Friday 29 March 2013

Focus on life–week 13-have faith

This week Sally had us thinking and snapping on faith:
There are many of us who are religious and there are many of us who are not, but most of us religious or not have faith in someone or something. A faith that gets us through our day, a sickness or even a death. Faith is held by each of us, it is what keeps us believing that there will always be a positive outcome even if we can't see it at the time.

week 13 faithful

I picked up this little ring dish at the local pottery guild show one year.  I own a lot of pottery and confess I’m not sure who made this piece.  At some point it migrated to my work table.  After being frustrated by dents in polymer that I was rolling out I realized I had to stop being stubborn about keeping my rings on.  This little dish became a safe spot for them to sit in the mayhem while I worked.  Sometimes I have been known to forget to put them back on.  Hubby has come up with a whole variety of jokes to point that out to me when he has caught my finger naked.

Thinking on this I went and dug out that third ring you see on top.  That’s the engagement ring I bought him.  It’s Titanium and used to be a brushed finish.  The finish changed after my dad polished the heck out of it after it was discovered and brought back to me.
You see one day, maybe a month after we were engaged, we were headed out to meet up with friends for a ski vacation a few hours away.  I noticed he didn’t have his ring on.  There was searching and then we decided it must have flown off packing the car in the extremely cold day.  At some point I shared this story with a girl I worked with.  A girl who was in college and the walk from her house to school took her right past his house everyday.  One day when the snow was starting to melt a bit she remembered and looked around the driveway.  She called, in disbelieve I described it and went to pick it up with a big bunch of flowers as thanks.  It just so happened his birthday was the next day so with its fresh polish and one stubborn scratch into a new ring box it went.  It took me at least ten minutes to convince hubby and his parents it really was his.  They had all searched extensively.

Ring on, ring off, the faith remains.

Lets see what the faithful are up to at Sally’s

Resin bauble slider reveal

Welcome! Today is the day to see what a group of designers inspired by Lorelei Eurto’s Michael’s find could all come up with.  No surprise, she finds the coolest stuff. I knew I wanted in as soon as I saw her photo and thought “what the?”  Girl on a mission, I was happy to find both colours.

First a false start…

purple slider

She wants to be a butterfly, but we had words over what her wings would look like and I stripped them back off.  So she will languish in the vicinity of the work table for the perfect inspiration another day.

I switched to working with the blue ones.  I made a joke about not showing you bugs on fire when I was talking about my initial inspiration – I guess I couldn’t get that idea out of my head since I bring you a bug made of bugs or, well, bug products.
 slider necklace

I used brass wire to create  a bunch of teardrop shapes that I hammered. Two of these I turned into integral parts of polymer components.  The large blue circles you see are the ends of a silk worm cocoon that I created a polymer bezel for, so they are hollow.  The center portion of the cocoon I cut and twisted to become the “tail” of my bug focal.  The body is a polymer base with a natural gold silk overlay (this is a cocoon that has been eaten through).

cord detail

This picture gives a better sense of the height of the silk and polymer element.  Below you can see the the silk I included on the bottom side and have a better idea the size of the holes.  Isn’t it amazing that that gold is natural?

focal firefly

This necklace clasps on the side and I created it by twisting one teardrop and covering the other in polymer.

clasp detail

Just a glimpse of the chain which I had hanging around the studio salvaged from a thrift store find once upon a time.  Literally the only goldy tone chain I had on hand but I like how the circle links echo the resin baubles.  I wasn’t going to include this last photo since it is so washed out but it lets you see where that clasp sits on the upper right.

bug on

Many thanks to Lorelei for tossing the challenge out there, I would have never found these on my own and they did present a very interesting design challenge.  Lorelei’s blog will have the full list of participants and I will update here too. Can’t wait to see what everyone came up with!


Denise McCabe

Mustard Bead

A Polymer Penchant

Pearl and Pebble

Peacock Fairy

Beads for Busy Gals

Dawn Williams

Shirley Moore

B Street Studios

Sally Russick


Erin Prais-Hintz

Heather Powers



Karen Firnberg





Toltec Jewels



Wednesday 27 March 2013

Tiaras, baubles, beads and zombies

The first reveal of bead soup is coming this weekend! It’s always so fun to see what everyone comes up with especially since I often secretly design with soups in my head and it great to see how different a take is actually produced.   (shhh you didn’t hear that).

