December 28, 2008

Winter's Over

It's hard to believe we had a major snowstorm just a few days ago. The city was covered with a thick blanket of pristine white that muffled the noise of traffic and hid the litter underneath. Yesterday was a day of not going out. A major fog that didn't lift until late afternoon and by then I had lost the urge to go out. I'm used to going out every day for a long walk but now it's so impossible with the ice under foot and the wicked wind above. I get stir crazy when I can't go out. Upon arising today I gazed out the window only to find no snow! I think that the fog had also brought a day of rain. The sun is out now and I predict that shall take my usual stroll to Baview Village subway stop en route to see my parents. Guess what I did while house bound....3 more heart necklaces. I battled the elements to go to Mokuba ribbon in search of some interesting ribbons for the necklaces. The store was closed for most of the holidays. I shall try to venture forth at the end of next week. I'm sure you are getting bored with the same image over and over. I'm working on my copper book necklace so hopefully that endeavor will take over.

December 22, 2008

Found Objects

Remember when I couldn't find the beads and findings less than a day after purchasing? After looking for hours I decided to just go to bed and was in the closet to hang up the clothes when what did I see but a shoebox sitting apart from the collection of shoeboxes on the shelf above the clothing rod. Wow, that was a long sentence. I picked up the box - the lid had written upon it "closures". Sure enough everything was there and I was able to finish off my 2 heart necklaces.

Thank heaven I didn't have to venture out to Arton today. It's unbearably cold - the wind a killer. I had to walk about a half hour for an appointment and I cursed the whole way. I'm still on the line trying to decide to walk the one block to Metro, alias Dominion. Doesn't sound far but this is condo alley where the winds form their own cyclonic activity.

Found Objects

I am happy to report that I found the lost beads and findings. I was hanging up my clothes in the cupboard when I saw a shoebox sitting apart from the actual shoe box collection on the shelf above the clothing rod. I had written 'closures' on the top of the box in an attempt to be organized. Oops! So much for organization. Each new attempt to classify my junk results in the 'where is it ?' factor. What a relief to have found everything since I didn't want to venture outside to Arton beads today. It's unbearable cold - a deadly wind. I feel conquered. I won't even walk one block to Metro, alias Dominion.

I proceded to finish off 2 more necklaces. Yes, Nancy, you are totally responsible for this heart addiction. When will it end....

December 21, 2008

Lost, Not Found

Firstly, I'd like to reassure everyone that the hundred odd margarine and other plastic tubs hoarded by my parents have gone directly into the recycling bin. The straws are back in the drawer.
I should at least acknowledge Friday's weather since I was outside struggling from one appointment to the next. The subway was running about 45 minutes behind going and coming. Going home had the added feature of kicking everybody off the train at Eglinton and then not being able to get on the subsequent trains since they were all packed up. I had the biscuit at this point and started muttering curses loudly under my breath. The woman in front of me was singing hymns. It seemed to work since she appeared calm and I felt guilty enough to shut up. The walk home was impossible. There was no distinguishing the road from the sidewalk. It was all drifting. And battling that insane wind. I vow not to leave the apartment until April. Maybe.

Last week I went to Arton beads specifically to get necklace closures. Of course I added beads to that order and a variety of closures as well. I can't find them. I've turned the place inside out to no avail. I checked all the obvious locations as well as the not so obvious. I'm going nuts. I can only surmise that I threw out the bag. This is always a possibility since one month I actually threw out my metro pass which is of much greater monetary value. So that means going out tomorrow to repurchase everything. I'm hoping there isn't a blizzard otherwise I will be stuck in that store buying what I don't need.

December 17, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It was a lovely day today after a clean, white snowfall overnight. Of course, crossing the streets at major intersections was like deep sea diving. It always melts and goes no where. For years I've been afraid of falling. I don't really know why... how bad could it be? I figure that it's the ultimate test of osteoporosis. A fall without a fracture means the bones are in good shape. I finally found those spikes that can be attached to the underside of the boots. I think it may be icy tomorrow since it will be below freezing overnight and that which has melted will freeze. I'll let you know how they work.

