Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Goodbye March

There is an old saying that if March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lamb (or vice versa). March arrived quietly here in Ontario, leaving us to wonder what the end of the month would bring. Apparently, the only thing lion-like about the end of March 2010 will be the similarity to the warm weather of the lion's ancestral home in Africa. Maybe not actually today, the last day of the month, but rumour has it we're about to experience record breaking warm temperatures in the next few days, perhaps as high as 29C on Friday with the humidex. Humidex? On April 2nd? Can you imagine? I am hoping this is not an April Fool's joke, I could use a blast of sunny warmth and an excuse to sit out on my balcony and bead. So, fingers crossed as we say goodbye to March on this warm, sunny, so far more like spring than summer day.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How Cool Is This?

Kate McKinnon had this video on her blog today, with thanks to Michael Zhang for bringing it to her attention. I am most grateful to them both for sharing this very entertaining commercial for a natural gas company featuring, of all things, knitting. Check it out:

What's even cooler to watch is this behind the scenes, "making of" video in which we learn that the commercial didn't just involve a bunch of very talented knitters, it also required the use of "un-knitting". Watch and see what I mean:

Monday, March 29, 2010

One Smart Cat

I may have mentioned before that my Max is one smart cat (he sews, he types, he plays fetch with the orange pom pom). The good news is, he is taking some new medication for his recently diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease that seems to be solving his frequent vomiting problem. The bad news is, after just five days, he has figured out there is a pill inside the salmon flavoured pill pocket and now he just licks the outside or chews it just enough to eat the yummy outside part and spits out the pill in the middle.

I've tried the old-fashioned way to give a cat a pill - hold their jaw, pry open their teeth, drop the pill to the back of their throat, hold the mouth closed until they swallow. Except as soon as I hold his head, he starts squirming around like crazy, the back feet come up and he's ready to do some kangaroo kickboxing! However, he's smart enough to know not to use his back claws on me, for which I am most grateful.

I just got back from visiting the vet's office. I went to get a new supply of the pill pockets, hoping that a new flavour (chicken this time) might help. They also gave me some very good advice on some alternate methods to try. One is to grind the pill up and mix it with a very small portion of wet food - I tried this when I got home and it actually worked - yay! I was sure he would turn his nose up at it, seeing as how it would taste like a bitter ground up pill but apparently not.

The other method they recommended is to swaddle the cat in a towel, hold him stomach up in your arms and repeat the above noted steps with the jaws and dropping the pill in their mouth. Apparently, this method works because they can't get away and they can't use their feet. They even demonstrated exactly how to do it using the clinic cat Alfie, who was most tolerant but immediately ran quickly away once he was unwrapped from the towel (another smart cat!) I shall resort to this method as needed.

In the meantime, for tonight, success!

P.S. Want to know what Max did during Earth Hour, when all the lights were out and everything was quiet? See photo on the right. Like I said, smart! :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I started doing my taxes yesterday. I like to do them slightly early and file them online because I like getting my refund back quickly. If you file around the end of March, it seems to only take about 2 weeks before you have the cheque in hand.

I have a file folder in my cabinet labelled "Income Taxes" and every time something comes in the mail that belongs in that folder, anything I know I'll need to file my return, it goes in that folder right away, as soon as it arrives. Unlike other stuff that seems to go in a pile to be filed "some day".

So imagine my dismay when I started going through the paperwork and working through the steps on the online tax preparation site and realized that I didn't have my assessment form from last year's return. That's the bunch of papers that the government sends to you attached to your refund cheque. It's basically a recap of your filed return and it also has important information that needs to get plugged into next year's return, like your maximum RRSP contribution amount (not that I need to worry about that, I think my maximum amount is somewhere in the 6 figures and I don't expect to ever actually max it out!).

I can't find that form. Where could it possibly be?? If it's not in the tax folder, I have no idea where it might be or why I didn't immediately put it in the folder when it came in the mail last April like I should have, like I normally would. Given that it was delivered 11 months ago, I have no idea where to start looking for it. Sure, I have several piles of stuff to be filed and, frighteningly, still two boxes of "miscellaneous paper" to be sorted through from when I moved a year and a half ago, but this form should have been filed, not put in one of those piles.

So now I've got to start looking through those piles and/or try to get another copy from the government, which I'm sure is possible, it just might be time-consuming given they're a little busy right now. Which means I can't file my return just yet and leaves me feeling a little like this guy:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

We are all being asked to turn off any non-essential lights, appliances and electronics tonight between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

I'm not sure what I'll do tonight while I'm sitting in the dark but I am trying to plan ahead slightly this time around, as compared to last year,, when I seemed to have waited until almost the last minute to figure out what to do during that hour. It's mid afternoon and I've gathered the flashlight and candles, so I already feel ahead of schedule.

I found this article, which describes the origin of the Earth Hour event. It started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and went global in 2008 when approximately 50 million people took part in several different countries. Last year, the first year I participated, hundreds of millions of people around the world were involved, which is pretty impressive.

The same article outlines 10 things you might want to do during the hour:, although it also made me laugh, because it was described as "11 fun and sexy things to do when the lights go out." I must have had it in my mind that the 11 things would all be fun AND sexy, as I found it a bit surprising to read they suggested hosting a games night or go out to a restaurant serving locally grown food. Then I realized they meant that some of the 11 items could fit under the categorization of "sexy" (i.e. having a candlelit picnic, or enjoying a romantic evening "getting close") and some were fun, things you can do with the whole family (games night, camping out in the living room, going to an outdoor event).

My favourite is something they will apparently be doing at the Ontario Science Centre - you're allowed to use a radio, a lamp or a TV but only if you generate the power by dancing. Now that sounds like fun!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Altered Composition Books

I took a class earlier this week at Bizzy B on how to make altered composition books. You start with the basic book (see photo on left) and then add paper, fabric, ribbon or whatever you choose to fancy it up. This type of book is good to work with because of the sturdy cardboard cover. We used Fabri-Tac glue because it dried fast, so as to be able to finish the book during class. I had never used this glue before and other than the rather head-spinning smell, found that it worked very well, provides a sturdy bond and doesn't make your paper go all wrinkly.

This was also my first introduction to scrapbook paper - oh my, I think I'm in love! It comes in different thicknesses, some plain, some embossed, some with patterns, some with texture - so many choices. The sheets vary in price from about $1 to $4 each, depending on how fancy they are. I especially like the designs made by Graphics45 and 7Gypsies. We used about 4 sheets to make the books, as we decorated the front and back covers as well as the inside covers front and back. However, there was a lot of paper left over once we cut the sheets, which are 12x12 inches, down to fit the book size.

Here are some photos of books made by Daniza, the instructor:

(ignore the "Cynful Creations" that appears in the bottom right corner of the photo, that doesn't it appear on the book - too bad! - it's automatically added by my photo software)

This lovely book was made by Diana, one of my classmates - I loved the paper choices she made:

Diana and I have now taken 3 classes together at Bizzy B in the past 3 months, completely unplanned. At the end of this session, I asked her what class we're going to take next!

Lorraine, my online classmate in the Remains of the Day journal class, whom I recently met in person, also took this class with her friend Charland. Here's a photo of Daniza, Charland and Lorraine as we were working on our books:

Here is a picture of the journal I made, which is destined to be used to record my next trip to Paris. All of the papers I choose, except the one on the back cover (bottom, right) had pictures of the Eiffel Tower. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Speaking of Kyle Cassidy...

He has posted some photos from the workshop he taught last weekend in San Diego with Kate McKinnon. The topic was macro photography, taking photos of small objects such as jewellery that you have made. Based on the blog postings by Kyle, Kate and Marcia DeCoster (at whose home Kyle and Kate stayed), a darned good time was had by all and the workshop was a total success.
You can read all their adventures by clicking on the links to the right.

Kyle has put together a little booklet with some of the photos he took. The cover photo is stunning:

and I also really love this shot of the San Adreas fault that he took from the plane window:

You can view the entire PDF here:

Photos reprinted with the generous permission of Kyle Freaking Cassidy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cameras, Tattoos and Baseball

I've been thinking I'd like to get a digital SLR camera since I took the photography workshop with Kyle Cassidy last September:

So I was getting some advice today on what type of camera to buy from a photographer friend of mine, Jon Blacker ( Kyle recommends the Lumix GF1 but that one is a little out of my price range at the moment. Jon favours the Nikon brand.

Jon has a very cool book project on the go at the moment, featuring musicians with tattoos. You can read more about that here: I don't have any tattoos myself, I've just never found an image I'd like to have permanently added to my body. I like the idea of it though, tattoos are such a fascinating art form and let's face it, they're quite sexy too. In moderation, that is - i.e. as long as you're not covering every available inch of your skin with ink. And as long as it's not Tweety Bird or "Wino Forever", that's just silly.

Jon also takes photos now and again for Major League Baseball, which put me in mind of the Toronto Blue Jays and the fact that the regular season is about to start. The home opener is Monday, April 12th against the Chicago White Sox - let's play ball!

With all that in mind, here's a photo I took on Roncesvalles Avenue last weekend. It makes me want to go looking for a guy named Ron Geoffrey. If he was a ball player (he'd probably play 3rd base) or a musician (definitely a guitar player), I wonder what kind of tattoo he would have?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Haliburton School of The Arts

If you're on the mailing list, you probably received your 2010 course calendar a couple of weeks ago. I am and I did, although I have deliberately not looked at it too closely yet as I will be in France and Spain for a month in August/September (only 149 days and counting!) which means I can't be tempted by any of the fabulous week long courses they have on offer this summer, starting in May and running through to about mid-August. However, I will be looking closely at the weekend possibilities, because I should be able to squeeze in a Saturday or two in the first part of the summer, if I'm lucky.

Haliburton is a small town located about 130 km north and a little bit east of Toronto, which translates into about a 2.5 hour drive, in the heart of cottage country. If you need a place to stay while you're taking your course, they have a list of accommodation possibilities.

There are so many possibilities for artists working in all sorts of mediums - glass, paint, metal, paper, fabric, computers and music, to name just a few. They even have courses for kids. You can learn how to carve a totem pole, do Japanese brush painting, quilt, draw, sculpt, design a low maintenance garden, learn how to use iCreate on your Mac laptop - there are literally dozens of possibilities. The teachers are all recognized artists in their own right.

Here's a picture of Terry Craig, one of my instructors, giving a glass-blowing demonstration. This woman, who name I do not know, is taking the blacksmithing course. And the women in the photo up above learned how to belly dance. Do you see what I mean about something for everyone? Plus as you can see from that photo, the windows give you a lovely view of the lush green trees outside - the school is situated in a beautiful setting, surrounded by nature. It's a wonderful way to learn!

Registration started March 1st, so you don't want to wait too long to sign up if there is a course you are interested in, as classes fill up fast.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bag of Beads Reveal - Part 6

For my final post on this subject (at least, for now), here are two of my most favourite pieces from the TBS Bag of Beads Challenge.

This first one was created by Rae Huggins. It was made from a picture of a fish from a colouring book that she then painted. The scales are made from a pair of earrings she had in her jewellery box that she didn't expect to wear again. What made this piece even more special is that Rae had a little story to go with the artwork itself. The story goes that someone was making a necklace and somehow it fell to the bottom of the ocean and a fish grabbed it and wanted to keep the pendant for itself, which is why it is carrying it in its mouth. The pieces at the bottom of the design are various sea creatures that inhabit the ocean of this make believe story, such as a beaded squid (the pink circular piece).

I took a few closeup shots to show some of the different sections of this piece.

But the one that totally blew me away was this dragon, made by Andria Knowles-Muller. If we gave out prizes for this challenge, I would want her to win the blue ribbon or the gold medal (with Rae getting the silver medal for the 2nd place finish). My photos don't do this piece justice. She wrapped beads over a wire armature and made the dragon's wings out of the paper.

Interestingly, this piece also had a bit of a story to it as well - the dragon is carrying a necklace that he can't wear but he wants it anyway. Andria displayed her artwork in a shadow box and again I must offer my apologies for the photo, where you can see the reflections of the overhead lights in the glass but still, I wanted you to be able to see some of the incredible detail of this piece.

I have one more amazing piece to show you but I promised the designer, Anne Marie Desaulniers, that I'd wait until after April 1st to blog about it, for reasons I shall reveal at that time, so you'll have to be patient. But I think it will be worth the wait, as in my humble opinion, her creation would be tied with Andria's for first prize!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bag of Beads Reveal - Part 5

Here are a few more pictures from the Bag of Beads challenge at the Toronto Bead Society:

From left to right, top row first:

Kimberly Harris - a necklace made of beaded beads;

Marilyn Parker - a goblet "for those who don't drink";

Amy Waldman-Smith - a necklace;

Jennifer Morris - a vessel (not finished yet);

Joanne (sorry, I didn't get her last name) - wind chimes; and

Genvieve (again sorry, last name unknown) - mixed media piece.

Again, this gives you a taste of how much creativity and talent we have within our group and the diversity of possibilities that can be fashioned from just one collection of beads.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Right Angle Weave

I took a class at Bead Junction today on the beading stitch known as Right Angle Weave or RAW for short. The class was taught by the very patient Patricia Huff. I say "patient" because there were 3 of us and at any given point, none of us seemed to be at the same stage in the process but that didn't seem to matter to her. Thanks, Patricia!

RAW is one of the main beading stitches that I was not yet familiar with. We started out with bugles so we could clearly see the right angles being formed. Kate McKinnon has a great way of explaining this process, as if the four sides are the ceiling, floor and two walls of a room and you're making an apartment building (or for those of us in Toronto, yet another condo development!).

Then we switched to size 8/0 seed beads in two contrasting colours. As you can see from this photo, I definitely have the hang of it in my piece on the left but compared to Patricia's on the right, which is much straighter and uniform looking, I need a little work on the tension of my thread, in order to make the beads line up the way they are supposed to. But I like the finished effect either way!

I'll need a bit more practice but when I'm ready, I'm looking forward to making Kate's Groovy Cuff kit and some of the designs in Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence book.

Okay, gotta go practice!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bag of Beads Reveal - Part 4

As promised, here are some more photos of some of the Bag of Beads creations made by my fellow Toronto Bead Society members. Let's just say, the talent in our membership is unlimited and totally inspiring!!

This beaded fringe masterpiece was made by a new member named Kimberly Lawrence, it's called Cleo's Collar. I believe she said it was from a pattern in a Bead and Button herringbone book, but I could be wrong about that, don't quote me. I was taking notes while everyone spoke about their pieces and what I wrote for Kimberly is that this piece was her 6th try, after #4 got chewed by the cat and several others didn't quite work out the way she wanted and her apartment flooded...I don't know, it seems impossible to believe that this beautiful necklace was the end result of that sort of comedy of errors, doesn't it?! And if you're wondering where the piece of copper pipe is, she said she added it to the collection of copper pots in her grandmother's doll house! She also told me that two of her friends bought her TBS membership for her as a birthday present, isn't that a lovely idea?

This unique creation was submitted by Christina Dufrene. She said finding the right size canvas shoe (size 8) for a reasonable price was the hardest part! She got the idea from a magazine and found it was a lot of space to cover with beads. And no, she's not planning to wear them outside, in case you were wondering. At present, she has only decorated one shoe - I'm not sure if she plans to do the second one or not. Me, I think it would be kind of cool to have one covered in beads and one plain.

This incredible free form style necklace was made by Sue Dolynskyj. I love the ways the colours swirl and merge together. Somehow it makes me think of waves crashing over rocks and the way the water foams around the rocks as the wave pulls back. But that's free form for you, it's sort like ink blots. It's such a skill to create a design like this, if you ask me, not everyone can do it. Some of us are just a little too set in our ways and need a little order, some sort of structure. I apologize for the poor quality of the picture on the right (bad composition, poor lighting), but I really wanted to show the back of this necklace where Sue used the copper pipe piece because I thought that was well done too.

Sue also had a very clever explanation for what she did with the piece of paper we were required to use in the challenge - I'll let you read that for yourself (if you click on the picture, it will open in a separate window and you can read it more easily):

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Madness

As you may know, today is the start of four days of back-to-back college basketball games, as the annual NCAA playoffs get under way. 65 teams start the competition and by the end of this weekend, they will have eliminated 29 of them, leaving the "Sweet Sixteen" to fight it out next week to reveal the Elite Eight and ultimately, the Final Four.

I was amused to see that a bookstore on Queen Street West had this clever display in their front window. I even went in to ask how their chart works, as I thought maybe they were going to track sales of the various books listed on the chart during the tournament, but apparently it's just for show. The owner admitted he was quite surprised at the number of people who had come in to ask about the display.

I don't follow basketball and I certainly don't know anything about the U.S. college teams but it is a big deal for our friends south of the border. Intensive TV coverage, lots of betting going on, that sort of thing. Here's a fun fact: did you know that there are 50% more vasectomies scheduled for this week than any other week of the year? (no, I am not making this up!) Presumably, it's a good excuse for the guys in question to spend the next four days lying on the couch watching basketball while they recuperate.
I have often wondered if the phrase "March madness" (a registered trademark of the NCAA) has any connection to the expression, "mad as a March hare". Of course, many of us are familiar with the March Hare as one of the characters in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." What you may not know is that the expression in question originated in England and is used to describe the unusual antics of said rabbit this time of year. According to the Wikipedia explanation, "a long-held view is that the hare will behave strangely and excitedly throughout its breeding season, which in Europe is the month of March (but which in fact extends over several months beyond March). This odd behaviour includes: boxing at other hares, jumping vertically for seemingly no reason and generally displaying abnormal behaviour."

Hmm, abnormal behavior and vertical jumping - perhaps there is a connection after all? :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Many thanks to Roni at Ink Stains for this sweet vintage image. If you'd like to see more, check out her blog posting from March 14th, which you will find here:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bag of Beads Reveal - Part 3

Alternate Title: A Few Masterpieces and One Epic Fail.

As promised, here are pictures of some of my favourite creations from the 2010 Bag of Beads project. There are hopefully more to come but I wanted to get permission from the individual artists first and that it taking longer than I had hoped. But never mind, these ones will make a great start!

First up, we have a mobile made by Jo-Ann Wolverton. I thought it was extremely clever of her to make a stand out of copper piping, to go with the little piece of copper piping that came in the kit. I was also interested to hear that she discovered online that it takes mathematical formulas to get a mobile to balance properly and she went to the trouble to do the math to make this one hang just right - very impressive!

Next is a chunky charm bracelet made by Caroline Andrews which shows off her metalworking skills ( I really like the resin charms that Caroline made, and we all had a good laugh when she described how she was able to use the paper and some of the more challenging beads in the kit by putting them into a resin piece. She also advised that this project required her to learn how to use a pipe cutter, a jeweller's saw and a drill. I'm sure she'll find those tools very useful in the future!

This fun piece is made by Sharon Cozens, who tells me it is based on Jeanette Shanigan's "Beaded Doll Pin" design. One thing that Sharon said at the meeting when describing her piece has really stayed with me. She talked about how as beaders, sometimes we try to force the beads when we have a certain design or idea in mind but what we really need to do is listen to the beads and let them do what they want. In the end, the design tends to benefit from that flexibility, the willingness to go with the flow. So true!

Finally, we have what The Dixon Chick called "Epic Fail". She told us that she called it that because the ideas she had for the materials provided didn't work out. I myself do not think this was a total fail. Firstly, I admire Stephanie because I know she is not fond of seed beads and yet signed up for the Bag of Beads Challenge anyway, knowing that at least 80% of it would be made up of the little critters. She should be applauded just for taking part, as there are many TBS members who do not and there are many who buy a kit but don't bring a finished piece to the March meeting to share with the group, so Stephanie should get kudos for that as well. Also, you will notice that her piece is a beautiful painted base on top of which she attached the paper and then attempted to glue the seed beads on in a mosaic pattern. It's an admirable idea, it is just unfortunate that the paper in question was rather odd in that it didn't take to glue very well (it worked okay for me but my sister pointed out that that was probably because I glued it to other paper!) Several people who tried to glue it to various other materials also did not have any success. Best of all, I think Stephanie deserves special mention for being brave enough to show us something that she felt was a failure. Most of us would probably have just left the piece at home and come to the meeting with the excuse that "it just didn't work out" or make up a little white lie like "oops! I left it at home by mistake!" (or would that just be me?). It takes courage to share imperfect results, although I like to think it was partly because she also knew it would be safe to do so with the group of beaders that make up the Toronto Bead Society, who are a very kind and understanding bunch who no doubt have been there, done that themselves and who would never condemn her for at least trying.

Kudos to Jo-Ann, Caroline, Sharon and Stephanie for their creations. Stay tuned for more designs from other talented TBS members in upcoming posts.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Ides of March

On this day 2054 years ago, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate.

I am quoting Wikipedia here when I tell you, "According to Plutarch, Caesar was warned by a seer to be on his guard against a great peril on the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey (where he would be assassinated), Caesar saw the seer and joked "Well, the Ides of March have come," to which the seer replied "Ay, they have come, but they are not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned to "beware the Ides of March."

So far, although the day is not yet over, I have had no reason to beware this day. In fact, although I have heard others speak of having seen robins already, I was pleased to see my first red-winged blackbird, which is said to be another sign of spring for those of us in the North who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of that season. The forecast for this week is for temperatures in the mid-teens, which a full 10 degrees warmer than usual this time of year. If this is global warming, I'm all in favour!

In my family, this date is memorable for a totally different reason, because it is my brother Craig's birthday. In honour of the occasion, I thought I share with you this photo of he and I together, circa December 1963. It's one of my favourite pictures because I always laugh when I see his tongue sticking out. It looks like I pushed on his stomach and that's what happened, doesn't it?? I love it! Happy Birthday, bro!

(and no making fun of my bangs, I was young and at the mercy of my mother and her scissors! and yes, his hair still sticks up like that sometimes!!)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Toronto the Clean

Toronto has a reputation for being a very clean metropolis and I am proud to show the proof. Yesterday morning, just before 10 a.m., I took this photo on Queen Street West:

The area in front of these two phone booths (an antiquated mechanical relic people used to use to make phone calls when they were away from home back in the olden days before cellular technology was invented) was littered with a large, soggy mess of paper.

When I came back around 4 p.m., I was surprised to find the area spotlessly clean:
Still soggy and wet but definitely clean!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Queen Street West

The forecast I heard this morning said "just a few showers, nothing to really worry about, although it will be quite windy, with gusts up to 50 km". HA! They certainly got the wind part right but what they should have said was, a steady rain starting around 9:30 am and lasting all day, seemingly torrential towards late afternoon. And they should have mentioned that this kind of weather can be death to umbrellas. Never have I seen so many discarded umbrellas in only a few blocks! Here's the photographic proof:

Nevertheless, I had a lovely day exploring Queen Street West with two new friends, Diane and Lorraine. I have been taking an online class with these ladies and we decided to meet today to show each other what we have made from class and visit some of the stores in this area. We started at Mokuba, a ribbon store, then sat in Second Cup having a coffee/hot chocolate for quite a while getting to know each other and taking a look at what each had brought. Then we headed back out into the rain to hit Arton, a bead store of which I have heard much these past few years but had never visited, followed by a couple of sewing supply stores. Hopped in the car to head a little farther west to The Paper Place, followed by lunch at Terroni then a fun little store called The Tin Taj filled with all sorts of colourful gifty items and one last stop at a trendy spice store (where we saw the author John Saul!) and then it was time to go home.

It didn't matter that it was raining, there was still colour everywhere we looked:

Here we are, about to eat a delicious lunch - that's Lorraine on the left, Diane in the middle and yours truly.

Thanks for a lovely day, ladies, in spite of the weather!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bag of Beads Reveal - Part 2

I have a lovely mosaic put together showing several of the creations made by some of my fellow Toronto Bead Society artists and it occurred to me that I should probably get permission from the individuals before I post photos of their work. Just in case anyone has a problem with the idea, I don't want to step on any toes. We did ask at the meeting the other night if anyone had a problem with photos being taken but I didn't specifically speak to most of the people whose work I admired about posting it on my blog at the time (wasn't thinking, too overwhelmed by the amazing work!). I'd also like to be able to share detailed descriptions of some of the designs with you over the next few days, so I thought it best to get permission where I can.

In the meantime, I shall share pictures of my own piece, which I call The Book of Love. First I made a bead embroidery piece that is the size of playing card (more about the rationale behind that part of it in a later post).

Because one of the challenge items was a piece of paper, I had the idea that I would make a little book and put the embroidered piece on the cover, using the paper as a frame. I had just taken a course at the scrapbooking store called Bizzy B about how to make several types of miniature books back in January, taught by Marissa Decepida-Wong, and I used one of the designs I learned in that class to make this book.

Remember that large amethyst bead and the copper pipe end that had been included in the challenge? I tied them to ribbons and dangled them from the book, after hammering a hole in the copper piece with a hammer and nail. It was fun to hear various members describe what they had done to incorporate this piece - some had bought new tools (like a pipe cutter), some had asked a friend to cut it for them, some already had tools and happily hammered it, coloured it, stomped on it and/or cut it apart.

The pages of my book are folded in such a way that they fold out in a little design when you hold the front and back cover together, although it works easier if the covers sit flush together, which these don't because the beaded piece on the front is a bit bulky. But that's okay.

I decorated the pages with various bits and pieces that relate to the theme of love, which I chose because I was working on the project in February and Valentine's Day was approaching and one thing led to another. I also used ideas gleaned from Mary Ann Moss's Remains of the Day scrappy journal class, such as using a piece of music to line one page and sewing on certain bits of paper, although in the end, I glued most of them since I didn't start decorating the pages until after I had glued them together. Next time, I might change up the order of that process to make it a little easier to work with!

I'm really pleased with the way my little book turned out and have a few ideas in mind to make some more!