Tuesday, November 30, 2010

49 and Counting

Photo credit:  zazzle.com
I had been feeling rather reflective as this birthday approached.  The main thing that keeps twirling about in my brain is the idea that I will be turning 50 in just 363 days.  I decided to make some resolutions around this day, rather than wait until January 1st. Only "resolution" sounds too formal and intimidating, so instead I'm blowing out my birthday candles and making these birthday wishes:

1) I wish to be fit at 50.  I have no plans to run a marathon - I'm a walker, not a runner - but I do have a couple of friends that keep telling me I should do the 60 km Walk for Cancer with them (hi Colleen!). Not sure my back would ever be ready for that, but that doesn't mean I can't get off my butt and start moving more than I do now.  That also means eating healthier, which combined with exercising more hopefully leads to losing weight - ideally, 50 lbs. but we'll see how that goes.  They say losing a pound a week is a healthy amount, so that seems like it might be a worthy goal to set. Although it might have to wait until the birthday celebrations are actually over...being taken out for celebratory lunches and dinners plays havoc with the calorie counting!

2) I wish to go somewhere special to celebrate my 50th birthday.  At the moment, I'm thinking I might like to spend it in Paris, although a trip back to Australia also seems like a good way to treat myself.  I will set money aside each pay cheque for this special trip, whatever it might be.  The actual location can be determined later.

3)  I wish to eliminate most, if not all, of my credit card debt by the time I turn 50.  That means putting together a budget and sticking to it.  Unfortunately, within mere hours of writing that sentence when drafting this post earlier today, I got an email that might throw a wrench into this particular plan but we'll see how it goes.  It may delay my plans but it won't derail them.  All I can do is make the effort and see what happens.  It may take more time than I would like but the important thing is to make a start.

4)  I wish to be free of clutter in my apartment by this date next year.  There are still one or two unopened boxes hanging around in my closet from when I moved 2 years ago, lots of stuff I'm not using and probably never will use hanging about in various cupboards and corners, files in my filing cabinet that could do with a good cleaning out, etc. A lot of this I hope to do over the winter, while I hibernate indoors.

5)  I wish to be in love with someone who is in love with me when I turn 50.  This seems like it will be the hardest goal to reach.  Having been single all my life, I can only imagine what it would be like to be part of a couple, let alone to have an actual committed relationship with a man - even the concept of dating one on a regular basis seems like a major stretch.  Nevertheless, I'd certainly like the chance to experience it!  I think it's time, don't you??

I am hoping that by putting these wishes out into the blogosphere and the universe in general, it will help to make me accountable for taking the necessary steps to achieve these goals as well as help to create the positive energy necessary to help make these wishes become my reality.  So here goes, 5 wishes, 52 weeks and counting...wish me luck!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Out Late for a Monday

Just got home after dinner downtown with my mom and my sister to celebrate my birthday and my sister's, whose was earlier in the month.  Now it's late on a Monday night and I'm already feeling behind schedule for tomorrow - I forgot that my cleaning lady is coming and I really need to tidy up before she comes, I've got art supplies all over the dining room table and other things strewn about and yet it seems late and I'm tired and all I really want to do is get into bed, close my eyes and go to sleep!

Photo credit:  desicolours.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Whose Birthday Is It?

In case you were wondering who is celebrating a birthday today, let me point out the birthday girl:
These photos are from my 5th birthday party.  That's Virginia, one of my childhood friends, on the left, and me on the right.  I believe there are several photos through the years of us kids pointing to ourselves at birthday parties to designate the birthday person.  I don't remember how the tradition started but I'm guessing it's because, as you can see from the photo below, my brother Craig is trying to fool everyone into thinking it's his birthday.  What a scammer!
But aren't we cute in our little party hats?  From the top, left to right, Ruth, Jill, Anne, Virginia, Heather, Janice (all my little friends from kindergarten), me and Craig.

I'm noticing my hair style hasn't changed too much over the years, although hair colour is different and my bangs are straighter, now that my mom isn't the one cutting them. :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010


ACK!! Just looked out the window and realized we're having a mini blizzard outside all of a sudden!