You’ve got to love how Lori plans a party complete with beautiful tiara.  I can say I’m all prepared on that front

iphone 198

Sharing happy meals on my birthday last week was a spur of the moment decision.  My toy was a tiara!   I had to snap this pic in the bathroom mirror as someone was laughing at me trying to manage my tiara and sunglasses atop my head.  I think it’s a keeper.

The resin bauble challenge that Lorelei through down is going to be revealing Friday and I tell ya it’s exciting that my piece is all done and photographed and I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has come up with with this odd little beauties.

Zombies, yes, I too have caught the fever despite my resistance.  I think it was the end of the second season of the Walking Dead that I started watching it myself.  That’s as opposed to leaving the room with my nose turned up as my hubby would watch.  So I’ve been sucked in and am spending my evenings catching up.

I’m not comfortable working with polymer on my lap at all.  I would hate the idea of losing track of 6” blades in the sofa for starters. So I decided some seed beads would be a great addition to my bead soup since I had planned some the last time and it hadn’t come to fruition.  This time though, I set out a bit ambitious and while it may be beginners luck I am liking the looks of it.  Can’t wait to share come the second reveal!

Friday 22 March 2013

Focus on life–week 12–observe the curve

This week Sally directed us: “take a moment to focus on all the different kinds of curves that surround you everyday”.  Curves, wonderful!  I was raised in a house full of paisley – curves are my briar patch. 

focus on life week 12

Looking at this photo now I’m also seeing a bit of yin and yang going on, although that casts the table as the good and the mug as the evil and that is ass backwards. Ok, getting ahead of myself, let me explain.  I’ve sat down several times at my worktable to get moving on a variety of projects.  There’s usually at least a handful of different ideas going on in my workspace, I like to flit from one to the next as down time arrives.  Well lately, whenever I’ve sat down, I’ve turned around some ideas mixed a few colours, done a little obligatory experimenting (not the fun kind) and things haven’t been clicking.

Hubby walked in at one such moment of frustration and casting his eyes about me, about my space, and said, “how do you work like that?” I shook it off not wanting to really hear that thought, but by the time it was lying in bed that night I was already rearranging the room in my head.  Naturally, the next day I was pulling all sorts of stuff out with a rough idea how it would all go back together again.  Well it’s far from done and I’ll save all the nitty gritty for another day, but the part that makes it hard to arrange is this table. 

I did not by this table on purpose.  I was at the Salvation Army thrift store just before we moved into our house.  I was looking for a pair of chairs for our kitchen, having already chosen a small square table.  I found one that I loved the lines on, the wood (teak?) was in ok shape and the seat was an easy single screw to pop out and recover.  Perfect! There were three sitting there so I grabbed two and headed for the cash to see how much.  I was informed they were part of a set.  I argued that three chairs would not be a set.  She reassured me it was part of a set that included an oval table (missing a leaf) that was up against the wall legs removed.  As she gathered the legs I tried to negotiate just the two chairs.  She wouldn’t budge there was one price and there was no way she was letting me leave without this table.  Of course I was alone, and this was solid wood but I hauled that sucker and three chairs somehow into the car and through our apartment parking lot, up the stairs and into our storage locker.  All that to say an oval table would have never been my choice to fit in a studio workspace, but it’s hard to pass up free.
Silver lining moment though finding my favourite handmade mug that I had bought for my day job specifically.  When I moved form a work office to a home one I knew it made the trip but somehow I misplaced it.  That was about five years ago.  The best part is the handle, it fits my two fingers so perfectly, a very good curve indeed. the glaze is very pretty too although the shadows here hide all that.

Those are the curves on my mind at the moment.

Thanks for all your sweet comments about my little dancer, I fought the urge to show you the curve of her eyelashes… mustn’t make it all about her.

Now off to see the twist, turns and curves every has come up with this week, linking up on Sally’s beautiful blog

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Dear Spring,

Seriously, what gives?

snow feet

Why are my bare feet stuck in boots, stuck in snow?

melt faster

I see a little melting.

more snow

But look at this mess!


I see you sun, but you need to TRY HARDER!
yellow stick
I wondered do people in warm climates know what the yellow stick is? Does everywhere with snow use yellow?

