Thursday, March 31, 2011

That Special Moment

They say you will always remember the exact moment that you fell in love.  For me, it was last night, with a fluffy little kitten named Buckingham with eyes the colour of liquid butterscotch. 

All four kittens have been very reluctant to come near me since they arrived four days ago.  Every day, they're more comfortable having me around but if I move suddenly or cough or reach out my hand towards one of them, they all run away as fast as they can in the opposite direction.  I figure they're understandably nervous about being in a new place, wondering what happened to their mom, getting used to the new sounds and smells and wondering who this new giant human is that keeps trying to pick them up and cuddle them.  So I keep trying but I don't force it.  Unless I happen to be in a position to pick up one when they're not expecting it and give him or her a quick kiss and a cuddle.  (Come to think of it, that description could pretty much sums up my love life with guys as well, but that's a story for a different day.)

Last night, I reached out to pet Buckingham and surprisingly, he let me.  At first he looked like he just couldn't figure out how to get out of it but I kept doing it and all of a sudden, he looked up at me with this expression on his face, as if he had just realized that hey, this petting thing is kind of nice.  He started to purr crazy loud and rub up against my hand as if to say, keep doing it.  Zing, I could feel it happen right then and there, I fell totally in love with him.  He stood still for several minutes and I just kept petting and petting him while he purred and purred. 

The other 3 cats all looked startled, as if they were wondering where that new sound was coming from and then they all gathered quite close to the two of us, as if now that they had seen their leader do something new that he was obviously enjoying, they wanted to try it too.  So I reached out to pet Lillie (the black and white cat) and she let me too!  Then I tried to pet the other two, Alice (the all black kitten) and the tabby Barbara (formerly known as Nell Gwynne, until someone realized that that name had already been used for a previous Abbey Cat so now she's named after Barbara Villiers, another mistress of Charles II. Who names a cat "Barbara", I ask you??) but they wouldn't let me touch them.  You could tell they wanted to but they just weren't able to get over their fear of letting me get too close.  I was finally able to pet Alice this morning, after trying it again with Buckingham, who remembered he likes it and now lets me do it whenever I want, when he's not off chasing something or jumping up on the bed or chewing on something or playing with a sneaker...

Barbara still hasn't let me pet her yet.  She's probably pissed off about her name.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Corsage Project

I'm off to Beadfx tonight to hang out with The Dixon Chick and make jewellery for the Corsage Project. I'm also taking with me a number of pairs of fancy shoes that I rarely wear and some evening bags that I use even less frequently to donate.  I figure those fancy shoes will be put to much better use being worn by some young woman who will enjoy them and hopefully dance up a storm in a beautiful gown, rather than gathering dust in my closet.  And yes, I accomplish a little bit of decluttering at the same time - it's a win, win situation!

As Stephanie herself said, "beadFX has eloquently blogged about it, so I will shamelessly copy their text!" In fact, I think some of the wording has come directly from the Corsage Project website.  Wherever it originated, I too am going to do exactly the same and/or equally shamelessly paraphrase their message and steal their photos. :)
"Since 2005, Beadfx has been a champion of the Corsage project. The Corsage Project is a charitable organization that works to ensure that young women who are about to graduate but cannot afford to attend their prom — can have the lovely dresses, shoes, and, most importantly, (in our humble opinion) the distinctive jewellery that will highlight the evening and provide a momento that they will have for the rest of their lives. ('Cause you might grow out of the dress - but the jewellery is forever!)"

Tonight (from 6 to 8 p.m.) is the last night of several Corsage Project Open Beading Nights the store has hosted to make jewellery to donate for the Corsage Project.  "Stephanie Dixon will be available to assist us in designing something special. Upcycle an old piece that's been sitting in your jewellery box. Now's the time to bling it out and send it on to a new life! From chandelier earrings to bracelets and necklaces, all jewellery items are welcome.

There is no charge to attend Open Beading Night - just pay for what you buy! And you get a 15% discount off your purchase! Another Win Win!

