Monday, August 31, 2009

Etsy Monday! Issue #4

Welcome to yet another edition of your Etsy Monday!

Artisans who are dedicated to their craft show it in their work.  Whether it's through natural talent or years of training, there is always the original spark that speaks to us, that drives us to create.  Regardless of the outcome, our dedication to what we enjoy creating speaks through what we make, which what makes handcrafted and original pieces, like these three artists below, treasured above all other possessions.  Something that's meant for you, something only you have in the world.

Please give a warm welcome to this week's artists!
Jennifer Hallsey is the mastermind behind Lee Ohio Designs, where she handcrafts each of her beautiful luxe collection of jewelry in her Gulf Coast studio with only the finest stones I think I've ever seen used in handmade accessories.  In her pieces, she succeeds at "playing with the juxtaposition of dramatic color and exquisite texture."  Jennifer was born and raised in Maine, where she draws a lot of her influence from in her 'earthy' and 'humble' designs.  She has attended and graduated from such prestigious post-secondary institutions such as Georgia's Savannah College of Art and Design, Ecole des Artes in Lacoste, France, and College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbour, Maine.  She has studied in the fields of art history and paint and has received her Master's in Philosophy.  On top of all that, she has made some of the most beautiful jewelry I've ever seen.  Jennifer's Etsy shop showcases her 'Petite Luxe' line, while her website features her heirloom and seasonal collections.

Other shop news:  Jennifer's company supports ASPCA, an organization dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals with monthly donations from their sales!  Didn't I say that we artisans are charitable?

Latest tweet:  @LeeOhioDesigns Off to apply for the Peter Anderson Festival. It is in November, right here in Ocean Springs. Then to the grocery store & dry cleaners.

L'Arc-en-Ciel - Rainbow bracelet,

Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM 1973-2009

"New york, new york. Big city of dreams, but everything in new york aint always what it seems." [sic]

- Adam's last post on his Twitter page, three days before his body was found in his New York City apartment on August 28, 2009


I'm a Twitterbug, yes.  I'm chatting with a good friend I've made on the site from Boston, as she tells me she's packing for her trip to New York City tomorrow.  As I yearn to return to 'The Big Apple' and tell her my jealousy, joke about sneaking me into a bus carry-on, and Photoshop me into her pictures, the next tweet I read from Perez Hilton stopped the banter quite suddenly as I read that Adam Goldstein, better known to his fans as DJ AM, has died.

My God, is this truly a summer of death?

Not a week ago was he alive and vivacious, hosting the 'Dharma Initiative Presents: Banana Splits Sundae' party in appreciation for Lost fans and to usher in its sixth and final season.  Partygoers that night didn't realize that show would be his curtain call.

September Make n' Tell Challenge from 'A Frayed Knot'!

Autumn Leaves, photograph by Cassandra Watsham

Posted by Laura on the A Frayed Knot blog, we have been invited to participate in the September Make 'n Tell Challenge!  Persistant to find ways to inspire her blogging and crafting, she has decided that she will make an item a day for the month of September and blog about the item that day.  It's a feat, and the best way to overcome that feat is through support, and I urge you all to join along!  I've posted the "rules" for the challenge below, or you can click here to read the full post.

Here are the rules, such as they are. If you don't follow them, we will all point and laugh (just like real Show'n'Tell). Seriously, these are the parameters I'm setting for myself. If something in these doesn't work for you, feel free to change it so it does. This is intended to help me focus and grow as an artisan, not be some kind of weird refuge for rule lawyers. Without further ado and in no particular order:

1. The Make can be in any medium, including but not limited to yarn, digital graphics, food, photography, drawing, painting, etc.

2. The Tell must include at least one photo.

3. The Tell must occur on the same day as the Make, unless the blogger gives previous notice (for example, I'll be on vacation with spotty internet access in the middle of September. I'll still Make on those days, but will have to post my Tells later. Before I leave, I'll post the exact days I'll be gone.)

4. The Make may be derivative but may not be wholly unoriginal. The best example of what I mean by this is with cooking. Today I made Indoor S'Mores. I followed the recipe exactly, with no deviation or modification. I would not count that as a Make. I would totally count it if I had, for instance, made little muffin cup portions instead of just throwing it in a pan as directed in the recipe. (Note to self: do that next time. Brilliant idea.) Generally, though, I want my Make to be even more original -- the idea, after all, is to stretch my creative wings.

