thank you! yes, you!

Before 2010 comes to a close I just wanted to extend a big and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been part of my life in the last year. It has been a very challenging year and I can't say I'm sad to see it end, but I have met some amazing people through my work with the Sadie blog and shop, and have great friends in cities all over the place and at home in Vancouver, too. Thank you to everyone for all of the things you've helped me with this year: getting Jeff into helping hands after his bike accident, throwing me a 30th birthday party in Central Park, telling people about Sadie, supporting me in school and other creative endeavours, helping us move, making us dinner, walking our dog, cleaning our apartment, sending us mail, being part of our wedding planning, visiting us in Vancouver, and everything else I haven't mentioned. I really can't wait for 2011 to arrive: for a wonderful New Year's Eve dinner, for the first Guilty Pleasure Movie Club evening, for the one year anniversary of Sadie, and for my final semester of school. I think it's going to be a great year! Happy New Year, everyone!


mountain time

This post is going to be a little image-heavy to show you what Jeff and I got up to yesterday and this morning. We're so lucky that Calgary is just a very short drive from Banff National Park and we headed up there yesterday to see the mountains, check out some tourist traps, and go to my favourite rock and gem shop. It was really busy in Banff yesterday, lots of people dragging themselves and their skis back to their hotel rooms. Many a dream catcher was for sale, too. We also came across a mummified merman at the trading post. If you think you can handle it I could share that picture tomorrow. It's kind of gross though.
looking down Banff Avenue to Mount Rundle

Real winter finally arrived and I was very thankful for a touque that my sister knit me and some mitts that my mom made me, considering I forgot to bring a scarf, gloves, or a hat with me. The high tonight is supposed to be -18ºC, with a windchill somewhere in the -25ºC range. Check out the crazy road conditions that we endured on the way back to Calgary. There were lots of cars in the ditch and though visibility wasn't bad, things were slippery and snow was blowing. I wish everyone traveling today safe journeys home. We're headed back home tomorrow and I have to say, I'm sad to be going back so soon. We've been loving the snow, not minding the cold, and generally just feeling a lot more relaxed than we've felt in Vancouver for a long time. I have to try to hold on to this mindset for my next and final semester of school.


walking in a winter wonderland: part 2

Here are some more photos from our walk in Weaselhead the other day. We've been trying to keep our lives low-key during the holiday break, so our activities haven't been terribly varied while we've been in Calgary. Yesterday I did, however, get to visit more with my friends Heather and Doug and their two sons and we went to a hockey game. It was a good one, because even though our team isn't doing great right now, we won 5-2 and had some funny people sitting around us. One man told us that his nine-year-old daughter did a powerpoint presentation for him on monkeys using her new laptop. So cute.

The top photo is really neat. Those are all red osier dogwood bushes and you can see how the red part of each branch starts at a really regular point in every plant. Walking through them felt a little like we were walking below the surface of the colour world. Hmm. That sounds flakey, but it was a strange and beautiful experience.

Below is a shot of some feather's that we found. We like to believe they came from a snowy owl. I wonder, does anyone know for sure what kind of bird these would be from? As you can see, there aren't a lot of colours around Weaselhead this time of year, but the wild rose hips below really stood out against the snow. And finally, when you're in the Prairies you see lots of birch and aspen groves. This one looked especially dreamy the other day. I'll share some photos from our Rocky Mountain adventures when we get back to a place with internet access in a couple of days. 


walking in a winter wonderland: part 1

Yesterday Jeff and I went out for a really long walk around the Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary. We walked along the edges of the reservoir itself, which is frozen and is being used by cross-country skiers right now, and made it well into Weaselhead, which is one of my favourite Calgary parks. We both agreed that we miss this landscape so much, and, of course, the fact that it was probably around 0ºC yesterday and not -40ºC made our walk much more enjoyable. It was so nice to be out in woods full of plants, birds, and animals that we recognize. It made us both homesick for this place. I'm sure our trip out to the mountains tomorrow will make us even more nostalgic for our former Calgary life. I'll share some more pictures from our walk tomorrow. 


christmas past

My family and I are all originally from Nova Scotia, so I thought I'd share some photos from past Christmas times tell a little family story. The top picture of the pony and sleigh is a picture of my mom, my grandmother and Charlie Norris who my mom says was from "up above us"...that must mean he lived on a hill above my grandmother's farm in rural eastern Nova Scotia. Not exactly a Christmas picture, but what a fun thing to do. My mom thinks that was their pony, Tammy, who had a sweet tooth. The sugar maple in the front yard was tapped and this horse would drink all of the syrup from the buckets before they would get to it. It was also a "miserable damn thing"...a biter. So you see, idyllic as this picture might appear, that there is a horse that would drink all of your maple syrup and then finish up by chomping on your hand.

