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Volume Two, Chapter One

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You could all be very polite here and pretend not to notice my 4 year absence... Not going there? Well then, I'll bring you up to speed. Grab a cup of coffee and read on.

When we last left this blog I had just finished a sabbatical. I had returned to my job teaching Web Design at Sheridan College and was struggling with the lack of time I had for my own creative pursuits. I thought once I caught my breath things would improve.

I was wrong. So wrong.

In a nut shell, the last 4 years were the heaviest and also some of the best of my career. I was blessed with terrific groups of young people to teach, wonderful part time faculty to work with, incredibly supportive administration and great independence within the institution. But the work load that came with all that good stuff was massive. Summer holidays were always a welcome break, but shortened drastically by the need to continuously evolve curriculum to keep up with the rapid changes in the industries that hired our grads.

So la…

You'd Think I Could Remember Memory Wire

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But apparently not.

Pursuant to a previous post, I resolved my problem with wanting to wear multiple bracelets that I could put on AND take off. It's Memory Wire of course. One continuous springy length that looks like many bracelets but wears like one. Loops and loops of lovely beads that wrap on, wind off, don't get tangled and require no closure (for the clasp-challenged like me).

If you've not heard of memory wire, it is a wonderful thing. It's fine stainless steel wire that is cold forged into a spring. It returns to its original shape after being stretched so it is ideal for jewelry that sits close to your body - like chokers and bracelets and rings. It comes in a variety of diameters and finishes and looks sort of like a flaccid slinky. It's easy to use, just don't cut it with your fine jewelry grade wire snips! I speak from personal experience here. It's as hard as well, steel, and will nick the heck out of the cutting edges of your good tools.

Now …

Lost, but gradually finding my way back. I think.

OK, there is no easy way to say this, so I'll just spit it out:

Going back to work after being on sabbatical totally sucked.

Was it worth it? Completely. Even with the beginning and end transitions being so hard.

Did I learn stuff. Of course. Plenty of new skills and improvements in process and quality. But the most important things I learned were quantum lessons. You know, the hugely tiny things that change how you think. I can sum these up in 3 points:

1) Apparently I do exist outside my job - after 25 years I wasn't really sure.
2) Apparently the program can run without me, albeit due to the strong curriculum and a great group of part time folks who filled in for me.
3) And because of points 1 and 2, I will retire the minute I qualify for a full pension.

This last point came as a big surprise to me. I love my job (OK I didn't love it at all for the first month or so going back) and I really enjoy the teaching, the students and my colleagues. But I now know for sure that …

In Jewelry, As In Life, Pretty Isn't Always Enough

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Well maybe in life looks can get you a long way. But looks alone aren't going to get these bracelets very far...

In summer I love to wear bracelets. A lot of bracelets. I'd wear them all the time actually, but they are a problem as they clatter against the desk or the surface of my MacBook Pro while I'm teaching. So I end up taking them all off in class and then I leave them all over the place and the students (kindly) chase me around the lab to give them back or leave them in a little pile by my notes.

Instead of a lot of individual bracelets, I decided to make some multi-strand bracelets. Many strings, one easy (and this is a key word) on/off step.

Oh sure, they look great.  See the subtle colours in the coordinated palettes. Wonder at the variety of shapes and sizes and the interplay of iridescent, facetted and matt finishes. Appreciate the beauty of the fit and the professional application of findings. Marvel that the beads where selected from shops in LA, Toronto, Ne…

Catching up and the Revised Nelson Necklace

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Oh wow. I haven't posted anything here for about 8 weeks! Not that I haven't been making. And not that I haven't been thinking about posting ... the pictures were taken. But somehow it just didn't get done. Let's just blame summer time. So expect a little flurry of posts over the next while as I get caught up.

Mostly I've been making things with beads this summer. I like to be outside as much as I can vs. sitting at a sewing machine. And Mark and I are often on the road, heading out for a day or two at some fishing hole or a weekend away with friends, so beads are the most portable solution to the need to be making something all the time. I can grab a few tools and some beads from the stash, pack them in my handy little travel kit, toss it in the back of the car and head out.

Here's the thing about my extensive bead stash - sometimes (OK a lot of the time) I forget what is in there. So going looking for something often results in finding something else. Th…

Heading to the Mother Ship

Here I am in New York City. It's a lovely morning and I'm up early and on my way to Alt Summit NYC ( http://www.altitudesummit.com/) - a conference on blogging and marketing. The event is hosted by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which means that I am heading to the mother ship in a few minutes.
Not entirely sure what to expect, except that there will likely be 198 young women, maybe one man and me in the audience. And if Martha Stewart should pop by (as she did at last year's summit), for a brief moment I won't be the oldest person in the room.
I'll let you know how it goes and what I learn in a later post.

Desert Inspiration

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My trip to the southwest earlier this month was great! And so inspiring in many ways.

Right off the plane, Sheila and I went to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. I've never been to Arizona in May and so I was surprised by the amount of blossom everywhere. And the cactus were in bloom too. By the way, there is a very nice new restaurant there called Gertrudes. Lunch there was a terrific way to start off our holiday.

Just at the entrance to the Gardens was this display of cactus, succulents and other plants in big pots. I saw similar things everywhere we went. Made me want a little version of this at home!

Of course, some climate variation had to be considered! Succulents (vs Cacti) seemed to be the way to go, seeing as they tolerate extreme heat and cold, and grow through times of both drought and moisture. Which sort of sums up the annual weather picture around here!

So, I rounded up some pots, dug a few 'hens and chicks' (various kinds of Sempervivum for those of yo…