My parents seemed to have developed a silverfish problem around the same time I did. Only their 'fish' are bold and obnoxious. They start zooming around in the kitchen and we're all barefoot and can't kill them. Yesterday I ran for my boots and started squishing. The apartment is being fumigated tomorrow and they are still moving stuff from the cupboards to other parts of the apartment. My parents are hoarders and this became evident as they removed stuff from the kitchen. For instance, about 50 plastic containers from margarine, coleslaw, etc. Plus a jar of used batteries. A lot of the batteries have the date that they conked out to be used in the future when one is hard up for energy. What, are they crazy? About a 100 straws from Swiss Chalet which accompanies the water they serve. Aluminum pie plates. And my mother tries to pawn this stuff off on me. She can't throw out a thing but it's OK if I do it.

I am working on some bezels - some that I did in Jane Wynn's class. This means there is resin to be poured. This is my next challenge. I wonder what could go wrong....

December 14, 2008


Last night, while sitting in front of the TV and trying to make jewellery, I came upon this ad for Snuggies. This was developed as a result of people going nuts when they're cold, sitting on a sofa with a blanket pulled up to the chin only to have it slip off when using the hands/arms (i.e. reaching for the phone). So the Snuggie is a blanket with long sleeves. It comes in many colours and the older men modelling the burgundy version looked like monks. Seriously. It was wierd.

Well, having advanced from the blow torch and toxic chemicals, I last night decided on making the dreaded holes in the copper plates. I have a screw hole maker but the holes are too small - I want to insert an eyelet in the hole. So I took out my dremel to widen the holes. This is a big deal for me since I'm terrified of the dremel. I had attached a flex shaft - incorrectly I might add since there was no action in the extension handle. Next I tried my new used low rpm drill from the Toronto Police auction. It has only screwdriver bits but it moves at a nice slow speed that doesn't spook me. I guess I should go to Canadian Tire to find a proper drill bit. Then I hauled out my clamp like hole maker. Seriously, I can barely lift it. I used it to enlarge the holes to 1/8 of an inch and a miracle was realized. Why didn't I use this thing in the first place. And there are close to 10 sizes of hole-makers. Of course changing the bit requires disassembly of the entire gizmo. Next I have to try and set the eyelets. Then I will be all set to make a copper book necklace.

December 13, 2008


So this afternoon I decided to pick out a few copper plates and torch them. There are 2 plates that have an embossed pattern and these react to the heat by turning white. On the back they have turned orange. The flat plate has a more interesting pattern - lots of reds- but it is definitely in no way similar to using liver of sulphur. The LoS has a real vintage look. And the torching can be dangerous. While trying to remember not to touch the hot item and use my tongs, I nevertheless picked it up with my fingers. Eek! My index finger and thumb are blistered.

December 12, 2008

Beading version number 10 - or less

I decided to work at another heart necklace (a la Nancy Donaldson). OK. I know you don't want to hear any more of my whining so all I will say is that I strung on too many rows. Yuck. Well, here it is.
I decided that I was going to do one as a birthday gift and because I wanted to use purples, I had to go to Arton to get some more beads. And necklace ribbon, and faux silver beads, and copper and chain, and I don't know what else but it came to $100. How did that happen? Then one of the owners told me to check out the store next door. It's another version of Arton except that the beads are semi-precious, freshwater pearls, sterling silver etc. What did I buy that totaled $90. Honestly, I don't know how I do it. It's scary. I'm not even going to make jewellery and so I'm guessing that I will use these supplies in mixed media stuff. I think I'm a sucker for coloured and sparkley things.
I decided to get back to making some copper book necklaces which requires the copper be vintaged using liver of sulphur. I opened up the jar of solution and immediately I knew there was something wrong. Firstly it had no aroma (it should have smelled like stinky rotten eggs). Plus the solution was clear, not yellow. I left the copper plates in the solution for 4 hours with no reaction. I guess even caustic solutions have a best was 2 years that it was last opened. So today I zoomed down to Lacy's and picked up a new bottle. I tried it out and it was too strong and the copper plates turned black. Must figure out a new recipe. It's always something...

December 7, 2008

Annual Holly Jolly Sale

Well, the annual Holly Jolly Christmas sale has come and gone and Karen Arts did a wonderful job of organizing the event. For the last 6 weeks I've been trying to increase my inventory of fabric boxes. It's such a labour intensive project and I was so bummed out by the time frame that the boxes I created were 'to die from'. I ended up throwing out 4. I had decided that the 11 I had already made would have to suffice. It turned out that my boxes generated more interest than I could have imagined. So I have to admit that I was so pleasantly surprised and it was a boost to my self confidence.

