2016 + thunderpeep

I love this time of year - although usually it's much colder and snowier - it's a time of reflection and new plans and exciting new projects. Yearly horoscopes and cleaning house.

I don't really believe in New Years Resolutions. I do however like to sit down and set a mantra for the new year and some goals. Because honestly, in life like in business, if you don't have goals you're just wasting your time.

I've been thinking a lot about how I want 2016 to look. I would like to tie up a lot of what I started towards the end of 2015. A big part of that is having the courage to make big leaps. I have faith in myself and what I want to be doing and how I want to live the next year but taking the steps to put it into action is the tough part for me. So I set myself goals of the little things to accomplish by certain dates to make it all happen.

In terms of thunderpeep I am moving forward with BOTH collections this year. You'll be getting incredible Midsummer and Polar Nights collections this year. And I mean incredible, I'm pretty damn excited for what I have lined up (and yes I've already started work on both!) And I can announce that the Midsummer is getting a pretty sweet launch too. The lovely Jen from Pikelet Workshop, who happens to also be one of my fellow leaders over at the Toronto Etsy Street Team, has secured us a venue for the our Summer show on the Saturday of the Midsummer Weekend. YES. Not only do we get to have a totally rad theme (I'm still trying to get rad to catch on again....) but I'm using it to motivate me to have the best collection yet - since I have such a great venue to launch it at. I'm still trying to figure out what to do to launch the Polar Nights, but I'm sure it'll be great too.

Shows will still be at a minimum. I'll be focusing on some collaborations and licensing and publishing more than production. Actually collaborations are a big focus for 2016. I have so many amazingly creative friends, I wanted a chance to work with them. So I asked. And so far I've got 2 yeses and one perhaps. That is a major win for us all!

On a personal note, this year I'm really focusing on making my big trip a reality and getting into planning mode. I LOVE trip planning. Finding all sorts of interesting spots to go in each city and country. Now quite a bit of my trip will depend on how this year plays out. Some of the countries I want to visit are a bit volatile. That's part of the reason I want to go, but safety first kids! One of those such places was just recently added to my list of destinations. Odessa, Ukraine. After I saw this image

Yes, after passing a bill that bans all Communist propaganda within the country, artist Alexander Milov transformed the former Lenin statue into one of Darth Vader. You can read all about it here. I mean, how can you not want to see this in real life? I'll write all about my reasons for adding Ukraine to my list of countries in a later post, along with all the other countries. I really want to share my reasons for this trip so get ready.

How about you, any big goals or plans for 2016 that you want to share?


Happy Winter and The Ice Maiden

It's here. My favourite time of the year. Winter. I'll pause while the majority of you grunt.

All done now? Good. Because while it may have snowed for about 25 minutes here in Toronto on Saturday, there is still no real sign of winter here. I'm in the minority of unhappy people, but I expect to gain some supporters once the 24th hits and people start to cry in their egg nogs that there will be no snow for Christmas.

The coming of Winter, the Winter Solstice, Midwinter... whatever you may choose to call it, tends to be overlooked a) because most people are cry babies about the cold and b) everyone is focused on Christmas. Not here at thunderpeep headquarters. This is our second favourite day of the year (the first of coarse being the celebration of my birth) And it's done up in style. Or at least I try. I have to admit I don't have as many supporters in my Midwinter celebration, but every year I try.

The Midwinter celebration is similar to it's sister Midsummer in the sense that it is a welcoming of the light. You might find that strange as it's the longest and darkest day of the year. But because it's the longest, that means after the solstice, the days actually start to get longer. And while modern society actually recognizes the 4 seasons, these celebrations date back to Viking times, and the Vikings only celebrated the 2 Summer and Winter seasons. So to them, this was the middle of winter, it was the start of the trek back to light and summer. The Vikings Midwinter feast was actually a 12 day celebration (sound familiar?) with sacrifices to the Gods, lot's of eating and drinking, the burning of a Sunwheel, and the Yule log. Now while we are all familiar with the Yule log cake (which I'm making for the first time this year) in Viking times it was a large oak log decorated with sprigs of fir, holly or yew, that they carved Runes on to while seeking protection from any misfortunes. The Viking Yule is still celebrated in some areas of the world and who knows, maybe in the future I'll make it to one. But for this year I hosted some friends for a giant smorgasbord feast. In front of my new fake fireplace. 2 days before the actual solstice. You do what you can. There is ZERO chance of snow for the changing of the season. Don't even get me started.

Now, I did promise you some Good vs. Evil fun to help ring in the season. And, that isn't necessarily going to happen. I was too busy having fun and the piece still isn't finished. BUT don't be sad, I can give you sneak peek. Or an introduction. While I was originally going to work all the pieces in the collection in a similar format, this one has taken a bit of a different direction. And, being as this is one of my all time favourite stories, we'll let it.

The next instalment is inspired by Hans Christian Andersens' the Ice Maiden. It was actually the first piece I started working on, but it's also been the most difficult to finish. There are just so many themes in the story, choosing one direction that does the story justice is a struggle. So I just decided to go with what stuck out the most to me in the story. The theme of hope and believing. While The Ice Maiden differs to the Snow White story in that it does not end with a clean and happy win for the Good side, well let's just say Evil has to patiently work for her victory. There's also a bit of a tainted love vibe. And that's all your getting for now. Except for a sneak peek at The Ice Maiden herself.


That's a wrap!

Santa and I at the TEST Christmas Marketplace.

Yesterday was my last show of 2015. I didn't do too many shows this year and the ones I did do were small and intimate, where I got a chance to meet and chat with all sorts of fun and interesting folk. Next to seeing my creations come to life there is no better feeling than watching people reacting to them. I have so many great memories of watching people flip through the Midsummer book and then hearing the feedback from people who've read or even better read it to their kids. The few who connected with the subtle imagery in the Good vs. Evil calendar illustration that was pulled from the original Grimms story (not that silly Disney version) Sometimes it's not about the sale, it's about the connection. And some of my best memories from this past year were the great conversations about one of my products, that didn't end in a sale. At least not at the show ;)

But one story that is leaving a sweet note on the end of my year... I have this friend Pam. She's a potter who makes gorgeous potted pieces under the name Curious Bird pottery. Not only is she one of my favourite people, she has two 3 year old twin boys who are the most adorable things. And she bought one of the Midsummer books for them at the Made in Canada show. Since then, every time I see her she tells me a different story about the boys and the story. I love hearing all the little things they like about the book and how they have embraced some of the graphic details as well. Like the stripe stripe dot dot on the trees. They are going to be very clever Troll hunters when they get a bit bigger! Now this is all awesome, but it must also be noted that Pam is a teacher. If I had written a bad story, no teacher would let their kids near that book. Thank you Pam.

