Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Here are some photos of my cat Max taken during the first sewing session: he was particularly interested in the bobbin winding process - check out the look of intense concentration on his face!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I called this one "Aladdin's Treasure" because when I first saw the beautiful beads Dwyn had picked out for me, all I could think of was that it reminded me of that cave full of riches that Aladdin finds. At least, I think it was Aladdin. Maybe I'm getting my fairy tales mixed up. Anyway, the lush colours of the amethyst and carnelian combined with the sparkle and gleam of the gold and crystals were so beautiful, I couldn't wait to put this necklace together.
Monday, December 28, 2009
I then took the box with the catnip toy and tucked it into the top drawer of the metal four drawer filing cabinet in my office, closed the drawer and again forgot all about it. Until tonight, when I noticed Max sitting on top of the cabinet, rubbing his face against the lock as if trying to open it. Once again, he had figured out the location of the catnip and was anxious to get at it.
I find the effect of catnip to be quite amazing but I also wonder if it is safe for cats. It seems to cause such an unusual reaction, I find it somewhat alarming. I looked it up on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepeta and a few other places and learned that "Cats love catnip. It is an herb that triggers their senses that elicits a playful response. It is not dangerous or toxic to your cat, as the scent is inhaled and the plant is not usually consumed. So, catnip toys and scratch posts are fine for your kitty; let them have a little fun, and enjoy their treat of catnip!"
So, I'm off to take the toy out of the filing cabinet and let Max go wild with it. Surely that is what Santa intended!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
On Christmas night, as we were walking down the street to have dinner with longtime family friends, I took this picture of another neighbour's house, which looked so lovely in the light of that (rainy) winter's evening:
Hard to believe Christmas has come and gone again for another year and now we're counting down the final few days of this first decade of the new millenium. Doesn't it seem like just yesterday we were saying goodbye to 1999? Where does the time go??!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Or I might have told you that the Olympic torch finally made it to the City of Toronto on its travels across Canada. It was making its (very slow) way through our fair city from the 17th to the 19th of December. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see it in person and as you know from reading a couple of my posts in the fall, I didn't get picked to carry the torch in the contest held by my company. Which is just as well, given how bloody cold it has been for the past several days and since our family Xmas party was yesterday afternoon, I would have had a scheduling conflict anyway. Only 54 more days until the Games begin in Vancouver, the excitement is definitely building. Click on this link if you'd like to see the interactive map and track the torch's progress across the country: http://www.vancouver2010.com/more-2010-information/olympic-torch-relay/olympic-torch-relay-interactive-map/.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I have two plastic milk cartons full of albums. One appears to be a lot of soundtracks and classical music. If memory serves, I think someone left a lot of these albums in the laundry room of the building where I used to live and I brought them into my apartment, knowing they'd be good to have some day when I got that record player set up. There is quite a selection of what I would call the type of music your grandmother might enjoy, there's some Mario Lanza albums and an Englebert Humperdink and several piano and classical albums. They are also some real gems in there - "Porgy and Bess" with Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge, "My Fair Lady" with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews (the Broadway version), "High Society" with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. (Hmm, wonder if I should be hawking these on eBay?)
The second carton is all the albums I collected as a teenager and in my early 20's, back in the days before CD's, when they still made record albums. My very first record album I ever got was The Partridge Family Album. It was released in 1970 so I must have been about 9. I was SO excited to get that album, I think it was a Christmas present. My parents were probably sick to death of hearing it, I played it over and over again. I'd get together with my girlfriends and we'd sing along and pretend we were in a band, with an ironing board for a piano and (wooden) tennis racquets for guitars and a hairbrush for a microphone. Not to mention, I had such a huge crush on David Cassidy. Isn't it funny how you remember those things? I pulled out that album the other day and I could remember it all, just like it was yesterday.
The only record I was vaguely embarrassed to pull out of that box was The Captain and Tennille, "Song of Joy". That one came out in 1976 and I recall playing that one over and over again too. I would have been about 15, so perhaps I could be forgiven for my questionable taste. Luckily, I also had almost every Beatles album, including the White Album (I think Rubber Soul might be the only one I'm missing) and my parents had the Rolling Stones' "Goat's Head Soup", CCR and James Last to groove to, so it wasn't all teen pop for my musical influences growing up!
It's funny how looking through those old albums of mine can take me back to the exact time and place I first got them. Like the Bob Seger album ("Night Moves") that I won as a door prize at a school dance in grade 9, where Max Webster was the live band playing. I didn't even know who Max Webster or Bob Seger were back then! Or Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" which was the only album we had to play at summer camp one year and we nearly wore the grooves out of that one. Luckily, it was a double album! And Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" album, which we always played at parties in the summer of 1980, long before MJ got himself a glove and a bad reputation.
Several of my old albums have since been duplicated in my collection on CD but I am really enjoying having the turntable going and that sound as the needle drops down on the record and the scratching noise that accompanies the songs as they play on the turntable. And especially the little click and whir as the needle comes to the end of the record, lifts itself up and glides back to its resting place. That's something that a CD or an MPG can't provide and I didn't realize how much I had missed those sounds until last week when I heard them again. Sometimes, going "old school" isn't a bad thing.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Last week, this Christmas card arrived at our office, sent by one of the law firms with which we do business. Every "cookie" has a picture of one of their staff members. It's such a cute card and we all got a chuckle when we saw it, going through the faces, trying to pick out the people we know (although they had their names printed on each one in very tiny print, just in case people couldn't recognize them with their new icing hairstyle, I guess). Apparently they all liked the way their pictures turned out, except for one guy, whose cookie doesn't have any pants. Perhaps, as a lawyer, he's a little concerned his clients will be nervous he'll showing up wearing just a vest and three gumdrop buttons to court one day. :)
Which reminds me, it's time for a snack! Yum.
