Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bacon for Two Please

Guess what I'm having for dinner tonight?


Extra thick, double smoked, extra crispy bacon..isn't that awful and wonderful all at the same time?  I haven't decided what else I'm having yet, maybe a leaf of lettuce to balance it out.


I had no lettuce but I think the cherry tomatoes will do just fine.  The Batman silhouette you see behind my dinner is Sachi.  She's been ignoring me all day today but oh look who's sitting pretty for bacon now.  

Looks like it's bacon for two, tonight!

xo Blue Gnome

Marrying Elements

Sterling, Rosewood

 Sterling, Rosewood, Turquoise

There's nothing quite like the combination of the warmth of wood and the cool sharpness of sterling. Throw in a stunning dash of colour like a beautiful specimen of turquoise and what you have is an irresistible combination like...a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich!  (You'll have to excuse the bacon may come up again in this entry..I've been smelling my neighbor's breakfast this morning and there's definitely bacon going on over there..)
I've been experimenting with the idea of setting a piece of wood rather than just stone into a bezel, working in particular with Rosewood.  The rich, deep reddy brown it offers is so complimentary with sterling, with the addition of a natural oil sealant the colours simply pop.  There are some other types of exotic wood I'd like to try; Zebrawood brings to the table a stunning grain pattern of pale and ebony stripes, although not as warm as the Rosewood, would still be a gorgeous piece of jewelry.

Retro fitting the two pieces together as in the example above proved to be quite a challenge.  Although I was quite happy with the results, I think there's definitely room for improvement..the piece below is my latest attempt at marrying the same three elements together in a design, I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet.

Sterling, Rosewood, Turquoise

Lastly, I've also been playing around with casting objects in sterling.  I'm a mould maker by trade and although sterling isn't a medium I've really had the opportunity to cast with very much yet, the idea of capturing all the beautiful, intricate textures by Mother Nature and creating something totally new is an idea I'm very familiar with.


This is a seashell I found and collected during a trip to Thailand a couple of years ago that's been moulded and cast in sterling silver.  Are the details not simply breathtaking?  It's a neat concept to be able to transform a fragile find on the beaches of Railay into something sterling, that will always be with me to remind me of my time there.  My next challenge I think will be coral..tiny, white coral fragments that the ocean had cast out on its beaches.. it will be given a second will become a part of something breathtaking.

I can't wait.

xo Blue Gnome

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Dash of Amethyst

It's finally the weekend.  This week has been a busy one for Sachi and me, it's spring cleaning time here and us gals have been busy purging, purging, purging!  There's that wall I hit after about 3 hours of going through odds and ends (that I cannot for the life of me figure why I decided to keep around,) when suddenly everything is garbage bound.  Sachi did her share of helping, chewing on things that I might've changed my mind about throwing out..once she sinks her teeth into it however, the option simply ceases to exist.  Bags of hardware from past home renovations..garbage!  Scraps of fabric I had full intentions of sewing into a quilt one day..garbage!  Those skinny jeans I was saving for that day when I was..well, skinny again..garbage!  After a few days of mad, frantic cleaning I'm happy to say that I now have 8 garbage bags outside, 4 boxes bound for charity organizations, and some small household items that my neighbors have been very helpful in taking off of my front lawn.

Ah..out with the old, in with the new!

I've been taking a bit of a break from silver work, it's simply been too nice outside to be indoors, although on wednesday Old Man Winter paid us another surprise visit.  Beautiful sunny skies on tuesday to -18 degree weather by the following gotta love living in the Great White North..keeping those winter tires on for another few weeks, I think.  It's another gorgeous day today although a little on the chilly side, and the snow is melting away in the warm sunshine..the puppy is busy collecting her wednesday-snow-buried bones once again and frantically burying them all under the deck.  Busy, busy, busy!

I'm adding a small something to my shop today, a delicate sterling wire pendant with a lovely turquoise and dash of amethyst to start off the weekend.  The puppy is getting impatient for her walk, I'm off for a tour in the sunshine.  Happy weekend everyone!

xo Blue Gnome

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coming Home

Sterling, Freeform Turquoise

The past 11 days have been an emotional time for my family and many others..especially my mother, who sat glued to her television watching NHK updates of the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  I still have friends who live in Tokyo and I too have been eagerly reading updates on their facebook statuses to let the rest of us know what's been going on there..the updates on local news reports here have faded little by little as other world news have taken priority.  The latest news in Japan has been that the nuclear reactors have begun cooling..finally..and although the suffering and losses will continue, people have started piecing their lives back together.  Communities are coming together to build bathhouses for the affected so that they can start cleansing their bodies, washing away their pain and sorrow, start facing yet another day feeling a little more renewed and strengthened.
Those people who had the means made the difficult decision to leave Tokyo for cities less affected by the nuclear plants, some left their homeland for family and friends abroad, fearing the worst was still to come.

