Thursday, April 30, 2009


In Montreal 2 days earlier this week and now in Vancouver for 2 days. Glamorous you say? Not really, hard work, much time spent in airports, taxis and of course planes. At least I am getting some work done while I fly. No signs except for the occasional mask of people worrying about the swine flu. Maybe SARS did teach us all the right things and we are ok, or we are in denial and will only realize what a pandemic can do. Let's hope it is the latter....

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu

This may be it, this may be the big pandemic that has been discussed by so many health care officials. In Mexico, more than 100 people have died and more then 1600 are sick. It has been reported across the world in the last few days and that includes several cases no in Canada. Scary, isn't it. This is serious stuff. The easiest way to decrease your risk of getting it is HANDWASHING and avoiding people you know are sick. (sneezers and couhgers etc. ). I wish everyone would follow that advice, the word would be a healthier place... And I am flying all over the place right now.
Here is a link. Follow this news!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lights out...

Wow, what a storm it was! I saw a newspaper stand get blown over by the wind. The storm left parts of Markham in total darknes for 6 hours. It is not convenient and yet it has it charms... I nice candle-lit dinner, some wine, a couple of hours at Chapters, so really, not so bad.... I do have an assignment due but it had to wait. Alas, too bad! Am off to Montreal for a conference.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shoe buckle

If you recall, I wrote about some a beautiful handcrafted, silver nurse's shoe buckle a few weeks ago. I played with it last night and this is what happened. A silver chain, an antique rosary some silver wire and some chrystal beads. It will be hard to part with this one!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Holy key

This weekend I have been busy with preparinbg a big paper due for my course this Monday. Statistics..... So last night I decided I needed a break and so pulled out my keys I bought in Barcelona. Look what happened to it. It became a holy key with a real halo. The stones are jasper and the beads are chinese chrystal. And of course it needed a time reminder, to keep in style with the precious time I don't have. here it is. Funky and I like it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Garage and Rummage Sales

Don't you just love them, garage and rummage sales? I know, half the time you bring stuff home you don't really need, but to me it is like treasure hunt. Today was the annual garage kick-of day. The local church had their annual rummage sale. It was very well organized and many volunteers from the churg must have spent hours and days organizing it.It was sorted by type of item, clothes for men and women, books etc. A colour coded sticker, which indicated the price, and a real check out counter.We found some great items. Some silver dishes, perfect for what I don't know, but they were only $3 for the lot, so perfect! Some pretty lace and hand embroidery, some pretty jewlery I can do something with. Little wine cups and 2 great books: an old Webster's dictionary and an 1930's version of Jane Eyre.
And the best thing was the receipt. It was handwritten and showed that I paid my 2 dollars...

What struck me most though was the sense of community these women must have. They belong to a group with a common interests. I am not religious, spiritual perhaps, but it brought back memories from when I had to go to church when I was little. There was something about being part of a group. I think if I was lonely and alone, I would join such a group. What companionship it would bring!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring has sprung

It seems that spring is here to stay. It is about time, I'd say. When I immigrated from Holland to Canada I thought spring would start, like in Holland, in January. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening! In Holland in January I remember sitting in a sheltered area with my mom, sipping coffee and admiring her tulips and narcissus in the garden. Not in Canada, snow was all we saw. I actually hated it and was so homesick. Then i decided that if I wanted to stay here I had to try and make it work. I didn't have many things so decided to buy what i felt like to make me feel more settled. I also decided to enjoy the snow and cold and took up skiing. That turned my life here around. I LOVE skiing. But spring is so wonderful when it finally arrives. Here are my 2 little crocusses and a bare backyard. Brown and boring you say? Just wait, I will show you what it looks like in a month when much more is in bloom.
This is what Holland looks like right now. I also posted a little video clip with some pretty music of a Dutch singer.
Enjoy my country!! I miss it...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Today I was in Missisauga for work and decided to stop by my friend Tony who owns Ambient. Ambient is the best gemstore I know, and I know a few....! He is a yound fellow who started his business about 6 years ago or so, right on the corner by my house. Serendipity?
His variety is amazing, he imports them from China. All sorts of gem stones in all colours, types and shapes. The best thing are his prices, They are truly the best ones I have seen. If you have a tax number he will sell wholesale to you. If you buy in bulk, you get a break. Go check him out, he is really nice and when you get there, say hi from me :)

He has a store in Markham, and a store in Missisauga, but also sells online. So no more excuses possible. And if you don't know what to do with the beauties, tell me and I will make something for you, whatever you like. Enjoy!!

