Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Crazy Quilt International Christmas Exchange

Besides beading and photography, one of my other passions is Crazy Quilting...I haven't done a lot in the last few years, but I rejoined Crazy Quilt International earlier this year, in the hope it would inspire me to get going on it again. The tie-in with beading is huge, and many of the other members are beaders and sane quilters as well as CQ'ers. 
Here is their blog for a bit of inspiration, and some illustration of what we do. 

They do quite a lot of very organized group projects and exchanges, and I was fortunate to be involved in the latest...a Christmas exchange of a baggie or cracker filled with CQ goodies. They're very organized with this, and there was a defined list of what was suitable to include; members were polled for their likes and dislikes as well, all of which helped greatly. 

I was fortunate to be paired up with Donna Abrams, who lives in Montana. Here is what I sent Donna:

Donna's preferences were for autumn-y shades, laces, unique charms and plain fabrics. 

Donna, in return, spoiled me rotten! 

I had asked for goodies in my fave colours of teal, green and purple. Here's what she sent!

I didn't notice until after I had created and saved this collage, that it cut off the totally cute little necklace she made and sent me....so here's its picture again, because it's adorable!

She also made me the prettiest needlebook, in felted wool, with a beautiful flower-headed pin inside...and a gorgeous pair of needlework scissors with curved blades to get reeeeeeal close to those threads!

Thank you so much again, Donna...what riches!! I will enjoy using them in projects I hope to get started in the New Year. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ice Storm 2013

The ice storm of 2013, which took place on the weekend of Dec 20/21/22nd will remain in our memories for a while! I won't forget spending 45 minutes+ chipping my car out of the parking lot where I work, at 10:30 PM. 

Luckily, we did not have a power outage and our roads were in good enough shape to drive with care...but it did make for some unique pictures over the next few days:

Frozen trees:

A double rainbow created by ice in the air, rather than water.....

Several days following the storm, grass still encased in about 1/4" of solid ice:

At this point, 9 days out from the storm, there are still a few people without power in the GTA, but all should be well tomorrow. 

Ready for the next big storm to arrive.....tomorrow!

As Promised~Alicia's Ornament

Good old Canada Post delivered Alicia's ornament for Sally's Ornament Blog Hop on Dec. 18th...just in time for Christmas, but not really in time for our blog hop on Dec 14th! (Alicia mailed it in good time, it just did not get shipped)

As promised then, I wanted to be sure to post a photo of Alicia's beautiful gift for me...

She put such a lot of work into this...I'm so glad it didn't get lost!

Thanks so much, Alicia! I will treasure it!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Focus on Life Wk 52~Saying Goodbye

Sorry for my lateness this week! Christmas in retail...what can I say!!?

Saying goodbye....

In Week 2 of our journey this year, Sally asked us to think of a word to shape our year in advance. Mine was:

And, indeed, it HAS been a year of explorations that I didn't expect at the beginning of it...I definitely have to try that "word of the year" thing again!

So, a year in review....here are some of my favourite explorations this year:

1. Ogunquit, Maine....

2. Chainmaille

3. Charlotte, NC

4. And, of course....Sally's Focus on Life adventure! Thanks, Sally, for helping me to focus on a wonderful year in 2013....and thanks to all the rest of the friends I've made in the journey...hope to see you all in 2014!

Happy New Year from Toronto!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Focus on Life Week 51 ~ Togetherness

Sally's prompt for our second-to-last week:

"Togetherness...a small act that brings us in, lifts up our spirits and brings us together. This week, focus on wrapping yourself in the warmth of togetherness..."

The stockings are hung, by the chimney, with care...

In hopes that the family, soon will be there...

Have a wonderful Christmas, everyone!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sally's Holiday Ornament Swap

I am so looking forward to seeing all the ornaments exchanged in this swap of Sally's today. It is a day of work for me, but I hope to visit all of the other participants when I finally get a day off...on Monday...so please excuse the late visits to your blogs! 

Sadly, I have not received my ornament from my partner, so I have nothing to show you today, but I will definitely post when Canada Post decides to deliver...and she will hopefully post the one I sent to her. 