I felt a little self conscious carrying my camera to the mail box with me taking these.  So I decided to go all in with a couple clich√© type shots. ie my feet above, and below back on my door mat.

front step

This one was from the other day, mid complete studio overhaul – more on that later.  But I looked up while taking a picture at a different angle, decided I just had to take one of “those” pictures I hadn’t taken yet.

fake spring

See that spring – I have to settle for FAKE flowers. [ In defense of the filthy mirror it was found buried a few hours before and stuck on the nearest available screw.]


By the way, some are smart enough to dig out the hydrant denoted by the yellow stick.  I hope the others will all be sprouting soon as the snow melts – faster, faster!

Friday 15 March 2013

focus on life–week 11- the possibilities are endless

“This week pay attention to your surroundings and your daily activities and show us what holds endless possibilities for you.”
focusonlife possibilities

Sally’s words above for this week in this wonderful series called focus on life.  Can you hear my picture? tap-tap-tap!

A couple of months ago, while dancing around the living room with Averleigh, I mentioned she would be a great tap dancer and that we should look for tap shoes for her.  Toddler fashion, she didn’t really answer me, just kept on dancing.  A few days later I’m trying to get her out the door, telling her we are going shopping.  She stops.  Looks me in the eye and full of hope asks “to buy me tap shoes?” I confess: “no, but we will keep our eyes out for some”.  Time goes by and it becomes clear, they don’t make them as small as her size, not around here at least  (and not under $60). 

Now Averleigh hasn’t hit that stage yet where she begs or expects things every time you enter a store.  In fact I found this great colouring book for her once and she wouldn’t let me buy it.  So when she brought up tap shoes again and again I really was trying to find some, these were not “bratty” pleas.  I checked the local classifieds –again – last Friday and wouldn’t you know there was a pair one size too big, but close enough! So the next morning off hubby went to get them for a mere $15.

Sheer joy! She has no idea how to tap dance but she doesn’t know that.  I kinda love that.  I checked for lessons but it seems you have to be four (!) to get to tap class.  If you are not quite 3 you miss out on every other dance class that’s not for real young ones for this season.  So back to gymnastics for the spring and maybe the fall will bring jazz or hip-hop or …

Yes, I think the possibilities for what she would like to explore with her time are truly endless.  Which will be a whole lot of fun if I can remember to show her a path or two but let her lead the way.

Now off to be inspired by all the possibilities being shared at the studio sublime.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Resin Bauble Slider challenge accepted!

Sketch 2012-11-01 01_19_11

I found them! They were tucked in behind the others but I sure did find them!

My little pink ellipses are showing you the most unusual resin sliders that I first thought “what the heck is that?” when Lorelei Eurto shared them the other day.  She thought they would be the perfect component for a little challenge.  Now hearing her plan was to have participants the next day I thought I’d have to give it a miss.  But when she shared the participants “so far”this morning it seemed the door was open to go see if my Michael’s would be as up to date.  I was practically shocked to find them. Yay!

I have to share this picture in particular for Lorelei’s post

Their shape, that little zig-zag makes me think of butane. That’s /\/ shape is how you represent the structure of butane, and it was the first thing to pop into my head.  Next thought was bug eyes because of that photo above. 

This is going to be fun!  I promise the final piece I share on reveal day, March 27th, will not include any bugs on fire.

Friday 8 March 2013

Focus on life–week 10- all wrapped up!

This week Sally invited us to consider a myriad of definitions for wrap and “get to snappin’!” Her email arrived just after a text from one of my best friends that she was at the hospital to be induced.  This was just a couple of days before her due date, but there had been some twists and turns before getting there.  I also had plans to meet another friend’s new born son on the Monday, so photos of tightly snuggled baby burritos were an expected part of the week.


Nadda to share.  On my Monday visit, I did get a picture of the son and his big brother that was pretty darn cute.  But playing with two two year olds and an infant doesn’t exactly make for the right time to grab a “planned” photo.  Meanwhile my best friend welcomed her second son too and was home in a flash and I ended up visiting on the same day.  Again, two two year olds, a two day old and a 100lbs wannabe lap dog does not make for ripe conditions for the swaddling wrapped loveliness I had in mind.

I do have a reason for confusing you with all this!

