the power of one.

>> Thursday, December 29, 2011

they say that the true test of a person's character is if one is content with who one is, without the influence of other people, without any encumbrances.  apparently, the 'epiphany of true happiness' is being happy alone with oneself.  in other words, if you are someone you'd hang out with, then you're set.

i can't say that i'm 100% content with being by myself - at first, it's great, but after a while, i end up talking to myself.  and when i'm away from the mini too long, i miss her.  however, i've been making my skinny stacking rings in quantity for some time, and i have forgotten how lovely they are on their own.  just one skinny ring is minimal, modern, super cool, silvery, luminous, thin and gorgeous.  want one?


bag lady.

i've always worried that by some cruel twist of fate, i could become a so-called "bag lady", living out of my plethora of amazing purses and my broken down car. i realize, however, that i AM a bag lady of sorts... i cannot stop browsing the spectacular handmade choices on etsy. (as we speak, i am anxiously awaiting my latest bag - a belated xmas gift to myself. a little selfish maybe, but i have been VERY good this year.)


sick day.

>> Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the mini and i were up all night - the poor thing has a cold and now i do too.  sigh.  but it was very cool to wake up and feel like we were living in a snow globe!  small consolation for the runny noses and headache!

(i am praying that this doesn't end up being a online shopping day though.  yikes.)



>> Tuesday, December 27, 2011

lalaloopsy 1, 2, 3 & 4.  no, we do not know all of their names yet.
my house is filled with them.  i have to admit that i am somewhat enamored with their huge heads and wide, spaced-out eyes, but they sure aren't cuddly.  the mini LOVES hers - she must have gotten a ton of the little itsy bitsy ones and 3 of the larger ones for xmas - but she tried to take one of them to bed the other day and was not happy.  it's all plastic and edgy and not at all soft.  but seriously, how can one resist??????


twisted. in gold.

i've been playing around with some fantastic 14k gold filled wire that arrived shortly before the holidays.  someone had requested a stack of them for gift giving, but never came back to purchase them.  never one to be deterred by that sort of thing, i went ahead and made up a little mini stack for myself and i have to admit that i love them.  i am not a 'gold' person by any means - white metals are more my style - but these are delicate and just lovely.  the silver solder seam is a great contrast to the shimmery gold twists, and can be worn individually or with tons of other rings.  because you know me, i love options.


boxing day.

>> Monday, December 26, 2011

the history of boxing day originates from the post-holiday tradition where wealthy individuals and landowners would bestow upon their servants a box of goodies, in thanks for their servitude throughout the year.  apparently dating from the middle ages, this tradition now manifests itself as a crazy statutory holiday in canada, where everything and anything goes on sale and people line up to get all the things they didn't get for christmas.  (note to self: consumerism does not really pay off)

i am thankful that this boxing day, the mini and i are not going anywhere.  we are cleaning up the wrapping paper aftermath, vacuuming up all the pine needles from our little (not anymore) live tree, and rearranging the basement to make space for all the new toys that she received from santa.  the husband sadly had to go to work, but as long as he avoids the malls, he should be just fine. 

however, i couldn't let the holiday go by without at least acknowledging it in some small way - so there is a little sale goes on in my shop - use the code "BOXME" for 15% off your entire order - only until the 31st! 

back to tidying up and eating the remaining bailey's chocolates from my stocking.... but i'm leaving the tree up till mid-january.  ha HA.


merry christmas, everyone!

>> Sunday, December 25, 2011

happiest of holidays to you and yours!  xoxooxox


yay for iPod!

>> Saturday, December 24, 2011

yesterday i got an email from apple stating that my new iPod - the one that will be replacing my recalled 1st generation nano - went out yesterday via UPS.  i could not be more stoked.  while some people are reporting that they received a new iPod exactly like the recalled one, apparently some individuals have received one of the 7th generation iPods.  hmmmm.  i wonder what will be in my package????

thanks again, apple.  seriously, you rock.


bagel boy.

this is not the bagel boy.  but by golly, it could be his brother.
there is a baker at our local bagel store who, i swear, looks uncannily like brad pitt, circa the 'true romance/thelma & louise era', but without the honey bear bong or the dopey drawl.  i keep joking to L that i am going to set him up with her - there is nothing better than an attractive man who bakes for a living.  (of course, the guy could be a reformed axe murderer for all i know.) every saturday, we see him, slaving over a hot oven.  however, today, he totally surprised me by giving the mini and i each a tiny little shortbread cookie with sprinkles on top for christmas!  how sweet is that!  although the holidays sometimes bring out the worse in people (yesterday, it seemed that the devil had possessed every person on the road, and we must have passed at least 4 car accidents on the way home), it is these small gestures that redeem humankind to me (of course, the dude's stunning baby blues, flour dusted apron, and tattooed forearms sure doesn't hurt any.  thank you, baby jesus.)

happy christmas eve, everyone - and you too, bagel brad!


winter rose.

>> Thursday, December 22, 2011

the holiday season is definitely ramping up, but for us in the handmade business, fabrication and postal service limitations mean that our season is winding down. things are definitely much quieter in the shop these days, and the break is kind of nice. (it's really great to be able to browse with impunity!)

this morning i woke up to this lovely treasury by stacy from retromodernart. thank you stacy! these choices are definitely GORGEOUS!


only 5 days to go!

>> Tuesday, December 20, 2011

fantastic washi tape from the lovely leboxboutique

it's crazy how fast the time just goes. i can't believe that it is only 5 days (well, even less now!) until christmas. and it is totally different when you have a kid - it gives you every excuse to pull out all the stops - and the cheesiest ones, of course.   my living room is strewn with wrapping paper and ribbon and glitter and tape, and i still haven't wrapped everything.  my fingers are raw and shredded from the acid bath and my sanding blocks as i get all the last minute jewelry orders out the door. my mastercard is straining from the financial burden i have suddenly piled on it. and my oven is constantly going with holiday baking.

it's a miracle that it all gets done - but the even bigger miracle is having all of these marvelous reasons to do it all.


bergamot & the earl.