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Here are the other participants:

Sally Russick and Beth and Evie McCord

Erin Prais-Hintz and Melissa Trudinger

Friday, December 13, 2013

Focus on Life~Week 50

This is such an odd Christmas season for me...my family has made a decision NOT to do Christmas gifts for one another this year. We are spread 3400 km apart across the nation, and the postage/courier costs of sending actual goods are, literally, out of this world. So~we are hopefully going to be taking a family vacation together in February 2014 instead...I say hopefully because our designated travel planner has not come up with a thing yet! Keep your fingers crossed for us. 

With everyone else running around finding the perfect tchotchke, I feel a little left out...consequently, I am doing a secret Santa thing (shhhhh!!! it's really a secret!) with a couple of people at work who I think will enjoy it. Having a bit of fun with that. 

Sally's prompt for us this week was:

"Red is such a visually striking colour. Pops of red grab your attention and add such interest to a photo. This week, focus on your surroundings and keep an eye out for pops of red."

I couldn't believe it when I came down for breakfast this morning, looked out into the backyard, and saw this! 

The bunnies seem to have left me a little gift! (not their usual gift.....)


I also noticed these while I was out chasing that leaf in the wind....

Be sure to check out the other "pops"! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Week 49~Focus on Life~Add a little Sparkle!

Our prompt from Sally for this week was:

"....to keep things cheery we sometimes have to add our own dash of sparkle to brighten our inner glow"

In the mayhem that is working in retail at Christmastime, my sparkle has done got up and went ...but as always, her prompt made me think, and of course she is right..we need to make our own sparkle! 

So....on my day off this week....this happened:

Yes, I am wearing them to work...and so far, they seem to have put a smile on a few faces besides mine. 

Thanks, Sally!

See what's sparkling in others' lives here:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Week 48~Focus on Life~Thanks

As most of my friends celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, those of us in Canada are not...ours was in the middle of October...consequently, as I listen to the chat online, I am suffering from turkey envy! I had to go out this week and buy a rotisserie chicken at the deli, and some Stove Top. Y'all made me do it!!

Our related prompt from Sally this week was:

"Giving Thanks....what are you thankful for?"

Here is my list, important and not so.....

1. Vision - 4 years ago, right at this time of year, I was told that in approximately three months, I would be blind....as you can see, I am not, and my vision has in fact improved since that time. I have been taken off the imminent list and discharged by the opthamologist. Thank you. 

2. My friends in the box - who make me laugh, cry, inspire me and keep me company on the long dark nights. Thank YOU. 

3. Good books - which also make me laugh, cry, inspire me and keep me company. Thank you. 

4. The best seat on the sofa - the one where you can stretch out full length, and lean back. WITH a good book, or your friends in the box. Thank you. 

5. Cozy slippers - you'll see a theme here, because of our recent weather....thanks for them!

6. A warm fire - aaahhhhh......see also, the best seat on the sofa....thanks for this!

7. A lovely hot latte - my favourite treat after dinner...thanks Tassimo!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Focus on Life Wk 47~Centrepiece

Sally's prompt this week was:

"This week focus on the centrepiece, the most important feature of your day, week, life...it makes you comfortable, gives you joy, brings you peace of mind...or is simply a place of comfort. "

While I am not sure it is THE most important feature of my life, my jewelry making certainly fits all the other parameters..it gives me comfort, joy, AND peace of mind. My job is a fairly stressful one, and I do love to come home and work in the repetition  of chain work or beadweaving...it is complete zen for me. 

As I'm sure everyone else is, I am working on a few different things at this time of year. I just finished and mailed an ornament for Sally's Ornament Swap...but of course I can't spoil Alicia's surprise, so that one will have to wait for reveal day!

I am currently working on these....

...left to right, box chain, spiral chain, byzantine. These are being done for one of our events with the Foundation, Dancing Like the Stars, which takes place in April each year. They will be used as mementos for the "stars" participating to raise funds for us. I will be adding resin charms with the DLTS logo, and the year of participation. 

