Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

May your days be merry and bright!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cheating the Recipe ... and Winning!

I'm very lucky that I've 'bastardized' these recipes and had some reasonable success.  It's all about trial and error sometimes.  It's more fun that way.  Come check out the latest concoctions!

I had originally found this recipe on the back of the of a bulk box of Sour Patch Zombies when I bought them for Halloween.  The recipe is incredibly simple, but patience is needed when you're moulding your little dumplings ... or whatever you'd like to do.  I've scanned the clipping for the original recipe, called 'Monster Toes'.

Late Night Shortbread

So, I couldn't sleep last night with all the excitement and nerves of my BMT Youth Troupe classes performing after ten weeks.  The Theatre Tech class is having a bake sale to support the upcoming youth troupe production of Disney's Camp Rock: The Musical, and just so happens my work friend LA had let me borrow all sorts of fun baking stuff - including a guitar-shaped cookie cutter.

So, what's a girl to do when she can't sleep?  Fish out the secret family shortbread recipe and try it out for the first time.  I'd like to tell everyone at this point it was about three in the morning when I decided this.

Again, forgive the picture, it's from my iTouch.

No, I'm not giving you the recipe.  It's a family secret.  What you do see sprinkled on top are crushed rainbow candy canes, because who doesn't like candy with their shortbread?

The performances went very well, and the cookies sold out rather quickly.  Not bad for the first batch ever.  In life.  Mum, aren't you proud of me?

I'm going to bed now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Quickest Way To Santa's Heart - Christmas Baking!

I loved giving and receiving baked goods for the holidays.  Knowing the person took time to make it with love, and you're anything like me, you want to get every detail right in presentation.  Experimentation is always fun, too, adding different ingredients and having a little fun with different recipes.

I've been posting photos on Facebook of the stuff right out of the oven with my iTouch, with some fantastic feedback and demands for recipes.  So, I relent.  Here they are - and the best part is that you can probably mess with 'em a little yourself!

:: Banana Apple Cinnamon Tannenbaum Cakes ::

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A good idea for those extra beads ...

After a while of actually having this up on my wall, it had suddenly hit me that I haven't shared this beautiful piece of art all of you.

My craftie-bestie Karen - responsible for a certain green dress - took a dive into my destash bead collection with a very ingenious idea.  The result was this beautiful surprise she made for me.

Karen had mounted this beautiful spring day bead picture on layers of recycled cardboard.  She used a paint with a really nice lacquer finish that complements the sheen of the beads oh-so-beautifully.  I think this whole project started off when she saw a collection of acrylic rose beads in the destash pile, she had asked at the time if I was doing anything with them.

I'm currently cleaning up the workspace/dining room right now to make my supplies less conspicuous, so it's in a safe place with no risk of damage.  I'll be finding a new place to hang it with love.  :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crystal Lori Boyd: (Paint) Splatter Analyst

I've got a good friend I want you to meet.  She does wonders with the unexpected.

Please meet my friend Crystal Lori Boyd, an artist here in Brampton, Ontario.  I'd like to call her an 'extreme fingerpainter', but I'm worried it doesn't speak of the maturity in her art.  Crystal is what we'd like to call 'green-conscious', using recycled and reused materials in her art.  Most of her canvases consist of cabinet doors, countertops, wood planks, tiles and probably lots more I can't think of but she's used.  She also likes to 'texturize' her paintings by including crumpled materials drenched in paint and moulded much like the splatters on the canvas - her favourite lately being party streamers.  It makes for an incredible effect that adds wondrous depth and dimension.

She confesses that she doesn't use paintbrushes very often, but does most of her creations in paint with her hands.  Crystal had done an interactive art show for Synergy's Grand Opening at the end of the summer, and I'm a fool for not getting any pictures - I had sworn there were some!  Covered in paint up to her forearms and all over her legs, she had produced some beautiful paint in front of a wonderstruck audience.  Here are pictures of some of the finished pieces she had brought with her and completed at the event.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Halloween, Indy Fans!

(EGADS!  This didn't publish!  Damned this Auto-Publish option ...)