This next picture is my mom and I sorting presents on my grandmother's kitchen floor. That's an oil stove in the background that keeps the kitchen toasty and is the main reason that this is the central gathering room in my grandmother's house. You can tell it's an old photo, not just from the rounded corners and colours, but from that cat-choking tinsel that's dripping off the branches of that tree. We were always allowed to open one present on Christmas eve, and it was usually a stuffed animal when we were little kids. They gave us something to cuddle when we were too excited to sleep.

This last photo I've had to ask for my mom's help with, because the story is pretty weird...like a lot of stories from my family. That's my uncle on the far right, and as you can see, he's about to pass a bowl of something or other around to everyone at the Christmas dinner table. Now the story goes, he passes the bowl and everyone else at the table dies. I mean, it's not so dramatic, it takes ten years or so for them to all pass away, but they do. Every one of them except my uncle (that's my grandfather, great grandfather, and my great uncle Johnny from left to right). So, my mother asks, what was in that bowl? 

I love looking through these old photos and having the chance to ask my mom about them. There are lots of amazing photos from her side of the family that she has unearthed over the years, and I'm glad she's got stories to tell about most everyone in them. Christmas at my grandmother's farm was always so nice. I got to talk to her yesterday, she's 91 and still on that same farm, sitting next to the oil stove in the kitchen. I hope she has a pretty tree set up and had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope the same for all of you. 


boxing day

This Rachel Whiteread piece in the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall in London is one of my favourite installations that I saw while in London with art school buddies a few years ago. The boxes are all made of corrugated white plastic, and with the frigid English winter seeping in through the giant doors to the hall, it was easy to imagine that we were adrift on a sea of ice. 

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas. Jeff and I have been playing games, eating a lot of sugar, and taking lots of naps. We even got a chance to go to a movie tonight, something we haven't been able to do in a loooooong time due to our move and school. So nice to finally relax with snow on the ground outside, tickets to a hockey game burning a hole in our pockets, and a trip to the mountains looming. 

And one last thing, my gosh, I can't imagine shopping right now, but I know it's a post-Christmas tradition, so I'm having a one-day-only sale in the Sadie shop tomorrow for Boxing Day. Coupon code "PUNCHOUT" will get you 20% off all day! Any orders will ship early in the New Year! Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!


happy holidays

I am homeward bound tomorrow. 4:30AM wake-up call and a Calgary breakfast date that I am very excited about! Not to mention family time, being home for the first time in a year, and meeting my friend Heather's adorable new son. Happy eating, gifting, and merry-making, everyone!

cleveland lighthouse encased in ice

Have you seen this yet? This is a lighthouse near Cleveland on Lake Erie completely encased in ice. Bitter cold and crashing waves caused this and other structures to be covered in ice last week. I think it's pretty amazing. Is it cold where you are?

More great photos can be found via Albino's photostream on Flickr. It's worth a look.


cave explorer number ten

Introducing the tenth necklace in the cave explorer series: this one features an overall-clad, hat-wearing dude doing what looks to be some very heavy work in an agate geode. Take a look at more photos in the Sadie shop. I'm still trying to get some more new pieces together to post before I take off on holidays. Check back tomorrow!

new apartment, new art

Did I ever mention that I spent most of the summer of 2009 in Europe? And that Jeff came with me for the first three weeks and we got engaged in Paris? I was going through some old photos today and came across a whole bunch of great shots that I want to do something with. I'm scheming about ways to use them in the new apartment and have some ideas. This one of a light shop in Amsterdam is one of our favourites and it really suits the character of our new place. I think it might have to be front and centre in our living room. Oh summer...well, winter solstice has passed so we're on the upswing now!