As I wrap up the show calendar my favourite season is quickly approaching. Winter. It's quite sad here in Toronto, we have no signs of winter weather coming anytime soon. And I can only handle so much grey dreary weather in December. It should be sunny and WHITE! Why else would I have moved back here? And with the Winter solstice comes the launch of the next Illustration in the Good vs Evil collection. One that is most appropriate for the coming of the frozen season. It also happens to be inspired by my all-time favourite fairy tale. I can't wait to share it.

PS. If you notice anything odd on the blog in the next few weeks, I'm updating the template and there will most definitely be hiccups! 


Falling back into old habits

It's been tough lately to remind myself what I'm striving for. It's hard not to fall back into old habits and patterns. It's hard to stay focused and on your own path. Especially when life gets busy and you just try to stay on top of things and need to find the easiest ways to get all the shit done.

That's a terrible statement to make. But that's exactly where I found myself a few months ago.

Still feeling a bit unsure on where I was and where I needed to go to move forward I found myself at the centre of a shit storm. Mostly of my own doing, but things just needed to get done. That's what happens when you take on too much. Between planning and selling at shows and staying on top of the online orders, with life throwing as many obstacles as possible, I was still falling back on the old ways and old products. It was easy and I knew they'd sell well. Exactly what I didn't want to be doing. And I was miserable.

Hence the radio silence on the blog. I always try to share the good, the bad and the ugly. But the ugly wasn't something I even wanted to acknowledge, let alone share. Some things are still just a bit too personal for me.

I started this post on Thanksgiving weekend (the Canadian one) but thought it was a good time to come back to it. The year is coming to a close, the shop is in the midst of it's Christmas frenzy and I'm already planning on all the fun things I get to do with all the down time come the middle of December. And I'm feeling good about it all. All those hard times reminded me of what's important. Who's important. And why I'm on this journey of rebranding my life.

So, it's time to jump now. Come January you are going to see some big changes on the website and in the shops. 2015 was all about self-reflection and discovery,  finding my voice and reconnecting with my passion. Now we can all move forward into 2016.


Holiday Freebie Friday

It's been awhile since I did a Friday download here, so I though I'd share this little Holiday organizer that I did up for a blog post over on Creative Clementine - some of my tips for staying sane over busy times. I can't take care of all your chores, but at least I can help keep your Gift Buying organized!

Just click the image and download to your desktop, print and be organized.
(please note that this image is for personal use only,  not for resale but feel free to share this post with your friends!)


It's the busy shipping time

As I sit here in the middle of packaging orders, I realize that shipping deadlines for Holiday orders are coming up really fast. And you need to know all the details so you don't have sad, late packages. No one likes that.

My last show of the season is coming up on December 12th and we have a pretty sweet Lookbook going to showcase the vendors

The shop is getting a pretty major overhaul starting in January, so this is a good time to stock up on your favourites.

Now, if only it would snow....


Guess what? Today's my birthday!

WooHoo, I did it, I made it through another year!

I usually always forget about this Throwback Thursday thing, and every now and again someone post some photo from my past and I think to myself "damn you've got a shit ton of pics in those boxes in the back of the closest. get on it already!"

So, one day I did just that. And I have a stack of pics ready for #TT. Look out people.

News Flash: most of them are of me. Like this one. This was my 7th birthday at my Dad's house. I still get this excited for cake. I have no idea who that dude is in the background - he's some guy my friend Sam knew and brought. He doesn't seem to fazed by the crazy girl with the large knife so he must have been cool.

I always hated having my pic taken. There are so many ridiculous pics like this of me. Very few of me sitting nicely, and honestly the ones that I do find I often wonder what my parents had to do to make that photo happen.

I like that today is my birthday, for many reasons other than the birthday cake. Like feeling like a new chapter is finally starting. Adventures are being planned. So many collaborations are in the works (seriously this is very exciting and i can't wait to have something concrete to share) There is the prospect of snow in the near future.

Life is looking good for year 41.


because, life happens

A few weeks ago I had coffee with my friend Katie. We chatted about life stuff, she gets me, these are always really great chats. I had made a comment about hitting your lowest point before you can really start to put things back together. I thought I had hit my dark spot. Then last week happened.

Last week was a hard week.
I had my heart ripped from my chest more than once.
I learned about strength and the need to surround yourself with friendly faces.
I learned that other people can only bring you down with their negativity if you let them.
I learned about the importance of empathy.

A lot of people fall apart in those dark moments. I see them as a necessary part of growing as a person. It's a time of hard and real self reflection. As hard as they are while you're there, I believe that you sometimes have to allow yourself to explore those darker places. 

Today is a good day to remember one very simple life lessons. Be nice to each other. Not everyone's day is great, if yours is going pretty well you might want to share that goodness with a smile. You might just change their day. Smiling is free after all!

Today I am happy. Life is always hard, especially when you have to be an adult. But now I have lot's of journal entries for days when I am looking for blogging content (silver linings;) I'm excited to start making fun things for you again and to get back to adventuring and story telling. Did I mention that Amy and I are planning another attempt at winter camping (although last time we didn't intend to go on a winter camping trip, mother nature just threw that weather glitch at us last minute) Yep, we'll be better prepared. But you still know there will be some crazy shit going down when we venture into the wilderness.


Discovering what this NaNoWriMo is really all about

Do you know about NaNoWriMo? I kind of vaguely did. I have friends who are writers of novels that have discussed this before. I never thought of it. I write short fairy tales, what the hell, I wouldn't even know how to handle 50,000 words in 30 days. 

But I totally signed up. Because sometimes you need to challenge yourself to get motivated. And I needed some motivation. I actually had an idea brewing, one that doesn't really fit ANYWHERE in the thunderpeep/michelle universe so it is kind of perfect for this. Absolutely no pressure. This ones just for me. Of coarse I'll tots share it with you as I go along and whatever comes to be on November 30th. As long as you're not a scaredy cat. It's going to be a scary one. No Trolls, but all the other scary things that hide out in the deep dark polar night.....

Happy November. Happy NaNoWriMo. Let me know if you're participating... it's always good to have buddies on an adventure!


Holiday show prepping

Halloween is over now. Us craft show folk are now free to start talking winter and holiday shows without the wrath of friends and family! As much as thunderpeep is still very much in re-branding mode,  you'll be able to catch me at a couple of smaller, more intimate events over the next 2 months. It's also November.... which means there are birthday celebrations to plan!

I got back into show mode with the Etsy: Made in Canada show at the end of September. It was really weird being back in a show environment. I almost didn't know what I was doing at first. Luckily I had Steff there to keep me focused!

Next up....

