Thursday, January 22, 2009

Look what I just bought!

I've always enjoyed the brightness of Gera Scott Chandler's work but I confess to not being a floral or fruit type person (though I do love her daffodils and tulips). However, put trees in it and I'm pretty much sold. I'm an outdoorsy person and gravitate towards landscapes and woods. So I was thrilled when I saw one of Gera's latest creations and it had trees. And I was even more thrilled when she offered to sell it to me! And then to find out that I'm going to own a piece of Gera's work that's going to be famous because it's going in a photo shoot and we're talking giddy with excitement!!! I have to wait three whole weeks to receive it, that's 21 days, or, hang on as I get my calculator out, 500 hours.

I suppose I can just look at another beautiful piece that I have from Gera that she sent as a thank you for hosting last year's Christmas swap, but it doesn't have trees in it. I also have two of Gera's ornaments but they're tucked safely away in my ornament boxes.

I missed out on taking a class from Gera the year before last and I've regretted it since. Two of my friends, Barb, and Janice, took the class and have rubbed it in my face ever since. Gera is a wonderful teacher with a kind and generous spirit (or so I'm told constantly and hope to find out some day).

On a side note, the One World One Heart stuff has been so very time consuming with over 400 artists now entered and having to stop by and see all their creations. What a wonderful pool of talent out there. We've got seven Clayamies at the moment registered, including Gera.

I'll post more on that later because right now I just want to savour my new purchase. Please do visit Gera's site and take a look around. She's got an ambitious goal of posting a blog entry a day for the next year so there will always be something new to see.

Cheers everyone!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One World-One Heart...I'm in!


It's time for the One World One Heart blogger event!! Started by Lisa Swifka, this worldwide giveaway event is a way for the blogging community around the world to meet and has grown and grown each and every year into a wonderful expression of togetherness and community. This is my first year participating. At last count there were over 300 artists around the world that are giving away a free bit of art.

I will be giving away two small covered tins. Here's the first one. I don't have photos of the other one because I haven't made it yet (actually, I have, but I'm not happy with it). This first one is a small Altoids tin suitable for change or small trinkets. The second one may be different colours and different patterns. We'll see.

I should mention that I used Bev's stamps for the tin. She's got wonderful stamps that are just perfect for clay and I'm sure other applications. Please go see her website at Prices are very reasonable and Bev is a treat to deal with.

To enter:

1. Leave a comment to only this post. Please make sure there is a means to contact you if you have won.

2. Enter only once.

3. In order to encourage bloggers, you have to have a blog to enter. It doesn't matter what topic.

4. You have until February 11, 2009 to leave a comment to this post for a chance to win. The winner will be selected by random draw and announced on February 12th.

5. Please visit the One World-One Heart site (click on the logo above) for a complete listing of participants’ links & give aways and to read the beautiful story of how this event was created.

6. Since this giveaway is for bloggers only, every comment below will have a link to a blog. Feel free to browse and see all the other wonderful blogs.

Important update: Paper Whimsy is offering to donate 25 cents to Save the Children for each commenter on her blog. I love the idea and I've decided to copy her shamelessly and will contribute a quarter for each entry. I'll donate a minimum of $25 (and up to a maximum of $200) to Plan Canada which also supports children around the world. The gift that I will buy will be one of these items here here so also add your vote to what I should buy with your quarter.
Feb 11, 10:PM my time. Voting is now closed as I have to get up early tomorrow and want to post the winners. Thanks to everyone for entering my giveaway. I've looked at most of your blogs and have enjoyed myself immensely.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My new favourite website...

A few days ago a good friend of mine from Texas sent me a couple of links to YouTube videos. Sometimes when I receive these e-mails I don't bother with the links, but sometimes I do. Was I ever glad for this one. Matt, the subject of the video has had 30 million hits on his website so many of you are probably already aware of him. But if you're not, check this out!

If you've got a faster computer, click on the YouTube Link here and then click on "watch in higher quality"

What an amazing and wonderful accomplishment. How many of us at the end of the day will be able to say that our work literally made millions smile? What a gift.