Jeanne, whose face adorns this cookie, is married to the guy who makes the cookies. Unfortunately, I don't know his name but well done, sir, and thank you!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I have really been feeling the need to get my ever-expanding bead stash and collection of art supplies organized, as it felt like the disorganization was stopping me from making anything new. It was as if I wouldn't let myself make jewellery or create any art until I spent some time putting things away where they belonged. Only, I didn't really have a spot to put them, at least not one that seemed to do the job efficiently enough. Hence the need for the bookcases.
This first picture shows how things looked before my trip to IKEA. I had one small bookcase, situated beside a lovely little dresser/cupboard that used to belong to my great-aunt Alice. Several boxes piled up on the side containing various bits and pieces of miscellaneous jewellery supplies. Everything sort of jumbled together in a small, contained area but not a very practical setup. It seemed that every time I needed something, it was a big hunt to find it - whatever it was always ended up being in the last place I looked, or in the box on the bottom of the pile.
As you can see from this after shot, there are now two tall bookcases installed, pretty much filled up, with most things put away where they belong, easily viewed and readily accessible at all times. The small bookcase has been emptied and moved into the living room, now tidily holding my CD collection and there is now blank space on either side of the pretty little dresser to show it to better advantage.
The table is clear in the photo but probably won't stay that way for long, as now that my supplies are better organized, I'm eager to get back to work!!
Many thanks to my sister and her friend for going to IKEA with me and transporting the bookcases back to my home, and to my sister for helping me put them together. Do you know, we put both bookcases together in just under an hour and that was without the benefit of one of those Allen keys that I thought came with every single piece of IKEA furniture?! Hard to believe, I know, but true!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I went to see the Vanity Fair Portrait Exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum last night. I was quite looking forward to seeing this collection of photos, as I've always been a fan of Vanity Fair magazine and admired the stunning photos that they showcase. I am especially in awe of photographer Annie Leibovitz, who took several of the amazing photos that appear in this show. But she has not been their only notable photographer in recent years, as this collection clearly attests.
I was not disappointed, it was a very entertaining exhibit, on many levels. It also made me nostalgic for past visits to the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, also a collaborator in putting this show together.
There are approximately 150 portraits altogether, displayed amongst the sharp angles of the new Crystal addition to the Museum. The photos are divided into two time periods - from 1913 to 1936 and also from 1983 to the present. Of course, the older photos are all taken in black and white but that only adds to their appeal, as far as I am concerned. As much as I loved to look at the pictures themselves, I also enjoyed reading the little writeup that was posted beside each, describing both the subject and the photographer.
I didn't recognize many of the names of the older photographers or even some of the subjects from that day, certain writers or ballerinas or choreographers that must have been very popular at the time but haven't remained familiar to all but a select few of today's audience. Others, especially the movie stars from that golden age of Old Hollywood, as well as the subjects of the majority of the newer photos were immediately recognizable. Some of the pictures are positively iconic - the Demi Moore shot with her holding her naked and very pregnant stomach, Jack Nicholson hitting golf balls in his bathrobe. It got me thinking about the nature of celebrity, a topic that has sort of been on everyone's mind this week as the whole Tiger Woods infidelity saga has unfolded. It's definitely a double-edged sword these days - no doubt being famous has its perks when things are going well, but when things are bad, you'd probably rather be invisible than have to have everyone watching and commenting on every intimate detail of your personal life.
There is also an exhibit by Canadian photographer Nigel Dickson currently showing, a collection of portraits of famous Canadians such as athletes, prime ministers and prominent business people, including former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson (left), who was being phtorgraphed for Owl magazine - hence the large owlish glasses! Individuals who are probably not nearly as well known to anyone who is not Canadian perhaps, but celebrities in our little world all the same.
I bought the book that goes with the Vanity Fair display and I'm looking forward to going through it slowly to savour each photo again (although unfortunately, the little descriptive stories posted beside each photo are not reproduced in the book.) The cover shot, shown above, is of Gloria Swanson, whom I only knew from the movie "Sunset Boulevard" so I was fascinated to see this photo of her at a much younger age.
Both exhibits are worth seeing but if you're interested, you'd better hurry - they're only there until January 3, 2010.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
In her own words, "I’m accumulating pieces, parts, and collecting photographs of the finished jewelry that is available from the Mixed Media book. I have vintage fabrics, components, incredible metal art beads by Bob Burkett… all in all quite a pretty stack." The lovely necklace and earrings shown in the photo below are just 2 examples of what will be available:
Head on over here to check it out: http://www.katemckinnon.com/ and have your credit card or Pay Pal account ready for action!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Bead guru extraordinaire Marcia is the author of this fabulous book:
which is a delightful visual experience, even if you never undertake any of the beaded projects within - but I'm pretty sure that once you see the gorgeous pieces, you're going to want to make one or several for yourself.
I am really hoping that she will teach her ringlets course (see photo below) because they're not in the book and I think they're fabulous!! My sister and I were discussing the pink and orange colour combination earlier today - I love it, it's one of my favourites!!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Don't you just want to rush out and get one and fill it full of...stuff???
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I ate it off my King George and Queen Elizabeth I plate, drinking milk from my Queen Elizabeth II mug, while watching this week's episode of Coronation Street on the CBC this morning. I know, I know, it should have been tea for it to be the proper British experience but I don't drink tea (or coffee), so milk it was.
Like I said, Delicious with a capital D!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
All in all, it was a lovely afternoon! Thank you, ladies!