November 14th - Rotary East Christmas Show Always one of my favourite Holiday shows. Eastenders are such enthusiastic supporters and the Rotary runs one hell of a smooth day. Come out for handmade goodness - including a very popular bake sale table.
10am to 5pm - Eastminster Church, Danforth and Chester (subway to Chester stations)

December 12th - Toronto Etsy Street Team Christmas Market Yearly tradition. Hanging with my lovely teammates, with goods for the almost last minute shoppers. There will be some workshops. Santa will be making an appearance again this year from 12:30 to 1:30 only. You don't want to miss Santa!
11am to 5pm - Church of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields, 103 Bellevue Avenue @College Street (just East of Bathurst)

If you've followed me for a while now you might be surprised that the One of a Kind show isn't listed. I'll be taking the year off from the show during the re-branding, but I'll still be there helping out my fellow artist friends and, of coarse, shopping!


Scary stuff for you!

I love Halloween.

It's a time to be goofy and have fun (and eat some candy) and scare folk. And I love to be scared. Any kind of staged Haunted House and I'm there (the un-staged kind I'm not so sure of...)

So in the spirit of scary things and candy, I figured it's been awhile since I've done a Friday Freebie so I made this little phone screen saver for you. And for me of coarse too. Taru was one of the first characters I created, and she's still one of my favourites. Especially when she teams up with her vampire friend Turi. Loads of trouble those 2...

Just click on the image and it will pop up in a new window. 
Right click the image and download it onto your computer, load it to your phone 
and set it as your wallpaper or lock screen image in your settings. 
(please note that this image is for personal use only, 
not for resale but feel free to share this post with your friends!)


This weekend, come visit me!

It's finally time to get my show legs back on. Yep, it's been a long while, but I have my first show of the year coming up this Saturday - the Etsy: Made in Canada show (check it out here), right here in Toronto at the historic MaRS Centre Atrium.

Now, if you've been following me for awhile you know that I'm also one of the organizers of this event, which means I'm extra excited. It's definitely been a beast of an event to pull together, but I'm lucky to work with 8 other amazing women between the Toronto Etsy Street Team and our partners for this venture the 416Hustler team. We've been working our asses off to make this second year even more kickass than last years - because if you were there last year you know how insane it was.

We've got more space this year, yes MORE space. We're pretty much taking over the entire ground floor of the MaRS building.  140 vendors including vintage sellers. 8 fantastic free workshops. 100 unreal swag bags are being handed out to the first 100 through the doors at 10am (last year the lineup started around 7am, if you're keen you need to be really keen to get in on these bags!)

As for things thunderpeep... I've still got some copies of my book What Hides in the Forest as well as the usuals, loads more prints and a new notepad featuring Kaippo from the book. I'll have the new Holiday cards and this will be your first chance to get your hands on my 2016 calendar. I'm SUPER excited about it. It's in line with the new direction of my work, so it's a whole lot of new!

This years calendar isn't going to be a flip calendar, it's a very large full year calendar. And did I mention yet it's awesome? It introduces a new collection of prints I'll be launching throughout 2016. Limited edition works all based on original Fairy Tales (well no one knows where the original versions truly come from but these are some of my favourite Grimms/Anderson/Asbjornse/Moe stories) Basically not the Disneyfied ones. Nope. The collection is called Good vs. Evil - and it's going to depict just that. The good vs evil battle in all fairy tales. The first piece will be featured on the calendar and it's based on the Snow White story. If you haven't read the Grimm's version you really should. It's quite creepy. My artwork, not so creepy, but that's ok. I love creepy things, but just can't draw creepy. It's quite tragic really.

I just approved the design today so I don't have a photo of the finished piece, but be sure to follow me on Instagram to get the first peak at it (or just come down to the show and buy yourself one) and oh yeah, I may not have mentioned, this calendar is a commitment piece. It's 13" x 19" and is set to be printed on a heavy 130lb card stock. Yeah, fancy. Starting to see why I'm so excited. Limited Edition. You'll want one. And you'll want to collect them all! I'll do another post on that after I get myself through this weekend.


Things I Can't Do

Yeah, you read that correctly. But don't be sad for me.

I actually kind of (totally) stole this post idea from the fabulous Wonder Forest who posted her list of can't do's on her blog (read hers here) and I loved this idea.

Wow, why do I keep borrowing blog post ideas!

So many times we focus maybe too much on how great others are at things and feel bad that maybe we aren't as good at those things. Everyone has their strengths AND their weaknesses. All of us do. So I love the idea of sharing, and embracing all the things we don't rock at!

I can't throw a ball (or anything for that matter). It's seriously embarrassing. It's like my hand just forgets to let go and whatever is in my hand just falls in front of me. I can kick really well, I can bat really well, I can catch really well, there's just something about throwing that doesn't work for me! one day I'll have to tell you some of the embarrassing stories.

I still struggle with their, they're and there. English is hard you guys. I still have to think for a second before I type one of them. I blame it on French Immersion. In fact, it's a good thing blogger has spellcheck - my spelling is really not that stellar at all. But I can speak good ;)

I can't stop annoying people from getting to me. I take peoples mean and negative attitudes too personally. And I really shouldn't. That's their (see that took me a second) shitty karma. But one stupid sarcastic comment can eat away at me and I have to try really  hard not to be a bitch back. Because I'm mean when I'm bitchy. Sometimes it comes in handy, because I'm good at putting bad people in their place, but then I feel bad about being such a bitch... and on and on it goes. But who wants to try to care less? That seems wrong.

I can't be late for anything. Now, you may think this is a good thing. But no. If I feel like I'm going to be even the slightest bit late, because of traffic or someone else or mother nature blowing in a tornado or whatever the reasons beyond my control, I will get extreme anxiety. And anxiety is not fun. For me or for anyone else involved. As an adventurous traveller, this can make for stressful times. But the good thing is, I don't let it run my life. I just take a shot and keep going ;)

I can't cry. Ok, let me clarify. I can cry if I get overwhelmed or really really happy. But I can't sad cry. This is a tough one to admit. It freaks people out. I don't do sadness. Like not really at all. As someone who has struggled with depression, this might seem odd, but nope. People all around me might be sad crying and I just get really uncomfortable. I just can't do the sadness thing. But I'm really good one on one with a crying friend, probably because I'm not a weepy person I have the ability to talk people down. With the exception of one unfortunate broken heart, I've just never been a cryer (drunk crying doesn't count you guys)

There are many more things I can't do, but that's enough sharing for today. It's your turn. What can't you guys do?


#FaceForward - 5 Lessons for future me

I saw this quote on a blog I follow (and apologize - I can't remember which one) and it really resonated with my state of being these days, but would future me still need to be reminded?

My friend Katherine, over at Simple Smiles & Co recently posted this great article inspired by a global conversation started by the folks at Clinique. Basically it's a challenge to encourage our future selves by asking "what advice would you give yourself in 3 years". What a loaded question. Especially where I am at this particular moment in time.

