Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Season finished …
It’s that time of year…at least it is for me.  I did my last show of the year…
This past Saturday was the City Streets Artisan House Tour…as you know; it was my first year doing the tour.  To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect as it was also the first year for the house I was in.   I’m pleased to say it was a huge success!  We had a steady stream of people until around 1:30, from then until 4:00 we saw people sporadically, having said that people who came out were there to shop, either for themselves or for Christmas gifts.  I was very impressed as everyone I spoke with said they did the whole tour, which was a wonderful thing to hear being an artisan in the tour.  That is what you hope for but aren’t sure it will happen!  So… a heartfelt “thank you” all the wonderful people who spent much of their Saturday supporting local artisans!!!

I’d also like to thank sisters, Janet and Jean Butler, Butlers’ Bobbins, for allowing Claudette Jesso, “the Bag Lady”, Lori Costello, Bella Hill Maple Syrup and myself to be in their home for this incredible day!   I’m friends with Claudette and Lori and very quickly became friends with Janet and Jean…we had a most enjoyable day.

I just realized that I didn’t take any photos yesterday!  I’m so annoyed with myself as I wanted to post a couple here as well as on the City Streets website, I even took my phone out and put it on the table then completely forgot… nothing I can do now!
My shows may be over but not the work, I’m always available for custom orders, don’t hesitate to contact me if there is something specific you are looking for…I’ve orders right now, but there is always time for more.

My intention is to continue on with the Birthstone of the Month and articles on subjects think you will find interesting.

 I know many people enjoy crossword/word puzzles so I thought it might be fun to give that a try.  Of course it will be related to what I do or the season, etc., feel free to send me a request and I’ll see what I can come up with.    This first puzzle is “Birthstones”… it will be very simple to complete, especially for anyone who does crosswords regularly.   This is my first attempt at making puzzles, while not difficult to do it becomes time consuming the more words used, which is why the first one is very simple…I didn’t have the time to come up with something challenging.   I’ve included a crossword puzzle and a word puzzle.  If you would like the answers send me an email.  You should be able to right click on either puzzle, choose “save image as”, when the “save image” box comes up choose where you would like to save it, I always choose my Desktop to save anything to, makes it easy to find it, then you can print the crossword allowing you to do it when you have the time…if you have any problems saving it send me a email, I’m happy to help.  Have fun with it…again…feel free to send any suggestions.

I've added the puzzles to the blog for anyone who enjoys them...I'm hoping to improve my puzzle making skills as I go along...
As always leave a comment on my blog or send me an email at, I’d like to hear what you have to say…enjoy the week.

"Puzzle made at"

Monday, November 19, 2012

Changes this season…
For the past six years I’ve done the same circuit of Christmas shows… it was time for a change.   I decided to eliminate two Christmas shows and as luck would have it I was able to add two completely different shows…
Last Sunday I did the Best Western Artisan Christmas Show…there were two things I noticed immediately, the show is in one room only, so rather small and there were a number of vendors, at least three that come to mind who were not local.  The “not local” thing isn’t really a big deal to me as I’ve done three huge shows, for the last six years, with vendors from all over Ontario, but I’d always been under the impression the Best Western Show was local artisans…I learned something new.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with the day being a Sunday…these are usually the slow days at multiple day shows…as it turned out; while not super busy, the show wasn’t as slow as Sundays have a tendency to be.  I had a good day and would give it another try next season if accepted.
My second new show of the season is the “City Streets Christmas Artisan House Tour”…which is one of North Bay’s much loved artisan tours.  It is a greatly anticipated, and immensely successful, house tour celebrating its 14th season this year…
Be sure to set aside Saturday, November 24th, from 9:30am to 4:00pm, as you won’t want to miss this once a year magical shopping experience!  

The tour began 14 years ago, when Dianne Lafrance and Susan James felt the need for a juried venue which showcased local up and coming quality artisans.   That year there was a total of four artisans at Dianne’s home.  The idea of the tour was to some extent modeled after the well known Country Roads Tour…but… a house tour with in the city of North Bay.   While it has always been a co-operative Dianne Lafrance is the driving force behind the event.
This season there will be eight open houses, each one, showcasing the collections of some of the finest, most unique gift giving items available in our area…interspersed among these homes, you will find 34 first class, juried, local artisans, designers, gourmet cooks, and  artists…we even have an author. 
Take a look at the website for up to date information regarding the tour   You will find a list of the homes, along with detailed information regarding each person in the individual homes.  You will also find printable, easy to read, maps for each house.   

The addresses are as follows: 
 871 Bourke St., 10 Beverly Rd., 5 Mapleview Place, 1016 MCleod St., 635 Scollard St., 317 Percy St., 36 Little Down Lane, 443 Bell St.

For further information, contact: 
Dianne Lafrance at 495-0488 or Susan James at 474-7026 

Maybe I’ll see you at 10 Beverly always leave a comment on my blog or send me an email,, for questions or comments.

Have a great week…

Monday, November 12, 2012

November Birthstone ~ Topaz~

Technically there are two birthstones for the month of November, Topaz and Citrine…I’ve decided to focus on the Topaz.    It is a fascinating stone; some of the information may surprise you…I know it did me!
  • topaz comes from Sanskrit work “fire”
  • rare, therefore expensive.
  • in ancient lore was said to be used to cool heat…such as cooling boiling water, cool anger, as well as used to cure a fever
  • pure topaz is colorless, can be mistaken for diamonds if well cut…colors are due to minor elements found in the crystals, some colors can fade away, while some are heated to produce more intense color.
 Gorgeous Topaz crystal is surrounded by Amethyst micro crystals on a Rhyolite matrix extracted by Utah Dave Merrill from the Wild Horse Springs area. Thomas Range, Juab County, Utah, Joe thanks Dave for donating these to his collection!
  • Yellow Topaz is the modern November birthstone, often confused with Citrine.

  Orthorhombic Topaz Crystal from the Thomas Range in Juab Co, Utah
  • high shine, multi colored, multifaceted crystals
  • comes in a rainbow of colors…yellow, pink, purple, green, orange, brown, colorless, black and many gorgeous blue tones.  Green and blue are often very light in color so are treated to enhance the color.
  • the most prized color is orange with pinkish undertones, called Imperial Topaz.

 Gorgeous Sherry-colored Topaz, extracted by Utah Dave Merrill from the Wild Horse Springs area. Thomas Range, Juab County, Utah.  Joe thanks Dave for donating these to his collection!
  • it is the gem for the 4th, 19th and 23rd wedding anniversaries.
  • the Blue Topaz gems range in color from Sky Blue, Swiss Blue and London Blue, with the Sky blue being the lightest and London Blue the darkest color.
  • largest producer of topaz is Brazil, but can be found in Africa, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Russia Scotland, Japan, Colorado and California and Australia
  • topaz is one of the hardest silicate mineral in nature.
  • crystal size ranges from very small nuggets to dramatically large stones, such as the one found in the American Museum of Natural History in New York it is the home to the largest uncut topaz, found in Brazil…600 pounds.
I’ve only had the pleasure of working with blue topaz, even then rarely as I don’t find it is a color that appeals to many people.  I wasn’t aware of the rainbow of colors topaz is available in; I would like to see some of the more unique colors such as black, green and purple…at least unique to me.  Check out the gorgeous colours below...purple is a favorite color of mine…
Smithsonian 8-10-09-210…Topaz.
As always, for any questions or comments, send me an email or leave a comment on my blog.
Have a great week…

Photo Source:  A special thank you to “Orbital Joe”…for graciously allowing me to use his stunning photos …as always it is greatly appreciated!  You can see more of Joe’s gem photos here…Flickr

Information Source

Sunday, November 11, 2012

      In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae

Poppies courtesy of the following:

© Banana Republic -

© Subbotina Anna -