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!  
Wow..to 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 work..so here we are..land barons of sorts..lol..plenty 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 owners..now 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