Sunday, January 31, 2010

Night at the Museum

I went to the Royal Ontario Museum this past Friday night. Since I became a member back in November, I try to go at least once a month. I decided to go on Friday night since (a) I was running out of days in January, (b) they are open late on Friday nights, and (c) it's usually quieter then. I almost talked myself out of going, as I was feeling a little weary by the time the end of the work day rolled around on Friday but I went anyway. The good news was, I seemed to get a second wind by the time I got there, having left my car at the subway station and taken the train downtown. I had just enough energy to last me through my 3 hour visit, which included a quick dinner in their lovely cafeteria. Any longer and I'd get "museum fatigue" regardless of how well rested I was!

I got there in time for the 6 p.m. tour. They have volunteer guides, or docents, give tours several times a day. It's not always the same person and they usually cover different items, although this time around, they did talk about one or two things that I'd heard about when I took the tour with someone else back in December, but that's okay, it was good to hear it from a different perspective and while they might have been talking about the same item, the information provided was different and just as interesting.

My visits in November and December had been for specific events - an all day seminar about embellishments, Canadian style in November: ( and the Vanity Fair portrait exhibit in December: ( This time around, I wandered about the various floors of the museum and just looked at whatever caught my eye. I wasn't really in the mood for ancient culture or history so besides the gem exhibit, I ended up with the dinosaurs and the animals.

I spent a lot of time in the Biodiversity section. Did you know the ROM has over 4 million species in their collection? The way they have the animals displayed in this section is really interesting. I didn't know they had samples in drawers under the window displays until I saw this young boy pull one out. It was sad to see these pretty little birds dead and stuffed but at the same time, it was cool to be able to look at them up close, they were so beautiful. I had to chuckle when he pulled out the next drawer, as he gasped and jumped back when he realized it contained several samples of (fortunately dead) bats of various sizes.

I especially liked this room filled with different types of birds and the way they have them "flying" all together, which you would never see in real life. It's fascinating to be able to see them up close, to admire their beauty and compare sizes and feathers and colouring. And check out this albatross, it's huge!!!

To end my night at the museum, I took the above photos outside the building - both the ornate door and the beautiful stained glass are located at what used to be the front entrance. That's about all I could do outside though, my camera battery was pretty much dead by then and it was wayyyy too cold to linger.

All in all, it was another fascinating visit and I'm looking forward to my next visit.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tucson Gem Shows

For two weeks at the beginning of February each year, Tucson, Arizona "becomes a bustling, international marketplace of buyers and sellers at the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase...There's something for everyone...from gold and diamonds to granite bookends and glass beads, and from fine specimens of dinosaur fossils to opals dug from the Australian Outback."

In honour of the start of the 2010 show, which begins today and will be attended by many of my beading friends, I thought I would share some photos of various gems and minerals on display a little closer to home at the Royal Ontario Museum.

One of the larger pieces you will find there is an "intriguing mixture" of clear crystalline and smoky quartz from Arkansas, as well as a sheet of native copper from Michigan.

There is a beautiful piece of artwork called "Dream Cloud" which is carved from a boulder opal, together with a boulder which has been broken open to show the opal inside.

The star of the ROM's Gems and Minerals exhibit is this 896 carat piece of cerussite, which is the largest cut gem of this mineral in the world. It's known as one of the ROM's iconic objects and "its dispersion (or fire) is more intense than a diamond's. Dispersion is seen as the rainbow of colours visible as one moves around the stone."

So if you can't make it to Tuscon this year, you might want to visit the ROM and have a look at the various chunky and sparkly bits they've have there. They might not be for sale but they're awfully interesting to look at.

Friday, January 29, 2010


People are so creative and clever. Remember my posting about the photo of the TTC collector who appeared to have fallen asleep on the job? Someone sent me the picture below, it's a hilarious take on the situation!

In case you were still wondering, George, the TTC collector in both photos, may have been sleeping as a result of medication he was taking at the time. Nevertheless, he is back on the job and you can read the latest on this evolving story here:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Altered Trading Cards

In several of the magazines and blogs I've been reading lately, I keep seeing references to the letters ATC. Apparently, these letters stand for "altered trading cards", which are miniature works of art that people make and trade. They are about 3.5 by 2.5 inches in size, about the size of a playing card. People get together to trade the cards at regular gatherings or exchange them by mail.

