Wednesday, October 29, 2008


In the spirit of Hallowe'en, I was reminded of some very cool spiderwebs we had this year at the cottage one morning in late August. I think it was the cool evening temperate combined with a heavy dew that resulted in a morning display of cobwebs unlike anything we had ever seen before, they were everywhere on all the trees. It was quite unusual, especially the way they wrapped around the ends of each of the branches on the pine trees, and I was so entralled, I ran outside in my pyjamas and slippers to take a bunch of photos. Luckily, there weren't any actual spiders (ick) in the webs, just the ghostly evidence they had left behind. As soon as the temperature warmed up and the sun came out, the moisture dried up and you couldn't see the webs any more, but for a while, it was pretty magical.

In fact, they looked a little bit like this honeycomb choker I am currently making:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hallowe'en Candy

What would Hallowe'en be without candy? Of course, now that I'm older, I also prefer a little eye candy in between bouts of chocolate inhalation (insert wicked laugh here - mwahahaha!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hallowe'en Colours - Orange and Black

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake wrote those immortal words, presumably with the feline kind of tiger in mind, but I'm guessing his poem may have inspired the person who made these funky beads, who knows?


I am absolutely in love with this bead. Isn't she the cutest witch you have ever seen? Unfortunately, I can't remember who I bought her from - my apologies to the artist. So far, I can't decide what to do with her. I tried stringing her on a necklace but it just didn't look right. So I'm waiting for inspiration...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dreaming of Hallowe'en

I woke up yesterday morning, having been dreaming about making jewellery for Hallowe'en. Do you do this? Dream about design ideas? Last week, I had a dream about a fabulous formal outfit - I wanted to sketch it as soon as I woke up and rush out to find a seamstress to make it for me, except (1) I'm not that good an artist and (2) sadly, I don't need a fancy dress for any upcoming occasion at the moment. The image has stayed in my head though, so I'll be ready if anything comes up.

The Hallowe'en dreams put me in the mood for the holiday (and temporarily put Christmas designs on the back burner) but I had to postpone the making of those creations until today, as yesterday was scheduled for the cottage. We're closing up for the winter, so there are leaves to be raked, fridges to clean out and defrost one last time, and bedding to be put away. But the Hallowe'en theme was on my mind and it was a good thing, as the drive up to the cottage was very spooky - very wet and foggy, everyday shapes looked very unusual and unrecognizable as they materialized out of the fog, until you got close enough to see what it was. The remaining fall colours were very muted but still pretty in the gleaming wet.

Fortunately, the rain stopped early afternoon, giving us a chance to work outside in comfort. Thank goodness it wasn't too cold. What a difference two weeks has made! If you scroll back to my post from October 15th, you will see a beautiful view of the lake with colourful leaves on the trees. Those leaves are all gone now, here's what it looked like yesterday:

Okay, the pretty leaves aren't actually gone, they've just moved to their new location:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Christmas is coming...

...the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man's hat.

Oops, now I've got that song in my head and I can't get it out.

Okay, okay, I know maybe there are some of you reading this who don't want to hear that Christmas is only 2 months away, especially since we haven't even had Hallowe'en yet. But you know that time will just zip by and it will be here before you know it.

However, I'm already thinking about it, because my cousin Catherine is hosting a jewellery show for me at her house in Maple on November 15th (everyone is welcome, email me if you'd like to come and I'll send you the details) and I've been creating pieces for that, some of which are geared toward the holiday season. I got this great green and red wire from The Dixon Chick, and I've been using it to crochet holiday bracelets. I'm also making earring and snowflakes and necklaces and...cookies. Because what's a jewellery show without cookies?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Here comes the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

The countdown has begun, only 7 more sleeps until the Great Pumpkin's arrival. Time to search out the most sincere pumpkin patch you can find.

You do believe, don't you?

P.S. My friend Sharon of The Psychic Cottage and her husband Bobby are doing readings at Screamworks this weekend in Peterborough. If you are in the neighbourhood, you should get in the spirit of things, go on by and have a reading done. You'll find them on Psychics Row.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The little house

One of the women in the PMC course in France this past summer made a little house to commemorate our trip. Wendy painstakingly recreated some of the details of the beautiful homes in the little village of Durfort, right down to the shutters. I especially love the textured roof. She spent quite a bit of time putting this building together and then graciously agreed to sell it to me. Here's a picture of it, isn't it the cutest?

And another picture, to give you more of an idea of the actual size.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More about Kate and PMC

Precious metal clay, or PMC, is fine silver metal clay with which you make metal objects. For jewellery makers, it means you can make your own clasps and toggles. It's just another way to differentiate your work from someone else's and express your own individuality.