The website,, easily has hours and hours of reading and there's an hour lecture on how he did what he did. I like how he's got impressions of the countries that he's visited. As someone who ultimately wants to see many other parts of the world, his website provides inspiration and opportunities for daydreaming.

He's got another video which you can see on his website or here.

One of my favourite rides when I was a kid was "It's a Small World" at Disneyland. Matt's video gives a bit of the same feel. I'm thinking this might inspire some Bottles of Hope, particularly given my mother's recent bottles.

I particularly love the source of the lyrics in the song in Matt's video. In Matt's FAQs he writes:

"The lyrics to "Praan" were taken from a poem by a Nobel Prize winning Indian author named Rabindranath Tagore. While the poem was written in Bengali (or Bangla), I chose it based on its English translation, which I later learned to be more of an interpretation that captures the spirit of the original without matching it word-for-word.

The English version of the poem is called "Stream of Life." Here it is:"
The same stream of life
that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world
and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life
that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life
that is rocked in the ocean-cradle
of birth and of death,
in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious
by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb
of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mom's Bottles of Hope

Hi Everyone,

My mother was visiting last week for several days and I took her to Janice's with me for a clay day where we played with mokume gane. That night she dreamt about children with cancer and dreamt of bottles that she wanted to make for them. These bottles are her attempts to replicate the bottles that she made for them in her dreams. The man with a tie bottle is very close to what she wanted to do and the green dress bottle is the wrong colour but more what she wanted to do than the others, though the others are also cute. Not bad for a woman's second or third time in playing with clay, eh?

Mom has always been a creative person and does wedding cakes for fun. For those that are new to my blog, she did the wedding cake pictured here. She made a lot of our clothes when we were kids. I'm fortunate to have inherited her love of crafts (and I hope a bit of her talent). Here are some other beautiful bottles that she created while she was here.

Our goal for our Guild is to contribute a Bottle of Hope a day for a total of 365 bottles in 2009. Mom has got us started with more than a week's worth. Thanks Mom! Love you so very much.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My rainbow colours

Your rainbow is strongly shaded violet and white.


What is says about you: You are a creative person. You appreciate quiet moments. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it. People depend on you to make them feel secure.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

Hi Everyone,

I found this at Sharon's blog that I stumbled across a while back and have been dedicated to ever since. If any of you or your loved ones suffer from infertility or have had miscarriages, please check her blog out. She offers insight and a no holds barred approach into what can be a very dreary and devastating process.

Anyhow, I have to give Sharon's blog credit for me finding out my rainbow colours. I took the quiz and these were my results. I do like the description though I'm not sure that patient is the word that I would use for myself and I still haven't mastered sanding or drilling holes through beads to my taste.

But others comment that they have no patience for caning and I can cane all day so maybe it's partially true.

I normally don't post these things, but since it said I was artistic I thought it relevant to the blog since maybe there's some truth to this.

Anyhow, to find out your rainbow colours, click Feel free to post comments on what your rainbow description is.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Arizona trip continued, Day 4

Hi Everyone,

Someone on TripAdvisor was asking about how to get from 4 Corners to Holbrook. I had to chime in with my answer which was to detour via New Mexico and at least pass by Shiprock. Once I added my opinion I had to back it up with photos. So here they are.

On day 4 of our Arizona trip we drove the North rim of Canyon de Chelly to Tsaile and then headed north to Lukachukai. At Lukachukai we headed east through an incredible mountain pass and into the desert valley to see Shiprock. This wasn't part of our original planning, but at the Hubbell Trading Post my husband noticed a book with a photo of an amazing rock outcropping. We asked the park ranger if this was anywhere near where we were driving and it turned out that with only a two hour detour we would be able to add this to the trip. He assured us that we were in for a treat on the drive and we absolutely were not disappointed.

One of the advantages to this detour was that it allowed us to combine the North Rim of CdC without having to backtrack onto roads that we had already travelled.

The first photo in this set is of our approach to the mountain pass. The speed limit through the pass is 10 miles per hour and it's well deserved for the switchbacks. Our ears were popping as we climbed a few thousand feet in elevation.

