Monday, October 17, 2011


Here I am again, late, but better late than never, right?  You see, it's been another busy few weeks.  Last week some awesome people here in Halifax made a short film and I got to cook for the crew.  I've catered a few short films around town now, but this is the first one I got to do where I didn't use any meat!  Woohoo, vegetarian food.  Funnily enough, I am a carnivore myself, but as a cook I consider vegetarian food sort of my speciality.  

MC, the producer of the film is a good friend of mine and we went grocery shopping and got all kinds of goodies, and the next day, JP, another good friend of mine came over to my place and we drank two bottles of wine and did lots of prep and cooked two huge soups and a batch of chili.  We made a yellow lentil and roasted corn with chipotle soup, a butternut squash soup and of course a vegetarian chili.  (A few years back I was the chef a a little restaurant here in Halifax and I used to call the chili Helen's Super Magic Vegetarian Chili because we always found people were more intrigued by things with odd names and the addition of the word "magic" had them...well, eating it up.)  

Anyway, so far as I could tell, the food and the shoot were a success, so congrats to the cast and crew.  It was nice to be on set again as it's been a while, and it was really great working with JP, so I hope all the filmmaking veg-heads will brag about our soups and we'll get to do more cooking.  I wish I could say I had thought about taking pictures of the grub and the mess my kitchen was in after the our cooking spree, but you'll just have to take my word for it that it all went down as I say and that that is my excuse for not posting last week.  Excuses, excuses.  I know.

Soooo, this week I made a pillow!  

A while back I was strolling through a fairly typical store at a local mall when a t-shirt on the wall caught my eye.    It wasn't the style, for that was quite boring; it was the cool black and white photo of a bicycle that was printed on the shirt that intrigued me and, for some reason, had me immediately wanting to make a pillow with it.  Turned out the store was having a crazy end of season sale and I got the shirt for, like, $3.  Bonus!  

Soooo, I took the shirt home, cut the printed part off and there it sat until a couple days ago when I decided it was finally time.  I've had this lovely turquoise linen forever and made it into a scarf ages ago which never got worn, so I thought now was also the time to make use of that.  I went ahead and just folded the scarf and sewed around the edges to make it the correct size for the pillow form I was using, then all I did was center the photo and sew it on.  In hindsight I should have sewed the picture on first as it got a little tricky to keep things straight when I got so far inside the pillow, but it turned out alright.  I used the zig-zag stitch to create a border around the outside and I left the edges of the photo a little ragged and sewed outside the lines to maintain a sort of unpolished look.   I really like making pillows and will probably make more really soon as I have a bunch of funky ideas.

Ugh, it's such a glum day outside my window!  

I wish I didn't have to go out to work soon and I could just stay inside our cozy place and make pillows and listen to more Steve Bowers for the rest of the day.  Don't know him? Geeze, well get on that will ya??

He's a local singer/song-writer extraordinaire who is coming out with a new album called Beothuk Words this month which is really exciting as his album Homing is pretty much my new favorite record in the world.  I find his songs inspiring so check him out!

Ok then, well off to the day job for me.  Till next time kids!  Behave yourselves...or not!

Friday, September 30, 2011


Soooo I suppose I jumped the gun a bit with the last post in so far as my declarations of weekly creations and posts is concerned.  I've got my reasons of course (distractions:  moving in!  parties!  film fest!  cute boyfriend!  disastrously disorganized workspace!  road trips!) but no matter!  This entry, this one you are reading right now, let's consider this one to be the first official post and we'll just go on from here.  Agreed?  Great, thanks!

So the one good thing about not having posted in a while is that I at least have a few things to show for myself project-wise.  The first one I'll show you is one I was actually working on when I started the blog a few weeks ago.  It's a ceramic skull that my BF had sitting around that I painted to look like a Mexican sugar skull.

I coated the whole thing with a white base coat first and then spent many hours here and there over about a week painting all the little details.  It's odd, I like painting either in this sort of style, with a teeny little brush and lots of elements to look at, or painting on huge canvases with big brushes and a bolder style.

Next is a project that took me forever, not just because I'd never done it before and so had to really think about each step a lot and work through some trial and error, but also because it was meant to be a birthday gift to my sweet, sweet BF who, as most of you know, I now live with.  So I had to sneak work time in when he was at work or when ever else I could sneak a minute in here and there.  It's a leather bound journal.

As I said, it was my first time so it's not as perfect as I'd like it to be, but I'll get better at it with practice.