But I'm going to play along, because I love this idea.

1. Look Back, often.
Most people would think this is crazy. 'Don't Look Back, look forward' is a motto for most inspirational whatevers, but I actually love to look back, and remember why I am where I am. Remembering the hard times, the good times, the learning times. Reflection is a great motivator for moving forward in life. I look back at this past year, and it's been a tough year, but I am such a different person from where I started. Sure I'm still a bit lost, but I'm SO MUCH happier knowing that because I took the time to dig down deep, I'm figuring out where I really want to be.

2. Remember that not everyone's opinion matters
This took me awhile to learn. Everyone's got an opinion. Especially an opinion on others peoples lives. But the people who know and care about you most, the ones who have YOUR best interest at heart. Those are the people, the only people, who's opinions you should listen to. The rest can go talk themselves into tomorrow!

3. Let your fear guide you, sometimes.
This is my favourite, but I'm sure I won't need to remind myself of it. (but I'm still going to list it) I'm never one to play it safe. The biggest rewards usually come from the biggest battles. If something scares you, it's probably because you know you should do it, but practicality is telling you otherwise. Unless it's like a big bug, or snakes or anything creepy crawly, you can fear them. Like this guy.

4. Be Happy. It's really Easy.
I've started this recently. When I find myself surrounded by negative folks and people are just being downright rude and gross I find myself getting sucked into their mad mojo. And whyyyyyyy? People are not going to change but I sure can change my reaction. Now, this is common advice that everyone likes to give but really, it's kind of awkward. Because when you're being really negative and I don't want it to get to me, i ignore you. And some people think that's rude (sigh). But now I have pretty much stopped worrying about it and have been much more at peace (and I also don't take the subway anymore, streetcar folk are much more happy and even when their weirdos I can just stare out the window!!!)

5. Eat something bad for you.
;) no really. Whatever it is that is your guilty pleasure, sometimes you just need to indulge. Life is too short not to. I switched to drinking tea over coffee less than a year ago and I feel so much better (I've really only been drinking coffee since I turned 30 but it makes me CRAZY and I just want more and more and more). But sometimes, especially when I'm meeting up for weekend chats with a friend, I treat myself to a latte. Especially fancy ones at local shops, they are always the absolute yummiest (if in Toronto you have to try one of Red Rocket lattes with special shots... oh man)

Red Rocket treats with Katie from Hearts Haven. We both got the Roasted Marshmallow shot. OMG yes!
What are the 5 Lessons you would want to pass on to future you?


No one said being Adult was going to be easy

This post was started a few weeks ago and has just sat there. Literally with one first sentence (which is now gone). Taunting me to say more. But like everything else I do, this updated needed time to brew. Letting people into your personal space is kind of an uncomfortable feeling for me still. But that's kind of all about to change. In a very big way.

Grandma somewhere in California (not positive)
and yes she most likely made that dress herself!
I'm a wanderer. It runs in my family. My grandma was a a wanderer and beautiful soul. When I was really little my friends often referred to her as Mother Nature. She was a really cool woman who I wish I could have spent time with now, as a partial grownup. I don't own a house. I am not married. I don't have kids. To be honest I don't want any of those things. I don't want to be tied to one place, I want to live it all the cool places. I love being Canadian and all the opportunity it has given me. But we live on an enormous planet. Why would anyone not want to explore it ALL. Ok, even I don't want to see it all (you know all those really hot places with big bugs are not on my list of must-see places) I don't want to do the same jobs for my whole adulthood. I've had some incredibly sweet gigs and loved (almost) all of them. But I still have a long list of things I want to do. But living in chaos is also something I don't want to do. Time to make some decisions already.

So, what the hell does that mean? You guys have patiently come along this ride of re-branding and now it's all coming to a head. That's what it means. I need to get out and explore and share and experience, I absolutely can't sit still anymore.

I'm back in trip planning mode. 1.5 years to plan, save and strategize.

Wait, what?

A trip. Where to?

My instagram followers may have noticed this recent post linking to a new social media identity. That's where you can follow all the trip details as they unfold (please excuse my one photo there - I put that up so my friends would know it was me when I followed them). And even come along with me when I set out in 2017 (yeah, it takes a long time to plan and save to take a big chunk of a year off and wander) There's also a new blog so I can keep business and personal a bit more separate. It's still a work in progress but it's coming together pretty quickly so you should head over and start follow it here

Thunderpeep is already starting to fold into a more personal creative business, which you'll get a taste of as they roll out over the fall/winter. I'm super psyched about this years calendar. It's pretty grand! More books are also coming next year. And I'm SO FREAKING HAPPY. The adventures of Mina and Runa and the Trolls will continue in 2016. Best thing I ever did in this life was take a step away and follow up on that dream of writing my first fairy tale. Over this past year there have been a lot of confused looks when I talk about where I'm at and what I'm doing. Some good, some well kind of sad. So many people are just too stuck or afraid to really follow through on a dream or passion. If my journey can help even one person break the chains of societal pressures I'm happy. If there's a will, there's always a way. Always. You just have to put yourself out there and be ready to get knocked down a couple (or lot's) of times.

So much happy goodness.

Now, let's all go live happily ever after :)


Nope, it's still Summer.

Some folks are complaining that this summer hasn't been summery enough this year.
That's just crazy talk. It's hot and humid and sticky and sweaty here in Toronto. 
It's Too Damn Hot. 
So I figured it was the perfect time for my yearly sale. Oh yeah, I just said Sale. 
Plus it's a bit of a Thank You for all the support through this somewhat turbulent year of change.
From right this minute until midnight this Sunday Absolutely Everything in my shop is 50% off. 
(use coupon code: TOODAMNHOT at checkout)
Nothing is off the table. 
Stock up, start your Holiday gift shopping, but yourself some treats. 


Thanks for Great Night!

For anyone who came out to last nights party....
We had some serious fun, hung out with some other fab businesses on Danforth East
(including one of our favourite restaurants The Borough) and discover
a great new band in The Rattlesnake Choir

halfway through the setup //  swag from our high five lovin' neighbours Indie88 //  and a sweet colouring station!

The weather was fantastic, the people came out and enjoyed the music and I got to meet and swap 
adventure stories with some pretty interesting folks!

first book sale to my talented friend Michelle of Kempton Jones and Dexter // scrumptious smores //  some new branding!

The book is finally up for sale in the Etsy shop now, along with a really cool colouring booklet that features some of the illustrations from the book, combined in one extra long spread - just waiting for you to colour in!

HUGE thanks to Christal at LEN for letting me take over the booth and launch my book in the park, 
with a built in party!

More about the book this weekend, including a sweet giveaway in celebration!


and we're ready to launch!

