Posts

Showing posts from 2010

An Unexpected Gift

Image
When I decided to take part of the Secret Santa exchange with the Etsy Alberta Team, I set no boundaries and laid no hints as to what I might like to receive. I enjoy a surprise. When I saw the envelope was from Glass Circus, a shop I'm quite familiar with, I was very excited. Not without the haste of a child on Christmas morning, I opened the package, and found myself delighted with the contents. Three fused glass ornaments quickly found their way to my tree, but I will not be packing them away with the decorations after the holidays. I think they would make great dangles for a bookmark. The green one would look great on one of my purses, that just happens to need a larger zipper pull to grip. They would make really wonderful gift tag adornments for someone special, but I'm afraid I like them a bit too much to be giving them away so soon. Thank-you so much for the lovely gift Martina, and as always, you do wonderful work.

A Cold Weather Indulgence

Image
I love a scented candle, and the only thing more important than the scent is the jar that it comes in. I won't even pick up a candle to see what it smells like unless it is in a very attractive jar, one that I will eventually repurpose. I use the jars to store and organize all sorts of things. Bath products, beads, findings, beach finds, and even candy have all found pretty little homes in what was once a candle jar. The candle in the photo is unique in that it burns a wooden wick. It actually makes a small crackling sound, similar to that of a real fire. I'm very sensitive to the smells that surround me, and so I always feel more calm when there is a soothing scent in the air. Whether it be from a nice candle or a pot of soup on the stove, the house just feels more like a home when it smells great. But there is something extra soothing about being in the company of a flame. Of course, nothing can beat a campfire or a real fireplace, but since I have access to nei

My Favourite Part of Winter

Image
I cannot honestly say that I look forward to the cold months in Canada. Unless you can count curling up on the couch with a good book. Cold weather does not mean ice skating, skiing and sledding for me. The cold weather drives me to do much less torcherous sports, like reading, and baking, and now this year, blogging. But when the frost settles just right, as it does once in a blue moon. You will find me out and about (in my car) with my camera in tow, capturing all the beauty that a heavy hoar frost brings. For this photo, all I had to do was step outside my front door. Everything was covered, but this ninebark shrub was the only thing that had all her leaves, and she looked amazing. So amazing, in fact, I felt inspired. Inspired to quickly take a picture, run back in, put the coffee on and sit in front of my picture window with my book, looking up from time to time to enjoy the view the hoar frost had created. But what took hours for the frost to create, took only minutes for the w

A Favourite Fall Bouquet

Image
I've been doing this bouquet every October for several years now. I simply carve out a pumpkin, slip in some floral foam, and start arranging. I tidy it up every couple of days, adding fresh water and removing the faded blooms, and once it no longer looks that great, it is very easy to clean up...just toss the whole works into the compost. Just be sure to remove your foam...it definitely is not biodegradable, unless of course, you have discovered the relatively new foam that is. Hopefully this healthier for us and our Earth foam will be become readily available soon. It also doesn't hurt to find out whether or not your florist is into the composting habit. There is a ton of waste in the fresh flower industry, and every little bit helps. My florist even encourages her clients to bring in their own, reusable container for a discount on their next arrangement. Reduce, reuse, recycle and create beautiful dirt whenever possible....

Halloween Treats

Image
These lovely little cupcakes happened largely because of the Wilton company. The bat and spider candies - Wilton, the sprinkles - Wilton, the cupcake wrappers - Wilton, and even the recipe for the buttercream is courtesy of Wilton. These were a huge hit and a huge mess by the time the kids had eaten an average of about 4 each. These little ghost were a huge hit with the kids. At first I thought it was because they were so cute, but I was wrong. I overheard one of the kids say he wanted another because they had the most icing on them. We always adapt our sugar cookies to all the different holidays and seasons. We do Christmas, and Easter and Spring and Fall cookies. We do the 'just because we can' cookies and create various shapes. For me it is a tradition that started when I was very young with my Grandma. Every Christmas she had several buckets of iced sugar cookies to give out during the holidays. I always think of her when working on them, and I hope she can feel

