Monday, June 27, 2011

Lazy Summer Days

Carnelian, Sterling

One of the best things about our summers in the Great White North are the seemingly endless summer nights at the cabin or cottage.  It's always a worthwhile thing to befriend at least one person who has access to an awesome cottage by the lake somewhere out of the city..even better if you have a family cottage you've grown up going to.  We have, as Canadians, have grown somewhat immune to the pesky little bugs that threaten to ruin our lazy, summer weekends..we've all come back into the city for work on Monday mornings a little sunburnt, a little hungover, covered in little dots of mosquito bites (black flies if you're really lucky and the cottage is that much further north..) and the odd injury from those nasty deer and horse flies.  It's all worth it.  We start looking forward to these campfire, s'more making, bug bitten cottage weekends from the time we're forced to close up for the season, generally around Thanksgiving.  We start buying new camp equipment, looking at new fishing rods, planning and booking family get togethers for the summer while we're still digging our cars out of the snow and breaking icicles off the end of our noses on the ski hills.  This is our short lived summer and damn it..we're going to make the best of our few precious months of hot lazy days, floating around on our clean, pristine lakes.

The warmth of this carnelian seems to embody all of that.  A warm summer stone, I love that it brings warmth and sunshine into my life during those dreary winter days and reminds me of what's to come this time of year.  Glowing a gorgeous amber hue, the carnelian is a glowing ember captured from those campfire nights up at the cottage where I first learned to roast the perfect marshmallow without setting it on fire.  Where you leave the cell phones in your car and reconnect with friends and family, where laughter, embraces and story telling is encouraged and welcomed.  Where you can let down your big city guard and rejuvenate your soul to the brim and then some.  This ring is about sitting around the campfire with all your loved ones without a care in the world.  Available now in my shop.

Happy almost long weekend everyone!

xo Blue Gnome

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Into The Blue..Or Turquoise, Rather.

Freeform turquoise, sterling.

 Tear shaped turquoise, sterling.

A couple of simple rings I finished this weekend, both gorgeous specimens of turquoise.  The oblong stone, rich with copper and aluminum has a higher dash of copper which has resulted in this case, in the beautiful, more-green-than-turquoise shade.  Although I try very hard to purchase stones that have been made by mother nature and not man made in a lab, I find it extremely difficult to turn my nose up at stones that are categorized as "lesser" quality stones.  If you're looking for turquoise stones of the highest, purest  grade, be prepared to pay a premium for them; turquoise mines are rare these days and there's a lot of research involved in determining if the purchase you made fairly reflects the high price you've paid.

With the rising cost of sterling these days (and all precious metals for that matter..) it's become increasingly difficult to keep prices affordable and attainable.  The large, chunky rings I love to design and create take into consideration the fact that although it's hard to avoid the high cost of sterling, there are other ways of creating beautiful jewelry while trying to keep things affordable.   Accessories, in my humble opinion, should be worn casually and frivolously without having to spend a month's worth of salary buying it.  Yes, many things in life are worth the high prices but at the end of the day, it's up to you and you alone to dictate what you want to spend your hard earned money on.  I like that I can pick and choose from a large collection of gorgeous rings and accessories, handcrafted with quality workmanship, depending on my outfit or mood..the stones may not be of the highest quality but there's something so interesting about the stories these "flaws or inclusions" tell.  So what if your piece doesn't hold the most pristine specimen of turquoise?  Isn't it more important how beautiful it makes you feel wearing it and that you love the design of it?

These gorgeous rings will be available in my shop tomorrow..

xo Blue Gnome

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blueberry Obsession

I've been on a blueberry kick lately.  Anything and everything blueberry catches my eye..starting with the homemade blueberry jam I purchased last week, I'm pretty excited to see fresh, Ontario blueberries making their appearance at my local fruit stands!  There was blueberry crumble last week, blueberry scones for breakfast this past weekend..and I'm having daydreams of white chocolate covered blueberry clusters, chilled slightly and served alongside a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea..mmmm..blueberries..

Wild Ontario blueberries!

Warm blueberry scones for breakfast, anyone?  Topped off with a lemon icing drizzle, the recipe for these gorgeous treats can be found here.  Photo also courtesy of Dima's Kitchen.