I used sheets of paper from two sketch books I got and trimmed them down.  Then I folded them all in half and put them together in groups of five full sheets each, making several ten page sections.  I punctured holes down the side and began to sew the sections together with a waxed thread.  Now here is where the trial and error came in.  I soon realized that by pulling the thread tight I was tearing the paper, but if I didn't pull it tight the book would be sloppy and loose.  After a while I figured out that if I cut very thin pieces of fabric and sew that along the edge of each section of paper, the fabric would prevent the paper from tearing.  Yay!

Next I cut the lovely leather, donated by my sweet and also artsy-fartsy friend T, so that the edges would overlap the cardboard I cut for the cover.  Unfortunately I cut one edge a bit too short and I was barely able to fold it over.  Lesson learned!  Double and triple check before you cut!! Anyway, I was mostly able to cover up my mistake with some lovely paper I found at the art shop down the street:

I chose the Parisian themed paper on account of it being one of the BF's favorite places.

Next projects are a necklace and a breacelet.  I've been making jewelry for, like, twenty years and have decided that I am going to really get at it and make my business official.  I'm hoping to do some craft fairs over the holiday season and get my stuff out there.  Anyhoo, here are a couple samples of what I've been working on lately.

The pendant is a lovely oval tiger's eye.  I found a strand of them a while back and each bead was almost perfect in it's striations, a good find for sure.  The pendant is hanging on a sterling silver ring and from that are some 4mm tiger's eye, little rondelles of amazonite, some stamped Mexican silver beads, drop shaped onyx and more tiger's eye, all on eye pins.

Next is a cuff I made with crystal, turquoise and lapis lazuli.  Though you can't really tell from the pictures, the clear little faceted crystals that I used are Swarovski quality crystals that I discovered in a store in Toronto.  Swarovski quality for 1/25th of the price!!  (Hey, any of you going to TO any time soon?)  Anyway, the beads are all on eye pins and the eye pins are strewn together on a stretchy cord for a claspless and unbroken look.  

The final project I'll share today is a set of chimes I made.

I strung brass bells, Chinese coins, and brass and jade beads on waxed thread in varying sequenced strands.  I attached then all to bamboo skewers and, well, that's about it.  I think I will wrap the waxed thread all the way down each of the skewers both to better secure each of the strands to the bamboo, and to make it look a bit more polished.  

Wow, well this has taken forever so rest assured, I shan't be skipping posts from here on in! But whatevs, the post is posted now so all is right in the world.   I promise I will try my best to avoid distraction in the future.....oh, speaking of distraction, I'll leave you all today with a nice little one:


Oh, and thanks for popping in!  See you next week!

(PS: Thanks to BF, J, D and G for putting the pressure on me to get my butt in gear for the next post!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hello!  Manifesto!

A very wise man once said:  "Life Is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."  True knockin'.  I'd been thinking about doing this for a while and I finally registered this blog a week ago when I moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend, thinking it would be a neat, symbolic way to begin - starting a wonderful new life and this blog project simultaneously, like opening a fresh new chapter.  Alas the fates weren't having it.  Between loosing our internet connection, being sick and being crazy busy this is the first real opportunity I've had all week to sit down and actually do some writing.  
But here I am!  And so it begins.

There are many reasons I've been wanting to start writing a blog: I'm a writer, for one, and haven't been practicing much over the last few years due to a woeful lack of motivation.  There are quite a few blogs I love to read and when I check them for new posts and there are none, I feel disappointed, so I figure if I send some of my friends links to my blog and know that they are checking it, it will be the stimulus I need to see to it that there are often new things to read and see.  

So the writing thing is one.  As I said in my header, I am artsy fartsy; I really like working with my hands and making things, but I can get lazy at times, and I've also been known for starting things, getting distracted and not finishing them before I move on to begin something else.  My intention for this blog is to post a new, finished project each week, whether it is a piece of jewelry, a great cooking idea I want to try, a new dress, a painting or a papier mache pig, come hell or high water, I will have something to show for myself.  Even if there is only one person following my blog, I will have something for you at least once a week.  (You can further motivate me by threatening a no coffee in the AM clause *wink*)

As you can clearly see, this particular entry doesn't come with a project, but hey, it's only Thursday, I still have time.  I just really wanted to get this thing on the go.  So there it is.  Stay tuned for more.

Oh!  PS:  I also promise to make this blog LOOK much, much more interesting - those of you who know me know the techie computer stuff is not amongst my talents, but I'll figure it out and it'll get done, and hopefully sooner than later.  Keep the faith!