At the Bizzy B store, they have a collection of these cards on display and they are the most amazing pieces of miniature art you can imagine. I took this photo of one that absolutely blew me away: it is a little purse or tote bag, with 4 or 5 little tiny maps inside that you can pull out and look at it. In the photo, you can see the one for Venice sitting in the pouch.
Unfortunately, I can't tell you the name of the person who made this because I don't know it but I was really impressed by their skill at putting this together. My understanding is that people make several cards of the same design to bring to the swap group but it's hard to imagine that this particular one is not one of a kind as it seems, at least to my inexperienced eye, to be totally unique!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Distress No More

I took a class called "Distress No More" last week at a local scrapbooking store called Bizzy B. The purpose of the class was to teach us how to use a type of ink called Distress Ink, which is made by Ranger and marketed under the Tim Holtz name that are designed to give your finished artwork an aged or "vintage" look.

Using stamps and ink pads to make art is a whole new world for me and I don't have much experience so far (which is why I have already signed up for the store's "Stamping 101" class in mid-February to learn the basics) but I was still able to enjoy myself in this class and keep up with the other students.

All 24 of the current Distress colours were available for us to try out. There are also 12 new colours about to be introduced on the market. The teacher Daniza also had at least 50 stamps for us to play with. The picture above shows the class table neatly set up at the beginning of class - it didn't look anywhere near that tidy two hours later, believe me!

Here are some pictures of the items I made. You can use them however you want - as bookmarks or gift tags, attach them to cards, use them in journals or as part of a collage - whatever you might fancy. I really had fun in this class and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Here's the website for the store: but I'd recommend checking them out in person, there is so much to see and enjoy when you're there, it's worth making a visit!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great Aunty Brenda

I got a postcard in my mailbox the other day addressed to Great Aunty Brenda. Anna, David, Jordan and Charlotte were visiting South Africa for 17 days over Christmas and sent her a card to say hello. Only problem? I'm not Brenda. Since they didn't put a last name, I don't know if it's just the wrong apartment or a totally wrong address. Perhaps Brenda is the woman who had this apartment before me - in which case, Anna, David, Jordan and Charlotte haven't really been keeping up with the family news since they don't appear to have realized Brenda moved about 14 month ago! Nevertheless, I shall put the postcard on the bulletion board beside the mailboxes and hope that Brenda finds it.

Lovely photo of "one of the elegant farmsteads near this fruit-farming centre in the lovely Drakensten Valley with its historic association with the French Huguenots who settled here some 300 years ago", isn't it? And how about that buffalo stamp? So cool.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Feeling Blah

I've been feeling a bit blah today. Probably because it was Monday and grey and raining this morning with a fog so thick, you could cut it with a knife. Luckily, it's still pretty mild and it was rain, not snow, so really, every grey cloud does have its silver lining, doesn't it?

Luckily, I have just the book for this kind of mood. It's called "The Blah", written by Jack Kent in 1970. (http://http//
I picked it up at an auction about ten days ago, along with several other children's books, some old magazines and road maps, a french language Vogue beauty book, a rather unusual volume called "Hair: Sex Society Symbolism" and a 2478 page dictionary that I can hardly lift (what did I expect, it is unabridged after all).

Said dictionary describes the blahs as "a feeling of physical uneasiness, general discomfort, or mild depression; malaise; after the long weekend, many workers had the Monday morning blahs." Exactly right.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Clean Dishes, Running Water

Here's another photo that I took yesterday when I was emptying my dishwasher and the sun was shining so beautifully on the clean, shiny dishes. As I started the dishwasher again this evening, I was thinking about how I went online earlier today to check my credit card balance and realized that my donation to the Red Cross last week to help the people of Haiti has been posted three times, which means $150 has been charged to my card instead of the $50 I had originally intended. It's going to throw my budget off this month a little bit and I suppose I could call them up and ask them to correct it but I just don't have the heart. I have a roof over my head and heat and electricity and when I turn on the tap, I can have my choice of clean hot or clean cold running water. It's raining outside and if I didn't look out the window, I'd never know it. I have the security of knowing that my car is sitting safely downstairs in the underground parking with a high probability it will be there tomorrow morning when I need it to drive to work. I'm 99% sure it won't be buried under a pile of rubble in the morning, nor will I. How can I possibly begrudge those earthquake victims a measly $100? It's a no-brainer, I can't.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sparkling in the Sun