>> Sunday, December 18, 2011

for the last 18 months, each workday for me has started with a hot earl grey tea, complete with four milk and four sweetener. i can't imagine sitting at my desk without one. :) (thanks, j!) it's the dreamy smell of the bergamot that i love - i am constantly on a quest to find the perfect scent to wear - seriously, i know i'm not the only person who loves the smell of earl grey!

etsy is full of bergamot/earl grey inspired items - and here are some of the best! (i just snatched up some bergamot perfume oil and body butter from bodyluxe and i can't wait to get them!)


knotted up in you. the bangle.

i feel like i've been negligent in posting any new designs - because frankly, between day to day life stuff and keeping up with holiday orders, i haven't had much time to play around with anything.  however, someone requested a knot bangle based on my knot ring and of course i was intrigued.  i had been thinking about making one for a while now, but just never had the inclination.

the person didn't come back to my shop, but i still made the bangle anyway - in both sterling and rose gold filled.  and it is just lovely - delicate, simple and sweet.  wedding, valentine's day, mother's day... wish i had had these out in time for the holidays!



so this one is for L and the gals at the office with whom i have started a lottery pool with. we really want to win. not too much - we are not greedy - but just enough to pay off our mortgages, credit card debt and vehicles. we don't mind working still (uh, duh - i'd definitely go back to school to be a metalsmith/welder), but it would be nice to just not necessarily HAVE to.

(and who doesn't love this song! unfortunately, the original drops the f-bomb and since this is a family-friendly blog, i didn't want to post it here. thank goodness the pretty boys on glee do it up nice.)


honor among thieves.

>> Thursday, December 15, 2011

i'm actually not sure if there is any honor among thieves, as the saying goes.  as of late, there have been several thefts around the office, in addition to some oddities - such as lights being on in the office when we arrive in the morning, desk drawers being left open, or door locks oddly unlocked.  all signs pointed to a thief, yet our landlady insisted that a legendary ghost resides in the building.

needless to say, i uncovered some information that pretty much eliminates the "ghost" theory (sorry.) and puts a little more weight behind the "thief" hypothesis.  obviously, it inspired the etsy treasury above. 


doctor martens, i presume.

>> Wednesday, December 14, 2011

doctor klaus martens was a doctor during the world war II era, who had injured his ankle while skiing in the bavarian alps. of course, necessity is the mother of invention, and finding that his standard issue military footwear didn't provide adequate support to his injury, he made some custom adjustments to his boots - softer leather uppers and air-cushioned soles. after the war, he hooked up with an old friend, dr. herbert funck, who was fascinated with martens' design and the two went into business together, using reclaimed rubber from the luftwaffe airfields. (note to self - handmade ruled, even back then.)

eventually the design caught on, especially gaining favor with german housewives, who were initially the largest consumer base of the comfy, durable boot. martens and funck sold the patent rights to manufacture the shoe in the UK to footwear giants R. griggs group ltd, who made some minor modifications to the design and branded the soles as AirWair.

the first boot to come off the UK production line was the classic 8 hole oxblood - named 1460 (for the date it rolled out - April 1st, 1960) and still the benchmark product today. they quickly became popular with postmen, police officers and blue collar workers. in the 70's & 80's they were adopted by skinheads, punks and musicans - remember when people used to get 'rolled' for their docs? and then the whole grunge thing brought another layer to the style.

docs from jeanginakim on etsy (definitely on my wish list)
 after a dip in popularity in the early '00s, the UK factories were shut down and production moved to asia. (some hardcore fans defected and now choose similar brands that are manufactured in the UK only). but recently, there has been a revival - and how could there not be?

i'm on my 6th pair (14 hole burnished brown miranda boots - yum) and i still love them. they are comfy and utilitarian and go great with skirts and jeans. and seriously, kicking someone's butt just isn't the same in flip flops.


it will rain.

>> Tuesday, December 13, 2011

i didn't think i'd like bruno mars - that video with dancing dudes in monkey masks just wasn't my thing. but he definitely redeemed himself with this song.


and 'ampersand'.

the ampersand has to be my favorite symbol in the typographical realm. being a little bit obsessed with typography and fonts, it appeals to me on many levels. it's dreamy curves are formed from the latin word "et" (meaning 'and', of course) - the "e" and the "t" are blended together to make the symbol. apparently, it has been used since the 1st century AD, & is also referred to as a "ligature". (hmmm. kind of kinky.)
wikipedia states - "Traditionally, in English-speaking schools when reciting the alphabet, any letter that could also be used as a word in itself ("A", "I", and, at one point, "O") was preceded by the Latin expression per se (Latin for "by itself"). Also, it was common practice to add at the end of the alphabet the "&" sign as the 27th letter, pronounced and. Thus, the recitation of the alphabet would end in: "X, Y, Z and per se and". This last phrase was routinely slurred to "ampersand" and the term crept into common English usage by around 1837. Through popular etymology, it has been claimed that André-Marie Ampère used the symbol in his widely read publications, and that people began calling the new shape "Ampère's and".

so that would make the 'ampersand' the only letter of the alphabet that is still used widely today. mhm.  how's THAT for your trivia question of the day?
nowadays, it is used widely in formal names of companies, as well as when referring to proper names, like on wedding invitations. it is also incorporated in computing formal logic, C++, Perl, Fortran, HTML, XML, SGML and BASIC. geeky and romantic. i have to admit that when i was rethinking my etsy shop name, i was tempted to use a phrase that would require the inclusion of the ampersand. because it is THAT cool. 
it's funny because in most handwritten communications, i use the 'ampersand' quite often because it is cool to write and looks fabulous in ink on paper. i wonder if i could make one out of wire...