It's my own fault and I do apologize.  Just yesterday, I was discussing with my boss the fact that we haven't had any snow on the ground here in Toronto for the entire month of November, highly unusual.  Clearly, I jinxed it.  What was I thinking? The month still had four days to go and I had to open my big mouth.

Every year, we have snow at some point in November, which allows me to say, "don't worry, it never stays on the ground before the end of November."  I know this because my birthday is the end of November,  and I've been keeping track all these years (it's a very scientific process).  Any snow that falls in November here in the city always melts long before the month of December arrives.  Of course, in December, it's a different story altogether but we're not talking about that, we're talking about SNOW!  Outside, on the ground.  RIGHT NOW!! And here's me, without my new pair of winter boots, which I was literally planning to go buy TOMORROW!! Geez. 

Okay, good news, it was just a squall.  Five minutes later, here's the same view again:

I hadn't heard the forecast yet this morning, now that I have, I will stop panicking.  That little dusting of icing sugar you can see in the picture above will be gone in no time.  Flurries off and on today but a high of 4 tomorrow and 7 on Monday, so, like I always say, it never lasts before the end of November!

Update:  two hours later, it's like it never happened:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

It's the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. and apparently it's a big day for shopping for our neighbours to the South, as well as the many Canadians who drove over the border to enjoy the sales.  Maybe it's because lots of people have a 4 day weekend and nothing else to do with themselves, maybe because they woke up this morning and suddenly realized it's only a month until Christmas. 

We've been hearing lots of stories in the news today about stores opening at 4 a.m. and people who went hours earlier to line up and wait for the doors to open.  One story involved someone who arrived at 10 p.m. but then fell asleep in the parking lot, only to wake up a few hours later and realize the line, which had been non-existent when they first got there, now stretched around the block. 

I must admit, I don't get it.  Sounds insane on several different levels to me.  The name itself sounds pretty ominous, makes me think of  "Black Tuesday", the day the stock market crashed in 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression.  Not exactly a pleasant association.  According to Wikipedia, the name originated in Philadelphia and was used to describe the "heavy and disruptive" vehicular traffic that would occur on this day.  But in this case, the phrase is supposed to have a more positive meaning, to suggest that it is the day retailers start to operate "in the black", i.e. showing a profit.

Wikipedia also goes on to say that injuries and even fatalities have been reported on this day. "On Friday, November 28, 2008, a worker at a Walmart in Valley Stream, New York was trampled to death by shoppers who broke through the store's glass doors minutes before the store's scheduled opening at 5:00 a.m.; a pregnant mother was hospitalized from injuries in the same human "stampede", though early reports of a resultant miscarriage were determined to be in error; and on that same day, two people in Palm Desert, California, were shot and killed in a Toys "R" Us store during an argument."  Seriously crazy stuff, in my humble opinion.

It reminds me of Boxing Day sales, which I also don't understand and don't participate in.  But whatever floats your boat.  If shopping amidst huge crowds is your thing, this just might be your day to get that great bargain.  Me, I'd rather stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet. 

Which is probably a good thing, since my horoscope for November actually says I need to avoid these days, and advises me to "Resist those sales. You don't need them. You will not be satisfied with anything you buy on those days, and neither will your recipient later. Do not travel on these days either, but especially not on Saturday, November 27, when (Uranus and Mercury) will be out of control."   (Astrology Zone)  Yikes!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day in America

My friend Stephanie, a.k.a. The Dixon Chick, posted this photo on her blog today and I think it's hilarious!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends and all my Canadian friends living in the U.S. of A.!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Journalfest Trades

I had read on the Journalfest Yahoo page that people often bring items to trade at these events.  Apparently it started at Artfest (which is a similar event organized by Teesha and Tracy and held at Fort Worden in the spring, only it's a lot more people).  Bringing trades is not a requirement, it's just something fun to do.  So the week or two before heading down to Port Townsend, I put together 90 little packages with a bunch of collage items.  I included a bunch of paper items for collaging, cut in various shapes.