The sun made an all too brief appearance for a few hours this morning. When I first walked into the kitchen to make some breakfast, the light was pouring in (one of the joys of having a southeast facing apartment), which caused me to delay unloading the dishwasher and grab my camera instead. I wanted to photograph the antique mason jars I got last week at the auction sale - five jars for five dollars, quite a bargain.

As you can see, two of the jars are turquoise blue, two are green and one is clear with sort of a sepia brown tint to the glass (although I realized when I was taking a picture of the lids, I have one more turquoise lid than I should have). I just loved the way they sparkled in the sun.

Even the clean dishes in the dishwasher had an extra gleam to them in this morning's light.

Thank goodness I took these pictures or I'd be wondering if I dreamt it, it's gone all cloudy this afternoon. Hurry back, Mr. Sun!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Rider Jason Weiler took this photo a couple of weeks ago of a Toronto Transit Control ticket collector and posted it on Twitter yesterday. A number of media outlets picked up the photo and it is front and centre on a couple of newspapers this morning and apparently it has gone viral over the web since then. Needless to say, the matter is now "under investigation" by the higher ups at the TTC, taking the position that "if employees are fatigued, they should be at home." Gee, do you think? Good thing this guy wasn't driving a bus at the time, eh???

On the other side of the issue, the transit union expressed concern that Jason and other riders did not make any attempt to determine whether the employee in question was actually sleeping or perhaps unconscious as the result of a medical problem, that they should have been knocking on the window to see if they could wake him up (instead of laughing at him, taking his picture and/or entering the subway system without paying a fare).

Personally, I think the piece of cardboard across the collection slot is kind of clear indication that this guy was not really planning to be open for business, don't you?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vision Boarding

Last Thursday night, I took a class at a craft store in Toronto called "Wise Daughters" ( in which we learned how to make a vision board. The idea is that by creating this, we will activate the laws of attraction and put it out there into the universe that we'd like to achieve these things and begin the process of making the dream into a reality.

The class was taught by Ruth Tamari, who is a certified professional life coach. She started off with a visualization exercise and then walked us through the process of putting our vision onto paper, which involved some time searching through a huge pile of magazines looking for just the right photo. The class was very well structured and Ruth kept us on track, making sure we didn't spend too much time searching for pictures and words and not enough time actually making the finished piece.

My friend Annette took the class as well, here's a picture of her board (which she gave me permission to post). As you can see from the cow and the cowboy boot, she dreams of owning a country property one day. I love how she left half of her board empty, leaving lots of room for more dreams to be added.

Here is my board. I had several things in mind while I was collecting pictures and words from the magazines but once I started putting the images on the paper, several of them got left off and surprisingly for me, I ended up with a board that is very focused on the idea of finding a new love for myself this year. In fact, this dream takes up about 75% of the available space, with just one little corner (in the bottom right hand) devoted to travel. Hmm, interesting, don't you think?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

London Calling

My boss and her 13 year old daughter are off to London today for a week, armed with a travel journal that I made for them and a supply of pens, double-sided tape, a glue stick and a pair of scissors. I made this journal using the skills I learned in Mary Ann Moss's Remains of the Day class, which you can read about and/or sign up for here:

For the cover, I cut out fabric letters to spell "London 2010" and sewed them on in such a way that they sit together when the journal is folded shut. On the back side, I sewed on a picture of Queen Elizabeth I, because all 3 of us have been sharing Phillippa Gregory novels lately and reading all about the reign of the Tudors. I enclosed this picture in clear plastic since it will probably take a bit of abuse - when the journal is closed, this picture is on the bottom.

