Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Flock of Seagulls

For the past couple of weeks, when I arrive at work in the morning, there is a flock of seagulls hanging around on the tarmac.

There is always one perched on top of the light.

I don't know if it's the same bird on top, maybe they take turns?  I'm guessing these ring-billed gulls are getting ready to migrate but maybe they're just hanging out.  Once the rest of the cars start filling up the parking spaces, where do they go?  Because they're not there at lunch time, or at the end of the day, just in the morning.

Maybe they're just recovering from yesterday's lunch at a nearby garbage container:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Something Called To Me

This past Saturday, I stopped in at an antique store that is on the way to our cottage.  I tend to drop in once a month or so, to see what's on offer.  Some days, I just get that feeling that it might be a good day to stop and check them out. Saturday was one of those days and I was not disappointed!

The first thing I saw was this cabinet of map drawers, which I immediately wanted.  Alas, it was already on hold for someone else, which is just as well, since the price tag was $250 - yikes! Plus the exterior is oak so the darned thing is probably as heavy as sin. But wouldn't it be great to have something like that, with all those drawers the perfect size to hold scrapbook papers and ephemera? Ah well, a girl can dream.

I thought maybe it was the drawers that had been calling my name, pulling me off the road and luring me in to the shop but after I took this picture of a neat old cash register beside the drawers

the very next thing that I saw was ... (wait for it)...a vintage photo album!  Right away, I knew that was why I was there and for only $25, I could not say no to it's siren song.  The outside cover is totally faded and falling apart, but the clasp is intact and just look at the pages - there are golden castles and windmills on them!!  How magical is that???

I picked up that album and carried it around while I checked out the rest of the store (couldn't risk anyone else taking it!).  I loved these stained glass windows

and the old bottles lined up prettily in a window

and this steel picnic basket was adorable.

I was also tempted by this drum, I always wanted to be in a marching band.

And this engine room telegraph - can't you just hear the bells ring to signal a change in direction or speed?

The owner told me she is going to be busy this weekend bringing in a bunch of new stuff in time for the long weekend, so I just might have to stop by again this Saturday.  Plus they're right across the street from a bakery that I'm told makes the best strawberry rhubarb sour cream pie E-V-E-R.  Well, you've got to test these things out, don't you?  You can hardly take someone else's word for something like that, no matter how reliable the source.  Hopefully I will get there before they're sold out.  Maybe something besides the pie will call my name that day too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Sunday Sale

The jewellery sale at the cottage went well yesterday. 

Hurricane Irene kept the weather cool, the skies grey and the winds high - can you see the whitecaps in this picture?  We rarely get them so it's always something to remark upon when it happens.

As a result, we set up indoors. Ellen put the John Hardy jewellery out on the dining room table
I loved this dress Ellen was wearing!
and I set up in the living room.

Of course, like any good party, sooner or later, everyone ends up in the kitchen!

As an extra bonus, Moira brought some freshly picked pears off of her tree.  I'm thinking I need to make some pear crisp, don't you agree? They're not quite ripe yet but I'm checking them daily to know when they are ready to eat.  Moira told us to check at the top of the pear, near the stem - if it feels soft there, the pear is ready, don't wait until the round bottom is soft or it will probably be too late - good to know!

Many thanks to all who visited and especially to those who shopped. It's always fun to have people drop by and have a glass of wine or an iced tea and a chat. There seemed to be a number of happy shoppers as well, so that is also gratifying. I'm always thrilled when other people like the jewellery I've made, it's so much fun to see someone else wearing and enjoying a piece that you have created.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

After the Storm

I took this picture of 3 of my cat companions the morning after we had the big thunderstorm earlier this week.  As soon as I raised the blind, these guys were right up onto the windowsill, as if to check out what had happened outside during all the commotion the night before.