(this blog post brought to you by wikipedia, these lovely etsy picks, and the letter "&".)


mistress. (aka committment issues)

>> Sunday, December 11, 2011

the first time i heard this song, i was in an empty greyhound bus heading towards west virginia via some winding back road, listening to a college radio station on my walkman. yeah, it was THAT long ago. but the song sticks with me still... beautiful and haunting - the struggle with fidelity & committment. this is why i will not get a tattoo.

(do you know that the red house painters have influenced death cab for cutie, hayden, and the great lake swimmers? very cool.)


holiday giveaway!

>> Saturday, December 10, 2011

i have noticed that there has been some traffic to my blog to my past knotted up ring giveaways.  and i realized that i haven't hosted one in some time.  plus, it's the holidays and i am sure that you all have been super busy maxing out your visa cards buying presents for your mile-long list (as i have)!  so i figured, i'd have a giveaway so that one of you can be the recipient of a gift from ME!

up for grabs is a knotted up ring - in your choice of sterling, rose gold filled, or 14K gold filled!

so here is what you need to do:
- become a "follower" of my blog (if you are already, that's fantastic - you're already ahead of the game) and leave me a message here saying that you are following!)
- you NEED to "like" my facebook page.  yeah, it's not the best page, but i'm working on it.  it's HERE.
- for extra entries, you can go to my shop and tell me what you like the best, "friend" me on facebook, add me to your circle on etsy, and follow me on twitter (i'm @muffintop5). 

PLEASE leave a separate message for each entry - i'm using to choose a winner, so make it count!

make sure you leave details (a link to your blog, an email address, etc.) so i can find you! go enter! now! i'll be picking a winner on New Year's Eve, 2011!!!!

happy holidays, everyone!!!!!! xxoxooxox


the sweater song.

yearning. pining. long distance love. and a sweater. so in love with this hedley song - and these lovely sweater related offerings from etsy.


haven't had enough.

>> Thursday, December 8, 2011

so the mini and i have departed slightly from our usual repetoire of disney junior and treehouse shows, and now, every night, we are enjoying the muchmoremusic top 10. which has introduced me to the latest musical "crack" from canada's very own marianas trench. the lyrics are kind of yearning, hasn't everyone wanted to start something over and redo at some point in their life? (me, probably 1000 times) the lead singer has a wide-eyed, semi-pee wee herman appeal to him, which makes the song a little more endearing.


hello, etsy front page!

of COURSE i missed being on the front page yesterday!!! thank you, usedandabused, for including me - and for being front page worthy! dude, you ROCK!



>> Wednesday, December 7, 2011

i swear that the canadian band 'hedley' secretly have country boy hearts underneath their punk attire and tattoos. nothing nicer than men who appreciate the women in their lives.



>> Tuesday, December 6, 2011

not only one of the creepiest years in history - jack the ripper, much? - but also the number of sales i reached today! thank you etsy! and thank you to all of you who wear my designs!


a lesson in copper.

>> Sunday, December 4, 2011

now this is not me blowing off steam or me not being able to accept criticism, but i felt that it would be a good time to do some education around copper jewelry.  a customer sent me a prickly email about a set of copper and sterling rings that she had purchased from me, stating that the materials i use must not be pure copper or sterling silver because they had turned her ring finger green.  i'll admit that my anger flared up a little for a hot moment - mostly because of the insinuation that my materials aren't pure.  but then i realized that not everyone has the background that i have in regards to metal, so i figured i'd post some information here in the hopes that it will help someone else - because i want the people who wear my jewelry to love it.

there are mystical healing properties associated with copper.  not only is it one of the oldest metals known to man, but it also is an essential nutrient to all living things (and conversely, in large quantities, can be poisonous).  copper has a high electrical and thermal conductivity, surpassed only by silver, which is why copper is used in wiring and piping.  this property of conductivity is also attributed to spiritual energies and thoughts, as well as to helping to align and cure physical and emotional ailments.  pretty awesome, if you ask me.  the fact that copper has a gorgeous sheen and can oxidize to a fantastic multi-coloured patina adds to the beauty of it.

so why does copper sometimes turn skin green?  it's all about the body, baby.  the green stains that may be left on your skin after wearing copper jewelry are formed as your body absorbs the copper.  the chemical makeup of some people's sweat (in this case, the acidity) will react with the metal, which is why some people react and some people don't.  healers who wear copper state that the green tinge is a sign that the metal is "working", and that the colour also can indicate a body that is deficient in copper.  a body that is severely deficient in copper can also respond to the minute levels of copper in 14K gold.  related news - if you have a nickel allergy (and none of my metals contain nickel) you won't get a green stain on your finger, but will have redness at the point of contact with the metal, accompanied by itching and a burning sensation. 

i use certified sterling silver (92.5% pure silver, 7.5% copper) and pure copper (100% copper - duh) in addition to brass (an alloy of copper and zinc - we'll go into that another day), 14K gold filled and rose gold filled wire.  however, people's sensitivities all depend on their chemical makeup, and unfortunately, there are no sure fire ways to guarantee that one won't react to any metal - unless you stop yourself from sweating (yeah, right - seriously, how would you do that?) or don't wear any sort of jewelry at all.  you can coat the inside of your rings with clear nail polish to create a barrier between your skin and the copper, which most people find helpful.  it does need to be reapplied once in a while, but apparently does the trick.  you should also keep your jewelry away from chlorine, salt water, soap, lotions, and hot tubs (right, L?) and clean them often to keep their shine. 

having this response to copper is not unusual, just unsightly.  and of course it seems to affect the people who hate it the most.  it's not just a matter of avoiding "cheap" jewelry, because for some people, even the trace amounts of copper in gold or pure silver can cause a reaction.  i take great pride in the work that i do and i would hate to have someone be unhappy with a piece that they purchased from me.  however, that being said, nature sometimes finds a way to sabotage even the most beautiful fashion choices.

(thanks to, and


girls like you.