a few new things...

black teardrop crystal necklace
For the past week I've been doing a lot of different things all at the same time, but with the holidays fast approaching, that's about to come to a much anticipated end. Yay for relaxation time, even if I do still feel totally apprehensive about my next and final semester of school. As life is returning to normal I've finally had a chance to update my Etsy shop with some of the new items that I made for the craft sales I did at the beginning of December. Many of the new pieces are one of a kind and incorporate crystal geodes, vintage findings, and maybe a little tiny bit of gold wire. You can take a closer look at them all in the Sadie shop, but I'd also like to share a few pictures here.

moonstone crystal teardrop necklace
These tiny crystal teardrop necklaces are soooo lovely to wear and, yet, so difficult to make! I swear, for every one that I succeed with I've botched at least three previous attempts. The thirty gauge gold-filled wire is really, really thin and everything has to be just right to ensure the crystal stays in place. The crystals themselves are only 4mm x 6mm big. I can't wait to get a good desk lamp with a magnifying glass to make this kind of work a little easier. The light we currently have available just isn't good enough when I'm working on such small, intricate pieces.

I've also got some new Cave Explorer necklaces in the shop. The last ones are gone gone gone. The pickaxe wielding man in the bottom piece looks a lot like a friend of mine. I'm tempted to tell him about it, but I think it's best if he just figures it out for himself. A magnifying glass and better light is also gonna help me make these dudes in the future. They are tiny! Just 10mm tall and, as you can see, they fit their geode homes perfectly and that can make them tough to get in there.

pink mitts cave explorer
cave explorer in an agate geode
So, I've revealed some of the struggles that I have when making jewelry, but don't get me wrong! I love it! It's so great to sit down with a pile of supplies and make things happen. It's even more fun to go and get new supplies and I always find inspiration for something new in the local shops I frequent. In fact, I'll be posting even more new work tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Oh yeah, and how did I manage to miss sharing this feature from Lune Vintage on the Sadie blog? Check it out, there's a coupon code for the shop, too!


guilty pleasure: elf

Things are coming together nicely at our new apartment (thanks to many helpful people who sacrificed Sunday morning and maybe a pair of pants to get us moved), but I'm not quite ready to share any pictures yet. However, I thought I'd catch the Guilty Pleasure Movie Club postings up by mentioning that last week we had our Christmas extravaganza. Candy cane cookies, rice krispie squares, delicious soup, bread and cheese, and two different salads made for one of the more delicious dinners we've had (still thinking about "country" dinner, though...). And the movie, a unanimous pick by the whole group, Elf. It's definitely a must-watch for me and has surpassed National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation as my favourite Christmas movie...well, almost.

I know you've all seen Elf before, but watching this clip will make you smile even if you just watched it yesterday. I feel like I could put up almost any piece of Elf and it would be awesome. Here's another favourite:

And, should you somehow have not seen the entire movie, here's a trailer to convince you to go check it out right now!

When I first saw this movie with Jeff and our friends Matt and Jill we all laughed so hard we cried. I think of that original viewing and Jill and Matt every time Jeff and I watch this. It's become a movie that I love watching and that makes me think of the good times I've had watching it...including the last Guilty Pleasure Movie Club of 2010. Well, time to unpack some more and watch another of my favourite Christmas movies: Die Hard. I'll be posting some new stuff in the Sadie shop in the next couple of days and then will be heading off to visit my family over the holidays! Can't wait for snow and mountains and my mom's baking!

By the way, did anyone see the winter solstice total lunar eclipse tonight?


bright lights

meat, cheese, and ornaments at granville island
Our apartment is all packed up, my school work is coming along, and I can't wait until, say, Tuesday, when a lot of the stuff I've been working on is complete and I've spent a couple of nights in my new apartment. I'm going to miss a lot about our current place: the dishwasher, in suite laundry, underground parking, a big storage unit, our bbq (goodbye, good friend!), and being a two minute walk from my community garden plot BUT... Our new place is pretty great. I'm looking forward to downsizing our possessions, putting our art on the walls at the new place, exploring a new neighbourhood, and meeting all of the dogs that call our new building home. I'm also excited to live in a place with lighter coloured hardwood and bigger windows and built-in bookcases. Moving helpers have been recruited, school stuff is almost at a point where I can believe it's all possible, and Christmas is really, really close! Can't wait to reconnect with friends in Calgary, see my family, and relax for a week or so. Luckily I had to take a walk yesterday to find some supplies for one of my projects, so here are some photos from that. Lola is a bit unsure about cameras and all of the boxes in our place right now. Okay. See you on the other side of all this madness. Taking a deep breath now...