Here is the link:

Welcome to Ambient Enterprise Inc.

6060 Hwy 7E, Unit 101, Markham, Ontario, L3P 3A9Tel: (905) 201-1989
NEW Mississauga Location

63 Queen St. S. Unit 6, Mississauga, Ontario, L5M 1K5Tel: (905) 369-0688

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Having a bad day?

Ok, I just have to write about this as it made me laugh and wonder about some people... (True story). A guy decided to fix the engine his motor bike in his living room. Once he had completed it, he then decided to try to start it. It did, with him on it and he ended up driving through the glass patio door. His wife heard the noise, called 911 and he was taken to hospital to have his cuts sutured up. When he cam back home his wife put him to bed, and cleaned up the living room. She took the oil, junk and gasoline and dumped it in the toilet.
The guy gets up to go pee and decides to smoke a cigarette, throws the cigarette in the toilet..... BOOOOM, through the door he went. Wife calls 911, and the ambulance people come. They are the same guys as the ones earlier. When they have him on the stretcher and are walking out, they ask what happened. When they hear the story they laughed so hard, they dropped the stretcher and the fall breaks the man's collar bone. And you thought you knew what a bad day was!!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Another Easter come and gone... We were up north on the Bruce peninsula and enjoyed the glorious spring weather!!. They have funny Easter bunnies there. This is what he brought me. Some beautiful gemstones in beautiful colours. For sure these will make some beautiful pieces. Even just looking at them and feeling their texture is a fun activity.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

drinking and driving

Well, here is a contentious issue. Someone we know got pulled over and was charged with DOI. Honestly, you think people learn and realize that certain things are never ok. Alice Munroe at one point, when she was inteviewed stated that sometimes in life certain things happen that are irrevocable. This would be one of those things. Thank goodness no one was hurt. It affects the entire family since now someone cannot drive for a year and a has to appear in court, pay a high fine and everyone experiences the consquences. Such a shame. Is it really worth it.....? Clearly not. It certainly is a hard lesson to learn but quite frankly, I think a good one.
Don't drink and drive!

FDJ On TIme Tools

I admit it, I am a tool junkie. I love tools and these days consider places like Lacey, Princess Auto, Home Depot all fun places to hang out. I bet some of you will recognize that. So here is a website of a tool seller, who is reasonable in price, very friendly people and they ship to Canada. Having said that, I often have things shipped to me when I travel in the US, to avid the high international shipping costs. Too funny really, if you think that we spend on all kinds of stuff without blinking but worry about the shippping. It just seems to be a waste of money, doesn't it? Anyway, have a look: I have been eyeing these texturing hammers. They are fun for metal, for clay and for PMC. They are often sold out, I guess because they are popular. Well, they are back in stock... To buy or not to buy, that is the question!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Buckle jewlery...

I recently found this sterling silver handmade buckle on Ebay and couldn't resist. It is a nurse's buckle from the late 1900's from England and so I felt a connection. Right, the silver is what did it... I am going to turn it into jelwry. I just need to get inspired. Any idea's?
It will come to me and then to you, when I am done!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Inspiration for peace

Today, on my way home from the gym I listened to a broadcast on CBC radio1 with Anna Maria Tremonte about Dr Abu al-Aish. From the CBC website: "Doctor Abu al-Aish is a prominent Palestinian gynecologist who speaks fluent Hebrew and works in hospitals on both sides of the border. He had been doing regular reports on Israeli television during the conflict. Toward the very end of Israel's three-week assault on Gaza, there was one moment that gave a lot of people pause. His home was hit by an Israeli rocket. The attack killed three of his six daughters and one of his nieces. (He lost his wife to acute leukemia last year...). But despite everything that Doctor Abu al-Aish has lost, he remains deeply committed to finding a peaceful end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The University of Toronto had made him an offert oc come to Toronto to work with the McLaughlin Rotman Centre for Global Health, but unfortunately he did not get out on time. At this time he was invited back and gave this follow up interview at the CBC studio in Toronto today. It is a most amazing story of someone who is able to move towards peace and mainatin his belief of the need for peace and human compassion rather than hatredness and war. If you can, listen to this interview, it is a very inspiring story despite the sadness caused by his family's death. He has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize. It is availble from iTunes as a podcast. Or you can listen from the CBC website. Here is the link:

Alfred Nobel, the man behind the prize

Monday, April 6, 2009


Groan... For the last few days I have been immersed in a statistics tutorial for my Master's program. I am done fortunately with this assignment and am just trying to not do anything. Well, not complelety true. I am putsing around a bit and playing with another key to see if I can turn it into something fun. Stay tuned! Here is a picture of a different necklace that was fun to make because it has so much movement. It is made of silver and smokey quartz.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bye, Bye beauty....

Here is one of my fused silver necklaces. Fusing silver is a lot of fun and all you need is some fine silver wire, a torch and a fireproof surface. You heat the silver until it flows and so it connects without having to solder. It is quite a bit of work but the rsults are great. I also make my own headpins so these projects are labour-intensive but well worth it! This one is for my friend who will pick it up tomorrow and I will have to part with it. I always try anything I make by wearing it for a day so I know that it "works". Well, this one works allright! I love it and may have to make one for me. I hope my friend enjoys it.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Life Stories

This is a photograph from our trip to Tuscany, a truly stunning and inspiring place, which takes your breath away. We all have a life story. These stories are testimonies to the events that help us shape who we are. When we listen to those stories, we can learn from the experiences of others and perhaps something good will come of that. Last night we went to a friend's house for dinner. I noticed a picture book and started leaving through it. It was a picture book of her story. A few years ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer. This is one of the cancers that does not have a good prognosis. My own brother Paul died at 49 of lung cancer 3 months after he was diagnosed. It was one of the most difficult experiences of my life, so sad and so intense. My friend decided at the time of her diagnosis to undergo difficult treatments and the outcome to date is that she is alive and well! Not only that, this experience is one of those life-altering ones and her view on life is fantastic. Seeing this experience displayed in photographs and seeing her healthy now moved me beyond belief. It is now part of my story. Her and Paul's story have shaped me who I am today and have taught me again that life is not about the breaths you take, it is about the moments that take your breath away. So something good has come of such painful stories and seeing her book was a moment that did take my breath away.......

Thursday, April 2, 2009

One of a Kind show

Today I went to see Carmi at the One of a Kind show. As always her booth looked great, she looked great and her artwork looks better than great!! There is so much creativity there. It makes you want to quit your job and focus on your own creative inspirations. To make a job of one's hobby is probably totally different than what we think it would be like. Nevertheless it would be so great. I read an article yesterday where an artist made the distinction between "real" artists (defined as those who ahve been educated in art) and crafters (those who do stuff without a "true" eduation). He argues that crafters ruin it for the "real" artists as the crafters price their work much lower, the market now caters to the crafters and thus the "real" artists cannot get the prices they need to make a living of their art. In addition this artist felt that most of what crafters make is junk.... Somehow this bothers me. Surely there is room for anyone's creative outlet and there is no right or wrong. Such a shame that these types of competitive behaviours create this split. If I can have fun, feel creative and make things I enjoy, I quite frankly don't really care what others think. It is not my issue and so I am not going to waste time on it. I just want more time to do what I love to do. Happy creating!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Precious Metal Clay, what fun!

At my first Arts and Soul in Portland adventure I took a class with Louise Duhamel to try out PMC. For those of you not familiar with this fun medium: PMC is a clay-like medium used to make jewelry and small sculptures. It consists of very small particles of precious metals mixed with an organic binder and water. Metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using moulds. After drying, it can be fired in a variety of ways including in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove. The binder burns away, leaving the pure, sintered metal. At the time I said that I would never take this on as a hobby because of the costs associated with the clay and kiln. Guess what, yes, I caved and now love PMC. One of the artists I really admire is Kate McKinnon. Herw ork is beautiful and in addition she is just a lovely person! She is coming to Toronto for some workshops which unfortunately I am unable to attend. So I decided to buy her book "Structured Metal Clay" availalble from her website:
IT IS AMAZING!! It is clear, fiun and full of excellent instructions. Here are 2 rings I made after having been inspired by her and her book.