This necklace has been designed with them in mind.  Healing qualities of turquoise include strengthening of the soul, protection against harm and connection with family and loved ones.  The crane has long been a symbol of luck, nobility and immortality in Japan.  Legend has it that anyone who folded a thousand cranes would the granted one wish.  This necklace is about coming home.  I pray for your safe travels home to Japan, she needs you now more than ever.

xo Blue Gnome

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Will Remember You

How clearly I first saw you smilin’ in the sun
Wanna feel your warmth upon me, I wanna be the one

I will remember you.
Will you remember me?

 - Sarah McLachlan

This floral ring is made entirely of sterling, not cast but hand hammered and hand formed. A dark patina has been applied and satin finished to add depth and make the details pop. This ring is actually something I designed for myself..the Forget-Me-Not flower is a favorite of mine and this bloom is loosely based on the gorgeous blue, five petaled flower.  
Reminds me of my grandparent's cottage in Bancroft where these flowers grew, not in pots or window boxes like in the city, but wild, rampant and free.

Available in my shop.

xo BlueGnome

Lucy's Song

How beautiful at eventide
To see the twilight shadows pale,
Steal o'er the landscape, far and wide,
O'er stream and meadow, mound and dale!

How soft is Nature's calm repose
When ev'ning skies their cool dews weep:
The gentlest wind more gently blows,
As if to soothe her in her sleep!

The gay morn breaks,
Mists roll away,
All Nature awakes
To glorious day.
In my breast alone
Dark shadows remain;
The peace it has known
It can never regain.

 - Lucy's Song by Charles Dickens

This gorgeous green quartz cocktail ring is made entirely of sterling.  I absolutely love I wish my finger would fit this!  An orb of glowing apple green, translucent and sits with a perfect weight on your finger.  It was presence..and it's's like it know how gorgeous it is and it sings for attention at every entrance.  Not a ring for the faint of heart..available now in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Land of the Rising Sun

I started off my day today with a huge slab of homemade carrot cake, piled high with cream cheese icing and a lovely hot cup of Earl Grey.  Mmmm..there really isn't a better way to start yet another gloomy day, although as I'm writing this the sun's fighting to peek through the clouds.  I'm root'n for it..the world needs a little more sunshine today, it's been a tough week for everyone.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day today, I entertained the idea of tinting the cream cheese green last night..but that only lasted for a second.  It would be ungodly to do such a thing..and as it turns out, the Irishman in my life isn't a fan of carrot cake..isn't that insane?..and my efforts would have gone to waste.  So more cake for me..with creamy white icing on top..mmmm.   This is not a good thing.  I need to hit the gym one of these days soon, my ex-trainer has been emailing me asking where I've been.  I hate that he notices that I've been absent for the past couple of weeks..his wife just had a baby so maybe he'll have something better to focus his energies on than emailing clients.  'Hey Tina..I missed you at the gym all last week, have you fallen off the wagon.?'  Pfffffff...I've been busy..eating carrot cake!  I think I'll take him a big piece when I go this this afternoon..if I go this afternoon...

I've finally finished some new pieces that have been staring at me in the shop for the last few days, half done.  Struggling with one in particular I almost scrapped it..but after a lovely gin to calm myself down, I was able to make it work, late last night.  The design is loosely based on the vintage Tiffany brooches of jewel encrusted insects from the Art Deco days.  Some of the organic designs I come up with are inspired by Tiffany lamps with their beautiful cluster of leaves and vines, flowers that seem to defy the hardness of the metal they're made from.  Beautiful.

The second ring is a traditional Japanese crane flying over the gravity defying high rise buildings of downtown Tokyo.  The proceeds from the sale of this ring will be donated to the Red Cross.  Japan has had a devastating week but they will come together and be alright.  Despite the devastation and loss the country has suffered, Japan is a country of proud, strong willed people and the sun will always rise on their horizon.  It is after all, the land of the rising sun.

Available in my shop this weekend.

xo Blue Gnome

  Firefly Ring - Sterling, Amber Carnelian

Flying Crane - Land of the Rising Sun Ring - Sterling, Baltic Amber

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Pocket Full of Kisses

Until very recently, I had two wonderful grandmothers.  Both so unique and irreplaceable, yet so very different.  Both taught me so much about life, two very different views on life from very different experiences.  This is about my grandma Jones..Vera Lorraine Jones.  She passed away in April of 2009 and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her.  I see her in the Cardinal singing in my neighbor's tree, I see her in my garden that's now slowly starting to thaw as the tiny, green buds fight their way up into the sunshine.  She used to bake the most delicious chewy oatmeal raisin cookies and would keep them in cookie tins that were worn from years of use.   I have her recipe for those cookies but they never turn out the same.

