Friday, January 20, 2017

As we start this new year..

Happy 2017! think that my last blog update was in August of 2016 seems somewhat surreal.  Since then we've sold our beloved house in the middle of the "big stink" (as my 5 year old likes to call the downtown location of Toronto..) and moved our family and lives onto 40 glorious acres in the rolling hills and forests of Caledon.  It was a tremendous decision to leave the hustle and bustle of the big city permanently and move, a responsibility we didn't take lightly. In the end however the move to the country won over our hearts - with over 5kms of trails on the property and endless ways to occupy the curious mind of a 5 year old in the enchanted forest behind our home, this is the childhood we wanted our wee beans to have..the move back to the big city later on is a decision they could make when the time came.  Five Maples is still alive and well but the extra 25 minutes was a little too much longer for our daily commute to the city for here we barons of of room to roam and let the imagination run wild.  
We are loving the life we've created here, the view from every window more spectacular than the last.  I do miss the small conveniences of big city living of course - the quick jog to the store to grab a missing ingredient and my amazing neighbors after over a decade of living on the same street.  But good friends will always make the 40 minute drive to visit..and a walk-in pantry here ensures that I'm well stocked for any baking emergencies.  
Life is good.

The holidays were a whirlwind affair - with the extra space now to host and put up visiting guests, my family from BC made their very first Christmas visit east, a visit that brought all the love and warmth from our families and breathed new life into this new house.  
We are still getting to know each other, this house and us.  And the property itself too seems to whisper amongst the towering trees, curious to see who we are.  They are all used to the peaceful, sedate living of the older couple who were the previous replaced by the hoots and shouts from a rambunctious 5 year old, running along the trails chased by an excited Sachi.  

Despite my hopes to have the new studio up and running before the holidays, the shop has been slow to come together and finally this week with the little monster back in school, I've finally had a little me-time while the baby sleeps!  Beginnings are always slow, like having to train my hands and brain to work together again,  the solders a little clumsy at first and my hands a little sore the day after from reworking those muscles!  But alas, new pieces are slowing getting created..and in the next few days as more boxes get unpacked, I'm hoping to start etching and casting again.

A quick shout out to everyone who have been so incredibly patient while we packed up, moved and relocated!  There are some of you who have waited all these months for custom orders to begin again and there's nothing like the feeling of receiving emails within the hour after announcing the reopening of my studio and shop.  Totally humbled by your loyalty and love, the encouragement during the move, the little notes of "how's it going?" from all over the globe.  No only have I been blessed with such amazing clients but also so lucky to be able to call you dear friends.  
What an amazing way to start off this new year..can't wait to start working with you again!

Love from my new little studio in the rolling hills of Caledon,

xo Tina
Blue Gnome

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bees Knees

Nothing says summer like those lazy hazy afternoons, cool drink in hand listening to the humming of bees as they dance from flower to flower.  
As September quickly approaches and the cottage traffic slowly dies down, I thought I'd introduce a few late summer pieces in celebration of these amazing little creatures with a handful of vibrant turquoise beads, lilac hued amethyst shards and warm sunshine-hued baltic amber.  The focal point of these long dangly totems are a couple of etched bee wings, perfect for your summer loving soul.  

Available now in the shop.

xo BG


I love what I do.
I love being able to work with my hands and the process of designing something in my mind and making it a reality.  
I love that my pieces often travel to places I can only dream of one day visiting, that my creations will outlive me and hopefully be passed down lovingly from this generation to the next.  

Jewelry is something that holds such sentimental value for so many of us..a ring that a loved one wore seems to hold within the very composition of the metal an essence of that person..and as all organic things give off energies invisible to the human eye, they also have the capacity to absorb the energies of the wearer. Heavy energy has the potential to darken the vibrant hue of an amethyst..whereas energy filled with love and light can make a crystal emit a glow from within.

I've learned over the past few years that the best thing about what I do are the connections made through my jewelry. Despite the fact that running an online business will most likely mean that I will never meet my customers in person, the personal stories people share with me makes me feel like an intimate part of their lives; their failures and triumphs, regrets and losses, milestones and celebrations..these stories are what drives me to keep creating.

In this case, a beautiful story of love found and lost, kindred spirits beyond this realm. This lovely soul saved for over 2 months to have the funds to purchase a particular piece from me, something she felt represented the incredible journey of her love story. For this, I am touched beyond words. So as a small token of my gratitude..and to pay my final respects to "Charles", I've created a small gift for those times she's not wearing her special ring.

Thank you so very much Andrea for sharing your story with me.

Love and light,
xo Tina

Friday, April 15, 2016


As if to confirm our suspicion as being real estate-cursed, the deal we were so close to closing seems to have come to a disappointing halt.  In the end we walked away from it..a deal that started out full of limitless potential and excitement, only to be marred by mishap after mishap, misrepresentation and greed.  Although the property itself is still as lovely as ever, there comes a time when you simply can't shake the feeling that some things aren't meant to be.  After pondering the pros and cons and flip-flopping on the decision to move forward or to walk away, it was my love's comment that cemented the decision, 7 words that are not the norm for such a logical, rational man.  
"..My gut tells me to walk away.."  
And so we did.  
A lovely 30 acres that will make someone else a very happy home.
So now as we find ourselves back to square one..a familiar place I have to say, we're now concentrating on something that seemed to have taken second place to all the hustle and bustle we've been swimming in the last few weeks..arrival #2.  I remember noticing a drastic change in my furry girl's behavior during the last few days leading up to Leo's early arrival..the gentle goosing throughout the day, her insistence to have me in her sights at all times..never clingy, just watchful.  And as our walks slow down in pace thanks to my waddling these days, the goosing's started again as has the  somewhat spooky watching.  I suspect this baby will be making his / her arrival before the official due date..canine instincts are rarely wrong!  