Here are some of the boxes sold:

November 27, 2008

Urban Wildlife

I seem to have become obsessed with befriending squirrels and birds. Particularly pigeons. Clearly I do not have enough to do. I know that people hate pigeons because they're messy but to me they have the same allure as other small city birds. I walk around with walnuts in my pockets and birdseed in ziplock baggies. During the summer there was a flock of around 50 pigeons that used to roost on top of the Shoppers Drug Mart sign. One day they were all gone -
Shoppers had installed metal spikes on top of the sign. Most of the birds took up residence on the roof of the church across the road but essentially, they stopped coming across the road to forage for food. Yesterday I saw a lone pigeon at Yonge and Finch pecking at cigarette butts looking for food. How tragic is that. I whipped out my birdseed and scattered them around and this little guy was so accurate picking out each kernel, one at a time. I felt very satisfied that I was helping a homeless animal.
As for the squirrels - the ones around my building are pretty tame and come to me when called. I was really surprised to discover that squirrels have lousy eyesight. I can place nuts all around it and the squirrel runs all over the place looking for goodies and not finding anything. Maybe they need to touch and nose things first. After tossing about 6 nuts around this guy he finally found the one I placed right under his nose. Earlier in the year this little guy used to jump up on my purse as I rummaged around for the bag of treats. Yeah, yeah I know it's a rodent - big deal.

November 19, 2008

Attack of the evil toenails

Well I finally did it. After a summer of excruciating pain in the big toes I finally went to the podiatrist to have toenail surgery which involves yanking out the offending portions of nail from the bone. Just the thought of it gave me the willies. My girlfriend had a like response and announced that it was worse than having needles stuck in one's eyes. I don't know where she gets this. Eyeballs freak me out. The podiatrist froze me completely so I felt nothing. Except for the needle prick. Now that the freezing is wearing off I'm sore. So I'm going to take advantage of my justified inactivity and go to bed under the duvet with my girls. And 'baby it's cold outside'.
No pictures of my toes available.

November 13, 2008

You've gotta have heart

Yesterday was a wonderful day taking a jewellery class from Nancy Donaldson. The inspiration came as a result of Nancy wearing her necklace for the Jane Wynn workshops a few weeks ago. Leslie and Irene rounded out the class of three and this guaranteed all kinds of special attention from our teacher. Beyond the techniques to be learned, the goal was to come away with a necklace of our own doing finished and ready to wear. It's surprising how a once clever girl (i.e. myself) could have so many problems taking on new skills. All I could see in my heart was the mistakes. But it looks fine from a distance and I'm determined to do a few more necklaces depending on where to find the materials. I've been on-line for half a day searching in vain for rebar wire.

You've gotta have heart

I've been looking forward to a class with Nancy Donaldson for weeks now. Yesterday it happened with Irene and Leslie as the 2 other students. So nice to have so much individual attention. Especially since what looked like an easy, straightforward project required all kinds of manual dexterity and problem solving abilities. What's happened to me...? I used to be pretty clever but in my old age I find myself helpless in learning something new.

I first saw Nancy's heart necklace (and Leslie was also wearing one too ) at the Jane Wynn workshop several weeks ago. I lusted after it. Hence the motivation for taking this class from Nancy and here are the results. Of course all I could see were my mistakes but from a distance it looks fine. It's so hard to find the materials necessary - I've been on-line half the day looking for rebar wire.

October 29, 2008


Well, winter is undeniably here. At least for today. Until now I've been walking around in sandals due to some ingrown toenails that won't allow me to put on any shoes that I own. But last night it snowed - no real accumulation but the wind was nasty, the ground was wet and I felt it was time to investigate my boots. I found a pair that is one size larger than my shoe size - to accommodate thick socks. I ended up wearing them all day. Too hot. I am still refusing to wear a winter coat. This is way too soon to give in to winter this soon. And the temperature is going up starting tomorrow. I hate this seesaw temp already. What a wimp.
I neglected to show you the necklace I bought from Jane Wynn when she was in Toronto last week.

I just love her work.