>> Friday, December 2, 2011

so seriously cool - this song is like giving the finger to the uber-popular snobby girls from high school. (and the video is pretty awesome too.) i was never popular - ever - but of course, the 16 year old in me wishes she was - if i could go back in time, i'd tell that little goth cheerleader that it isn't worth it to follow like a lemming... march to your own drum machine.
(yeah, i guess i'm on a naked and famous kick.)
(the BAND. get your head out of the gutter.)


let it snow.

>> Thursday, December 1, 2011

well, of course it is going to snow.  and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  but it IS really pretty.  and the holidays wouldn't be the holidays without a crisp white blanket of the fluffy goodness. 


trying to embrace facebook. again.

>> Tuesday, November 29, 2011

i tried twice to set up a facebook account/page for muffintopdesigns, but to this day, i cannot for the life of me figure out how to make the social networking site work for me. facebook actually kind of scares me, because, since i am a social recluse at heart, the idea of putting myself out there for people to find is frightening and makes me feel exposed.  i have found twitter to actually be fun and easy - not to mention, the brevity is refreshing - but a bajillion facebook people can't be wrong, right?  plus, i'd love to have another marketing platform for my work. 

so, with the whole name change thing, i set up a brand new account for TheLovelySmith.  you can check it out here, and my page here.  and to kick it all off, if you 'like' my page (seriously, how juvenile, it smacks of - "if you like me, check the box that says YES" or who can get the most signatures in their yearbook) you can use the facebook discount code on my page for a whopping 25% off your entire order.  and with the holidays coming up, i am sure we are all looking for a sweet deal.  and of course, my ego could use the props.  make sure you check the box that says "yes".


you're the one that i want.

>> Sunday, November 27, 2011

the video isn't much, and i'm not a huge fan of 'grease' (okay, not a fan at ALL), but for some reason, this cover of 'you're the one that i want' is so awesome. understated and sparse and oh so cool.


punching in a dream.

>> Wednesday, November 23, 2011

if the mini could make a playlist, this song would be her number one pick for today.  we love love love this song - techno, ethereal, and just plain old awesome.  thank you, the naked and famous(don't we all wish to be naked and famous?  well, i'd settle for just being famous.  or at least looking better naked.)

btw - if you sign up to be on their mailing list, they'll send you a bonus track.  how cool is that????


heartsy. last one of the year!

>> Tuesday, November 22, 2011

heartsy is hosting my last deal of the year - and the first one as TheLovelySmith!  so come on over and check it out HERE - there are only 22 vouchers left! 


the itty bitty gift guide. part 5 & 6.

the GG for the guys in your life...

... and for the kids (or kids at heart!)

maybe it's the fact that we set up our tree this weekend - seriously, having a kid really makes you become more invested in traditions - but i can't stop thinking of gift ideas. too bad i'm almost done all of my xmas shopping...


the itty bitty gift guide. part 3 & 4.

>> Sunday, November 20, 2011

yes, i am on a rampage. i can't stop thinking of gift guides to make. plus with the plethora (yes, i used plethora in a sentence) of goodness out there on etsy, how can i not? enjoy!

(parts 5 and 6 to follow)


the itty bitty gift guide. part 2.

>> Saturday, November 19, 2011

the itty bitty gift guide part two - and definitely one of my favorites... inspired by a certain supernatural vampire wedding. (how could i let the release of 'breaking dawn' go by unnoticed?)


the itty bitty gift guide. part 1.

t'is that time of year again... the snow will start to fall, the temperatures already have, and minds have turned to the thoughts of sugarplums and mistletoe. so, in honour of this festive season, i bring you my etsy gift guides! part 1 - my recent favorites in shades of winter. yum.


gift giving. & the joy of the gift certificate.

the best gift in my mind is something lovingly handmade, created with great thought and consideration, and fantastically well constructed.  however, not everyone is good at thinking of presents to give, so the second best thing is the wonderful gift certificate.  and of course, theLovelySmith now offers them for the holiday season!

redeemable for anything in my shop (except for other gift certificates), these expire a good 6 months after the date of purchase!  so give handmade this holiday!!!


treasury love!

>> Tuesday, November 15, 2011

just sharing some amazing treasuries that i've been included in! so awesome. and thank you for the love - it is so wonderful see how my work fits in with others - and what fantastic taste people have.


a thousand years.

>> Monday, November 14, 2011

i know this is almost over-the-top romantic - thank you, j for the link (aren't you supposed to be sleeping?) - but i loved it at first listen. why do these people (darn you, christina perri) write these beautifully fantastic songs that appeal to the little lovestruck schoolgirl in me?   we would all love to think that there is someone out there that has loved us for a thousand years.  don't we?

yes, i am aware that there is an official twilight video for this song, but i love this one just as much.   lyrics and symbolism all at once.  plus you don't have to watch edward and bella get all mushy. (seriously, you are too good for her, dude.)


story time. or the tale of the sterling silver hoops.

>> Sunday, November 13, 2011

once upon a time, a young musician set across the country from seattle on a tour with his band.  before he left, he gave his sweetheart a set of silver hoops earrings that were his and asked her to keep them safe until his return.  after a tearful goodbye, he left her standing in the rain and promised to write.

soon after, the young musician met the real love of his life in a crowded club in a sleepy corner of texas, and, following his heart's desires, swept her off her feet, and married her.

when he returned to his hometown and to the girl whose heart he had broken, he begged for her forgiveness, asked her to give him her blessing, and for the earrings.

of course, she refused, and the young man left bereft, to continue his life with his beloved bride.

the years passed, and the young man could not get the earrings out of his mind, even though he did not regret for one moment the rest of what happened with his love life.  despite several written to his ex, asking for the earrings, she would not release them back to him.  one day, sitting at his computer, halfway across the country from his wife, he searched high and low and finally found a pair that held all the promise and shine of the pair he had lost.  he purchased the set, sent one to his wife concealed in a love letter, and kept the other for himself.  and they lived happily ever after.