Work in the shop has slowed considerably.  While the ideas in my head haven't stopped, my energy level these last couple of weeks have become noticeably limited.  Frustrating to say the least, the concept that my body simply cannot keep up with what I want to do is something I've been fortunate to say, is a foreign one.  
A sharp reminder of exactly how hard we are on ourselves, as a glance in the mirror is all the reality check I need that my body is changing for a reason..and yet, the urge to keep going and push myself to do more throughout the day is something I fight everyday.  
Despite everything this body does for me
I continue to demand more.

From this moment I will treat myself with love and kindness.

"As you breathe in
Cherish yourself.
As you breathe out
Cherish all beings. " 

- Dalai Lama

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

When it rains..

After a 3 month hiatus from blogging, it's nice to be back here although the thought of filling in all those days of absence is a little overwhelming.  The last few months have been a whirlwind of life's happenings..although the days seem long, the weeks and months sure seem to fly by!

As our incredibly mild winter comes to a close with two days of snowfall in April (actually I look outside now at the snow blowing down sideways.  Brrr!) it seems that our 2 years of looking for a new home is finally coming to a close as well.  Just days away from signing a purchase agreement, we are also expecting our second baby in just a few short weeks!  Never the type to take the easy route through life ( I can see my parents shaking their heads in exasperation..) when it rains here in our household, it certainly pours. :)  
The next few weeks here will be a little bit of insanity as we prepare to put our beloved house up for sale and slowly start the much dreaded task of sorting and packing..something I've always despised.  And yet, for someone who dislikes moving so much, I've done my fair share of it during my year as many as 3 moves all within the same building.  Ugh.  It never gets fun but it's definitely something you get better at the more you do.  This move I'm afraid, I'll be 11 years out of practice and moving away from a house and home I adore.  
Being the sentimental fool that I am, this is going to be tough one.

xo BG

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January Sale at Blue Gnome Emporium

It's that time for New Year's clearing and the inventory at Blue Gnome is having a January sale on many 2015 creations!  Excluded are made to order items, custom orders and if that ring you've been checking back on is perfectly your size, this is the time to grab it!
Alterations are still offered for a nominal fee :)

I've had my lovely mom here since the beginning of January and so my 2016 has started off on a slow, family time note.  I'll be back in the shop on a more regular basis starting next week, it's been hard to get motivated to head to the studio here when there's tea drinking and chit chatting to be done with my mom..I do miss those leisurely chats and mindless window shopping sessions that only a good mother-daughter session can satisfy, she'll be dearly missed (again) when she returns to B.C.

So to all you lucky peeps who have your mothers nearby..pop by today and give her a big ol' hug and sit down together for a hot cup of tea.  It's a glorious sunny, winter's day this Tuesday and it's perfect for staying indoors for a bit of tongue wagging.

And if you have a moment, head over to the Blue Gnome shop and see what selections are currently up for grabs for a New Year's clearing!

xo Blue Gnome


Monday, January 18, 2016

To Track or Not To Track..

So I have something I'd like to discuss with all you lovely people out's not anything particularly exciting but something I'd love to invite all of you to comment on because I'm a little unsure of how to proceed from here!
It's not very often that a parcel goes missing in the mail system..delays have certainly happened over the years and holidays are particularly a prime time for misplaced parcels that get found after the holiday rush in the postal system and sent forward..sometimes weeks later. I have to say, I have only had a small handful of unpleasant experiences with buyers and have always been grateful and so appreciative of those of you who have been ever so patient with delays or the replacement being created then sent on again. For those of you kind souls..I thank you for this. Such a seemingly small gesture of patience makes a world of difference for me since I'm usually in a tizzy at the thought of one of my beloved pieces having gone missing in the first place..and scrambling to make a replacement is generally in a panic as well. 
So comes the decision I've been pondering..I'm at a place right now where I think I will have to start shipping International parcels with tracking and insurance. Although this sounds like a no-brainer to some, the cost difference between shipping an International parcel as a "regular small parcel" with no tracking or insurance is currently around $12. Add insurance and tracking and the cost for the exact same parcel jumps to $26 ~ $30. Xpresspost and Priority shipping costs run another $30 ~ $40 on top of that. You can see how quickly a seemingly "budget friendly" purchase can suddenly add up. Currently, shipping with tracking and insurance is offered as an upgrade option..but without any real consequence to the buyer if the item disappears in the system while in transit, this option is rarely, if ever selected. 
Up until now, missing parcels are resolved with a full refund or an offer of a custom piece similar to the original item. It's proving to be quite costly on my end..even with lost incidents being (thankfully) fairly rare. So a question to all you lovely peeps you think shipping with tracking and insurance should be a mandatory thing for items over..say, $75? Or would you rather have the option of choosing to pay extra for tracking and shipping insurance..and if you choose to stay with the most economical shipping option, possibly risk the very rare chance of your purchased item getting lost in the mail and not getting a refund or replacement? The cheapest shipping option would be offered and if chosen, Blue Gnome Emporium would not be responsible for lost or stolen items.  
Although tracked items have on occasion managed to elude tracking and a couple (in the last 4 years..) have never been located, what the insurance does is offset the cost for me to create for you, a replacement. In the event that an item cannot be recreated / replaced such in the event of a one-of-a-kind focal stone, a full refund will still be offered. Again, the insurance would also offset my out of pocket cost to offer this to my clients.

Oh my..this has turned into quite the rant. Lol. 

So my lovely International friends..what are your thoughts? Would paying a higher shipping rate deter you from making that purchase..even if it means peace of mind that you'll know where your item is if delayed..or a full refund if lost? Or would you rather take your chances with a cheaper shipping cost and in a very rare case, risk losing your entire purchase?
Write to me! I want to hear from you! 
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