October 25, 2008

A New Sewing Machine

I bought myself a gift last week - online so it was just delivered today.
I had a basic, simple sewing machine that managed to strip me of any confidence in the sewing department. Constantly the bobbin would jam up and I was forced to dismantle the whole business and start all over again. I couldn't figure out how to replace the shuttle cock (is that what it's called?) and I could have used 3 more hands. Now, I don't even sew so why I'm obsessed with having a decent machine is beyond me. Except that I might use it in mixed media ventures. This new machine is computerized. Meaning that you can dial in a stitch or other such functions too advanced for me to grasp at this point. It came with a dvd which is heads above the stupid stick diagrams that are supposed to clarify each point. I've just spent 2 hours trying to figure out how to use the needle threader. I didn't find it that 'easy' as the voice on the dvd insists. Of course I'm watching horror movies at the same time.
So far so good. No jamming of bobbins. I need to try it out more extensively so I shall try it on one of my fabric boxes. A good project as the temperature starts to fall and the rain and wind make walking outdoors most unpleasant.

October 23, 2008

Back to Normal

After such a lovely weekend of leaving the mundane behind and foraging through my creative debris, I was rudely dragged into an unexpected assault on my girls' bathroom (the girls being the cats). I went out for lunch on the waterfront. It was pretty chilly with that everpresent obnoxious wind but the rough waters still had the power to calm and sooth the nerves. My outing was well-timed as the management had posted a notice that water would be shut down in the building for repairs. When I got home there was a printed form from the management office citing why they entered the apartment. It's supposed to hang on the doorknob but, of course, it was lying on the floor. The handwriting was illegible. "Investigating" was the only word I could make out. Investigating leon? That's what it looked like but I don't know a leon. I followed a trail of plaster pieces and all of them led into the girls' bathroom. Half the ceiling is gone. What a creepy mess. Apparently there's a leak. I have visions of millions of silverfish diving into the apartment through such a welcoming exit. Waaaaah.....

October 20, 2008

Jane Wynn workshop

What a lovely weekend we had - Carmi having orgainized a 2 day workshop given by Jane Wynn. Jane is a mixed media artist with a gentle way of leading us through metal techniques that can be applied to assemblage and jewellery pieces. Needless to say I managed to NOT grasp the art of creating a bezel by bending wire into the desired shape. How come everyone else managed to create some really lovely pieces...I did, however, get carried away with the blow torch. It turns out that I love fire and the way it changes the metal. I couldn't stop firing for the full 2 days. We were using brass and copper. I was terrified of the drill press with dremel attached. I had big problems in the past - getting so spooked by the vibration when the drill bit hit the metal that I would let go and the metal would go spinning around the kitchen (where I do my work). The drill press stabilizes the drill and despite this feature, I'm still nervous of the vibration. Yuck. Maybe I saved myself some money by not buying a press. It's so heavy that I couldn't lift it anyway. But I did pick up a blow torch today and I'm waiting for my tripod to arrive (from ebay where the cost of the product is less than the shipping fee). Can't wait to start firing. Here are some examples of the variations of the impact of heat on metal:

Well these look a bit dark and small. It seems I'm now having trouble with the camera!

September 8, 2008


I'm ashamed to admit that I've discovered the dreaded silverfish in my bathrooms and kitchen. In reading some info on the net I've discovered that they sneak in via the spaces and cracks around the pipes. But how did they get into the building in the first place? An unanswered question. The non-insecticide way of dealing with them is to fill in every single crack even if it's the living room or bedroom. Waaaaah! My whole place is cracked up. Then the addition of salt and cloves. I shall have to make some kind of effort before the eggs hatch - 100 every 2 m0nths. Can you imagine. Right now my cat is stationed in front of the dishwasher - fish patrol. Clearly she saw one skittle under the huge space between the dishwasher and the floor. The builders botched up this area. They didn't even lay tile underneath the dishwasher up to the wall. I should sue.

They are almost impossible to kill once you start chasing them around the room. They are so unbelievably fast and stepping on them doesn't do the trick. You have to swish back and forth with your shoe in order to make contact for the kill. I shall have to examine every article I pick up to make sure I don't touch one of them. I'm bug phobic especially in this case. They are so ugly so I won't post a picture.

Will keep you posted.

July 28, 2008

Art works

Saturday was a lovely day for some of our art club members to get together to socialize while working on some of our projects. Carmi has discovered a wonderful rental space - an historic church (Zion Church) which has been converted into a cultural centre. The workspace has a cathedral ceiling, tons of space and wonderful lighting. As usual, it poured rain - thunder, lightning - the whole business. This has been going on for weeks to the point of being a big annoyance. After reapedly getting caught in a downpour and having to buy umbrellas to take me home, I am determined to carry one at all times. I now have 7 umbrellas carefully chosen for their colours. One must have an umbrella that coordinates with one's wardrobe.
As for me, I didn't accomplish much. Hard to concentrate with all that gabbing!
Here are the pictures of my works in progress.....