Here's a picture of the page in my journal showing all of my trade items:

For Canadian content, I cut tag shapes out of security envelopes with Canada Post stamps on them and included a stamped piece of cardstock with a maple leaf (to which I added my contact info and blog address on the reverse). I also cut up a piece of Hallowe'en fabric I had bought in France, added a playing card and an antique milk coupon (I love to imagine how people used to put these coupons out on their stoop in an empty milk bottle to place their order with the milkman!), punched tag shapes out of orange construction paper and stamped them with Hallowe'en designs, copied some of the fabulous old black and white photos I had picked up at the vide greniers in France and cut up a little book of French train schedules and stamped those pieces with a fleur-de-lis.  As a final little treat, I added confetti shaped as skulls and ravens and a few sequins for good measure.

As it turns out, not everyone had things to trade.  I took 90 packages and came home with 22, having traded some and otherwise just given mine away to anyone who wanted one.  I did receive several really cool items in exchange, including other collage packages similar to mine as well as several unique items, such as this magnet that a woman named Sue made as a ghoulish self-portrait for Halloween:

and a little package of Hallowe'en paper, candy and stickers:

and some lovely artist trading cards, like this one with an Alice in Wonderland theme made by a woman named Kate:

I have put many of the trades I received in various parts of my journal.  One of my favourites is a cardboard flag that one woman made that has colourful ribbons and strings hanging from it.  I've positioned it so they dangle out of the bottom of my journal and I really like the bit of colour and pizzazz it adds to the book.

I love having the various bits and pieces I received as trades placed here and there in my journal to remind me of the talent and generosity of the people who gave them to me - thanks, everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Flash Mob

You know how it is sometimes when you hear a word you haven't heard before and next thing you know, you hear it everywhere you go? That seems to be the case this week with "flash mob".  Until I saw last week's episode of "Modern Family", I didn't know what a flash mob was, had never heard the expression before. 

What is a flash mob, you ask? According to Wikipedia, it's a "large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, and then disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails. The term is generally not applied to events organized by public relations firms, protests, and publicity stunts."

Here's the scene from Modern Family, as filmed by someone was present for the actual filming (I can't link you to any of the actual ABC footage as apparently we're not allowed to see that stuff over the border here in Canada - geez): 

According to the story line on Modern Family, the character Mitch went online to find out the choreography, then practised it at work before showing up at the mall to take part in the actual dance.  He does it as a demonstration of his love for his life partner, Cameron, who isn't impressed (and is embarrassed not to know the moves), claiming Mitch "cheated on him with choreography", because he danced without him.  Not sure I understand that logic but it's a hilarious episode, nonetheless!

Alternatively, you may enjoy this video of a flash mob singing the Hallelujah Chorus at a food court:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go find out about upcoming flash mobs taking place here in To!!  ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

My First Zentangle

Do you know what a Zentangle is? It's a form of doodling in black and white using repetitive patterns.  I've been wanting to do one for a while now.  I read about them in a magazine a few months ago (I think it was Cloth, Paper, Scissors), checked out their website (Zentangle), even signed up for their newsletters but I hadn't really tried too seriously to do one before now. I've started doodling once or twice but kind of got stalled after a bit, didn't know how to really start or what patterns to fill in, just hadn't really focused any time on learning the how-tos. 

But the other day, I wanted to do a spread to finish off my Journalfest journal. I'd noticed after getting very messy in Juliana Coles' "Soulfood" class that it took a while to get the blue paint out from under my fingernails. I washed my hands several times but had to go to lunch with the paint still under my nails. I was a little uncomfortable with the reality of it at first but at the same time, I noticed that it made me feel kind of good.  I realized that it actually made me feel more like a REAL artist!