Of course, for Kate McKinnon, it's much more than just making findings - she makes entire pieces of jewellery from the PMC - necklaces, rings, bracelets. Check out her website to see what she does - I especially love her architectural pieces.

Here are some pictures from the first class in PMC that I took with Kate, in May at Beadfx. One shot is of Kate with some of her tools and the other is of some of the pieces I made.

She was in Toronto teaching for 5 days but I didn't hear about it until the night before the first class and was only able to attend for one day, but I was fascinated by the process and knew I wanted to do more.

I was checking out her website a few days later and noticed she was going to be teaching a week long class in southern France at the end of July. Since I had just been to Paris at the end of March and was looking for an excuse to go back to France, I thought taking Kate's class sounded like a fabulous idea. I took a deep breath, signed up for the course, went to France and it was amazing! The people, the PMC, the village of Durfort, the flea markets, the countryside - everything was tres magnifique (but more about that trip later).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The "F" Word

It's a cold, blustery, cloudy fall day today. The kind of day that makes you realize summer really is over and winter is just around the corner. Every gust of wind shakes several more leaves off the increasingly bare trees and makes you shiver inside your inadequately lined coat. Forecasters are speaking of single digit temperatures, windchill factors, overnight frost warnings and even the dreaded "f" word - fffflurries. Brrr. Time to get out the earmuffs.

Except I'm not ready for winter just yet. I prefer my October days to be more like this:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wire Wrap Class #3

Tonight was our third and last wire wrapping class with Robert Burton (who, sadly, doesn't have a website for me to share with y'all).

First off, we made earrings, which look like this (minus the ear wires):

Then we wrapped a cameo, which turned out like this for me:

And here's a picture of what it looks like on the back, with the "x" to hold it in place (apparently, this was the technique we were learning, it can be used to hold almost anything, Robert says):

One of the lovely ladies in the class, Jan, was having a few technical difficulties with her piece at the beginning, as the stone slips around quite a bit during the first couple of steps, until you get it anchored in place, so she went ahead and finished the piece on her own without benefit of Robert's directions. Here's a picture of her piece, which I think turned out pretty cool:

Janine, Jan, Karen and I decided we would like to take more classes together, as we had so much fun sitting at our end of the table and giggling away through most of the class. Robert was very patient with us, I think it was because he was wearing something called a water stone that is a rock with water trapped inside, that is supposed to help you solve problems and flow through obstacles. We figured he was wearing it in order to give him the strength to put up with us! Thanks to everyone for making it a great class.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's an Addiction with a capital "A"

My friend Sharon wrote about her addiction to Raggedy Ann dolls the other day in her blog, which got me thinking about my own harmless addictions. The current one I have is to beads. I am loving them more and more every day. I enjoy putting them together to see what I can make as well as seeing what other people do with their visions and talent.

Overall, it's a relatively harmless addiction, although somewhat damaging to my wallet, as the more beads I see, the more I want to buy to make more stuff of my own, or to take another class to learn how someone makes what they do. Having a 9 to 5 job tends to interfere with the creative process, given that I have to go to work Monday to Friday instead of staying home to play with the beads all day but at the same time, it pays for the beads!

I am also getting somewhat addicted to blogs. I like reading other people's postings, to see what they've got to say about the world and themselves. I especially enjoy reading blogs that my friends have written, because it's a way of learning more about who they are and what interests them and finding out what we have in common. It's a fascinating glimpse into their psyche. I also like reading random blogs of total strangers. It's a bit voyeuristic but also quite interesting and informative. And of course, I'm having fun writing my own.

The best part is when my two addictions join together in a delightful way, as happened today. Kate McKinnon ( is the woman who taught me how to make things from precious metal clay earlier this year and she has a fascinating blog, full of her amazing metalwork creations, news of the day, political commentary, baseball, nature and you name it. One of her postings today is a link to the website of a woman named Michele Goldstein, who makes the coolest glass beads - check it out: - I am totally loving her skull beads and little bones! I'd love to know how to make them and will hopefully be able to take a class from her some day, but for now, I am just totally in awe of Michele's very cool fabrications!!

And then of course there is my addiction to the game Free Cell, which isn't related to beading at all, I just love to play it whenever I can...

Here's a picture of Kate and me that was taken this past May when she taught PMC at Beadfx.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The "To Do" List

I am having one of those productive days, where I am actually making my way quite successfully through the "to do" list I made for this weekend. In fact, it's going so well that I almost don't want to stop, in case I'm not as successful tomorrow!