This is the front of a fabric box.

And this is the beading for a cuff bracelet.
Now, if I can just keep going until they are finished instead of putting them back in a box for 6 months.

June 11, 2008

Sid Dickens

I finally got my Sid Dickens plaques and they are gorgeous. I had no idea that they were so sculptural and that the plaques themselves were so heavy. Each tile is about an inch thick with a circle cut out of the back to accommodate some sort of hanging device. I have no idea if you're supposed to drill into the wall, screw in a plug and then screw a screw into that. EEK. Could you imagine if they fell off the wall. Maybe I'll go to Canadian Tire or Rona with a tile for their advice. Heaven help me if I have to drill. Some of my friends know about my fiasco with the dremel. Almost burned the house down.

May 31, 2008

Art Group Night

Sadly, last night was the final meeting until September. We had donuts as a goodbye treat. But I'm proud to say I held back in honour of my stupid diet. How come the urge for junk food never goes away. Our next assignment to be done over the summer is the alteration of a wooden wind chime. It looks like bamboo. I hate to decorate the wooden tubes lest the beautiful hollow sounds be lost. Well, I shall have to figure it out,

Meanwhile, here is my altered reading glasses.

May 30, 2008

Art club night (EEMUMA)

I can't believe the month has flown by and here I sit, waiting for some kind of inspiration for tonight's art club meeting. For me it was uninspiring. I'm still not finished and the final push to complete it will be like staying up all night studying for the final exam.

These glasses are pretty nifty. The arms move in all kinds of directions. The arms on my glasses are fixed and narrow (from the paint I used).

Did I mention that we have to display them on our faces? I don't know if I can get them on without breaking something. I'll post the finished project in the next few days.

May 16, 2008

Needle Felting

Back in September of last year I saw some photos on Cute Overload of needle felted sculptures of dogs and cats. Some of the photos included the live inspiration beside the smaller version. I thought they were fabulous and placed an order for a likeness of my first cat, Jespah. He's been gone for about 7 years now. I can't believe it. It still seems like only yesterday. The artist, Amelia, has an etsy shop and this is how I contacted her . I think she's done about 500 animals. . I received my sculpture of Jespah last week and I'm so pleased. It would be impossible to make a photographic reproduction but his essence is captured so well. And I think it's a much healthier way of remembering him than the idea of visiting a taxidermist. That would be too neurotic even for me although I did consider it. I know people do it having seen on tv some owners with their stuffed dogs placed beside the sofa.

Here's my little guy.

May 9, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day always used to pose a kind of dilemma when I was younger. Chosing an appropriate gift was impossible. Firstly, I was told that I had no money and why should I waste it on something not wanted. I always felt like a loser. Then I found the perfect gift that all of us could enjoy together - tickets to the latest broadway musical, Cirque de Soleil, dance troupe. But those days are now long gone as my parents age and become frail. I suppose there is always enjoyment in a huge bouquet of flowers. My mother admires them while my father takes about 350 shots of them which he then subjects to photoshop antics. I think I will have to pick up the flowers tomorrow to avoid ending up with nothing when Sunday comes along. I will hit the 4 flower shops at Ave and Dav - the best selection in the city. And, of course, I will drop a bundle to make up for the indecision of chosing which flowers to leave behind.

May 3, 2008

What to do on a drizzly day

Well, the first thing to do is to make a hairdressing appointment, have the hair blown straight and frizzless, spray the living daylights out of it to protect against the humidity factor...and, needless to say, it frizzed right up with the help of a gusty, wet wind. It always seems to be raining the day I'm scheduled for a haircut.

My dad is obsessed with photographing things. Mainly wildlife. But since it was so ghastly out, he had the brainwave to go to his bank and photograph the goldfish in the tank. These are ornamental goldfish and they scare me. Very grotesque looking - as if they had tumours growing out of them. But the plastic plants look pretty realistic.