I decided to use that idea to make a journal page.  I decided that I would trace my hand and somehow use that as part of my design for the page.  With that thought percolating in my head, I was checking out some videos on YouTube this past weekend and came across one where a guy showed how to do a Zentangle inside the outline of his hand. I loved that idea so off I went to try it.  I had to Google a few ideas to fill in all the spaces but I was quite pleased with the finished result:

It's a very relaxing art form (other than the "stress" of trying to figure out what to fill in each space). I used a page from my sketch book to do the Zentangle, then cut out the shape of my hand when it was all done and pasted it across two painted pages in my journal.  Here's what the other side of the page looks like:

I shall leave you with this quote, which is attributed to the artist Jackson Pollock, whom I imagine was always covered in paint residue:  "It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nascar 2010

(Photo credit:  www.allleftturns.com, via the Internet)
This was my year to become a Nascar fan. I'd never watched any kind of racing before, didn't know what it was all about when the season started back in February.  Got involved when a couple of friends at work who are big fans started getting excited about the new season.  I tuned in to the first race just to see what they were talking about and boom, I was hooked.  Don't know what it is about stock car racing, never really thought of myself as a redneck before but here I am, still enjoying it 10 months later, especially after watching the very exciting final race this afternoon, won by Jimmie Johnson, his 5th straight championship in a row.  Maybe it's because a lot of the drivers are cute and look totally hot in their fire suits, maybe it's because it's fun in a "watching the gladiators fight to the death" kind of way to watch the cars drive so fast around the track and risk life and limb with crashes and flips and, as happened in today's race, the occasional fire (luckily, no one was hurt).  Maybe because it's easy to have the race on the TV while I'm beading or doing something else at the same time.  :)  Whatever it is, I'll be looking forward to the start of next year's season in February.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Artful Blogging

Some of you may already be familiar with the various Somerset Studios magazines (Stampington).  I believe there are about 30 of them currently available on various newstands (and at Bizzy B, Michaels and Chapters/Indigo here in Toronto), catering to any number of artistic endeavours (sewing, quilting, making jewellery, art journaling, etc.)  I haven't read them all but I can tell you that every issue I've seen has been full of beautiful photographs, amazing artwork and interesting articles.

The current (Nov/Dec/Jan 2011) issue of Artful Blogging, a magazine that "showcases the most visually inspiring art blogs from across the Internet", features an article written by Carrie Todd, a woman I had the pleasure to meet at Journalfest.  It's a great article, she is very open and honest about her life and that makes me enjoy her artwork so much more, knowing some of the stories behind the pictures.  I'm so excited for her to have this opportunity, to be featured in a magazine like this must be a huge thrill and it's exciting for me as a reader, having met Carrie, learned a little bit about who she is and seen her amazing artwork in person.  If you'd like to see more of her talent, here's her blogsite:  My Studio 13.

I was also delighted to see that the article right before Carrie's in the magazine was written by D. Smith Kaich Jones, a woman whose blog I have been reading and loving for quite a while now.  Can't remember how I found her in the first place but I love her way of writing directly from her heart (she often brings me to tears, I am so touched by what she writes) and her photographic images are quite astounding.  You can find her blog here:  Emmatree.

So far, that's all I've read of this issue of the magazine, looking forward to reading the rest but as far as I'm concerned, I've certainly gotten my money's worth already!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Night, Two Months Later

It's two months today since my accident, which didn't occur to me until I was at my physiotherapy appointment tonight.

(photo credit: Chiropractic Dubai, via the Internet)

The good news is, things are going well.  My car, my laptop and my eyeglasses were replaced quickly and easily and fully covered by insurance.  My medical benefits from work have covered all of my physio appointments to date.  My bruises have pretty much healed, although you can still see faint marks where the worst ones were on my shins and the hematomas under the surface remain to remind me that these things take time to go away completely but at least it doesn't hurt any more if I have to kneel down for anything. 

