Monday, October 29, 2007


I just made a treasury!!! It was sooooo much fun!! I decided on a theme and chose a whole bunch. Then waited and waited. Then I sorted them into exactly how I wanted them placed, as well as the alternates. Then waited and waited. You have to wait for the number of treasuries to drop below 222... this can take a long time, and there's a good chance you'll miss it. So many people sign up at once so that there is often way more than 222... and so you wait.

But I finally made it in today!! It was perfectly timed for after work, and I rushed home and waited, refreshing the browser. My palms actually got all sweaty... I'd been waiting so long, what if I somehow missed it?!?!!! But I didn't!! :) Luckily, none of the items I had chosen were sold (though hopefully they will be soon ~ and yes, I'm taking the credit for those sales! :P)

Here is the result of all my hard work (and waiting):

Out of the darkness... into the light.

Item of the day!

Today I'm featuring two shops in particular. First I'll give you a brief tour of the clean and simple designs of chingstote followed by a bit of science geek-ery that is the shop molecularmuse. Both of these shops are favourites of mine because they both speak to a different part of my personality. The first to the organized and easy going part of me (or how I'd like to be) and the second to my innate science nerd. I admit it, I'm a complete nerd. When you and your classmates can (and do regularly, or at least enjoy) carry on a conversation that the majority of the population couldn't follow, it means you're a nerd... and, in particular, I'm a science geek. And I love it.

It is difficult to describe the beautiful simplicity that is the designs of chingstote. Their use of white space adds a calming and serene element to the overall design, which is complemented by their soothing colour coordination. I absolutely love this dandelion tote. The cool colours and clean design make this an easy everyday choice. And all of their totes are similarly versatile and great for everyday. This dill flower tote is another one of my favourites. A great fall tote which can easily stay in rotation throughout spring and summer.

Although the main inventory of this shop is tote bags in various sizes, chingstote also offers clothing in both adult and children's sizes. If you see a design you like and would like it on a different size (bag or shirt), just send a convo and they would be more than happy to oblige. I'm particularly fond of this green sea turtle print ~ I'm tempted to get one for Christmas for my nephew. The bright colours and simple designs make these perfect for children and adults alike. Do check out this shop in order to see all the different designs offered. You're sure to find something you'll love!

Now I'd like to give everyone a little taste of science. At quick glance, these pictures might not make sense to some (if not most) people ~ but they are really cute and clever designs!! The shop of molecularmuse takes the outline of key biological molecules (each ball or joint between straight lines represents an atom and each bar connecting the balls are chemical bonds holding the atoms together to form the molecule) and transforms them into wearable jewelry (or glassware - be sure to check out the ethanol glasses!)! She has also captured the essential functions of these molecules to make relevant and helpful jewelry too. See this necklace? It's called the focus necklace because the three charms are molecules that your body uses to aid in focus. Norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine are all essential for your body to maintain attention and focus on a task ~ a perfect necklace to wear for studying and writing exams and papers!!! Another one of my favourites is these chocolate earrings. They are a representation of the theobromine molecule, the main component in chocolate. A perfect gift for any chocolate lover, especially those who have taken some advanced chemistry or biology courses!!

One really cool (at least I think so) thing about biochemistry is that amino acids each have a letter assigned to them. Alanine is an A, proline is a P, etc. This allows biochemists to keep track of the primary structure of proteins (which is a string of amino acids attached together) in the shortest manner possible (since there are 20 common amino acids, numbering isn't convenient). This also allows you to to spell out pretty much anything and make it into a protein (or polypeptide, if it's short like the words molecularmuse has made). So, for example, GEEK has been spelled out in this bracelet, and the separate amino acids representing the three letters G (glycine), E (glutamate) and K (lysine) have been strung together. How cute? How clever?? What a perfect gift!!!! Be sure to check out molecularmuse, especially if organic chemistry has a special place in your heart (or you know of a chemistry / biochemistry / biology nerd ~ they'll really appreciate it!).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Item of the day!

Today I feel like featuring some pottery. I've recently come across a number of gorgeous pieces, so I wanted to show you a few of my favourites. There's just something about a gorgeous and unique vase full of beautiful flowers ... never fails to make me smile! And of course, vases aren't the only ceramics you'll find on Etsy ~ just check out the street team EtsyMud for all your pottery needs.

My first featured artist (potter?) runs the shop called trpottery and really has a wide inventory of really neat sculptures and personality pots. My favourite is this offspring sculptural vessel ~ it's shaped like a parent holding a child. Very sweet with a subtle colour difference between the mom and baby, this item would make a wonderful baby shower gift. Actually, this would make a superb gift for any mother or grandmother, at any time, though especially for first-time moms. I love how unique and original these designs are and that they are actually vessels that can hold liquid, if you wish.

While you're perusing through this shop, be sure to check out these great tumblers. Functional and pretty, these glasses are microwave, dishwasher and oven safe (and you get two for a really great price). So no worries about having to do dishes or boiling water for hot chocolate. And the swirly, wavy pattern on them is just so pretty! I think I would keep these out on a visible shelf instead of putting them away in a cupboard! Run on over to trpottery, and check out the amazing selection (I just love the personality pots!)!!

I saw this phat wavy vase from juditavill, and immediately fell in love. This piece is the reason I'm making this post. Isn't is wonderful? Doesn't it look lovely with those tumblers above? The delicate play between the blues and the pinkish-creams is stunning. This vase looks like it belongs in a movie, being dipped into a fountain and transporting water atop some woman's head. And as inclined as I am to put water in it (it just feels right), it would also be a show stopper if filled with bright blooms. Absolutely breathtaking.

Another piece by Judi that I adore is this yellow/cream and speckled stoneware cup. So simple, this mug reminds me of some vintage mugs my parents had ~ we would have a cup of hot chocolate on those cold, rainy or slushy November days. The deep mustard-y yellow is reminiscent of both the gold of the changing leaves and November's topaz birthstone. There are up to 4 of these available ~ what a perfect gift for that November birthday! And if you're quick enough, you might be able to catch a similar yellow and cream glazed mug that is on sale at juditavill!!

Last but not least is the bright and beautiful shop of KristinPavelka. Isn't this plate - blue ovals funky? A nice deep dish that would be perfect for salads, pastas, stir fries ~ ooh! I can just see this piled high with chips or cookies at a party! It's so pretty ~ the icy blue and the bright red of the stoneware around the outside makes this a perfect dish to display candy in during the holiday season!! What a great gift idea!!

But the item that really led me to Kristin's shop is this wonderfully vibrant ice bucket - pink bird footprint. Although the pattern is based on bird tracks in the snow, it reminds me of bright spring blossoms. The colours as just amazing! It was designed to fit a tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream with some ice so that you can go outside picnicking and enjoy. It would also be great for keeping dip cold at a party or as an Easter basket. So many possibilities!!

Anyone else in the mood for some new dishes? Mugs? A vase or two? Maybe you're suddenly itching to do some (not that) early Christmas shopping? Be sure to hurry over and check out trpottery, juditavill and KristinPavelka.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Finally, what have I been up to?

Truth is, I haven't been up to all that much. Oh yes, I've been busy with thesis work, but really not as much as I need to be. I still haven't seriously started writing yet, but I have a whole month and I work best under pressure. High pressure. I've been gathering a lot of data, but I still need to organize it and analyze it. Make up some pretty graphs. And then do more experiments because I really don't have enough, and do some more analysis.

On top of all that, October 31st is the deadline for an abstract for a poster that I'll be making up and presenting in May (if it's good enough) at the annual ATS (American Thoracic Society) meeting (which will be held in Toronto). Still think that isn't all that much to do? It isn't... but I also have to make up a poster to present at the NESMS (North East Smooth Muscle Society) conference in Rhode Island on November 16-17. I'm going to Providence, Rhode Island!! Ok, I know, I'm not expecting too much ~ it's supposed to be a small, more informal convention, but it's still exciting. Especially since I've never been outside of Canada before!! We're leaving the Thursday afternoon and driving down, the conference is Friday and Saturday and we'll drive back Saturday night. I can't wait! But I need to make up a poster for that...

Furthermore, I've been taking a couple of leadership courses in order to complete a non-credit program MAC offers. I need to take 8 3-hour courses (4 mandatory and 4 elective) and do 40 hours of volunteer and write a short paper on it. Then I get a certificate or something, which will look excellent on applications and my resume. I had one last Monday, one yesterday and one today. Yesterday's was on leadership in children's literature, and I spent quite a bit of time reminiscing about my childhood books. I went to a French elementary school (and so did my boyfriend, so he knew what I was talking about) so no one at the leadership course knew which books of which I was thinking. Anyone ever heard of Barbapapa? The pink one was the dad (Barbapapa) and the black one was the mom (Barbamama) and they had a bunch of babies and the coolest house... Ah, memories.

So other than that, I've decorated a bit for Halloween and fall. Above you can see a candle I got from my Aunt when I went home for Thanksgiving. The scent is vanilla berry and it smells SOOOOO good! I also got this cute little pumpkin from my aunt ~ doesn't he have a devilish smile? Also while I was at home (and you can read more about that if you scroll down a few posts) my mom gave me this eyeshadow quartet from Avon. Aren't the fall colours gorgeous?? I don't really want to use it because it will ruin the pretty knit patterns... so pretty! Well, it's already too late, so I'm glad I took a picture to remember it.

One thing that I've always loved about living in the country is the garden my dad would always keep. We would always have 2 rows of onions, 2-4 rows of carrots, cucumbers, pumpkins, potatoes and corn (in that order from the side closest to the road). In the past few years, the garden has been smaller and more sparse, but carrots and pumpkins are almost always planted, and this year was no different. I was able to bring home a bagful of fresh carrots (so good you don't need to peel them) and a half-green pumpkin. It's been a few weeks now, and he's turned completely orange. The goal for this weekend is to carve him and cook the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are always such a delicious, seasonal treat. I remember my mom and I would sift through the pumpkin gunk to find all the seeds to roast. Of course, a dozen or so pumpkins gives a better crop of seeds than only one, but it'll still be a treat if I can get them to turn out alright.

I also had a few Halloween decorations put away in a box, so I took them out last week. I forgot completely about this adorable ghost that I picked up late in the season last year. He has a crazy little smile and is holding a couple of metal bats. And I just love the tip of his head, like he's wearing a sheet. So cute!

Otherwise, only one other exciting thing happened to me in the last week. I got 2 packages in the mail on the same day!! One was from my mom ~ she sent some Halloween candy and a gift, an orange tank top and undies from American Eagle, possibly my favourite store, ever (other than Chapters). My other package looked like this (once opened). Yep, it's my necklace from tqbdesigns!! :D This little box came cushioned in hunter green tissue paper and was tied with a paper band, which held an origami crane and a small note. The inside of this box had dark green paper grass inside and this beautiful, circle patterned paper. Inside was my necklace. my gorgeous, delicate, custom necklace. Isn't it pretty??? I've been trying really hard to wear all the clothes I have that will look amazing with it. So I really haven't taken it off much. I love it!!! (And no, I don't really have cleavage that nice... Pat was "helping" me get a "better" picture and it just happened to be one of the better pictures I took. Blurry pictures seem to be my specialty... I'm also wearing my Halloween tanktop.) I'm actually disappointed at how dark this next picture turned out, it seemed better on my laptop. Hopefully it's just the comp here at work and you can see better. What do you think of my necklace??? Ok, that's all for now. I have a few things I want to post on Etsy, but I probably won't have time tonight after my course. I did an MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) test last week and we learn the results (and how our type influences our leadership) tonight. Should be fairly interesting... Anyway, hope everyone is having a great day!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's been awhile...

I feel terrible. I always feel as though I'm letting someone down when I don't post regularly. But I had a pretty crazy couple of weeks. I've been working on my thesis and getting a poster and abstract ready for two different conferences. But I'll update more on myself later, since I have photos on my laptop that I want to post. For now, I'm finally getting to featuring a few items. The theme today is, of course, Halloween!

For starters, I have already featured a few fall earrings from clevergirl before, but I just couldn't resist these Autumn earrings from her shop. These bead caps are the perfect lid for the brilliant vintage orange acorn bottoms. Simple and sweet, you couldn't ask for a more perfect and versatile fall earring. Do check out this shop, it is one of my favourites and is chock full of gorgeous and unique pieces of jewelry.

When I think of Halloween candy, the first image that pops into my head is candy corn. Out of all the candy found around Halloween time, this is the only kind that is truly unique to the season ~ small sizes of chocolate bars and candy can be found at Easter and pretty much year round nowadays. And really, candy corn is the brightest and prettiest candy I can think of (right at this moment). It's really too bad that I made myself sick off of them and can no longer eat them (I brought a large bag to grade 6 and ate the whole thing, along with lots of other candy during a "dance"... it became way to warm and I was sick). The great thing about Etsy though, is that you can find oodles of candy corn in fun, non-edible forms. Here are a couple of my favourite:

This one of a kind abstract candy corn pendant was completely handcrafted by bcyrjewelry. It is a little pricey, but entirely worth it! You can tell that a lot of time, patience and love went into this piece. The three stones are moonstone, citrine and amber, all set by hand on a sterling silver triangle with handmade fine silver bezels. This shop is part of the street team EtsyMetal, and this piece was made especially for the teams September theme: candy! See? Nothing is more recognizable as seasonal candy than candy corn!

I found another abstract representation of candy corn that I particularly loved. These candy corn sparklers were handcrafted with Swarovski crystals by Saralibbey. Aren't they pretty? Although they don't necessarily show the typical triangle candy, the distinct colour combination and strategic use of 3 sticks to represent a triangle does the trick. Notice how they form a pyramid but you still definitely see the triangle candy corn? Perfectly subtle and oh-so clever.

Now, even though we would like to survive on candy only during the Halloween season, we do still have to eat regular food. Of course, the table must be suitably decorated. And what could be cuter than these pumpkin salt and pepper shakers?? Created by TexasCeramics, these are so real looking they might be mistaken for the real thing. "Where's the salt?" might have to point them out to guests, repeatedly. But it would be well worth it, because they are so darn irresistible! The picture leads one to believe there might be even more pieces available in store that would match these cute shakers... why don't you hop on over to TexasCeramics right now and look around? I found a matching spoon dish, serving tray and soap pump and many more gorgeous fall pieces.

Another piece of jewelry I just couldn't resist: this fantastic little Casper pendant. Isn't he adorable and incredibly spooky? Those black eyes are looking directly into my soul! Heehee. Made by jochris12, a member of the Etsy Glass street team, this little fellow is sure to be the perfect compliment to your fall collection. Prefer gold? Just ask, the bail can be gold or silver, whichever you prefer.

Finally, we wouldn't be part of Etsy if we weren't the least bit creative, so what about Halloween supplies? These cobwebs are my favourite: they are very versatile items by BeadNeeds that can be used in many different ways. They're perfect as beads for all your Halloween focal needs, but can also be easily used in scrapbooking, card making or attached as a tag for any of your Halloween gifting needs. Be sure to stop by this shop for all your beading needs ~ there's quite a unique selection.

Ok, an update on me coming soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Can it be? A new posted item!!!

I can't believe it has almost been a month since I last posted an item on Etsy!!! I'm ashamed! I finally broke out the camera and took some pictures of some pretty button bracelets that have been decorating my end table for the longest time. More tomorrow..

Please run on over to my shop, Ulixis, and check out Pink and Blue Cotton Candy and Rainbow Fruit Salad ~ they're ready and waiting to be enjoyed!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Item of the day!

Today I'm going to feature two amazing jewelry artists ~ I discovered both this morning and by this afternoon I still couldn't choose one. I'm also going to (more or less) let the pictures do the talking today. Both shops are completely unique ~ a quick glance through NinaGibsonDesigns reveals clean lines and a predominant use of silver metal, occasionally accented with copper. Jantar's shop, on the other hand, is filled with classic designs in bright, beautiful colours. Here's a small selection of my favourites from these two fantastic shops.

First is the cool simplicity that is NinaGibsonDesigns. These cute little tally mark earrings are exceptionally clever and delicate. Unassuming and extremely charming, they would make a perfect addition to any outfit. Another sweet and clever design is this copper book pendant ~ isn't it adorable? As an avid reader, this little book would be perfect to add to my collection. Furthermore, the pages are made from card, and are replaceable. What a thoughtful and personal gift (especially if it were filled with sweet nothings from your paramour)!!! NinaGibsonDesigns also has some fall designs in store that you should definitely check out. My favourites are these acorn earrings and this gorgeous pumpkin charm. I love the different textures you will find in Nina's metalwork. The acorns are stamped into the silver while the pumpkin is raised, another layer. The curl on the stem is to die for!!
The other artist I would like to feature today is jantar. The cheerful and lively use of colour in this shop is sure to bring a smile to your face. I also love how movement is incorporated into many pieces, like these ones. These colour explosion Capiz shell earrings and matching bracelet appear to have great movement ~ I can almost hear them tinkling their soft music around your wrist and head.Some other classic and bright fall colours are put to use in these earrings:
First up are the sponge coral cube earrings, which have a beautiful pattern in the coral. The deep burgundy colour is sure to look stunning throughout the fall season and ease you well into Christmas. Don't they remind you of wrapped gifts? The second pair are the sunset square earrings, and the bright colours mixed with a bold geometric shape make for a brilliant statement. I absolutely love this colour combination: the bright lemon, cantaloupe and cherry offset the deeper burgundy quite nicely. Both summery and fall, and perfect for any celebratory occasion.

Last but not least is one more fall leaf set: Called dancing leaf earrings and necklace set, this autumn leaf combination is perfect for all seasons. The lime, topaz and orange Czech glass leaves are dazzling against the gold chain. Another piece that makes use of movement, you can picture these leaves falling and dancing around your ears and collar.

That's all for today, but these shops are stocked with many more stunning creations. Be sure to hop on over to both NinaGibsonDesigns and jantar!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Thanksgiving trip home

Well, I'm back from the country, and exhausted after a long drive home. It was great to spend time at home with the family, though it was too quick. A long weekend really isn't long enough when you have 2 families to visit and a 10 hour car ride home. Pat and I rented a vehicle with his sister and her boyfriend, so we drove them back to school in London before coming home to Hamilton. It was a long trip ~ we took some back roads in order to avoid the stop-and-go traffic / parking lot that is Gravenhurst to Toronto (and all the way to London, no doubt). But the scenery was amazing and it was all well worth it to see this cute little face:

My nephew, Eddy, sure is getting big!! He's changed so much since the last time I saw him! This is the one thing I hate about living in Hamilton ~ I don't get to see my family as much as I would like. I won't see this little guy before Christmas, and by then he'll probably be walking. Thankfully I'll be there for his first birthday, the 31st of December. I just wish it were feasible to visit more often...

Today, I'm really too tired to do too much, but I thought I'd post a bit of an update on what I've been up to. I know I haven't posted anything on Etsy in quite some time, but I'm working on that. I was quite busy, but I was still crafting ~ it just wasn't anything that I could post. Here are some pictures of my recent creations:

This notebook I made for myself. It's sort of a scrapbook / journal. I made it with recycled paper (some printed on, some heavier card, some lined, graphed, blank) and cardboard (from a recent purchase at IKEA). I haven't started using it yet because I'm still only halfway through another one I made myself. You can see that one in this picture of my work table. As you can see, they're clearly for Amanda. In the background you might be able to make out my laptop screen ~ with Etsy on the browser. I use these to jot down ideas and sketches, make collages with any scrap paper I might have and as a scrapbook / journal. It helps to get me in the creative mood, or helps to relieve some "creative stress": just the need to create something, anything. This is the marker for the first (pink) one: "BELIEVE". Always in yourself.

I recently made my first Etsy purchase(s). I bought two lots of beads from charmerz. I got 25 Czech glass flower beads in fuschia lemon and 100 4mm round Czech glass beads in Alexandrite AB. They were shipped right away and came in good time, packaged in a bubbled bag. Each kind of bead came in a little bag with a label stating exactly what's in it. A print-out of the Paypal receipt was also included. The beads are gorgeous, as you can see!! I couldn't resist the delicate flowers, and made myself a necklace. A simple dangle of 7 flowers (with a silver metal bead centre) hangs from a short length of chain. I love it!! I'm very tempted to make matching earrings, but I'll have to get some findings first.

I haven't used the other beads yet, but I'm sure an idea will come soon. Since then, I've made 2 more Etsy purchases: one is the necklace from tqbdesigns that I have already posted about ~ but I still haven't received it (soon!). I'll let you know when I get it and post more pictures. I can't wait, it's SOOOOO incredibly gorgeous!!!!! The other is a trio of earrings from toewees. I featured her fall earrings a while ago and she let me know about a contest she was holding, where you had to answer 6 clues, all for items in her shop (very clever idea) ~ and I won a $5 gift certificate!!! So I bought the fall earrings I featured, as well as some white heart earrings and some blue-gray button heart earrings. I can't wait to get them in! Again, pictures when everything comes in! Can you tell I love to shop??

I was quite busy last week finishing up an order my gramma and aunt put in (I brought it to them this weekend). I made 3 notebooks for my gramma and 2 for my aunt. I hope they like them and use them (I know my gramma is going to put at least one away as a souvenir...)! My Auntie Cathy wanted a larger notebook and a small one, both lined. She was gone to a wedding, so I wasn't able to give them to her (my gramma will). Her favourite colour is blue, so I went with that as my "theme". I really like how this large one turned out, especially the beautiful blue button I found to use as a bookmark. The button is topped with a smaller blue button and backed by a cream one. I lined the front and back cover with this lovely blue-lined paper, with a strip of denim blue on the front. The front is embellished with a square of leather-looking paper covered in a square of a lovely textured fibrous paper. This is topped with a metal parchment engraved with a flower. It's very pretty and classy, I think my aunt will really like it. The smaller one is monogrammed, and the inside covers are lined with the same homemade blue paper. The back has a square of the flowered paper that is under the C. This one is also very cute, and a perfect size for stashing in her purse. You can always use a piece of paper to jot down ideas and phone numbers!

For my gramma, I made 2 matching little notebooks. I went with a star theme, using light yellow, silver and yellow-lined white paper for stars and moon embellishments. One was bound in dark blue paper (with a silver stripe on the front), the other with the yellow-lined white paper (with a denim blue stripe over the spine). They're both very cute!! Gramma seemed to like them a lot, and said she would put one in her purse. The larger notebook I made for my gramma turned out to be a surprise! I had the idea of making a sort of wavy / hilly pattern with torn and cut paper, and then embellishing with paper flowers. I envisioned this with only a few types of paper and in purples and blues. But once I went through my paper, I couldn't resist the orange gingham, the brown and red corduroy and the metallic green crinkle paper. Then I found a few more and they all looked so nice together! I made a hilly pattern with 5 base papers (orange gingham, metallic green crinkle, thin brown handmade, sage green with cream flowers and metallic copper brown corduroy) and 3 accent papers (burgundy corduroy, fibrous pastel green and metallic copper quilted paper). I embellished with some flowers here and there and used an orange ribbon with buttons (orange-red and cantaloupe buttons topped by a small burgundy one) as the marker. I really, really like how this one turned out!! I will definitely be reproducing this design, both with the same papers and with the purples and blues I had originally planned. Of course, I won't be able to reproduce this exactly: I just cut and tore random wave / hill patterns in the papers ~ and I would probably change around the order of the papers as well. Each would be completely one of a kind! Check my shop soon to see those designs!!

But really, I just can't get over how much I LOVE this notebook! I was almost sad to give it to gramma because I wanted it for myself! But I'm glad I made it for her, and I hope she puts it on her hutch in her kitchen and use it like she told me she would!

Wow! This is turning out to be quite a long post! But I'm almost done. How do you like my use of fruit in my photography? I was really just playing around with my snack before the trip home! Hehe... Draped on the lemon above is a button bracelet I made for my mom. Another one I was tempted to keep for myself. I found a stash of dark blue buttons, and in it were these 3 square ones. I flanked them with the white and light blue buttons and that blue heart was a perfect dangle. Very cute and not too "young" or zany for my mom.

I wish I had more pictures of home, but I'm not naturally inclined to take lots of pictures. I forget most of the time. I did get a few of the trees from the car, both are taken between Sturgeon and North Bay. The top one was taken driving home Sunday morning from NB after staying the night at a friend's. This last one is as we were coming into NB, leaving Monday afternoon. These picture don't do the colours justice, but that's always the case. It's really unfortunate that I only see this once a year.