I am thinking of all my friends who live along the Eastern seaboard this morning, in the Carolinas, Virginia, New York and the Maritimes, hoping they are all safe and dry and not experiencing too much hardship as Hurricane Irene moves along her path.  I'm thinking you too will be anxious for the storm to pass, to see what everything looks like when it is over.  Be well, my friends.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bracelets Too

Here are some of the bracelets I've been making over the past few days:

charm made from vintage photo

Friday, August 26, 2011

Almost Done

I'm still making jewellery for the sale we are hosting at our cottage this Sunday afternoon.  I told myself that when this tray was full, I would stop. 

As you can see, I am almost done - just one more space to go!

Not pictured is the similar container I have full of copper jewellery. Yes, I have been busy.  The good news/bad news is that I am going to run out of time sooner than I am going to run out of ideas.  It's hard to know how much stuff to take.  I keep having new ideas and having to tell myself to stop and just finish what I have already started.  My mind is dancing around in several different directions all at once, bringing me clever ideas like the one to put earrings on small playing cards (see photo, top right), just for a fun and different way to display them.  Plus it's an easy way to keep from losing them.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What a Storm!

Mother Nature has been busy in southern Ontario the past few days.  First she dropped a tornado in the town of Goderich, causing much devastation there by destroying not only houses but also several historical buildings built in the mid 1800's, injuring several and killing one poor gentleman.
Photo courtesy of
Then on Tuesday, the East Coast had itself an earthquake, registering 5.8 on the Richter scale at its source in Virginia and one that many here in Toronto felt as well (yours truly did not, unlike last year's quake, which got everything in my office shaking for a few seconds).

Last night, it was a thunderstorm, which brought with it heavy rains and high winds and in some places, even hail - enough activity to cause more tornado watches and warnings in many areas.  Not just any thunderstorm, mind you, but a very active one at that.

I sat out on my balcony watching the light show, which was quite astounding.  My apartment has a great view looking south towards Lake Ontario in the far distance and many of the lightning strikes seemed to focused on that area.  The sound of it was like hanging out in a fully occupied bowling alley, the rumblings didn't stop and the strikes were constantly occurring (ha! strikes, get it? A totally unintentional pun, I almost missed it myself!).  I heard today on the news that there were more than 1,000 strikes over a 2 minute time period.  It was beautiful to watch.  I couldn't see the CN Tower through the clouds from my distance but it is always a magnetic for lightning, seeing as how it's tall and pointy and built like a giant lightning rod.
Photo courtesy
I did try to capture some of the strikes on film but my camera kept telling me "subject is too dark".  Apparently, other people had better luck than I did - check out some of their amazing photos here.  And then go here to watch a short but amazing video by someone named Jon Simonassi.

Hopefully the rest of the week will be quieter and event free, weather-wise.  Luckily, we're not currently in the path of the active turbulence they are calling Hurricane Irene...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do A Lot of Work

Dwyn from Beadfx posted something similar to what you see below on Facebook earlier today and I love what it says:

In making jewellery this past week, I had been looking at some of things I made two or three years ago and realizing that some of them I still really love and other pieces make me wonder, "what was I thinking???!"  Of course, my skills have improved over time (although they're a little rusty these days, I've been noticing) and your tastes and style preferences change over time, so that is part of the evolution process but also, as this writer suggests, you gotta do a lot of work.

So thank you, Ira Glass (whomever you are) for these inspirational words, reminding me to keep going, keep creating, no matter what.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stay In This Lane

This photo showed up on Facebook today and I just had to share it.  Lord knows there are people who need signs like this on the highway!
Photo courtesy of San Diego Reader

Monday, August 22, 2011

Making Necklaces

Less than a week to go until our jewellery sale at the cottage this coming weekend so I am busy, busy, busy making jewellery.