Inside, I made a bunch of pages with lots of blank space for journalling and added all sorts of maps and pictures of London and the places that I know they are planning to visit, like The Tower of London, Greenwich, Hampton Palace, Windsor Castle, the London zoo, Stonehenge. They're also hoping to see the play "Wicked" while they are there (I'm so jealous, I've wanted to see this play for ages and so far I have missed seeing it in Toronto, London and NYC over the past few years! Although I just heard the other day that the play is based on a book, so I'll have to check that out - it sounds like a great story about the evolution of evil), so I included a page for that too. Throughout the journal, there are also lots of pockets in which to save brochures, postcards, ticket stubs and whatever other memorabilia they might collect on their travels.

I had a lot of fun making this journal, both because I find it is enjoyable to make things especially for certain people and because it was so well received. I can't wait to see how it looks when they get back! It was also fun because it gave me a chance to reminisce about my last trip to London and reminded me how much I'd like to go back some day soon. Luckily, I had a bunch of stuff saved from my last trip to London two years ago, so I had lots of material available to use.

I gave the journal to my boss yesterday and she really liked it. She told me today that when she took it home to show her kids, they thought it was fabulous and were really excited about it. Her 11 year old son said he thought it was the best present I could have possibly given her. High praise indeed!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why So Grey?

I've been checking out a blog lately called "A New York Magpie's Eye". I really enjoy the photos she posts of New York City, one of my favourite cities. (My friend Heather calls me a magpie because I'm always picking up bright, shiny found objects when we go for a walk together, so the title of this blog caught my eye and now I keep going back to see what new pictures she posts.)

I found this picture on a blog post that she put up last June, which pretty much sums up the way I'm feeling about the weather today: Don't get me wrong, I am loving the mild temperatures of this January thaw that we've had the past few days but does it have to be so grey???

Here's how it looked at lunch time today in the parking lot of my office - blahhhhhh:

Dear Mr. Sun, please come back. We miss you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Help for Haiti

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you what is going on in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti last week but I for one am amazed and gratified by all the relief efforts going on since then and the multitude of ways we can help just a little bit. Whether it's donating your spare change at McDonald's or handing in gently used shoes at Softmoc or taking part in a telethon, if you can spare some cash for this worthy cause, please call or go online to do so. The Canadian government is matching the funds donated up to $50 million, so right now, your donation does twice as much. If you do donate online, please be patient - last week they were pretty overwhelmed with the volume of transactions and were busy increasing the capacity of their computer servers to handle the load, so if it doesn't go through the first time, give it a few hours and try again (I found late afternoon worked better than mid-morning).

All the major charities are getting involved, so pick your favourite and get in touch - you can find the full list of registered organizations here:

Or link to one of the two below if you prefer:

If you're not able to send cash, I'm sure the people of Haiti would also appreciate our prayers and best wishes for their safety and wellbeing.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


What a day! I have spent literally all day being totally focused on making a travel journal for my boss and her 13 year old daughter, who are leaving for London on Wednesday. I'm using the format taught by Mary Ann Moss in her Remains of the Day class and I've been at it since first thing this morning. Somehow, I ended up doing most of it today, although I had started putting the pieces together a while ago. It even involved an early evening trip to Walmart for supplies - I needed embroidery floss and/or heavy duty thread to bind the pages into the journal. Now that it is done, I am totally wiped!

Unfortunately, I can't show any photos just yet as I have to wait until after I have given it to them. But I am quite pleased with the result and I hope they will be too.

I am excited for them both to be taking this first trip to London, it is one of my favourite cities and I was there in January just two short years ago to visit my friend Bryan, who was doing a house swap with someone who wanted to visit his native Australia.

It was the first time I ever saw a Chihuly. I had no idea someone like the artist Dale Chihuly was out in the world making this sort of fabulousness out of glass. This sculpture hangs in the lobby of the Victoria and Albert museum, which is an amazing place and one I can't wait to get back to.

Here's a picture of Mark (who also answers to the name of Bob, who is Bryan's cousin by marriage), myself and Bryan, at that place with the big stones, also known as Stonehenge. Note the oh so fashionable earmuffs I am wearing - it was a cold one that day!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Winter Photo

I stopped the car to take this photo today. I was entranced by the simple winter loveliness of the scene - the snow, the dry corn stalks, the old barn, the bare tree branches, the pale afternoon sunlight filtering through grey skies.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Blogging Without Obligation

I have a couple of friends who have started their own blogs lately and I've also been reading a lot of new and varied blogs in recent weeks, having signed up for a couple of online courses where most of my fellow students also have blogs and/or personal websites. The new bloggers have asked me how I think up topics to blog about every day. By comparison, a lot of the blogs I've been reading haven't been updated in quite a while, or have current entries that start with, "Sorry I haven't blogged for a while..."

