Monday, November 30, 2009
Here is the worktop with my supplies on it (you can barely see the anvil and vise on the top shelf). Even better: there is a light on the underside of the shelf so that I have my workspace lit up! There is even a power bar on one side so that I can plug things into it when I get my torch, kiln and other power tools up here. I still have to get the proper extension cord to plug the power bar into the wall, but that is not essential at this point.
Here are the two giant drawers that I managed to fit most of my regularly-used tools and supplies into. One side is for tools, the other for wire, stringing materials and so forth.
Here is the bottom shelf, where I have room for my polymer clay oven, paper shredder and empty storage boxes. When I get my last set of shelves, the empty boxes will go on them so that I have my feet free to rest on the shelf when I sit to work at the bench.
Here is my office now - I have my desk and workbench snug against each other so that I can work on one side and still see (and more importantly, reach) the other. Now I can work on jewelry and my laptop at the same time, Hallelujah!
Until tomorrow, we got our first dusting of snow this morning, I'm off to try and ignore it (with many a "Humbug!", lol).
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I'm off to clean the house a bit, do some groceries...and play with my new workbench! It finally arrived - a little different than the photo online - and is now just begging to be used :)
Have a great Sunday!
Friday, November 27, 2009
This Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, join me in my Etsy store for great deals on your holiday shopping:
buy 3 items - get 30% off
buy 4 items - get 40% off
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Arwen also wants to let you know how thankful she is for all of your wonderful compliments and comments that are directed to her. She sees every one and wags her tail as she receives them.
What are you thankful for? We wish you a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
High-5 Mommy! We hope you all have a great Wednesday.
Mommy also wants to thank everyone who came out to the Gluten free Baking Exchange cooking class last night. It was so much fun and there were so many awesome baked goods for everyone to take home. Can't wait for next week!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Meg and Mel's Holiday Balls
1 Cup Butter
2 tbsp Agave Nectar
1 tsp Brandy
2-1/4 Cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix (see the link for the flour recipe)
1/2 Cup Gluten Free Icing Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts OR Chocolate Chips OR Dried Cranberries OR a combination of them
Granulated Sugar for Sprinkling (Optional)
Cream the butter and agave nectar. Add in the brandy.
Evenly sprinkle the flour, icing sugar and salt over the top and mix until just combined.
Mix in the walnuts/cranberries/chocolate chips and blend.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until cold.
Preheat oven to 350Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using your fingers, make small, teaspoon-sized balls and roll them in the sugar, if using.
Shake the excess sugar off the cookies and place them about 1-2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until they are golden around the edges.
Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
I would also like to thank everyone for their kind words. Brennan is very proud of himself for keeping the secret for over 6 weeks while it was made, and we are both very happy :)
Have a great day!
Monday, November 23, 2009
There are many well known bloggers on this site, including Ana from the House of Mouse, a favorite of mine, and a very successful seller herself. I really recommend bookmarking the Sellers blog if you are currently selling online, or are planning to in the future.
Have a great day!
P.S. If you are wondering at my absence over the weekend, it was Brennan's and my 8 year anniversary (yay us!). He got me my engagement ring, and um, we were a little busy on Saturday getting it resized. I am also busy planning for new cooking classes with my partner in crime, Melody. That takes quite a bit of time also :)
Friday, November 20, 2009
Do you want to be featured? Leave me a comment with a way to contact you!
M2bC makes all kinds of beautiful jewelry, but focuses on chainmail, strining and Kuhimono, a special type of Japanese braiding.
With pieces ranging from about $8 to $88, there is something for almost everyone on your gift list :)
Please do check out her Artfire shop and see all of the amazing things she has to offer. She also has a blog - why not stop by and say hello??
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Here is my beautiful new desk! I got it from Ikea and it is fabulous! I was able to fit one of my filing cabinets right under the desk, with room for a storage box full of old computer stuff behind it (old hard drives, etc.). It is wide and deep enough to hold my laptop, stereo, water glass, to-do binder, scrap paper binder (I told you I'm into the 3 R's, lol), my pen pots (recycled from old tea-leaf cans covered in scrapbook paper), and my "freebie box" - all of my materials that go into making freebies for you when you order more than $10 from my shops. I like to keep it in front of me so that if I have a little extra time I can fill it by making gifties for you! Even better is that my desk is in front of my window so that I can see outside when it is light and be inspired by my forest. The desk is also over my heating vent, which has turned out to be quite handy in keeping my perennially cold toes nice and toasty!