April 27, 2008

Friday night fumblings

So Friday night with my artistic buddies came and went . Karen taught us a wee class on covering a wooden bead and then wire wrapping them. I was sure that this would be easy. NOT. I couldn't even glue the paper over the bead without it lifting. I should have given up at that point but found myself even more confused by the wrapping. This shouldn't have happened since I used to make jewelry and wrapped things many times. Just not my day

The TTC went on strike and it was murder to get a cab to the garage sale we were having the next day. The menu was all the things we had collected over the years and weren't being used. All for a loonie or a twonee. I'm not sure how much I made (if anything) since I forgot to count the slush fund before the sale. The leftover rubber stamps were going to a homeless women's shelter and the magazines and the rest to Good Will. Now I look around the apartment and find that I still have no storage room. I should have been more ruthless in my selections. Maybe next year.

The monthly assignment was the conversion of a wooden day timer pictured in a posting below.
I'm sure that Carmi will be posting all the pics in the appropriate spot on her web site.

Meanwhile here is mine....

The cupboard is on its side - the sled for the iditarod.

And lest I forget to mention, spring is finally here. Even if it's going to be cold next week. The magnolias are in bloom, my favourite squirrel is crawling up my leg to sit on my purse while I rummage for nuts. Now, don't get turned off because he's a rodent. They're smart and cute. Perfect combo. And the Canada geese are laying eggs with the males pushing the females aside to count and reposition the eggs. Photo courtesy of A. Ginsberg (the dad).

April 13, 2008

Just another cold day in April

Where does the time go? A little tease temperature-wise and then another frigid slap in the face. I've been doing my 2 mile walk now and again. Some miniature crocuses are peeking up on only a few lawns. When will this endless winter end....

Of course I'm obsessing over the club assignment which is due for our meeting on April 25. This endeavour doesn't inspire me at all and I've come to the conclusion that I'm more upset about the sloppy job I always do compared to the pristine submissions of the other members. I guess I have to admit that I'm a slob.

Now, what would you do with this?

The day following the meeting is our 'garage sale' where we unload our artistic supplies no longer in use. The price of everything is $1 or $2. I have many items worth much more than that but I suppose the object is to get rid of as much as possible. I find that I must have about 50 magazines. A huge weight that I've spread over 2 suitcases. Which I don't think I can lift onto the bus. No strength in these feeble arms. I'm going to try and get one suitcase over to my parents in advance (they live across the road from the venue) . Such a hardship not knowing how to drive. I shall somehow have to manage.

It's now afternoon and I must get dressed and start the day.

March 29, 2008


Heavens, where did the month go? I'm afraid Wireton Willie was wrong this year. Well, it's not fair to wake him up from a deep sleep and expect an accurate prognostication.

It's been sunny for the past week (or is it a couple of days) and one would think that the temperature would correspond. But it's bloody cold out with the north wind blowing. I have been postponing my usual 2 mile walk with the excuse that it's too cold. I'm tired of the weight of winter jackets. And I'm good at making excuses.

Over the past week I've been knitting a baby sweater with scraps of leftover yarn. I'm afraid I'll run out of the main colour before I'm through. I used to be a great knitter when I worked shift and couldn't sleep. Now the problem is - I can't follow a pattern, I keep dropping stitches and making holes. So I've ripped out the whole business at least 10 times and switched to another pattern. Very frustrating. But I have until September which is when the baby is due.

This month I'm filled with anxiety over the art club's assignment. Thankfully it's not due until the end of April so I have a bit of time to mull over the subject. This one doesn't speak to me at all. So much for creativity.

March 6, 2008

Sid Dickens

I was reading Christina's blog this morning with my morning coffee. She was remarking on her collection of Sid Dickens' tiles. I remember admiring them when I visited her a few years ago and then forgot about my urge to own some of these wonderful tiles. I won't go into his 'story' as Christina does a wonderful job describing his background. So I went to his website ( to order myself a gift of a few of these tiles. So hard to choose. And now I still want some of the ones I didn't take.

March 1, 2008

Art Group Night

Geez, I should be going to bed now but this always happens the night of the meeting. Not tired. Anyway, we had a good meeting with a lot of blabbering going on. The dollar store challenge of conversion of a plastic wallet took on many forms as they were revealed . A different approach by all the people involved. My wallet became a roof covered in Excel gum for shingles.

It's sort of a homestead piece with fencing falling down , the weather vain is half the size of the house...poetic licence?
Now it really is time to go to sleep.

February 25, 2008

Dog Show

Yesterday I went to see the Ontario All Breed Show. Ever since watching the Westminster Dog Show from New York 2 weeks ago, I've been pining for a dog of my own. It's not really possible until I retire from work. So I thought it would be a nice outing and perhaps I might see a dog that tugged at my heart strings. Well, they were all tugging. Since the show was almost finished (last day was Monday - today) there were a limited number of breeds represented. I'm still drawn to the Papillon with it's wonderful butterfly ears. The big dogs were sensational. I'm posting a few pics my dad took. Unfortunately, my Photoshop would not accept the photos for editing - some bizzare notice telling me it couldn't parse the file - whatever that means.

