Sunday, May 30, 2010

Item of the day: Dandelion Pastures

I know I've featured my friend Angie of jellybeans before ... but she is just so damn good! This piece is her latest & I am just blown away (yet again). We both grew up in the backroads of Verner & this scene is totally familiar to me. The blue sky & fluffy cloud; the dark, distant forest; the sweep of lush grasses & wildflowers....... Damn Angie! This piece is absolutely fabulous (& making me a little homesick!)!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What I've been working on..

Lucky me, I've been busy with custom orders this past month. I've already shown you the wine label I designed, but I've also been commissioned to make a wedding guest book, a lanyard & a half dozen paper globes for a birthday party. The latter is the latest, so I have nothing to show for it yet (just a stack of coordinating paper) but here's a peek at the other two I've been working on.

First the lanyard, since I just finished it yesterday. My good friend iWunder asked that it be beaded & multi-coloured (my choice of colours), with a little ring on it to attach a key ring & work ID badge. Here are all the bead links:
I always make about twice as many links as I need when I want a random pattern. It always seems to turn out better & more random that way. So I ended up with a beautiful necklace as well as the lanyard. I love long necklaces - especially when you can wrap them twice around your neck if the mood strikes. The leaf-shaped toggle clasp is pretty sweet too.

Next up is a custom guest book for another good friend of mine, Dorana. It's for her sister's wedding. I haven't started on the actual notebook yet since this notebook will contain a bunch of firsts for me: the first time I use coptic stitch:& the first time I cover a notebook with fabric. I've already learned some do's & don't's by making this prototype:The real deal will be covered in fabric Dorana is sending me - it will have damask & their initials embroidered onto it. So I really can't mess that up! Which means I'll be making another prototype over the next few days as I wait for the fabric to come in.
I'm really happy with how this first version turned out though. The flower-shaped eyelets are super cute! I'll keep you posted on my progress with prototype #2!

Item of the day: Ziricote Bentwood Ring

This bentwood ring by stoutwoodworks is amazing! The turquoise inlay really shines in the dark ziricote rosewood. But this isn't your typical wooden ring - it isn't carved out of a block (with tons of waste & weak points due to the grain of the wood). Instead, they're carefully bent such that the grain runs all the way around the ring, making them very strong & beautiful.

I love wood - it has such a warm, organic feel that just makes you feel welcome. Maple is definitely my favourite - it really shines next to the walnut in this ring:
I really appreciate this art - my grandfather & uncles build cedar strip boats (Giesler boats) & bend wood to make the spines. Unfortunately, aluminum & fiberglass boats are mass-produced & cheaper (like carved wooden rings) so this is becoming a bit of a lost art...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Five

Seriously? It's already Friday? Alright-y then...
  1. I planted 2 rows of onions & 2 rows of carrots in my dad's garden on Monday. Then we traveled back to Hamilton. Long weekends followed by a short week are the best!
  2. Had a lab meeting on Wednesday. We don't have them regularly & when we do it's mostly about my supervisor's clinical research (I'm the only one in the lab doing non-clinical work). It's always so interesting to see that side of things though, & I always end up learning something.
  3. It's been incredibly hot & humid here this week. Around 30C every day. I find the heat so tiring - I don't want to do or eat anything. Honestly, I'd take -40 over +40 any day. A couple of blankets is much more energy efficient than A/C - which we don't have here on the 7th floor anyway. This is the only time I don't mind facing North though: we might not get any sun to grow flowers, but we also don't have the heat that comes with it. In fact, our apartment is usually (slightly) cooler than the hallway, elevator & outside.
  4. I went shopping for supplies yesterday. I love shopping for supplies! I'm most excited about the rotary cutter with a deckler insert (that cuts paper so that it looks ripped). I also picked up some pinking shears - I've been looking for some forever! I got them on clearance - 75% off!!!! They're $60 scissors & I got them for $15! Score!
  5. I listed these darling dainty copper earrings:
Happy long weekend to all my US readers!

Item of the day: Dishes Suck

Yep. This is exactly how I feel. These clever dish towels are by LoudMouse - you get to choose the words & colours!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Long Weekend

It's been pretty quiet on my blog this week - blame my long weekend. I've been catching up on sleep this week... sleep I never seem to get while in Verner.

