Friday, January 30, 2009

Actin Staining

So this morning I looked at the slides I stained and had a mini breakdown. I couldn't find any cells, anywhere! Luckily, Katherine took a look, and found some. I'm such an idiot... not sure what I was doing wrong.

Anyway, here a couple of the pictures I took. The blue is DAPI, showing the nucleus of the human airway smooth muscle cells. The red and green, TRITC and FITC respectively, stain the actin. The pictures are a lot clearer in the Nikon software - you can see individual strands / thread of the red actin throughout the cells.

Now we have to try and figure out how to assess and compare polarity.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Handmade Registry

This week was the grand opening - launch week for My Handmade Registry. Sign up today and show off your handmade wish list to all your friends! Join us in the groups for some helpful hints, and in the forums and chat for some great conversation! There were lots of draws and scavenger hunts this week, and there's still time to participate in one last draw!

Details are on the front page of My Handmade Registry. A big thank you goes out to Dorana, for imagining and creating this wonderful resource!


I've been tagged by a talented artist and good friend of mine, Debra Linker. Since she asked me nicely to keep the chain going, here are the rules:

  • Link to the person who tagged you
  • Post the rules on your blog
  • Write six random things about yourself
  • Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them
  • Let each person know they've been tagged

Six Random Things About Amanda:

1. I ran my first actin staining experiment today. It was so simple, I could probably do it without the step-by-step instructions next time! Tomorrow, I'll look at the slide under a fluorescent microscope, and it will be real pretty - coloured in blue, red and green. If I remember to bring my memory stick, I'll show you a picture!

2. I am a glutton. I loooooooooooove to eat, and cook. Which reminds me, I haven't posted a recipe in a while, even though I have some pictures...

3. I'm a huge procrastinator. It's really a problem... especially since I'm lazy too. Not a good combo... but I'm laidback too, so I just don't worry about it. hehehe

4. I've always wanted to have synesthesia. Look it up, it's awesome! Letters and sounds as colour... or even cooler: sequences (numbers, letters) as each having individual personalities!

5. I hate sweeping and vaccuming. I'd rather do the dishes or dust (both of which I also hate).

6. The only bone I've broken is the second smallest toe on my left foot. I think I might have been in the 6th grade or so. Mom asked me to gather dirty glasses from the living room, and I went running into the kitchen with one or two. My foot slammed full speed into the wood box (my parents have an old wood burning stove in the kitchen)... crying and laughing in pain, mom brought me to the hospital in town - about a 15 min drive. When we got to town, the hospital was completely blocked off by.... the Christmas Parade of Lights. We had to wait until it was over before I could go get an X-ray and get my toe taped to the one beside it (high-tech, I know).

So that's that. Now I have to tag 6 people:

1. Nickileigh
2. Angie
3. Dorana
4. Arctida
5. Katelynjane
6. Little Bit Funky

Dontcha just hate when...

Someone walks past you on the sidewalk, and instead of waiting 2 seconds to pass you before exhaling their cigarette smoke, they do it in your face instead. Thanks!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Etsy Feature: Hearts

I'm really getting excited for Valentine's Day this year. I usually don't make too big a deal out of it, getting Pat a little something (usually alcohol and candy) and making a nice dinner. This year though, I'm really anticipating it. Maybe it's because I won a one night's stay at a fancy hotel in town, which we've redeemed for V-day. Once plans are made, it's easy to get excited over a holiday.

Of course, Etsy is a place of endless inspiration (and procrastination) and I've been browsing Valentine's Day things for the past week. Today I'm going to show you some of my favourites.

First up is this sleek necklace by locallibrary. I love the contrast of oxidized silver or black gunmetal against bright silver. This necklace is so sweet and simple, it's completely wearable. In fact, I'd be hard-pressed to find something I didn't want to wear this with!

Here's another absolutely stunning necklace. In fact, this is a heart-shaped locket, made by mompotter. I love lockets - their mystery is always so charming and I like being able to keep a little secret something close to my heart. That pink burst of beads is perfect against the dark silver metal and the flowery etching just make it all that much more special.

While we're looking at necklace, I may as well show you this pendant. You guessed it - it's another heart. This one is made by ccvalenzo. It's a gorgeous frosty colour, and made with dichroic glass. I love the look of dichroic fused glass! It gives such a lovely shimmer and shine to the glass, and gleams with various colours in different lighting. This heart in particular shows how it adds dimension and light to virtually colourless glass.

Here's another look at glass with this funky lampwork heart pendant by lorilochner. I'm always so in awe of glass-workers. It's something I've never tried, but would love to. Or at least I'd like to see the process of lampwork, and see the beads take shape. In particular, I love the unique shape of this heart, especially the tilt of the very tip of the tail end. I also really like this swirl of colours, and think the copper ring looks perfect with it. Very psychedelic, but in a good way!

First off, Geninne has been a favourite of mine for a long time. I have her bird print #21. And if anyone knows me, they'll know that it won't be long before I cave to the temptation to buy this beautiful Bunny Kisses print. I love bunnies! At one point, we even had a little white bunny, Jasper, along with Rosemary (who's coat is black), making this piece even more significant to me!

Mixed media prints always capture my attention because there is usually much detail and layering to the piece, letting you look at it again and again without getting bored. I especially love Geninne use of vintage postcards and ads, and the drawing she often adds to them enhance their charm.

Speaking of cute little birds, have you seen these little dishes around Etsy yet? Maybe you've seen some similar heart designs by PrinceDesignUK, who has a few white plates printed with a multitude of little red hearts, as well as these adorable little birds. There's nothing like a repeated pattern to instill a little harmony, and why not little red hearts? In fact, the heart plates would look quite stunning mixed in with some plain white flatware for Valentine's dinner.

Of course, the fact that these ones are shaped like little birds only makes them sweeter!

Now I've already purchased the Valentine's Day card I want to give to Pat (this one made by my friend Angie), but that doesn't stop me from looking at all the other gorgeous cards on Etsy. I might just get one for my mom...

I love cards with peep-holes. They make you anticipate opening them, wondering what the inside will reveal. This "Be Mine" one by paperdragonfly is especially charming!

The best cards are hard to find. They're not wordy or ornate. They feature a simple design that captures your attention and gets your message across. As I've mentioned above, I especially love a repeated pattern that communicate a sense of balance and motion. This card has a simple repeated phrase to communicate your wish - and to highlight a hidden message: "Valentine".

Here's another fine example of a great card from papertigerdesigns. Again, a simple reccuring design, this time in X's and O's. The bright contrast between the red and white makes this card particularly eye-catching.

A heart filled with hugs and kisses. Now isn't that a wonderful message to convey to your loved one?

This card is letterpress. Again, this is another artform that I absolutely love yet have never tried. There's just such a clean, crisp look to letterpress that can't be beat.

Well, that's it for now. I'm sure in a week or two I'll have accumulated enough favourites to make another Valentine's Day themed feature. Please be sure to check out the amazing artists behind these finds, and let me know which one's your favourite!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sugared Cherries Earrings

I listed a new pair of earrings in Ulixis Crafts. Well, not exactly new - same design, different colour. I rather like this bright red for Valentine's Day. Here's the original design in royal blue. They're made with these great beads woven with nylon cord. I also have them in bright orange, burgundy and kelly green. Feel free to send me a convo via Etsy, leave a comment with a method of contacting you or email me if you'd like a pair!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Moving Things...

Last weekend we rearranged the living room to accommodate Pat's new TV. This weekend, we're moving a bunch of stuff into a storage unit. We finally had to rent one out because we just don't have enough room in this little one bedroom apartment. We've made 2 trips in our rented car so far, and there's at least another 2 to go... And then we can finish rearranging the living room and bed room furniture. I can't wait until everything is in order! Plus, I can't wait to organize my new craft space (still in the living room, but on my desk instead of a table)!

Item of the day: Plants of Love

Yesterday, I posted a stunning treasury compiled by joojoo. Today, I'm featuring one of her tiny polymer sculptures. These are the cutest little heart cacti you're ever going to see:
And they're growing in vintage German clay pots. So sweet!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gorgeous Treasury

I saw this gorgeous treasury, Kiss me!, on the front page this afternoon - so beautiful it made my heart skip a beat when I saw it. The curator, joojoo, did a really great job. Check it out: Anyone who has been reading this blog for a bit knows I love bunnies... when I saw this rabbit pin, made by ThirdPlanet, I just couldn't resist!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Item of the day: Imprint Tea Cup

On the same lines as the rice bowl I showed yesterday, here's a tea cup by kimwestad that I've been coveting:I love the clean, simple design - looks like bubbles at the bottom of the cup. And there's just something exotic about drinking tea from a bowl like this - as opposed to a traditional tea cup or mug. I need to get me some...

Monday, January 19, 2009


After taking away Pat's empty plate of homemade meat pie (his mom's, not mine), I noticed he had left me a heart-shaped crumb. How sweet.

I tried...

I tried to do a good deed today. And largely, I was successful but...

I held the door for an older women, after I walked out and she was coming in. As I walked through and held the door though, my purse decided it didn't want to wait and hold the door. So it continued on, flying off my shoulder and landing on the ground about 2 feet away from me.

I laughed, but I still felt like a moron.

Annual BioPharm Lectureship

My undergraduate program, Honours Biology & Pharmacology Co-op, is a special problem-based learning program at McMaster that only enrolls 20 students per year. I was one of the lucky ones for the class of 2008. That year, we started the Annual BioPharm Lectureship, where we organized to have Dr. William Catterall come to McMaster and give us a talk on his research. It was quite exciting to interact and listen to one of the leading researchers in pharmacology, and our program director was hoping to make it an annual occurrence.

So far so good, since last Wednesday was the second annual Biopharm Lectureship. The graduating class this year invited Dr. Michel Bouvier to speak to us about his research on G-protein-coupled receptors and efficacy. It was a really great talk - he was an engaging speaker and his talk was exciting. It's always so interesting to hear someone talk about something of which they are so passionate. Plus, he showed us ways to look at simple things differently, and it was quite eye-opening.

I'm really looking forward to the third annual Biopharm Lectureship - the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the class of 2010. (no pressure)

Item of the day: Flower Bowl

I came across almapottery via the front page of Etsy, and fell in love with her unique style. I've taken a shine to rice bowls and sushi sets recently, ever since getting a Thai cooking recipe book and beautiful chopsticks (for Pat) for Christmas. I love this rice bowl, adorned with a ceramic flower pin:I also really love the non-traditional sushi set I saw on the front page.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Item of the day: Heart Earrings

I was looking for some heart shaped post earrings, in red, for Valentine's Day. I'm corny like that. But the ones I found and treated myself to aren't all that corny.. in fact, I find them quite elegant:They're made out of clay and feature an ornate flowery design on them. Of course, I couldn't resist getting the matching brooch (this one looks pinker than the earrings, but I asked for a red one to match):
I can't wait to get them! If you want to treat yourself (or someone you love) for Valentine's Day, then check out the shop where I found these for more colour options: RachieBabieDesigns.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Rosemary is the sweetest little black bunny in the world. She resides at my parent's place up North, and she rules the house (she's a free-range house bunny).

She expects her breakfast the moment my dad wakes up... and if he wanders around a bit first, she's right at his heels, scratching at his legs, demanding to be fed. This behaviour is repeated when my mom gets up, maybe an hour later. She adores being stroked on the forehead, and will go into a little trance when she's being petted. If my dad lies down on the ground, she'll coyly circle him (maybe scratch at his legs) and then get into position (crouched, with her forehead under his hand) so he can pet her. So adorable!

I took this photo of her after Christmas. She's a little ticked off that her tree / hiding place was taken down. She sulked under this coffee table for a week or so. But every evening, she'd still hop into the kitchen and hover by the fridge so that I could give her an evening snack of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

Awwww... I want a bunny!

Item of the day: Wish Upon a Star

I found these spectacular silver earrings by ivaart in a great red and white treasury (sorry I don't remember whose):I've never seen anything like them (and I'm all about the unique)!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Item of the day: Silk Peacock Feathers

I saw a similar clutch on the front page of Etsy, which lead me to redrubyrose and this gorgeous little bag:I love it so much. I love that the outside is a demure cream, making the peacock feather just POP. I love the hidden secret of the bright turquoise lining. I love that the stunning feather is embroidered onto the fabric, making an absolute show-stopper. I love peacock feathers, especially when used subtly for great effect.

I'm also annoyed that I keep typing feature instead of feather. :) But that shouldn't stop you from checking out this incredible bag!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Etsy Feature: GreenLeafandOwl

I happened to notice one of GreenLeafandOwl's pendants on the front page the other day, and I immediately fell in love with the wonderfully quirky shop. It was one of her vintage birds that drew me to her shop, and this Queen Whydah is my favourite. I love the expression of disdain on her pretty little face.

These cool pendants preserve a snippet of vintage illustration under a vintage acrylic cabochon for a one of a kind piece. Many of them also feature unique vintage settings and other vintage components. If you prefer, you can also find brooches and pocket-mirrors featuring these wonderful illustrations.

Now to go on a bit of a tangent...

Usually, if a piece of jewelry makes me laugh, it's because there's something really unique and unexpected about it. And usually, these pieces end up as my secret favourites because they're so darn funny. Of course, it's often something so unusual that no one else gets the joke, but that only makes it funnier to me.

Take this asparagus necklace... not something you see everyday, that's for sure! It's just so crazy.. does anyone love asparagus that much that they would want to proclaim it by wearing it around their neck? And yet... even though I prefer the bird necklaces and would end up wearing those way more often, I'm WAY more tempted to purchase this quirky little bit of vegetable.

Does anyone else feel this way or am I slightly delusional?

I guess maybe I'm just a little over-tired... really could have slept in this morning.... Moving right along.

Of course, if you aren't as crazy as I am, maybe something a little more simple will suit your style. In that case, check out GreefLeafandOwl's earrings. They're classic in design, often with a bright burst of colour, right where you need it. These sweet silver leaves are my favourite. I can see myself wearing them again and again, with many different things.

Now from what I've shown you (and her wonderful photography), it isn't surprising that the artist behind GreenLeafandOwl is inspired by texture, nature, musty antique stores and her collection of old typewriters. She also co-runs a paper goods and destash store, PipingHotPapers, with RunAliceRun. And she has a blog, though it doesn't look like it's been updated in a while.

You should definitely check out this shop. Plus, if you act now, you can still benefit from the free shipping she is offering for the holidays (and after)!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


So Pat and I made a New Year's resolution to get healthier this year. We need to start eating better and more regularly (sometimes we don't eat until after 11 because we don't know what to have, and sometimes Pat gets home really late) and we need to start incorporating some exercise into our lifestyle.

Exercise is SO not my thing. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so there wasn't really an opportunity for me to go to a gym (which means if I went now, I'd have no idea what to do other than stand nervously at the door with my gym bag). I had gym class up til grade 10, but that was it. To make matter worse, I was a fat kid, so I never got into sports (being chosen last, and coming in last place all the time can get pretty humiliating, so I just avoided sports at all costs). Once I hit high school, I grew into my weight, but I had never participated in sports, so I didn't exactly want to try anything for the first time and make an idiot of myself (that's back when I cared what other people thought :P).

So now I'm stuck. I don't really know how to play any sports, especially if it involved working with a team, and there's no way I'm going to the gym. We've tried to go biking in the summer time, but it's a pain to drag our bikes up and down the elevator. So this winter I decided enough was enough. I signed us up for badminton.I chose badminton because I remember it being something I could play relatively well in high school gym class ~ there's isn't too much hard work or coordination involved. Plus, I signed us up at a recreation centre, so there aren't lessons or teams, just open gym time with the nets set up and rackets and shuttlecocks to use. We go Tuesday nights, from 8 to 9:45.

Tuesday was our first session. It was SO MUCH FUN! There were 3 nets set up, with doubles playing in the first 2 (they were really hardcore badminton players) and a couple playing on their own in the last one. We went and joined them, and were lucky to find out they weren't much better at playing than us (they had signed up for the exercise too). We played a few sets with them, and it was a blast! My arm was sore the next day, but I'm really excited for next Tuesday!

Here's to keeping our resolutions this year!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Item of the day: Chopstick Gift Set

I bought this chopstick gift set from MSPottery for Pat this Christmas:I was tired of reusing the cheap ones that come with take-out. I really liked the look of these chopsticks, and the clean, crisp design of the rests.

Luckily, my mom surprised me with a tray holding 3 small dipping sauce dishes - all in white. It all matches perfectly! Tonight, I'm going to crack open my new Thai cooking recipe book and try something new!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Item of the day: Cluck and Food Pillow

My parents raised chickens for a few years, and ever since my mom has had a thing for anything chicken related. Her kitchen is decorated in roosters, and my brothers, sister-in-law and I got her a set of chicken dishes for Christmas. Needless to say, this pillow would look perfect perched on the dark brown leather couch in my mom's olive green living room:Made from pure wool tweed by Mogwaii, this pillow is perfect for all those hen-lovers out there. I especially love the button eye and patterned red wattle.