Here are some of the necklaces I have made in the past few days:
Flower Power Red

As you can see, I'm into long necklaces with chain features at the moment.  Alas, these pictures aren't really doing them justice, I blame the photographer (yours truly) and the Kittens Caboodle, who like the long, dangly bits, isn't it fun to take a swipe at them while our human tries to take a photo?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Sound of Cicadas

Having just returned from the cottage, I am reminded that I wanted to share this picture of a cicada (from the Latin for "tree cricket") that I took a couple of weeks ago.  For no particular reason except that I am fascinated by the pattern on its head and the see through wings.

It was resting on one of our wooden Muskoka chairs down by the lake while we were taking a dip in the water.  It wasn't making that distinctive sound that cicadas usually do when it's hot, even though it was that hot at the time. 

My grandmother always used to call them tree frogs,  Now that I am older, I wonder why and wish she was here for me to ask her.  Although when I Google "tree frog", they apparently do exist and are known as the grey tree frog here in Ontario.  According to this website, the sound they make is "a short trill" but I don't know how that compares to the sound of a cicada.

You can read a little bit about cicadas here if you are so inclined.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vintage Kids Photos

Here are a few more photos from the photo album I bought last week at the auction.

There is a photo of a girl with a very large bow in her hair:

a somber looking boy with a dog:

a darling little girl with both a bow and a dog:

this studious looking young lady (are those earmuffs on her head?):

and of course, the quintessential baby on a bearskin rug shot!

Friday, August 19, 2011

More Auction Treasures

Still going through the treasures I bought at the auction last week.  The bidding started with a very small collection of jewellery and Karen quickly snagged some lovely pieces at quite reasonable prices. My first purchase was a box of little charms. There were 13 of them, including a teapot, some decorated shoes, a Santa Claus, a pair that might be athletes and a little black cat. They all seem to have been painted originally but most of the paint has come off of several of them.

There is even a Peter Pan and Tinker Bell pair!  Not sure why they are chained together, it seems a little kinky for Disney, am I right?

I made a little bracelet and attached Pete and TB to it, I'm thinking somebody's grandma might want to buy it for them next weekend at the jewellery sale we're having at our cottage.

I've also been making some charms of my own using acrylic pieces I bought from Retro Cafe Art. (I can't say enough positive things about them, by the way - excellent selection of products (especially the stencils), very reasonable prices, super speedy delivery and rock bottom delivery charges. Plus Kristin replies very quickly to Facebook and email queries and super helpful.  Not to mention the fact that I got the tutorial on how to make the charms directly from their website - here)  I've been using some of the old photos I've been collecting over the past year or so as well as scrapbook paper for the charms, here's a sampling:

I've made one bracelet with the charms so far, also utilizing my growing collection of buttons:

I can't quite decide if I should leave this one as is or add a few more embellishments - perhaps some dangly beads in complimentary colours?  Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Paper Dolls

I also bought a pile of children's story and colouring books at the auction last week, which included several books of paper dolls. Some of the books are quite old, dating back to the 1940's but the paper doll collections are all less than than 40 years old.

There are two books from 1972 of cutsie dolls named Josie and Mary with various outfits and a little story book inside each one.

There is one based on the book "Little Women", with a doll for each of the sisters and the handsome neighbour Laurie as well.

And then we get to the more unusual books of paper dolls:  one is a Joan Crawford collection from 1983, featuring costumes from several of her MGM movies.

There is also a Princess Diana Book of Fashion from 1982, featuring a scantily clad Chuck and Di and lots of outfits that will look very familiar to anyone familiar with photos of the happy couple from the early days of their marriage.

However, I was most delighted to discover the Monster paper doll book, also from 1983.   There's Frankenstein and a woman who appears to be his bride, as well as a vampire and a werewolf.

They have lots of outfits to choose, appropriate for themes such as "The Sporting Life", "Unholy Matrimony", "Happy Holidays" (complete with a giant sized Easter Bunny outfit!) and a rock bank known as the Transylvanians.  My personal favourite is "Work Clothes", especially Frank's outfit with the unconscious woman in his arms: