Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

So this is the last Saturday in 2011! To ring in the New Year, I started making three calendars yet haven’t been able to finish ONE on time… A new calendar would have been the perfect thing to start the New Year with - hope to have them finished by Monday! Attached are some photos of the one I have completed the most. I hope they can give you some creative inspiration!

I’d also like to share this quote I read the other day…

If it didn’t Bring you Joy
Just Leave it Behind.
Let’s Ring in the New Year
 With Good Things in Mind.
Let Every Bad Memory Go
That Brought Heartache and Pain.
And Let’s Turn a New Leaf
With the Smell of New Rain.
Let’s Forget Past Mistakes
Making Amends for This Year.
Sending You These Greetings
To Bring you Hope and Cheer
Happy New Year!
~ Sharka

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No TV = Things Done!

I had the Christmas baking itch for a few weeks and hadn’t made anything until... our cable went down, all but one channel was out of commission!! No TV – what was I going to do?!

Cable ended up being off for a week. I was actually happy because along with the baking itch resolved, we also put up the tree, put some of the decorations around the house in place, Christmas cards made and sent, and all my little Christmas packages for friends completed.

I ended up baking four batches of Toffee Shortbread cookies and two batches of Gingerbread ‘Crackle’ cookies. After the cookies were baked I still thought some of the gifts were missing something… hmmm?  Kathryn solved that problem… after watching one of her videos, I decided to add some gift wrapped chocolate bars into the mix - wrapped in patterned paper and embellished with a large snowman!

If you still have a to-do list for Christmas, my recommendation at this point is to put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done! ~ Sharka

Friday, December 2, 2011

DIY TP Wreath

I was totally inspired when I saw Emily's Christmas Wreath made from…. recycled toilet paper rolls!

Yes, you read that right - a Christmas Wreath made from toilet paper rolls! I thought this must be simple and would be the perfect wreath for my door at the studio, so I began collecting all our rolls…Yippee!
You will Need:
  • recycled toilet paper and/or paper towel rolls…lots of them!
  •  hot glue gun
  • red craft/acrylic paint
  • sparkle craft varnish (FolkArt) or Glimmer Mist
  • wire coat hanger
  • embellishments for flower centres

The How To:
  • You will need 1.5 toilet paper rolls for each flower. My wreath has a total of 9 flowers, so 11 rolls were good.
  • With red acrylic paint, paint all the rolls. I gave my tp rolls 2 coats of paint (allowed the red paint to be solid/opaque). After the paint is dry, brush on some sparkle varnish to give them a ‘sparkle’.
  • When the tp rolls are completely dry, flatten them and cut into 3/8” rings. You want the rings to be the same depth, so do take the extra time to measure!
  • Glue 7 rings together to form a flower. Repeat until you have the number of flowers you want for your wreath.
  • Assemble flowers in a wreath shape and glue together… hot glue gun is great - fast, easy and holds!
  • Made the wire coat hanger into a circle to the fit the wreath. Attach with hot glue to back of the wreath. The wire gives the wreath some strength while hanging. Without the wire my wreath was changing shape and became a droopy oval.
  • Embellish and voila, you’re done!

For embellishing I used stuff that I had for awhile in my Christmas supplies – glittered acrylic snowflakes and Sandylion poinsettia stickers. My other idea was to make paper rosettes for the centres. You can use buttons, ribbon, gems, you name it! 
 Here's to creating great things with friends and family this holiday season! ~ Sharka

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Deck the Walls...

Twenty-two local artists held a holiday Open House at their studio warehouse in North Vancouver this past weekend, Saturday November 26th. The show offered an opportunity to visit artists in their working environment where they create paintings, mixed media, jewelry, sculpture, and more.

There was live music, cookies, hot spiced apple cider, original art and networking on the menu. Have a look at the video... ~ Sharka

Friday, November 25, 2011

Anonymous Art Show

Last night was the Opening of The Anonymous Art Show. The doors opened at 7:00pm and I was the 25th person waiting in line… This is the third year I’ve participated and by the time I left, one of my paintings had sold, yay!

The show is a group exhibition and a fundraising event that includes paintings by both established and emerging artists. All paintings are 8”x8” on canvas.
The artwork is sold right off the walls - once a painting is sold, the purchaser takes it home with them. Each wall is named after one of Santa’s reindeers and the exhibit runs until Saturday, December 17th.

The paintings are $100 each; 50% goes to the artist and the other 50% to the North Vancouver Arts Council. People do not know who painted each piece as they are only signed on the back. The show allows the community to support local artists and provides you the opportunity to purchase original art work at a great price!

This year, The Anonymous Art Show received over 900 paintings - they have accepted 641 in past years - but because of the number submitted, they allowed room for 732 paintings. I can’t remember how many artists they said participated.
I think since the opening has happened and one of my paintings is off the wall, I can reveal all three pieces I submitted. If you get a chance and live on the North Shore, go and have a look, it’s truly a wonderful venue!!! ~ Sharka 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Recycled Christmas Cards & Gift Tags

 Card #1 - used a holly border punch along bottom, then tore along 3 other sides. 
Glued to embossed piece of golden cardstock which then was glued to green mat
 and all 3 layers glued onto card base.
Card #2 - trimmed father christmas (used card) and glued onto scrap gold 
paper (trimmed to size). Using piece of 'scrap' scrapbook paper, glued to red mat and then 
attached all to base of card. Added bow for decor.