An October Treat

Image
I have a Sister who is obsessed with Autumn and even more so with Halloween. Her birthday is on the 11th of her favourite month of the year, and for some reason, I never have any doubt as to what to get her. This year I designed her a necklace and 3 pairs of earrings to go with it. All done in copper, semi-precious stones and glass, these pieces look great for fall. The dragon's vein agate pendant puts it over the top for Halloween, and is removable for a more subtle look. But since my Sister thinks it should be Halloween year round, I doubt she'll ever take it off. Now Lynn has a busy lifestyle, working at least 2 jobs, raising 3 kids and taking care of her rather substantial home. But this year, she took the time to come visit me in Cold Lake, only a week before Halloween. She came because she wanted to share in one of my favourite times of the year, and help decorate the house for the occasion. It was a crazy, fun week-end. We indulged in a bit of wine, creme brulee, roast

A Favourite Pastime

Image
Combing the beaches of Cold Lake near our home is one of our favourite things to do. The first nice day after a bit of a wind storm is always the best time go. A fresh supply of beach glass and new, polished stones are there for us to chose from, and to add to our, getting rather large, collections. People often associate beach glass with ocean beaches, and I've met quite a few people who are very surprised when I tell them that I have a large supply of glass from the tiny little beach right beside the Marina. The collection looks fantastic diplayed in a nice jar, but the plan is to eventually create some jewelry from the various pieces. It is good to have a wide variety of shapes and sizes to chose from when creating a piece. For the longest time, my little ones scoured the beaches with me and gave me their finds to add to my collection. But they have recently asked for their own jars and have started up their own little collections, and I will have to be replacing their jars fo

After School Project

Image
Question: What would be a good idea for an art project this afternoon Munchkins? Answer: Feet painting!!! Question: Feet what? Answer: You know, 'From Bill Nye the Science Guy'. Question: OK, should I go find the supplies? Answer: Yes, right now Mommy!!! Question: (In my mind) Why did I agree to this? Well, it wasn't anything to worry about. I just brought out some warm, soapy water in a bowl when the kids were done, and left the paintings to dry in the sun. Now we have some updated art for their rooms, and some great keepsakes of their little 7 and 5 year old feet.

Autumn Cookies

Image
We finally had some sunshine here yesterday, and not a moment too soon. Everyone has been feeling a bit low with all the unseasonably cold weather and rain. Along with the sun, the familiar colours of Fall finally came out of hiding and inspired us to make these delectable little morsels. Sugar cookies cut into oak leaves and acorns and decorated with the colours of the season became the highlight of the day. The kids also wanted to decorated some sort of animal, so they chose cats, and along with acorns and leaves, we also had some very interesting looking kitties. After enjoying a few of our homemade goodies, we headed outside to start cleaning up all the plants that the early frost had put to an end. The kids mostly spent their time saving the slugs from ending up as compost, and thank goodness, because what is a garden without those wonderful, little, slimy critters? Our next job well be to download the collection of spider pictures my Daughter collected from the backyard and

A Couple Of Cakes

Image
This cake features an antique John Deere tractor. It is a 1953 Model 40 to be exact. It was a fun one to do, and I hope my customer's Father is happy about it. This is a Zhu Zhu Pet cake. Actually, it is a replica of the one I purchased for my 5 year old at the end of August. He loved it, especially when he was allowed to decapitate and devour it.

Another Shop

Image
This is officially the third shop I am running on Etsy. I know at least a few people will consider me to have completely 'lost it'. To those people I say, 'Oh well, I do what I do to keep me sane in an otherwise insane world." Of course there is the first shop and the most serious of the three, 'Blue Jeans Jewelry' , and then there is my daughter's shop, 'The Crafty Gecko' , and since she refused to share her little space on Etsy, (and I can understand why), I opened up 'The Crafty Bug'. This new little shop will be for all the little extra things I like to do. I tried paper quilling sometime ago, and decided to start with these cards. Etsy is far more than a place to try and sell your wares, it is a creative community, that shares ideas, opinions, and life in general. It is fun and inspiring to see what everyone is busy creating, and to share the things that I am doing as well. Of course, getting the sale is rewarding too. After all, the

Better in a Sweater

Image
Canada is getting ready for Fall. Whether we like it or not, (and I love it), we are at the end of our short summer. I will take a short summer any day, as long as you give me a nice, long Autumn. What is so great about this time of year? Well, the list is long, so have a seat, (if you haven't already). I doubt anyone can argue me that Nature's colours are at her grandest during this season. Not only do we still have flowers blooming, but the leaves against the much more crisp blue of the sky is breathtaking. Our lake has taken on a beautiful, hazy green hue. If you have a vegetable garden, there is nothing quite like filling a bowl with fresh carrots, red potatoes, green beans and my favourite, red-off-the-vine tomatoes. OK, so what, the colours are amazing, well, how about those clothes? Beautiful, chunky knit scarves, hats, and sweaters are everywhere. I don't care what size you are, we all look better in a sweater. And I've never seen a gal that didn'