I've been very busy today - in no particular order, I balanced my chequebook, went for a walk, did a little shopping at the drug store, did a little shopping online, wrote this blog, packed about a dozen boxes for my upcoming move, rearranged some furniture so I could have somewhere to store the packed boxes and those that will follow, made some jewellery, did a little cooking, washed dishes. In fact, I don't have too much left on the list to cross off tomorrow, although the fact that I have lots of packing left to do will surely fill most of my time quite handily.

Isn't it funny how some days you're right on track, motoring along, getting things done and other days, even though you might have lots of things you "should" be doing, you end up just hanging out on the couch watching movies or reading a good book for the better part of the day?

I am convinced that we need both types of days. Either you are full of energy that needs to be used up or you need to lie quietly and let the energy build again. Sometimes it feels like my brain is a bit like the paperweight pictured here, all scrambled up inside with thoughts of all the things that need to be done. I usually end up making the "to do" list at those times, in order to get the thoughts out of my head and down on paper, so they'll stop spinning around and sit quietly. Other days, I make the list because I can't seem to keep anything in my head, so I write it down before I forget it again.

By the way, that beautiful paperweight was made by a man named Terry Craig, who teaches glass blowing at the Haliburton School of The Arts and my "to do" list of courses to take there is also quite extensive!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Art a la Mode

My mother asked me to make and donate a piece of jewellery for the "Art a la Mode" event being held in Lindsay, Ontario tonight. It is a fundraising dinner held annually to benefit the Lindsay Art Gallery and features both a live and silent auction. I made a necklace, bracelet and earrings using wire crochet with a very cool deep purple wire - I call it "Purple Passion". If I do say so myself, I think the results were pretty spectacular. I hope someone at the event thinks so too!

In fact, I liked it so much that I made a second necklace in similar colours, only with a focal bead pendant. Can't decide if I'll keep it for myself or let someone else enjoy it...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday night without a torch

I'm not at a lampworking class tonight but I'm thinking about it, kind of wishing I was sitting at the torch right now, melting glass. Instead I've been going through some of the photos I have taken of the beads I've made so far. One of the neatest ones we were taught to make by Dwyn Tomlinson was the horse head. Very Godfatherish, except not nearly so bloody and much cuter. I call him Trigger - giddyup!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A beautiful weekend

It was such a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend at the cottage. I am still amazed at how fantastic the weather was, I didn't want it to end. My sister was studying hard for an exam all weekend and my mom was out West visiting my brothers, so I had lots of time to make jewellery. I've posted a slide show below of some of my creations - I call it "The Cottage Collection". I was definitely inspired by the fall colours. I did a little bit of work with silver and even got started on a few pieces for Christmas (can you believe it's only 70 days away??) but the copper kept calling me back.

The Cottage Collection

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Did you vote yet?

Just so you know, it is illegal to eat an election ballet (no, I am not making this up, you can check the Canada Elections Act if you don't believe me), so be sure to have a snack before you go to the polling station if you're feeling a bit peckish.

And remember, if you don't vote, you can't complain! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I for one am especially grateful for the fantastic weather we had this past weekend. Spent three days up at the cottage and it was fantastic. Beautiful blue skies during the day and clear, cool nights with a full moon, combined with warm and sunny for 2 of the 3 days (a bit cloudier today) and at least 20 degrees each day, with today at 24!! That is soooo unusual for this last in the year, what a treat.
Took lots of photos of the fall colours but my camera battery is kaput at the moment, so I will need to wait until later in the week to post them.
I am very thankful for my family and friends and all the blessings I have been given in my life. All the best to you and yours this special day.

P.S. My poor sister had to study all weekend for a big exam she is taking tomorrow morning. Good luck, Janine!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lampworking on Hiatus

For the past several months, my sister Janine and I have been going to Beadfx to use their lampworking studio. We started out by taking a four hour introduction to lampworking course last fall, which was taught by Amy Waldman Smith (, who makes these incredible angel beads as just one of her many claims to fame. We decided that we liked making glass beads and we wanted to make more, so we signed up for the 8 week beginner lampworking class which started in February of this year, taught by Dwyn Tomlinson, who is renowned for her dragon beads (check them out on her website:

There were 5 of us in the beginner class and at the end of 8 weeks, we all decided we didn't want to stop making beads so Dwyn and Beadfx created an intermediate lampworking course and we went for another 8 weeks. At the end of that session, 3 of us still wanted to keep coming, so we just kept going to the studio they have set up in the store on Thursday nights and Dwyn very kindly kept coming in every week as well, to make her own beads and provide guidance when we needed it, and that's been going on all summer and into this fall. But as of next week, the next beginner lampworking session starts on Thursday nights so we have to give up our seats to paying customers and find another time slot, but that's okay - we've caught the bug now and we're getting better at making beads - who knew just making something consistently round would be so hard??? - and I figure, with a little bit more practice, by about 2036, I might be ready to sign up for Amy's class on how to make those sculptural angels!!

