” on, you still want to procrastinate it. As a business owner, it’s easy to put things off because there no one to tell you to just sit down and do it. (I’ve tried telling myself in a very stern voice to get it done, and usually it’s not very successful unless it’s something I’ve put off and feel guilty about.)

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, sometimes we think things will take longer than they actually will, so here’s a fun solution: eating the frog with owls. Owls eat frogs, (and they’re really cute) so we’ve got 4 owls in different colours. Place owls in a bag, grab your timer, and shake the bag! Let one owl fall out of the bag, or reach in and grab one if you don’t think you’ll try to cheat. Set the timer for 15 minutes, and see which frog-task awaits!


Finances/Admin: light brown owl
Marketing: light grey owl
Learning: dark grey owl
Creative: dark brown owl
Bonus: coffee cardinal

Each of the owls represents common areas where I might put something off, and having the task in a manageable 15 minute increments resolves the thought that it’s going to take “forever”. Plus, there’s a bonus! The coffee cardinal is your 15 minute break to gather your thoughts, and get ready to buckle down and get stuff done! (ie. a bit of hope that you can still procrastinate)

I’d love to go to FITC Toronto 2015 so I can meet with other business owners, share tips, stories, and learn how others deal with the day in and day out of running a business. I’d love to be able to attend a variety of presentations, to help balance out business vs. creative vs. learning vs. new trends, etc. I’ve met very cool people in the past at different sessions and networking events, and I’d love to reconnect with them this year, and meet new people!

The best advice I have for someone entering the industry, is to prepare for it to constantly change! It’s not easy keeping up with the speed that technology changes, so sometimes we need to make up silly games with needle felted owls to lighten the mood, and help us to figure out where to start when things seem overwhelming. It’ll all get done – 15 minutes at a time 🙂


*”eating the frog” is a term used to refer to getting the task you dread most out of the way first

Noted all the thoughts!

I recently wrote about noting every thoughts in a previous post, which inspired me to do a much needed “brain dump” to help organize my current digital to do lists and free my mind.

So here it is! It’s not beautiful, or prioritized (yet), but it’s all out there. I’ll make improvements, maybe get some fun coloured post-it notes and find a way to avoid using painter’s tape (but still protect the wall), but for now, it’s all there! Look! It’s all my “to do” items! Great… um, wow, there’s a lot there, and most of them aren’t going to be quick to complete.

to do lists

The picture is blurry, because that’s how it kind of feels right now. There’s a lot to get done. Some items I’m really excited about, others, not so much. After spending all that time getting the important to do items down, I realized today that I’m missing something really important on the wall – balance. I’m missing the positive, inspirational pieces of paper that remind me that although there’s a ton to do, I can (and will) get it done, and do it to the best of my ability. Pinterest has an infinite amount of this type of stuff, but it’s all digital, and short of taping my iPad to my wall, I need to find some new stuff to remind myself that it’s not all bad, and I’m excited about growing my business so I don’t get lost in the infinite to do items.

Cheesy? Maybe a bit, but there’s always days when you need a cheesy little reminder that you’re awesome and can do anything – besides, cheese is delicious.

Note Every Thought

It’s no secret that I like lists, I make tons of them, everywhere – all the time. Lists make me happy and organized – I even wrote a post about it last year! I categorize my lists, and the prioritize within each category. It helps me to get a better grip on what to tackle first.

Lately I’ve been creating a new kind of list, a list of items that don’t necessarily have a solution/task associated with them. I’m calling it my “Note Every Thought” list. I’ll often have a passing thought like “wouldn’t it be awesome if there were a solution to problem xyz?”, so I write it down, or even a passing thought about an issue that came up in my business, not even necessarily a problem, but a thought that drifted in, but held enough of my attention that it was worth writing down. I may never come up with a solution, one may not exist, but the thought is at least out of my head, and written down to be pondered later. I find that I’m best at coming up with solutions when they’re written down, as if writing it down somehow releases my brain from the task of remembering it to be open to the task of solving it.

I’ve only just started this list in the past couple of weeks, but it’s already helped me to come up with some new ideas for how to better serve my clients and streamline my business practices (more on this in February!). One passing thought that was almost completely separate from a sudden new idea, but somehow by writing it down, I managed to form a connection between the two, and it opened up a new world of possibilities. Despite the name, not every silly little thought will be written down, but when confronted with one that holds some promise of using it as a stepping stone for something bigger/better – I’ll be writing it down and letting my brain work on it while I’m doing other things!

First attempt at Gingerbread!

As mentioned in a previous post, this year I decided to try my hand at gingerbread from scratch! I looked around for a few recipes online, and found this one that looked good, mostly because I’m impatient and didn’t want to wait for the dough to chill. My better half had designed a very complicated “storage container loft style” gingerbread house complete with sugar glass windows and rooftop deck, that was an interesting idea, but in practice, was a lot harder to build than he realized. The royal icing was also made from scratch, and that needed a couple of tests before we found the right consistency to hold things together.


Yes, gumdrops with pretzel sticks did come in handy as columns after our candy canes didn’t work!


It’s up!


Half-decorated and reinforced loft area!


Results: DELICIOUS! I’d definitely made gingerbread from scratch again! Eating gingerbread, watching Christmas movies, and felting (as seen in the top of the picture) was a wonderful way to spend a December Saturday!


We did a few attempts at sugar glass, but the first was too wet, second and third, too dry (below), and then we looked at a few other recipes and realized the most successful ones were the ones with white corn syrup. I tried a couple of stores, but only found yellow – so we gave up for this year.sugar-glass1