Monday, September 24, 2012

~Culture Days 2012 ~

For those of you who’ve not heard there is a massive movement across Canada to encourage public participation and increase awareness, in the arts and culture aspects in our local community!  This annual event is in its third year.  It happens during the last weekend in September, this year being September 28th, 29th, and 30th.   Culture Days runs for three days but you may participate in the time frame that suits you, all three days or one hour out of the three days…whatever works for you.   Anyone can participate, individuals, groups, organizations, schools, libraries, businesses, etc…to be included in Culture Days your event is required to be “free”, interactive or participatory for those who attend.   For more information the website is

While the North Bay Farmers’ Market isn’t having a planned event specifically for Culture Days, we’ve been fortunate this season to have three  Buskers who do face painting…on September 29th   Cathy White will be at the Market painting faces…what child doesn’t like having their face painted! 
The City’s Cultural Round Table will have a booth at the Market this Saturday September 29th as part of the Culture Days celebration.  At 10:00am Mayor Al McDonald and local dignitaries will be in attendance speaking a few words.  Stop by to hear what they have to say… talk to the members of the Round Table about the wealth of arts and cultural activities in North Bay and surrounding areas.  We are also hoping for a guest musician/singer to perform immediately after the speeches…
Our musical busker for the day, beginning at 8:30am will be local singer/musician Matt Dent, he has been playing guitar solo and in bands for twelve years.  Matt has played a handful of shows around North Bay in the last couple of years with his band The Hometown Hecklers, recently he has been playing his own solo acoustic shows.   Matt’s influences include a wide variety of music from 90's rock to 60's folk some of which he tries to incorporate in his song writing.

To our wonderful customers who visit us weekly “thank you”…for those of you who aren’t aware, the North Bay Farmers' Market offers great product diversity, such as grass fed pork, beef and lamb, fruit & vegetables, heirloom perennials, prepared gourmet foods, handmade body products, jewelry, crafts, honey, and maple syrup.  You are invited to come around and talk to the vendors about their amazing offerings, discuss what the process is to reach the finished product.   Come and show our local farmers, producers, bakers and artisans your support… 
While at the Market…if I’m not talking with a customer I can be found sitting at my table working on something new…stop by, say hello, ask how it’s done…I’m always happy to talk about the process of what I do!
My favourite thing to do right now is work with all my “scrap” silver pieces…it is such a feeling of accomplishment when I see a  piece come alive, it is impossible to make two of a kind, even when I make earrings this way they are similar but different.  Check out the photo of two new recycled silver pieces, a silver nugget, a recycled silver pendant, a fused fine silver heart, and fused fine silver infinity pendant…my favorite is the sterling silver nugget!

PS…in the next few weeks I will be posting my falls shows for the season!
Have a great week…see you Saturday!


Monday, September 17, 2012

September Birthstone ~ Sapphire

The traditional September birthstone is the lovely Sapphire, one of four precious stones, along with the ruby, diamond and emerald.   I hope you enjoy looking through the information I’ve compiled…I’m sure there is much you will find new and interesting!  
sapphire, Smithsonian,

  •  Mystical birthstone for September is Agate
  •   Ayurvedic (Indian medicine from India dating back to 1500 B.C.) birthstone is Moonstone
  •  Sapphire…Greek for “blue stone" 
  •  Variety of the corundum mineral family                                                                  blue sapphire, Smithsonian,   08.10.09 066
  •  Blue, yellow, pink, purple, orange or greenish colored sapphires are due to trace amounts of iron, titanium, chromium, copper or magnesium… 
  •  The most well known sapphire color is blue, but it can also be found ranging from gray to black.
  •  The rarest natural sapphire (without any form of treatment) is the “padparadscha” (pink-orange), found in Sri Lanka, Vietnam and parts of Africa.
  •  Colorless sapphires sometimes substituted for diamonds.
  •  There are sapphires that appear to be a different color in different lights, such as purple under incandescent indoor light and blue outside…greenish in fluorescent light and pink in daylight.  This effect is rare, with these gems found mainly in Tanzania
       Yellow sapphire, Smithsonian,  08.10.09 072
  • Found naturally…there are also an abundance of “man made sapphire gemstones”
  • Found in a couple of locations in North America (Montana being one), eastern Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China (Shandong), Madagascar and East Africa
  • A hard gemstone…9 on the Mohs scale
  •  There is also the “star sapphire”…either in blue or red, which has a six pointed star shape in the stone.  The natural star effect may be from mineral rutile.
  • There are several methods to enhance the appearance of a sapphire…heat treatment (1700 to 1800 Celsius for a few hours)is one way…unheated sapphires are rather rare and the cost will reflect this.  Sapphires can also be heated to very high temperatures and have impurities added to enhance the appearance of the stone.
  • By law, enhancements must be disclosed when they greatly effects the value of the stone
  •  Likewise sapphires untreated with usually have a certification stating this as the value will be much higher.
  •  Sapphire is given as a gift for the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries while a star sapphire is given on the 65th wedding anniversary.
  • It is also one of the birthstones for Pisces, Taurus, Virgo and Sagittarius 

  • Amazingly, because of the hardness of the sapphire (the diamond is the only gem harder) it has been used as “sapphires are used in some non-ornamental applications, including infrared optical components, such as in scientific instruments; high-durability windows; wristwatch crystals and movement bearings; and very thin electronic wafers, which are used as the insulating substrates in very special-purpose solid –state electronics, most of which are integrated circuits)”.   http// 
NOTE:  I’ve decided for articles that are informational, such as birthstone of the month… I will do the majority of it in point form…not great writing style I know…but… I’ve been doing blog posts since 2008 and my experience is the most popular posts, are the ones with the least words, interspersed with photos.  For the most part people don’t want to read something overly long! 
I know people glance at the photos and if their attention is peaked they will then take the time to read what is written.  I understand we are all busy…having said that I often find the most interesting information, which I don’t want to leave out, hence the long, wordy articles!!!
I can't do the blog format on due to how the site is set up...check out the post on and you will see what I mean.  I’ve been told it is “in the works”…so for now I’ll plug along in this manner.

These earrings were made back in 2007 for a customer who brought me her own sapphires from Sri Lanka!  My photo does not do the gems justice!!!



Note:  Special thank you to Orbital Joe, I’ve used many of his photos for blog post over the years!  He has always been generous with allowing me access to his amazing photos.  Check out his Flickr photos

Monday, September 10, 2012

Shameless promotional post!

As most of you know I've been doing an article every Monday on local online newspaper.  I've tried to make the post interesting and informative, but I've decided it is now time for a promo post...hence the title of this post...the following is the article on

I think it is time I did a shameless promotional post…one that is just about my jewelry, not in relation to something else.
I’ve not shown a great deal of what I’ve been up to in the past two months so thought it was time to show a few photos.  I like the Picasso collage tool and have made a few collages in the past…I thought since I can’t post photos in the actual post on, but have to have separate pages for each photo, I would do a new collage along with an oldie and a bit newer one.  The oldie is to show where I’ve been and the new collages are to show where I’m going!

The older collage shows Swarovski crystals, pearls, glass, and some silver, primarily as findings, showcasing lots of color and sparkle, much is still current today.   At that time, I was new at the jewelry design business but was looking to the future towards one day working with sterling silver, making my own ear wires, pendants, earrings, cuffs, bracelets, setting stones in bezels, etc…all working with silver.  I didn’t know anything about working with silver but knew where I wanted to go… I could learn!

The newer collage, #2, is showing pearls and Swarovski crystals, for a bride’s foot jewelry, gemstones, and glass, but primarily silver pieces…by this time silver had become my focus.  Four years ago I took a 5 day course on working with silver…loved it, reaffirming my direction.  Since that time I’ve accumulated many tools, some traditional, some I’ve made do with…they did the job.  I’ve made many mistakes but tried to learn from the mistakes.  I’m stubborn, I prefer to do it once… I don’t like to experiment with copper then duplicate in silver, so my mistakes can be costly!!!

The third photo shows the present, I’m in a comfortable place with my pieces…working with “scrap” silver, making earrings and pendants…this is enjoyable as I never know what the end result will be until the piece is, in my mind finished.  I enjoy that aspect of working with my scrap silver, it really allows for the creativity to come through.   I strive to ensure whatever I do has a rugged, rustic, classy, artistic feel to it…I want my work to look hand crafted…the last thing I want is for what I do to look like it came from a traditional jewelry store!  The jewelry store look a good thing…just not what I’m about.
 I encourage custom orders, I don’t mind someone bringing me a photo and asking to have something like it…I’m always happy to do my “version” of what it is they want…but…I would never copy a piece!  Inspiration is a “good thing”, as long as it is used as just that!  

Like any artist I have my moments when the creativity is just not there…when this happens I try to do other things…I enjoy taking photos, making greeting cards, attempting to paint, none of which I’m good at but find pleasurable at times...all the while awaiting the return of my jewelry creativity!   I’ve always said, when it stops being fun it is time to move on!  I’m still here…
Send any comments or suggestions to or leave a message on my blog…