My grandparents lived in a high rise senior's building back then, and we'd go visit them quite often.  They had an outdoor pool there and during the summer, it was always a treat to go hang out with them, go swimming and then have ice cream in their air conditioned kitchen.  My grandma would sit across from me at their small kitchen table while we ate ice cream out of glass bowls, and when I looked up at her in between bites, she'd always smile and wink at me.  I couldn't wink back then, and I still can't wink very well.  Not like her.  My dad's pretty good with his winks, and every time he winks at me, I can see my grandma in my dad's face.
When it was time for me to go home, grandma would always stand by the door and wave until I had to turn the corner in the hallway to get to the elevator.  I'd go push the button, then run back and that's when she'd blow me a kiss..when I blew one back at her, she would always pretend to catch the kiss from mid air and tuck it in her pocket.  She did that with all her grandkids..I sometimes wondered where she kept those kisses that she'd always tuck away.

This ring is about a pocket full of kisses, too many kisses to tuck away that they're tumbling out.

Made with love, from me to you.  Available later this week in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome


Monday, March 14, 2011

It's A Beautiful Monday Morning!

It's another Monday morning but guess what?  It's a gorgeous, sunny day!  It's been too many days in a row of gloomy overcast skies and wet snow drizzles, I actually woke up with a spring in my step this morning despite the fact that it's the start of another work week.  
There's no other feeling quite like walking into my kitchen in my pj's and being greeted with warm sunshine filtering in through the door and window...sigh!  I love that feeling.  It's still quite chilly outside but there's definitely the smell of spring in the air, I even had my morning tea outside on the deck steps, wrapped up in a cozy throw.  Life is starting to stir in the ground again, the trees are waking up after their long winter slumber, stretching their limbs high into the sky to try to catch as much of that warm sunshine as possible.  You can hear them creaking and whispering as they spread the word that it won't be long now..springs almost here!

I've been working on some commissioned pieces this past week as well as a couple of new ideas I've been trying to tackle.  One design requires soldering after a stone's already been theory should be manageable but it's actually proven to be quite tricky without heat damaging the stone in the process.  Aaaaak!  I dislike the idea of having to compromise on a design because I can't figure out how to technically make something work.  There's really not much that's impossible to achieve and despite the failures so far, I will make this work!  However, it might be a minute yet though before I'm brave enough to post images..all in good time, all in good time.

Sterling, Owyhee Picture Jasper

In the meantime, I've been revisiting the Owyhee Picture Jasper ring, reworking some of the sterling frame work.  Although Owyhee Picture Jaspers are usually know for their breathtaking yet eerily lifelike landscapes, this particular ring showcases a gorgeous array of natures colours and textures at her best. Peppered with specks of black and gold, it's been exhausting to try to capture the colours of this stone on camera. 

 Currently available in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome

**  Last week was an especially long week, both at work and on the news front.  As we heard that Japan had been struck with a historic earthquake, then the devastating tsunami that followed, our family and thousands of others frantically tried to call loved ones overseas to see if they were alright.  We all watched, glued to the television and online for any updates on the emergency situation there, and helplessly watched the footage of ships, houses, even airports being swept inland, then out to sea along the coastal city of Sendai, Japan.  We are the lucky ones, all of our family and friends in Japan are safe.  My heart goes out to those who are still missing loved ones, and my thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost so much already.

The Red Cross is accepting financial donations for the victims of Japan's natural disaster.  Anything and everything helps.  As well, all proceeds from Tokyo Firecracker current inventory sales and selected Blue Gnome pieces will be donated in full to the Red Cross.  Thanks so much for your support!  **

Darling Girl's Apron, Retro Warhol Hostess Apron, Various Coin Purses - Tokyo Firecracker

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let There Be A Raven

Sterling, Dendritic Opal, Amethyst

Let there be a raven more...
Let it soar and fly.
Let there be a raven nor...
Let it circle by.
Let there be a raven more...
T'will it stay up high? 
Let there be a raven more...
Forever more, the most more ever high. 

- Michael Gale

This Raven necklace is made entirely of sterling, a demure yet stunning specimen of dendritic opal and a small glowing amethyst detail. The opal reminds me of the wintery landscape I see as I fly over the rocky mountains to my beautiful home sweet home of British Columbia. The snow capped mountains and the dark tops of's a harsh beauty, but breathtaking all the same.  

Available now in my shop.

xo BlueGnome

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Share In The Freedom I Feel When I Fly

Have you ever dreamt of flying?

