Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Lovely Lovely Fountain

London is a beautiful city, typically Canadian and typically Ontario-ian (I just made that word up). It's known as the "Forest City" although we don't actually all live in a forest, it is indeed very green and gardeny. We have thousands of Victorian cream brick houses, wonderful Arts and Crafts bungalows, many examples of "Ontario Cottages", lots of heritage buildings, and numerous old neighbourhoods with plenty of charm. Many would argue that we haven't been as diligent about preserving our older business areas, but that's a flaw that many cities are struggling with. We have lots of museums, galleries and parks, and a thriving university and college community.

The Thames river runs right through the city, splitting into two forks near the city center, and many parks are bordered by the river. I was rather excited last fall to see a large sign proclaiming the imminent construction of the "Blackburn Memorial Fountain" . (And also by the fact that the digging turned up quite a lot of broken glass and china!).
I've been checking it out every now and then to see how it was coming along, and it is now completed and scheduled for a grand launch on Victoria Day in May.
Yesterday I went down to check it out.
It's, well.

Very Cold War era Soviet-esque. Just the thing you want pointing at the playground. ("Yup, swing 'er down a bit Fred, we can blast those kiddies right off the swingsets!")

I actually would like it better if the "missiles" did pivot, but alas they are firmly welded in place. I checked.
(Note that even the Canada goose in the background appears rather ambivalent!)
From the the artists renderings I've seen online it actually will be very pretty when it's actively functioning as a fountain, but... right now? Never have I seen a better example of how public art can be deliberately designed to be the exact opposite of, and utterly inharmonious with it's environment. It's one of the ugliest things I've ever seen. I feel the urge to dig a bomb shelter. But I'll probably just eat a cookie instead.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Two days until I mail my pods off to Milwaukee.
A month until I get to see my bead friends in Milwaukee, and learn all sorts of new things, and laugh, and try not to shop too much!
42 more positive feedback on eBay and I will hit 10,000! Whee! Not 10,000 uniques though, as a lot are from repeat customers, so it will still be a long time until I get the fabled and elusive shooting star. Still, I have worked hard for my good rating, and I'm proud to provide good customer service.
And five minutes until supper. I love leftovers!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Vessels From Another Planet

I'm delighted to be able to share that these pieces were accepted into the Bead and Button Show Bead Dreams Exhibit. They are part of my Seeds and Pods from Another Planet series. They are hollow, wearable vessels of lampworked glass and enamels, with fine silver collars. The tallest one is about 4 1/2" high.

This necklace from the same series was not accepted but hey, I will have a kick-ass necklace to wear at the show!

I'm quite a non-self-promoting hermit, so this will be very nice exposure and I feel very honored to have been accepted. The show will be on display during the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee. Last year the work was really amazing so if you happen to have the chance to see it, don't miss it. There were spectacular pieces in all the categories.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What do you do for a living?

I always find that question so hard to answer.

The "day job" is eBay, right now 100 auctions, 160-or-so eBay store items. This entails laundry, ironing, repairs, cleaning, photographing, measuring, researching, writing descriptions, listing, invoicing, packaging, and shipping. Then, start all over again. Oh, and find the stuff to sell in the first place. Since I specialize in vintage items, there is no wholesaler to call!
The "night job" is jewelry, and beadmaking, building inventory for shows and etsy and the studio tour.
Then there is all the day to day business of life. Laundry and gardening and tidying up our messes and paperwork . Stuff. But I need to have some fun too, right?
So just look at this delectable yarn I bought yesterday:

Noro Blossom. I knit because I love the process itself. It's so relaxing, and meditative, and at the end, you have something to show for it. I used to knit incredibly complex Fair Isles and stuff with 40 different kinds of yarn in one piece. Now I keep it super simple and have quite a remarkable collection of scarves! This yarn will be made into a tapered cowl with finger fringe along the bottom. I think. Probably! All is subject to change. The lovely fine cashmere yarn I bought last fall to make into a lace knit cowl morphed into a soft drapey rib knit cowl which can be wrapped around the neck twice, or three times around the head for an arty hat. I kept making mistakes in the lace pattern which meant having to rip back the incredibly fine yarn, and finally said "To hell with it, just knit". Much healthier.