I've also been having a blast working on colour schemes for these:

The Sparkly Wheels are SUCH fun to make...they take less than half an hour, can be done in lots of different sizes by varying bead size and number...and they're endlessly variable. The ribbon necklet here is temporary; I may do herringbone ropes for them, or simply join them together in different ways. 

The pattern is by Nikia Angel, and can be found in Beadwork June/July 2010. 

Be sure to have a look at what everyone else is focused on this week!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Focus on Life Wk 46~Reflect

Sally's prompt for us this week was:

"...before jumping in to all the hustle and bustle let's take a moment to slow down and reflect on all the joy, peace, happiness and love we already have in our life!"

I have to admit I was a little stumped here, once again...I immediately thought of my family, who are spread all across the nation, none near enough to photograph...I am by no means a religious person...

...and then I thought of my primary joy these days, which consists of the satisfaction and yes, JOY I get from working with my charity the National Inclusion Project. 

While this is a cheat, this photograph taken last month perhaps shows it best:

That's me in the middle, with our two co-founders, all dressed up and shiny and having fun. 
These are two of the most wonderful people I know, full of love and JOY!

Here's another of my favourite pictures, taken in Charlotte, NC in October of 2003, with Diane when the organization was just a baby about 2 months old....

When we were there this year celebrating our 10th anniversary, I told her I wanted a do-over, and here it is...older and wiser, still friends:

Be sure to check out the joys of the others here!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Focus on Life Wk 45...Industrial Photography

If we were struggling for inspiration for this week's prompt (which I was), Sally asked us to google the words "Industrial Photography". I did...and still struggled LOL. There is very little "industrial" in this small tourist town by the side of a lake. In November, it's pretty much just us and the seagulls, and there's not much "industrial" about them or me...

Here is one thing I thought might qualify based on the things I saw from my Googling....

This is a large artwork that is located at the water's edge, in downtown, and has become a "symbol of the city". It is called Spirit Catcher. 

Here's a little background, should you be curious....Spirit Catcher History

...and here are the wonderful industrial photographs taken by the other participants:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Silent Auction Proceeds Announced!

I am thrilled to announce that the proceeds of the silent auction for the National Inclusion Project's 10th Anniversary Gala in Charlotte NC have been announced....

We raised OVER $30,000 for the kids! 

Many of my readers have also been donors to this auction, and I want to thank you SO much! 

Here is a collage of a few examples of the fine work created and donated to benefit kids with disabilities across the US......

(please note that these pictures were taken before the auction started, hence no donation amounts)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Week 44 Focus on Life~Saints, Souls, Sugar Skulls and Scares.....

Week 44....I think that means only 7 weeks until Christmas! This year that is not terrifying me quite as much, as my geographically very extended family and I are planning a together-vacation in February 2014 rather than Christmas gifts...so no Christmas shopping to speak of for me this year!

I am going to stop planning for my weekly photos, though....because that always seems to jinx it! I thought I would have tons of great kiddie-in-costume photos this week, but no...both of us had to work last night, so no trick or treating for us! I left a substantial box of candy with a help-yourself sign outside on the porch, and that seems to have worked. We normally have hundreds of kids. 

So, here's a little montage of pre-Hallowe'en in Ontario...we don't really decorate to the extent that those in the US do, but there was some fun stuff to be seen. 

I'm excited to see what scary deliciousness the other participants have come up with! 

Happy Toussaints! 

Sally's upcoming Christmas Exchange..

I'm excited to be participating in Sally Russick's 3rd Annual Ornament Swap and Blog Hop this year. 

We will be exchanging a handmade ornament, which must include an artist bead, with one another...and I am paired with my blog friend Alicia from All Pretty Things. Yaay!! Alicia and I have been participating together in Sally's Focus on Life photography challenge this year, and I am in awe of Alicia's beautiful work. She lives here in Canada as well, so shipping will be eeaasy! 

Looking forward to it, Alicia! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Focus on Life Wk 43~In the Shadows

Week 43~Oh My!

