Wednesday, August 31, 2011

End of summer

My son starts school today and my daughter the day after, and the nights are getting cooler.  This is exciting to me because I am by nature an 'any season but summer' kind of person.  Probably due to the reduced guilt about staying inside and working cosily in my studio in cooler weather.  Not that summer isn't beautiful, but it was a hot one as many of you can attest....ready for fall, is all I can say!

I just had a few wonderful pictures from the summer to post and somehow never got around to it.  They will work well as a summary of what this particular summer offered.  Currently, my favourite blog for enjoying seasons, moods, atmosphere and a big peek into someones life is Kerry Bogert's blog.  I never miss a post!  Her photography is fun, free and thoughtful and evokes a mood so well and her commentary is at one with my thinking lately. I like the fact that it is life presented with its attendant joys and  frustrations. The sneaking away to work (or the wanting to sneak away ), oh, I know that one well, the mother/artist dilemma!

Swimming at our lake, a piece of land with nothing but a deck and some stairs....

A perfectly  preserved and dried out insect exoskeleton...

The trailer ( on our land) which now has the happy name 'Mouse Palace' longer usable after our sojourn of  4 years in Nova Scotia.  Nature will have it's way!

Sneaking through the bush from the lake to the trailer...such a beautiful path!

This beautiful but sinister thing was inside the trailer when my husband opened the door - fortunately no sign of the skin's former occupant inside the trailer.... I have never before seen one whole and intact, it was about 5 feet long in total!

Lovely echinacea plants with butterflies at a friend's cottage...

Our girls are becoming lovely young women...(one mine, one the daughter of a friend made in prenatal class)

And finally, the rainbow after the torrential rains on the 24th of June (St Jean Baptiste Day in Quebec, a provincial holiday), which caused terrrible flooding through the region.  The camera doesn't even begin to capture it.....

A few moments from my summer.  Happy autumn!

Monday, August 29, 2011

What I got for my bead soup!

Just thought I'd post about what I got for my Bead Soup from my partner in California, Cherrie Fick.

I'm pretty sure this will be a challenge for me simply because I usually make supplies, and struggle greatly with putting anything together.  This is why I join the Bead Soup Party, really.  It forces me to confront my fear of decision-making in the making of jewelry!  And because I'm working with things I may not have ever have thought to choose for myself, it broadens my horizons considerably.

Cherrie sent me a lovely selection of stones, bones, ceramic and glass and a lovely clasp by my dear missficklemedia.  I already have a couple of ideas which will present these in a different way!  I will publish another altered photo as a sneek peak when I get a little closer to finishing the piece.

 Please note the extraordinary and subtle range of yellows, ochres, oranges, reds and browns that she has sent for me to try.  Lovely!   Included are ceramic ( the flower focal), glass, bone, carnelian, agate and copper.  Can't wait to get at it as I know it will take me quite a bit of time to do the components justice...

Many thanks, Cherrie!  Hope you can work with what I sent!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sneak peek...

I was one day late getting out my bead soup - apologies to my Bead Soup partner Cherrie Fick!   Hopefully, she will receive it very soon.  It just took a bit of time as I made most things in it, and was having some trouble making design decisions.  I have made up a scrambled 'sneak peek' picture that doesn't give away too much...

 I have already received Cherrie's package and will post about that tommorow!  Have some ideas already....

Do have a lovely Sunday - severe thunderstorms here!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A lot of cereal

A month has slipped by in sweet summer's like no other time in the year!

The kids go back to school on September 1st and my son is getting ready for the big transition to 'Secondaire'.  Here is Quebec, there is no middle school, just 5 years of high school with the big kids.  It feels ( to a mother, at least) like a lot for a boy who just turned 12 yesterday!   He is going to the same school as his older sister ( a very good thing, as they are close and she is sensible without being smothering) and it is an excellent International Baccalaureat program.   We'll just see how it goes.  None of his friends from elementary school are going to this program, so it will be a chance to re-invent himself.  Haven't you ever wished for that chance?

To ease myself back into work-autumn-blogging and the rest, I made this funny little tutorial about the way I wrap and ship things.  But what it really highlights is the incredible amount of boxed cereal that we eat in my family.  Of course, if my Etsy shop were booming, I'd soon be through all these boxes I've stockpiled and then I would have to beg my neighbours to save boxes for me or scout through their big blue recycling boxes at the curb before pick-up day.   Really, I need to stop - I'm enough of a scrounger as it is!  ( For the life of me, I can't pass up a discarded bookshelf at the side of the road...can you?)

Here are the basic tools that I use to make my shipping envelopes.  Unless I'm shipping large round beads, most of my work gets shipped this way:  this is to keep shipping costs down so that the envelope can pass through the aptly named Canada Post 'Slot of Doom'.  ( The package can be no deeper than 20 mm, or 13/16 inches)  This way of creating an envelope creates a rigid springy package that is fairly flat and can withstand a fair amount of handling.  I've had one breakage only since I started wrapping this way and that was a bead with therefore, understandably fragile!

I do this as each box empties as part of my morning clean-up routine...

Open up the cereal box

 Then, flip it over and on the centre back panel, make a score line with a bluntish knife (or with a bone folder tool).  It's really important that it not be in the centre, but to one side or the other.  This is to make the final fold want to sit to one side or the other.  I often just eyeball it because I can't find my ruler...note close-up of score on the printed side of the box.

Flip over and fold nicely with your bone folder (or the soft edge of your knife...)

Now, fold the fold over to the side that it naturally wants to be (because it is off-centre) .

Then tape it down and cut off the bitty ends that stick out. (this instruction is pictured below) Also, cut along the seam edge of the box through both layers on the edge opposite the fold you've just completed using the existing box fold/edge as a guide.  Now the envelope is nearly done and just requires a couple of folds to finish.

Then swing it around and on the open side make two score lines on the shiny side of the edge opposite the first taped double fold - again, one larger than the other!  FOLD....

Over lap and tape securely

Voila - the completed envelope!

For small orders I cut this in half and get two shipping envelopes from one cereal box.

I use origami 'star' envelopes for my inner package.  The folded paper (from whatever cardstock I can buy inexpensively) provides extra padding and rigidity.  Stuff that you are shipping should not be able to move about within the package if it is fragile.  I just really like the way these look, and they seem to give me some kind of mental tidiness around completing an order.  ( In complete contrast to the chaos from which it came, I might add.)  This system evolved over time and now I have all the components prepared ahead of actual shipping days which really helps me.

The next grid shows the origami package being filled.

Closing it up - they are surprisingly rigid!

Yup, it fits!

The final flourish of linen thread (collected over the course of my very pack-rat life)....

Done and shipped.  It probably seems a little weird since you can buy padded mailers for a song these days, but I haven't had great results with them as the Canada Post restrictions make them too bulky.  Besides, have you ever noticed how much cardboard there is all around?  Love cardboard, so, as I said, we eat a lot of cereal around here....

Check back for news about the Bead Soup Blog Party and an introduction to my partner!  As you can see, I am starting to change my blog template and am resting with a neutral background until I decide what to do.