Blogging every day (or almost every day) is a deliberate choice for me. It's a bit of a discipline, kind of like deciding you're going to make your bed every day. Not everyone does and it's not wrong if you don't (really, it isn't, although probably if you are under 10 years old and reading this and your mom tells you to make the bed every day, don't quote me to her!) I do think you should blog at least every now and again, just to keep it slightly fresh. I have a whole list of favourites saved on my computer and even if I know someone doesn't blog daily, I still check back every once in a while to see if there is anything new and always find it sad to see there has been no update for several weeks and even months. As much as I might miss hearing about what they're up to (yes, Stephanie, I do mean you!), I do understand that it's their choice.

As for topics, it's often just a chronicle of what is going on in my daily life. At some point during the day, I usually get an idea that I can use to blog about, whether it's in response to a topic someone else has brought up or something that happened to me or a place I visited that day. Keeping this blog has certainly helped me to realize I am surrounded by interesting people and things most of the time, for which I am truly grateful, as I am rarely at a loss for something to talk about. I'm more likely to be "not in the mood" (a.k.a. too tired/lazy/busy) to write than to be without a topic. Plus I jot down ideas when I have them, which I might not write about that day but will save for the future as needed.

Today, I was doing a little blog surfing - which is what happens when you start reading someone's blog, and they have a link to something else, and there's another link on that something else that takes you to another place and suddenly, you're 7 or 37 webpages away from where you started and can't remember where you began in the first place!

So that's what happened today (I was on the phone with my friend Heather at the same time, we were surfing the Internet together, showing each other pretty pictures of other people's art) and someone had this symbol on their blog:

When I clicked on it, it took me to this fabulous blog post about taking the guilt out of blogging. How keeping a blog shouldn't feel like an obligation. I could just copy her words here, because the author very kindly gives the reader permission to do so, as well as use the logo above and a couple of others she has developed, but instead I shall copy the link here and you can read it yourself if you so choose: because to me it's only fair you should get it from the original source.

For my new blogging friends, my advise to you would be to just dive in and start writing. Take a picture of something nearby and write a paragraph about it. Or just post the photo. Flip open a dictionary, poke your finger down and find a word, Google it and write about what you find. It doesn't matter how long or how mundane, just write. We, your loyal readers, are looking forward to hearing from you but as always, in your own good time. B.W.O.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Delightful Read

If you are looking for a light and enjoyable book to read, may I suggest the novel called "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"?

My mom had this book lying on her coffee table at Christmas. I picked it up the first night I was home and couldn't put it down.

It takes place in 1946, just after the end of World War II and it's the story of the residents of the island of Guernsey, which was occupied by the Germans during the war. Apparently, the Germans landed there early on and thought they would soon be occupying the mainland of England but of course, that never happened.

The main character of the story, Juliet, in a writer living in London and hadn't heard that Guernsey had been occupied and after receiving a letter from one of its residents, begins corresponding with various members of the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The story is told by way of these letters and it is a delightful read. It is at times quite amusing, informative, very touching, tragic and sad, and always entertaining.

The book was written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This was Mary Ann's first book and sadly, she passed away before finishing it. Her niece, Annie, who was a writer herself, completed the final rewrites of the book.

Guernsey is situated in the English Channel, between England and France, off the coast of Normandy. According to Wikipedia, it's not actually part of the United Kingdom, although it is the responsibility of the U.K. to defend. It is known as a "British Crown Dependancy".

It's a fictional story based on true events and a fascinating peek into a time long ago that many of us are too young to have lived through. Reading this book almost makes you wish you had.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bag of Beads Challenge 2010

It's that time of year again, when those members of the Toronto Bead Society who choose to participate pick up their Bag of Beads and start designing...something.

