A tiny art show about a tiny girl

I’m having an art show! And I moved to a new country! And my baby is starting school in a few months! And we are buying a rundown victorian house that is probably going to drive us mad! And I got bangs!

My friends, I’ve not posted here in ages. My life has shifted so much in the past couple of years, I needed to give the blog a break while the dust (or maybe snippets? At least dust and snippets) settled a bit. If you follow me on Instagram, I have a pretty consistent presence there and do a lot of what I would consider micro-blogging through that platform, but occasionally I do find that I miss the longer form that the blog allows.

Last year I took on another 100 Day Project with the intention of chronicling and capturing the magic of my daughter “Lidi Pie” in all her spunky toddler glory through detailed 10x10cm cut paper illustrations and accompanying stories that I shared on Instagram under the hashtag #100daysofLidiPie. The project was just a touch elaborate for a daily endeavour, as seems to be my habit, and has ended up taking rather a lot longer than 100 days, but it’s been a really satisfying and meaningful thing for me. It’s ended up spanning a major period of transition. When it started, we were living in Bonn, Germany and I was still in the demanding throes of parenting two preschoolers. Over the course of recording these small moments with my girl, we’ve moved to the UK, somewhat permanently, my boy started school, I’ve joined a shared artist studio, and gradually my work as an illustrator has begun to actually amount to (marginally) more than a drop in the bucket financially. I’ve turned 35 which has always felt like a real adult age to me, and soon this small child of mine, my sparkly little companion for these last few years will start school too. It’s wild, how fast it goes. How excruciatingly slow, and also how impossibly freakin fast.

So it felt like a good time to do this, to have a little show. It’s a celebration of transition as much as it is an art show. I’ll be showing about 20 of the over 80 collages I’ve so far made. They will be for sale, and so will a selection of mini art prints at a lower price point, plus a special (and previously sold out) Lidi Pie zine I’ve made, but please don’t feel you have to buy something to come! The art show is on for a month, and there is a a little party if you’d like to come say hi on Tuesday, June 25th. It’s a free event, just come, look at the art, read the stories and laugh and relate and commiserate and celebrate! Buy a coffee from Russ, the kind owner of Kiosk cafe, where the show will be. It’ll be lovely.

Without further ado, here are the details:


A lot of tiny pictures
About a tiny girl
Made from tiny paper snippets
(In a tiny café)

June 18 – July 23

Opening reception: June 25, 3:30-6:30pm

At Kiosk Café 
41 Fossgate, York YO1 9TF


I would be utterly delighted if you would come!


On wanting both

I'm trying something new - for those of you who, like me, find it tough to sit down and actually read a blog post, I've recorded myself loosely reading this one for you. It's a little awkward, and not really how I talk, but it's a first try so whatever. Let me know what you think! xo

The YOSC: Entry #13

So, here is the thing about self care. When you fall off the wagon, you kinda can’t be like, ah well. Too bad. Guess taking care of myself isn’t for me! Onward and upward! Because a more likely truth is that it will be not so much upward, but more like, uh, the opposite. Bleary-eyed ball of anger and tears, eating gas station chips and drowning all thoughts and feelings in a hundred thousand million episodes of Friends. Or something.

I went to the gym maybe 4 times in the past two months. Let my external brain evolve into a purse colouring book for my kids. Definitely didn’t meditate again. And it didn’t feel good. So… hi again! I have a YOSC post for you. Lucky 13. 🙂

This one is kind of reflective. Something that’s been on my mind lately, and I count it as self care to think about these things, because being honest with myself and resolving conflicts is good. Finding peace is healthy.

Continue Reading

On finding your calling

The YOSC: Entry #12

I’m doing something a little different this week, in honour of The 100 Day Project. This year’s project is fast approaching, set to start on the 4th (tomorrow)! The 100 Day Project is a great, big, global art project and celebration of creativity, shared through social media. It’s as simple as this – pick a creative action, any teensy, tiny action – write something, draw something, take a picture, knit a row, dance a letter of the alphabet – whatever you please, do it every day for 100 days, and share it with the rest of the community. Everything you need to know to participate can be found in delightful hand-lettering here.

It’s fun, but beyond that there is something really special about the community of people rallying together to live creatively. This will my third year giving it a go, and I really like it. Actually, to be honest my first project two years ago kind of changed my life.

Continue Reading

Small acts of self-care

The YOSC: Entry #11

Last week Achim had a deadline so I had to pick up the slack at home, do bed-times, and even skip the gym once. I wasn’t feeling the best, health-wise, and neither was Alida – lots of crying and needing to be held. It could have been a pretty shitty week, but to be honest, it wasn’t. Joni had a few good playdates, I managed to accomplish a couple satisfying illustration-related things, and the laundry even got put away (!!!). I coulda used a little more face time with humans above the age of 4, but overall, it was a decent week.
Continue Reading

The YOSC #10: A follow-up (and a name!)