My Little Etsy Shop

Image
Some time ago, I was browsing Ebay and came across the Vintage Jewelry Section. In it was a remarkable necklace, that I just had to have. A new obsession was born. I started to look for other pieces as unique and beautiful. Some were part of a collection being sold, and so I ended up purchasing several of these collections just for one or two specific items. Most of the items were in good condition, but some had seen their last days as is, and needed to be upcycled into something new. So started the idea to start designing my own pieces. While researching techniques, I came across the world of wire jewelry, and the possibilites were endless. Both of my young children will be in school this fall, and finding a job that allows me to come and go as I please seemed very unlikely, and so 'Blue Jeans Jewelry' was born. A small business to focus my energy on while my kids are busy cutting the apron strings. Things started off slow, but are now gaining momentum, and just in tim

My Daughter the Entrepreneur

Image
As I was working on the computer this morning, updating my jewelry shop on Etsy, my daughter, now 7, announced that she definitely needed her own shop. She said she new exactly what she wanted to make, and then begged me to create a shop for her. I was quite uncertain, at first, that this was a good idea. After doing a bit of light reading in the Etsy 'Do's and Don'ts' section, I was convinced that my daughter had a great plan. Running a shop under a parent's supervision could become a great learning experience. Little did I know that while I was teaching her about the cost of shipping and materials, she would be teaching me just how much she understands about people and their lives. The first card she came out with said, 'Who put stickers on the wall?' . She then explained that this card would be for the person who knew a child that was forever getting into trouble, and this could be their way of showing them that they loved that child...no matter wh

Simply Elegant

Image
Here is a new bracelet that has become one of my favourite pieces. Non-tarnish silver jump rings with a black freshwater pearl set over top of the joint on each link created a flawless and elegant design that I'm sure to create variations of. I had a difficult time photographing this item. After trying several different props, I tried a teacup. I had seen earrings dangling from a teacup and thought the result was quite charming. Not only did the cup allow the bracelet to drape nicely it also helped add a bit of texture and depth to the photo. In short, it made it more interesting, a goal we all share when trying to photograph our items for our shops on Etsy. Half the fun in browsing Etsy is seeing all the creative ways people photograph their goods. The best images not only show off the item for sale, but they also create a mood. When we are shopping for items for our homes or for ourselves we are drawn to whatever best suits our mood at the time. Or, if you are like me, yo

The Perfect Picture

Image
On July the third, my beautiful little sister married the love of her life in their yard in rural Manitoba. My husband and I were in charge of the photography, and regardless of both of us being amateurs, we were able to capture some beautiful photos throughout the day. This is my favourite by far. We took photos of everyone and everything that took place from morning until well into the next morning. But, we made one collosal mistake. I was so busy helping my husband organize everyone for photos, that we forgot to take photos of the bride and myself, her matron of honour. How horrible is that? We decided not to try and fake our way out of it, and instead the lack of those photos will tell the true story of that day and just how truly chaotic it was. Chaos often has way of turning out beautifully.

Those Colourful Fuzzy Things

Image
These colourful flowers are the highlight of my yard this year. Celosia are everywhere. Thanks to a close friend ordering way too many plants for her little greenhouse, my tiny greenhouse got to catch the overflow of well over 200 little seedlings. They transplanted like a dream without any hindrance to their growth at all, and they had no trouble hardening off. They are in my front built-in planter, in my front flower bed, in nearly 50 planters, and there are even some left in the greenhouse. Surprisingly the ones that have been left in the greenhouse are not doing nearly as well as the ones that have been transplanted outdoors. Quite a lot of people don't know what these little beauties are and find them quite fascinating. They grow in a variety of vibrant colours, including, red, pink, yellow, orange and my favourite, fuschia. You might think that the flowers would be prickly, but they are quite soft, and when wet, almost silky. By accident, these little annuals have br