So, this week two pretty freaking exciting things happened. And it's only Tuesday. WHAT!
I thought it was quite appropriate that my OMAM vinyl came the day before my books. An album named Beneath The Skin, it was a nice setup for such a personal journey. (and if you haven't checked out the new album you should - SO GREAT)

I couldn't open the books when they came in, I had to get someone else to crack the first one and flip through it (as I peeped over their shoulder of coarse!) But man, I have to say it's looks so much more amazing than I ever dreamed. But it's not over yet. As I type this I have a giant To-Do list hovering just beyond my screen, for tomorrow's Launch party.

So, here's the deal. The Danforth Mosaic is putting on concerts every Wednesday evening in July and Christal from our friendly neighbourhood LEN shop has invited me to take over their tent for the evening, with all my Midsummer goodness. It's a launch party, with live music, local eats and drinks, s'mores (what?) and good times. If you're anywhere near East Lynn park tomorrow evening you should come down and hang out with us. You can get the first look at the book and pick up some fun companion goodies - there are prints pulled from the imagery in the book, a colouring book - and even a colouring area, tons of fun buttons and did I mention s'mores!

If you're not in the Toronto area don't be sad. I'll blog all about it this weekend, once I've recovered. And tomorrow there will be a whole write up about the book and a GIVEAWAY! Yes!

Anything exciting happening for you this week?


A little bit of neglect never hurt my blog...

Because seriously I had shit to get done. Like mad rush – why do I always leave these things to the absolute last minute – lessons learned kind of shit.

I know, I know, this is a common bad habit amongst designers, and we never learn our lesson.

Last proof of the book - This is the Final cover artwork!!!

But whatever the case, I worked by ass off the past couple of weeks and am pee my pants excited (gross!) to have finally finished my first book and it's officially gone to print. WHAT? Yeah there was a lot of excitement and anxiety and sleepless days but I got it there. And now it's out of my hands.

It's kind of a relief. It's kind of not. But sometimes you just need to let it be. So I'm letting it be.

I think it'll be a weird feeling to actually have the finished product in my hands. I've designed quite a few books in my days and the feeling of having the finished product in your hands for the first time is pretty awesome, but this'll be my first time holding my very own book. What!?

You'll have a to wait a wee bit longer to see the full book though. I'll officially have the books for July 8th, but they won't be available in the shop until the 10th (don't worry I'll share little tidbits and pics). If you happen to be in the Toronto area on July 8th you can come down to The Danny Loves Music at East Lynn Park between 6 and 9pm at East Lynn Park, not only will it be a FUN night in the park, good music and other treats, but I'll be hanging out in the LEN booth and.... I'll have the books with me. You can totally come have a visit with me, buy one of the books and other goodies I'll have with me!

Now I'm going to catch up on sleep and binge watch The 100 (don't judge we all have our guilty pleasures ;)


some new Society 6 swag!

With all the new designs that came out this past weekend, I did a big update to the Society 6 shop. And I know I'm going on a shopping spree, the new work looks pretty damn great on the totes, mugs, tees and SO much more.

These are just a handful of the selections available…. The Love the Forest is definitely working hard to be my favourite offspring. And of coarse the Midsummer Sky, the image that kind of started it all. I'm thinking that for this Friday's Fun Friday we should celebrate by pimping out your phones with screensavers for all the new designs. Sound like a good idea?

Hope you like it as much as I am. I'll be adding more designs as they are finished, but don't worry I'll be sure to let you know so you don't miss out.

I mean, you have to know that there is more Troll swag coming ;)

Oh yeah, and there's also FREE shipping until the 28th!!!

Happy almost mid-week!


Welcome to the same thunderpeep that now looks even more kickass!

Happy Midsummer! I hope it's nothing but sunshine and warm breezes where you are.

Did you welcome the season of sunshine in last night? Hopefully in Fun Fashion {because really why bother celebrating in a boring way?}

Ok, so let's get down to this rebrand and all these new things that I've been working away on.

When I first stepped back to revisit where thunderpeep was it was really just to refocus on the direction I first set out onto. I had no idea that this period of reflection was going to result in a complete rebrand of the company. And honestly it didn't even become clear until about a month ago when I realized I was heading into a very new direction, and I was SUPER excited about it. So both thunderpeep and I needed a fresh new start.

This is the story of thunderpeeps' fresh start. Fittingly debuting on the Midsummer. Kicking off the launch of the Midsummer collection, which be continually rolling out over the next couple of weeks leading up to the Grand Finale on July 8th. But to be honest I've come to the realization that the rebrand will continue to evolve as the year goes on. By the time we hit winter (sorry but it's going to come eventually) and the Polar Night Collection starts to take shape I think we'll all be happily sitting in the company of a brand new thunderpeep!

My work has always had a pretty strong Scandinavian influence. But I've been struggling with my personal connection to my own country and having moved back closer to where I grew up I found that I was a bit more nostalgic (oh yeah and I turned 40 in there and I think it's a right of passage to start reminiscing about the olden days once you hit your 40's) So I wanted to bring a bit more of my sense of Canadiana into my work, in a way to help ground me back in my own roots. It was a struggle to find that right mix. But then after my epic {disastrous?} camping trip back in May I found it. Being back in the Ontario wilderness that I had grown up adventuring in, remembering those fun times and the era that was my childhood and teenage years, it was pretty much already there. I had already been obsessing with old badges of all sorts, from campgrounds to brownies to travelling and those old amazing designs. All these things were all kind of brewing up a bit storm in my brain. And one of the sketches that I'd had that weekend sort of became a symbol for the rebrand. I find that's the way my creativity works. Things brew and brew and brew and then one day it all makes sense.

This was that image. It has actually ended up on one of the cards, and in the new logo. The colours, the design, the vibe. It was all me. At this moment. It's retro feel, it's warm and natural colours. I've worked a lot in white space so this was a bit of a departure, but it was such a natural transition that I went with it. A lot of this styling was already coming through in the Troll and Midsummer books, I hadn't really realized that this was how I was going to bring it all together. The new work and the existing thunderpeep. Does that even make sense? It does in my head, but so does the fact that Trolls exist.

I posted this image as my personal facebook profile pic. Not because I'm even on facebook that much these days, mostly because I wanted to see how it fit when I put it out to people who knew me. And I was pretty surprised at the reaction. I think part of it was that most of my facebook friends are within my age range, so there's going to be a somewhat nostalgic feeling in all of us, but people somehow connected with it in their own ways and that's what I want from the new direction. For people to connect, in ways that don't have to have anything to do with my connection to it. My connection to nature is well documented here and I hope that I can get more people to reconnect with it and see the value in respecting and working to keeping it safe. It's such a huge part of what it means to be Canadian, no matter whether you live in the big bad city or if the country.

