Wednesday, March 31, 2010
There is an old saying that if March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lamb (or vice versa). March arrived quietly here in Ontario, leaving us to wonder what the end of the month would bring. Apparently, the only thing lion-like about the end of March 2010 will be the similarity to the warm weather of the lion's ancestral home in Africa. Maybe not actually today, the last day of the month, but rumour has it we're about to experience record breaking warm temperatures in the next few days, perhaps as high as 29C on Friday with the humidex. Humidex? On April 2nd? Can you imagine? I am hoping this is not an April Fool's joke, I could use a blast of sunny warmth and an excuse to sit out on my balcony and bead. So, fingers crossed as we say goodbye to March on this warm, sunny, so far more like spring than summer day.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
What's even cooler to watch is this behind the scenes, "making of" video in which we learn that the commercial didn't just involve a bunch of very talented knitters, it also required the use of "un-knitting". Watch and see what I mean:
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I have a file folder in my cabinet labelled "Income Taxes" and every time something comes in the mail that belongs in that folder, anything I know I'll need to file my return, it goes in that folder right away, as soon as it arrives. Unlike other stuff that seems to go in a pile to be filed "some day".
So imagine my dismay when I started going through the paperwork and working through the steps on the online tax preparation site and realized that I didn't have my assessment form from last year's return. That's the bunch of papers that the government sends to you attached to your refund cheque. It's basically a recap of your filed return and it also has important information that needs to get plugged into next year's return, like your maximum RRSP contribution amount (not that I need to worry about that, I think my maximum amount is somewhere in the 6 figures and I don't expect to ever actually max it out!).
I can't find that form. Where could it possibly be?? If it's not in the tax folder, I have no idea where it might be or why I didn't immediately put it in the folder when it came in the mail last April like I should have, like I normally would. Given that it was delivered 11 months ago, I have no idea where to start looking for it. Sure, I have several piles of stuff to be filed and, frighteningly, still two boxes of "miscellaneous paper" to be sorted through from when I moved a year and a half ago, but this form should have been filed, not put in one of those piles.
So now I've got to start looking through those piles and/or try to get another copy from the government, which I'm sure is possible, it just might be time-consuming given they're a little busy right now. Which means I can't file my return just yet and leaves me feeling a little like this guy:
Saturday, March 27, 2010
My favourite is something they will apparently be doing at the Ontario Science Centre - you're allowed to use a radio, a lamp or a TV but only if you generate the power by dancing. Now that sounds like fun!!
Friday, March 26, 2010
This was also my first introduction to scrapbook paper - oh my, I think I'm in love! It comes in different thicknesses, some plain, some embossed, some with patterns, some with texture - so many choices. The sheets vary in price from about $1 to $4 each, depending on how fancy they are. I especially like the designs made by Graphics45 and 7Gypsies. We used about 4 sheets to make the books, as we decorated the front and back covers as well as the inside covers front and back. However, there was a lot of paper left over once we cut the sheets, which are 12x12 inches, down to fit the book size.
Here are some photos of books made by Daniza, the instructor:
(ignore the "Cynful Creations" that appears in the bottom right corner of the photo, that doesn't it appear on the book - too bad! - it's automatically added by my photo software)
This lovely book was made by Diana, one of my classmates - I loved the paper choices she made:Diana and I have now taken 3 classes together at Bizzy B in the past 3 months, completely unplanned. At the end of this session, I asked her what class we're going to take next!
Lorraine, my online classmate in the Remains of the Day journal class, whom I recently met in person, also took this class with her friend Charland. Here's a photo of Daniza, Charland and Lorraine as we were working on our books:
Here is a picture of the journal I made, which is destined to be used to record my next trip to Paris. All of the papers I choose, except the one on the back cover (bottom, right) had pictures of the Eiffel Tower. :)
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Kyle has put together a little booklet with some of the photos he took. The cover photo is stunning:
and I also really love this shot of the San Adreas fault that he took from the plane window:
Photos reprinted with the generous permission of Kyle Freaking Cassidy.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
So I was getting some advice today on what type of camera to buy from a photographer friend of mine, Jon Blacker (http://www.jonblacker.com/Home.html). Kyle recommends the Lumix GF1 but that one is a little out of my price range at the moment. Jon favours the Nikon brand.