Just as soon as we were up we were on our way down. Part way down we got our first view of Shiprock. I think the second photo might be one of my favourites and captures the essence of Shiprock.

As with CdC, we're not sure what drew us to this formation. We pulled off at the gravel road at Shiprock and spent a half hour taking photos. In the third photo of this set if you look close on the very right you'll see what looks like a small speck just above the ridge line - that's me.

Shiprock is a spiritual place among the Natives and perhaps we sensed some of that. There are many other rock formations that could be considered prettier, but this one just had a somber power to it.

For more information on Shiprock, check out the following websites:

We also stopped at 4 Corners on our way to Monument Valley. This last photo is the three Geocaching travel bugs that we had with us managing to be in four states at once. It's a fun little detour, souvenirs are reasonably priced and the fry bread is delicious.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I have a Serbian follower...


I am a complete novice when it comes to working on blogs. Today I noticed that I had three followers, one of whom has an active blog. Her name is Saska and she's from Serbia. Her blog started in August 2008 and I look forward to following her new additions.

You can check out her blog here: I have to use the translate button that she's got conveniently located on the upper right to understand the gist of her writing.

I love these little earrings that she's made.

If you click on the "about me" portion of her blog you'll come across a wonderful list of bloggers that she's following. I spent a happy half hour just perusing her list.

That's it for now. My mother's been visiting and has been on a Bottle of Hope spree today. I'll post photos of those later.



A Brooch for my Grandmother

Hi Everyone,

I spent a pleasant day at Janice's yesterday along with Karen and my Mother who is visiting for a few days. Janice will be teaching Mokume Gane in February at Guild. One of the versions that she wants to teach is the simple layering and stamping. We played with various colour schemes and other things.

Karen has been big into cleaning out her hobby room and has been donating things right left and centre. One of the items that she had up for grabs were some nice findings and brooch backs.

Unfortunately my grandmother hasn't started the new year well with her sister dying just a couple of days ago. One of the things that she'll be doing is wearing black for the full year. I wanted to give her something that would let her know that she was thought of and yet be suitable for the colour scheme.

Inspiration from Janice, finding from Karen, layer of black, silver, and white clay together, stamped with one of my favourite stamps, and voila! A brooch for my grandmother. This one went together surprisingly easily. I was going to take the time to sand it perfectly but I didn't want to lose the colouring that I had (which was happening while I was sanding) so I'm coating it with Future. I'm happy with it. My mother is impressed, and I'm sure my grandmother will be pleased as well.



Friday, January 2, 2009

My New Year's present to all, a blade holder how-to.

Hi Everyone,

I thought I'd start the new year with instructions on how to make a simple blade holder. This is a good way to use up scrap clay or cane bits or whatever. You can make it as fancy or as simple as you like. The demo that I've got here is pretty simple, but it's just to get the idea across.

You'll need:
- Scrap clay
- Pearlex powders
- a sheet of magnet (I bought some 5x7 magnetic floppy picture frames at dollar store and cut those up, but business cards or other things work well, too)
- elastic cording of some sort

The blade holder is made up of two sheets and the blades are sandwiched in between the two sheets. Elastic holds the sheets together (see photo at the end of the blog).

If you're familiar with European or Canadian folders that close by pulling elastic from one side to another, the elastic configuration is similar to that.

Start by figuring out what you want for the front and back of each sheet. In this example I've run Pearlex coated scrap clay through the pasta machine with Bev's stamps. It comes out to a medium-thin thickness on the pasta machine. You'll need four layers of decorated clay. The length should be long enough to hold your blades with some room to spare. Width can be as wide as you like - the sample here will hold three blades comfortably and four possibly and it's about 4 inches across.

I'm thinking of making a narrow one so that I can keep my cane slicing blades separate from the rest of my blades.

I like my blade holders to feel sturdy so I also had a layer of scrap clay of similar thickness to the other layers. My total thickness for the one sheet after all three layers are combined is about 4mm or 1/8 inch thick.