With this new style I started to re-design some of the older cards, and bring in new designs with the new stylings. Moving forward I'll be focusing mainly on everyday cards like Birthdays and Friendships only. Those are the things that are natural to me. I get a lot of requests for wedding pieces, but to be honest doing them with my somewhat sarcastic sense of humour doesn't really work. I'm not really the warm fuzzy mushy type. I'm not going to make warm fuzzy mushy things. That just wouldn't make sense. Although there is one new engagement card in the mix. It's pretty much everything I would say to someone I know who's getting engaged - and have! One person I initially showed it to thought it was mean. I laughed knew it had just earned it's place in the pack (FYI it's no meaner than the divorce card, it's just wasn't fuzzy enough for said individual)

Here are your new thunderpeep friendship cards. The re-design of the BFF card you've seen, but there's also the Friendship Foundation card, and the first breakup card. I mean it doesn't just have to be for a breakup, it's a good piece of advice between friends. This actually came out of a custom request!

There's also all the new birthday cards (buttons aren't included with the cards yet but will be later on this summer)

And lastly in the new card roundup… there's that engagement card.

Eventually almost all cards are going to be getting a re-design to fit in with the new look. All these cards are now available in my Etsy shop! Tomorrow on the blog we'll be looking at all the fun new things in the Society 6 shop. And next weekend we move on to even more exciting new stuff.

And of coarse, along with the new look is the new logo/branding. It's not a massive departure from the old branding, but a definite upgrade. It definitely has the more Canadian feel I was looking for, without straying from simplicity of my other influences. It will actually change it's colours based on the seasons (this is spring/summer so this fall you'll see a whole new colour way for fall/winter to go along with the Polar Nights themes) You'll notice that my social media sites have all been re-branded as well. Because there's technically a whole new logo. Eventually the website will get a makeover but that won't be until later this year. SO many fun new projects are coming that will tie in with the new look (yeah, especially the badge aspect, you know I HAD to find a way to make that happen…)

And finally, because I know you're just dying to know more about the books… They'll officially be launching on July 8th. They are going to press in a little over a week and I'm still putting the finishing touches on it but we have the venue and we have the date. As part of the Danforth Mosaics "The Danny Loves Music" series I'll be hanging out with Crystal in the LEN tent with the books and all the new goodies that go along with it. There'll be great music, fun folks and hopefully nothing but sunshine. And since it's a bit of a long wait for the book, each week between now and then I'll be revealing something new to the collection, exerts from the book and giveaways.

Thanks for tagging along on the journey. Here's to many, many more adventures in our future!


everything old is new again

Well, maybe not EVERYTHING. Some things should stay old and in the past. Like acid wash jeans. Seriously what is up with them? Every now and again I see some random person wearing them. Sure they are young and still trying to find themselves, but still... I. Just. Can't.

Anyhow… we're here talking about old cards getting a fresh makeover.

Yep. Part of the thunderpeep re-branding will result in the re-design of pretty much all the old cards. There are a couple of the newer ones that are safe, but everyone else better hold on to their acid wash pants (no really, I think I'll have to find a way to work some of these hideous jeans into a design - and NO this does not mean I'll put any of the Trolls in acid wash jeans Lindsay!!! ) Out of the 8 new designs coming to the shop, 3 of them are actually re-designs.

With the exception of the BFF card, both the 30th birthday and You're Old were not huge sellers, so they made sense to be first up for re-design. Now, for the BFF, the greeting card side of thunderpeep is moving away from the character driven illustrations a bit, to fit in better with the new aesthetics (don't worry I have a post coming up that gives you the ins and outs of the re-brand) 

These, along with the new, new cards will be available in the Etsy shop this Sunday. Wondering about the new, new cards? Well you'll have to wait until the weekend to get your first peep at those ones, but I can tell you that there are 2 new birthday cards, an engagement and 2 new friendship cards. Well maybe 3 new friendships. One is still not quite right, so not sure if it'll make it in time.

Midsummer is Coming. Only 6 more sleeps!


Fun Friday: Loving the Bees!

I'm super excited to have my friend Christine Pensa from Art That Moves visiting the blog today. Well, she's not actually sitting inside my blog, but if anyone can make that happen - yes please. That would be so rad! But what I really mean, is that Christine has created some special artwork as downloads for this instalment of Fun Friday. And it all revolves around a pretty great cause, one she's very passionate about.

Bees. I'm totally afraid of them. Yeah, I can handle a giant moose, but some fuzzy buzzing insect will have me running for the hills (no kidding I will actually run away if there's something buzzing in my ear.) To be fair it's more likely those horrible wasps and hornets I'm actually afraid of, not having been stung creates this larger than life horror around them {one day I'm going to have to tell you about my wasps invasion - when I think you can handle it}

So anyways, I've known Christine for a couple of years now, I can't actually remember where and when we first met, she's just one of those people that I instantly connected with and she just kind of fit into my world that it feels like I've known her my whole life. It could be because her favourite place to visit in Newfoundland and I LOVE that province too. She has this great presence, one of great creativity and peacefulness but also knows how to laugh and joke around (and makes some wicked cocktails - most likely a skill she learned from her earlier days working in politics!) She creates artworks by combining inspiring words with her magical illustrations, and pieces vary from original art, to prints and stationery to her sweet line Om for your Home - a selection of silkscreen pieces for your home including tea towels, bread bags and pillow cases (all available in her Etsy shop). If you follow me on Instagram you may also remember our trip to the AGO to see the Emily Carr exhibit, where Christines' paper Emily doll tagged along.

inspiring Hafiz quote print available here and Ladies of Art paper dolls available here

Christine recently put together a show here in Toronto, to raise awareness and funds for the bees at the Graven Feather Gallery on Queen West here's what she had to say about the show and her reasons behind it:

I have been passionate about bees (and other pollinators) and the threats they are facing to their very survival for some time. Over the last year and a half I have donated 10% of proceeds from my bee themed art products in my Etsy shop, at the One of a Kind Show and in other retail venues.

This spring I wanted to do more.

I contacted Graven Feather Gallery in Toronto’s west end and asked if they wanted to host a show in support of the alchemist insect – the bee.
Once we put out a call for artists our Bee themed art show came together rather quickly. I thought we might start our first year with 25 artists, but after the overwhelming response we received we opened the show up to include 48 artists participating!
The response is so gratifying and the opportunity for spreading the word about the plight of pollinators has grown exponentially.

People DO want to make a difference and that makes my heart happy!

Each of the artists in the show has agreed to donate 10% of their sales to the David Suzuki Foundation‘s work to help the bees.

The show runs until June 27th, so if you're in the Toronto area I highly recommend you go and check it out. Some of my other friends are also in the show - Ele of Minouette and Michelle of Kempton Jones both have pieces in the show.