I met my best friend when we were six.  She had just moved into a house the other side of the crescent, the summer before grade one.  I have a pretty vivid memory of hopping off my bike after dinner to ask her out to play only to be greeted by her mum explaining they were on the way to bed.  I recall being stunned.  Then seeing her and her older sister come to the door in pyjamas to say hello.  I’m realizing I may have had a lot of freedom for a six year old.  I just had to be home before the street lights came on.  I don’t know what the consequence would have been if I weren’t home in time, I just know it was something I never wanted to find out.  I did have two other girls roughly my age out with me, this wasn’t just my house rules.)  Of course the next day came and we have been friends ever since!

I know I’m very lucky.  Thinking on the prompt and pictures of wrapped up babes I realized that now I have held her first born on the day he was born and I held her second on his second day of life… and whoa, I didn’t hold my own daughter until her third day.  Which is just a little oddity of a factoid but I probably would have never put it in this context if I hadn’t been after that particular photo.  Which made me think, it’s probably my own experience with my child’s prematurity that had me chasing that image.

There is a picture coming I swear.

So thinking on my treasured friends and their gorgeous boys and how I hope our children grow as great friends too, I had a reminder – new friends are awesome too!

week10 focus on life

Kathleen of Modern Nature Studio has a generous soul.  When this focus on life series started and I confessed I had no idea how to take a photo with my new dSLR and she kindly offered that I could ask her any questions.  I haven’t taken her up on that yet but boy, I’ve put her to work!  She found a deal on great paint for polymer and offered to do a group buy, reduce those ever mounting shipping costs.  Well, shipping paint, we have learned is no swift stroke.  My portion of the order which she packaged beautifully, just because she can’t help herself, was wrapped – unwrapped- and rewrapped to convince the postal officials it would not blow up.  I love the addition of “non flammable, water soluble”.  I so appreciate her efforts in getting this little box of joy to my door.

Quite the introspective this week: old friends, new friends, favourite things tied up in string.
Not bad Ms Sally!  Now I’m very excited, as always, to see all the interpretations that this weeks worth of links, over on Sally’s blog, holds.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Surely I’m not the only one?

…who’s not sure how it’s March?
Really, this always happens, I turn around and time always seems to be moving faster.  I must be getting old.  I thought about some of the goals I outlined at the start of the year.  I’ve not given them up, but I also haven’t actually created a plan to get to those end points yet. Tick-Tock!
…who can’t sketch worth a damn!
It’s so sad.  I love seeing the pages of peoples sketchbooks, joojoo comes to mind right off the bat.  Perhaps someday I’ll actually fill a sketchbook with beautiful things.  Mostly my sketches are very rough shapes, that I know I won’t even be able to recognize, so there are all sorts of lines connected to me scribbling what the heck that part is supposed to be. 
…who bought beads last July and hasn’t used them yet, despite having a plan.
Umhm, it’s true.  Well I’ve probably got beads I bought ten years ago and haven’t used yet, but that’s not my point.  I bought these beautiful beads (below with the focal) for the last bead soup.  Not a one made it into my final piece. A tiny part of the suede did but that was all.  See I was only showing a little bit as to not give anything away.  I needn’t of worried.

…who despite above evidence, is considering many a bead purchase for this round of bead soup.
Ok, no intervention needed, it’s still under control, this addiction.  I have this gorgeous soup to play with and it is sitting next to me in a container, has been since I got it.  The glass is so interesting, the colours seem to always be changing and I keep changing my mind about what to pair it with.  So I can’t help myself I think there are one or two things I simply must order.  (Even though Cindy sent more than plenty to play with)
…who in an effort to create her own beads considers stealing a button from her child’s shirt
I’m reaching here, please raise your hand if you are in this club.  You steal buttons right?  Just look at it, it’s not holding anything closed, it’s just hanging out there taunting me!  Her face seems to say  “don’t you dare take my button!” I swear though, this picture was taken to show off her new haircut.  Which brings me to my last one…

cute as a button

Surely I’m not the only one who has to figure out how to cut my toddler’s hair using, well scissors, but more importantly an iPad.  Resting on an upside down bowl and wipes container to get it high enough for her to look up somewhat, while seated on the bathroom counter, watching Mickey Mouse.  Through mostly closed eyes with her hands held to her cheeks, covering her hair back each time I’d comb it to cut.  This is the third time now I’ve given her a hair cut.  I did try a professional, twice, but it was like a panic attack scream fest.  My way is better.  A little rustic, but neither of us actually cry so this works.  Hmm, I’m pretty sure this last one might just really be only me.