It's a great time of year when it comes to being anything you want for one day a year.  This year, I was a zombie at Toronto's Zombie Walk, with a few souveniers to remember the day.   The work-safe costume was the ever-popular Indiana Jones, this time with my official Indiana Jones plush whip that plays the theme song from a button on the handle.

Yup, I'm a geek.  More appropriately, fangirl.  Lemme show you my bunch of official Indiana Jones merchandise gifted and collected over the years.

:: Indiana Jones plush whip - press the button on the handle to play whip cracking sounds and Indy theme :: "Idaho Spuds" Mr. Potato Head, complete with golden idol, bullwhip and theme-playing fedora :: Remote control Giant Ant with Crystal Skull controls, from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ::

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Movie Star Boots!

If I didn't want to get paid for my second day of extra actor work on the set of the Total Recall remake, I'd just take these home.

:: suede leather boots with chain detail, BG Max Azria, Pinewood Studios Wardrobe Dept. ::

I was offered these boots to wear after my own boots suffered water damage on set and started to fall apart.  I was so in love with these boots, it was very tempting.  I've been scouring around the internet since for affordable options ... meaning under $50.  I'm very picky about my shoes, though.  Here's what I like so far:

:: Alice + Olivia for Payless :: Rocket Dog Chain Gang Boot :: Twiggy London for HSN ::

Seen any cute boots around yourself?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New blog 'everything'.

So, you'll notice some changes around here since you may have been here last.  Lemme help you out.

The top row of buttons will lead you to the 'meat n' potatoes' of the blog.
  • Home speaks for itself.
  • About will have a little 'hello!' from me sooner or later.  (I hate typing those things, but I'll get it done.)
  • Press are mentions from fellow bloggers and other media mentions about my work here.
  • Jewellery is everything I've made personally.
  • will lead you to every post, including my written portfolio on the pieces I've made with their products.  You can find my Portfolio by pressing the button on the left column under 'Jewellery Portfolios'.
  • Bead Soup will lead you to every post about the Bead Soup Blog Party pieces and the creative process.  You can see the entire portfolio, the button just below the button.
  • High Fashion is my guilty pleasure of well-made, expensive clothes and couture, with a few other nice surprises thrown in.
  • Gonna Wear ... is right outta my closet as I make the most of what I have.
  • Photography will lead you not only to my own work but to the work of friends and colleagues in the art.  Portfolios coming soon.
  • Crafty! is the miscellaneous stuff I like to do with my hands and anything else that might be inspiring, whimsical or compelling.
I'll be adding a few more features, but keeping it simple.  I'll have a few more portfolios up, a new button or two to grab for your own blog, let's see what happens.  I know I get dizzy looking at a flash-crazed website.  Let me know how you like it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FanBoy, FanGirl ... FanDog?

If you've been strolling Facebook lately, you may have seen this photo.  Fanboys and girls with pets, beware!

The ATAT Puppy.  Oh yeah.

I gotta admit that the 'fangirl' side goes a little crazy over stuff like this.  I was raised on Star Wars and wanted to be Indiana Jones when I grew up.   My boyfriend and I have action figures and comic books galore between the two of us, and we keep collection on occasion when a really awesome find comes our way.

This one is pretty awesome, but I'm not too sure it'll go over well with our toy-breed chihuahua, Shiva.  Besides, I'm not entirely sure we can get something that small.  And Shiva's a "chewer".

How 'bout your pets?  Do they have costumes planned, or are they just gonna chew it up on you? 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"You're in my light, Sticks."

:: knock-off Chanel black sunglasses, discount store purchase :: navy blue H&M knit shirtdress, thrifted :: black tie belt from my kimono nightgown :: black-and-white animal print flats with espadrille detail, Stitches Outlet :: chunky black statement necklace, Claires :: Frederick Harris Music Company canvas bag full of doggy stuff for the walk ::

I like a lot of my clothes, so I'm gonna blog about some of the cool and versatile stuff in my closet over the next little while.  I've been complimented many times for looking so 'put together', and I consider what I put together.  If you're gonna ask me what the style is, you're gonna pidgeon-hole me, but I try to put together an 'effortless cool' with a combination of draping and slim fits, depending on how I feel that day.  This day was the last day of what I could take advantage of acceptable short skirt weather.