Want to know more about what you can do to help the bees and other pollinators at risk? here are a couple of useful links: David Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club, and of coarse don't be like me and run away from bees. They really are our friends.

Christine has created some gorgeous screen savers for your phones and desktops, to bring a bit of bee love into your daily life. So download and enjoy. Just click on any of the images below and it will pop up in a new window. Right click the image and download it onto your computer, then select it as your new wallpaper and BAM! you now have a super Fun image on your screen - or use the same process to upload to your phone as a screen saver. (please note that these images are for personal use only they are not for resale but feel free to share this post with your friends!)

some bee love for your phone!
Eat Local and organic Desktop screen saver

Bee Love Desktop screen saver

Yay Bees! Thanks for caring about these pollinators and thanks for sharing your beautiful images with us Christine :)


Speaking of books...

Change is good, but change is tough. I can't say things are all rosy and golden since my big tell-all post (did I really tell all? that just sounds so dramatic!) I'm really excited to launch all the new things I've been working on, including those books. Oh man, those books. Is it possible to have a love affair with one of your own projects? I think yes. But there are still more big decisions to make, and things to figure out and plans to make. And visions to figure out.

But I can still say I'm very comfortable where I'm at in all this chaos. I'm a really great dreamer. Day dreamer that is, ambitious dreamer - I never remember my night time dreamings. That sometimes makes me sad, because I wake feeling like I dreamt something amazing, but no memories. That sucks. But whatever. That's life.

So, speaking of those books, the Troll one is actually almost finished so I wanted to share a bit of that. People are often a bit confused about this one. I'm not 5 years old, and what the hell is a troll anyhow? This is why I had to write it. And it fits in nicely with the Midsummer Fairy Tale. This little companion book is an introduction to Trolls, for you North Americans who still think that Trolls are the same things as Yeti or Sasquatch (pft, come on now!) I can say now, that it's the first in a series. I've already started on the next stories. Oh yeah, so much Troll love coming your way.

Here's a sneak peek of the covers (above) and some of the inside pages (see most of you probably didn't know there were different types of Trolls, did you?). This book will actually launch before the Midsummer book. Can't say much more than that as I'm still working out the details. Soon though. Very soon.


Forest Adventures

So, a couple of weekends ago it was something like the Great Escape over here at thunderpeep headquarters. It was a mad rush to get the hell out of the city (those pics above are my idea of what I needed - peace and quite and nature) You could feel summers' sweet breath in the air, trees were green again. All the signs were there. It was time to camp.

I'd kind of dragged my feet committing to this camping trip. There ALWAYS seems to be something that needs to get done. But more important than any of that stuff, I needed to get away from everything and clear the noggin and just think about some stuff that needed to be thought about. And my good friend Amy had been pestering me (in the best possible way of coarse) to take a road trip with her up to Algonquin. We both needed a Chill The Fuck Out weekend. Very tempting, considering neither one of us had been there (what??? I know!) and it was Moose season. You see, Amy and I have very good Moose karma. It's like they know we're coming through and all come out to the road way to say Hei! No seriously,  I'll have to dig up that video from Newfoundland - you guys will love it, and it embarrasses the heck out of Amy!

Now, if you're one of the random folk who've been following the blog since way back in the very beginnings, or longtime friend of thunderpeep, you'll remember the good old days when this whole blogging thing was all fresh and new. When it was just a name and a reputation. This blog started as a way of having a bit of fun while chronicling the Adventures of Thunderpeep and her group of strange folk (with some serious exaggerations!) There was the Fan Bus adventure to Kelowna (this was back in the BC days remember) the trip to Apex (but most of that story had to be edited out ;) and all the Giants games shenanigans! And most of those adventures included Amy, so this post is kind of suiting the whole re-birthing that is taking place with thunderpeep at the moment. We're going back to where we started, in a way.

And lucky you, it's not even Thursday and you're getting throwback gems here. Those are some banners from the original blog, I dunno around 2003 or 2004. Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, that trip to Algonquin and the Moose.

Since Amy doesn't live in Toronto I was a happy camper to be starting my end of the trip by taking the GO train up to Barrie to meet up with her (you know I love train rides, but can't say the same for time spent in Barrie. We just don't get along. No story here, keep moving)

I'm not going to talk about Barrie. It is what it is, and for some reason whenever I am there I always encounter the shadiest of Barrie-folk (I have also learned that Barrie is the Sasquatch hotbed of Southern Ontario - this does not surprise me in the least!)

So once Amy picked me up and we were en route it was FUN TIMES. There's a very good reason we've stayed friends all these years, despite living in different cities or provinces for 90% of the relationship - we know how to have fun. Nothing is off the table, nothing is too dorky, we have one of those friendships where you just whole heartedly accept the other person for whatever weirdness comes out of their mouth. The music was up, the roads were clear, the sun was out and the forest was waiting. 

Entering Algonquin was amazing. I have missed that feeling of being surrounded by nothing but dense trees. It makes you feel so tiny but so alive. It's so tranquil yet so full of life. Everything just works in the wilderness. It all fits together so perfectly. And you just find your place and fit right into it. I know the great wild isn't everyone's cup of tea, but even if you don't like to hang out with it, you have to give it the respect it deserves for persevering despite the chaos us humans throw upon it. That's as far as I'm going on that topic because this is a happy happy fun fun post ;)

And just as I stated, the Moose were there, waiting for us to drive through….

If you look really closely you'll see Bruce right there in the middle. He was a big guy and didn't seem to be bothered at all by the crowd on the side of the road taking photos. (this picture does him no justice - he was HUGE) That is until I opened my big mouth. That's just the way I roll, like Dory in Finding Nemo, I think I can talk Moose (ok she thought she could talk whale but whatever - I can totally talk whale as well as Moose) So as I blurted out my greetings to Bruce the earth just stopped moving. All except for Bruce, who slowly lifted his gaze to mine and gave me that look. I'm sure all you parents have that look too. The "you've gone too far this time little lady" look that let me, and all the others know that photo taking time was officially over. He definitely won the stare down, as Amy and I turned tail and ran back to the car. Luckily for everyone Bruce just went back to eating. I told you I had Moose Karma. I'm always able to make eye contact, and as intimidating as it is, it's an incredible experience.

So off we went through Algonquin. We did see some more Moose a bit further down the road, we figured they were Bruce's lady friends waiting for him, and the sun to set so they could get their party on! Because what else do Moose have to do all night? I can tell you what Amy and I had in store for the night. Some cold drinks and a campfire with roasted marshmellows. Because what else do friends have to do in the Forest at night? So let's get to this campsite already...