February 23, 2008


I just finished watching Michael Moore's documentary on the American healthcare system - as compared to other systems . Now I'm sure he's taken a point of view that highlights the horrible things that have happened to the American people with coverage by an HMO and those with no coverage. The stories, which appear to be more than isolated incidents, sent me into a seething rage. Michael compared the system in France which is superior on all counts - free health care, free university education, free nanny service in the home, house calls by physicians 24 hours a day, great holiday benefits including an additional week off for getting married. Plus they make great cafe au lait and baguettes. He interviewed an American woman who was refused coverage for her cervical cancer treatment because she was 22 years old (they claim that she was too young for this type of cancer). So she drove across the border to Windsor where she stayed with a (boy) friend and gave his address as her new address and was applying for OHIP. Turns out there's a website for Americans seeking free healthcare in Canada. I think the website is
Then he went to England where the treatment is, once again, free.

The most interesting part of the movie was when he chartered a boat to take some sick people who had volunteered during 9/11 and were refused any compensation by the government ( and who later developed terrible respiratory ailments) supposedly since they were not contracted by the government to help out. They set out for Gautanamo Bay where all the detainees (suspected al-quaida terrorists, drug runners) were given free medical attention by the U.S. government. Since no one at the tower in Gautanamo Bay acknowledged Michael's call for the same medical services for his 'patients', he sailed on to Cuba (illegal for Americans) where he arranged for medical staff in the Havana Hospital to perform diagnostic testing on his passengers. Subsequently a treatment regimen was designed for each patient to follow at home.

It was also obvious that Canada is lacking in providing the free drug and dental coverage that other countries make available. But that was not the point of the movie.

Well, I guess you can tell that I really liked it.

February 20, 2008

Will this winter never end...?

I'm beginning to hate this winter business. There's the yo-yo effect of the temperature rising, then falling, thus creating treacherous sidewalk conditions. You stop to regain your balance but there's no such thing as stopping - the legs seem to slide away in opposite directions. I even saw a little pug dog doing his business and all 4 of his little legs were sliding around. Wiarton Willie promised another 6 weeks of winter on February 2. I'm not sure I believe him.

I see that Carmi is lamenting the February club assignment which she, herself, assigned :

I feel reluctant to complain since I just rejoined the group and don't want to appear a whiner. Nevertheless, this wallet doesn't even have any money in it to sweeten the deal. Alas, the story of my life - an empty wallet. Well, after the meeting I will 'publish' my creation. I keep starting, then stopping and, since there's a deadline, I suppose that will push me ahead to finish the mess.

February 12, 2008


Lo and behold another snowstorm. It's almost a white out looking through the window and I have to schlep several blocks to get to the subway. Staying at my parents overnight. Seems to me, whichever way you're facing the snow is always being blown in your face. I don't need that kind of facial.

Anyway, here is a taste of the tropics from the orchid show.

February 11, 2008

Tropical display on the coldest day of the year

Yesterday it was minus 30 (celcius) with a fierce westerly wind. I really didn't want to go outside but Sunday is the day I spend with my parents. We went to see the the annual show put on by the Southern Ontario Orchid Society. What a fabulous show. The orchid displays are featured in a landscape setting spanning at least one of those long folding tables. Most had several levels covered in some kind of greenery , moss tumbling over rocks, little fountains trickling water and several varieties of orchids interspersed ranging in size from microscopic to small to large. There must have been about 50 different species represented (of the thousands that exist in the 'wild', so I'm told). It was actually exciting and there was a lot of 'look at that one; look over there' going on about every step we took. My dad had his fancy camera with him and my mother and I decided to pretended we didn't know him in case he did something illegal like touching something. In the end he was worried that his 250 shots would be trashy because the overhead spotlights interfered with the white balance and he hadn't yet mastered the over-ride function. As if I know what that means. But he loves to play with the pictures in Photoshop on the computer. I'm waiting for him to send me something that I can post here.