If you have jewellery you would like to donate, you can drop it off or mail it to the store as long as they receive it by closing time (8 p.m.) on March 31st 2011.  You can also donate online or volunteer to help out at the Boutique Ball on April 10th, where the girls pick out their outfits (I did this a few years ago and it was SO much fun and so rewarding to see how excited the girls get as they enjoy this opportunity to be glamourous.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thanks for the Laughs, Roger

Canada lost one of its finest comedians this past weekend.  Roger Abbott, who passed away from leukemia on Saturday, was one of the founding members of the Royal Canadian Air Farce when it first debuted on radio back in 1973.  Right up until 2008, the show aired each week on CBC TV and while the entire cast of characters was always a delight to watch, Roger was always something special.  Some of his most famous impressions include Canadian icons such as Leonard Cohen, Peter Mansbridge and Jean Chretien but in this clip from the CBC, as well as seeing him trying to keep from laughing during a skit featuring a Toblerone chocolate bar, you will also see him making fun of George W. Bush and (my personal favourite) the Queen Mum.

Thanks for the laughs, Roger.  Canadian comedy is all the richer thanks to your contributions over the years.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The DeClutter Project Report - Week 13

I had about 30 hours notice before the new kittens arrived and I spent a solid five of those decluttering in my office/guest bedroom.  Clearing off the bed (again), desk (again) and dresser in case kittens were to jump or climb up there eventually.  Mostly shredding and filing papers.  So while I accomplished a lot in the scheme of things, it doesn't make for much of a blog post, except to say that I definitely felt better when it was all done, knowing I had dealt with that much paper.  It astounds me how it all piles up and accumulates.  Some of it is easily thrown out and much of it gets put where it belongs but there are always some pieces that I just don't know what to do with.  If there is no file for it and no action to be taken, perhaps I should just chuck it out?

Since it was just paper processing, I don't have any before and after photos to share this week.  I hope you will forgive me for posting kitten photos instead. :)

They now have names.  The head honcho at Abbey Cats has deemed they should be named after courtesans, namely two of King Edward VII's mistresses and one of Charles II, except for the male, who shall be known as Buckingham, a favoured duke of the King Charles II.  They've had so many litters of kittens go through their system that coming up with distinctive names that they can remember gets harder and harder.  As far as I am concerned, it doesn't really matter because when they go to live in their forever homes, I'm guessing their names will be changed in most cases anyway (although the couple who adopted Storm and Tempest told me they kept the names!)

According to his Wikipedia entry, Buckingham died from a chill after digging for a fox on a hunt and when he died, the title became extinct.  I don't expect that will happen to this kitten, he has a very noticeable fur muff around his face in a smoky mink colour that is quite distinctive against his black fur, it ought to keep him warm.

Lillie Langtry was an actress, known as the "Jersey Lily."  This little kitten wearing the tuxedo is, so far, the most timid of the bunch, the last one to come out to say hello to me this morning when I coaxed them out with food and the first one to run back under the bed if I make a sudden move.
Alice Keppel was a British socialite and "the most famous of Edward VII's mistresses."  Here's a fun fact - she was also the great-grandmother of the Duchess of Cornwall, a.k.a. Camilla Parker-Bowles.  In our case, she is a little black kitten who is very playful, she was the first to come out and play with the string handle on this flashlight (which I use to find the kittens under the bed!)
And last but not least, we have Nell Gwyn (or Gwynne), a long time mistress of King Charles II, also an actress.  This little dear is the smallest of the four but the most adventurous.  She was the first one to let me pet her and the first one to come right up to me and check me out.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Newest Guests

Four new fur babies came to visit this afternoon.  I got a call yesterday telling me they were on their way, but I didn't want to get my hopes up too high, since last week when I got a call, it didn't happen.  But this time, all went according to plan and they are now residing in my guest bedroom so I can keep them separate from Katrina (who so far doesn't seem to have noticed they are here) and let them get used to being in a new place.

Someone called the surrender line at Abbey Cats and said they had these four kittens they wanted to turn in.  They kept the mother, who hopefully won't be missing her eight week old babies too much.  Janice from Abbey Cats very kindly picked them up and brought them over to my place after taking part in Toronto's Million Mutt March (to end breed specific legislation) this afternoon - now that's what I call a dedicated animal advocate!