So for the next few weeks, lampworking will have to go on the back burner. In the meantime, I have this picture of a little turtle bead Dwyn taught us to make - I call him Yurtle. Isn't he cute?

Thursday, October 9, 2008


John Lennon would have been 68 years old today...

Max was getting jealous

Max was getting a bit jealous that Carly had already had her picture posted on this blog and he hadn't yet, so here's a picture of both my little darlings helping me out at the beading table (Carly on the left, Max on the right):

Frank Perkins said it best: "A cat will do what it wants when it wants, and there's not a thing you can do about it."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just a little change

It's interesting to me how just a little change can make all the difference to a finished piece of jewellery.

For example, here is a picture of a double strand necklace that I made in a bead class last year. The teacher had made up the kits in advance and I liked the colours, I thought the necklace turned out okay, I liked the design with the double strands of wire but in the end, I wasn't too excited about it, there was just something about it that kept me from being totally thrilled about having made it.

A couple of months later, my sister Janine was showing me some shell circles that she'd bought and I got the idea to add them to this necklace (and also made up a pair of matching earrings) and voila, here is the new and improved, finished product:

It just need a little change, a little something extra to make it "pop".

That is also the beauty of having a stash of beads on hand. You just never know when those beads you bought last month, or two years or eight years ago for no particular reason, other than you liked them and just knew you had to have them, will come in handy and end up being just the right thing to add to a current project. So when somebody tells you you've got too many beads, just smile and say, "you can never have enough!"

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vive la France!

Today is my boss/friend Kelly's birthday. Lucky girl, her husband has taken her to Paris to celebrate the occasion! How I loved Paris when I was there earlier this year, I'm sure they will both have a wonderful time.

I made a bracelet to commemorate the day and the trip for her:

I am really enjoying making charm bracelets - many thanks to Dwyn Tomlinson of Beadfx for showing me how she makes hers. This one has a birthday cake and a fleur de lis, as well as a couple of charms I made this past summer during a week long PMC class taught by Kate McKinnon in a small village called Durfort in the south of France (will post more about that adventure at a later date!) and of course, lots of red, white and blue beads to represent the French colours.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wire Wrap Class #2

Another good wire wrapping class tonight. We made a bracelet and a ring. Not exactly my choice as far as bead selection and design, it's a little too masculine for my taste but I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that we have a male teacher. But that's just a theory, I could be wrong! :)

One of the women in the class, Karen, made this little guy as part of her homework to practice what we learned from last week - isn't he cute? His name is Pete.
We have two weeks until the next class, I'm hoping to get a little practice time in myself between now and then. Maybe make a friend for Pete.
Wrapping with wire just seems like play to me, it's fun to just get going and see where you end up. Stay tuned for future posts - we'll see what I can come up with!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another fun day at Beadfx

I helped my friend Stephanie (The Dixon Chick) teach a wire crochet class at Beadfx this afternoon. This is the 2nd class I've helped out with. The classes are so popular, they get a whole bunch of people signing up and Stephanie needs an extra pair of hands to be available to show people what to do. There are more classes scheduled over the next 2 months, so if you're interested in learning a really good and easy method of making a very interesting necklace, you might want to check it out.

I must also point out that the Beadfx sale ends tonight at midnight (isn't online shopping wonderful? the hours are so convenient) and as far as I'm concerned, it's just as well, since I've been to the store 4 times since the sale started and I've come away with purchases on at least 3 of the those occasions (managed to restrain myself once, but it was not easy!!).

On another note, a friend/work colleague is celebrating her birthday today, so here's wishing many happy returns to Lesia. Here's a photo of the bracelet I made for her:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Successful Shopping Excursion

Home from the antique show and feeling quite weary but very pleased with my various purchases. Had a great time in Moffatt with Barb and Wayne, many thanks to them for taking me out to dinner last night at the Mohawk race track. Didn't win any money on the horses but had a lot of fun trying!

Saw a lot of wonderful things at the antique show. Brought a few of them home, left a few behind that I might regret but there's always next year! Here's a picture of Barb (in the red vest) perusing the offerings. I love the juxtaposition of the saddle beside the fur coat just tossed carelessly in the plastic container. I'll bet both items were greatly treasured by their original owners, who would be quite surprised to see them where they were today. Wonder if either item found a new home today?

My friend Kate says there's always a black panther at a flea market but we could only find a tiger. Every market we went to in France had owls for sale, and this one was no exception!