Friday, January 5, 2018


Happy 2018!  
As we endeavor into another year of unchartered waters, I thought it fitting that my first handcrafted pieces of the year feature koi fish..the Japanese carp.  Large and powerful in the water, their fluid movement also embraces a serene elegance..a quality many strive for in life.  While different colors and patterning dictate good fortune in specific areas of life, they are often associated with prosperity, success, courage and ambition to name a few.  
A favorite subject amongst artists in traditional brush paintings, whether simple or more detailed, their beauty is undeniable. 
Selective breeding practices have resulted in a showcase of incredible markings and colours..the more ornate and striking, the higher their price tag.  The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is home to some of these beautiful creatures..a popular destination for locals on New Year's Day to pay their respects and hope for a glimpse of royalty.

I'm hoping to have a couple of pieces completed for Monday morning..with school still on holidays, studio time this week has been limited and what little time I've had has been slow and full of interruptions.  Despite the setbacks, it's been great to get back to the bench!  
I hope your holidays season was a restful time with plenty of love and occasion to catch up with friends and family.

Here's to another great year!

xo Tina

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Hard to believe we're only a month away from one of the biggest and most celebrated holidays on the hardly seems possible that it was almost a year ago that we moved out of the big city.  Since hosting our wedding here this past fall, I feel the property is finally our own..the trees have quieted their curious whispering and I no longer feel their gaze as we hike through the meandering trails.  The once dense woodland have dropped their leaves and the landscape beyond the green curtain that surrounded our home this spring and summer have revealed itself once again.  Majestic maples and oaks that stood tall and proud just a month ago seem to have shrunk a little, no longer waving limbs of lush green, gold and crimson, their bare branches now without their armor.

It's this lull before the festive season that usually finds me a little melancholy, before the Christmas celebrations get into full swing, the calendar jam-packed with seasonal events and hosting duties call.  I am grateful for these small windows of quiet and reflection every morning before the house awakens and time is dictated by domestic schedules and a pressing urge to make everyday as productive as possible.  
Time in the studio has been a little frustrating lately, my mind feels cluttered and I'm easily distracted by everything else but the one task at hand.  It's been a crazy year..a year of burning the wick from both ends but the tasks seem never ending and my expectations of myself climbing higher and higher.  
I usually thrive under stress.  
Give me a month to complete a task and I'll take a month.  Give me a few days and I'll get that work done in two..and then some.  But as I near the end of this year I'm feeling a little burnt out. My caffeine intake has increased in the last few month to no avail..dinner time finds me exhausted and spent emotionally and mentally, fighting the urge to snap at my family with little or no provocation.  
I need to let some things go.

Although my mother would be the first to say that my silver work should take a back seat at times like this, it's actually the contrary.  The more hectic my life becomes, the more I crave and need that time creating.  
It's what kept me sane and barely above the flood waters of motherhood almost 6 years ago when my son was born, the buoy that I clung to as not to completely lose sight of who I was when my body and time suddenly belonged to a tiny person who suddenly appeared and owned me overnight.  
I love what I do in that little studio..when I hunker down to work at my bench the walls of that room disappear 
and I slowly and stiffly unfold..
then spread wide my creative wings.  
And that's where the inspiration for my most recent winged and feathered pieces have come from.  To some they represent the wings of an angel, the ultimate symbol of a safe haven and protection.  To me they represent a brief moment when my heart beats not to the rhythm of everyone else's drum but my very own.  
A healing time when I can feel and hear the sound of my heart beating without the clutter of life.  
A savior of a different angels come in all shapes, sizes and forms.

Look for some of these pieces in the shop in the coming weeks.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

My life in a nutshell.

We are expecting our very first snowfall of this season tonight..already into November, I am grateful for the slower pace this colder weather has brought.  This summer and fall have been a whirlwind few months, renovating a flimsy garage into a beautiful 2 bedroom studio space for my family to stay during their visit at the end of September and installing a full kitchen there for the caterers to work out of for our wedding would have been work enough to begin and complete in a few months!  But there was more..way too much more..and now that the weather outside has become less desirable to work in, thankfully the weekends are a little less busy and our nights a little cozier as we fired up our fireplace last weekend.  It's a little embarrassing to see that my attempt to keep up with my blog here seems to have failed miserably yet again.  Then again, undertaking a major renovation and landscaping project and planning a wedding all within the same season was..well, nuts.  Highly not recommended if you value your sanity and emotional well being!