This has been a dull, gray week here in central Ontario...it has rained, and rained, and rained, and rained, and.....well, you know. We get about an hour of sunshine a day (as I am on the way to work, usually) and that's about it. Consequently, I've had to cheat a bit and use a photo I took last week, while in Charlotte for Sally's prompt, which was:

"This week, capture what you find intriguing about light and shadows"

While not a photo from this week, it IS one I love......

Loved the effect of the reflection of the clouds in the skyscraper, and also the juxtaposition of the old statue with the new skyscraper

Hope you like it too! 

Be sure to visit the others and see what THEY found intriguing!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Focus on Life Wk 42 ~ All in a Day

Another really appropriate prompt for me this week....how does Sally know??! 

This week, she said:

"Let's focus on 24 hours and see what goes on in your day!"

Well, I couldn't really say that the 24 hours I'll be focusing on are a typical day....but they certainly were a fun one! 

Here's 24 hours in Charlotte:

Be sure and check out the other participants' 24 hourses! (is TOO a word!)

Focus on Life Wk 41 ~ Connections

I am late, I am late, for a very important date...or actually BECAUSE OF a very important date!

Our National Inclusion Project Gala took place in Charlotte, NC last weekend and I was a leeeetle tied up, in a very good way.

 Our prompt from Sally for this week couldn't have been more appropriate:

"We all have, make, witness connections every day; connecting to one another makes us feel that we are part of something more, something great! This week, focus on the connections you make, the connections that naturally occur, a connection of things, your connection to your environment, craft, faith."

The weekend was all about making connections, but this is a very important one to me. The first picture was taken in 2004, in Charlotte NC on October 16th. I am on the left, Diane Bubel is on the right. 

Diane is the co-founder of the National Inclusion Project, for which I have worked for the last 10 years; the picture above was the first day we met. 

The picture below was taken at our Gala, on October 12th, 2013 in Charlotte, NC. I told Diane I wanted a do-over! 

A little older, a little better dressed....still friends! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Focus on Life~Week 40!!

Forty!! Ohmygoodness, we're getting near the end! I can't believe 2013 is 40 weeks gone already...

Sally's prompt for us this week was:

"Everyone can use a smile....this week, focus on the positive and give us a smile!"

I apologize in advance for having to keep going back to my Maine pictures...but the madness continues here, and my only day off this week was a monsoon, so my planned trip to the Farmer's Market for pumpkin faces was...off! 

OTOH, this smile is so infectious...and if that motorcycle helmet doesn't give you a laugh today, nothing will! Be sure to click on it to see! 

This gentleman rolled up to our car just as we were leaving Nubble Lighthouse, and we couldn't resist him...and YES, that IS a hamburger helmet on his head! 

Hope everyone has a wonderful week FULL of smiles....be sure to visit the others! 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Week 39~Your best shot!

This week, I had to go back a couple of weeks and pull out a shot I took while on our 2-day vacation in Maine. That trip produced some of my "best shots" ever....

First, this one taken in Perkins Cove, ME:

Which a friend edited, giving it a "watercolour" touch:

And second, this one, which I think tells the whole story of our trip in one picture:

I can hardly wait to see the other "best shots"!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Focus on Life Wk 38~A Quiet Moment

This is my busiest time of the year...I can not BELIEVE it is nearing the end of September...I have about a bazillion things to do prior to our Gala on Oct 12th (I'm flying on Oct 10th) and when I get back it'll be right into the hustle/bustle of the pre-Christmas season. 

Suffice to say, there are not many "quiet moments" in my life these days. 

Thanks, Sally, for "making me look" at at least one of them:

Sally's prompt this week was:

"A moment of calm, peacefulness, self-reflection...quiet little moments through the day where you pause, listen to your heart and breath. This week, capture a quiet moment!"

Mine? That moment where you are between WAKING up...and GETTING up...and best of all, on a sunny day!

Hope you are having a sunny day, and enjoying your quiet moments! 

No Inlinkz again this week....but you will find lots of other quiet moments HERE.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Week 37 - In Motion

Where we continue once again with Sally's wonderful prompts for our camera work. This week it was:

"Get moving and a-grooving this week! Stretch those creative muscles and capture things in motion!"