As soon as we pulled them out of the cage they arrived in, they all found quickly found hiding spots.  Two of them are black, although luckily they each have different markings so I can tell them apart (unlike the Weather Cats!), the third is a tuxedo cat (black and white) and the fourth is a lighter-coloured tabby.  The three black cats are are fluffy, medium hairs while the tabby is short-haired.  She also appears to be the runt of the litter but she might just seem smaller because of her short hair, as the fluffy hair makes the others look bigger.  She has the cutest little face.  She wasn't sure she should stay still to let me take this picture but she was more tired than frightened, and could hardly keep her eyes open once I started gently stroking her fur.
Janice had a look at 3 out of the 4 of them, there seems to be one boy and two girls.  We're guessing the fourth is also a girl but she or he quickly positioned herself behind a table leg and we didn't get a chance to check him/her out.
When last I checked on them, all four were squeezed into a corner under the bed.  I wasn't even sure until I took this picture that the fourth one was with them, she or he was tucked in behind the others!
Aren't they adorable??  Next step, figuring out names!  Any ideas? Don't forget, there needs to be a theme.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour 2011

It's that time of year again, time to turn off the electricity for 60 minutes and celebrate Earth Hour. At 8:30 p.m. this evening, in whatever time zone you find yourself, switch off your lights and whatever other electrical equipment that you can. 

It's the fifth consecutive year of this event.  Last year, over 1 billion people around the world participated, making it the largest single action by people in history.  Over 4000 cities and towns participated, in 128 countries.

In Ontario last year, the demand for electricity dropped by four percent during Earth Hour.  That's less than previous years, but it's still a positive result.  Isn't it amazing what we can accomplish when we are all working together?  Now if only we could get Canada's politicians to do the same, turn off the noise and rhetoric and work together, instead of sending us to the polls for the 4th time in 7 years.  The average cost of a national election is somewhere between 13 and 20 million dollars.  Can you imagine the good that could be done with that taxpayers' money if we weren't wasting it on speeches, campaign ads, billboards and those stupid freaking lawn signs that clutter up the landscape and!! 

But I digress.  Here's a picture of the Toronto skyline from 2008 - top photo during Earth Hour, bottom photo from the night before.  Clearly, there is a difference being made.  This year, the focus is on carrying our actions beyond this one hour of time.  What can we all do going forward to make a difference on a regular basis? Definitely something to consider.
Photo copied from
On a more serious note, I'm sure the thoughts of many people taking part in the observance of Earth Hour this year will turn to the ongoing crisis in Japan. As we voluntarily choose to turn off our power sources here at home, they are still facing the serious threat of nuclear meltdown. The repercussions of that scenario will be huge, a lot more frightening and way beyond the little bit of inconvenience we might encounter in a short sixty minutes of subdued lighting.  It's a sobering thought, especially for those of us who live in communities that also use nuclear power.  I for one would be willing to give up a lot more than sixty minutes of bright light to make all of us safe from that threat. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Chandelier to Covet

Check out this very funky chandelier I saw last night at Teatro Verde, a home accessories store in Toronto's Bloor/Yorkville neighbourhood (one with a very lame website, considering how beautiful the store is.  Take my advice and don't click on that link, go visit 100 Yorkville in person instead).

What a great way to use those china teacups I've inherited over the years from grandmothers and great aunts!  Now I need to collect me some silver spoons...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So Long Liz

Elizabeth Taylor passed away yesterday.  I have only seen one or two of her movies (I know I've seen Father of the Bride with Spencer Tracy and I probably saw National Velvet but I haven't seen any of her more iconic roles, such as those she played in Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virgina Wolfe, for each of which she won a best actress Oscar, or the infamous Cleopatra).  When I think of her, I tend to think of the Liz Taylor of the 80's and 90's, random, slightly bizarre things like all her famous marriages and divorces, her humanitarian work for the AIDS cause, her seemingly odd friendship with Michael Jackson, the diamonds and perfumes.  But mostly I would think, my God, she was so stunningly beautiful once upon a time, wasn't she?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not Spring Yet