So, the first thing wrong with the above photo is the Bear in Area sign. This was what greeted us when we drove into the campground. I mean, I know this is bear country and it's their home not mine, but there is no part of me that wants any kind of encounter with a bear. Even the times I've seen them from the safety of a car was too much for me. All respect to them. They are the boss. Plus it was dark  enough out, so I was going to be nothing but nerves every time I had to get out of the car or tent. I mean in the dark I would probably just hear his huffing and pee my pants!!! The second thing wrong with this photo is the temperature. Notice the difference between the outside temp on the left and the temp on my heated seat on the right (I know totally got spoiled with the heated seats. Such a luxury, but my bum is always cold so I welcome them!) Well, that's a bit colder than we expected. We still felt prepared, but we had no idea the temperature was going to continue to drop. Yeah, you can already see where this adventure is going!

It all started out ok. Other than the fact that the wood shed was closed and Amy had decided NOT to take the firewood her husband had offered before she drove off. No campfire for us. So, ok, we'll just hang out in the tent with our flashlights and eat cold marshmellows. There's always tomorrow night for roasting and campfire stories. Now, as we unloaded and setup the tent we didn't really notice the temperature. All that moving around tends to keep you warm. But once you settle in to your sleeping bag, even with a couple of extra layers of blankets, it gets cold. And you've heard me mention before that I quite like the cold. I much prefer it to the sweaty heat. But this wasn't just cold. It was -7ºC (I have no idea what this is in Farenheit so just say it's fucking cold) COLD. Shivering in your sleeping bag kind of cold. As funny as it was, we still made the decision to pack up the sleeping bags and climb into the car.  We're still camping, just not in a tent. I felt slightly ashamed, we're both hearty campers, we came prepared. No one wants to end up sleeping in the car. But we did. It didn't get much better for us though. Don't forget there's that bear in the campground ***SPOILER ALERT - I am just dropping that bear reference in for dramatic effect, we never actually did see said bear*** But there is one thing you may not know about me. I'm a bit claustrophobic. And the back of Amy's journey is roomy, but not roomy enough for my tight space anxiety. Despite the giggles while making fun of ourselves, it was 3am and we still weren't asleep. It was still cold in the car and we both had to pee. But who the hell wants to get out of the car now, with a wild bear roaming around.  I'm not going to get mauled while peeing! (it's amazing where your brain goes when you've been awake almost 24 hours) But I just had to get out and stretch my legs and shake off that feeling that everything was closing in on me. There was no way around it.

And it all worked out (which you know because of the spoiler a couple lines above. That bear wanted no part of our ordeal, he would have just rolled his big bear eyes at us, all curled up in the car and kept on walking. Probably towards that wild pack of coyotes we heard howling away earlier) If you ever find yourself in minus whatever degrees weather while camping, and are forced to sleep in the car (or for any reasons other than the weather) it may not seem like it would be the best option, but the front seat is where it's at. I just couldn't handle the feeling that I was lying in a coffin, in the back end of that journey so Amy booted me to the front seat so she wouldn't have to get kicked a million times by my fidgeting and wimpering (no not really, I'm not a wimperer, but I most certainly am a night time fidgeter) And let me tell you, it was better for my anxiety, but way worse on my fear of that bear. I had to pull the covers over my face, I was so freaked out that I was going to open my eyes and see that bear peeping back in at me (and of coarse when you have sleepy brain you can't stop opening your eyes and peeping out the window to see if he's actually there!) Holy Hell. We were a wreck! Seriously.

Finally the sun came up and we just gave up. We probably had a combined 4 hours of sleep but we just couldn't be in this car anymore. Plus we had to pee again, and it was light enough to make it to the washrooms (this is provincial park camping so thankfully I didn't even have to think about those outhouses) We then proceeded to the camp office to see if maybe one of those warm looking yurts was free, you know so we didn't have to spend a second night in that stupid car. As we waited in line a friendly older gentleman chatted us up by telling us about how cold it had been up there the day before. They had been out on the lake fishing when a snowstorm blew in (I'm sorry, a snowstorm at the end of May??) Amy and I both responded in unison "yes we are aware of how cold it was, we slept in it last night". He chuckled and told us he hadn't noticed he slept in one of the yurts (one of the yurts that were all taken so screw you Amy and Michelle). Never in my life have I wanted to punch a cute old dude as much as I wanted to punch that guy, in that moment. But I'm a well mannered camper (despite the inappropriate language I may have used during the night) and I refrained from any physical encounters. And I noticed the weather forecast for the day was posted. It wasn't getting any warmer. So, I was totally wrong about summers' sweet breath, we were in store for the morning after, hangover breath. Thanks Mom Nature!

So we went back to our beautiful campsite (right on the lake, you can't ask for much better than that!) And Amy had a serious breakfast to cook for us. We may not have slept but we had bacon, eggs and toast (see I told you we were serious campers - we have a camping stove that comes with a toast rack. That's serious stuff) Of coarse we'd both forgotten any tea or other form of caffeine, and the eggs were the hard boiled ones that Amy accidentally grabbed, but whatever. It was a new day. While we lounged over our awesome breakfast we contemplated our hikes for the day. Considering our lack of energy choosing which ones wasn't hard. We were going for the short ones, with perhaps some naps in between. That plan was more ambitious than we realized.

We drove for a bit, enjoying the scenery and looking for more moose when we decided upon the Whiskey Rapids trail. Because it has to do with Whiskey, so of coarse. (to note: I have actually never had whiskey before) It was pretty gorgeous, the rapids are only a small bit of the trail, but it runs along the river and you're all cozy in the trees - lot's of scenic points. And the story with the name is something along the lines of some fisherman carting some barrels of whiskey along with them up the river, they all get thirsty but don't drink the whiskey yet, then they all go mad, someone gets tossed overboard but takes the barrels with them and none of them are ever seen again. This is the way my sleep deprived brain remembers the story. If you are in Algonquin park anytime soon and get the full story, please feel free to share it. Because my version sucked it. You're welcome!

That was exhausting (no not writing this novel of a post, the actual hike). Algonquin 1 - Amy + Michelle 0.  40-somethings just don't have the ability to pull all nighters and then hike all day. At least these 2 don't. Algonquin had beaten us. It's slightly crushing, but it was all in the name of Good Time Forest Adventures. You certainly can't say our stay was boring. Because the stories were going to be so funny. Everyone was going to laugh at them. Or us.

We went. We saw Moose. We had Fun. We chilled the Fuck Out (literally)

So the journey was packed up and we headed home. At least to Amy's home. It was so much closer and I wasn't ready for the big city yet. Plus she has a sweet fire pit, we could actually roast some marshmellows in. YES! Nope, by the time we got home and her husband Tom made fun of us we watched "The Great Outdoors" with the always hilarious John Candy and Dan Ackroyd. I'll leave you with a clip from the movie, what NOT to do when you encounter a bear. At least I can say I've still never encountered a bear in the forest.

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