My Sister's Wedding Cake

Image
Here is a cake that I stressed over for nearly 6 months. I didn't how I was I going to make it, where I was going to make it or how I was going to get it to Manitoba, (a 10 hour) drive from where I live. In the end, it all came together quite nicely and with relatively little fuss. Six months of stress for nothing. I baked and decorated the cake at my in-laws, which shortened the end drive with the cake in tow to only 2 hours. Of course I was still concerned about the heat wave we were experiencing. The bottom cake is chocolate with chocolate buttercream, while the middle tier is vanilla. The top is styrofoam, and the my sister's keepsake. Believe it or not, it was the little styrofoam 'cake' that gave me the most grief. In order to adhere the fondant to the foam, I coated it in a thin layer of corn syrup. So when it started to heat up and melt, it had no where to go but down, and that created the dark spot you see on the ribbon. I fixed it before the receptio

Summertime With the Alberta Street Team

Image
All the items in this shop have one thing in common, they are all handmade in Alberta. A wide variety of items from very creative and talented people that have formed a team to support each other and promote the work that goes into running a shop on Etsy. BarefootClips always delights with her fresh and bright photos. If you're looking for a wonderful hair accessory or an adorable pair of baby leg warmers, look no further. SimplyTempted is a delicious shop that is overflowing with bath bombs, body creams and parfaits, handmade soaps and many other sinfully indulgent items that would make fantastic gifts for anyone, especially yourself. Annakozi features wonderful, elegant earrings and these fantastic and versatile leather flower accessories, that could be worn as a brooch, hairclip or attached to any bag to change things up a bit. Then we have DollfaceDeville , our very own Etsy model, whose face and items have made the front page more times than I can count. Her shop i

Something Different

Image
This blue and white cabochon reminds me of a perfect summer's day, bright blue with just a few wisps of clouds. I don't enjoy a cloudless sky. Clouds give the sky form, texture and interest. Without at least a few clouds, I would describe the sky as lifeless. I originally thought I would wrap this piece in silver, but decided on copper for its earthiness. Green, being the other dominant colour of our planet, seemed to be the logical choice for accent beads. I actually did try several other colours and bead styles, but I kept coming back to these Swarovski emerald beauties. As a beginner at the art of wire wrapping, I am, so far, quite pleased with what I have created. I am still in awe of how many wire artists do what they do. So I will continue to read and try out new ideas, hopefully finding my own style with this wonderful medium.

A Fascination

Image
I've always been drawn to pottery. Anytime I go to a farmer's market or craft show, I look for the pottery stands. I almost always walk away with another blue piece for my collection. Over the past 13 years, I've collected mugs, bowls, vases, planters, platters, casseroles, and I even have a gorgeous bundt pan. Recently, I took a pottery class, and gained a very healthy respect for the art. I can now really appreciate just how much time and practice it took to be able to create that beautiful tea pot, or carve those perfect celtic knots. My goal was to create a large vase, like the one in this collection. I didn't come anywhere close. I did manage to come out of the class with with several usable and enjoyable pieces however, most of them blue. I was encouraged to try experiment with other colours, and I did, but those pieces have become gifts for friends. Pottery is limited only by ones imagination, and while I favoured the wheel, others in the class create

A Summer Picnic

Image
As Canadians, we seem to wait forever for our summers. We imagine ourselves doing all sorts of wonderful things when that beautiful weather finally arrives. When it does, however, we often find ourselves busy, too busy to enjoy any of that rare 25 degree weather. We're off to our regular jobs, hauling our kids to their summer activities, taking advantage of good driving conditions to visit distant family and numerous other duties, that seem to swallow our summers whole leaving us wondering where the time went. In the past, this has left me wondering if I really had a summer at all. This year, I truly intend to slow things down a bit. We have already started to eat outdoors more, and I am planning meals that don't leave me cleaning the kitchen for hours afterward. I am simplifying, and storing my hobbies away until the winter inevitably comes again. If it cannot be enjoyed on the deck, or taken in the camper, then it is being lovingly stored away for now. Picnic supplies

Grandma's Bread

Image
It does not matter how many times I do the simple task of baking bread, it is always a very satisfying experience. From the time the ingredients come together to form the perfect dough, to the moment I'm buttering up that wonderful crust, I find myself very pleased with the entire process. Every time I knead the dough, I remember my Grandma in her kitchen. I would sit and watch her work that dough until it was perfect and when she was shaping the buns, she would always give me a playful smack on the cheek with the dough. And then I waited, and waited until it had baked and cooled enough to cut into. That slightly warm, freshly buttered crust, pleased like nothing else could, and still does today. I miss the company though, and I can never seem to get my bread the same as Grandma's. Have you ever noticed that wine tastes better with a good friend? Perhaps it's the same with bread. I've shared this post over at Stephanie's beautiful blog for Roses of Ins