Even though the calendar says spring officially arrived a few days ago, Old Man Winter clearly hasn't got the message just yet.  We'd been warned to expect snow this morning and sure enough, there it was.  What I didn't realize was that it was going to snow all day, that fine, light snow that doesn't look like it's going to be a problem but over time, adds up to a mess, especially if there is a strong wind blowing it into drifts.  Those who left the home this morning without boots, hats, gloves and/or snow brushes (what were they thinking?) got a rude surprise going home at the end of the day as they slogged through the heavy piles of snow and slush.  No sign of any snow plows on any of the routes I drove today, which meant slow and slippery going.  Transit buses are running half an hour to an hour late tonight and several schools have cancelled night classes.  It's just too darned wet and messy out there.

All of which combined to tip me over the edge into deciding that I definitely want to go to the "Tapping Into the Flow" workshop that Teesha and Tracy Moore are holding in Portugal this June (details here:  Art Paradise in Portugal.  Because on a snowy day like this, I'd much rather look forward to visiting this fabulous looking beach resort town:

than have to deal with this!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It's not just this month in which we are currently dwelling, it's also the name of a really good book that I just finished reading. 

Did you ever read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott? Remember how their father was away being a chaplain in the Civil War and Marmee had to rush off to tend to him when he was injured, and then rush back when Beth got ill?  This book is his story. It's fascinating reading and such a clever idea on the part of the author, Geraldine Brooks, to take a shadowy minor character from another story and build him into a leading man by telling us his tale with careful snippets from Alcott's story woven in to bind the two stories together.

But don't be fooled, this is no children's story.  It's a tale of struggle - that of the North against the South, those in favour of abolition vs. those opposed to it, the challenges faced by those who go to war and those they leave behind, the war that goes on inside each of us to determine what is right and what is wrong and to what we are willing to go to defend our lives and our principles.

Ms. Brooks actually won the Pulitzer Prize for this book in 2006, so clearly I am not the only one who thought this was a book worth reading!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The DeClutter Project Report - Week 12

Once again, I have to admit that very little decluttering got done this past week.  I am finding it really hard to actually get motivated to do anything, especially if I only have one day on the weekend to hang out and do whatever I want.  On those days, I am reluctant to spend my time cleaning and/or organizing, there are so many other things to do with my time that are much more fun and don't actually involve so

I did spend some time reorganizng some of my craft supplies yesterday, which made a difference and helped clear a lot of clutter off my work space.  I also spent some time decluttering my office/guest bedroom one night last week, after getting a call late one afternoon asking if I could take in a pregnant cat that had just been found that day.  Of course, I couldn't say no.  I grabbed a large cardboard box that had been put out for recycling at work and rushed home to make a "nest".  I cut a hole in the side of the box, high enough that young kittens couldn't climb out but low enough not to pose too much of a challenge for the momma cat to get in and out.  I made a flap for the top of the box so the cat thinks it's a roof when it's down but also I can lift it up to have a better view of what's going on inside the box, if needed.  I layered newspaper on the bottom and soft, old towels on top. I brought in a litter box and set it up.  I cleared all my miscellaneous piles of sorted but not yet filed papers off the bed (I know, I know, I should have filed them but I was thinking the new cat would be arriving shortly and I didn't have time - I will do that this week).  I put out food and water.  I looked up stuff about birthing kittens on the Internet and tried not to panic.  I talked to Katrina and explained what would be happening and reassured her that she would still be my number one girl.  All was in readiness.

Then I got the call telling me that they had found another home for the stray cat.  Bummer.  But they keep telling me that kitten season is just beginning, so no doubt (sadly) there will be another abandoned momma cat looking for a safe place to have her kittens and when that time comes, I'll be ready.  In the meantime, I have a tidier office/guest bedroom and a pile of filing to do.

I was concerned about how Katrina might react to the idea of another cat in my apartment but I know now I needn't have worried.  As you can see from this photo, in spite of my best efforts to keep the door closed and her out of the room, Katrina somehow snuck in there when I wasn't looking and left her own welcoming present for the new arrival.  I think she'll handle things just fine, don't you?