Sleep is for losers.

I had a great time at home & I have no pictures to show for it. As usual. I'm always too busy to think about dragging my camera out. Oh well - you'll have to believe me that I was there & enjoyed the clear blue sky, fresh air & green, green grass. Indeed, it was nicer & hotter (30C on Monday!!!) there than it was 5 hours to the South, here in Hamilton. We really lucked out (especially since it sometimes snows on May 2-4)!

My brother's family lives down the road from my parents (like a 2 minute walk) & they had invited a bunch of friends over for the whole weekend. Tents, dirty clothes, empty glasses & bottles, kids & dogs all over the place! It was great! Friday night, my sister-in-law & I outlasted everyone - we went to bed around 6am.

Then I woke up at 8 with excruciating stomach pains. So bad I was forcing myself to throw up to make it feel better. Didn't help. I had to go to the hospital by 10:30 when I still wasn't feeling better. Not that they did anything. They stuck me in a back room in emerg since they didn't want me crying & groaning in the waiting room. I was left there for 2 hours - no one checked on me as I cried out in pain. Then, once the pain was pretty much gone, I got a shot of Gravol (in my thigh) & blood taken. The bloodwork was supposed to come back in an hour - 2.5 hours later, the nurse came in with orange juice & water. I was dehydrated & they wanted to see if I could keep it down. I hadn't vomited since I had gotten to the hospital at this point...... but the nurse didn't believe me that I was feeling better. The Gravol couldn't have worked that fast! (ummm.... in 3 hours? SURE! This nurse was SO dumb - just a blank look in her eyes - she didn't seem to believe a word I said about how I was feeling...). She asked me how it went with the OJ & water. I told her it tasted gross going down, so that didn't help my stomach, but I was fine. "OK, well, we'll have to put you on an IV then."

Wait. What??? After 5 hours of neglect I need IV NOW?!?!? Now that I'm peeing every 20 minutes (& very clear pee at that)?!???!?? I don't think so. Pat asked to see a doctor. Yep - after 5 hours I still hadn't seen a doctor. She came 30 minutes later, said there was a 24hr virus going around & my white blood count was high - but that could be because I'm dehydrated. So they were going to put me on IV for 2 hours, then do bloodwork again. Another 6 hours at the hospital? I DON'T THINK SO.

I left. I had only gone for the stomach pains - the one symptom they completely ignored. Awesome. I was feeling FINE by then anyway. Indeed, I stayed up until 2:30am with everyone else that night. More like an 8 hour virus that no one else caught ...... Not sure what it was - never happened before. And no, it wasn't alcohol - I've had MUCH more to drink than I did that night & we were drinking water for the last 2 hours. Plus, I've never, ever been sick off of alcohol or even had a hangover ...... weird is what it was.

And then Sunday night, we stayed up until 5am. Chilling by the fire (an illegal fire - there's a fire ban since it's so dry ... but my brother is a bit of an idiot sometimes. hehehe I mean that in the nicest way....), chatting with family & friends. It was really nice to just hang out - I love my family. I love that I get along so well with my sister-in-law & my younger brother's girl friend.

Sunday & Monday morning I woke up by 10 to help my parents with the garden. I love gardening! But as you can see, it didn't afford for much sleep this weekend. Which is fine - sleep is for losers.

Item of the day: Porcelain Sheep

This one is for my friend (& faithful blog follower) Cara - an adorable little sheep brooch, hand-formed & hand-painted by WijnbergenDamave.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Item of the day: Natural Edge Maple

These cutting boards by firewoodfurniture are fabulous! I love the natural edges!Maples are definitely my favourite tree (& wood) - not only because I'm Canadian, but because as kids, my brothers & I would spend hours in this particular maple tree on a corner of my parents' property. In fact, we spent so much time there, I named the tree George. We still call the tree that - it's a good point of reference.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Five

I had a BUSY week at work! But it's Friday - and Friday of a long weekend (at least here in Canada it is)! Doesn't get much better than that!
  1. I've gotten a lot of fat samples in recently - which is good since I need them for my co-cultures (the final objective of my thesis)... unfortunately, I was setting up a migration with one of my co-cultures today & I didn't have enough cells. ARG! That means I won't be able to compare this one to other migrations (unless I use percentages) ... so it's probably going to be discarded data. *sob* I hate waste.
  2. I finally finished that custom wine label I've been working so hard on. Take a look - I'm really happy with how it turned out:
  3. I got some fresh-from-the-garden rhubarb from a lady I work with - I made this crumble coffee cake (SO GOOD! So tasty it's all gone without a photo to show for my hard work).
  4. I ordered this book from Amazon: Taking Flight. It's so inspirational! I'm loving it. More on this book (& some other books that I love) later.
  5. I finally got around to listing the 12th goddess in my Klimt ACEO series. Meet Skadi, winter goddess of the North. Not sure why I was inspired to create something wintery just when it's starting to really warm up ... but I love how she turned out!
Have a great long weekend everyone (who has one) - we're heading up North to visit out parents. I'm going to help my dad plant his garden - FUN!

Item of the day: Thundercloud Bouquet

Ooooh, I love this flirty dress (in my favourite neutral) by Minxshop!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Science Byte

Today's Science Byte is brought to you by Vander, Sherman & Luciano's Human Physiology (p.619).

Diabetes.

What is typically known as diabetes is actually diabetes mellitus. The word diabetes means "running through" & this makes sense because people with diabetes urinate in greater volumes. The word mellitus means sweet since there's a lot of glucose (sugar) in the urine of diabetic.

There is another condition called diabetes insipidus (a vasopressin deficiency - nothing to do with insulin). These patients also pee a lot, but their urine isn't sweet (and yes, back in the day, doctors would taste it to diagnose). So while the word diabetes is used to refer to diabetes mellitus, this can be a bit confusing if you have the other condition.

This Science Byte is focused on diabetes mellitus. I'll bet everyone reading this knows someone who has diabetes - it's fairly common. As you probably know, there are 2 types: type 1 & type 2.

A bit of background first: insulin. It's a hormone that is secreted in response to elevated blood glucose (so after you eat). It works to activate cells to uptake glucose, clearing it from the blood & storing it (or using it - glucose is the cell's main energy source). Diabetics prick their finger to measure their blood glucose - if it's too high or low, they might end up in a coma. Generally though, their glucose levels are higher than normal - which eventually contributes to all the other conditions associated with diabetes (kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, etc).

Type 1 diabetes: AKA insulin-dependent diabetes, childhood diabetes
People with type 1 diabetes are born with it - they cannot produce insulin (or don't produce nearly enough). Their immune system actually attacks the beta cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin (for unknown reasons). So for them, insulin therapy is necessary (& injected daily - definitely not a cure). This form is less common, comprising about 10% of diabetics in the US.

Type 2 diabetes: AKA insulin-independent diabetes, adult-onset diabetes
Type 2 diabetes typically develops in overweight adults (& with the increasing prevalence of obesity, in teens & children now too). People with type 2 diabetes have normal (or above average) insulin levels in their blood. Instead, they have an insulin insensitivity - the body no long responds to it (or at least not as well as it should). So insulin therapy really doesn't do much for these diabetics. It isn't completely understood what's going on, but obesity causes insulin insensitivity (probably by decreasing the number of insulin-responsive glucose transporters on cells - proteins that take up glucose when stimulated by insulin). Weight loss & exercise are the first line of treatment. Exercise actually increases these glucose transporters in cells. This isn't always enough though & a number of pharmacotherapies are available. All these drugs act to lower blood glucose levels (through different mechanisms I won't get into).

My second cousin (third? The daughter of my mom's cousin..) was born with type 1 diabetes. They've had quite a few scares. My grandpa developed type 2 diabetes - forcing him to eat better & exercise more. If you've somehow been touched by diabetes, I'd love to hear about it in the comments! Questions (or corrections) are welcome too!

Item of the day: Necklace Dress

Gray is my favourite neutral - it goes well with everything & every colour. This dress by outofline takes neutral to a whole new level though with the cute detailing at the neckline.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Item of the day: Double Trouble

Check this out: this dress by GinaMicheleVintage is reversible! You get 2 flirty summer dresses in one (you can choose which 2 colours you want!) and it's made out of eco-friendly bamboo jersey, so you can feel like you've done your part to help save the environment too!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

RBG 2010

We went to the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) on Sunday - the weather was perfect & the lilac festival is not to be missed! Up there is Pat, ready to go (look how excited he is!) - this is the first picture I take of him in his new car.

WARNING: LOTS OF PICTURES! I took advantage of the mosaic maker so that there would be less - go over to my Flickr if you want to see them all.

WARNING #2: SNAKE! I did see a couple of garter snakes & took pictures of the first one before my camera died - these are at the very end of this blog post, so don't scroll down all the way if you don't want to see. I'll give you a warning when we get close (mom).

This is just one shot of the lilac dell. It's much bigger than what you can see here, but you get the gist of it. A dell is a valley of sorts - shallow, wide & very green. The lilacs are all over. Leading into the dell is a path with all sorts of different varieties on either side. Here's a small sampling of them:
On top of the hill (towards the South, near the water), is a grove of dogwoods. I discovered last night that what I've been calling dogwoods are really redbuds (those pretty pink ones below)! I think they're my favourite - I love how the flowers look like the branches are powdered in pink. The white tree in the middle picture (below, right) is a dogwood - they have larger, flat flowers with rounded petals.
So we didn't spend that much time in the dell since I've seen it twice before, it's always crowded & Pat isn't all that interested in flowers (shocking, I know). So we took a path to the waterfront (Cootes Paradise, a protected sanctuary / wetlands off of Lake Ontario). There are a ton of trails to choose from & they're all picturesque & well-maintained:
We saw wildflowers, chipmunks & squirrels & tons of birds & insects.
What I loved the most was the texture of the forest:
Here we are at the waterfront (sorry about the bright sun & my distracting arm in our sunglasses):
WARNING: only 3 more pictures before the SNAKE!

There were waterfowl around too:
Like this goose & some small wading birds (you can't really see them, but they were darling!):
While crouching to get a picture of moss, I saw this little inchworm inching along (teehee, sorry, I think inchworms are cool):
SNAKE UP NEXT - go no further if you can't stand looking at pictures of them (mom)!

Can you spot the garter snake?
No? How about now?
Check out that beady, blue-ish eye!

Anyway, we spent about 2.5 hours walking the trails, taking in the forest & waterfront. My camera died after this snake, so I missed about 3/4 of what we saw. I had such a great time though! I love walking (& smelling) the forest - it reminds me of home (& gramma's cottage).

Item of the day: Marilyn in Blue

I love the fresh pattern on this sweet blue dress by Ananya.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Item of the day: Longbilled Curlew

I love this bird print by wizeowlhandprints. Birds with long legs & bills are my favourite - they're so awkward & gangly, they're adorable!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Five

Another week has flown by - here's what I was up to:
  1. Wednesday, Pat & I went over to a friend's place to watch the Montreal hockey game. GO HABS!!!!!! Consequently, I missed the last TWO episodes of America's Next Top Model... which played back to back that night. Arg! I watched those online last night (I'm glad Krista won, she deserved it most).
  2. I got a fat sample in yesterday. That's 2 in 2 weeks - more than I got the first 4 months of the year! Which is good since I need them badly to finish up the last objective of my thesis (the co-culture).
  3. I've been working my butt off on a custom design order. So far so good (with positive feedback)!
  4. I made the most delicious carrot (apple-coconut) cupcakes with cream cheese frosting last night. A healthier version than the typical recipes you find and OH SO GOOD! I'm bringing them to work today since Pat won't eat them (carrot, coconut AND cream cheese? No way he'll touch them!). I didn't take pictures of the process, but I think I'll make another batch so that I can post the recipe soon (they're that good).
  5. I listed some more vintage buttons in my sewing shop (these green ones are my favourite). I also listed this awesome bracelet on Monday:
TGIF - I hope everyone has a great weekend! If the weather clears up, we're going to the Royal Botanical Gardens!