5. There should be a Make'n'Tell every day of the month, except as noted in Rule 3.

6. The Make should be either a complete work OR consist of at least 30 minutes of work on an ongoing project. I do a lot of bigger projects, and I don't want to stop doing them, but I don't always have time or ability to do a big project in a single day. On the other hand, if I have a small project in mind and it only takes me 15 minutes to complete it, I'm okay with that. And some days I might only have time for that one little thing. So I think that should count, too.

7. The Make can be similar to a previously completed project. For instance, I've made several dresses for my daughter. I use an original pattern and modify it pretty much every time. Each instance of dressmaking would count as a Make. Similarly, every single Everlasting Bouquet I make is different and would count as a Make.

8. 30 Days Hath September Make'n'Tell will last for the 30 days of September, commencing on September 1 and closing on September 30.

Email Laura at with your interest to participate, and she will include a blog link to yours for the challenge.

Let's all support each other and have fun!  I can't wait to see what everyone makes!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Johnny Cupcakes: "Have you had your cupcake today?"

"I'd rather have a strong brand filled with knowledgeable customers who truly enjoy and appreciate what I've created instead of making a quick buck trying to get my shirts in chain stores across the world — being just another fad."
- Johnny Cupcakes
Johnny doesn't sell what you think he sells.  He's fooled many a' shopper who have come into his storefront shop on Newbury Street, Boston's "Rodeo Drive", the waft of vanilla as the door jingles and happy customers walk out with black bakery boxes emblazoning the name of the shop - Johnny Cupcakes - in white on the side, with the cupcake-and-crossbones logo.  I wouldn't blame these innocent victims, when you see the 1000 lbs dough mixer from the 1930s, a cast iron wood-burning oven from the 1890s, curved glass bakery cases, vintage refridgerators, stainless steel baking trays and hardwood floors.  But peer in a little bit closer into those appliances, and you'll find something much more lasting, satisfying and 'tastier' than a cupcake.

Johnny has started a multi-million-dollar business, keeping the quality of his products and the relationship with his customers first priority.  He's what some folks might call a "troublesome kid made good."  He's what everyone would call a "self-made man."  He's what us artisans, crafters and DIY people would call our dream job.  

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lost: 'Locke's Secret' Revealed!

To continue with the Ronie Midfew/Paul Scheer cooperative effort to bring Lost fans their due thanks,  another poster was revealed at another function for limited purchase ... unfortunately, at this time, is sold out.  With the subject matter, I can certainly see why!

Olly Moss for 'Locke's Secret'

Here's what the project is all about:
"In celebration of LOST's final season and as a project of fan appreciation, 16 top designers and artists, who are also fans of the show, were commissioned to create artwork celebrating one of the series' most memorable, and unforgettable, "water cooler" moments. This ultimate "fan art" was then turned into labor intensive, hand-pulled screen prints, limited to an edition of just 300, with less than 200 available to the public through our websites. Each beautiful poster tells its own different story, allowing the fan to relive memorable and influential moments in an artistic manner, as the show's storied run comes to a close. Once this limited edition print has sold out, they will never be printed again. Celebrate the fandom, community and family created by one of televisions' greatest shows by hanging a little part of it's history, inspiration and influence on your wall."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Late Night Friday Covets: Issue #4

Welcome to another edition of your Late Night Friday Covets!

I know as a musician, I can appreciate a well-written, catchy song.  When it comes on the radio while I'm in the car or vacuuming my bedroom, I'll crank it and sing along.  (Dancing sometimes does come into play, but not while driving - it's not safe!  A vacuum makes a much better dance partner than a telephone pole.)  The 'id' part of my musician, while singing along and rockin' out, as the kids say, wishes I wrote that song.  Well, it can happen for us artisans, too, don't it?  We see a fantastic piece that is incredibly thought-provoking, colours we didn't expect blending fluidly, shapes and lines in angles you didn't see the first time, or even ideas for 'upcycling' stuff like old jewelry, fabrics, household items and electronics, and more!  "Why didn't I think of that?  It looks so well-put-together!" I'd say to myself.

And I'm glad I didn't think of it first, because I like yours better.  Here's this week's wishlist!

Dragonfly Wing ring in 18 karat gold,

  Summer Leather obi corset belt in black and gold,

small tree earring display, 

Meditation #3

Art by San Yang (pen name for Zhang Xiuzhen)
Part of the artist's series "The Mighty Army General: Ancient Chinese Philosophy Wall Scrolls", this scroll entitled "The Mighty Family Man".  In this picture, a great military man, perhaps of the Shang dynasty (17th to 11th century BC) has returned from his place as a military commander to play an equally important role - husband to his wife, father to his son.  
"A child's life is like a piece of paper
in which every person leaves their mark."
- Ancient Chinese proverb

Thursday, August 27, 2009

High Fashion Thursday: Issue #2

I love dresses.  I have a collection of dresses in assortments of cuts, styles, fabrics and colours.  Some of them I haven't even worn yet, but there will be the occasion where I can say, "This is the perfect dress!"  For High Fashion Thursday this week, here are some hot picks from the hottest fashion runways for the perfect red carpet dress from the Fall/Winter 2009 season.