I gather everyone has at some time in their lives had a dream that they were soaring high in the sky, not a care in the world.  I've had several of these dreams, and oddly it's through these dreams that I can honestly say that I know what it feels like to be able to take flight.  I'm not talking about flying around in a rocket ship or being belted to some technological gadget that flies around on some kind of jet fuel.  I'm talking about simply swan diving off of a cliff and swooping upwards and's simply the most exhilarating feeling one can imagine.
I had another dream about that eagle again the other night.  I couldn't see him this time but I saw his shadow on the ground by my feet..when I looked for him above me, the sun was too bright..but he followed me for a little while.  I'm pretty sure I'm not feeling hunted, I don't get a feeling of uneasiness in these dreams..quite the opposite.  I feel like he's looking miles ahead for me, guiding me on my path.  I'm not sure where I'm going either but there's a spring in my step and I'm excited about whatever may come my way.

I started this ring the day after my eagle dream.  I heard a John Denver song years ago on the radio called ' The Eagle and the Hawk' and although I'm not particularly a John Denver fan, I fell in love with the lyrics.  As such, I felt it fitting that I set a picasso jasper in the ring, it reminds me of the Great Canyon and all the wonderful colours nature has to offer.  I imagine the pattern on the jasper might be something like the landscape an eagle might see as it soars high above the ground, miles in the sky.

Available next week in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome

Sterling, Picasso Jasper

I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there's blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly

Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
Sail over the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we can be and not what we are

- John Denver and Mike Taylor

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Bounty of Riches

There's something so wonderful about holding a handful of finished pieces, all of them just pieces of flat sterling a little while ago, now so rich with life.  There's something so satisfying about manipulating the metal, the heating and hammering, watching it all come together right before my eyes.  I lose hours in my studio, it will literally be daylight when I head down, and when I come back upstairs, Sachi will have  been sitting in a completely dark house, looking at me accusingly of neglecting her for so long.  Just to clarify, she actually has a cozy bed on the floor of my shop but when the hammering begins, she gets up in a huff and trots upstairs to her other cosy bed.  This dog is not neglected..far from it. 

 I'm hoping to have more images available to post this weekend, I love how the sunshine brings out the best of what nature has to offer, and I refuse to take photographs of stones in indoor lighting.  As such, today has been a heck of a gloomy no photos yet.  I'm hoping for a peek-a-boo of sun tomorrow when I will scramble around the house setting things up to be photographed.  Until then, this is all I have to offer this evening..First Bloom necklace with turquoise.  It hangs with such a wonderful weight, I've been wearing it all day as I went about with my chores.  I might keep this around for a little while..I've kind of fallen in love with it.

Happy weekend!

xo Blue Gnome

Sterling, Turquoise

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Birthday Ring

For years the amethyst has been associated with spirituality, healing and and the metaphysical.  Whenever I see an amethyst, I think of my mother; she is the most spiritually connected person I know.  She's a water sign and like how a trickle of water can turn the strongest concrete foundations into rubble over time, her strength is her patience and perseverance.  For those of you that know me well I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I am the polar opposite..a fire sign.  She's the only person in my family who can douse me out like a campfire when I'm huffing and puffing over something, showering me with calm and reason.  And like a protective boundary, when she lets me vent and burn clear and bright, she keeps my flames under control and protects me from burning out.  She is the queen of our family, the glue that holds everybody together.  I think it's fitting that I finished this ring today, on her birthday.
Available this weekend in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome

Sterling, Amethyst Dendritic Opal, Pearl

A Very Happy March 3rd Birthday.

It's my mom's birthday today!  It's also my grandma's birthday today, she would've been 84.  As nice as the idea of having the same birthday as your daughter sounds, I can't say that being in labour would be my top ten ways of spending a birthday.  I don't know..this is coming from someone who has never experienced the joys of childbirth but I'm willing to bet that if my grandma could've postponed the labour for another day or so, she might've considered it..

Happy Birthday Mama! 

March 3rd also means that we're only 18 days from the first official day of spring!  Very exciting indeed.  I'm willing to look past the fact that Sachi's paws will start to turn brown and muddy after her walks, and that the 'rolling in smelly dead things' at the park will probably repeat itself several times over during the next couple of months but I'm ready for it!  Bring on the spring thaw!

Things have been a little hairy around here lately, I've been working on some lovely new designs and I hope to post some images soon..maybe this weekend!  The past few listings have moved very quickly and I cannot thank you enough for supporting an independent artist!  The Raven ring and First Bloom ring have both found a wonderful new home, the Rabbit and the Moon ring too, all the way in France.  The sterling and rosewood ring will be given to a very loved someone on a special day, and the Lonesome Quail Egg ring is no longer lonesome.   I'm reminded everyday of how fortunate I truly am to be able to pursue the things I love to do.  

Thank you.

xo Blue Gnome