I snagged this amazing H&M knit shirtdress from my local Value Village a little while ago and had always worn it 'safe' with pants or tights underneath.  Today marks the first day I've actually worn it as a dress - but I still put shorts on underneath, just because I'm modest.

I love the 'spoken rules' of colour coordination - no red-pink, no black-blue or black-brown.  Bah.  The navy blue in the shirtdress is dark enough to throw a few black touches in.  The chunky black necklace is a puzzle of chunks and slivers of rounded plastic tubes.  It's very eclectic-looking.  The original tiebelt didn't come with the shirtdress when I bought it.  (How do I know?  There are small threaded loops on the waist.)  I snagged my tie from my kimono housecoat and it turned out perfectly.  I threw on some comfortable, yet eye-catching flats with an animal print.  Not bad.

We're on our way out with Shiva to meet our friend, Dave, to talk about the new short film he's finished shooting and getting Nick involved in the scoring process.  It's a great opportunity for him to get into a new realm with his music!  Dave's also a good friend of the family - he's lived across the street from me since high school! 

Destination - Dairy Queen just down the street on a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend.  Strap up the puppy and head out for a Blizzard and conversation!  It's great to have the time to catch up with friends and hear about their latest projects and what's keeping them busy.  Dave's got lots more coming up - he's a man full of great ideas.  Hopefully we'll get a chance to work with him in future productions!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're heading to Mum's for turkey on Thanksgiving Monday, and I know it'll be a good one.  We always have a good time at Mum's, and Shiva always does, too.  Running around with two chocolate labs can tire out a chihuahua pretty quickly.  Mum and I pour out the family tree stuff to figure out the pieces, which has been our personal project for the last little while.  Nick and Bill head to the basement or to the garage to go through the multitude of tools they're looking to unload - Nick's only happy to oblige.  There's always conversation over after-dinner drinks after all the relatives leave, and the dogs tire themselves out from chasing each other, sprawled over the living room rug looking exhausted, but content.  So, as I look forward to a lovely day with Mum's amazing cooking (I can't wait for those brussell sprouts!), I consider the impending holiday and what it represents.

Every holiday that comes around, we're reminded that we should be celebrating the sentiment everyday.  Thanksgiving is no different, when we consider at times how fortunate we are in hard times nowadays.  We have friends and family who sacrifice when we come to call, we have the basic necessities of life to keep us through another day, and we have the freedom to pursue what we please to the ends of a better society and self.  Although at times financial and emotional burdens make our hearts heavier with dread and worry, I remind myself of recent times that make me thankful for what I have today.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


:: My favourite brown wool fedora, vintage store purchase :: 'Blues Brothers' Ray Bans knock-offs, bought during a trip to my parents in Neustadt :: 'Brownie' striped tee, American Eagle :: Key to My Heart earrings, made by me ( Design Partner Portfolio) ::

Harumph ... well, hello everybody.  It's been a while, but there's been progress!  Nick and I have been rather busy living the 'starving artist' life while trying to enjoy the finer things.  Well ... trying is the operating word here.  We're fortunate to be doing what we love, where we feel we make the most impact, where we are the most productive.  Teaching theatre has been rather enlightening and humbling (more on that in The Pursuit), and it's sucking the energy out of me to create anything in the realms of accessories or jewelry.  Not to mention the crestfallen heaviness of closing shop on Etsy.  Oh, crap.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's not you, Etsy, it's me. I just need some space.

I don't know how else to start this without just saying it:  I'm breaking up with you.  I'm sorry.  And it's not you, I swear, it's me.  Give me a chance to explain before you rip this apart.

Sometimes, there are things that are beyond your control, and in this instance, it's an outside influence.  I've lost four packages in the last month, and my soul just can't stand any more unhappiness and disappointment.  You see, C.P. seems to stand in our way.  He's what keeps us together, you see.  But, when he disappears in the middle of the summer, only to come back unreliable and untrustworthy over a month later has put a wedge between us, because without C.P., I can't fulfill your needs.  How sad, that someone with so much responsibility to so many people, the lifeline to so much progress can siphon the love of creativity out of so many passionate people like us?  What are we to do?