(t - soon these will be on their way to you!  enjoy - and i hope that these are luckier than your previous pair!)


unexpected iPod.

a few years ago, to celebrate moving to the office closer to home (only 2kms away!!) i bought myself a little black iPod nano.  sleek and black and shiny, i anticipated walking almost every day to and from work, listening to music.  while that dream never realized itself - the job ended up being way more driving than i expected and i can count the times i walked or biked to work on three fingers (because it was 3 times - well, actually it was only 2 1/2 times because one time m saw me walking by the side of the road and picked me up in his car) - i still loved my nano and used it at the gym. 

however, over time, the nano got glitchy and the little trackball thingy got unresponsive.  then it refused to turn off, as if it was silently listening to the songs all by itself. (well, i DO make pretty awesome playlists.)  i took it in to the Apple store beneath my old office, but there was nothing they could do except adjust the backlight "time out" settings (which i could have done on my own).  finally, i just left it in the iPod dock in the kitchen, continually charging, to provide music to cook by. 

yesterday, though, i received an email stating that my little nano was recalled and that Apple would be sending out replacements to everyone who had purchased one of the flawed iPods.  apparently, the older the battery gets, the more likely it is to EXPLODE.  and for me, keeping it in the dock was not the smartest move - i suppose we could have come home to a pile of ash and soot one day.  so i signed up online and Apple will be sending me a box and instructions to mail back my old nano for replacement.  seriously, this kind of stuff never happens to me and L said i should run out and buy a lottery ticket in the hopes that the iPod luck sticks.

while the new nanos are slick and small and all techno-advanced candy coloured now, i sort of already miss mine.  i've logged a lot of kilometers on it and some of the songs that i had uploaded to it are no longer in my iTunes library.  oh well.  it's now completely wiped, restored to its factory settings, and sitting in my purse, awaiting its return trip to the great Apple graveyard in the sky.  in the meantime, i'll use the retro cool pink iPod i got off ebay and see what materializes in a few weeks.

thanks, steve jobs!  and thanks, Apple!


these broken hands.

>> Saturday, November 12, 2011

a rhinestone and sterling silver bezel set ring - a prototype that never made it to the shop but i still love it
for a long time now, i have had some sort of carpal-tunnel-esque sort of thing happening with my hands.  it seemed to have started when i was pregnant with the mini - i couldn't drive for very long without my hands falling asleep.  when i took my first metalsmithing class, at some points i could barely hold the jeweler's saw, much less anything small and delicate.  however, after the mini was born, it seemed to improve and since then i have been able to work without much difficulty, at least most days.  the height that my jewelry table is at allows for proper circulation, but my desk at work and at home aren't, which results in my hands going numb if i sit there for long periods of time.

i worry.  i worry because so much of my life involves me using my hands, and i fear that if this gets worse, that i won't be able to continue my craft.  and since i also use my hands to model my designs, i'd be out a photo prop as well.  (i suppose i could have them stuffed and preserved but i'm sure it won't look good - plus how the heck would i take photos anyways?  morbid, much?)  i know that i'm probably scared for nothing, but it causes me some concern.  it makes me wonder if i have some sort of weird rare circulatory disorder, an oddly shaped blood clot in my wrists, or that one day i'll just sit up and my hands will fall off.  sigh.

i know i had posted a link to joe brooks' amazingly sweet song already - but i woke up with it in my head.  and i love the fact that they used it in grey's.  oh callie, i know how you feel.


british sensibility...

>> Friday, November 11, 2011

just a little inspiration from across the pond...


bye bye, little muffintop!

>> Thursday, November 10, 2011

so i finally did it - in the wee hours of the morning, my sweet little muffintopdesigns shop was renamed.  i am now "the lovely smith".  while i've been trying on that name for a while and it definitely is the ONE, i am very sad to be saying goodbye to the muffintop.  new business cards have been ordered, a new etsy banner uploaded, a heartsy deal on deck and now i'm looking at revamping my packaging.  i have kept my 'colours' - it was my intention to maintain my current palette, knowing that i was eventually going to take the plunge, and hopefully it will help with the transition.  i am going to keep my blog and twitter accounts the way they are, just because i'm not ready to completely let go yet.  and really, the "muffintop" is still a part of me.

this has been a long time coming.  i think there will be a period of mourning, but i am still quite excited.  i think that moving in this direction will free me to think a little more outside the box - and better describe what i do now.  the lovely julie already refers to me as TLS - so funny but yet it was kind of the push that i needed to click the button to change my name on etsy.

thanks, little muffintop.  i will always love you!  (now i have to re-register my business name when ServiceOntario opens.  crap, i hope no one has taken it yet...)


pretty little liar.

>> Wednesday, November 9, 2011

they say that once a child reaches the age of about 4 or 5, he or she realizes that people really don't know what's going on in his/her head and lying starts to become a regular appearance.  (i beg to differ about the age estimate, it seems that the mini is either way beyond her years, has a wicked imagination, or is starting to tell me "stories" that are not true.  sigh.)   this week, however, L found out that mr. robot - despite his attempt to get her recently changed phone number and email address out of me on monday - had been seeing other people the whole 4 years that she thought that they were together.  the most recent 'girlfriend' was very much in the picture when they briefly reconciled in the late summer, and allegedly, he is moving in with her.  to be honest, i don't know how i will ever be able to speak to him again.  i guess sometimes you really can never know someone.  especially one who lies with such glibness and little remorse.  psychopath, much?  while part of me hurts for L, part of me is very happy because he is now exposed for who he is.  and we are better off without him in our lives.  oh L, i so wish that you could find someone who is worth your attentions.  (that being said, apparently A is coming down over the xmas holidays to come and stay in our basement. *wink*)


we are in love. with rose gold.

>> Sunday, November 6, 2011

a close up of the 'we are in love' necklace in sterling and rose gold filled.  sigh. 


showing off. again.

