My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Art Assignment 17: The One that Got Away

“Hello. This is Oliver Blank and here is your Art Assignment. I want you to tell me about a lost love or a missed connection. Please leave your message after the beep.”


“I’m not ready to talk about it yet.”

Sometimes art hits too close to home. #theartassignment

Christmas Creep

Are you seeing it too? The bows? The tinsel? Red and green as far as the eye can see? Every year Christmas Creep invades a little earlier. We’re barely through Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en and there it is: Christmas 2014.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. In fact, it is one of my favourite holidays. I just feel like I have to get ready earlier each year. Do you feel the same way? Is Christmas Creep coming earlier or does it just feel that way? Here’s some of my Christmas observations this year:

October 27th – First fully stocked Christmas isle, (Dollarama).

October 27th – First Christmas events email at work.

November 1st – First Christmas decorations I spotted in my neighborhood.

November 2nd – First Christmas commercial I heard on the radio, (CBC Radio 1, Vinyl Cafe Christmas show tickets).

November 3rd - First Christmas commercial I saw on TV, (Family Network Christmas movies for kids).

November 3rd – First online ad for Christmas, (Chapters).

November 3rd – Christmas cookie and toy sale ads arrived at the school.

November 4th – First fully decorated Christmas tree, (The Bay).

November 7th – First text from the family regarding our Christmas plans.

November 7th – First Christmas carol I heard not being played ironically, (“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”)

November 8th – London held its Santa Claus Parade.

November 9th – First time I made and froze Christmas cookies, (dark chocolate chip and sea salt).

November 9th – First time someone wished me “Merry Christmas.”

November 11th – First fully decorated Santa House in Westmount Mall. Apparently, we can’t make Santa wait for the Veterans. 

November 14th – First actual snowflakes I saw. They melted before they hit the ground. 

I haven’t decorated my house yet. Do you think the neighbors would complain if my house looked like this?

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Art Assignment 16: Desktop Monument

So I found some natural landscapes I’ve never visited.


The Rosette Nebula

The Rosette Nebula

The Pelican Nebula

The Pelican Nebula

The Elephant's Tusk

The Elephant’s Tusk

These photos from the Hubble Space Telescope have always fascinated me. There is so much to see in space and its beauty is awe-inspiring. Now I have to try to capture these images in something I can keep on my desk. Here goes:

This assignment was really enjoyable and when I need a break I do find myself turning my little universe over in my hands and watching the different particles spin past. #theartassignment

Remembrance Day

Please thank a veteran today.


Art Assignment 15: Photo of a Friend

In their 36 years of marriage my parents have taught me that the happiest marriages are between best friends. So, when I saw this art assignment, I immediately thought of my best friend and husband Nick. He’s studying for his MBA so I thought his weekend study session was the perfect opportunity to snap these photos.

Nick on Sundays

Nick on Sundays

And of course, I wanted to demonstrate how Nick sometimes deals with ‘Jen’s crazy art projects’.

Nick putting up with Jen

Nick putting up with Jen

To finish up, I also snapped this photo from Nick’s point of view.

Study session

Study session

My Post It.

My Post It.

I sent off my Post It in the mail so I hope it arrives soon! #theartassignment

Art Assignment 14: Find Your Band

So, I’m not very musical. I can say that with some certainty as I have many friends who are musicians and music teachers. Most of them play more instruments than I can name. I often joke that I play the radio. That made this assignment a little more difficult for me. However, I have completed every Art Assignment so far so I wasn’t deterred.

One of my absolute favourite sounds is the sound of my air popper making up some fresh pop corn. It doesn’t hurt that my popper is really cute and that the smell of lovely, fresh pop corn drifts readily throughout my house. If only YouTube could somehow bring us Smell-o-Video…actually maybe that’s not a great idea.


Ok, here goes. Here is my pop corn band:


Happy Halloween!

Halloween costumes are art right? Say hello to the Zombie Bridesmaid!

Always a Bridesmaid, never a Bride!

Always a Bridesmaid, never a Bride!


Wodify Update

If you haven’t tried Wodify yet, you are missing out! I like being able to sign up and sign into classes from my phone. I also like being able to enter my results easily on my smart phone as I work out. Since I first wrote about this app, I have discovered a few more perks.

First, I love that the app keeps track of all my previous results for each lift and WOD. It also calculates all my percentages for me. For example, if I need to know what 75% of my one rep max for dead lift is, I can just check the app rather than trying to do the math. My brain appreciates the break in those 6 am classes!


Today’s workout showed me one more surprise from Wodify.


When I entered my results for back squat, a little gold star popped up next to it. I had set a new PR! Who doesn’t want a gold star next to their progress? I’ll keep you posted as I find more neat features buried in this app.

New Gym Equipment

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Some people say the worst part of working out it actually these little guys. These clamps hold your plates onto your barbel. Some are worked in but others are very stiff and we ladies especially get hurt hands.

Luckily, our gym got some new equipment. We now have a choice of three clamps:


The one in the middle is a plastic clamp that clicks shut. They work well but we only have a few sets and I find them difficult to get open.

The two on the right are the new clamps the gym bought. They work like little Velcro belts to hold on the weights.


I tried them out at my last class and they worked really well. Now I can focus on my lifts instead of nursing sore hands.


Art Assignment 13: Sorted Books


How I spent my summer holidays,

Roughing it in the bush.

Rites of spring echo.

The almost moon surfacing,

The ocean at the end of the lane,

Forever peace.

Unnatural creatures running in the family.



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