thank you.

>> Saturday, March 26, 2011

today i reached 1500 sales on etsy.  (1502, to be exact)  thank you, thank you, thank you, for supporting me and my little jewelry shop.  i couldn't do it without you.

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it's all about the perspective.

eons ago, when i was in art school, i used to dread critique days.  after weeks of working on something, we would have to pull it together and get ready to present in front of our class, our professors, and whoever else decided to drift in to listen to us get "critiqued".  i used to feel more like we were on the chopping block.  being branded an "ARTIST" always made me think of pretentious, skinny, pale snobs, smoking cigarettes.  painfully, i wanted to be one just as much as i hated being associated with them.  sometimes, listening to the haughty drivel that some of my classmates came up with made me feel slightly nauseated - seriously, most of the time, i had NO idea about what they were talking about.  it felt like a competition of how many big words people could fit into their 10 minutes of presentation time.  and in the end, i'm not sure it really mattered, because the esthetic usually won out anyways.  (seriously, art school is overrated.)

flash forward to now... i look at art in a totally different way now.  perhaps it is the art therapist part of me, perhaps it is the mellowing that almost inevitably comes with age, but i realize that what is REALLY important in the art of self-expression is the perspective.  the person behind the paintbrush, the pencil, the clay, or the viewfinder is showing the world how they see the world.  (why do you think parents love any and all artwork that their kids do?)  and that in itself gives credence to the art making process.  it is how YOU see things.  where YOU see beauty. and in having the courage to share that perspective with the world, to nudge someone into thinking about things just a little differently, makes it even more beautiful.

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forever.

showing off my new design - a stylized infinity symbol is repeated along the length of both this wedding band and the matching engagement "diamond" ring (as with my other engagement rings, the "diamond" is reclaimed sterling - just awesome and another excuse for me to melt metal.)
for some reason, every time i look at this set, i hear ben harper's "forever" in my head.  so here it is for your listening pleasure - as interpreted by miguel tavares.

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no one said it would be easy.

>> Friday, March 25, 2011

here's to taking risks.  to taking the road less travelled.  to doing something that scares you every day.  to putting yourself out there.  to making yourself vulnerable.  to letting go.  to looking forward. 


no one said it would be easy.  but it sure feels good when you get there. 

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friday i'm in love.


by the time friday rolls around, the week feels like it's lasted for an eternity.  so there's nothing better than this fantastic song to usher out the work week.  i still heart you and your musical genius, robert smith!

a little bit of trivia for you - this is the 2nd single off the cure's 1992 album 'wish' (oh yeah, i was there when the tour came to toronto) and was nominated for a grammy.  apparently, when he wrote the song, robert smith was convinced that he had ripped off the melody from somewhere but couldn't figure out where and neither could anyone else.  the official song that was released on the album wasn't the REAL version that the band had intended to put out - allegedly, smith had forgotten to reset the vari-speed levels in the studio and voila - the version we know and love.    (just a little trivia for you music buffs - like my friend lori!)

happy friday, all!  here's hoping yours is light, sunny and happy!

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california all the way.

>> Thursday, March 24, 2011


today's sunshine was totally california all the way.  nothing like driving in the warmth, listening to luna - one of those bands from my undergrad days.  wished i could have frozen the moment in time to carry around with me.

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i drove all night.

well, not last night i didn't.  however, out of sheer frustration of not being able to sleep and being too tired to do anything else, my mind wandered to thoughts of driving, which is probably one of my most favorite things to do.  (this insomnia is becoming a theme, methinks!)

family vacations with my parents meant countless long drives in the car, (nyc, minneapolis, and even once, florida)  packed with snacks and cassettes of my dad's favorites - the product of weeks of compliling before our departure date.  kenny rogers, don mclean, anne murray... all minstrels who probably fed my kind-of-secret love for country music.  then there were the beach boys, tom jones (you go, dad!) and of course, elvis.  my dad prefers to drive at nighttime, when there is less traffic, less distractions, and the quiet blanket of darkness.  most of the time he and i used to stay up alone while the rest of the family slept, driving, talking and listening to his favorites.

i too prefer to drive under the cover of darkness.  not so long ago, my workweek consisted of over 40 hours of driving - some for the job and some for the commute - and most of it in late afternoon into twilight.  i also have a thing for fast cars - call me a stereotype; tokyo drift, much? - i've torn my way through three honda civic coupes, the last (and my favorite) with a sleek silvery paint job and a dashboard that lit up like a christmas tree at night, all neon chronometer and fiery red numbers.  back when things were also a little less stable at home, there were also long, meandering drives with the sunroof open, and the music loud.

some of my best thinking was - and probably still is - done in the car.  my commute is 30 minutes of nearly highway speed limits and rolling hills, with a minimum number of streetlights and speed traps.  if only i could sketch designs while i drive! most of the time, i am alone with my thoughts, with no distractions (especially if my blackberry is quiet), and music.  i have the feeling that there is a long-distance trucker buried somewhere inside me just waiting to get out.  or maybe cyndi lauper.