Now c’mon and fess up!

Saturday 2 March 2013

Focus on life–week 9–knock, knock!

I dare you not to say who’s there – too late!
** challenge of music reveal is here **
This week our prompt from Sally Russick for the gang following along on the focus of life series:
“Let's open some doors to see what awaits us on the other side.”
I had the perfect opportunity already brewing, the weather and the car gods tried to conspire against me, but I did make it out my front door, um with no time to snap a picture, but not to worry I had more planned.
car door on arrival
This is my car door, with feature of the worth-every-penny snow tires.  I’m not a nervous driver in winter weather, but snow tires makes it really that much easier once allowing for plenty of time and plenty of space on the roads. The advantage of living somewhere with lots of snow regularly, is that the machines to make it go away are readily available.  The next door I was headed for was up a snowy little path, hidden by the trees above.  I could already smell the wood smoke from the fires that burn there.

on the path

I’ve been along this path before but never in snow and never at night.  Lanterns like the photo on the left, line both sides of the stone steps, I bet it is magical in the dark.  On the right, you see my destination becoming clear…

the door to the nordik

Just as a start to climb the last set of stairs, a bunch of snow falls from some upper branches, but it’s hard to make out on the left photo, I was a bit slow.  Then I stroll along the porch remembering a time I was here before with three dear friends, lined up waiting to get in.  On the right – the door!

What a let down.

It’s a little dull to me so I just walked in.  I stopped to text my husband to let him know I had arrived safely and the car (which started the day with a dead battery) was fine, the roads were fine (25cm of snow overnight), and I made good time.  Then I looked up and noticed, this door is a million times better looking from the inside. 


I was standing in the foyer of Le Nordik an incredible spa just 40 minutes or so from my door.  Now inside, breathing in the eucalyptus infused air, realizing it really wasn’t that cold, probably right around 0C and this would have been the perfect day for the baths in winter.  But damn! In my haste I didn’t stop to consider that and hadn’t brought my swimsuit. My previous experiences have been in summer with their nordic baths:

From their site: “The Technique”
Warm up in a sauna or steam bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Do a quick pass under the Nordic waterfall or take a dip in the cold or temperate pool for a few seconds. Rest fifteen minutes in one of our relaxation areas, outside or inside. Repeat this ritual three or four times, finally immersing yourself in one of our whirlpools for a moment of total relaxation.

But on this particular day I was headed to my very first ever massage appointment.  A 90 minute Volcanic Stone Massage.  It was quite incredible.  I’m spoiled forever, I could never have another massage without all that heat. It was just perfect.

I  may just be a complete hermit, but have you ever seen magnetic lockers? You get a rubber bracelet with a magnet in it nice and waterproof, and you just hold the magnet up and it unlocks the locker – genius.  I would have snapped a better picture but I was trying not to creep out the change room full of ladies.
photo (21)

Moving on.  There was one more door I was certain I was going to go through, really just a minute more down the road.  “Une Boulangerie dans un village” I had no idea that’s what it was called, I’ve known it as the “Chelsea Bakery” since I was six years old and my best friend’s mother had a thing for √©clairs on the way to their family cottage.

chelsea bakery

Again, the door wasn’t much to look at.  But my lunch contained at least a dozen ingredients, Moroccan chicken with cumin, almonds, carrot, cinnamon, and a bunch of other things she told me after I pointed “that one”.  Basically, it doesn’t matter, everything that I’ve ever eaten from there has been the most delicious food.  This did not disappoint.

I did grab a tuna (and on and on) panini to take home to hubby.  I delivered it on the driveway and let him know I was just going to be “out” until later.  Yes, fuelled by luxury and fine food I ran away from home for a few hours one Thursday afternoon.  If I told you where else I went I’d ruin it.  It was a good day.

Thank you for indulging me! I’m off to hear about all the wonderful things the rest of the gang has hidden behind doors, head to the Studio Sublime for all the links.