Sage and Ivory

Image
Today I am recovering from a sunburn accomplished while gardening the entire day away yesterday. Today is a bit chilly and so I have been mostly indoors and thinking a lot about my little sister and her wedding that will be happening in just under 3 weeks. So with the washer and dryer running and the bread rising in the oven, I had some time to create this lovely treasury in honour of the event. Her colours, as you can well guess, are sage and ivory, and in my opinion, a stunning choice. Timeless, elegant and romantic are words that come to mind when I see this colour combination. Of course, as is our nature, we are doing everything ourselves for the occasion. My baby sister is doing the majority of the flowers, and I'll finish them. I did the invitations, and will also do the thank-yous. We are doing all the decorations, including the cake, which I will be creating. My sister has done much of the food already, and is leaving just a few important details to the caterer.

Copper Wrapped Turquoise

Image
I've attempted this several times, attempted and failed to create something I liked. Finally I have something worth listing in my Etsy shop. I really like to try and figure out things on my own, but sometimes it is definitely worth taking some advice from an expert. For myself, wire wrapping was one of those things that I couldn't just look at and figure out on my own. I really had to do some serious studying. I borrowed several books, by several different authors, and I just wasn't 'getting it. And then it came to me, the right book, an author that spoke in a way I understood. So, I grabbed a nice stone, and my favorite wire, copper, and began the process. I'm not usually one to create a project out of a book. I take the basic principles and apply them to what I have on hand. No where in this book was there a free form piece of turquoise wrapped in copper wire. As a matter of fact, the process I used to create this pendant was used to create a ring i

Copper and Emerald Bib Necklace

Image
Here is something a little different from me. I am still playing with wire, just trying to branch out a little bit. Oddly enough, the design for this bib necklace came to me while I was folding the laundry. I guess doing such a mundane task has the benefit of clearing the mind well enough to let some inspiration through. I've always loved the colour combination of copper and emerald. For me, this necklace feels romantic, yet classic. It is quite a formal piece, and did look quite out of place when I put it on with my t-shirt. I've also wrapped a stone in copper wire to create a pendant, and I created a cuff bracelet that has pearls set into it. These were just practice pieces and didn't turn out quite well enough to add to my shop, but, I definitely learned a lot from doing them. I'm still trying to find my style with this medium, and will have to play around quite a bit more to find it.

Pottery Class

Image
To get out of the house, meet new people, and of course to learn something new, a couple of friends and I decided to join a pottery club. I came out with a lot of different pieces, some hand molded, but mostly I worked on the wheel. Out of all the pieces, these are my favorite, not necessarily for what they are, but because of how the glaze turned out. I never put much thought into the glazing. This part of the pottery process was very random and experimental for me. These little bowls were dipped entirely in a clear glaze, and then 'rimmed' in a blue. The blue glaze ran down the inside and out, creating this wonderful, organic look. Now seeing as how I don't usually use dipping bowls in my kitchen, I think I well move these to my crafting space where they will become bead organizing bowls instead. This way, I will get a lot more enjoyment out of them.

Pendants for the Kids

Image
I took a fun little break this afternoon while both my kids were at school. While sipping coffee and listening to Susan Boyle, I created these little pendants. My daughter adores anything reptilian, especially lizards, and my son cannot get enough of frogs. I hand shaped them out of polymer clay and will set them on leather cord for the kids, although they will probably come off and be used as toys. I've been trying to find my way with this new medium lately, and so far have been unable to come up with anything elegant enough for a piece of adult jewelry, so I decided to have some fun with it. Now I'll get to present my kids with cute, little presents after school and I get to enjoy the benefits of having had a fun, creative, and really quite relaxing afternoon.

Sterling and Agate

Image
There really is not too much I can say about this piece. The agate pendant is an incredibly stunning piece that speaks for itself. It was really quite by accident that this necklace came to be. Sometime ago, I picked up the little agate beads, and wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with them, but they were too beautiful to leave alone. Then, a week or so ago, while visiting Edmonton for a dentist appointment, my husband surprised me with a little side trip to Bead World. I've never seen so many beads and pendants in my whole life. I could have spent hours in there, browsing and designing, but I didn't have hours, I had about 15 minutes. Feeling completely overwhelmed, I wasn't going to buy anything, and then this blue agate caught my eye. Like the small beads before it, I really didn't know what I would do with it, but I had to have it. Now I had forgotten about the little blue agate beads, so when I went looking for something to compliment the large p

