Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Tis The Season When Slowing Down Is Not An Option

So I'm not traveling this holiday season.  Thought it would be nice to stay close to the home front, avoid the crazy holiday travelers with their very merry and obnoxious holiday sweaters.  Did I ever mention that flight home to B.C. where a woman had to be asked to turn the LED lights off on her Christmas sweater?  When I saw her waiting in the line up to proceed through security, proudly twinkling all the way, I instinctively knew she would be on my flight.  Thankfully, I wasn't the one who ended up sitting next to her.  A small miracle since anyone who knows me will tell you that I seem to attract that kind of thing...

Anyway, the plan was to stay here, relax and calmly enjoy the start of the holiday season.  
Not a chance.  
The downfall to staying at home is that there's always stuff that needs getting done.  I'm quickly finding out that spending the holidays in someone else's home is sometimes the only way to avoid doing stuff that starts by promising to only take up a few minutes of your time..and hours later, you're still doing it.
But on the bright side, we finally went out and got a tree this year!  We picked out a relatively normal looking tree and during the time it took to drive it home, it grew another foot high and a few feet wide.  The gargantuan tree now takes up a third of the front sitting room, the sheer thickness of the branches has swallowed up the three strings of lights it took to cover it from top to bottom.  We have way too much tree for our tiny supply of ornaments..and it's absolutely beautiful!  I baked, decorated and hung a bunch of cookies for tree decorations, forgetting that a certain furry family member is a big fan of gingerbread.  But the problem seems to have solved itself since I came home from work one day and found Sachi in a cookie coma after eating everything she could reach, about 15.  Now the tree is missing decorations on the bottom third and Sachi's all cookie-ed out.  She'll look at the gingerbread if you hold it out to her, smell it, give it a courtesy lick and after a quick side glance at me, walk away disgusted.  
A win-win situation all around!

I hope you're hanging onto your sanity so far this festive holiday season!
The countdown's begun..9 more days of shopping left.  So get out your elbows and fight your way through those crowds at the mall...sanity's overrated anyway :)  I'll be taking full advantage of the "Expectant Mother" parking spaces there this weekend.

xo Blue Gnome

Monday, December 12, 2011

On Wings of Fire

I've always loved Art Deco designs and the beautiful intricacies of jewelry from that time.  
Years ago I purchased a gorgeous hanging lamp from an antique lighting store in my neighborhood with pale, blue glass and swirling details of peacocks and foliage all around the frame work.  It hangs in my house and when the sunlight hits it at just the right angel, it still takes my breath away.  So when the opportunity came up for me to design a ring for a client who was interested in something with an art deco feel, I thought I'd have some fun with it and see what I could get away with.

Sterling, Jade

A loose interpretation of the Phoenix, rather than go with the obvious choice of a carnelian or another fiery hued accent stone, I decided to keep this piece secret and demure.  A beautiful example of deeply pigmented oval Jade seemed perfect for the setting, this ring is very large, lovely and weighty.  Hand sawn and textured, a dark patina has been applied to bring out the details and to offer the piece a satin finish to keep the sterling humble.  A powerful representation of rebirth, unlimited possibilities and survival.  Created for all of us who have survived the fire and risen with dignity and strength out of its ashes.  For the loved ones in my life who have shown me time and time again exactly how powerful the human spirit can be.

As my dad always says, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

xo Blue Gnome

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blue Gnome Holiday SALE

Starting at 1pm today until Thursday December 8th, Blue Gnome will be offering a 10% discount on all currently listed items in my little shop :)

 Sterling, Turquoise Ring

Sterling, Fresh Water Pearls

 Sterling, Carnelian Earrings

Sterling Silver

Happy Shopping!

xo Blue Gnome

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Honey Of Life

As we enter the final month of 2011, it's amazing to think of how quickly this year has flown by.  For me personally, it's been a year to of closure, changes and a dramatic new beginning.  
I see 2012  as my biggest challenge yet - and I welcome it with arms wide open.