Also special thanks to Erin Prais-Hintz for her post back on week 3, and our conversation that followed, I’m thankful for her encouragement and …shall we say… gentle threats, to do this. So glad I did.

Friday 1 March 2013

Challenge of Music reveal

Hi folks! I’m a bit behind but will have a post up to share some musical inspiration and so on later today

Update! I was going to be ready well ahead of time and somehow I kept putting down my piece since I wasn’t feeling the “fun”.  Of course this kept up until last night when I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open after spending the morning at the spa (this is at least partly Erin’s fault – more details tomorrow).

Cue the music!

Let me start by apologizing for the sound quality, I really wish it was better.  This is the fourth time I’ve joined Erin Prais-Hintz for her wonderful challenges.  I always have so much fun discovering new things or looking at familiar things in a new light.  When she said we were going to stick with the music and music only I thought that made good sense, but didn’t have a clue where I would start.  I must have had Trinidad on my mind from sharing my Uncle’s garden the other day.  I was trying to think back to some of the first instrumental music I knew – steelpan.  I can picture the album cover now.  I don’t have a record player in my home so it didn’t make much sense to borrow it, and it would be hard to share that way too.  So you get the next best thing, a live performance.

If you aren’t familiar with steelpan (or steel drum) wikipedia gives a great run down. The take away that comes to my mind: this is a modern instrument, various places reporting it as the “only instrument of the twentieth century” and that has a nice way of falling in line with polymer as a brand new art material also.  I searched and searched for a piece to really move me specifically and while I did so I was at the workbench creating the whole while. This page has some great clips from various events and the clip above was my favourite.  It’s really like performance art, so much energy and movement I don’t think it is possible to not move to this music.

I’m not sure of the correct terms but, I find while I hear the variety of all the notes being played there is also an overall din that feels like one tone to me. So I created a colour – from many – but without mixing the whole way so you read the overall as a steely blue but close inspection will show a whole variety of blues, whites, silver and a couple pinky shades.


From this mass of polymer I made a variety of beads and components, not sure of how they would come together in the end but hoping for a pan shape, and some movement.  I wired the pan shaped beads with some magenta wire and knew they would make a mass of dangles… aha I’ll make a lariat!


I tied some faux suede cording to a donut that I constructed as the focal with another bead and ruffled disc tied to it.  Two more of these discs are tied on up the “side” and then the long dangles are a collection of the pan beads and some draped tube beads at the ends.  I would cut the cords right there after the knots.  But I’m not happy with it yet to be honest.  I seem to just have lots of weight and not so much of the movement I was after.  I think I could improve this by actually attaching them to chain. 


I kind of like how it looks like this, but gravity doesn’t agree with this arrangement.  The easiest thing would probably be to take it apart completely and start fresh.  I just couldn’t face it last night and thought, nope, I’ll keep it fun as Erin insists and just show you my general direction here.  I’m sure the day will come to complete this [If I knew anything about music I would joke here about someone’s unfinished symphony].

Thanks again to Erin for letting us all join in the fun! Please join me in checking out the wonderful music, inspiration and creations I’m sure everyone else has come up with

The Challenge of Music participants Erin Prais-Hintz
Alenka Obid
Ali McCarthy
Alicia Marinache
Amy Severino
Amy Grass
Carolyn Lawson
Cece Cormier
Cynthia Riggs
Ema Kilroy (bowed out)
Emanda Johnson
Emma Todd
Erin Kenny
Evelyn Shelby
Evie and Beth McCord
Gerd Andersson
Holly Westfall
Jennifer Justman
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jess Green
Judy Campbell
Karla Morgan
Kay Thomerson (bowed out)
Kristina Johansson
Lola Surwillo
Lynn White (bowed out)
Malin de Koning
Mallory Hoffman
Mary K McGraw
Melissa Meman (bowed out)
Melissa Trudinger
Michelle Escano
Michelle Bourbonniere
Michelle Heim (bowed out)
Michelle Mach
Molly Alexander
Molly Schaller (bowed out)
Monique Urquhart
Niky Sayers
Pam Farren
Rebecca Anderson
Sally Russick
Sharon Palac (bowed out)
Sharon Driscoll
Susan Kennedy
Tari Kahrs
Tracy Stillman (bowed out)
Veralynne Malone