This year is my 3rd year taking part in the BOB Challenge and I have to say, the colours are the best I've seen so far. Turquoise, copper and purple - quite lovely! The collection of beads is quite diverse and always contains a couple of "challenge" item - something that doesn't have a hole and is not a bead. This year, there are two of them - a piece of textured paper and a copper pipe end, to be exact!! Now I know you can make beads out of paper but that seems a little too obvious to me, so I'm going to have to put my thinking cap on.

The only rule is that we have to use at least one of everything. The good news is, we can also add anything we want, so that helps a lot!

Here's a couple of photos to whet your appetite:

First, the paper - one 8.5 x 11 inch sheet with a beautiful texture and a soft brown colour. Sadly, I know next to nothing about specialty papers so can't tell you anything more about it. Is it Japanese? Quite possibly. On our supply list, it just says "paper", which really doesn't do it justice!

Here's a picture of all the beads we got, 14 different ones in total:

and a close up of the copper pipe end (which has the initials "EPC" stamped on it) and the single 18mm firepolished amethyst bead.

Luckily, I already have a few ideas in mind of what I can do with these beads and how I can combine them with a couple of other projects I have on the go but for now, mum's the word as the big reveal doesn't take place until the March meeting of the Bead Society. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stop On Red

I went home for lunch today. While I was eating, I heard sirens pass by on the street below but didn't give it much thought, as there is a fire station nearby and I live on a main street, so they drive by frequently. But as I was heading back to work, I found they had blocked off the street just west of my building and traffic was being diverted away from the next intersection. As I turned my car around and drove back towards the office along a different route, I heard on the news that a woman had been struck and killed by a car while crossing the street at that intersection and the baby she had been pushing in a stroller had been thrown but was not hurt. It was reported that the 83 year old driver ran a red light and charges are now pending.

It is both sad and ironic to hear that "Stop on Red Week" began today. According to Citytv's online news, "it means that all this week cops will be on the lookout for drivers proceeding through intersections when they shouldn't be.

How serious are the consequences? Consider this: police stats show 29 percent of crashes involve red light running, and a full 22 percent of all traffic fatalities showing up a few years ago were from those proceeding through a stop light. More than a thousand charges have already been laid so far this year.

"Red light running is often the result of aggressive driving, and therefore is completely preventable," insists Chief Supt. Bill Grodzinski of the O.P.P. Highway Safety Division.

"The time saved by running a red light - an average of 47 seconds - is not worth the potential human suffering and financial costs.""

Unfortunately, this program will not provide any consolation to the family of the woman who was killed today. But she is on my mind tonight. It feels strange to have been that close to this accident, to have driven through that intersection only 10 or 15 minutes before it happened, to have been calmly eating my lunch while the paramedics tried to save her life, to have been mildly annoyed at having to turn around and find another way back to the office.

It just goes to show, once again, that life is unpredictable. Things happen in an instant that can't be reversed but which can be avoided if you're being careful and paying attention. My friend Kate told me I had just run a red light when we were driving in Toulouse in 2008. I didn't see the light and I hope she was wrong, but these things happen sometimes when you're distracted (as I was then, we were trying to find the train station in a strange city with foreign language street signs) or if you're driving too fast to stop in time.

Please drive carefully and as they say, watch out for the other guy. As they also say, the life you save could be your own.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom is reading my blog on a semi-regular basis now, so I thought I'd give her a shout out today on her birthday. Here's a glamourous picture of her from around 1960:

This photo of Mom and our dog Duffy was taken at our cottage and is one of my favourites:

This one is from last year, when she was thinking of taking up race car driving. :)
Happy Birthday, Mom, I love you! xo

Sunday, January 10, 2010

TBS January

The January meeting of the Toronto Bead Society is being held tomorrow night. Don't freak out, I know it's a Monday and we usually meet on the 2nd Wednesday of the month but apparently there were some scheduling conflicts, so tomorrow it is.

The guest speaker is Katherine Dunnell, who will be discussing the Gallery of Gems and Gold at the Royal Ontario Museum.

According to the Jan/Feb issue of the TBS newsletter, "nearly 600 beautiful and rare gems, gem crystals, jewellery and gold specimens are on display" in this newly opened area of the Museum. I have a feeling I'll need to be planning my next trip to the museum to see these items after tonight's talk! I took this photo of a giant hunk of amethyst last time I was there, isn't it beautiful?