I've been going for physio on a regular basis - three times a week initially, then twice, then once a week until today when I was told I could start coming once every 2 weeks unless I need to come in sooner than that.  To be honest, I'm looking forward to not going at all.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for the help that physiotherapy has provided, it just seems to be getting harder to take myself back there over and over again. My body always feels a little battered afterwards and the aches and pains come back for a day or two until things settle down again.  I know it's good for me, I know it's part of the healing process, a "necessary evil" if you will, but I still rebel against it.  I'm guessing that's part of the mental healing process, working through the anger and resentment of being a victim of a car accident, having to deal with the consequences of an unexpected injury.  I resent being there, resent having to lie face down on a massage table for 45 minutes t a time and be poked and prodded and attached to electrodes and rubbed non-too-gently with an ultrasound device.  I'm not keen on the electro therapy, the electrical surges pulsing on my neck can be annoying and even painful at times.  The ultrasound therapy isn't any fun either - I'm tired of having to wipe gooey gel off my neck and out of my hair.  I'm just glad it will all be over soon.

I know, I know, I shouldn't complain.  Lots of people have it a lot worse than me, I should be glad I got off as easily as I did and most of the time, I am.  I'm just feeling the cranky right now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Choosing a Desktop Background

My new laptop came with this picture loaded as the default desktop background photo:

It is a painting/drawing by someone named Laura Barnard.  I quite like it.

Went exploring around my control panel today to see what other choices were available and discovered there are several desktop pictures loaded on my machine, some provided by Windows, some by Hewlitt Packard.  There are a couple of other LB pictures available in that mix.  I also like this one, although I tend to feel there might be a reason to duck any minute, one of those pigeons might be about to drop something a little unpleasant on my head, don't you think?

There are several "Canadian" scenes, including this classic shot of Spirit Island in Maligne Lake, Alberta (been there, bought the postcard):

There are cutesy pictures, architectural photos, scenes from nature, stuff your kids might like and funky, psychedelic shots available too. This one makes me think of the Beatles, "Yellow Submarine"-style art work:

At the moment, I'm trying out this one called "Bird Island" by Amy Ruppel:

Although now that it's evening, this one is appealing to me:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Teesha and Me

I bought one of Teesha Moore's journals when I was at Journalfest.  I was really excited to get it and it's so cute.  I especially like the little boxes that dangle from the spine:

It's a book she made while teaching a class.  She said she just wasn't comfortable with the 8x8 inch square pages, she is used to working with larger pages, so she decided to sell it.  Luckily for me!

I was even more thrilled by the fact that she has already completed 3 pages within the book - here is one of them:

The daunting part for me is the fact that Teesha has challenged me to fill the rest of the pages by Journalfest next year - EEK!!!  It's so nice right now, I really don't want to mess it up or risk ruining it - I am so don't feel worthy to be adding anything to that book right now!  But I suppose I'm going to have to get over that feeling, eventually.  Might have to do several practice pages first.  :)

Here's the page spread from my Journalfest journal that I did on this subject:

If you'd like to learn how to make art like Teesha, she has several how-to videos on You Tube.  If you do a search of her name, you'll find several to choose from.  She makes it look easy, and it is definitely fun, but in the end, there is only one Teesha Moore and her art is quite unique!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Collaging With Wood

Tuesday night, time for another collage class.  I'm not even sure I'll go tonight, I'm finding it increasingly harder each week to get excited about this class.  My friend Marilyn had surgery yesterday (I am sending her best wishes and good thoughts, not as serious as my friend Heather's surgery last week but any surgery is a risky proposition, especially as we get older, and I do hope it all went well), so she won't be there to keep me company, which also makes the thought of going less appealing.  I like my fellow students and the teacher herself is a nice enough person but she still isn't "teaching" us anything.  Okay, that's not quite true.  Last week, she showed people how to use the jigsaw so they could cut shapes out of wood.  But otherwise, she gets all the supplies out for us each week and basically just says, "okay, here's a bunch of stuff to make (insert weekly project idea here), go to it".  Heck, anybody could do that.  It's what I do every time I sit down with my craft or bead supplies, I just ask myself, what do I want to make today?  Somehow, I thought this class would be different, and to be fair, perhaps it is my own preconceived notions and/or expectations compared to the reality that is causing my disappointment but still, it's hard to be motivated to go each week.  I'm actually glad the class is over in a couple of weeks!  How sad is that?