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Did you see the moon last night? I thought I should make an effort to go out and see it rise, since we may not even see the moon tonight, as it is supposed to be cloudy and/or rainy, so I went outdoors shortly after moonrise to check it out.  I can't say it looked any different than any other full moon. Certainly didn't look as large as some of the harvest moons I've seen coming up over the horizon in the fall.  If you hadn't told me it was looking 14% bigger, I don't think I would have noticed. 

Here's the view from ground level, as the moon rose over the apartment building across the street, looking just a little bit bigger than the streetlights.

This is the view from my balcony, as it rose a little higher over the same building.
Living in a large city is definitely not the best for capturing celestial events, too many other light sources competing for attention. No matter, I always enjoy looking at the moon at any time, don't usually need a reason!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Some Stories Have Happy Endings

The problem with the news is that it always seems to be bad news we hear about.  "Bad news on the doorstep", as Don McLean would sing about the paper boy making his rounds.  War, murder, death, taxes, politics, fire, tragedies of any and all sorts make front page news.  What we don't hear enough of is the good news stories.  I'm glad to be able to tell you this story as it comes with a very happy ending.

Do you remember I told you about Walter and Dexter back in this blog post?  I heard about them from my catsitter, whose company had been hired to look after these two 10 year old cats when their human was in hospital for several months.  When it was determined that their owner wouldn't be coming home to the house but would need to live in a longterm care facility, a new home was needed for these two gentlemen.  I first heard about them last October and I was shocked to hear a couple of weeks ago that all this time later, they were still looking for someone to take these fellows on a permanent basis.

I agreed to pass on the information and sent an email to some friends and co-workers who I know are cat lovers.  I am very pleased to report that the woman who did such an amazing job looking after my darling Max last September when I went to France for two weeks (sending me regular updates and photos the entire time I was away and asking after him regularly once I got back), my work colleague Tracy, decided to adopt Walter and Dexter after reading that email.  A week ago Friday, they came to live with her.

It seems they have settled in very well.  They have been renamed Oliver (Walter) and Corie (Dexter) as their original names had been picked for them by the catsitters, they didn't even have names before that.  No doubt they are thrilled to be living in a clean home with furniture and a live-in human companion after all those months in an empty, dirty house with only the visits from their catsitters (who did such an amazing job of caring for these two under strange and difficult circumstances, they are obviously very caring individuals) for company.  As you can see from the photos below, they appear to be taking full advantage of their new surroundings.  Tracy reports that they were a little cautious at first, hiding under the bed or the dining room table from time to time, but judging by these photos, they seem to have quickly made themselves comfortable.
Oliver (formerly known as Walter) takes a nap

Corie (Dexter)

A snoring cat is a happy cat.
It does my heart good to hear a story with a happy ending like this, to know that Tracy feels so blessed to have these two part of her life now and to know, as I do from personal experience with my own cat Max, that these cats are equally blessed to have Tracy to love and care for them.  The cat sitters are pleased to know that the cats have gone to a forever home where they will be safe and cherished.  It's definitely good news story all around.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Scenes from a Fire

Just before 5 p.m. tonight, as most of us were getting ready to leave the office, we had a bit of a blip in power (I've since heard that the City of Toronto lost 1% of its power at the time and the same thing was going on as far as way as downtown Toronto).  The lights flickered and we all quickly saved the files we were working on on our computers.  A few minutes later, someone came by to say there was a big fire burning nearby and we all crowded in to one of the VP's offices in our fifth floor premises to have a look.

Here's what we could see:
In this shot, if you look closely, you can see the red of the flames (it kind of looks like that nuclear warning symbol, don't you think?):
Here's how it looked from the office parking lot as I walked to my car:
and from the highway as I drove by on my way home, the flames burning madly just on the other side of the grey cement fence you can see in the photo (I could see the plumes from several fire hoses pouring onto the flames as I drove slowly by):
Here's the view from outside my apartment building, which is only 10 minutes away from where I work, on the other side of the fire. 
And here's the smoke obscuring the view outside my apartment window, which faces the opposite direction from the fire:
It's a transformer station that is burning. Apparently there were a couple of explosions heard by neighbours in the area.  Highways in the area were shut down briefly due to worries about the thick, black smoke, not to mention the fact that everyone is slowing down to take a look, yours truly included.  TV reports suggest it is a four alarm blaze, with more than 30 trucks on the scene.  So far, no power outages in the area and planes continue to take off and land at the airport only 5 minutes away.  The latest reports suggest it is mineral oil that is burning and they're going to let it burn itself out, because there's no health hazard.  Really? All that black smoke being carried by 52 km winds isn't a problem to anyone? Hmm, where have I heard this before?  Oh wait, now they're evacuating an apartment building nearby (not mine) because of the smoke.  Sounds slightly hazardous to me!