A Cha-Cha

Image
There was little to no thought put into this bracelet. I picked up some lovely glass beads, grabbed some wire, and a few tools, and went to sit on my deck with an espresso and the sunshine for motivation. I got started by creating all the links for the base chain, and then I went to work on the 'charms'. I just turned and twisted and played with beads and wire until I ended up with something I liked. I worked like this until it was time to make supper, and realized that I wasn't even 1/4 of the way finished. I put everything together into a bowl, and kept the project nearby, where I could pick it up at any time I had a few moments. So over the next 3 or 4 days, with the time adding up to several hours, I had a finished bracelet. I love this piece because it is unique and has a lot of character. It is fun to wear because it is heavy, and makes a wonderful sound with the slightest movement. It is fun to look at because of the variety of beads, the depth in some of

Chocolate and Lavender

Image
When I'm looking for a little comfort, a bit of indulgence, I turn to chocolate or lavender, and sometimes both. Chocolate in the form of 85 to 90 percent cocoa, and lavender in the form of essential oil, added to a bath or spritzed on a blanket before I sit down to read. This sounds simple, but for me it is like having had a vacation. All I need is a few minutes, and I can completely clear my head and get to a calm place, where I am once again centered and ready to go on with the day. Even the colours are effective in setting the tone for my mood. My bedding was completely inspired by these two comforts. The sheets are a bamboo and cotton blend in an earthy, lavender, and my duvet is a dark, chocolate brown. I find the combination both soothing and beautiful. I've grown lavender in my garden and this year I have started it from seed in my greenhouse and intend to harvest it to make little sachets for my drawers and closets. It is barely an inch high, and it already g

The Greenhouse

Image
Ahhhh...the greenhouse. This is my first year with a greenhouse, just a little 'shack' my husband built for me this Spring. I love it. I've started 4 varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins. There are nasturtiums, zinnias, black-eyed susan vine, morning glories, sunflowers, rain daisies, four o'clocks, nemophila, coleus, pampas grass, hyacinth bean, sweat peas, lavatera, lavender, and parsely. A friend who has maxed out her greenhouse space brought me over 200 plants, a mix of celosia, bacopa and euphorbia. I always loved going to the big greenhouses in the Spring, and would visit several days a week, as soon as they opened. Inevitably, I would end up spending hundreds of dollars on plants. This year, I have yet to set foot in one. I never would have imagined feeling this much satisfaction from starting and tending to my own plants. My husband said that it cost just a little over $120 to build. Little does he know how much money it will save.

Meet an Indie Designer

Image
Who is the creator behind these two very different, and completely wonderful works of art? Hollie, but who in the world is Hollie? In a world where we are constantly bom barded with violent and negative images, Hollie has taken her place amongst the positive, the free spirited, the dreamers, the people who are going to turn this world into a better place. I 'ran' into Hollie when a teammate on Etsy told us about a blog and the mission to raise money and awareness for SOS - Save Our Seabirds. I was intrigued and went off to discover Mermaids Closet, a fun, uplifting and informative blog about saving ourselves and saving the world. I joined my teammate and Hollie in their mission to do their part for the wonderful seabirds by choosing 3 of my favorite items and offering 25% of their sales to the SOS foundation. Each time an item sells, I will replace it with a new choice. Hollie however, has offered 25% of any of her sales in either of her shops. To visit 'I'm

Kreativ Blogger Award

Image
The Kreativ Blogger Award has been passed to me by Little Bear's Mom, a wonderful Etsy teamate on the 'Oh Canada' team and a fantastically, supportive blogger. She goes absolutely out of her way to support not only her teammates but the whole of the Etsy community. She actively participates in the forums, helps with any questions she can, checks out all of our new listings, and takes the time to read many blogs. With all the time spent on the computer, it is a wonder that she has any time at all to create beautiful jewelry for her shop. The bracelet on the left is just one of her gorgeous creations. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to her shop, and you can see for yourself all the wonderful jewelry she has created. Once you have been thoroughly impressed with her creations, get to know her a little better by visiting her blog . Now I have a few duties as recipient of this fun award, and they are: 1. Post the award on my blogspot. 2. Thank the person who

The Year of the Tiger

Image
I decided last night that the name of my blog needed to be changed. 'Blue Jeans Jewelry' just is not going to work for all that I would like to write about. The jewelry hobby/business that I have started is only a small part of what I enjoy doing and what I find interesting. Nearly 13 years have gone by since I developed an interest in cakes. Thanks to my Mother-in-Law, her talent, and her interest in my work, I've done countless cakes over the years for my friends and family. The Chinese New Year cake you see here was done this past February as a celebration of The Year of the Tiger, the sign my husband was born under. Each sign was painstakingly hand-painted in edible ink on fondant. The cake is iced in buttercream, and the tiger is also done in buttercream, but on a separate piece of fondant to give it some height. This July, I will be doing my little sister's wedding cake, and a scrabble cake for a dear friend of mine whose Mother-in-Law will be turning 90. I'v

On Mother's Day...

Image
It eventually happens to everyone... all of us, at some point in our life, lose someone we love. And then, sooner or later, that special day comes along, a birthday, a special holiday, Mother's day. For myself, Mother's day has become a day full of mixed emotion. Nostalgia, sadness, and joy mix to create a rich experience. On one hand my little boy is greeting me at the head of my bed at 5:30am, with an envelope that he has waited to give for 5 days, (an eternity to a 4 year old), and I am filled with pride and joy. On the other hand, I catch a quick glimpse of the dream I just woke from, having coffee with both my Mother and Grandmother, and I am filled with a longing and a sadness, as this is not possible. My 7 year old girl tells me to close my eyes, and fills my countertop with all sorts of cut-outs and paintings that she just spent the last hour working on, and I feel loved and adored. I wonder how my Mom felt when I gave her my little girl scribbles on a crumpled p

For Your Garden

Image
It is finally that time of year again, my favourite time of year. The snow is gone, delphiniums, irises, and lilies are up, and the greenhouses are open!!! I love to plant all kinds of flowers, vegetables and herbs, but I also love to decorate with wonderful little finds like the ones in this treasury I created from several different Etsy shops. I love to take little knick-knacks like the ones you see here, and tuck them away, in a tree, under a plant, in between stones, hide them, if you will. So, unless you're really looking, you will not find them, but if you are, you will get a little surprise. I've even surprised myself in this way several times, especially in the Spring when I first go out to take a good look at the yard and realize who I missed during the Fall clean-up. Often the things I buy for the garden, really 'blend in' with their surroundings, almost like they could have been there naturally, so they are easy to miss. Have fun browsing through the sh

Meet Ellie

Image
When you decide to order something online, there is always that little bit of apprehension . Is it going be as good as I thought it would be? Were the pictures true to the product? Just who am I dealing with here? Well, meet Ellie, a wonderfully soft, cuter than cute, little elephant, who just happens to be all she promised to be and more. Extremely well made, from the choice of fabrics, to the hand embroidery, you just know quality when you hold it. Two Stray Cats is the name of the shop on Etsy where I found sweet, little Ellie, and it is obvious she was made with love. And, the love carries on, because 10% of the purchase goes to the charity, 'Etsy for Animals', a group more than 500 strong, all helping to provide relief to animals through various organizations. There is even a section in the Two Stray Cats shop that donates all profits to EFA. So wonderful, a lovely gift for my niece, a donation to an important cause, and a new way to shop on Etsy. Click on

Murano Bracelet

Image
Here is the latest addition to my little shop on Etsy. These are all hand linked glass beads with the cute little murano glass cabochons 'floating' between each link. I had purchased a vintage lot of jewelry making supplies with a real mix of cabochons, stampings, findings, crystals, and beads. While digging through and organizing this treasure, I found these sweet, little cabochons. But, what to do with them? I formed a pretty little loop-de-loop link and used epoxy to attach the cabochon. I waited a day, tested it for sturdiness, it passed with flying colors, so off I went to find more beads to co-ordinate with the murano glass. Because a lot of my beads and things are from recycled pieces, I sometimes find myself in a bind for materials that will work together. This piece was no exception. I was sure I didn't have enough of the blue beads alone, so I tried oranges and reds, blacks and browns, but nothing was working for me. then I came across the green beads

Handmade Soap

Image
You may have thought that by the title of the blog and by the previous entries, that this entire site would be strictly about jewelry. Really, it is about the appreciation of anything handmade, and there is currently no better website than Etsy for that. A few weeks ago, shortly after I opened a shop on Etsy, I joined the Alberta team and met Krysta of Carvel Country Soapworks, in the team's forum. A stay-at-home Mom, with an appreciation of all things handmade, she creates a wonderful array of bath and body products, but what really attracted me was the frog-shaped soap. I have a 4 year old little boy whose life currently revolves around frogs, and a little girl who can not stop acting like a lizard. So, naturally I asked Krysta if she could create something that would pertain to my daughter's interest. I couldn't order one child frog soaps without indulging the other with something in the shape of a lizard. Without delay, less than a week, I had in the mail, 2 frog