Winter is a season to slow down, nest and hibernate.  As the colder weather sets in, our little house truly becomes a home..a place we rush to at the end of a long day, to the cozy comforts of our family (human and canine alike..), the warm glow of the holiday lights and the tantalizing smells drifting from the kitchen throughout the rest of the house.  

This year I'll be spending the holidays here - right where I belong.  
No hustle and bustle of traveling during the busiest time of year, no unpacking for short holiday visits only to then packing up again to come home to a holiday neglected house.  There's much nesting still to be done in anticipation of our eagerly awaited arrival, our lives as we know it will cease to exist and although there will be a lot of fumbling..

I know that we'll be just fine.

For my latest creation born in my shop, I thought it fitting to incorporate an animal totem that is the epitome of maternal protection.  There is no creature more dangerous than a mother bear protecting her cubs and the Bear Totem represents loyalty, quiet confidence and is seen as the protector of family values.  Although reserved and rarely confrontational, the Bear displays fearlessness in defense, a ferocious creature whose physical presence alone is enough to send opponents running - a reminder to always standing up for your beliefs when called upon.  

Sterling, Freeform Turquoise

Made entirely of sterling and a beautiful freeform turquoise, available now in my shop.

I hope you have some wonderful things planned this weekend! xo

Blue Gnome


Thursday, November 24, 2011

In my next life, I think I'd like to come back as a dog.

Not a care in the blissful sleep on the bed where she's not supposed to be.
I love listening to her big, black olive nose whistling..she makes my heart happy.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Strange Line of Work

I guess I work in a less-than-ordinary line of work.  
When I find myself sitting with people I don't know (like at a friend's wedding) and am forced to make pleasant conversation through the reception dinner, the first question that usually comes up is, "how do you know the bride and groom?"..then that's generally followed by, "what do you do for a living?".  
A seemingly easy question to answer if you work within a defined industry like being a sales manager at so-and-so, or in the financial or medical field.  That seemingly easy question usually makes me a little squirmy because I don't actually know what my job title say, I have a title on my business card but it says very little about what my job description actually includes.

I work with dinosaurs.  In so many different applications.  One of the most interesting things about what I do for a living is that it's always two projects are ever the same.  I've endured torrential rain storms with soaking wet, feathered puppets to shoot segments for the Discovery Channel, sent crew members to a drug store to buy copious amounts of KY Jelly for on-camera effect, witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly side of each and every person I've worked with after 17 consecutive hours of working side by side, hour after our.  From disasterous mishaps at the 11th hour right before a deadline to triumphant results delivered right on schedule, this life I lead is an interesting one..far from glamourous..but interesting.

This texture ring is a result of one of those odd projects - sterling silver cast from a mold taken from an Emu leg..don't ask me how I had access to an Emu leg, please.  It wasn't one of my favorite experiences!  The results are somewhat experimental but I think I like's organic and hefty, a beautiful BIG ring for those of you (like me) who love to wear pieces that make a statement.  Adjustable and unisex, this ring along with a couple of other items, now available  now in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome

 Sterling Ring

Prehnite, Smoky Quartz and Sterling Stacking Rings 

Sterling and Natural Amber Earrings

Monday, November 14, 2011

Celebrating The Wee Bean

This weekend was a busy couple of days, last night I was so exhausted from the two day activities that I was certain I was too exhausted to fall asleep..have you ever felt like that?  When your body is ever so thankful to be lying down but your mind is still running around in circles.. I usually get a pretty good case of the giggles when I'm feeling like this and last night was no exception.  So after wailing and giggling "I'm toooooo tired to fall alseeeeeeeep.." a couple of times, I heard my alarm go off this morning and it was already today.  I guess falling asleep wasn't as difficult as I thought.

A huge thank you to everyone who was able to attend the shower thrown by the lovely Miss P and Mrs U and the rest of the family.  I was so overwhelmed by everyone's generosity..and of course, a very special THANK YOU for organizing, baking, cooking, decorating and hosting such a wonderful afternoon filled with good friends and family, from near and far. 