Sandwich your layers together so that you'll have a nice front and back with a scrap clay layer in the middle. Trim all sides so that they're even, but don't get too carried away with perfection here, particularly if you don't have a lot of excess length because very shortly you could end up with a holder that's too short for your blades.

You'll need to decide which layer holds the magnet and cut it out accordingly. You can do this before you place the layer on the scrap clay, or you can do it like I did in the photo and place the magnet on top, cut lines around the magnet and then cut out the clay being careful to only cut the top layer out. The magnet should fit snugly into the spacing and should be somewhat flush with the clay though it's tolerant of some uneven leveling.

Don't put the magnet in just yet. I did when I was doing the demo and there was a lot of bubbling and warping that took me a bit to fix.

Bake your front and back sheets. I put the sheets on a piece of paper in the oven, then put another piece of paper on top of the sheets, and then another tile on top of all that to keep everything even. Allow to cool in the oven after baking. I didn't and I had some interesting warping going on during cooling. The slight valley where the magnet was supposed to go caused the piece to bow quite a bit. I simply put it back in the oven and let it cool with the tile on it.

If you've used Pearlex or the other powders, apply your finish of choice to seal the powders in. I've used Flecto spray varathane on mine.

Once you've got everything surface treated, glue the magnet in place. I use Weldbond glue and haven't had an issue.

Now you're ready for the assembly. If you need to do sanding to make the two sheets match each other, do it now. They don't have to be perfect, since it's scrap clay you can make one for fun just to get the technique down and then the other one for real if you want.

You'll need to drill 8 holes in the top sheet. I've placed beads on the top sheet so you can see the placement of the holes, but that's only so you can see where the holes go - you won't need beads. You can do variants of this and there's no exact science to it. Mine are about 1 cm (1/2 inch) apart on each side and about 1/4 inch (7 mm) from the edge. Drill a hole wide enough to hold your elastic cording, and if you're smart you'll drill one hole slightly thicker than the others so that you can slip your knot into it later. I've used the clear cording for bracelets but you can use whatever colour you want if you want contrast.

Now you're going to thread the elastic through the front sheet. At this point you'll need to decide which side you want for the front and which side you want for the back. In this case I decided that the yellow was the front. You want the elastic to be on the outside of the front as in the dashed blue lines of this photo. Use one piece of elastic for the whole sheet. I don't cut a specific length to start, I just pull a good bit through the first hole. Start where you want and thread the elastic through each hole in a clockwise fashion. Keep the elastic snug and flush to the sheet but don't pull it too tight. Once you've got all the holes threaded you should end up with two ends of elastic very close to each other. Knot and tuck into one of the holes if you can. I apply a dab of cyanoacrylic glue to the knot and hole and that helps with the permancency.

If this isn't making sense, please leave a comment and I'll try to explain better.

This final photo shows two blade holders that I've made. The one on the left was my first attempt. I didn't take photos of the construction process for that one. It's about two years old and other than the decorative trim on the sides has held up well. The one on the right is the one that I made as a demo.

To close your blade holder, put the two sheets together so that the inside layers face each other. Pull the elastic from the outside of the front layer to the outside of the back layer. Do this at all four corners. If you look closely at this last photo you can see how it looks from the side view. The top layer of the bottom photo is actually the back of the blade holder and you can see how the elastic ends up being placed.

And that's it. Please let me know if I can improve on my instructions, it's tough to sometimes describe when you've got front, back, middle and multiple sheets.

Happy New Year everyone. I am hoping for a good one for all.


Christmas Ornaments

Hi Everyone,

This is a late posting - it was a rather hectic Christmas season with me working overtime right up until I found out that my father had had a heart attack and then scrambling trying to get flights to California during all the snow storms the week before Christmas. Fortunately Dad is OK and we had a nice time in California even if it didn't get above 16C the whole time we were there.

Anyhow, here are the ornaments that I made for the Clayamies ornament swap. I used the faux cloisonne technique that Jacey taught us earlier this year for the fronts. The backs were remnants from the Casablanca beads that I had made a while ago. Overall I was pretty happy with them and there's probably about 1.5 hours per ornament.