Here is my temporary work desk. It is clean! I have my tools in the storage drawers to the left, with my vice and anvil in front. Then I have my 2 bead and finding storage drawer sets (they are overflowing, so the next time Canadian Tire has a sale on these "Parts Drawers", I'll be getting ANOTHER one, LOL! I also have room to work, which is great, as well as being able to store my various-sized plastic baggies (in the white boxes next to the bead storage) and my photography light is on top of a box to better light up my light box, which I now have room for! See the last photo for my new light box.
Here is what will be my reading corner. I have Arwen's bed so that we can be near each other, I have my tall bookshelves with some books, and many pieces of Etsy Artisans' art - from Epic Farms, Crazy Bliss, Art By Marilyn, Visual Smiles Gallery, Bunnies and Hares by Dragon House of Yuen (not pictured, but I now have them on my small bookshelf), and more! I'm going to put more of my books on the smaller shelf and eventually find a comfy armchair/reading chair to put right beside it that I can curl up in to read a good book for hours on end. I also had room for one of my yoga mats and light hand weights, so that I am able to get in a few good vinyasas or arm curls when waiting for things to load :)
Here is my fabulous light box! Constructed from a standard cardboard filing box, I lined it with plain white paper to bounce the light around in it. I have a white background for dark pieces, and for lighter pieces I have this grey background (it looks brown here, but that is from all of the different light sources hitting it in the photo). This allows me to have more even lighting and get more consistent photos of my jewelry. I finally have room for it, and room to store it when not in use, so I am very excited about this!
Well, that is all for now, I'll keep you updated on the new workbench and shelves as they become available. I'm also starting to (slowly) purchase metalsmithing equipment to expand my jewelry knowledge and techniques, so I will be sure to show you the new tools as I get them :)
For those interested, the heavy duty shelving units (Spacemaker Brand) are from Canadian Tire and cost $45.99 each. They are 36inches wide, 70inches tall and 16inches deep. The desk is from Ikea and is Mikael model in beech/white and was $69.99. It is approximately 55inches wide, 29inches deep and 29inches high. The filing cabinets were fromZellers, on sale for $39.99 each (I got 2) and are for standard, letter sized documents. The black storage boxes were also from Ikea and were the Kassett series, both the CD boxes and Magazine boxes. They came in sets of 2 per kind and were $6.99-$17.99. The parts drawers and storage drawers on my work desk are from Canadian Tire and ranged from $13.99-$29.99 at regular price, but I waited until they were on super-sale. The workbench (still to come) is a stainless steel-topped workbench from Canadian Tire and is regularly $199.99 but I got it on sale for $89.99. The total office overhaul (7 years overdue), cost about $550. Prices are in Canadian Dollars, not including taxes.
Have a great day, I am off to enjoy my nearly finished, and SO much better, art space!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Stay tuned, you don't want to miss the transformation :)
Monday, November 16, 2009
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment...
Friday, November 13, 2009
I also got a pleasant surprise when I found that my Jeweled Celtic Spiral Ring is on Beaded Tail's Friday Features Blog! Every Friday Sharla and her amazing animals feature great artists and I am so tickled to be among them this week! Please stop by and check out the other amazing artists on the blog.
That is all for now, tune in tomorrow for a few photos of the disaster I am calling my office...I'm currently refurnishing and reorganizing and it looks like a crafter exploded!
See you tomorrow, if I survive :)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
In between the Byzantine weave units, I am attaching bead units that are actually a part of the chain weave. These are Czech glass fire polish beads in Crystal AB that are strung on small pieces of wire with their ends hammered flat. Then I take the other end and twist it into a double ring and attach it into the weave of the chain. After 3 hours of ring making, filing and chain making, I have about 6 inches or so done. I should be able to get the rest done today.
Tell me, what do you think (honestly)? Would you like it in silver plate or sterling silver, or 14karat gold filled? With different colored beads? Let me know, I value your opinion!