Well, I need to think about us, which means we're not going to see each other for a while.  Don't get me wrong - I'll stop by and say hello, see how you're doing, see what's new and all.  I mean, we have a lot of mutual friends, and we run in a lot of the same circles.  So, we're bound to run into each other!  The last thing I want to do is make anything weird, y'know.  I still care about you quite a bit.  Like I said, I just need to 'gather the troops' and figure out what's next for us.

Keep on doin' what you're doin', don't change a thing.  We can still be friends, right?

Monday, June 27, 2011

UPDATE: Canada Post on Strike ... No Longer?

From where I'm standing in all this, a happy Canuck this does not make me.

Unfortunately, Canada Post has decided to change their 'rolling strike' schedule into a full lockout nationwide, meaning that there is absolutely no mail being received or delivered in Canada, save necessary social assistance cheques and the like.  That leaves me between a rock and a hard place, and I'll be temporarily suspending deliveries for the time being from my Etsy shopBoooooooooooooo.

I'm a one-woman machine when it comes to my tiny little corner of the vast interweb universe.  I create jewelry for a labour of love and that extra spike in the grocery money.  I love the stuff that I make, and have a hard time letting it go when it comes to listing it for sale.  I appreciate every single person that views my shop, every single dollar that's sent my way, every single piece of feedback I receive.  It's what helps an artist understand her work better and improve herself.  It's a tiny, but noble, operation.  It's unfortunate that an important part of my operation to help my little business possibly expand has been temporarily cut off.  I'm researching affordable courier options with the hopes of continuing "business as usual."

In the meantime, if you've got your eye on something in the shop but are deterred by this strike and the wait, may I offer something to help sweeten the deal - enter discount code POSTALSTRIKE at checkout and save 30% on your purchase* in my Etsy shop, because you're awesome for patiently waiting.  (*This discount can't be used in combination with other promotions available in the shop.)

The federal government is trying to pass a bill to get Canada Post back up and running for the economy's sake, so hopefully this won't last too long.  I'll keep you updated!

In the meantime, if you have recommendations for an affordable courier service you've had a great experience with, I'd love to know! :)

UPDATE, June 27:  After a 58-hour 'filibuster' in the House of Commons, Canadian government passed legislation ordering Canada Post back to work, days before Parliament was scheduled to close for a week for summer holidays.  Canada Post isn't happy about the outcome, with lowered wages and other benefits shortened, and the NDP were adamant about stalling the bill to fight for the union.  They promise that they will not take out their bitterness on the citizens, but they weren't happy about the situation in the first place when they found themselves locked out.  They were even less happy about it when the government intervened on union issues.  I think this may be one of the only times I may agree with our Conservative government in regards to Bill 53-26.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been lost in revenue in our country while the lockout took place from small businesses who depend on Canada Post to get their product internationally, especially those like most of you reading this.  The debates about the necessity of the postal service due to the lack of carrier mail - blaming email for this - seem to be asking the wrong people.  Every time I go to the post office I am standing in a rather long lineup, no matter what time of day or what day of week I'm there.  I'm very disappointed in the NDP, as well, claiming to be a 'party for the people' while those who depend on this service to help run their own businesses suffered tremendous losses, some who may never recover.  I'm lucky that my Etsy shop is not counted as my primary income. 

So, here's what they're saying: the letter-sorting from the backlog should resume on Monday, with deliveries to begin Tuesday.  Some of your packages might be in this melee, I might be able to find that out once post offices are open again on Tuesday.  July 1st is Canada Day, a national holiday for banks and post offices and all that government jazz - the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will in Ottawa! - so I may hold off packages yet to be delivered until the Monday following.  In the meantime, take advantage of the 30% discount with the promo code POSTALSTRIKE for your patience - the details are above!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"What's Old is New Again" With!