Designer: Matthew Williamson, Fall/Winter 2009 
Designer: Valentino, Fall/Winter 2009
Designer: John Galliano, Fall/Winter 2009

Designer: Lanvin, Fall/Winter 2009
Designer: Ralph Lauren, Fall/Winter 2009
Designer: Christian Lacroix, Fall/Winter 2009 (find the matching brooch in Issue #1!)
Designer: D Squared, Fall/Winter 2009
Designer: Michael Kors, Fall/Winter 2009
Jewel tones in the pink families are also popular, but I find muted tones, which are carrying over from spring's neutral tone trend, give much more opportunity to showcase a really unique accessory without overdoing your outfit.  Which one will you walk the red carpet on?  Check back every Thursday for more 'high fashion' finds!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, Issue #3: Dinosaurs


Dinosaurs at the Royal Ontario Museum!

Photography credit: Cassandra Watsham 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

BeadStyle Magazine Inspires The Spider Kiss necklace!

Just in time for Halloween!  I've made my first piece of the season, called The Spider Kiss necklace!  Check it out!

How cool is this!  I had picked up the September edition of BeadStyle Magazine, featuring a really interesting statement necklace that set my imagination free!  The big thing that had been on my mind was a creative block of Halloween ideas.  The design is referred to an 'origami bib', because if you make it right, you can fold it up!  The immediate idea that I had when I saw this was a spider web.  This is the first one that I've made above.  I have an idea for another web with small flies caught in it, and I have some gorgeous flattened round silver-plated beads that would make for glamorous spiders!  I also plan to try the pattern in different variations outside of the Halloween theme, using different beads and trying different patterns.

The issue has to be my favourite so far because of the different range of ideas an inspirations that are a little more 'forward thinking' than other issues.  They've featured some new, innovative designs in necklaces, especially a really interesting asymmetrical necklace I'll be trying very soon, as well!
Pick up your copy today!

Photography credit: Cassandra Watsham

Monday, August 24, 2009

Etsy Monday! Issue #3: Special Charity Edition

There's something to be said about handmade artisans and their charity. I think that comes directly from doing what you love. There are many Etsians out there like you who have made a special commemorative items to promote awareness, donated proceeds from the sales of your shops, creating fundraising drives, and probably a million other things Etsians have done to help those in need. I'd like to dedicate this Etsy Monday! to all the Etsians on this mission.

My boyfriend's grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It has been an enduring road for her, through chemotherapy trials, the numerous medications, and deteriorating physical condition. She has since recently had a masectomy, stating that she "didn't need them anymore, really. I've had all the children I can, and they can feed themselves!" Sharon kept her sense of humour all throughout her illness, and with her family by her side, she has had some excellent report. The chemotherapy sessions and a few medications weren't covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan, for those not familiar), and I offered 100% of the proceeds of my Etsy shop will go to help Sharon's medical expenses. We had also hosted a Beatles tribute night, with local talent performing their renditions of Beatles tunes. Nick, his sister Katee and I got up together and performed a set ourselves, and announced the fundraising effort on the shop. I had also donated pieces from my collection for the raffle, which were a great hit!

Please welcome Etsy Monday's charitable mentions!
Mikiye has got it cut out for herself. With celebrity clients like Kelly Osbourne, Paris Hilton, and Vanessa Williams, and with her work making appearances on hit television shows such as The O.C. and The Simple Life, her flower-inspired pieces, using only the finest materials from freshwater pearls to feathers, silk chiffon to Swarovski crystal, has made her a hit for weddings and other special occasions. She personally handcrafts every piece, and, like a true artist, learns more techniques through self-teaching hands-on experience. Between the childhood memories of her grandmother "always making something" and helping her in her beautiful rose garden, she took that love with her to San Francisco and Southern California, she was always known as 'the flower girl'. Whether she was wearing fresh flowers in her hair from a flower cart, or stopped in the street and asked, "Where did you get that lovely flower hairpin?", her love for all things blooming and handcrafted art was obvious.

Mikiye's mission: A fellow Etsian, Joyce Richards, has been diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer, which has now spread to her brain. Mikiye has created the Elegant Camille Flower hairpin, with 100% of the proceeds going to help Joyce with her medical expenses. A beautiful and classic design, the purchase of this hairpin will not only add a flare of originality to your accessory collection, but you can feel good wearing it, reminding yourself of the good deed you had done when you purchased it.

Latest tweet: @MikiyeCreations RT @tweetmeme Mikiye Creations: Elegant Camille Still open to purchase for Donation to Joyce Richards Fund

 Elegant Camille hairpin,

Hallowe'en DIY Ideas: Cartoon Heroines of the '80s

'Tis the season to be a fabulous cartoon babe! Well, at least in preparation for ...

The diehards, like myself, start thinking about their costumes about two weeks ago. My birthday is on October 25th, so my birthday party usually lands on the 'party weekend'!  I have a few ideas that are right up my DIY alley that are great for parties. Now, I shall warn you that I am a child of the 80s, and a lot of costumes I've recently come up with will certainly represent that. And, in true 'Cassandra' fashion, I always like to put a spin on things, and can always find inspirations, espiecally in 'fan art'. So, I strolled over to and found some spectacular pieces that will help the imagination go to some unexpected places with your own ideas. If you're into retro-fashion like me, you just may find an idea to really pull off a spectacular Hallowe'en costume. The best part - this ain't no prepackage deal, you pieced this together yourself!

Cheetara of the Thundercats
You may remember this feline badass from Saturday mornings with Lion-O and the gang protecting the last of the Thunderans when their home planet is destroyed, and fighting evil on a new planet they now call their home. Cheetara was my favourite character on this show because I thought she had some really cool hair. I've sported a platinum blond 'do before (take a look at the Led Zeppelin tribute performance videos!), and got some hair tips if I ever wanted to dare the 'leopard spot' look.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

MIAC/PAL 2009!

It's that time of year again! The MIAC and PAL trade shows at the International Centre, August 23rd and 24th! Everything you need to know about the latest technology in the music and pro-audio industry today. As my daily disguise as a sales associate as Long & McQuade Brampton, it's imperative for me to know about the latest news in the business. This year, MIAC is 130,000 square feet chocked full of "the latest guitars, basses, stringed, percussion and wind instruments, sheet music, and music publications" from "the most reputable manufacturers, distributors, and industry suppliers."

On the PAL side of things, they're brimming with "the latest technologies and emerging trends in professional audio, video and lighting equipment" to better suit fast-growing expectations of a demanding market.

With the declining market recently, MIAC/PAL wanted to focus on economic success when the market starts a rebound, and even tips on what a business can do to take advantage of the downturn. Numerous seminars and luncheon meetings were made available to industry workers and associates.

Nick, Graham and I made our visit, bumping into fellow co-workers, a few familiar (and famous!) faces, and walking out with some pretty cool swag! Take a look at some pictures below! I also have some videos of impromptu performances and jams, so I'll try to upload those later.

Indie Guitars booth

Hughes & Kettner Tristamp MK II amplifier head, Yorkville Sound booth

headstock of the Gibson Dark Fire, one of the year's sought-after guitars, Yorkville booth
some interesting guitar art featured at the MIAC show

the Yamaha booth

we found Athol Baker, fellow sales associate, Bass and Keyboards!

look who else we found! Ian Thornley!

Harpsicle Harps booth

Harpsicle Harps booth

Ibanez Steve Vai Jem guitar, Efkay booth

Ibanez Xiophos guitar, Efkay booth

L&M Brampton: the gang's all here! Davaki (Rentals dept.) and Charlie (store manager) ...

... and there's Graham and Ricky! (Electric Guitars dept.)

some more familiar faces! Glory St. Germain of Ultimate Music Theory
and Nikki Loney of The Full Voice Workbook Series! Read about their visit to our store!

Nick found ProMark's new drumstick line ...

... probably more suited for the 'big and tall' players, right, Athol?

Did anyone else get a chance to make it?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Meditation #2

Title page to Jonathan Swift's Works of 1735, showing Swift receiving the thanks of Ireland and the dashing of Wood's half-pence. The Latin inscription, from Horace, says, "I have made a monument more lasting than brass."

"A wise man should have money in his head,
but not in his heart."
- Jonathan Swift

Glory St. Germain: Ultimate Music Theory & Nikki Loney: The Full Voice!

We love guests at Long & McQuade Brampton. And I'd like to introduce you to two lovely ladies who blessed us with their presence and an informative and informational workshop to our local music teachers on Thursday, August 20th: Nikki Loney, co-author of the Full Voice Vocal Method, (left) and Glory St. Germain, author of the Ultimate Music Theory Method!

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