A Cloisonne Delicacy

Image
Cloisonne is both a product and a process, an ancient technique used for decorating metalwork objects. Closed sections are created by either gluing or soldering fine wire to the piece. These sections are then filled with enamel and need to be fired in a kiln. The fine wire remains visible in the piece and becomes part of an often very intricate design. Cloisonne was first developed in jewelry, smaller pieces such as rings and bracelets. This technique, like so many others, is limited only by imagination, and is used for decorating bowls, vases, statues, really just about anything. The beads you see in this little bracelet are small, five by eight millimeters, and are beautifully detailed. Imagine what time it must have taken to individually create each bead. When creating this bracelet, I wanted to compliment the intricacies of the beads, and so I made the link work fine, and a bit complicated. Each beautiful bead is showcased between the links so that it may be appreciate

The Groovy Garden

Image
Look at this wonderful bracelet...no, look at the beads that make up this wonderful bracelet. Now tell me, could you ever get bored wearing this? The creator of these wonderful beads is Melissa, a fellow Albertan, mother of six girls, and a graduate of the Emily Carr College of Art. Although, the lampwork glass beads you see here are the basis for her shop on Etsy, Melissa enjoys art of all kinds and enjoys working with many mediums. I was attracted to this bracelet for several reasons. First of all, it has a lot of my favorite color, blue, in it. The intricate designs, and the uniqueness of each bead, intrigued me. The fact that each bead was handmade and done locally was enough to make me pull out the credit card. Yes, sorry, this particular bracelet is no longer available, but there are many more items in her shop, each unique and beautiful in their own right. As an added bonus, our team, The Alberta Street Team, is having a sale this week on Etsy, and with at least 70 p

A Vintage Delight

Image
This adorable necklace was created as a result of several lucky finds. The first, of course, is that beautiful butterfly brooch. It is a 'Crown Trifari' piece , circa 1960, and a collector's item. Again, I decided to give it new life as a pendant. The necklace was created from beads that my Husband and his siblings played with 30 years ago. When my Mother-in-law heard that I was creating jewelry, and that I was looking to recycle older pieces, she went to the back of her closet and came back with an old, tin treasure chest. Over the next hour or so, we went through it and the family reminisced over the pieces they remembered. In the mix was a broken necklace with these delicious, green beads. The white milk glass beads are from another broken piece. Everything came together with lovely brass links, and the first person I showed it to, a dear friend of mine, bought it, and without hesitation. If it wasn't someone I held in such high esteem, I would not have s

A Wonderful Surprise

Image
This beautiful leaf brooch came to me after a very lucky bid on Ebay. It was listed simply as 'Silver Leaf Brooch'. Once received, I closely inspected my new treasure, and what a treasure it turned out to be! It is signed Corocraft, and as with all items with that signature, it is beautifully made. The photos of this item do it no justice, it really must be held to be appreciated. I do not wear brooches very often, and if I do, they are small ones. I find that the clothes I wear are made out of materials that simply won't hold up to a brooch of this weight. So, I decided the brooch would become a pendant, and because it was in such beautiful condition, I could not alter it. Instead, I came up with a small, wire mechanism that just slips over the pin of the brooch...and Voila!...pendant. The necklace to showcase this piece had to be special. I had these beautiful vintage crystals that were on a very corroded chain, and when removed and relinked onto non-tarnish si

The Butterfly Garden

Image
j I have a pile of jewelry, and when I say a pile, I mean, I could fill a small dresser. Most of it is quite old...30 years or more. A lot of it is broken, but still has some very nice, reusable parts. Some of it is in great condition, but has lost its sense of style. I have bought quite a bit of it from second-hand stores, garage sales, and such. But recently, friends and family have just been giving me their old jewelry, glad to not have to just throw it away. So, when I decide to create a piece from all the old stuff, I have my work cut out for me. I drag out a whole bunch of different pieces, see what compliments what...and then I start taking things apart and refashioning. This lovely butterfly, was on a once gold-plated chain, a very plain, and small chain. I found her in a thrift shop in Regina, SK. She was in much better condition than the chain, and needed something new to showcase her loveliness. The silver ball with swirl links matched in their whimsy to the bu