We are both so blessed and excited that the "wee bean" will be welcomed into such a loving life!

Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seal Lullaby


Seal Lullaby

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us
And black are the waters that sparkle so green.

The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.

Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!

The storm shall not wake thee, nor sharks overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.

By Rudyard Kipling

Monday, October 17, 2011

Can't See The Forest For The Trees..


Sometimes life gets hectic. 
Beyond hectic. 
We lose sight of the important things in life 
and worry ourselves silly with the itty bitty things that should  
in a perfect world 
remain small and insignificant.

Made entirely of sterling silver. 
Wonderfully textural and with silent presence.

Hope you're taking the time to enjoy your nows 
and not wasting time worrying about your laters.

xo Blue Gnome

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving this year has come and gone.  
It was a lovely weekend of hot apple cider, quiet chats and a roaring fire..everything Thanksgiving is supposed to be.  There was turkey, warm caramel fondue with fresh fall apples and my Grandma Jones's unbeatable butter tarts.  The days following the fall harvest feast were filled with lazy afternoon naps and endless mugs of hot tea, filled to the brim with milk and honey.  So many things to be thankful for this year..every year..but this one in particular. The love of family and friends, our cozy home, the health of my furry sidekick.  The celebration of new beginnings and the healing of old wounds.  I wake up each and every morning with a reminder that I truly am blessed.

The long weekend also allowed me the time to finish some little pieces that've been patiently waiting to be worked on in my shop.  Amber hued carnelians and deep green peridot are such an irresistible pairing especially this time of year.  I also found a gorgeous little nugget of rosewood in my treasure box of odds and ends, perfect for another Giving Tree ring.  All that and more, available in my shop.

 Sterling, carnelian, peridot - Caramel Apple pendant

Sterling, carnelian - Under The Harvest Moon 

Sterling, rosewood - The Giving Tree ring

Sterling, ocean jasper - Remnants of Summer ring

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New York, New York

Ocean Jasper, Sterling

New York.  The city that never sleeps.
I was in New York for the very first time a few years ago for work and it didn't disappoint.  
One night it rained and we laughed and ran our way through it to a cozy little restaurant that glowed like a beacon in the storm.  When we left, the downpour had turned into a light drizzle and we walked back to our hotel in the humid, night air with tummies full and our skin dewy from the late spring showers.  

It was a hectic work schedule there and the rest of the trip seemed to go by in a blur but I'll always remember that night when the city seemed to glisten.  The streetlights reflected off of the wet pavement and the headlights of the all-night New York traffic seemed for that one moment, magical.  

I saw this ocean jasper and in the dancing, glowing orbs saw New York as I had that night years ago.  
Like looking at the city through a window in the pouring rain..New York, New York.

This and a few other new additions available in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Harvest Moon

(sterling, carnelian)

Under the Harvest Moon
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights.
Death, the gray mocker
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who Remembers.

Under the summer roses
When the fragrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswered questions.

-  Carl Sandburg

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spread Some Sunshine On Your Toast!

Ontario plum and peach jam..

Garden jalapeno hot sauce..

I love autumn.  
The best season by far in my opinion.  I love the colours of fall.  It's when all the vibrant fresh hues of summer are brought to a slower pace and  gently condensed, like some wonderful stew simmering on the stove top.  Everything turns a gorgeous amber, golden hue and you can smell hot apple cider and pumpkin pie wafting through the air at the outdoor fall fair.  It's also the season to harvest summer's sun soaked bounty, when the weather cools enough to have the pots bubbling away with jams and pickling brine.  It's so satisfying to see the rows of preserves lining the pantry shelves, waiting for that wintery day when you need to spread some sunshine on your toast or that dollop of spicy jalapeno sauce on your homemade quesadillas.

I've started to nest.  Cosy afghans have replaced my linen cushion covers on the couch and I can feel a nip in the air when I poke my toes out from under the warm quilt on my bed in the morning.  

This weekend is supposed to be cool, sunny and perfect..hoping you all have a wonderful couple of days!

xo Blue Gnome

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rings Galore

I made some rings!
Botswana Agate, Turquoise, Ocean Jasper, Sterling

With gorgeous stones like these, only a simple setting will do.  Every one of them are a different size, they will be available in my shop later this week.

 This green speckled ring is my personal much so that I've decided to keep this for a little while.  It looks like a wonderful painting by mother nature, soft sunlight filtering through a secret garden.  And with fall just around the corner now, I think this beautiful ring will be a summer reminder of the abundant, lush greenery all around me now.  The different shades of vibrant green just takes my breath away..

Vintage Japanese Millefiori Beads, Sterling

And some adorable Japanese lantern earrings!  Made of vintage, Japanese millefiori beads and oxidized sterling, currently available in crimson and pumpkin.

xo Blue Gnome

Monday, August 15, 2011

For Bachan.

I designed this ring with my Japanese grandmother - or bachan, in mind.  She passed away a year ago in August of 2010, quite suddenly of a stroke.  It was a shock for those of us left behind but in retrospect, she left this world in the same way she lived her life, on her own terms.

Her life is a story of family tragedies, hardships and survival.  But it's also the story of an extraordinary woman who stood no taller than 4', whose pride and determination helped her to raise four daughters as a single, working mother during post war time Japan in the 1950's.
I'd like to tell you about her life someday - you'll be horrified as I was to hear some parts, cry tears of frustration and sadness at others.  But most of all, you will feel your heart swell with joy and triumph, as mine did.  I come from a family of strong, proud, hard-headed women with bachan leading the way.

The blood that binds us runs deep and fierce and it's with this close to my heart that this ring came to be.

Our family crest is represented by three cherry blossom or sakura petals, with three daggers in between.  For this ring, I've hidden the daggers on the inside of the dome as a rose hides its thorns amongst its bright green foliage and delicate crimson flowers.  Inside the hollow of the dome sits eight, oxidized pods.  Each of the pods represents the women of our family, my three aunts, my mother, my cousin and her two beautiful girls.  And me.  All of us girls fiercely loved and protected.  Because even though she's no longer here, it doesn't mean that she's not everywhere.  Her blood runs through all of our veins, her smile in the sun that touches everything around us, watching out for any storm clouds ahead.  Next January there will be another one for her to watch over...another pod may have to be added to the ring, only time will tell.

Not available in my shop or anywhere else..because I made this one just for me.

xo Blue Gnome

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Can't See The Forest For The Trees

My holidays are sadly coming to an end, the past little while in beautiful British Columbia has been a refreshing change from the daily ritual of domestic duties and the humidity of the hectic, city air.

Coming home truly is about rejuvenating your soul; the endearing family banter, home grown comforts that you never tire of no matter how old you are.  We all seem to fall right back into our family roles, even a high ranking executive working in a busy, fast paced city becomes someone's son or daughter, older or younger sibling, granddaughter or grandson.   No one here cares how important you are at work, you still do the dishes after dinner and get yelled at for forgetting to turn your parents sprinkler off all night.  It's where that dish you made out of paper mache in the first grade still holds the spare car keys and paper clips in the kitchen drawer, where you still find yourself calling your friends parents "Mr & Mrs Gray".

CHBC News, August 2003

There was a huge forest fire here in 2003 caused by a lightening strike during a hot August day when the forests were tinder dry.  Although the landscape here is slowly and surely recovering, it saddens me to know that things will never look the same in my lifetime.  The fire seems to have cleared the way for rapid development in these parts, the old secret campgrounds have been replaced by new roads trying to keep up with the ever growing population here.  Faint noises of construction equipment can be heard above the sound of the trickling stream in the early morning air.

Things are changing..times are changing.

My parents are thinking of moving on, not unlike the wildlife on this mountain who are being forced onto higher ground and into the slowly diminishing cluster of forest to escape the blanket of residential communities slowly making its way into what once used to be dense pine habitats.

