Friday, September 30, 2011


My word of the week.

I'm a week away from traveling to Venice, Italy, to spend a milestone birthday with my Mom and dear friends Ian and Sue. I've never been to Venice, so there is always excitement about going somewhere new. For the past few years I've started going away to note my birthday. My birthday was always married to Thanksgiving celebrations growing up, and since I'm not a fan of turkey, but do love pasta and pizza, Italy is a great place to celebrate. Two years ago I walked the Brooklyn Bridge for my birthday, & last year, again with my Mom, Ian and Sue, we wandered the streets of London together. 

I'm looking forward to traveling the canals of Venice, having a morning cappucino in St. Mark's Square, exploring the alleyways and getting lost, taking a massive amount of photos, searching out real Murano glass beads and just savoring the Italian lifestyle.

As Dr. Frank-N-Furter said in The Rock Horror Picture Show, Antici pation ....

October 2009

October 2010


Andrew's word of the week.

Primal fears  -  I've scuba dived with manta rays, parachuted out of a plane, walked the edge of the CN Tower (decades before they had the safety of The edge walk attraction), rafted through white water, searched out rattlesnake pits (don't ask), zip lined through a tropical rain forest, walked on a glacier & looked a wild Buffalo in the eye at twelve feet.

 Primal scream

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Andrew's word of the week at first had me think, what is modern? It is a relative term. Modern early twentieth century and the Arts & Crafts Movement in design? The modern mid twentieth century chrome and big fins on the cars of the 1950's? The modern space age design of the 1970's when reaching the moon was no longer a dream?

When I was a kid growing up in the 1960's, my brother thought is would be neat, if one day we could all have our own personal phones and see each other on them. Hey, it's happened. Who knew?

In this fast pace age, with modern technology changing almost as fast as you can blink, I choose to savor some fine old traditions.

I'm not knocking modern technology, but occasionally, and particularly at this time of the year, I hanker back for a kinder gentler time. A time when home made pies, really were, home made, and not picked up frozen and merely baked at home. A time when bakers got up at the crack of dawn to make their bread, from scratch.

My Mom, Babcia and Aunt Helen have all instilled the appreciation of home baking and preserving in me. I love baking pies with strawberries I've gone and picked. I stock pile them unbaked in my freezer, and pull them out mid-winter and am reminded of summer when I smell that sweet fruit baking.

Today my Mom preserved Ontario Bartlet pears in my kitchen. Last week it was Red Haven peaches. In this era, when simpler things are often overlooked, I took my Mom's photos on my digital camera to preserve the moment for posterity, downloaded them into my Mac and am now writing my blog. How modern!

Red Haven peaches.

My Mom & the fruits of her long day.

The pears being processed.

Friday, September 16, 2011


We've all experienced happenstance at one time of another. My word of the week from Andrew has given me pause to remember how I started my blogging career.

In early January I attended a Toronto Bead Society meeting on a dark and cold Wednesday evening. I arrived early and did the usual perusal of sale tables, magazine and sign ups. Started talking to Laurie Anne Clinton about the upcoming Tucson gem show starting at the end of the month, as she was setting up her lovely Flirt display. I had chatted to Laurie Anne at many bead shows over the years, but didn't really know her. She wondered if I was going to Tucson. I've always heard about the show, about how massive it was, and how it was "the" show to go to for bead supplies of all kinds and all budgets. I just couldn't justify going to a bead show in Tucson, just for the sake of buying more beads. But then LA (Laurie Anne) told me about a blogging seminar she and her wife Beth were taking with Kate McKinnon and Andrew Thornton, two big names in the beading world. Still, I wasn't convinced I needed to go to Tucson. LA told me to check out Kate's blog and the information on the seminar to see if it interested me.

I checked it out within a couple of days of the meeting and while the blogging, per se, didn't interest me, the rest of the seminar did interest me. They would be going to the gem shows, there are dozens spread out across the city, exploring antique stores, the desert and the Tucson art scene. Hmm. I started looking into cheap flights to Tucson, contacted Kate about availability and before I knew it I was booking a flight and had accomadations in Kate's neighbour's bunkie in the back of the house.