The wees in my life are growing like determined little weeds, Leo navigating his way through senior kindergarten and the "baby"now almost 18 months and learning to fend for herself amongst the hierarchy of her older siblings, furred and non-furred.  A tough little nut, she elbows her way to the front of the line at every occasion and despite our best efforts, has learned that the squeaky wheel does indeed always get the grease.  It's a noisy household we have here, our evenings and dinner time an all out war as some of us try to chat, sing songs learned in class, yell to be heard over the commotion and the smallest one slaps her spoon against the table while the furry girl lies patiently under the table waiting for the windfall from the slapping spoon.  It's crazy and noisy and all sorts of annoying but it's also amazing and wonderful and full of life and love.  It's a life that might send some running for the hills but one I wouldn't trade for the world.  

So my life lately in a nutshell.  I'm going to REALLY try to make more frequent posts here.  I think the problem is that I feel the pressure of having to make every post long and it's easier to turn to the Blue Gnome Emporium Facebook page for short blurbs or Instagram for daily updates.
I'm not even sure if anyone reads this this blog worth continuing..?
I'd love to hear from you if you've been following along!  Do you have a blog you struggle to continue?  I'd love to hear what you do to motivate yourself when feedback is you just treat it like a therapeutic diary of sorts and hope it's reaching someone who can relate?  

Our gurgling stream where we hang out to get away from the afternoon heat.

Daily trail walk with my brood.

With love from Caledon,
Blue Gnome xo

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


So true are the words by Gretchen Rubin, "The days are long, but the years are short" as we recently celebrated my son's 5th birthday and my daughters very first, fast approaching in just over a month.  The reality of time and age sinks in deeper still as I watch my furry companion of almost 11 years struggle to keep up with me on our hikes as of late, 
the noticeable greying of her once-jet black coat and the recent appearance of whitening eyebrows she never had before.  
At what point do we go from cheering on and celebrating growing milestones to wanting to desperately stop the clock, when the pleasures of seeing a loved one grow and mature turns into heartbreak as life seems to pick up her pace.

Although seemingly better lately, Sachi recently went through some mobility issues, devastating to watch, somehow made worse when suffered by such a large, proud animal struggles to stand, her hind leg shaking uncontrollably until I placed my hand gently on it, steadying her and praying wth all my heart that with enough love and determination I might somehow be able to will my own strength to flow into her slowly failing body.  
She's not fading yet, and with proper care and nutrition I'm confident there will be many more years of shenanigans ahead but the reality of age faced by someone so close to my heart is a jagged pill to swallow.  

I am a self-confessed worrier.  I worry about things that will never be, worry about worries that I will probably never have to worry about.  So when I get into that "worrying head space" when the worst of the worst scenarios start running through my head like a runaway train, when I become my own worst enemy and the walls seem to close in a little too much for comfort, I go for a hike to clear my head.  
That week when Sachi fell and she couldn't get up..and I couldn't help her up because she was too damn heavy for me, I went on a lot of hikes.  
I sobbed my eyes out on some of them, with only the deer and resident wildlife to witness my falling apart.  On some other hikes I was pissed off, walking fast and jerkily with determination, pissed off that I was too damn weak to help her during her time of need, pissed off that I had to witness my own physical limitations when it was needed the most.  
The majority of those hikes I did neither.  
I walked aimlessly through our trails, stopping frequently to look up at the tops of our 50' jack pines swaying in the wind and felt pretty small..making my problems very small in the whole scheme of things.  

On one of these quiet hikes, Leo and I came upon a pile of logs that had obviously been cut and piled many years ago.  One log in particular had an amazing display of rings that started our conversations about time, age and how you can tell how old a tree was by counting their rings.  I explained that to people who study trees, they would also be able to see what the climate was like in a particular year..the amount of rainfall, the temperature spikes and fluctuations.  And after my long rambling explanations, Leo looked at me and simply said, 
"..So trees tell stories even though we can't hear them talk?". 
So perfectly summarized by my 5 year old and the inspiration for my series of tree ring etchings.  

And in the process of working on them, 
I've discovered that age can be a beautiful thing..even long after the life is gone.

Because there will always be the stories to keep them alive.

xo Blue Gnome

 Storyteller ring

Storyteller ring

Tree of Life ring

Tree of Life ring

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