I hope that this city never forgets how beautiful it is here.  I hope they realize before it's too late that what they're tearing down on these mountains is what makes this place heaven on earth.

But nature will persevere.  The lake is still cool, clear and pristine, the mountains majestic and proud.  I've seen a couple of bald eagle nests on this trip, claiming real estate with the best 180 degree lake views this side of the Rockies Mountains.  The quails still criss cross the mountain roads with their mind boggling number of chicks in tow and my parents have woken up to find moose in their backyard.

Folklore Series:  Sterling, Labradorite

With this in mind, I've created a distinctly Canadiana pendant.  The labradorite was first found in Labrador, Canada in 1770 and this sterling pendant houses a particularly gorgeous, flashy labradorite specimen.  Part of my Folklore Series, available in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cool Blue Chalcedony

Sterling, Blue Chalcedony

I love the coolness of this blue chalcedony..perfect for this scorching weather.  Inspired by the lilies all over my garden, heavy with dew drops in the early morning hours.

Available in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome

Hot Diggity Dog!

It's a dead still evening tonight, I'm looking outside as I write this and there's not a leaf moving on my neighbor's gigantic maple tree.  Ugh.  Although today was a cooler 33 degrees (36 with the humidex..) it's still a scorcher.  Yesterday apparently broke all sorts of records in this province, a crazy, oh-my-god-it's-the-end-of-the-world 50 degrees with the humidity..what kind of insanity is that??  I guess after a day like that, today should really be a breeze..

My poor, thick-furred puppy dog is not a happy camper in this weather, her proud Akita tail has been drooping these past couple of days, it's too damn hot to even put in the effort to lift that thing.  I've built her an air-conditioned "hobo shack" of sorts upstairs, a heavy wool blanket screwed to the doorway of the smallest bedroom so she can come and go as she pleases.  I've found cookie crumbs on the floor up there..which is actually quite cute..because it means that she grabs her cookie from her bowl in the kitchen and trots upstairs to her cool den so she can enjoy it in the a/c.  I've often wondering what I might capture on film if I set up a nanny cam while I was out of the house...then again maybe it's best that I not know.  It might freak me out to see her turn on the T.V. and browse through my Architectural Digest magazines while I'm out..our relationship would never be the same.  No, better left alone.

This extreme heat alert is supposed to be called off later this evening, tomorrow bringing more seasonal temperatures into these parts.  The grass is turning brown, shrubs are starting to wilt...we need rain and lots of it.  Maybe it's finally time to break out that rain dance in the backyard.

Hope you're keeping cool where you are.

xo Blue Gnome

Friday, July 15, 2011

Small Luxuries

Another beautiful, blessedly cool morning.  The backyard is still wrapped in a light blanket of shade and the puppy is still happily chasing squirrels in her sleep.  Big, warm fuzzy paws twitching..sighs of pure contentment.  Everything is exactly as it should be.

 A sleepy garden..getting ready for another hot, summer's day.

I purchased a couple of gorgeous handmade pottery mugs a few weeks ago and with the end of the postal strike, finally received them this past week.  The size is absolutely perfect for a lovely cup of tea, the contours of the cup fitting wonderfully in my hands, the colours of the glaze..achingly beautiful.  It's been too damn hot and muggy to enjoy anything other than a beverage brimming with ice cubes lately..I've been waiting all week for a morning like today to use my new cup and my tea has never tasted better.  Earl Grey, a splash of warm milk and a dollop of pure, Canadian honey from a dear friend's hive 8 hours north of the city.  And what better to serve that with than a slab of homemade banana bread with a generous schmearing of peanut butter?  After all, one must enjoy all the small luxuries life has to offer.

Handmade pottery available here.  Banana bread not included..

The day is still young, who knows what it'll bring.  But with a belly full of all this goodness, I think I'm off to a pretty good start.  I hope your friday is filled with sunshine, not too much work and the perfect way to cap of the end of another work week.

xo Blue Gnome