Hopefully everyone involved in fighting this fire stays safe.  Two firefighters lost their lives earlier today in a small town near Toronto, so everyone is already saddened by that news.  As we all continue to watch anxiously as the devastatingly tragic situation in Japan unfolds, and worry about the threat of war in Libya, this fire so close to my home is just another alarming situation that makes me wonder if a life dependant on the consumption of toxic resources is really worth all the trouble.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Friend Heather

(1) likes to take classes taught by rockstars such as Stephanie Lee with me, and not just because she likes to set things on fire:

(2)  brings me the latest Nick and Nora pyjamas from Target when we get together to do art workshops and retreats together.  These ones are called "Veggie Bunnies", for obvious reasons:

(3) makes me laugh by trying on silly masks in Target:

(4) made this FABULOUS travelling art journal kit in a lunch box (and then swiped back the bottle of gesso):

(5) bought this beautiful pair of earrings made by Ms. Stephanie Lee:

(6)  doesn't always like to have her picture taken:

(7) introduced me to these two lovely ladies, Anne and Bette:

(8) created this cool moonscape on her metal book cover:

(9) is my BFF:
(10) is married to a lovely man named Andy O'Brien, who drove an hour each way to take us out to dinner at O'Malley's Pub last Saturday night (probably not too much of a hardship, since it gave him an excuse to take his shiny new Corvette out for a spin) and who springs from good Irish stock, in case you were thinking maybe this blog post didn't have any connection to St. Patrick's Day.   :)
Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy
Speaking of shamrocks, another thing I learned at the ArtBLISS workshops last week is that 4 leaf clovers grow in bunches, so if you find one, keep looking around nearby, there will be more.  (Sharon, is that why Bobby finds so many??)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Making Metal Magic - Part 2

Oh yes, there are more stories to be told of our adventures in the State of Virginia.

Like how a bunch of us went out to dinner on Thursday night at O'Malley's Pub, about half a block down the street in the Holiday Inn.  Here we are, happier now that we were fed but tired from our mind-blowing day of making our Handbook of Elements:
From left to right, Anne, Karen, me, Annie, Heather and Betty.  Anne and Betty were already art buddies of Heather's because this class, they all met at Art & Soul Hampton last year and have been taking part in an apron round robin with several other crafters for the past year (I'm hoping to invite myself along to the big reveal at this year's Art & Soul at the end of April).  Annie is a real cutie, she came up with the name for our new Yahoo group, "What the Flux".  And Karen? She signed up for all three classes/four days of this workshop and it was the first time she had ever stayed in a hotel room by herself in her entire life.  Can you imagine? How brave is that??

At the end of the first workshop on Friday, these four happy ladies were having their picture taken with Stephanie:
(clockwise from top left:  Karen, Leslie, Lois, Annie and Stephanie) and then a bunch more of us jumped in for a group shot:
Back row:  Jeanette, Maureen, Karen, Leslie, Lois, Anne, Cindy
Front row:  me, Stephanie, Lynne, Annie

Regrettably, we didn't think to take a picture of the entire group earlier in the day when everyone was still around.  Next time!

The second workshop took place on Saturday and was called "Junk Drawer Metalsmithing".  For some reason, I hardly took any pictures that day.  Probably because I was too busy making cool stuff.  We made bits and pieces to create three components - a pendant, a bracelet and a necklace.  The idea is that you can combine all 3 items to make one long necklace or mix and match them to have a shorter necklace while wearing the bracelet or whatever other combination you may choose.