How do you relax when life gets a little crazy?


let's go for a walk...

The nice thing about the big school project that I'm working on right now is that it's all about walking, which means I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't get out on walks regularly to break up my writing and researching. Though I've mostly been spending my hours in a pile of papers and books on the couch while Jeff packs the house up around me, I have been trying to go outside and enjoy these nice winter days, too. And, of course, my dog Lola wouldn't have it any other way. This is a photo I took while on a research mission the other day. Those are snowberry bushes in the foreground, probably my favourite Vancouver winter plant. 

Oh, and Jeff found Vancouver's real candy cane lane: the Trinity Street Light Festival in East Van. We passed it tonight and it was pretty impressive. I think there was a clear winner with a lot of amazing runners up. Go check it out if you have a chance! It would be a great place for a night time walk, and since night starts at about 3:30pm these days, you have lots of time before or after dinner to get over there.


granville island after dark

Living in Vancouver, where it rarely snows, I find myself seeking out holiday spirit in other forms: namely baked goods, perhaps a little retail therapy, and lawn decorations and Christmas lights! In our recent travels around the city Jeff and I have encountered a gingerbread house someone skillfully constructed on their front lawn, a motorcycle-riding Santa perched atop a garden archway in East Van, and, of course, every day we look at the traffic circle down the street that's been decorated with every manner of white hula hoop, plastic snowflake, and crystal globe. (A holiday-minded neighbour makes sure that traffic circle gleefully expresses whatever special day might be coming up on the calendar.) The traffic circle looks great. In fact, a news team even shot a segment there and I can heartily recommend that they return at any time of the year to see what expressive use that traffic circle will be put to in the future. 

To my mind, the best place to find Christmas spirit in Vancouver is Granville Island...at night. It is beautiful and inhabited almost entirely by people wandering home from Christmas parties. You have great views of the city, False Creek, and the bridges, but you also get to see things like cement mixers all gussied up for Santa. A few of my favourite shots of Granville Island at night are included in this post. If you have the chance, you really should go. (Of course, if you go during the day you could probably get most of your shopping and baked goods eating done, too.) Where are the holidays best expressed in your city? Do you decorate your lawn, balcony or local traffic circle?

Finally, I'd just like to extend a quick welcome to everyone visiting from Lune Vintage. Happy holidays, everyone! Now back to that paper...


nights in white flannel

I am sure that it is too late to order anything from this fabulous Canadian company that I'm about to introduce you to in time for Christmas, but New Year's Day might just be possible. Now, let me start by saying that winter is not my favourite time of year. I just don't like being cold! I am barely capable of getting out of bed on mornings when to be on the other side of my Hudson's Bay wool blanket would be to risk certain, well, discomfort. I thought there was no solution out there for my dislike of the cold, until I was in Powell River one fall and discovered Nights in White Flannel.

In my humble opinion, this is the ultimate in Canadiana. I definitely had sheets like the material they make their bedclothes out of and, as is shown repeatedly in their print catalogue, Nights in White flannel is perfect cabin wear. I can certainly imagine wearing an adult onesie (yup, dreams do come true!) at my Grandmother's farm in Nova Scotia. Or at our favourite getaway on Mayne Island. Now, you'll never get a picture of me actually wearing my onesie because although I ordered it thinking it would be fun and funny, it turns out that it is a little more funny-embarassing...but I still love it and do wear it pretty often. Each piece is custom made to fit you perfectly, which means loose and comfortable. I loved the customer service this company provided and urge you all to check out their website. These really are unique and comfortable pieces and I know that if you order something from them you will love it. And that name: Nights in White Flannel? You'll never forget it!


guilty pleasure: the wild life

This is a way overdue post for the Guilty Pleasure Movie Club. If you're new to the Sadie blog, the GPMC is a little get together I have with some friends, usually every Sunday, where we have a great dinner together (usually with a theme that can range from "The Depression" to "French") and then watch a movie that we are sort of embarrassed about liking. Usually. Sometimes we don't even know what the movie is going to be like,  most times the movie is actually awesome and watching it again (or for the first time) is pure pleasure, not much guilt. It's casual.

The last pick we had, before we all fell prey to finals and holiday madness, was made by Ryan and it was a beauty. A 1984 barely-heard-of (is that a fair assessment?) Cameron Crowe-written flick starring the likes of Chris Penn (R.I.P.) and Eric Stoltz: The Wild Life. Check out the trailer below. I wanted to post this in anticipation of our Christmas extravaganza Guilty Pleasure gathering. I can't wait to take a break from paper writing and watch what has to be one of the best Christmas movies ever made (hint: cotton-headed ninny muggins!) with some friends. And it's our last chance to host in our current apartment, which has a dishwasher. A bonus when lots of food is being consumed, which it surely will be tomorrow night. It's casual.

P.S. It is worth noting that The Wild Life has one of the most off-putting strip club scenes ever, and not for any reason you might be able to guess at. Let's just say it. is. so. 80s.


d.i.y. gift guide

So, after saying I'd just be too busy to keep up with posts here, I had an idea that I thought was best suited to getting out there now, rather than later. So, here it is, fresh finds (I hope some of them are new to you) for d.i.y. holiday gift ideas. I know some people like to shop till they drop this time of year, but for others it's a chance to make things by hand (and on a budget). Here are some homemade gift ideas that I think will make you look really thoughtful AND talented. And they're relatively easy, depending on what you have a talent for, so just making something already!
photo from Lune Vintage
Let's start with this tutorial to make a tassel necklace with Lune Vintage. So easy and awesome. I was at Dressew earlier this week and found a beautiful piece of navy leather in their giant leather scrap bin and made one for myself. It's going to be my new keychain, but I think the necklace idea is pretty swell too. The rest of the leather that I have leftover is for a project I'm hoping to get my mom's help with when I go home for Christmas (look out!). Follow the link above for a complete and very easy how-to guide on Lune.

Next up, make your own terrarium with instructions from Make Something. These look like really well laid out, easy to follow instructions, and we all know that terrariums are super hot right now. Perfect for those balcony-less apartments (just like the one I'm about to move into).

photo from make something
I feel like a bit of a 70s theme is emerging, so I won't encourage you to make a macrame plant hanger, but rather suggest the Delores Park cowl from Six One Seven. Super easy if you're not an advanced knitter. Circular needles are an easy way to start knitting in the round, and this pattern just uses really simple stitches and chunky yarn, which means you shouldn't still be working on this one come next Christmas.

Finally, if it's deliciousness you're after, need you go any further than Martha? (And I do like to believe we're on a first name basis.) If you can somehow still find peaches, this rosemary peach jam (which has been renamed "dignified fun" in our house) is amazing. It goes with every kind of cheese that you can think of and is pretty easy to make. For something a bit more seasonal, I've made these hazelnut-espresso cookies before and they are disgusting! Just kidding! They're amazing and they're a great pick-me-up during finals studying. Oh yeah, school...back to that.

Enjoy this extra-long, extra-amazing song by Sufjan Stevens while you get to work on your Christmas projects. When you've listened to both parts you're half an hour in...and you won't even notice the time going by! I think I might have to make those espresso cookies this afternoon.


light at the end of the semester

the new place could use a little paint; Lola seems to like it
We have a lot going on right now, so I know that my posts and shop listings are going to be slowed a little over the next couple of weeks. We're moving, I have two big papers due (one is my thesis), and I have two jobs at the university that are keeping me busy...not to mention jewelry! So, over the next few days I'll be writing, packing, writing, packaging up Christmas orders, wrapping presents, booking a truck, packing...well, you get the idea. Having said that, there are a couple of new listings in the Sadie shop for items I had at Portobello West: raw garnet meteor and polished quartz necklaces. Welcome to everyone who has just discovered the Sadie blog and shop! I'll be back soon with a special Sadie post. Keep checking in!

