My designs

My designs

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Fall is Here

How I love the season of autumn or fall. The colour of the leaves, the cooler air, great texture in clothes to wear, and my birthday.

Here is a picture I snapped with my new smartphone. Yes, I have finally stepped into this century and bought a smartphone. I couldn't resist stopping to take this photo along my drive home from work one day.

How glorious to drive around the countryside when nature gives such a display.

Here is a photo of my twins riding their bikes under the thinning canopy of magestic maples that I rode my bicycle under when I was younger. We were over at my parents' place for Canadian Thanksgiving in October. What a great day it was.

My mom was working on a quilt that day that was chosen by us to be sent out to my father-in-law and his new wife, Mary. I know they will enjoy this piece of fabric artwork. Can you see the William Morris influence in the patterns? Here it is finished, ready to be shipped across the country.

Here is a close-up of one of the blocks too. My mom has moved to machine quilting because she claims to feel the pressure of time, and just has so many quilts in her waiting to be made!

It is so beautiful, isn't it. My mom thought I might get into quilting eventually, but instead I put my creative side to jewellery making, for now at least. When I have time, that is. I am shipping one of my creations out with the quilt to Mary, across this great country.

Last October I had our newest family member Mary pick out a bead so I could make her a necklace to welcome her to the family. I finally finished the design last spring, but I then misplaced it for a while. Mary was right when she said it would turn up somewhere I just wouldn't expect it. It was in with the pants for hemming. I found it! My son grows fast enough that I just wait until he has grown tall enough for the pants if I can wait it out. So that is where I found this necklace all safe and sound.  Along with pants that now were the perfect length for my son.

I made a Argentium sterling silver frame for it since the bead's size didn't seem to balance the two strands of silk that Mary had chosen. It was too small and didn't stand out. I really like the final design, and I hope that Mary does too. The negative space created by the metal frame was meant to make the bead look larger without competing with it.

Smartphone picture above and Olympus camera below:

  • focal bead - a bit more opulent than shown in the photo, made by Betsy of BetsyMN on etsy click here
  • hand-dyed silk ribbons - by Jamnglass on etsy click here
  • wire frame - shaped and designed by me with a slight hammered effect on the front of the wire (16 gauge) that I flattened with a hammer, then textured with the round end of the chasing hammer

Hope you are all enjoying Autumn where you are. A significant wind storm has stripped the leaves from many of the trees, so the landscape is looking like it is ready a bit early for winter, here in Ontario, Canada. Glad to have a photo of the glory of the season.


Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Challenge of Travel - Staycation Edition

Miss Erin of Tesori Trovati Jewelry (blog - click here) had sent out a challenge to make something to represent something in each person's locality. She encouraged us to visit or rediscover our own geographical areas through a visitor's eyes.

I chose the mighty St. Lawrence River. This river has been such a huge part of my country and my area of Eastern Ontario. Sorry for the long background section, but I really got inspired by thinking about how influencial this large river is for me. Thank you Miss Erin for making me think about something close to home, and something that I never really gave much thought to. Jewellery photos below, I promise.

BACKGROUND: Historically, the native Indian tribes travelled, and fished along it. The first Europeans had transported their furs along it to send out across the ocean to the markets back home. Early settlers all travelled along it, and settled on its shores. Forests and fertile soil were valuable. Towns and cities have grown up along its shores. Wood, grain and other goods have been transported along this broad, long river. It has been deepened in a channel to allow large vessels to travel its length.

My father's former village was part of a planned flooding when the dam was put in at Cornwall, Ontario, in the 1950's. Some houses and churches were moved to new towns. You can still see parts of roads leading into the water, or from a small boat, you can see remnants of bull-dozed buildings. My mom recalls her family driving out to see the rush of water on that opening day of the dam. It turned out to be anti-climatic, as it took many days to see the water rise. There is a museum of lost villages near Cornwall to commemorate villages that were dismantled.

Although I have never lived right along the shores, I have felt it shape my sense of direction when I have lived in the Eastern corner Ontario, near where it flows by. I always had a sense that south was down (to the river) with each other direction sprang away from it in its own way. In Quebec and Ontario, the TransCanada Highway runs parallel to the St. Lawrence in general, with some glimpses of it in certain places (east and west).

My family has been boating on it, swimming in it, travelling along side it. However, Miss Erin's challenge reminded me this summer of its beauty when my family camped right on its shores, in two different countries.

The St. Lawrence River has an international boundary down the middle of it (approximately) between the U.S. and Canada. In July, my family and I camped on the American side, and in August we camped on the Canadian shore. Both were large campsites, right on the river. Fishing right from the large rocks that were at our shore, and watching for the large cargo ships far on the other side it seemed,. Both campgrounds had a small beach. The water was so clear when we canoed along the shores we could see the seaweed growing up to the sun, and a few fish..The kids settled down in the middle, stretching to make their big paddles and their little 5yr old arms reach to make the strokes in the water, with their lifejackets on.