That's all for now, tune in tomorrow for a Fabulous Friday Feature.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Today is Remembrance day and I, Arwen the Wonder dog, wanted to honor all of the troops, past, present and future with a post about their heroism. One thing we often forget, however, is that animals also played roles in earlier wars. Horses, and dogs helped our troops quite often. Here is a true story, taken from the Dogs In Canada website, written by Amanda Kelly, about a Canadian dog named Gander. He was a Newfoundland breed of dog and turned out to be quite a hero. Please read on:
Big, hairy and goofy, ‘Gander’ was a typical Newfoundland Dog – and an unlikely Canadian war hero. Nevertheless, this gentle giant was destined to carve out a spot in history and in the hearts of Canadian veterans of the Battle of Hong Kong.
Gander began his life as ‘Pal,’ the beloved pet of Ron Hayden, manager of Shell Oil at the Gander Airport in the early 1940s. Pal was a frequent visitor to the airport, where he often assisted Hayden in refueling aircraft by towing a sled carrying the 45-gallon drum of fuel. When not working, Pal kept himself busy visiting with the soldiers assigned to Gander’s busy airbase and serving as a popular playmate for the town’s children.
During one particularly exuberant playtime, Pal accidentally scratched young Joan Chafe on the face, leaving scrapes requiring a doctor’s attention. Upset, his owners discussed the possibility of having Pal euthanized, but no one, least of all the children, wanted to see this happen. Instead, Pal was gifted to members of the first Battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada stationed in Gander at the time. Renamed in honour of the town, Gander became the unit’s mascot.
Hoping to deter hostile action by Japan, Britain began reinforcing its out-post in Hong Kong in October 1941. Canada sent a force of 1,975 troops, consisting primarily of two battalions – the Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles of Canada. As a newly minted member of the Royal Rifles family, Gander sailed from Vancouver with his new companions on October 27, 1941.
Upon arriving on November 16, the Canadian units were assigned the task of defending Hong Kong’s beaches. On December 8, the Japanese attacked Hong Kong. What ensued were 17-1/2 days of intense fighting known as the Battle of Hong Kong.
Poorly equipped and outnumbered, defences on mainland Hong Kong were quickly defeated and the Japanese army turned its attention to the island of Hong Kong, where Canadian forces bravely stood their ground. After two demands for surrender were summarily rejected, Japanese forces invaded the island under the cover of darkness on December 18.
Gander is reported to have engaged the enemy on no fewer than three separate occasions during fighting around the Lye Mun Barracks. The first came when a wave of attackers landed on the beach and Gander rushed at them, barking furiously and charging at their legs. Not long after, he again charged and barked, snapping at advancing Japanese troops and forcing them to alter their course – effectively diverting them away from a group of injured Royal Rifles trapped only a few feet beyond him, and saving them from death or capture.
It is for his final act of bravery that Gander is most remembered. Pinned down under intense fire, a group of injured soldiers watched in horror as a live grenade rolled into their midst. Acting quickly, Gander grabbed the grenade in his mouth and ran. Though killed in the subsequent explosion, Gander’s last heroic act saved the lives of several of his human friends.
Fifty-nine years later, Gander’s sacrifice was finally recognized. For the first time since 1949, the Dickin Medal was presented for an act “of conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in wartime.” Gander is the only Canadian dog to have received the medal. Accepting on his behalf was Fred Kelly of Campbellton, N.B. – one of Gander’s primary handlers and caretakers during his time with the Royal Rifles.
Known as the “Animals’ Victoria Cross,” the Dickin Medal was established in 1943 by Maria Dickin, founder of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), an English veterinary charity. The bronze medal honouring the work of animals in war was awarded by the PDSA 54 times between 1943 and 1949. Gander’s posthumous induction in 2000 marked a revival and since then the number of Dickin recipients has increased to 62. Other honourees include 32 pigeons, 25 dogs, three horses and one cat.
Those who gathered in Ottawa in 2000 remembered the sacrifices of all who fought in Hong Kong, a defence made at great human cost. When Allied forces were overrun on Christmas Day 1941, approximately 290 Canadian soldiers were killed in battle. Survivors endured nearly four years of captivity in prisoner-of-war and Japanese work camps where 267 more would perish. For those counting, that is a total of 557 dead Canadian heroes. Gander made it 558.
Gander’s memory lives on today in the hearts and minds of Canadian children from coast to coast, thanks to innovative educational material developed by Veterans Affairs Canada.
Recognizing that teaching young children about war can be difficult, the department uses cartoon relatives of real-life Dickin Medal winners to introduce concepts of remembrance on a level even the youngest reader can understand.
Lest we forget. Please thank a veteran for their service today. We wouldn't be the same without them.