As usual, I didn't finish the project so photos of the finished creation will have to wait but I did get a lot done.  Here's the pendant I made, which I call "Song of the Butterfly":
Many thanks to Chrissie Hines, who very kindly gave me the butterfly wing.  Apparently she has a butterfly happy place in her garden where they go to die and she collects the beautiful wings for her artwork.  (I need to find me one of those spots). I tucked a little bit of music paper, generously donated by Anne Savage, behind the wing before covering them both with a piece of mica, after first using the same soldering techniques we had learned in the first workshop to make the bezel.

Some people used their bezelled piece to decorate their bracelet, like this lady whose name I didn't get (unfortunately, there were at least 3 out of 19 classmates whose names I didn't get - if it's yours, please leave a comment to let us know!).  I believe those watch gears were generously donated by Lori Anderson (who gave me a whole bunch of them too), who wrote a great blog entry entitled A Day With Friends and Fire (no ugly pants allowed) about our class - it's hilarious, you're gonna want to read it.
Here is Anne Savage's necklace.  I love, love, love the look of the teal in this piece (notice how she made something similar to what I did with my book bezel the day before - yes, I am flattered that she imitated me and totally jealous of how fabulous her version looks!).  You can also see some of the chain rings she made and how she added little bits of teal fabric to the ends of her fabric necklace rope, clever girl that she is.
You're also going to want to check out Cat Kerr's blog to read about how her sister Ingrid gifted her with this workshop, it's a wonderful story and I really like Cat's blog style.

Last but not least for tonight, here's my favourite picture of our fearless leader, Ms. Stephanie Lee.  I'm not entirely sure why I like it so much, I just like the way her fingers are positioned and the way it kinda looks like she is blessing Michelle's little book by blowing air on it.  In reality, she might just have been trying to dry the epoxy glue she had just used to attach the ribbon and bead trim to the binding but somehow the picture looks like she's adding just a little pinch of magic to the whole process, don'tcha think?  Because that's just the kind of girl she is.  We love you, Stephanie!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Making Metal Magic - Part 1

It's hard to know where to start to describe the various fabulous adventures we had last week at the ArtBLISS Metal Magic workshops. 

I flew into D.C. last Wednesday around noon and my dear friend Heather met me at the airport and took me to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch, where we did not actually have cheesecake with our meal but only because we meant to go back another day to do so when we weren't so full and as often happens, we ran out of time!  Then we went to the mall, where Heather did a little shopping (because it's always a good time to buy a new pair of shoes), checked into our hotel, unpacked, had a little show and tell with some of the goodies we had brought and then headed out for a visit to Target and dinner at Burger King.  All of which time was spent in delightful anticipation of starting class the next day with none other than Stephanie Lee!
Heather at Target
Thursday and Friday were spent making little books with metal covers and plaster pages, what Stephanie calls a "Handbook of Elements".  The morning of the first day, we made the plaster pages for our books. 

Anne, Lois and Karen making book pages
After a delicious lunch provided by the Potbelly Sandwich Shop (yes, the sandwiches were yummy but it was their chocolate chip cookies that I wanted to write home about!):
Stephanie gave us a soldering demo:

and then we each got to work making our metal book covers.  Here's what the outside front and inside back of my finished covers looked like:
(Stephanie very kindly told me that the extra blob of solder on the inside of the back cover "gives it character".  I'm pretty sure she was just being kind, 'cause she's like that.) 

After that, we started decorating the front covers.  Some people, including myself, added bezels and filled them with all manner of things.  Others soldered miscellaneous bits and pieces directly onto their covers.  At the end of day 2, which we had spent binding our books together and finishing our covers, Stephanie showed us how to pour resin into our bezels to keep everything stuck inside for all eternity.  Here's what my filled bezel looked like:

I have not yet finished my book so photos of my final creation will have to wait (hopefully I will get it done this weekend) but here are some of the amazing books created by some of my fellow oh-so-incredibly talented students:
Book by Bette Brody

Book by Anne Savage

Made by Michelle

Lois' dear little book
and my personal favourite, the cowboy book:
Created by Leslie Brier
And finally, here's a picture of Stephanie with her two newest best friends: