Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shawl Pins of Every Color

It's a dreary day and we're expecting a substantial rain storm. Just what we need. The last one took care of all the snow and caused some flooding .. this one will cause more washouts and flooding ... and such is life in Eastern Canada. I've been working on these shawl pins. I have three more in the early stages of felting and one on the bead board. They're fun but rather labor intensive. I've had rave reviews from anyone who's seen them but no sales as yet. However, there's only a couple on Etsy so far, and they've only been there a day. They have been getting a lot of views.

What I was going for here was abstract, which I think I nailed, organic in the fluid shapes as well as the sand dollar, again, if I haven't nailed it, I'm close. The beaded embellishments are for bling. To catch the eye, to balance the piece and because beads and wool complement each other. Each piece was a journey and so relaxing and inspiring. The colors are vivid, intentionally, as scarves or shawls tend toward natural, earthy tones. They have a large metal bar pin on the back which I have orientated to my vision of the pins, but which is purely subjective and can be worn any way you find it pleasing to your own eye. They are for sale now in my Etsy shop for $25 each. All proceeds toward a starving artist ... me. 
They would not likely be suitable for purse adornments, as the sand dollars are fragile and may break if accidentally bumped against a hard surface.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yukon Gossip

I spoke with my dearly beloved last night, by phone, at some length. It's really been the first decent conversation we've had since he left. He's generally pleased with his current situation, even tho the style of cooking is short order and not his favorite, or his forte'. He's been told this is his training period before "Tourist Season". Now, I swear on a stack of promises that I can't even imagine having a "Tourist Season" at a place halfway between Nowhere and Neverheardofit ... but apparently, they have been known to be damn busy at times. I'm still not clear as to when this starts, but I've been informed they are currently awaiting a guest from Belgium who was dropped off 100 km away and will be arriving on skis.  I have also learned all about ice fog ... which is a northern phenomenon. It's very cold and dry there, so where does the fog come from ... humans, animals (a large percentile from sled dogs) and vehicle exhaust, as well as any combustion due to heating, etc. Cool concept. I checked out YouTube and there are several videos there of this fog ... if you can tell the difference let me know. 

The Eagle Plains Hotel, I'm told, also has an unusual decor. Late 20th Century Taxidermy. Don says he always wants to duck when passing under the full sized, wing-spread eagle hanging from the ceiling in the bar area. The have a full sized caribou, a buffalo head, an Arctic fox, among many others. Sounds like a full time job keeping it vacuumed. As long a he is satisfied with where he is, I'm happy. My husband, the gypsy, had been getting restless. We'll see how he feels in six months from now. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Waiting for Email

I've been patient, waiting for an email from Don, but thus far, have received zip! This is frustrating, but expected. He never was good at that. No news will be assumed to be good news. Surely by now, his lost bag must have turned up. I haven't had any contact with him since Saturday so I can only sit and wonder. While I've been sitting and wondering, my hands have been busy felting. Here is one of my new designs. It's a large brooch, or shawl pin. I was going for abstract and organic .. which I think I've achieved by incorporating the sand dollar. The casings are bone color and not very pretty so I dyed them with vegetable dyes and let the colors run to get the effect I was looking for. Very artsy fartsy, but that's what I wanted with these. They will debut at a gathering in Dartmouth tomorrow afternoon, then, if there are any left, I'll post them on Etsy.

Close up or macro photography has been getting a bit more difficult as I've needed to get in closer and just can't hold the camera steady enough. I need a camera support, but a quick look at a few websites tells me there is no way I'm spending that kind of money for something so simple. Instead I fashioned one out of a 4 liter ice cream tub, and it works very well. It's a God awful looking thing, but who cares as long as it works.  

Now I have to run to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things to make appetizers for the party tomorrow. After some discussion with the hostess, I've decided on spicy little pinwheels made with tortillas, cream cheese, salsa, jack cheese, and a couple spices.  Hoping everyone has a great day.  

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tales From the Yukon

For all the trials and tribulations of the trip up to the Yukon, everything seems to have finally worked itself out. It's been a stressful time with missed flights and sketchy flight schedules, but Don finally arrived in Dawson City on Friday morning. He was exhausted but awestruck by the northern scenery. The mountains are beautiful and the world up there is white. There is wildlife everywhere, he said. Although he hasn't spotted any personally, he's seen large wolf tracks along the road and hopes not to meet the wolf who left them. The drive up the Dempster was long, rough and uneventful. He's been placed in a guest room at the hotel on a temporary basis as the plumbing in his staff room needs a bit of work and they are waiting for some waterline parts. He's very pleased with his new boss and the working conditions. The equipment in the galley is pretty good, and he was very pleased to find it well organized. He thinks he's going to be happy there, as soon as he's had time to learn where everything is located. He is still waiting for one of his bags to turn up. It got sent back to Vancouver so that has to be located and delivered. It was the bag with all his socks and underwear, so now he's barefoot and commando in the Arctic! Brrrrr!  

Don thought he'd sleep like the dead on his first night there, being so tired from the trip and the all night hangout in Tim Horton's in Whitehorse. Apparently, a guest arrived at the hotel at 2 AM or so, and parked his dog sled right outside the window. His dogs yowled and yipped all night and woke everyone up. I found this very funny. I guess life is completely different there. Our poor Daisy has been moping around looking for Don. She sits in the window for hours waiting for him. It breaks my heart to watch her. She doesn't understand why she couldn't go with him this time. The Arctic is no place for bare belly dogs who don't grow an undercoat. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Don's Arctic Adventure

Don had spent the night in Edmonton at a crummy hotel which was also expensive. There was a truck stop across the street, where he ordered the all day breakfast. He said if I'd have ever served him a plate of crap like that, he'd have thrown  it at me! Garbage ... $13 garbage. He spent the day at the West Edmonton Mall and found a place to get a decent, flavorful meal. Back to the airport at suppertime and caught his plane to Vancouver, where he changed flights and headed north to Whitehorse, not arriving there until 2 am. His plan to curl up on a bench and nap until his flight out in the morning was quashed by the fact that this airport doesn't remain open all night. Ever the resourceful one, he found a Tim Horton's and spent 4 hours there. I called the airport in Whitehorse that morning and left a message for him ... early. He said he walked past the counter four or five times until it was time to board. That was when he got the message to call me. I had been speaking to the lady in Eagle Plains and knew that his ride would be delayed in Dawson, so just wanted to let him know. He called me when he landed in Dawson, but the folks in Eagle Plains had left a message there, so he already knew that. He sounded tired, stressed and nearly at the end of his rope. One of his bags got sent back to Vancouver, for some unknown reason, so that will have to be collected from Dawson at a later date. I haven't heard from him since he got to his final destination, but I'm going to call there when I'm sure they're out of bed and see how he's feeling about the whole thing now. Poor Don. This trip was certainly an adventure. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You Can't Get There From Here

Yesterday was interesting, to say the least. We were up at 03:30 hrs as Don's plane was booked out of Halifax early in the morning. A look out the window revealed the horror of a blizzard, in full swing. There was close to a foot of snow on the ground and it was still coming down heavy. A check of the flight schedules told us that all flights out of here were either cancelled or delayed. For hours, we watched as his flight kept getting bumped back later and later in the morning. Several hours later it was apparent that we wouldn't get the car out of the driveway, so I had to call my plow man. Explaining that we were ready to bolt for the airport, as soon as his flight time was confirmed, the plow was here within the hour and took care of that problem. Finally, we left for the airport, and Don was able to get off the ground at 13:30hrs. 

The next problem was that he would miss all his connecting flights so I got on the internet and started trying to work that out. Guess what? You really can't get there from here. The problem lies on the leg between Whitehorse and Dawson. Air North only flies in there three times a week. Don is in the air headed for Calgary, and I can't get hold of him, so rather than make matters worse, I phoned the destination in the Yukon and explained what had happened. She said she would try to make the changes from her end. She called me back awhile later, about the same time the new flight tickets came in by email. Don will have to stay in Edmonton for two nights and catch the Air North flight to Whitehorse on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, he's stuck there for the weekend, as nothing goes to Dawson until Monday. I wasn't looking forward to telling him that, but I thought he'd call me when he landed in Edmonton last night. He didn't call, so I can only assume he called Eagle Plains instead and already knows. Or, he might have checked with Air North and got his new tickets. Or, he might have been so tired, he just got a room and I'll hear from him today. Or not ... who knows? As far as I know at this point, he's still in Edmonton with another whole day to kill. I'll keep you posted when I find him. 

It's a couple hours later now, and I just had a call from Don. He's spent the night in Edmonton and has  found a flight with Air Canada to Vancouver, where he can connect to another flight to Whitehorse. That will put him in the right spot to catch the Air North connection to Dawson tomorrow morning. From there, he just has to wait for a ride 400 kilometers to Eagle Plains. It's been a stressful struggle to get there, but I think it's going to work out after all. It's been expensive though ... as the flight to Vancouver fell on us, but hopefully, he will get that back. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Way Up North ....

Good morning folks. This is the last day my husband will be home for the next six months as he's taking off in the morning for a new job up north. He'll be working at the Eagle Plains Hotel in the Yukon. This truck stop, hotel, garage, fueling station, campground complex is located exactly halfway up the Dempster Highway between Dawson and Inuvik. It's about thirty miles south of the Arctic Circle. From what I've found on the internet, it's a fairly desolate place. This was a financial decision mostly, although he's been home for over a year now, and has been getting restless. 

As I mentioned previously, I've reactivated my Etsy account. I finished a designer necklace yesterday that I had intended for myself. Well, these things tend to evolve, so the finished product was a little over the top for me. I'm a plain and simple kinda gal. I've decided to sell it so put it in my Etsy store. The flower design for the pendant is a reinvention of the wheel, using 3mm cubes and 6/0 rocailles and I'm working on a pattern presentation for this. It will be traded to a beading supplier for a bit of a discount and some free advertising. I've discovered that it's a lot easier to create these things than draw up the directions to explain how I've done it. 

Aside from the pendant, I concentrated on beaded beads for the neckline. The tubes were easy as they're just peyote stitch , then zipped up the uneven edge. The large roundish beads were more of a challenge. Not that the design is difficult, but making it work with the bead sizes I had on hand took a bit of trial and error. The two large ones I came up with are just beautiful. This is a large piece, as the wire is 24" long and the flower is almost 2" in diameter. It's very pretty and makes a statement ... just doesn't suit me, or my wardrobe. Too fancy. 

I've decided to sell my Still Going Strong sculpture as well. Since I'm now working on another large piece, I need to clear up some space and learn to part with some of the work I love. I put so much of myself into each one, I dread having them go, but comfort myself with the thought that I could make another, should I so desire. However, I really never do, as the ideas in my head are endless and I tend to just move on to something else. I have the sculpture on Etsy as well, and here is one of the latest photos. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bits and Pieces

I haven't posted in a little while. Actually, I've been a bit laid up with a knee which refuses to work properly, so getting around has been awkward. I've managed to keep up with necessary chores, and have been working on some artwork, but as far as attending any social events, or having company, I just haven't been up to that. Don is home today and has offered to cook so I have time to catch up on some things computer related. I reactivated my Etsy account so you can have a look at some things I have for sale there.

A far as the artwork, I've been working on a larger sculpture but I'm still in the bits and pieces stage. The blue jay has a body and half a tail ... no wings as yet. Most of the larger feathers are going to be made individually. I have twenty beaded flowers made and I'm halfway through putting the yellow wool centers in those. I have the wires and the lights ready to go in them once I decide on the placement and have the base made. I'll need to make a template before I start drilling holes for the wires. I don't expect this will be finished any time soon. I've been photographing things like mad lately, mostly for the Etsy site. I need to take some new photos of some older things I haven't sold, so they can be posted there as well.  I'm also designing a new jewelry piece ... and it's based on the woven bead flower concept. About halfway through and that will be a necklace. I picked up a small project yesterday for someone in the city. They want a little vest for their hamster in Gay Pride colors (rainbow) that a small leash can be attached onto. Yes, folks, you heard it here first. Maybe not the silliest project I've ever attempted, but close ... however ... money is money and who am I to judge the artistic tastes of others? I am putting 100% of my creative talents into it and hopefully it will be done in a day or two. I think the whole point is to make it a conversational subject anyway so it will be rather fun. I have most of the details worked out and will crochet it out of embroidery floss. 

We're having a nice mild day here and the sky is sunny and blue. I'd just love to get out for a drive somewhere, but wouldn't you know it ... just when the weather gets nice the car has to go in the garage for some front end work. Expensive front end work from the sounds of it, but we need to have it done. It had been developing a noise and a vibration over the last few weeks. Hopefully we'll have it back by suppertime, but then we won't be able to afford to go anywhere! Sigh .... it never ends. Well, I better get back to the business of creating things as that mechanic's bill is going to hurt.