So is it any surprise that this weekend, when I finally got my little shop up and running for the first time since my renovations started ( almost 3 weeks..?!) I instinctively reached for that delicious, blueberry-hued stone to start working with.  The first of a few projects I was able to complete this weekend, boy it feels good to be back in the shop getting dirty and creative.  It was music to my ears to hear the machines humming again, the bench covered once again in sterling dust and shavings.  The pop and hiss of the torches (noises my hairdresser claims to be terrified of..he also informed me that hair is the most flammable organic matter there is..) which makes my hands tremble with excitement.  It's simply amazing how many hours a girl can lose in her little cacoon in the basement..there was a lovely breeze coming in through the window and the tunes were just right.  It was a perfectly productive day of sawing, soldering and even a little molding and casting.  Available later this week in my shop.

Sterling, Amethyst

Hoping your weekend was just as productive, creative and rejuvenating for your soul.

xo Blue Gnome

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who's Your Farmer?

Homemade Ontario wild blueberry jam with fresh baked spelt bread..yum!  Wild blueberry jam made by the Herschberger family, the spelt bread baked by Lehr's Bakery in a wood oven.

Soooo, yesterday was my first Wednesday participating in the local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in my hood.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I until I read a small write up about it in the LCBO Food and Drink magazine and checked them out online here.  Basically, what it is is a commitment you make to support your local farmers by paying for a seasonal collection of wonderful farm goodies ahead of time so the farmers have a confirmed list of participants.  
Every week, you go to your designated pick up location to grab that particular weeks core 'basket' (available in mini, small and large shares, accordingly to your family size and needs..) plus $10 worth of items of your choice..choices range from grass-fed beef, heritage pork, pastured lamb and goat, free range chicken and eggs, whole grain flour, maple syrup, honey and preserves, or you can fill out your share with more varieties of fruits and veggies..all produced by and from local farmers.  You really can't go wrong. 

I'm signed up with the Kawartha Ecological Growers, mostly due to the fact that one of their pick up locations happens to be right around the corner from where I live.  You can check them out at to read all about their program.  The 'core' basket contains items that every participant receives accordingly to what's in season on the farms that week.  The great thing about not picking and choosing exactly what produce items you get every week is that it forces you to open your horizons..ever notice how you leave the grocery store with exactly the same items over and over again?  And you know that the produce you're leaving with was still growing in the ground the day before, not sitting in a temperature controlled trailer truck, plucked off of the mother plant weeks before natural ripening.  

The pick up is open from 4pm ~ 6pm and I got there right at 4 because I was new to this and didn't want to feel rushed through explanations and such.  Also because I'm greedy and wanted first dibs on everything they had out on the tables for purchase above and beyond my prepaid 'share' items.  My core basket contained the following:

Asparagus (Zehr’s Produce, Amos & Nancy Lee, the Fisher Family)
Rhubarb (
Kawartha Organic Produce, Alva Stoll, Amos & Nancy Lee)
‘Dancine’ Lettuce (mini buttercrunch) (
The Old Tin House)
Baby cut salad greens (Wildfire mix) (
Zehr’s Produce)
Celeriac (
Henry & Anna Herschberger)
Popcorn (
Enoch Stoll

And with my $10 credit that's included with every weekly pickup, I grabbed a loaf of fresh baked spelt bread, a jar of homemade Ontario wild blueberry jam (yum!) and some organic pork sausages for the BBQ tonight.  All with the satisfaction of knowing that I'm supporting our local Ontario farmers and having some damn good eat'ns tonight!  It's not too late to join the summer program or consider joining the winter program this fall.  It really is nice to know who your farmer is.  :)

xo Blue Gnome

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel



Before..lovely bleach stain on the floor that's eaten away the nasty linoleum!


Before..the far wall was removed, the closet beyond that scrapped and a hole cut out of the exterior wall..

Now.. a south facing window!

Whew..I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of this seemingly endless reno project.  Yes, I know it's really only been a couple of weeks ( and as far as bathroom renos go, it's actually been VERY speedy indeed) but I can you tell that I am SO looking forward to living in my very own home again!  I've been a bit of a nutcase with the vacuuming and mopping downstairs even though I've been reminded numerous times that things get dusty during renos and I should just 'got with it' me, it's like saying that your clothes will just get dirty again anyway so why launder it at all..? (?!)  Because it makes me happy, that's why..and it keeps me somewhat sane.  I've been crashing at the home of the lovely Miss P, invading her space and giving her no place to call her own.  I am ever so grateful for the hospitality..and so is Sachi.  Nothing like having someone else's 120 lbs beast taking up all the floor space when you have no pets..not to mention the paw prints and fur on the hardwood floor and the puddles of water on the kitchen tiles around her water bowl, just waiting for you to step into in your nice, dry socks.'s awesome having house guests, especially ones that don't actually know when they're leaving.