The YOSC: Entry 10!

WELL I have done this now for 10 weeks straight! And my radical self-care project finally has a name. It isn’t brilliant or hilarious, but it is sticking. I named the file on my computer where I am keeping the illustrations “YOSC” (for Year Of Self Care), and it sounded kind of funny to my ear, made me think of a Dr Seuss-ish abbreviation of Yas Queen. And then when I googled it and found I would share the acronym with such esteemed organisations as the Ypsilanti Otters Swim Club and the Yakota Officers’ Spouses’ Club? I was sold!

Continue Reading

The External Brain

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #9

Achim is a pretty techy guy. I nerd-brag about what a good modern handyman he is. He fixes our broken screens himself, even took apart a ricemilk soaked laptop and was able to revive it. He always knows about new geeky things well before I do and he’s pretty good at optimising tech to make life easier.

But for the last year or so his top brain organising tool has been a little paper notebook which he has dubbed his “external brain”. I know a lot of people consider their phone a kind of extension of their “brain”, but the thing is that while phones are awesome tools they are also pretty fantastic playthings. Even if you don’t use your phone for fun stuff, I think they are just inherently distracting, what with all the notifications and this app linked to that one connected to this service and that social media platform, etc. Altogether, it just doesn’t lend itself well to calm, collected, single focused thought.
Continue Reading

I guess what I’m saying is, I think I meditated

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #8

I cannot count the number of times meditation has been recommended to me. I think it’s one of those things that makes such a big difference for some people that they tend to become big evangelists of the practice. That and the fact that my personal grievances basically read as a litany of antonyms for the benefits of meditation, particularly all the stuff about improving concentration and attention, easing stress and anxiety and boosting immune function. I read this stuff, and I’m like GIVE ME THAT.

But then I try it and the thing is…  I have this major, visceral aversion to it.
Continue Reading

When better isn’t best

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #7

This week I am just taking a minute to refocus. I think I got a little off track there, at least in my head, and somehow all this thinking about self-care and learning to take better care of myself started quietly morphing into self-improvement and learning to BE BETTER. It came from a good place, eat better and exercise so I feel better, learn to meditate and plan and stay on top of the mess in the apartment and admin stuff, in order to mitigate my stress. But I lost focus a bit, and found myself just trying to pack in way more than I’m capable of, and feeling heaps of self-critical at the end of the day. One evening last week Achim came home and suggested maybe I could remember to close jars of nuts so we don’t get moths/turn off lights/not stack tons of shit on top of the key basket or something else reasonable and not laden with judgement and personal attack and I just kind of crumbled.

Continue Reading

Can a hat make you happier?

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #6

Last week I got a new hat. I am so happy with this hat, that it stands out above all else when I think over the week. The thing is, I am perpetually dissatisfied with my clothing. I am conscious that this all sounds a bit materialistic, but my new sunshine hat has got me musing a lot about clothes, and I think maybe it’s not.
Continue Reading

Ok then, let’s talk

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #5

Hey Guys.

Ok. So this week, I’m going to talk about something that I don’t really want to talk about. Because, that’s boring and self indulgent and such a downer, Elena. Because what if my mom reads it and worries about me? Because what if people think I’m whining? Because it’s MY problem, so I’d rather just recede into my own coping and nurturing strategies until it passes. Because I’m FINE and I’ve got it under control and I don’t want to talk about it so let’s just talk about something else, please. Please.

But last week was Bell Let’s Talk Day in Canada, and there was such an outpouring of support and kindness and honesty across social media, it seems right. So, well. Let’s do this. Let’s talk.
Continue Reading

So, I joined a gym.

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #4

Yeah, I did. I am indeed a January gym goer.  And I already have two failed year-long memberships under my belt, so for real, I have no illusions. This time I paid the premium for a one-month contract, though. I realised it has been pretty well 10 years since I exercised regularly and I just have to stop ignoring that. I have this idea that I am actually quite sporty, because I kind of was, oh, half my life ago. An while these delusions are nice and all, make my life seem a little more colourful, it’s kinda ludicrous to keep blaming sugar and lack of sleep and cold feet and constant (so far false) suspicions of mould and various vitamin deficiencies for everything when there is a shit ton of evidence that exercise is like, the number one bang for-your-buck when it comes to health.

I have complicated feelings about it. Continue Reading

Balance feels better!

I did it! It’s still Sunday because I haven’t slept yet!

Entry #2 of the 2017 illustrated self-care project. As was to be expected, I went a little over the top this week. They won’t all be this elaborate! It was my first real go at an autobiographical “comic” type thing (besides the Goal Guide), so I’m still figuring it out. Although it’s hard to turn my critical brain off (nothing is ever as clean and simple as I want it to be!), it was fun and genuinely helpful!

Without further ado, some thoughts on balance…

*  *  * Continue Reading