I know there are people who love to receive greeting cards for special occasions  - especially at Christmas time. They're thoughtful, memorable and beautiful - I hold on to them for years and years… But when they start to pile up, it can create a dilemma; what should I do with all these keepsakes?

If you feel like lightening your load of cards, don't send them to the recycling bin right away! There are many ways you can reuse your cards - one is to make easy, beautiful new cards, from pieces of the old ones!

Card #3 - punched circles from a few cards (shimmer/glitter) and created a wreath. 
Added a bow and red gems for holly.
Card #4 - glittered ornaments were done using a paper punch. Attached silver twine 
and bow. All 4 layers of matting were attached to card base. One of the 
white mats was embossed. Added silver Merry Christmas sticker.

You will be able to clear out some clutter, help the environment, and create something new and beautiful - all at the same time! Those who receive your "upcycled" Christmas cards will know that no one else has anything like it!!! :-)

If you’re not crafty and are looking for another option, instead of throwing them away, donate them to a friend, a local school or daycare, or a senior centre. I volunteer my time at a local senior activity centre, and my annual Recycled Christmas Card class (this year on December 5th), is always "sold out"!

Tag #1 - Snowmen with trees were cut to fit tag; added dimension with pop-ups.
Glued to embossed mat and then all was glued to green tag. Used corner punch on 
all 4 corners. RIbbons were attached with a fancy stapler/fastener. 
Tag #2 - Scallop punched both pattern (from card) and blue bling base. Attached gem to
 centre of snowflake and used Stickles to give remainder of snowflake 
some shimmer. Punched hole and attached ribbon.
Tag #3 - Trimmed what I wanted from card and matted onto green, then onto golden tag. 
Stamped "No Peeking!" and used Stickles to give falling snow and flakes some shimmer.
 Punched hole and attached ribbon.

This year create you very own GREEN Christmas cards and tags! ~ Sharka

Friday, November 4, 2011

Life Drawing

I never thought I would voluntarily join our  'Life Drawing' sessions... well I have and I am now in my third month and pretty happy with the results from this week's session.  They are held once a week, on a Tuesday for 3 hours and when I'm done, I am drained and exhausted. You would have thought I had run 5 miles or something!

With drawing there are different tools to try and many kinds of paper. I have tried basic white sketching paper and newsprint, and I noticed that most of the people were using a tannish coloured paper known as Kraft. Kraft is what I'm liking most so I'm sticking with it.  For the drawing tools I have now tried pencils in many different grades, graphite sticks and conte in black, white and sepia.

All I can say is I'm going to hang in with the 'Life Drawing' for awhile, and if nothing else it will give me practice, make my sketching/drawing for my paintings a bit easier, and get the right side of my brain working. It's also a fun evening out! ~ Sharka

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Newest Mini-Album

Today I created my first ever video using still pictures of my newest mini-album "Nature".

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

(of the album, not the video... :) )


Friday, October 14, 2011

Paper Birch {betula papyrifera}

My husband loves Birch Trees. There are many species of Birch Trees, but the one we see here, throughout BC is the Paper Birch, also known as Canoe Birch, Silver Birch or White Birch. 'Papyrifera' means "paper bearing" and refers to the bark.

The Paper Birch grows throughout BC and it typically grows at higher elevations, in floodplains, near avalanche tracks, and in swamps and bogs. It is not usually found on the Gulf Islands or near the ocean.

It's the bark that really gets my attention. It is paper thin, and is white to reddish-brown or copper coloured. It feels smooth, and is characterized by brown horizontal lines. The inner bark is exposed when the bark peels off and the peeled bark gradually turns black.

I painted my first Birch Tree painting above in 2008 - my second painting ever - for my husband. I just completed Birch Tree, number 2 below, a few weeks ago. The paintings are both very different, but the subject matter is obviously the same. My husband asked me if he can trade in the original and take the new one! ~ Sharka

"The birch begins to crack its outer sheath
Of baby green and show the white beneath...." Robert Frost

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hallowe'en in Wonderland

BC Scrapbooking Crop for Kids just took place this weekend and it was my 4th year as one of the class sponsoring teachers.  It was spooktacular to have my Hallowe'en in Wonderland Album class sold out again by Friday night! The pictures included here are from my album.

BC Crop for Kids is an annual charity scrapbooking event benefitting BC Children's Hospital Foundation. Since 2008 it has become BC's most popular educational & inspirational paper crafting weekend. It offers a weekend-long crop with amazing classes designed and taught by talented designers. All of these classes are generously sponsored by local scrapbook retailers and scrapbook manufacturers. Proceeds from the sale of crop seats, class seats and any other products offered benefit BC Children's Hospital Foundation - a great cause to support!

"'I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!'" ~ Alice 


Studio Open House - A Touch of Paris!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's a Spotlighting Technique!