My wallet was nearly bankrupt to begin with but still I managed to buy 2 plants. One has not even sent out a stock for blooming which means I won't have any action this year. I was buldozed by the exhibitor into buying a plant since I had admired this one in her display . Do you think I can remember which one it was? I admired everything I saw. But I had to come away with some souvenir of this exceptional beauty. I also got a small phalenopsis (sp?) that's white with red splotches. One flower is in bloom and there are 5 buds yet to open. The larger more colourful ones were beyond my finances and it was a cash only situation. Wonder how long I can keep them alive (one of my cats is devilish where plants are concerned and knocks them off the window sill. I've positioned my toxic cactus beside it to frighten her off). All of these plants have been grown in a greenhouse setting so I don't have much hope given my cold window sill and lack of light. We shall see.

February 1, 2008

The biggest storm of the year

Being a Canadian I am somewhat obsessed by the weather. Here in Toronto it's mainly the wind that's a problem. But last night on the news the meteorologists were issuing warnings about the worst storm of the year. So I wake up today, look out the window and I see virtually nothing. True to form, these forecast guys are wrong. It looks lovely enough to take a little walk - so clean, soft, sound muffling....

Here is the view from my balcony.

January 29, 2008

Countdown to the grant from A Place to bark

A Place to Bark...and Meow is an animal rescue conceived and run by Bernie Berlin who is also an artist in her own right. The expense of running this type of sanctuary is payed for by her own money and donations she receives from others who support her efforts. Right now she is part of a fund raising event that is granting to the winner $50,000 and to reach first place, she must have the most donators over other charities. She is currently in 2nd place and others are fast approaching her standing. The donation required is only $10.00 and multiple donations from the same person do not count (a mistake I made but I'm sure the extra money will go to Bernie). The contest ends in 3 days and I hope you can find it in your heart to give to a worthy cause. A Place to Bark link is located in my sidebar on the right.

January 26, 2008

Extraordinary & Exceptional Mixed-up Media Artists

Well last night was the first meeting of the year. There was much uproarious laughter, lots of ironic wit in the telling of personal goings-on since the last meeting. The "homework" was met with enthusiasm by some and downright hatred by others. But each work of art was so unique and exciting to see. Here. I'll post a picture of my entry.....

If you guessed Marie Antionette you're right. For the past 2 weeks the movie has been playing on the movie channel at least once a day. It's so inspiring to see the fabulous costuming. Unfortunately I can't sew ( but I can prick my fingers like nobody's business. So this is held together with some basic stitching and E6000 glue. The wig is cotton batting. Now the next challenge is a killer - a cheesy wallet from the dollar store. Very uninspiring.

January 18, 2008

Altered Art

I have just rejoined my art group after a year's hiatus. The group of 12 meets once a month and we are required to produce something out of a dollar store item given to us by the leader of our pack. So I have homework to do. Usually I haven't a clue what to do but this time I knew the instant I saw it. But I'm finding the execution of the idea so beyond my capabilities. Here is the vase assignment.

In my mind it seems straightforward but I guess it's not. The meeting and reveal takes place next Friday evening so I shall post the finished project after that.

We seem to be having a little snowstorm at the moment. If the weather is tolerable (i.e. no cyclonic winds) I usually take a long walk. My decision to walk will depend on the wind and which direction it's coming from. Not in the face is the rule. So I shall bundle up and set forth.

January 4, 2008

Happy New Year

I can't believe I missed wishing everyone a Happy Holiday which includes New Year. Consider yourself wished belatedly. I can't imagine what I've been doing all this time. A bit of nature stuff like feeding the squirrels and the pigeons. The latter are the only type of bird I see that is not fearful of people. Kids toss their leftover buns on the ground and an entire flock of pigeons descend from the top of the Shoppers Drugmart sign to fight oneanother for a honkin' big wad of bread. I can't stand it. So I started to bring the bird seed left over from my summer attempts to lure the finches to my balcony. The pigeons seem to love the seeds. Easy to pick up in their slim beaks. Yesterday I spied evidence of another person's seed scattering. I now feel reassured that they'll have a decent diet. I'm still walking around with peanuts and bird seed in my purse in case there is an opportune moment to nurture our urban wildlife.

On another note, I've just added some jewelry to my
Etsy shop:
Have a look.

That's all for today. I must force myself to go to the gym or, if the weather permits (no wind) take a long walk. The temperature is going to rise to double digits over the weekend.
This is Toronto - temperature up and down like a yoyo so that one can't figure out what to wear. But even that prediction is extreme. Spring in winter. Unnatural.