Jon has a very cool book project on the go at the moment, featuring musicians with tattoos. You can read more about that here: http://www.musical-ink.com/musical_ink.html. I don't have any tattoos myself, I've just never found an image I'd like to have permanently added to my body. I like the idea of it though, tattoos are such a fascinating art form and let's face it, they're quite sexy too. In moderation, that is - i.e. as long as you're not covering every available inch of your skin with ink. And as long as it's not Tweety Bird or "Wino Forever", that's just silly.
Jon also takes photos now and again for Major League Baseball, which put me in mind of the Toronto Blue Jays and the fact that the regular season is about to start. The home opener is Monday, April 12th against the Chicago White Sox - let's play ball!
With all that in mind, here's a photo I took on Roncesvalles Avenue last weekend. It makes me want to go looking for a guy named Ron Geoffrey. If he was a ball player (he'd probably play 3rd base) or a musician (definitely a guitar player), I wonder what kind of tattoo he would have?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
There are so many possibilities for artists working in all sorts of mediums - glass, paint, metal, paper, fabric, computers and music, to name just a few. They even have courses for kids. You can learn how to carve a totem pole, do Japanese brush painting, quilt, draw, sculpt, design a low maintenance garden, learn how to use iCreate on your Mac laptop - there are literally dozens of possibilities. The teachers are all recognized artists in their own right.
Monday, March 22, 2010
But the one that totally blew me away was this dragon, made by Andria Knowles-Muller. If we gave out prizes for this challenge, I would want her to win the blue ribbon or the gold medal (with Rae getting the silver medal for the 2nd place finish). My photos don't do this piece justice. She wrapped beads over a wire armature and made the dragon's wings out of the paper.
Interestingly, this piece also had a bit of a story to it as well - the dragon is carrying a necklace that he can't wear but he wants it anyway. Andria displayed her artwork in a shadow box and again I must offer my apologies for the photo, where you can see the reflections of the overhead lights in the glass but still, I wanted you to be able to see some of the incredible detail of this piece.
I have one more amazing piece to show you but I promised the designer, Anne Marie Desaulniers, that I'd wait until after April 1st to blog about it, for reasons I shall reveal at that time, so you'll have to be patient. But I think it will be worth the wait, as in my humble opinion, her creation would be tied with Andria's for first prize!!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
From left to right, top row first:
Kimberly Harris - a necklace made of beaded beads;
Saturday, March 20, 2010
RAW is one of the main beading stitches that I was not yet familiar with. We started out with bugles so we could clearly see the right angles being formed. Kate McKinnon has a great way of explaining this process, as if the four sides are the ceiling, floor and two walls of a room and you're making an apartment building (or for those of us in Toronto, yet another condo development!).
Okay, gotta go practice!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I was amused to see that a bookstore on Queen Street West had this clever display in their front window. I even went in to ask how their chart works, as I thought maybe they were going to track sales of the various books listed on the chart during the tournament, but apparently it's just for show. The owner admitted he was quite surprised at the number of people who had come in to ask about the display.
I don't follow basketball and I certainly don't know anything about the U.S. college teams but it is a big deal for our friends south of the border. Intensive TV coverage, lots of betting going on, that sort of thing. Here's a fun fact: did you know that there are 50% more vasectomies scheduled for this week than any other week of the year? (no, I am not making this up!) Presumably, it's a good excuse for the guys in question to spend the next four days lying on the couch watching basketball while they recuperate.
I have often wondered if the phrase "March madness" (a registered trademark of the NCAA) has any connection to the expression, "mad as a March hare". Of course, many of us are familiar with the March Hare as one of the characters in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." What you may not know is that the expression in question originated in England and is used to describe the unusual antics of said rabbit this time of year. According to the Wikipedia explanation, "a long-held view is that the hare will behave strangely and excitedly throughout its breeding season, which in Europe is the month of March (but which in fact extends over several months beyond March). This odd behaviour includes: boxing at other hares, jumping vertically for seemingly no reason and generally displaying abnormal behaviour."