I spent some pleasant time selecting bits for a new Magpie bracelet. The theme for this one is something like "Silk Road" or "Chinese Market". All the bits are vintage, except for the turquoise glass beads which I think are probably only about 20 years old.

There are vintage carved cinnabar beads, cloissone, wonderful old Czech molded glass elephants and Buddhas. A vintage jade elephant. A 1930s celluloid peacock. 20s Czech amber colored satin glass. Carved Peking glass. Speckled green Peking glass. Some precious rock crystal beads, heavy and icy. Some vaseline glass. Amethyst colored Peking glass. A carved ivory elephant. Carved bone beads, and a few bone colored hollow carved celluloid beads. Some old Asian silver. 2 1930s celluloid "Immortals". I know I have some Chinese coins somewhere, they'll turn up. And I'll find more goodies to add. Perhaps I should make some tiny glass teapots for this one too. What do you think?

Still playing with the "Prismacolor Patina" concept and Indian 3-D holy cards. I find the colored patina to be very delicate so maybe I need to put more layers of sealer on them when they are done. The Kali one lost a bit of the finish as I was riveting it together. Two views of the same pendants:
The backs:

That reminds me of a taxi driver I had a few years ago. I was waiting at the main, front entrance of my building, but he, unknowing, went around the building to the back entrance. After waiting for a while, he decided to come around to the front, and I hopped in. He was a very nice East Indian gentleman, and he apologized in his beautifully accented English, saying "I am very sorry, I was looking at your backside"!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Internet Radio

Yes, I am alive. Some days I just got nothin to say!

Blather of the day:
I love the radio feature of iTunes. It's easy. It's free. There are lots of really great radio stations. And there are some very, um, odd ones. Now I can't say I'e had time to listen to all of these, so maybe some of them are excellent. Some of these I'll try out, some just gave me a giggle.

At, you can listen to "French songs since the 1890's of the dead artists".
DEEGAY Classic features "The Songs Who Gay People Love-Italy".
Digdheadradio has, what else..."A non-stop playlist of music featuring the digeridoo".
Grimeonline is the "world's first internet station dedicated to grime music". Should I know what that is? , all Hawaiian music. How can you not love this?? I actually quite like this one! "The Persian Dance Party-The hottest DJ mixes of your favorite Persian dance hits"...huh? Dour regime + dance party? Does...not...compute...the music is great though.
How about a little "Crime Time" : "Old time radio featuring Detectives, Cops& Robbers, Murder & Mayhem, Guns & Ghouls, Danger & Dames!". They talk funny.
There is an entire section of "just holiday" music in case you get a hankerin' for some Frosty the Snowman in April.
The "Golden Oldies" section is fun...lots of bachelor pad and lounge, think Esquivel! Zoom! Zow!
Though "Malt Shop Memories" is the goofiest ever name for a radio station. I'm listening to Balinese Bongos" right now!
Go listen to something. Let me know what you find.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Imagine All The People

Imagine being unable to imagine
another side.

What would you be?

A hill so steep you'd throw your thoughts against it?

Segregated schools?
A decider who never had to fight?

Without advance imagination
the people perish.

Would you be a grandmother who keeps hands warm
no matter where they're from?

Or would you be a moth-like hat
on the head of a singer
lifting her higher and higher?

Would you be a newspaper soldier, easy to burn?
Would you choose to be something you can never

Or would you hold up your arms
during the metamorphosis?

Fanny Howe

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Know These Words Are True

Les premiere violettes
sont sacre a l'Aphrodite.
Je me souviens tout.
Dites moi l'histoire de l'amour
et je vous croire toujours.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mixed Bag

Truly, life is a mixed bag! Be ready, because stuff gets thrown at you whether you are prepared or not. Stuff like this POD DRESS!