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sorry.

>> Wednesday, March 23, 2011

i'm sorry i cut you off.  sorry i didn't return your call.  sorry i forgot to write that letter.  sorry i wasted your time.  sorry i made you sign that paper.  sorry i dropped the ball.  sorry i interrupted you. i'm sorry i didn't let you know.  i'm sorry i broke my promise.  i'm sorry i keep saying sorry.



it's been one of those days.  at least it's almost over!

(sorry i chose buckcherry and all their cheesiness.  but i really like this song.  especially acoustic.)

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the legend of the puzzle ring.

for a while now, i have been making these intertwined rolling "puzzle" rings - in a combination of sterling, copper and brass.  my version is a simple one of course, but the history of these rings is rich, somewhat misogynistic, and skeweredly romantic.  and it was quite the puzzle on the manufacturing side of things to figure out how to solder the rings together in the right order so that they fit together properly.

all the legends imply that the ring originated long ago possibly somewhere in Turkey where a king or nobleman had it designed as a wedding ring for his beautiful wife (hence the term "turkish wedding ring") .  the ring itself was made up of many pieces and was so intricate that if she ever took the ring off (with the intention of being unfaithful to him while he was away slaying dragons or going to the office, i suppose) , it would be almost impossible for her to put it back together without him - because he was the one with the solution.  kind of romantic, i guess, but i really do hope that he had one made for himself so that she would have had a similar guarantee of fidelity.  and perhaps they could have also worked on their communication skills.  but that's another discussion altogether.

nowadays, puzzle rings are used as a symbol of love, usually given as a promise ring, wedding band, or token of affection.  the more intricate ones usually come with the "solution" so that if one does find themselves hopelessly befuddled, the ring can be put back together.  my version is (obviously) a more simple one - just three rings linked together, allowing the wearer to roll it back and forth over their finger, which is the perfect distraction during boring meetings or family reunions.  and while it is definitely not a guarantee of anyone's fidelity, i can pretty much guarantee that my rings will be cherished.

on that note - talking about love... nothing like a little pop song to start off the day.


the smittens.  100 roses.  because that's darn romantic.

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push your head towards the air.

>> Tuesday, March 22, 2011


sometimes when you're exhausted at the end of the day, you need a song like this.  editors - LIVE.  just for you.

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bigger is better. at least when you're melting copper.

i think i am destined not to sleep.  oh well.  means that i had a little extra time to research copper and how to set it on fire.  and i have a possible solution to my problem.  i have to go bigger............ in that i need a bigger torch.  *insert evil villain's laugh here and find the fire extinguisher*

my initial problem started because i assumed that copper wire would respond to the flame in the same way that sterling, argentium and fine silver does.  while copper does have a relatively low melt temperature (around 1900 degrees F) it is also an excellent heat conductor (hence its use in electrical, thermal and building applications) which sucks for me because this means that the metal draws the heat faster than i can supply it via my small handheld torch.  it also results in the wire "breaking" before the ball is completely formed at the end of my wire.  eureka!

apparently, a larger torch works even better and with a little tweaking of my technique, should get me the results that i want.  so today, i'm off to home depot and grabbing myself something bigger and hotter.  (that would be a plumber's torch.  get your mind out of the gutter.)

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hooked.

>> Monday, March 21, 2011

this lovely treasury is by the lovely dreamsdesigned in honour of her grandfather who was a beadsmith!  talent runs in that family... and this treasury too!  thank you for including my rings!

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back to work.

and not in the good artsy jewelry making sort of way.  it was back to the office for me this morning - and it was a gray, rainy morning, mirroring the way i felt.  sigh.  and of course, inspiration hits at inopportune moments, but i'm hoping to have some time to work on some new ring designs.

i did have some time to try to make a copper version of the tiny bud earrings, but quickly found out that copper has different melting properties than sterling.  much different.  i think i went through a whole tank of butane and now i have a whole bunch of twisted, charred wire fragments littering my workspace.  but i'm determined to get it right... so stay tuned. 

in the meantime... i'm totally loving the freelance whales.  what a nice surprise.  a little bit of ride, a little bit of swervedriver, a little bit of chapterhouse with a sprinkling of belle & sebastian.  because, of course, we can always just be friends.  yummy.