Do you want to "shine a spotlight" on part of your stamped image? 

Spotlighting Technique is a fun way to use detailed stamps, color part of the image, punch out a portion of the image, and highlight it with glitter. It adds depth to your card or scrapbook page, and it's pretty easy to do. The results are fabulous!

I learned this technique on the weekend from my new Stampin'Up friends Nicole and Jenna.


Step #1 - Stamp your image twice (use black ink).

Step #2 - I coloured in the ears of the dog, nose of both dog and cat, and the ears of the cat on both images. Then I chose two colours (red and green). On the one image I coloured the dog's hat stripes,  and the cat's sweater stripes in red. On the second image I coloured the same areas with green.

Step #3 - With 2-Way glue, add glue to the areas you just coloured on both images, and sprinkle them with glitter. I used Glitzy Glitter by Stampendous (Diamond).


Step #4 - Choose one image you want to punch out a part(s) of, this will be used to highlight the other image. I used a Martha Stewart Snowflake punch.

Step #5 - Line up the layered punch out(s) over the main image that wasn't punch, and glue it down.

Step #6 - Finish your card. 

The base of this card is 5 1/2" x 4 1/4". I then added a piece of snowflake embossed paper where the snowflakes in view have been glittered. The image was double matted first with green and then red/white scrolls and then I added dimensions for some 3D affect.
Happy Card Making! ~ Sharka

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Wheels on the Bus...

As we all know "The Wheels on the Bus" is a popular children's song. It is popular on journeys to keep children amused because it has a very repetitive rhythm. 

It may seem that summer just arrived, but it will be gone as quickly as it came. I can't believe how short ours was. Labour Day is just around the corner and that means the kids are back to school. 

I had all my school photos tucked away in their report card envelopes and created this elementary school years mini album to remember them. This is the perfect time of year to start one yourself. I am showing all the pages I created - all from leftover scraps. Hope this gives you some inspiration!

Make the most of the remaining weeks of sunshine! ~ Sharka

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Martha's Got Nothing on Me!

New Studio!!!... more ROOM!  It's been only about a month, but when I open the door (I now have a door that locks with a key) the new place still feels too good to be true! 

I am loving the space - it's quite a bit bigger, actually double the size of the last one. There is enough room to paint BIG canvases (yay!), and teach classes. It still faces west so there's great natural light during the day, light walls to better display my paintings, and laminate floors which were bought on craigslist. (recycling is good) I had some great help installing the floor - click'n'lock isn't as easy as you think!

The studio is in a great location, only a few walking blocks away from home!  Enough talk, here are some photos:

And I would like say Thank You to my father in-law (you know who you are) for taking and sharing the photos! ~ Sharka

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I just finished this painting yesterday and today gave it the name Prosperity! I came up with the name after being told earlier that Peony meant Peace in Chinese. When I got home I went to the computer and searched Peony flower symbolism and this is what I found... "Peony symbolizes bashfulness and compassion. It symbolizes a happy life, happy marriage, good health and prosperity."

Did you know? The Chinese call Peonies the King of Flowers or the Flower Fairy.

The painting is 24"x24", acrylic on canvas. ~ Sharka

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

2011 Harmony Arts Festival

I can't believe the Harmony Arts Festival is but a few days away. I will be participating in two events this year; three paintings for sale under the "white tent" as a member with the North Shore Artists' Guild, and in the Studio Tours.

The Studio Tours are a unique opportunity to meet North Shore artists where they work. It gives you the chance to explore the natural landscape of the North Shore while visiting us at your own pace. Many artists from 195 Studios will also take part in this year's festival.

Please come check out my brand new and expanded studio! ~ Sharka

Friday, July 1, 2011

New 160sqft Digs

First, I want to wish everyone a HAPPY CANADA DAY!!! 

Today I thought I could post the latest exciting news... my new studio will be ready in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to moving in! The walls are up with one coat of primer, door is in place, old carpet has been taken away and windows were going in this morning.

As I sat in my "old" studio painting, I could watch the entire process. When I left yesterday, I was so hoping it was finished so I could go in and paint the walls and get it set up this long weekend.

The construction of the new space has created a bit of "musical studios" - Red Door Studios downstairs will be moving next to me upstairs, an artist just a hallway away on the other side will be moving into my "old" space -  this making room for two new artists to join 195 Studios. I am excited to have this new space and I will show you all the new and exciting things I have planned, so stay tuned! ~ Sharka

Friday, June 24, 2011

195 Studios - Artists' on Pemberton

Check out the wonderful video created by one of our 195 artists, Sandrine Pelissier.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


 Happy first day of SUMMER! (aka Summer Solstice)

Our next open studios ART SOLSTICE is this Sunday, June 26th, from 11am-5pm.

Discover the energetic group of artists working and exhibiting their vibrant art at 195 Pemberton Avenue, North Vancouver.

Find paintings, collages and sculptures during your stroll through these welcoming buildings.

Participating artists: Anna du Bois, Michael Gordon, Brenda Henry, Sharka Leigh (that's me!) Sandrine Pelissier, Isabelle Procter, Ricardo Spinacé, and Norm Vipond.