Here's the collage I made last week from a bunch of painted pieces of wood of various shapes and sizes:

Everyone in class said they quite liked it but I think they were just being kind and/or polite. It seems incredibly ordinary and boring to me.  It needs something, it doesn't seem like I'm finished with it yet.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Journalfest Journal

I started out with a Moleskin brand sketchbook, the 5 x 8.25 inch size with the periwinkle blue wrapper (heavy paper that you can paint on).

I told myself that I would only take one journal with me to Port Townsend.  After all, it was only going to be for 3 days, plus 2 travel days, and I would be making a separate book in one of my 3 classes.  Surely one journal would be enough?!  I had reason to doubt my decision a few times during those 5 days (especially at the start of day 2, when several people admitted at the start of class that they had brought 3 or 4 different journals with them, until the teacher helped them to pick just one to work in that day) but overall, I knew I had made the right decision.  I really like the size, the portability, the fact that I can work in any medium without worrying if the page will handle the choice of layers and/or the liquids I might choose to work with.

When I came home, the book was just starting to fill up. 

It was starting to get a little messy. I had worked with paint on several pages during class and some of that paint had smudged onto other pages.  For someone who normally works "too neat", I was kind of liking that "messiness"! 

Some of my pages from Diana Trout's "Journal Spilling" class were what I think of as my usual colours - bright, happy tones:

While others. like this one from Juliana Coles' "Soulfood" class, were much darker (which was a surprise for me), perhaps more as a result of the colour of paint I used rather than a mood that I was trying to portray, but maybe not:

Now, the journal itself is almost 6 inches wide after all the goodies have been added inside - thank goodness it comes with an elastic to hold it shut!

Stay tuned, more glimpses inside my journal to come in future posts!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Since I've been home from Journalfest, I've noticed something odd.  As much as I want to work on my journal - and I really do, I dream about making pages, I wake up with all sorts of ideas, I keep making piles of bits of paper and photos that I want to put in my book - for some reason, I seem to procrastinate about actually working on the book and it takes me a while to actually sit down and start working on it.

In the past two weekends, when I've had no other plans, nothing scheduled, nothing to keep me from working on my journal, here are some of the things I did to postpone starting:

1.  clean the bathroom
2.  write a blog post (like this one!)
3.  check emails
4.  watch TV
5.  read blogs online
6.  balance my chequebook
7.  phone somebody
8.  go grocery shopping
9.  make lunch/dinner
10.  eat lunch/dinner
11.  take a nap
12.  read a book
13.  change the bedding
14.  do laundry
15. unpack my suitcase

It's almost as if I feel I can't just sit down and have fun making whatever it is, whether it is putting together an art journal or making jewellery, until I've "earned the time".  As if I have to do some chores first to give myself permission to enjoy myself.  What's up with that??  I really need to get over that!

Nevertheless, I have persevered and my Journalfest book is just about done.  I only have 2 or 3 blank pages left at the very back right now. 

Irene has asked me to post some of my journal pages and I'll do more of that in upcoming blogs. For now, here's one spread that I'm excited about.  It's from the night of the Masquerade party.  Rob from Surrealized gave me one of their CD's. I made a copy of the holder and glued it into my book, then copied the CD artwork, cut it out and slipped it into the envelope on the journal page (you just see it peeking out in the photo). 

On the flip side of the paper CD, I glued this photo I found of a girl singing into a wooden spoon microphone (which one of us didn't do that as a kid? Keep your hand up if you still do it!!).

I was pretty excited to find this photo on the back of a flyer that arrived in the mail one day last week, it suits my journal page perfectly!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Calendar Girl

As some of you will recall, I made a little book with a beaded cover for this year's Bag of Bead Challenge held by the Toronto Bead Society.  Here's my blog post on the subject, written back on March 12th:  Bag of Beads Reveal

Here's a close-up picture of the cover:

Since then, I have been remiss in telling you the ultra exciting news that my little book was chosen to be featured in the TBS 2011 calendar!! My book is one of the six items featured on the page for the BOB Challenge:

Okay, it's not the same as being able to say, "Hello, I'm Miss January"  (that particular honour goes to Anne Marie Desaulniers, with her stunning bead embroidery piece that was my absolute favourite piece from all those who participated in the challenge.  You can see a photo of her creation here: Anne Marie's blog.)  Nevertheless, I am quite honoured to have been chosen, seeing as they only picked 28 pieces altogether to include in the calendar (one item for each of the 12 months, 6 on the BOB page and 10 more so fabulous they couldn't be left out) out of about 300 entries!  Plus I am thrilled to featured on the same page as the other talented artists whose Challenge pieces are shown:  Sue Dolynskyj, Andria Knowles-Muller, Jennifer Morris, Sonya Elliot and Christina Defrene. 

For the last few months, my little book has been on display at various TBS events, such as Bead Oasis, The Creativ Festival and the TBS Bead Fair last weekend. But the excitement continues! I found out this week that they would like to take my book to display it at the Tuscon Gem Shows in February - how exciting is that?? I have never been to the shows myself, at least not yet,and it's kind of weird to think my book would be going somewhere that I have never been myself. The February Gem Shows are akin to Mecca for all beaders and now that my book is going to be there, I am seriously tempted to go, especially since I could also combine it with taking part in a workshop with Kate McKinnon and Andrew Thornton at the same time - you can read more about that here: The Kate and Andrew Experience).  I'll have to give that idea some thought.

In the meantime, the 2011 TBS calendars are available for $10 each, or 3 for $25 (details here: TBS calendar info).  All of the profits made from the sale of these calendars will be donated to The Native Women's Resource Centre, "an Aboriginal culture-based organization dedicated to delivering programs and services that empower and enrich the lives of Aboriginal women and children" in downtown Toronto.  You can learn more about them here:  Native Women's Resource Centre.  If you'd like to support this worthy cause by buying some calendars (Christmas is coming, after all), contact Sue, the TBS calendar coordinator or me but don't wait, there are only a limited number available and they are selling fast!

Friday, November 12, 2010

What To Do Tonight?

I'm trying to think of something to put in this blog tonight, but I'm having a bit of a struggle.  I might have left it too late in the day, it feels like my brain is about ready to shut down for the night. It's only 9:30ish but it seems as though it has been a long day at the end of a long week. 

I worked tonight until 6 and then went to have a massage and a treatment at my physiotherapist's office.  The treatments always make me feel somewhat stressed, probably from trying to anticipate the pain that might occur while I am poked, prodded and jolted with electrodes.  My body always aches more afterwards, at least in the short term, making me wonder how it could possibly be working to improve my condition (but somehow it is). 

Got home at 8 p.m., made a quick dinner and watched this week's episode of "The Closer" (Kyra Sedgwick is pretty amazing, her character Brenda Johnson is currently carrying her dead cat's ashes around in her purse, much to the dismay of her co-workers). 

Now I'm wondering if I'll stay up or go to bed early, do I feel better after my treatment or do I not, should I wake my cat up to give him his nightly medicine or let him keep sleeping for now, should I read my book before bed or watch a little more TV, could it be any foggier outside or does the dark just make it seem worse?

I think maybe an early night might be the answer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

(image by Lisa Cronin, found on the Internet)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TBS - November meeting

It's the second Wednesday of the month, which means it's the November meeting of the Toronto Bead Society tonight.  The guest speaker is Maria Rypan (Rypan Designs), who'll be giving a presentation called, "Embellishing Your World: Beading and Surface Designs."  (I hope Maria doesn't mind that I've copied this picture of her from her website.)

The TBS website describes Maria's talk as follows:

"“Embellishing Your World: Beading & Surface Designs” is about transforming the mundane into beautiful with an array of techniques and design ideas. Be inspired to embellish a few things once you see how people in different parts of the world meet the challenge to create beauty with materials on hand. Breathtaking photos of decorated objects and their stories will motivate you to transform a few of your own.

There will be many incredible artifacts representing the First Nations people, Pashtun tribes, Zulu chiefs, Indonesian deity, Ukrainian artisans, school kids and a former dissident, US crafters and Canadian bead artists! See beaded flowers, ‘pysanky’ eggs and ornaments. Visually "meet" some of these talented people with their folk art.