Well, I don't know about stretching any creative muscles...but this little guy made me laugh!...that's supposed to be good exercise. 

On Wednesday here, it was +44 (111 above, for you fahrenheit people)...today it is +13 (55 F). 

I think he's saying the same thing I was feeling....ACK!!! The water's too COLD!! 

Unfortunately, I did not see the Inlinkz code this week...do go to The Studio Sublime and see what the others have found moving!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Focus on Life~Week 36

This week, it's all about TWO...Sally's prompt for this week was:

"There are pairs everywhere in our life! This week, let's focus on things in two's!"

When I first saw the new prompt, my mind immediately went to the Canadian Geese which we now see every day. We are right on a flyway for the geese headed to lands south for the winter, and the pond and stand of trees in the lot behind us has been a popular watering hole/stopover for them. About a month or so ago, the city came and drained the pond, probably in preparation for the development which is starting to occur there.

The geese are PEEVED. I tried and tried to get a picture of some of them overhead for this week (geese mate for life and are always in pairs) but just could not make it happen.

So~this is second choice. This view of our diverse feet, in the mudroom, always makes me laugh and know I am home.

With a little help from PicMonkey here are...pairs!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Focus on Life~Week 35 Growth and Change

Can you believe we are 7/10ths of the way through this year-long challenge? (OK, it's the mathematician in me....)

Here is Sally's prompt for this week...

"This week we are focusing on what is growing and changing about you or the environment around you"

Here in Upper Canada, we are all about Back to Class at the moment, even if you don't have someone who is GOING back to class...and it is hard to believe summer is officially (if not actually) over and we are soon to be in Fall mode.

I took another trip to my favorite park this weekend, and I think of all the pictures I took, this one says where my mind is these days:

It speaks to me of endings...but with possibilities to come. 

Oddly enough, as I was driving home from the park, I noticed something on the main street next to my little neighbourhood, which I've never noticed before....I can't believe I haven't seen this!

Look at what's growing here, right across the street!

There are fields and fields and fields of sunflowers...I assume they're being grown to harvest the oil...but Sally, you opened my eyes! 

See what is growing and changing around our other participants at their blogs here:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week 34~Add Something!

So sorry to be late this week!

We just got back yesterday from a very short but very sweet 2-day vacation in Maine...

But first....I wanted to let you know about the winner of my little contest from last week!

Janet Bocciardi of Honey From the Bee....step right up, Mr Random has selected YOU! :-)

For our theme this week, Sally said:

"Add Something! There are many different online and phone app editing programs..pick an editing program, pick a photo and PLAY!"

I picked Picasa (which I often use) and had fun with 3 different treatments....Orton, Vignette, and Comic...here is the result:

And here is the original picture, from Ogunquit Beach in Maine:

Hope you all had a wonderful week! This week I HOPE to have time to do some visiting as well as posting my pictures....hope you stop by and see lots of the rest as well!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Week 33~In Season

Looks like Sally's allllllmost ready with her newly de-hacked website!

 In the meantime, we look at our prompt for Week 33~In Season... "What's in Season Where You Live?"

This area supplies much of the produce for at least the eastern half of our nation; the ground is rich and hugely productive. Everywhere you look there are fields of gently waving corn, bright green onions, golden purple tobacco, and lots of fruit! But a friend and I went out this last weekend to have a look at the other "In Season" product of Ontario....Festivals!!
Yes, it's Festival season! There are more than 100 summer Festivals which take place in this area...here's one of the most popular:

There were one or two people there when we arrived at the "Castle Gates"!

The opening ceremonies were in progress:

Always fun at a festival, there were lots of great vendors. How cute are these little kilts?? Do you see your tartan?

There was face painting too!

And, of course, lots of great pipe bands....

And, after 3 hours of this being my view:

Here was the main reason my friend and I went to the Festival! 

Here's a little quiz for those who have read this far.....do YOU know who the "Lady in Red" is??

If so, add your answer to the comments! I will draw for a little prize from all the correct answers.....Good Luck! 

While you're thinking....check out all the other "in season" blogs!