>> Saturday, November 5, 2011

 just showing off some new designs - the above is a thicker, more substantial version of my sterling knotted up ring.  it must have been a good one because my mother - who is notoriously hard to please - loved it right away and claimed it for her own.  yes, mom, it's yours.

and the newest addition to my "we are in love" collection - a rose gold filled heart floating ethereally from an oxidized rolo-type chain.  i seriously can't take mine off.  i am going to also make sterling and 14K gold filled versions as well... a girl can't have too many hearts. 


after midnight.

>> Thursday, November 3, 2011

unbeknownst to me, (probably because i live in a little bubble world filled with 'imagination movers' and 'dora the explorer' and my torch) blink-182 dropped their latest album 'neighborhoods' in september. their first release in, like, 8 years and i missed it.   i LOVE blink-182.  like, love love love them.  (yeah, i know - guitar-playing tattooed dudes.  whatever.)  of course when i figured it out (i started listening to the radio again on my commute because S and i love the dean blundell show on the Edge) i immediately downloaded it.  and so far, this one is my favorite.  love the melody - yup, it's formulaic blink but that's what makes it great - and as always, the lyrics appeal to the teenaged-angster within me.

thanks, boys.  you still have a fan in this middle aged groupie.  and the fact that you played this live in montreal rocks even more.


i want you to want me.

>> Tuesday, November 1, 2011

seriously, this song has the power to bring a smile to my face. how many times did you wish you had the guts to tell someone exactly this? oh cheap trick, how underrated you were. thanks for being part of my life soundtrack.


post-halloween wrap up.

this year was the mini's 3rd halloween.  the first two we spent eating take out in the basement by candlelight - as was our usual holiday tradition.  however, this year, she really GOT IT and fully understood the whole ghosts-and-goblins-and-all-that-jazz business.  from late september, she had already decided what she wanted to be - a fairy/cat - and once i brought the boxes of chips and bucket of candy home from costco, she was so excited to give it all out once the kids started arriving.

we headed out early, but at first she was nervous and wanted me to hold her hand (or carry her - yeah, that was a feat) up the walkways, making sure the husband was in sight on the sidewalk.  but after a while, she would  run up to the front doors.  she wouldn't actually knock (my job) or say 'trick or treat' (my job too) or hold out her little purple bucket for candy (yeah, it totally looked weird to have me do that as well.  sigh.)  after about 15 houses, we came home, dumped the contents of her little bucket into the bigger candy bucket, and waited for the kids to start streaming in.

unfortunately, they didn't.  we only got a handful of kids, despite the husband's best efforts at blasting a halloween mix (yeah, planet claire!) lighting up the jack-o-lantern, and opening the front door wide.  the mini ate 2 fun size bags of doritos and a tootsie pop and promptly puked.  after a bath, she then asked if we could go out again.  what a little trouper!

ah, halloween.  can't wait for next year!  (anyone want some candy?  we have lots leftover.  so much for my diet.)


handmade goes nickleodeon.

>> Sunday, October 30, 2011

being the mother of a toddler, i don't watch much adult-type tv. not even the news most days. however, i was watching 'wow wow wubbzy' with the mini and was thrilled that there is an episode dedicated to making handmade gifts! nick jr's on the handmade revolution bandwagon! totally and utterly COOL.


monolith. and the bud wishbones.

 i've been working on some new designs as well as some new photo backdrops (gotta keep it interesting, right?) so i'm showing off some of this weekend's results.  the picture above is of my "monolith" band in sterling silver - seriously shiny and seriously gorgeous in its imperfect state. 

these argentium sterling bud wishbone earrings are really complemented by these beach stones, collected on that super sunny day a few weeks ago on the shores of lake ontario.  i love the juxtaposition of the curve of the metal against the pitted surfaces of the rocks.

i've been using my old olympus fe-20 because somehow, in the last few days, either myself or the mini has misplaced my fantastic black samsung sl-102 somewhere in our house.  with the usb cord and everything.  sigh.  however, i do admit that this camera can't be beat for it's super macro setting.  delicious.


give me love.

although ed sheeran is jailbait for me - i usually don't like redheads at all - i think i've fallen for him solely on the merits of this song. yes, i know, i should have looked this up a long time ago.

i think it might replace "whistle for the choir" on my most played list, don't you?


oh my. front page joy.

>> Saturday, October 29, 2011

so i'm out with J doing property inspections (and sneaking off to have lunch) when my blackberry goes off and it's Julie.  with a bbm telling me that i'm on the front page of etsy.  in a treasury that she made!  (see the shot of her computer screen above?)  seriously, it totally made my day - plus, in the hour that it was up, i received over a 1000 views of my DIY stack of sterling skinny rings, 30 new shop hearts, and tons of miscellaneous traffic!  it couldn't have been a better advertising opportunity.  so thank you again, Julie - for putting me on your wish list!  (and hey - your new pretties are in the mail!!!!)


still thinking about the name change...

>> Thursday, October 27, 2011

 i am still thinking about renaming my shop.  even though i am horribly relucant to let go of the "muffintop" (the one i possess in real life, not so much, sigh!) i really do feel like i should.  i know that julie and L doth protest much, and M likes the muffin stamp i designed ages ago and still use on my packaging, but i think that "jewelry by muffin top designs" does not look professional as a byline on the fashion pages of InStyle.  not that i'd ever get there, but a girl can dream, can't she?  i also seem to get a lot of web traffic to my blog and my shop by people searching for things like "muffin top jewelry" or "muffin top shop".  can i give that up?  i don't know.

anyhow, the latest name i am enamored with is "TheLovelySmith".  (i wiki-ed the definition of "smith" - here it is.)  i can envision a handcrafted wooden sign hanging outside a small, thatched roof studio cottage in the forest and me hammering over an open flame.  kind of dorky and sappy, huh?  i do kind of feel badly referring to myself as "lovely" (self-esteem is not my strong point, obviously) but it just FITS for some reason.  i don't know if i can parlay the muffin into a lovely smith, but maybe this is what i've been looking for?


the way i am.

