Search for the Unicorn

Part 1 – Finding the photo

One day I came across a photo being used by a friend as her Facebook profile pic and I knew I had to use it as an album cover. There was something about this cute little fella that I just couldn’t put my finger on, something about the snow and the colour, and I knew that no other unicorn would do. When I find what I like I can’t let it go.

I set about trying to find the owner of the picture so that I could ask permission to use it. I asked my friend where she got the photo but all she could remember was that it was from some site with ‘fuckyeahunicorn’ in the url. I lost many hours searching this and so many other variations of the unicorn and expletives. But nothing…. not even close.

I was starting to get obsessed and knew it was time for a different strategy. Someone must have made that unicorn so I started searching for knitted unicorns (oh how I LOVE the internet). I searched Etsy and bay and a whole load of home-made sites. But nothing. I started searching random unicorn images and scrolled through thousands of pictures of, mostly, unicorns… although there are some very suspect images under the heading ‘unicorn’… hmmm. Weird.

Finally I found a tiny image of a green unicorn that had very similar flowers which HAD to be made by the same person. The title under it was I had found it it… woohooo. Feeling very excited (I lead a sheltered life) I clicked on the link and in the flash of a screen I got this

But Cozy Coleman HAD to exist. I had to find them. I revisited Etsy… the home of the knitted items and other home-made treasures. I typed the name into the search bar and… it gave me TWO Cozy Colemans. None sold knitted unicorns so I messaged the first and got a lovely message back telling me ‘sorry… I have never knitted unicorns… good luck’.

The second Cozy Coleman had to be the one or I knew that this was going to be the end of the line. So I emailed and crossed my fingers.

Part 2 – Finding the unicorn

Within minutes I got an email telling me that ‘YES’ she was indeed the Cozy Coleman that knitted the unicorns and we started a dialogue where I asked her if she knew who took the photo that I had found. She was great and asked all the people that she had sold the unicorns to. After a few days of possible leads the trail went cold.

Cozy Coleman turned out to be Sharon Coleman and I asked her if she still had any of the unicorns that she could sell me so I could try to re-create the photo (did I mention that I am obsessive?). She did but only in green and pink. Something was telling me that it had to be the blue.

Then she suggested that if I found a 100% pure wool sweater in the colour I wanted and sent it to her, she could felt the sweater and make one for me. Yay!!!

So I hit the thrift stores and found 2 sweaters that I thought would work and sent them to her. Did I mention that Sharon Coleman is the greatest? 🙂

A few weeks later I had 2 beautiful unicorns and just before all the snow on our local mountain had melted.

Part 3 – Shooting the unicorn

Karen McKinnon is a wonderful local photographer who is responsible for most of the photos you see of me so, over a social breakfast one morning, I asked if she would come up to the mountain and photograph my unicorn in the snow. Not her usual sort of job, but she is always up for some fun so we headed up one afternoon to shoot the unicorn…. which was the source of many many jokes… a little sad, I know.

We found a spot on the bunny slopes at Mount Washington where the snow was still good and the trees were far enough in the distance to blur out (or some other photographic technical term). I put the unicorn into position while Karen got comfortable lying in the snow and the shooting (tee hee) began. The unicorn was a little temperamental but we got the shot and headed back down to spruce him (or her, we’re not sure) up a bit.

Part 4 – The cover

Originally this was going to be for my LA album but that all changed when the album was finished and the image didn’t match the sound. But when I decided to release a kid’s album, the unicorn was the perfect photo for the cover.

Stacy from Psoma Design Group was the designer for my LA album (out next year) and she did such an amazing job that I asked her to turn my unicorn into a CD cover for this kid’s album. We had so much fun with all the iterations and I really like the finished product… especially all the extra sparkles 🙂

When it came down to naming the album I realized that I wanted a title with unicorn in it. It would seem odd not to. But I had no song with that in the title. So a week before sending the songs to be mastered I wrote and recorded a new song called ‘Always Be A Unicorn’, using the sentiment in those Facebook posts going around that say “Always be yourself, but if you can be a unicorn (substitute batmen etc), then always be a unicorn.” It seemed to really suit the cover and the feel of the album in general.

“Always Be A Unicorn” is out on October 24th, when I will a guest on CBC All Points West with Jo-Ann Roberts.

Click here for pre-order special.

A week in the life of…

This week was a microcosm of my life. I live in a very small town and it constantly astounds me how many different musical genres I get to play in, just locally. Here was my week…

Monday started with making lunches for my sons elementary school and ended with a rehearsal for the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra, where I play flute. We are rehearsing tunes from the movies for a January Concert… some of which are REALLY hard! My piccolo lips need some training to hit those really high notes.

Tuesday was a lunchtime Rotary concert with Voices Three (see Wednesday) and the evening was Fiddlejam. A bunch of fiddle players, along with guitars, mandolins and a whole bunch of other instruments, get together to play fiddle music and its wonderful to see my 13 and 8 year olds playing alongside all ages up to 98 year old. I play piano for them while trying to stop my son from poking other kids with his bow. This is why mothers are multitaskers!

Wednesday is Voices Three night rehearsal. This is the 4th year that we have put on this concert at the Sid Williams Theatre to raise money for the Hospice Society. Voices Three is Sue Pyper, Judy Wing and myself, along with Bruce Wing, Jim Stepan and uber fiddler Trent Freeman on back-up. Each week we eat lasagna, drink wine and then rehearse our tunes for the concert. This week was my house and we were feeling adventurous so my daughter made pasta from scratch and we had a home made one!

Thursday I could relax, because the artwork for my new album has finally gone to the CD duplicators and I now just have to wait for the fruits of my labor in a shiny package. I also spent Thursday doing paperwork, signing the new songs from my new album with my publishers and sorting out the instrumental versions.

Friday morning I slept. That’s because I knew I had a late gig with Time Well Wasted, a 13 piece R&B, disco soul band. I am one of the 3 lead vocalists, along with Sue Medley and Charity Munroe. we have a blast singing songs from Stevie Wonder to Tower of Power to Eurythmics.

Saturday morning was junk food breakfast, taking my son to a violin lesson, taking my daughter and friend to the mall then watching my son do a gym class. I haven’t written a song in a while so Sat night I wrote and recorded a new song…. with a glass of wine in hand, of course!

I have an extremely full life and am truly grateful for it. If I’m not too tired I will take the kids skiing today and then it will all start again tomorrow.