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hints & salutations.


some new favorites. 

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teenage dirtbag

>> Sunday, March 20, 2011

i hated high school and i'd NEVER go back.  but if i did, i'd tell my awkward, insecure self that everything ends up being okay.  that failing calculus does NOT mean that you won't get a real job.  that one day, you WILL get the guy.  and that life is sometimes as simple as two tickets to iron maiden.  (but why couldn't i have looked  like mena suvari?) 

the absolutely perfect teenage anti-anthem.  take that, guns n roses!



(whatever happened to wheatus anyways?  i sooo love this song.)

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she is beautiful.



this one is for the mini.  seriously, she LOVES andrew w.k.   and of course, we think she's totally beautiful.

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what a little music can do...

i woke up this morning to see that the lovely SelloholicMom featured my ever evolving blog playlist  in her Daily li paper - scroll down to her Arts & Entertainment section! music really does speak to everyone - what started a little collection of new favorites is hopefully making it's way to random iPods.  (hey choirboy, i will be thanking you properly in person when i see you.)

(now if i could only figure out how to pull a screenshot (new toshiba laptop be damned, where the heck is the prt scn key) we'd have a proper graphic for this post.)

funny enough, i just finished reading Jodi Picoult's latest novel, Sing You Home - which tells the story of a music therapist and her journey amidst life's challenges.  while the book is true to Picoult's formulaic template (if you read/saw My Sister's Keeper, you'd know what i'm talking about - engaging characters, courtroom drama, legal jargon, twist at the end) i was more interested in how she describes the way music provides a soundtrack to life and how music therapy - or really, any art-based therapy - works.   it got me thinking about what i was listening to when i was trudging my way through school and how the songs from that time period in my life brings me back to who i was and what i was doing.

15 years ago (yeah, 15. holy cow.  where were YOU 15 years ago?)  i was working on my MA in art therapy in a very small department at a huge metropolitan university.  being the wanna-be goth cheerleader in high school, and the alternative, i-dress-only-in-black fine arts student during my first round at university, it only made sense that my final research master's thesis was going to be about death and dying.  i packed up my art supplies and headed off to the palliative care unit of the hospital i was interning at.

well, that was an eye-opening experience.  quite a blow to my self esteem as well as a definite challenge to my work as a clinician.  as Picoult describes in her book, it is hard to try to convince people that they should be doing something as insignificant as drawing pictures or participating in a resounding version of "the wheels on the bus" while they are struggling with astronomical doses of pain medications (anyone up for a lethal dose of dilaudid with lunch?), saying good bye to their loved ones, and just plain old LIVING.  i worked very closely with a music therapy intern as well and i know that she struggled with the same dilemma.  seriously, the LAST thing i probably would want if i was in the hospital is some know-it-all student coming with her crayolas, wanting me to make a picture.

Picoult effectively outlines the principles of music therapy - which i feel pretty much sums up any creative therapists' work.  even though people might think that it's airy-fairy, bohemian, new age garbage, there are strong roots in psychology and the science of psychotherapy with all the creative therapies.  (i know.  try stumbling your way though Abnormal Psychology 101 and The Fundamentals of the Structure of the Brain)  it's about accompanying someone on their journey, alleviating their pain, giving them an alternative way to "talk", and honouring who they are and where they have come from.  it's about establishing and maintaining the therapeutic relationship, giving someone a safe place to be, to talk, to dream.  i remember covering an elderly cancer patient's room walls with images of her childhood so that she could look at them every day.  i remember drawing pictures with a small child in the waiting room as her family spent their last moments with their loved one.  i remember spending hours with the music therapy student in her music group, giving people the opportunity to forget where they were, just for a moment.
in the years since i graduated, i always seem to find myself incorporating my art therapy background into the work that i do - whether it's running a craft group, designing a logo, using a sketch to help someone work through an issue, or being the artist i think i am in my private life so that i don't get crazy stressed  (the gocco printed notebook to the left is by me!) - and i am thankful for the insights and the experiences that i have had.  the music almost always follows as well - i never run a group without having some music on in the background.  the "soundtrack" of my life also provides a thread that i can follow back to those times, and i can see how the songs i was listening to also helped me.

so don't hesitate to be creative or to take the time to dance to the music in your head.  it's good for you.

that being said, here's a favorite from my school days. (yes, i know i'm treading on vintage territory.  and sorry for the boring youtube video.)

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