I don't know whether to giggle hysterically or run out to the studio and make a bead that looks just like this! Cris, Gail, Stacey, shouldn't we each have one of these beauties? Different colors, of course. Maybe we could wear them with different colored shoes.
Now this just makes me smile with podular delight:

On a fun note, I've started a series of mixed media pendants. This one includes copper, sterling and fine silver, and a great 3-D Indian holy card. The front has a pink Prisma patina, the back has a heat patina, both sealed for their protection with a dainty spritz of spray sealer. The next ones will have pieces of Victorian postcards under mica. Fun! I wish I could be in the studio every minute. Right now I have more ideas than time so I am being careful to make sketches. ..otherwise, I forget stuff!

I was looking at the Bead and Button show website and was stunned to see that the classes start in 52 days! They have a countdown! I'm looking forward to it, to seeing some wonderful people and learning some new things, a little bit of shopping and a lot of laughter. Part of me is saying, "You can't afford this, times are tough", but another part is saying, "You need this to recharge your creative batteries". That's the part I'm going to listen to.

I am going to bring a wee box of stuff so I don't have to sell the jewelry off of my body. Though if someone really wants it, well, I'm flexible. But not the skull ring!

I'm also faced with the challenge of selecting stuff for the mixed media classes I'm taking. I have 9 of those teeny multi drawer storage thingies crammed full of tiny things, almost all vintage, from 1940s Crackerjack charms, to celluloid horses, cloisonne elephants, crystal beads, celluloid flowers, Dresden enamels, tiny pictures, religious medals, to amber and carved bone beads, antique buttons and just weird bits of metal from the beach. Beach glass, tiny colored shells from the 50's. Tiny tools-wrenches, spanners, scissors-that work, only 1" long. Watch parts and watch faces. Tiny things with words on them.

I CANNOT take 9 big boxes of little treasures on the plane with me. (LOL). It's going to be really hard to choose just a little bit, but the discipline will be good for me. OR, it would be even better if someone ELSE came in and chose for me! Any takers?

Wouldn't you like to dig through this with me?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


*****It's April the 7th. I am SO not impressed*****

Friday, April 3, 2009


One of the frequent posters on LE has the signature line: " I make stuff, and also things". I love that!

And I also sell old stuff and also things.

I'm just working away. Drove at night for the first time, it went fine, no problem. So burned her hand and it was just so excellent to be able to drive her down to the pharmacy for some burn stuff. We had 15 different kinds of bandages but nothing to put on a burn, which is ironic considering what I do in the studio. I get frequent tiny burns from flying glass bits but I just ignore them, unless they land on my face, which makes me cuss. But it is a good idea to have a little something around for burns, isn't it?

The golden lab who followed me home from the beach left me a present: (the stick, not the string, the string is Valentines leash)

Am I not lucky?!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I was blessed to enjoy a beach walk yesterday that DIDN'T result in being frozen by the time I got home. The waves have been huge for the past few days, but yesterday the lake was still and I had the fun of lots and lots of flotsam to look through. Any one doing assemblage art would have been overjoyed by the fabulous assortment of driftwood and metal bits and pieces, and fossils and feathers and glass and wonderful stones of all kind. If I brought home every interesting thing on the beach we would be up to our eyebrows in bits and pieces so I have learned to be very selective and resist temptation.

Some nice glass bits and fossils and stones with holes.
I am in love with this marble, I felt like I had found a prize!
Vivid moss on a cedar rail:
Diane's miniature irises:

An exceedingly handsome fellow in the crabapple tree:
I'm also in love with the grackles, who are picking and tossing through the dead leaves like old ladies at a rummage sale!
I spent a long time trying to get a picture of a Little Downie woodpecker, but it was really bright out and I couldn't see it very well through the viewfinder. When I got home I found I had about 15 very nice pictures of tree branches and not a woodpecker to be found. Oh well!