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Archive for June, 2010

Mice in the nursery!

June 26th, 2010

I’m so excited for my friend Meg and her husband Pat, who very recently brought home their adopted son Van, from Vietnam. While they were overseas, I worked on a mural in Van’s room-to-be. Before they’d left, I’d done a full sketch of what I was going to paint, accommodating the room’s specs and the furniture placement:

Meg has a book called “Ten Mice for Tet“, which is about Vietnamese New Year, and she wanted to use it as inspiration for the room. Also, Van is a water buffalo in Vietnamese astrology, so I wanted to include something to that effect too.

I used acrylic paints for the colours. For the outlines, I used a Sharpie Paint marker (the biggest size: Bold), and it worked like an absolute dream. Here’s one of the mice before and after I outlined him… huge difference!

The markers come in water-based or oil. I chose the oil-based at the recommendation of various stores I asked — it’s opaque (the water-based one isn’t) and more permanent. It does mean that Meg and Pat should sand the outlines down if they ever repaint the room.

Wall 1 — with Van’s name and the dragon:

I used a silver acrylic paint for the scales… so it was a little tough to photograph.

Wall 2 — which is mainly window, but I did put this lantern up near the ceiling, overtop the shelf of stuffed animals. The gold flowers are also Sharpie marker.

Wall 3 — the musicians and the foodies!

Closer up…

And Wall 4 — the water buffalo and the flagbearer.

And this is Pepper the cat, whom I kinda fell in love with. I think she approves…

[Technical detail for anyone who plans on painting a mural with acrylic paints: the paints are transparent, so if the wall is not white, you'll need to put on a few  extra coats of acrylic for the colours to show up properly.]

Welcome home Van — you are a lucky kiddo to have such fabulous parents as Meg & Pat!

good peeps, horn tootin' , , , , , , , ,

Weekend ramble: launch, talk, watch, analyze

June 12th, 2010

With the kick-off of The D.A.D. Project this past Monday, I’ll likely blog a little less often here [insert game show "wonh-wonhhhh" here] — so I’ll probably be doing some catch-up rambling now and again, like today.


The D.A.D. launch, by the way, has been terrific. In five days, we: sold four items, received $200 in donations on our Canadian Cancer Society Team Page, gained 118 members for our facebook group, and received many supportive messages and comments. So exciting and encouraging!


Say Anything Speech Bubble Chalkboard

Say Anything Speech Bubble Chalkboard by PlayingGrownUp

I’ve been asked to be a speaker at an upcoming event for a group called Case Study Jam. I used to work with Bob (who helps organise CSJ and who also runs his own gig, Translucid Communications) and he has asked if I would give a talk about how I turned m chen wears from a hobby into a business. Other speakers will be Mark Buell and Sheila Bergeron from CIRA, and Don Chow from Foodieprints.

If you are in Ottawa, interested in communications / social media stuff, and available next Thursday, you can  register (for free) here.

I actually don’t mind speaking in front of a crowd. I get slightly jittery, but not “don’t-wanna-do-it” anxious. Thinking about public speaking brings me back to my grade 10 Effective Communications class, where we each had to present a speech to the class and then get critiqued. I did ok, but it turns out that I have a tendency to wink when I’m nervous… let’s hope I can keep my eyelids under control so that I’m not coming on to half the crowd.


I just saw Dan Mangan’s wonderful (and award-winning) Road Regrets video this morning. I love this guy… and may have mentioned him a few times here already. I hope you enjoy the vid and song as much as I do:


I caved and installed Google Analytics to this site. I’ve been watching my stats using cpanel for months, so I had a gist for the numbers already, but GA is pretty cool. The downside is that it shows my traffic as being about half of what cpanel does. What the…?

GA has shown me some fun info though. Like how one of my most popular posts is the one about Bon Jovi’s name (I’m sure his fans aren’t too happy about it), or how much longer Canadians stick around and read stuff here than people from any other country. Maybe it’s because I spell “favourite” with a ‘u’.

general rambling, m chen wears, music , , , , , , , , ,

It’s a… D.A.D.!

June 8th, 2010

I’d like to introduce to you… [drum roll, please!]

The D.A.D. project is a new collaborative project that my sister Serena and I have just launched, and it’s been in the works for months now.

Last year, our father was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in his lungs and liver, and he’s been undergoing chemo since August. So if you’ve read my blog for awhile and wondered why we had to plan our wedding in 8 weeks flat, or why my Dad wore a fedora to the event, or why I mentioned that 2009 was a bit of a roller coaster, this explains things. I haven’t spelled it out until now for many reasons… but now with our Dad’s thumbs-up and with this project, here we are.

If you’ve ever had a loved one deal with longterm sickness, you know how your priorities get turned on their head, how you oscillate between the bad feelings and wanting to be strong, and how helpless you can feel. We wanted to come up with a way to feel productive and to do something positive in the midst of a tough situation.

Some people do walk-a-thons, some donate their hair, some bike across the country, some volunteer at a clinic… As for my sister and me? Well, we DRAW.

The D.A.D. Project is an ongoing fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. We will take turns doing a Drawing A Day, and $10 from the sale of each of these printed drawings will go directly to the CCS. You can find out more details on the D.A.D. about page.

We also:


I’ll be keeping things separate for now (m on the side will continue be my own stuff, while the new site will be D.A.D.-specific), so please drop by the newborn blog and check out our progress — we’d love to hear from you!

Just a little peek at a detail of my very first daily drawing yesterday:

Big thanks to:

  • everyone whose show all sorts of support already (sold & relisted our first print!),
  • the nice nurses at the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre
  • Tony at Lab5 Inc. who worked so hard on getting this site programmed/posted
  • Rob at Imatics for kindly registering and hosting D.A.D.’s domain


And off we go!!!

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