You see, it's projects like these that make me think and I share a brain.  Our latest assignment is to transform vintage jewelry and components into modern works of wearable art - that's one of my favouritest things to do!  I love to visit local thrift stores and pick up jewelry with interesting character and butcher it apart when I get home, transforming something someone got tired of into a new favourite.  Not everything I end up snagging at these stores are 'vintage' and 'antique' by definition, but they tend to carry a worldly or rustic attribute that attracts me.  Not only are you being 'thrifty' in fashion, you're buying something with a history, as supposed to just getting onto the racks from the factories.  It was owned and loved by someone who had great memories attached to this piece, whose family photo albums probably have a few images of that particular piece you just bought at your local thrift store.  Now, you'll carry on those happy memories into your own, however you reshape them.  Why not reshape the piece?

So, I went rummaging through a few places to come up with everything that I had 'antique'.  Even after taking these photos I managed to find even more stashes of vintage and repurposed components that were making me giddy.  It was getting to a point of madness where I couldn't focus - and decided on a select few that I would focus on.  I even tried to map them together in a way, and I was pretty close to sticking to it ... well, kind of.  I really enjoy the eclectic madness of steampunk fashion, blending industrial and organic elements together with a "storybook" mystique.  These pieces are what I'd call "rusted romance", with telling stories unique to each wearer.  Here's a list of repurposed and vintage components you'll see in these pieces:
  • Mixed metal links in gold-, silver- and red copper-plated finishes with riveted detail from a thrifted pair of earrings.
  • Vintage beads with a iridescent gold finish, thrifted from a gifted necklace, circa 1970s.
  • Vintage gold Love pendant, gifted by a family member, circa 1980s.
  • Components from a vintage bracelet (of the costume jewelry variety), featuring a blue and white striped glass cabochon set in a silver-plated pewter frame.
  • Repurposed sew-on appliques of 'metal' plates from a vintage tunic blouse, circa 1980s.
  • Gold-plated authentic vintage Chanel charm, the last of the 'garage sale stash'.
  • A few vintage and antique earrings that had lost their mates (some only had components 'borrowed' from them).
  • A few of my favourite vintage charms and pendants from my personal collection.
Let's take a look!
    click photos to enlarge

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    BOGO Sale at Design by Cassandra on Etsy!

    Who doesn't love a good sale, especially now that you have all that room from spring cleaning? :)

    I've got a fantastic section full of clearance stuff, nothing more than $20, and here's the best part - you get something else outta that section for free at equal or lesser value!  Come check out the section and help me clear some space for more new designs - and looking stylish in the process!

    See something you like at regular price?  You can save 15% until the end of June with this promotion code!

    Happy shopping!

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Etsy Treasury: Sophisticated by exenia

    Thank you to the lovely exenia for featuring the Marina/Zen necklace, no. 4 in this beautiful Treasury!

    CLEARANCE 20X20 vintage bir...

    Vintage Style Bead Drop Dang...

    Custom made by Martinique Su...

    French Nougat - SAMPLER of 8...

    30% OFF - Creative Family Tr...

    1970s vintage pastel floral ...

    A Bee's Eye View by Eliz...

    Screwback robin egg blue gla...

    Field of flowers - Print fro...

    B O G O / S A L E - Marina/Z...

    the ether twins - ever preci...


    Amber, Turquoise Magnesite a...

    Pocket Mirror - Vintage Bird...

    Dark Gold Velvet Fabric

    Lemons, Mushrooms, and Bok C...

    Etsy Treasury: Just Keep Swimming by koothoot

    Thanks to koothoot for including the Bondi Beach necklace in this lovely Treasury!

    calico goldfish orginal pain...

    Save A Life - 8x12 Signed Fi...

    SEAHORSE Art - Giclee Fine...

    SALE 15%. The Original 5in ...

    Vintage 1970s Yellow Butterf...

    Turkish Bath Towel - Cotton ...

    Underwater Nebula

    Vintage 1950s Lemon Chiffon ...

    Fish Sculpture Ribbon Hair C...

    Marine Green Brass Octopus

    surfboard in LBI 8x12

    Angler earrings. Fun vintage...

    Mako shark tooth charm, pend...

    B O G O / S A L E - Bondi Be...

    Blue Goggles

    Bomboro Tote
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