Here's a little video tour of Vancouver in the meantime. Black Mountain always reminds me of a certain night next to the Elbow River in Alberta, of all things. A bonfire, a blizzard, one of my favourite nights of all time.


let me tell you about my weekend

This post might sound like I'm gushing...because I kind of am right now when I talk about all of the things I'm about to cover. Besides the fact that school is extremely stressful for me right now, I have just had the most amazing weekend that has really helped put things in perspective and has given me motivation to just get 'er done between now and when I hand in my final draft of my thesis paper.

the sadie set up, portobello west
First of all, I did Portobello West this weekend and had a really great time meeting a ton of Vancouverites, talking about the jewelry that I make, and seeing (and tasting!) what other people make. Amazing and so much hard work and fun! Thank you to everyone who cruised our table, stopped to chat, or bought something. Every purchase means a lot and I'm so happy that my work is off to loving homes! And thanks for eating our candy, too...there was no way I wanted to bring all of that home with me tonight!

antique photo from the edmonton antique mall
Last night after the fair ended we went out for dinner with some friends to a restaurant that I'd had recommended to me a long time ago, but I still hadn't made good on my promise to go. Woah! I've been missing out! Check out the size of that dosa. Jeff is pointing at it for scale. And the before and after photos? A little explicit maybe, but I'm pretty proud of how much food we packed away. Saravanaa Bhavan specializes in all vegetarian South Indian cuisine. It's really affordable, central, and delicious. You should really go!

After the craft fair today I swung past my friend Matt's because he finally made good on his end of a trade we made. I gave him a couple of records from my record collection and he made me cookies with pretzels in them. He used pretzel M&Ms, which I think it a brilliant way to make pretzel filled cookies, and I'm definitely enjoying them more than I would enjoy the records I traded! Everybody wins!

AND THEN...I came home and saw this extremely lovely post on Dinosaur Toes. I sent a holy mountain necklace to Danielle as a thank you for all of her support in the first few months of Sadie and certainly had no expectations that she'd share it with her readers! I really love her work, and you should all check out her blog and shop. Her support has meant a lot to me, and if you like what I make, I know you'll like what she makes, too!

One more thing and then, I swear, I'll get back to work (and eating dinner). My very amazing, incredibly awesome babe-of-a-friend Heather just gave birth to her second son! I am so excited to meet him at Christmas and give Heather and Doug and their entire beautiful family a big squeeze (well, not too much squeezing on the baby!). I feel like my family just got a little bigger and the cuteness factor in my life has definitely just been taken up a notch or ten! Congrats a million times over to Heather and Doug and the new big brother. I love you guys!!! I promise you apple doughnuts are in our future!

Thanks to everyone who was part of making my weekend so awesome! I hope that you all had a great weekend, too! Now, back to those CAD drawings for me!


portobello west preview

crystal diorama by Jeff
Hi all, I hope you've had a great week. I am happy to have had my last class yesterday and now I have time (not enough?) to focus on writing my thesis paper (and another paper) and get ready for the holidays...oh, and move. So this is going to be a quick post with a few pictures of some of the things I'm going to have at Portobello West and available in the Sadie shop soon. Above is another one of Jeff's great crystal dioramas. This one is on beautiful, mossy green wolfinite and just so you know, that's a lumberjack, not a hunter! Below are some amazing faceted raw garnet chunks that I found this week. I can't wait to have a chance to turn them into something wearable, and I'm hoping to have the chance to do that later tonight, just in time for Portobello West. Garnet is supposed to keep you emotionally balanced and safe from bad dreams...just what every student needs at this point in the semester! I'm a bit of a skeptic about the powers of crystals, but not about the beauty of all these crazy rocks. These garnet chunks are a really deep red, which translates as a very warm, rich black from a distance. I love them.

faceted raw garnet
Finally, I'd just like to say hello to all who are finding me here through Lune Vintage. I'm super excited to have a sponsorship spot on Lune this month and am looking forward to reading all of the features on great designers and bloggers that will be on Lune in December. Thanks again to Jill for this great opportunity. I hope you'll all keep checking back! Welcome!