art, Family, Home, maps, New Work, kids, parenthood, Parenting, stories

Map of my First Paper Route

My paper route delivering the Toronto Sun as a kid

Hey guys,

Lately I've been doing a lot of writing / thinking / reflecting on my childhood and the places I grew up. I mean, I always do that anyway but I've been working on a project that requires me to really dig down into all the details of it and while it's disturbing to revisit some stuff, it's been pretty delightful remembering some of the fun(ny) things that happen when you're a kid.

My very first job was delivering newspapers. The Toronto Sun. I had about 125 houses to deliver to on Saturday morning - I would wake up at 5am to assemble the papers - my mom, such a sport, would get up with me to help fold the entertainment section and the best part - the comics -  into the outer shell. I would hurriedly read the comics before heading out the door with my cart and my dog Sooner. 

I was about 10 years old - a hard worker, always happy to have more customers added to my route. I had a great memory and carried my chit book around with me, able to pop by and "collect" on my way to my best friend Priscilla's house, surprising my hard-to-catch houses that were always behind in payment. My boss, Mark, really thought I was great - he even gave me a bird at one point, a budgie. He seemed so old at the time but I wonder if he wasn't actually 20.

The pay was minimal, arriving in the form of a cheque every 2 weeks - that went straight into the bank. But it was the tips that I was working for. I gathered up to $200 a month in tips, splitting my earnings with my dog.

Things were different back then - kids were free. All of us from the neighbourhood went to the school nearby - Gordon Graydon. We all played together after school, in a huge gang, staying outside til dark, when our parents would start yelling in a chorus for us to come in. We played Hide and go Tag, hiding under parked cars and hopping fences to evade those who were "it." We played hockey in the middle of the street, moving the nets only when cars passed by. 

I wonder if my kids will remember their childhoods as so free when they are older. I hope so.

History of the route

Details of my paper route

maps, New Work, Work from home

Custom Milestone Illustration

Hey guys! How is summer unfolding? I have had a bad sore throat for a week now and am trying to keep on top of work. NOT EASY with the kids home - Somebody come rub my back! (Actually Sylv has been home mostly to help out and has just been gone since early this morning - I'm being a total baby and feeling sorry for myself. It's my right as a sick and snively mom.)

I wanted to share an awesome custom I just finished for some really special people.

50 years of marriage, 2 kids, 4 grandsons, many countries and way too many nicknames.

Ida and Roger Gilodo are the parents of my oldest friend Karen. Karen and I have known each other since we were 12 and have gone through so much together - we've also got into lots of trouble together, holding a record for detentions in high school. We once had so many after school detentions with 2 different teachers that we were double booked to the end of the school year. But I digress.) Her parents are obviously a little more together than the both of us and have held a solid marriage for FIFTY YEARS! Think about that for a few seconds people. No easy feat.

I loved doing this because I kept thinking of their lovely home, and how this would look on the walls. I loved learning things about them I hadn't previously known, including more nicknames than even I have given people. (For Karen alone I have Kraner, Krane, Kraniac, Kraner Retainer, Retainer, Retain, Kranium Glidodo and Kranium.)

I would love to do more of these types of illustrations! I've listed this in the shop here, and like all of my custom work we will collaborate on a main idea, a couple of sketches and palette before I present you with an image. The whole process takes about 2 weeks (give or take) and for this image we printed it in Toronto to skip all the shipping delays. A large 16 x 16 Giclee print cost only about $17 and they picked it up right before the party.

Hope you guys are having a good day - I've been up since 3am (I had to eat popsicles on the couch and watch Grace and Frankie then decided to work once my throat was finally numb.) I AM STARTING TO FEEL DELIRIOUS.

Happy Monday,




My name is Sandy, which is short for Sandra, but I've been called Sandhawk, Sanders, Snoopdawg (don't ask) and, by my family, Gandhi.
I have been making things for as long as I can remember. Drawing and writing is the easiest way for me to connect to the people and creatures around me.
And I think you should know, I am one of those really infuriating people who wake up in a great mood. I'm sorry!

Click here to read bio.


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Storytelling through custom maps

Tell your own unique story through a custom map..

Hey everybody! It's Sunday morning; cloudy and cool, perfect summer weather (not being sarcastic - Cloudy Days are my fave).

So I just worked on such a fun and amazingly special piece that I wanted to share with you - I was recently contacted by the *super awesome* girlfriend of a long-lost friend from high school - this had been a really good friend (who I'd lost touch with about... 20 years ago? How and why does that happen?) and we were even roomies after High School sharing an apartment in Vancouver's West End ( near the beach for $700 - WHAAA?! ) until I returned East. Anyway.
What his lady, Erin, wanted to do was to create a map of their regular spots and first few dates as a gift for their anniversary. Romantic right? She is an amazing storyteller and so well organized so it was a real pleasure to create this map (below) together with Erin, making sure it told their story just right. We decided to call it "Our Vancouver" and I even drew them in as old folks reflecting on their first date. 

Custom map for lovers!

Isn't this the best!?

Erin had the brilliant idea of collaborating on a google map ( have you guys played with My Maps yet? It's soo fun ) to create pins and stories for each place. Awesome!

Coincidentally, while working on this I also got a super fun gig doing a similar map (of Melbourne - a city I haven't even been to ) for wedding stationery and decor. I love this new direction my map-making has taken me in and would love to do some more. Drop me a line at if you would like to learn more about having a custom map made to tell a story or illustrate a time or place that is special to you.

I feel very inspired to really improve my gift giving for my future anniversaries, got that Sylv?!



PS - you can follow me on Instagram (@ SandraDumais) or Facebook !

maps, parenthood, kids, sleep, springtime, embroidery

Drawings in the Night...

Do you guys ever get insomnia? I have never been a huge sleeper (meaning I like to get about 6 or 7 hours of sleep a day, plus a little 30 minute nap in the afternoon). Since having kids though, I go through weeks at a time of insomnia. I get up at 3am and just can't get back to sleep. Things I googled before getting out of bed finally at 3:45 -- embroidered illustration (gasp! I must try!),

Embroidered illustration by Jillian Tamaki - the best.

Embroidered illustration by Jillian Tamaki - the best.

Tai Chi videos - I love this quick 8-minute video, you guys should try it. Especially great for us who are often hunched over their desks for long periods of time.

and then I combed through images of Wild Garden on , just to give me a bit of hope, as it's been pretty chilly here still. LOVED these -

Love these colours!

Love these colours!

and these!

So that's what I googled at 3am instead of sleeping like a normal person. Know what is awesome though? I have a vey flexible schedule so just like that I rearranged my day, and went downstairs to print and trim a large order for a beautiful new galerie / boutique in the Old Port that I'll deliver today.  I am working on a map of the Old Port so I can go and have a good look at a few buildings and streets I want to draw, so it worked out well! Anyway, this new retailer is a gorgeous galerie / boutique featuring work from all over Québec - it's called L'Empreinte Coop. They have a dated website but so worth popping in - Check them out!

Ok - I'll leave you with with drawing I did a couple of weeks ago. I was feeling nostalgic and sad about my kids growing up. I really truly do enjoy them at this age - yes despite the fits, the chaos and the mess of it all, young children fill me with energy and purpose. I drew this map
(I think it was in the middle of the night, couldn't sleep, etc) - A Map to Motherhood.

A Map of Motherhood

Happy Thursday to you! It's rainy and beautiful and the most perfect kind of weather.