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2011

i can't remember where i stumbled upon this song, but it's been in my rotation for quite some time. quirky and sweet. and catchy to boot. plus, really, is there anything better than someone who will just take you the way you are? thank you, ingrid michaelson!

(i am sure this would be an appropriate segue into billy joel's "just the way you are"... but i'm not going to do that.)


kewtsy. deal.

a quick note - i am running a deal on the fabulous site kewtsy for the next couple of days! you can check out the details here!  i've been working with linda, who is fantastic.  if there is anyone who wants to pitch a deal to her, you can click on the "vendors" link!  thanks, linda!!!!!! 


expensive happy accident?

>> Sunday, October 23, 2011

i don't know what i was thinking when i placed my last supply order, but when it arrived, i realized that i was now the proud owner of some fantastic, albeit super expensive, 4mm wide sterling silver wire.  gorgeously silken and shiny and smooth, the wire is heavier and more substantial than the stock i usually use.  and i haven't worked with silver this thick in width unless i've cut it myself. 

of course i made a plain band with it immediately.  (how could i not?)   and it's beautiful.  molten and almost flawless except for my signature unfinished seam.

the success of the initial band then led to the stamping experiments.  i have not been successful (at least in my mind) with using stamps because i am notoriously crooked and i don't always use even pressure, resulting in - ahem - typos.  i made two rings, one with the word "love" (of course) and the other with the word "evolve".  i oxidized the deep grooves of the letters, then threw them in the tumbler.  i wasn't 100% that i would like the finished product because of course the letters were uneven, slanted and one of the "e"s was backwards.  but when i pulled them out of the water, they were almost heartbreakingly sweet, with a definite rustic handmade feel to them.  which i LOVE.  i'm not sure if i will ever sell them in my shop, but i am almost crazy over these.  the two stamped bands are way too large for me, so i might just wear them on a chain around my neck. 

yup, i already have more wire on order.



>> Saturday, October 22, 2011

... but not out of control!  i've been experimenting a little with my wishbone style earrings and came up with these lovelies!  sculptural, linear, almost like a line drawing come to life.  there's a "spiral jetty" (r.i.p. robert smithson) kind of feel to them, but they're still feminine while being deliciously modern.  while i do love working with solder and flame, there is something quite straightforward and simple about cold forging wire.  sigh.



>> Friday, October 21, 2011

i was driving home in my car, feeling a little miserable because it was raining (again, like it has been all week), i was tired, had no idea what to make for dinner, and had just gotten reamed out by the manager of the bank i deal with for work because of some stuff someone else did while i was off. i've been slowly going through the hundred unlabeled CDs in my car, and stumbled upon this little gem by Lit. i remember living up north and a cool kid who i was doing anger management with handed me this song on a mixed CD he had made for me. it was great then, and is still great now. yay for being miserable!

(i wonder what happened to the band. hmmmm.)



one of the greatest musical finds of the last few years. a little bit of the jesus and mary chain, a little bit of dream pop sensibility, and a huge whack of fabulousness. probably the most awesome thing to come out of sweden since ikea. and the best name ever.

unfortunately, they haven't released anything since 2010. the main dudes have reformed into a new musical project, called Det Vackra Livet. sadly for me, the songs are in swedish. maybe it's time for a language course?


design challenge!

>> Thursday, October 20, 2011

on this dreary thursday morning, the design challenge vote for my etsy team begins!  take a look at the entries and you can click on the link on the top right corner of the team blog to cast your vote!  and no, you don't have to vote for me.


omg. the reality of changing my name.

>> Tuesday, October 18, 2011

so today, etsy rolled out to shop owners the ability to change your shop name.  i can do it, but only once.  and i am still debating with myself whether or not to change it.  i am nostalgic about the muffin top legacy (ha ha ha) and am reluctant to lose all the marketing that i have done over the past 4+ years.  however, i feel that "muffintop" does not truly represent the work that i do now and really have been seriously throwing around ideas for names. 

they are as follows:

solder & flux
solder & burn
rock silver hammer
pyrograph (it means writing with fire - how cool! but is it too close to pyromaniac?)
sterling & solder
torch & burn (i don't know why i like names with "&" in it but i do and this is my shop)
evolved/evolve/evolutionary (no, the words individually, not with the slashes in between)
or just my last name - rainville

this "short list" is so not a short list.  i'm torn.  this is a once in a lifetime change and i don't want to make a misstep.  because i've made quite a few in my lifetime, LOL.  sigh.



totally one of the best "i'm-so-in-love-with-you-i-can't-stand-it" songs. yeah, i know it was in a gum commercial, but i don't care. there is nothing like the feeling where you are so in love with someone that you just can't help yourself. like loving the cute boy from your english lit class from afar, sneaking clandestine glances at him from behind your locker door. the original video is very cute, but they've disabled the embedding feature so i had to substitute this one instead.

ah, love. you crafty devil.

now i'm off to set some metal on fire. got a huge box of precious metal in the mail today. talk about LOVE!


pumpkin patch.

>> Sunday, October 16, 2011

i haven't participated in a team design challenge in forever.  but this month's challenge theme - "pumpkin patch" - made me a little inspired.  i've been dying to add a little something to my wishbone earrings, and i stumbled on a little stash of swarovski crystals in bright pumpkin-y orange today.  eureka!  and here are my little pumpkin wishbone earrings!

in celebration of pumpkins and all things autumn, i'm giving away a pair of these!  (i haven't had a giveaway in forever either!)  want them?  all you have to do is this:

- follow my blog and post a comment stating that you are following me (mandatory entry)
- post a comment here and tell me why you love autumn! (1 entry)

easy, right?  i'll get the mini to randomly pick a winner on october 31st!  make sure you leave your email so that i can get in touch with you if you win!

in the meantime, you can check out the other tradeaholics' fabulous creations here and here!


size isn't everything.

i don't know why i never thought of this in the first place, but i'm presenting the small size of my wishbone argentium sterling silver open hoop earrings.  small, but powerful.  seriously.


capturing the minute.