With my life being turned upside down as a result of the renos, I've unfortunately had no time (or water or electricity..) to work on anything in my shop!  A big thank you to everyone that's contacted me regarding custom orders,  your patience is so very appreciated!!  I'm hoping to have everything up and running by this weekend and I promise to stay away from 'bathroom' themed designs :)

It's supposed to be a beautiful week here..and a gorgeous weekend as well.  Hoping everyone's enjoying this long awaited summer arrival!

xo Blue Gnome

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Sterling, peridot

As a quiet little seedling 
Lay within its darksome bed, 
To itself it fell a-talking, 
And this is what it said: 

'I am not so very robust, 
But I'll do the best I can;' 
And the seedling from that moment 
Its work of life began. 

So it pushed a little leaflet 
Up into the light of day, 
To examine the surroundings 
And show the rest the way. 

The leaflet liked the prospect, 
So it called its brother, Stem; 
Then two other leaflets heard it, 
And quickly followed them. 

To be sure, the haste and hurry 
Made the seedling sweat and pant; 
But almost before it knew it 
It found itself a plant. 

The sunshine poured upon it, 
And the clouds they gave a shower; 
And the little plant kept growing 
Till it found itself a flower. 

Little folks, be like the seedling, 
Always do the best you can; 
Every child must share life's labor 
Just as well as every man. 

And the sun and showers will help you 
Through the lonesome, struggling hours, 
Till you raise to light and beauty 
Virtue's fair, unfading flowers.

- Paul Laurence Dunbar

Available now in the shop.

xo Blue Gnome

Friday, June 3, 2011

** Thank you so much for snapping up this ring!**
xo Blue Gnome


prehnite, sterling

The city's emptied out, everyone's heading up to the cottage this weekend and with weather like this, you'd be crazy to stay in this concrete jungle.  The radio was playing 'Margaritaville' earlier this afternoon and I haven't been able to stop thinking about a cold, slushy lime margarita since.  Frosted glass, the rim heavy with clumps of sea salt..the perfect beginning to a perfect weekend!

Seems fitting that my latest creation is this gorgeous, weighty prehnite ring..the colour of juicy lime zest and scattered with a sprinkling of salt-like inclusions.  Made entirely of sterling, perfect served with a bowl of fiery fresh salsa, chips and a few close friends.  Available now in my shop.

xo Blue Gnome

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Renovation Hell

Mustard yellow tiles, anyone?  Ugh..

Fascinating to see the half-assed quality of work by previous contractors..apparently hacking halfway through the support joists to run plumbing seemed like a good idea then..

The bathroom renos have started.  Yeah, I knew it was going to be a 'deal' but man it sucks..and I'm not even physically involved.  By that I mean, I'm not the one slugging it out with the vast amounts of plaster and lath rubble that's currently taken over a third of my upstairs.  I've been here before, many times over..renovation hell.  When you've gone past the point of no return..when the rest of your home gets a fine dusting of drywall dust you only see when your friend's little girl starts drawing smiley faces all over your dining room table with her finger.

We've been very fortunate to have a great place to crash for the duration of these dirty, dusty times.  The toilet was finally ripped out of the floor and thrown into the dumpster bin yesterday, which makes for some very carefully planned meal times and control of our fluid intake during the day while we're working at the house..heheh.  It's like being told that the water's been turned off for a few hours and suddenly feeling desperately parched.  The human psyche is our greatest gift and our worst enemy sometimes.

So now you know what's been occupying my time and mind for the last little bit, my time in the studio has been quite limited as a result.  Not to mention the gorgeous summer weather that's suddenly decided to pay us a visit..a long overdue's been hard to resist just sitting on the deck and wriggling my pale, light deprived toes in the warm sunshine after so many months of wool socks and boots.
The plants my mom planted during her visit here not too long ago are thriving, the thrice transplanted rhubarb is being a trooper and has started taking over a good part of the garden, which is always a great excuse to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, a family favorite.

I'm hoping to finish off some pieces this weekend and introduce them into the shop early next week, the inventory is getting a little stale and my hands are also aching to get back to working with metal.  It's time to cut off all my nails again and get back to the bench.

xo Blue Gnome