LA mentioned the blogging seminar very casauly & here I was now signed up and travelling with LA and Beth Clinton, exploring Tucson. LA told me about the seminar when I guess I was just starting to get the winter blues, was looking for something new, and willing to explore different avenues.

Because I didn't go straight home from work that cold January evening, but ventured downtown to the meeting I am now a full fledged blogger, and my friendship with the Clintons has been established. I thoroughly enjoyed the blogging seminar in Tucson and hanging with the Clintons.

Happenstance — had I not gone to that January meeting I probably would not be blogging today.

Laurie Anne and Beth Clinton & moi • Tombstone, Arizona
January 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shelter, as in "Gimme shelter"

I couldn't help but think of the Rolling Stones' anthem to the the end of the 1960's,  Gimme Shelter, when I heard Andrew's word of the week.

the images are very poignant in this video.

Yeah, I could have gone with the obvious, what really is shelter, besides 4 walls & a roof,  how lucky I am to have my own 4 walls and a roof, but truth be known, I also think of the Three little pigs and their different shelters and the issues they had with the big bad wolf as he huffed and puffed.

• Brick house • Ice house • Tent • Tepee • Mud hut • Condo • Townhouse • Bungalow • Trailer • Cave • Tree house • Penthouse

Shelter whichever way you can get it.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Andrew has stumped me again on this word of the week challenge. Challenge being the operative word. 

Redeem  — usually makes me think of religious connotations, those of atonement. The great redeemer and all that.

Having said that, I see last week, as my week of redemption for all the time I have not done any jewellery making during the summer. I found time for yard work, painting around the house, my long Saturday morning walks, going to the farmer's market, slothing and the likes, but not for producing any new pieces of jewellery. Well, last week I was on holidays from my day job, & I made up for that. I was motivated and produced interesting new pieces. I've continued to make pieces today, Labour Day, and continue to be inspired.  I redeemed myself to myself.

A sampling of what I produced last week.
I haven't photographed today's work yet.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Holy Crow...

Lucy, my official greeter at Holy Crow.
Each year I make a pilgrimage to Holy Crow Beads, nestled in the heart of Beaver Valley just south of Georgian Bay. I am greeted by Lucy as I get out of my car. The setting is calming and lovely. Beverley Smith's beautiful home/studio always inspires me. Beverley is a textile artist who transitioned into beading, and she puts together colours like no one I know. There is a wall full of her finished projects to inspire those that come, and want to learn different techniques, or just to take in all the eye candy and the plethora of colourful beads. I love it there. I feel rejuvenated when I go there. Beverley's easy manner, and great knowledge of colour and techniques disarm you, and you don't even realize you are learning as much as you are, until you have gone. I always pick up some little gem of knowledge, usually said in a matter of fact manner by Beverley, which continues to help me with my work.
Jenna and Beverley of Holy Crow Beads.
I popped in one afternoon last week, only for a quick purchase. Huh. There is no such thing as a quick purchase there. My Mom came along for the drive and now brings a book along, knowing I will be a while looking and sorting and deciding on what I really need, or really want. Mid way through my shopping, Beverley makes a lovely pot of herbal tea served with local honey. What a civilized way to shop for beading supplies. My first encounter with the studio was on a girl's weekend several years ago, and I've been going back ever since.

Last week, I had taken time off from my "day job" and was therefore a time for me to produce pieces for the upcoming fall/winter shows I'm involved in. And last week was one of my most prolific weeks for producing pieces. I felt inspired and motivated and kept producing.
A week's worth of beading by yours truly.
It was my holiday, so allowed for R & R too.
If you ever want a lovely drive in the country, a little off the beaten track, ok, a lot off the beaten track, but well worth the visit, stop by Holy Crow Beads. You won't be disappointed.