>> Saturday, October 15, 2011

i am not bragging and not gloating.  i am documenting this minute because it probably will not happen again for some time.  right now, like RIGHT this minute, all of my bills are paid, i have no credit card debt, my kid is sleeping, the husband is not complaining, and i am watching grey's anatomy on demand (why the heck didn't they have it on demand last season?).  see sandra oh in the picture above?  yeah, that's me RIGHT NOW.  without the scrubs.  and the superstar status.  and the hit tv show. 



>> Friday, October 14, 2011



today we are going to bury one of my favorite clients, who passed away on monday after a long fight with cancer.  when i met him years ago to do an intake assessment for our program, he had told me that he had only a year to live, but was undergoing experimental treatment to see what happened.  well, that treatment gave him almost another 6 years with us.  6 years that were full of joyous and happy moments, extra large coffees with cream, and amazingly wonderful conversations.

john, i am so sad that you are gone.  your smile and shining wit will be very missed.  rest in peace.


going postal.

>> Thursday, October 13, 2011

but not in the way you might think.  (although, some days, quite tempting...)  i've been wanting to make earrings with posts FOREVER, but was afraid that my soldering technique and tendency to be heavy handed with the torch would just melt the fragile little slivers of silver and become merely an exercise in frustration.  however i had some leftover bezel posts that i realized i was never going to use so i snipped them off and soldered them onto these free form oversized sterling hoops.  there was no melting!  just a little struggling to make sure the placement of the posts were correct and voila!   after a couple of hours in the tumbler and with the addition of some sweet sterling butterfly backings and they were done.  i am going to test-drive them today and see how they hold up to the rigors of court and a team meeting at the office.

hmmmm... the design possibilities are endless...

(postscript 7:24am - okay, seriously, these look WAY better on than in the pictures. plus they are light and easy to wear!!!!)


changing my name.

>> Wednesday, October 12, 2011

no, not my REAL name - but my etsy shop name.  for a while now, i've been kicking around the idea of renaming my store.  while sweet and cute, "muffintopdesigns" probably fit me when i was making bright beaded jewelry and sewing sock monkeys, but, alas, i no longer do that.  (seriously, i barely ever touch my beads anymore.  sigh.)  one of the biggest reasons that i haven't done that - and honestly, probably the ONLY one - is because i didn't want to have to give up my sales stats and feedback to start a brand new shop, which was the only way i would have been able to do it before.  (and admittedly, i think it's kind of neat that people refer to me as "muffin".)

but now, etsy has made it possible for me to change my shop name, while redirecting my old URL to my storefront.  it's all outlined in this article here, and i'm kind of excited.   (sidenote - of course i just ordered 500 business cards from vistaprint, isn't that always the way it goes?) so i have about a week to think about whether or not i want to change things up, or let them remain the same. 

not that i'm a lemming, but i would love your honest feedback about whether or not a name change would be good.  i'm really torn and could use some insight.  i would be changing it to some variant of my real name or something along the lines of "solder & flux designs" (as long as it isn't taken). 

anyways.  thoughts?


green eyes.

woke up with this song running through my head. so i'm posting it. thank you, chris martin and your sparsely beautiful lyrics. i'm actually surprised that after the day i had - i returned to the office after being off for almost 3 weeks - i was even able to sleep last night. and this song is one of my favorites. maybe my inner DJ is trying to soothe me?

(love the cute little dedication at the beginning of this homemade video - seriously, broadcasting your love via youtube? love it!)


brand new love.

>> Monday, October 10, 2011

can't help but love this song. i know that death cab for cutie does a partial cover (on their john byrd ep), and deadsy does a pretty awesome electro-core version but i definitely don't love them as much as the original.

it reminds me of the days we used to wear vintage fine wale corduroys with simples and soft cardigans. indie love, much?


giving thanks.

apparently, the history of canadian thanksgiving can be traced back to 1578, when explorer Martin Frobisher set sail from England with 15 ships laden with supplies and people to establish a settlement in what is now known as Frobisher Bay near Baffin Island.  however, the quest was plagued by disaster and the minister on hand, Robert Wolfall, suggested that they break to give thanks and take communion.

subsequent quests to canada by the english and the french followed the tradition of giving thanks by holding huge feasts and sharing their bounty with their first nations friends.  american refugees from the civil war added an americana slant to the holiday, and the rest, they say, is history.

while life is not perfect, there are a great many things to be thankful for in my life - and i am very thankful today.  happy turkey day, everyone!


beach day break!

>> Saturday, October 8, 2011

today we decided to take a break from everything and we headed down to the beach.  yes, the BEACH.  in OCTOBER.  it was gorgeously hot outside and we couldn't let it go to waste.  the mini had tons of fun throwing smooth beach pebbles into cold Lake Ontario and wandering on the sand-dusted boardwalk.  definitely refreshing and mentally invigorating.  makes me miss living so close to the water - we should have taken advantage of it more.



>> Friday, October 7, 2011

so i don't know how i did it, but i have managed to cut, burn with acid, and scorch with flame the exact same spot on my left index finger.  it probably doesn't help that when i sand things down, i use that finger to brace the metal and end up sanding over the wound.  sigh.  anyone got a band-aid?  or a chain maille glove?


the heartsy deal continues!

my heartsy deal ( ) is only on for one more day!  seriously, it is a huge discount and i'm running ahead of schedule on some orders!  thank you again, heartsy!


hoping to be overwhelmed.

>> Tuesday, October 4, 2011

so tomorrow, my second heartsy deal will open.  i am hopeful that i will sell out!  (if you don't see me for a while, it's because i'm buried in the basement with my torch and my iPod.)


i am in love. more hearts.

>> Monday, October 3, 2011

sterling silver open freeform heart on an 18" slightly oxidized, rolo-type chain. i like this more than the bangle. (sorry, julie!)



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