The large bridge across the wide river are something we cross often, although now you have to bring your passport to travel between the U.S. and Canada. It is still an event for my kids to be the first to see the big bridge, and to look out for boats when we are crossing it.

Try to picture sitting and looking at the water in early morning, on sunny days, with storms coming, and in the dusk. Ducks, geese, and cormorants all showing off their skills, and a curious little muskrat. Waves lulling us to sleep, or crashing, or quite calm at other times.

So if you travel along the St. Lawrence and into the Great Lakes regions, you could go about a long way across Canada's southern border. You can find cities, towns, trees, camping, and hiking. I welcome you to see what I created from my camping trip this summer.

Finally, here is the jewellery based on the St. Lawrence River.

This first one is called St. Lawrence River Shores.
I antiqued copper, and built it around Mary Harding's (click here) pine bough focal and her little ceramic bird bead. The bird represents the waterfowl and the land birds that entertained us. The trees were magestic at the campsite with maples, oaks, and everygreens of different kinds towering above our heads. The campfire is represented by the handmade boro glass bead by Susan of Jackson River Glass (here). I thought it could be the beach with the sand, but my twins both said it was the campfire colours for sure. The copper clasp, curved U-shaped bail, and stick (hammered to look like bark) were made by me. The beefy jumprings holding the 3 charms/focals are 10gauge copper from Unkamen Supplies (here).  The soft clinking sound it all makes is lovely.

Here is another view.
The copper bead resting on the focal is representing one of the many rocks. The spacers on the end of the chain were made by Pinocean (here), representing the sky and clouds.

This second necklace was made with the dusk in mind at the campsite on the shore. I loved that time of day: making a last snack, looking out at the water, listening to the waves, ready to sit by the campfire with family and a cup of tea, the colours are nature in the dusk to dark of night.                  Dusk on the St. Lawrence

Focal  - by Nancy of Round Rabbit, here, with a lovely maple leaf on it in a muted green and dark blue;
Labradorite below each pearl; a small green turquoise bead; dyed freshwater pearls in a dark blue; navy waxed linen (7 strands) to link the focal and bead atop it to the copper flattened ring by Muphintops, here. Clasp by Corabella, here.
Disk bead atop focal - by Leah of Beads of Passion, here. Love the colours in it. See in this next photo.

That reminds me of the darkening of the trees, and the shadows growing, and the dark water.

Funny that it also reminds me that my son told us one night while camping, that he was nocturnal, so he didn't want a flashlight as we visited the facilities to wash up for the night. He implored us not to shine our lights near him as we all walked in the dark, as he claimed he could see in the dark. Those dark blue pearls make me smile as I remember that. Aren't kids too funny sometimes. Nocturnal... really. Thank goodness the fresh air and activity made sure he fell asleep easily, even though he was noctural that night.

Thanks for sticking with me in this long post. I just wanted to share my ideas about this important river, the St. Lawrence River, that runs in and out of my life at times.

Here are some photos from our camping site, so you can see my inspiration (in the last one you can see campfire flames - I think the kids were right about that campfire bead.)

Thanks for looking. Trying to link up to all participating through InLinkz. Not sure it will work.
Otherwise, use this link, treasures found blog.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Fun with Wire

Between wrapping up work for the summer, and my twins, I haven't had a lot of time for creative time with wire, but I did make these pendants. I also took a copper bracelet class with Mary Harding, but I will have to get some pictures of my bracelets to show you at a later time.

I do love working with wire; I think I have said that before. What fun to shape and coil, and hand-polish. Here are the pendants.

Argentium sterling silver, and handmade lampwork bead (Stone Designs by Sheila on Etsy, here.) A matte bead with so much character. Dark copper bead tops it. Trying to keep some pendants simple; lets the gorgeous beads shine. I hammered the wire to flatten it and work-harden it. Love hammering wire!


Ahhh, Argentium, and a handmade lampwork bead. This time from this Etsy shop Andrea at Powers Art Studio. A gorgeous small vessel.

Again, Argentium sterling, and handmade lampwork bead (BetsyMN on Etsy,  here). I love her series of galaxy pendants. I have quite a stash of them, but I can't help myself. Such intricate little pieces of art.

For this pendant I used half round copper wire to hang the stone and let it move. Love spirals and circles. Pretty labradorite hanging at the bottom.The larger stone is brown larvikite which has some blue shine at some angles too. I antiqued the necklace with Liver of Sulfur, and then sealed it with lacquer and Renaissance wax. I love that dark colour that copper gets, yummy.

I do love swirls, as you can see above.

Hope you have a great day, I'm out to the pool with the kids. Kids and water - can't get any better for summer.