Hmm, abnormal behavior and vertical jumping - perhaps there is a connection after all? :)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
This fun piece is made by Sharon Cozens, who tells me it is based on Jeanette Shanigan's "Beaded Doll Pin" design. One thing that Sharon said at the meeting when describing her piece has really stayed with me. She talked about how as beaders, sometimes we try to force the beads when we have a certain design or idea in mind but what we really need to do is listen to the beads and let them do what they want. In the end, the design tends to benefit from that flexibility, the willingness to go with the flow. So true!
Finally, we have what The Dixon Chick called "Epic Fail". She told us that she called it that because the ideas she had for the materials provided didn't work out. I myself do not think this was a total fail. Firstly, I admire Stephanie because I know she is not fond of seed beads and yet signed up for the Bag of Beads Challenge anyway, knowing that at least 80% of it would be made up of the little critters. She should be applauded just for taking part, as there are many TBS members who do not and there are many who buy a kit but don't bring a finished piece to the March meeting to share with the group, so Stephanie should get kudos for that as well. Also, you will notice that her piece is a beautiful painted base on top of which she attached the paper and then attempted to glue the seed beads on in a mosaic pattern. It's an admirable idea, it is just unfortunate that the paper in question was rather odd in that it didn't take to glue very well (it worked okay for me but my sister pointed out that that was probably because I glued it to other paper!) Several people who tried to glue it to various other materials also did not have any success. Best of all, I think Stephanie deserves special mention for being brave enough to show us something that she felt was a failure. Most of us would probably have just left the piece at home and come to the meeting with the excuse that "it just didn't work out" or make up a little white lie like "oops! I left it at home by mistake!" (or would that just be me?). It takes courage to share imperfect results, although I like to think it was partly because she also knew it would be safe to do so with the group of beaders that make up the Toronto Bead Society, who are a very kind and understanding bunch who no doubt have been there, done that themselves and who would never condemn her for at least trying.
Kudos to Jo-Ann, Caroline, Sharon and Stephanie for their creations. Stay tuned for more designs from other talented TBS members in upcoming posts.
Monday, March 15, 2010
I am quoting Wikipedia here when I tell you, "According to Plutarch, Caesar was warned by a seer to be on his guard against a great peril on the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey (where he would be assassinated), Caesar saw the seer and joked "Well, the Ides of March have come," to which the seer replied "Ay, they have come, but they are not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned to "beware the Ides of March."
So far, although the day is not yet over, I have had no reason to beware this day. In fact, although I have heard others speak of having seen robins already, I was pleased to see my first red-winged blackbird, which is said to be another sign of spring for those of us in the North who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of that season. The forecast for this week is for temperatures in the mid-teens, which a full 10 degrees warmer than usual this time of year. If this is global warming, I'm all in favour!
In my family, this date is memorable for a totally different reason, because it is my brother Craig's birthday. In honour of the occasion, I thought I share with you this photo of he and I together, circa December 1963. It's one of my favourite pictures because I always laugh when I see his tongue sticking out. It looks like I pushed on his stomach and that's what happened, doesn't it?? I love it! Happy Birthday, bro!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Nevertheless, I had a lovely day exploring Queen Street West with two new friends, Diane and Lorraine. I have been taking an online class with these ladies and we decided to meet today to show each other what we have made from class and visit some of the stores in this area. We started at Mokuba, a ribbon store, then sat in Second Cup having a coffee/hot chocolate for quite a while getting to know each other and taking a look at what each had brought. Then we headed back out into the rain to hit Arton, a bead store of which I have heard much these past few years but had never visited, followed by a couple of sewing supply stores. Hopped in the car to head a little farther west to The Paper Place, followed by lunch at Terroni then a fun little store called The Tin Taj filled with all sorts of colourful gifty items and one last stop at a trendy spice store (where we saw the author John Saul!) and then it was time to go home.
Thanks for a lovely day, ladies, in spite of the weather!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Because one of the challenge items was a piece of paper, I had the idea that I would make a little book and put the embroidered piece on the cover, using the paper as a frame. I had just taken a course at the scrapbooking store called Bizzy B about how to make several types of miniature books back in January, taught by Marissa Decepida-Wong, and I used one of the designs I learned in that class to make this book.
I'm really pleased with the way my little book turned out and have a few ideas in mind to make some more!