The title page and first four slides feature fascinating beaded objects from our own Naomi Smith’s Collection of First Nations Beadwork. Here’s a chance to learn more about them as they’re projected onto the screen. Nothing beats seeing the beadwork displays up close for maximum appreciation!

Come and be inspired to embellish your own world."

Do we bead artists need any encouragement to embellish? I don't think so!! But I'm sure Maria's presentation will be very entertaining - see you there.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

There Was This Cat...

at Fort Worden.  A beautiful cat, with big blue eyes and Siamese colouring but very thick, fluffy fur, the kind of coat a cat gets when it lives outside and winter is coming.  And the most incredible ringed tail!  I first saw him/her in the parking lot by the Schoolhouse, he was walking around the parked cars.  I wondered if he was a stray, but he came to say hello easily enough and his coat was in such good condition, I figured someone had to be taking care of him.

The next time I saw him was late at night, and he was perched on top of this cherry picker truck.

I thought maybe he was stuck and couldn't get down but Heather said no, he was just playing around and having fun.  Sure enough, he was scampering about on the highest part, dashing back and forth, showing off for us. Then he jumped down and came over to be petted.  Silly daredevil cat.

The third time I saw him, we were walking home from the Masquerade party. It was late and dark but he came right over, as if to say, there you are, I've been waiting for you.  He tried to climb into my big shopping bag when I put it down on the ground to take his picture.  He let me pick him up and give him a cuddle, while he purred away.

The morning we were leaving, he was there again.  A woman opened her car door to load stuff in and he jumped on top of her car and tried to climb inside.  Obviously, a very adventurous puss!

If I had brought a cat carrier, I would have tried to bring him home with me.  I think he would have made a wonderful friend for Max.  But of course, that would not be practical - trying to bring an anonymous cat over the border.  Nor would it be fair to whomever is loving this cat there at Fort Worden.  But he sure was beautiful.

I never did find out to whom he belonged, or what was his name but I shall remember him fondly all the same.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sending Love to Heather

My friend Heather is having back surgery today, having some disks in her back fused together, so I'm thinking of her today and wishing her well.  No doubt, it will be a rather awkward, painful recovery in the beginning stages and I feel bad about that for her sake, but ultimately, it should either lessen the pain she has lived with every day since being thrown from a horse a few years ago or eliminate it all together, which should be worth this initial discomfort.  Short term pain for long term gain, as they say.

Irene took this picture of Heather and I together at Journalfest last week - isn't it great?

Thinking of you, Heather, and sending you lots of love! xo

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Walk on the Beach

I had a chance to take a walk on one of the beaches at Fort Worden while I was there for Journalfest. This one overlooks Admiralty Inlet and is such a pretty spot. It was late afternoon, just before 6 p.m., with the sun already down low enough to be blocked by the ridge above me.  As you can see from this shot of the cliffs:

the beach is quite a bit lower down than where the buildings were located. In fact, here's a picture of the stairs I climbed to get back up to where I needed to be, I counted about 98 steps.

Initially, there were other people (and their dogs) on the beach with me.  I like this picture of a couple walking towards the wharf, it seems rather romantic to me, especially in sepia tones.

Ultimately, I was alone on the beach, which was pleasant and slightly worrisome at the same time - especially after I saw this sign as I began my walk:

But I lived to tell the tale and I'm really pleased with some of the photos I took, especially this one of a couple of trees on the ridge above me.

There were lots of jellyfish washed up in the surf, they were a beautiful aubergine colour. Having been raised inland on the shores of freshwater lakes, I don't know much about jellyfish except that you don't want to get stung by one and they are to be avoided, so I gave them a wide berth.

Of course, I was beachcombing as I went, filling my pockets with shells and rocks as I always do. I found these 2 heart-shaped stones, which I've heard people collect (most recently, my friend Dawn from the France trip) but I had never seen any on my travels before. I gave one to Heather and kept one for myself.