05 December 2009

Countdown to Kenya!

Getting into the last few days before I leave, I'm tying up loose ends and running those last few errands. It's surreal that I'm actually going.

For those of you that don't know, I'm leaving for Nairobi next Thursday to participate in a fiction program with the Summer Literary Seminars.

This is an amazing opportunity and I'm extremely excited. I was so sad when the program was cancelled last year, but I couldn't resist the chance to try again. I'm really looking forward to the atmosphere in Africa and the workshop process.

Stay tuned for photos from Nairobi, the Maasai Mara park, and Lamu island. In the meantime, I've indulged in a taste of Christmas a bit early over at Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem.

23 November 2009

Fresh from the workshop!

Just in time for this weekend's annual Rock and Roll Market, I've got brand new goodies ready to go. I'll be closing up SleeplessStoryteller's Bits & Baubles for the day, so if you'll be in Victoria and would like to see my designs in person, come check out the Market.

4th Annual Rock, Rock, Rock, and Roll Market!

hard drive disc arms & motor windings

steampunk & trashion

"Time Flies" & cyborg butterflies

rings & lapel pins

copper steampunk

16 November 2009

Adventuring online

Getting into the fall project crunch as I always seem to do - and loosing more light every day - I decided to cheer myself up today by searching for an old favourite game I used to play online. We all need distractions sometimes, right?

By the time I'd surfed around a bit and satisfied my nostalgia, I realized that I genuinely have no time to waste time. How sad is that?

If you, on the other hand, have some time to kill in the near future, I highly recommend a bit of light-hearted (and free!) gaming:

The Kingdom of Loathing
Before you visit the site and come back to comment, I should warn you that this is a very visually basic game. If you can get past that, you'll be surprised how funny it actually is.

26 October 2009

Clickable, flickable, twistable parts

A friend was browsing through my store a few weeks ago, and the pieces she picked out immediately were the spinner rings. She loved that the parts still moved. That was my favourite part of each piece too.

I delight in being able to preserve a working button, switch, dial or other moving part from an old hard drive, DVD ROM, computer component or other piece of electronic equipment.

So I thought I'd collect up some of my designs with moving parts, and dedicate a blog post just to them. Although none of these fixtures still perform their intended tasks, they're pretty fun to play with.

Cyborg Cameo Necklace
(button clicks)

Sound of Trashion Dial*
(dial twists 360°)

Switchback Pendant*
(spring-loaded switch moves)

Switch Set
(all switches move)

Steampunk Set
(arm turns and gears move)

Motor West
(wheels turn)

Spinner Ring
(top piece moves indefinitely in either direction)

Wonder Winding Spinner Ring
(winding and accents move indefinitely in either direction)

Directionless Ring
(compass moves, but isn't accurate)

Screwy Idea Pendant
(watch case opens like a locket)

17 October 2009

Hyeopjae Beach

Now that the gray raincloud of winter has descended on Vancouver Island, I'm compelled to start surrounding myself with happier beach imagery. Searching for a new desktop background yesterday, I used the term "Jungmun Beach". It's a tourist beach near swanky seaside hotels on Jeju Island, off the southern coast of South Korea.

Jungmun is beautiful, but when we drove around to the rural, less commercial touristy parts of the island, we saw other beaches with a different, but still very exotic appeal.

When I posted my photographs from the trip, I didn't try very hard to track down the names of all those extra beaches and viewpoints.

But yesterday, while looking for Jungmun, I came across images I recognized from one of those rural stops and I remembered just how gorgeous it was. Some of those rugged beaches and weathered roadside amenities were beautiful in the same way that old watch parts and obsolete computer parts draw me in.

I made a mental note to myself: become a better traveller. Next time I share travel photos, I'll try to do justice to each and every one - not just the hot-spots.

Hyeopjae Beach

30 September 2009

Imitation vs. inspiration

In chatting with other crafters, artists, and writers, the issue of imitation often comes up. Some of us have strong feelings, so I'm curious to hear more opinions.

If somebody knowingly copies my designs or story ideas, I'm offended, but I also choose the viewpoint that if my ideas are worth stealing, then they're interesting and engaging. I'll be inspired again and poachers - probably never have been.

But where is the line between copying and drawing on another for inspiration. There are no new ideas, so we have to concede that even our most beloved creations are not entirely our own.

What do you think? How do you feel?

13 September 2009

Keeping busy, really

Sometimes, when life moves fast, our digital calendar looks empty. Personally, I attribute this to the fact that my relationship with the Internet (and my various online hang-outs) has changed dramatically since starting a new job this past March.

It's both interesting and challenging to figure out just how many times one doesn't need to check her Yahoo email when it's no longer optional.

That said, in spite of the fact that I haven't been active on my blog or DA or Facebook, I do have something to show for myself.

I've been writing, reading, crafting more jewellery, and just popped home to Vernon for a visit over Labour Day. I was bummed at the time when my August long weekend trip was cancelled, but looking back, it probably wasn't the best time to visit - Terrace Mountain being on fire and all.

I don't have any pics to show for my latest trip, so I'm re-posting some from the summer of 2006 when I went home for a wedding. (If you've been reading this blog for awhile, I also posted these during the summer of 2007 because I was homesick.)

Terrace Mountain behind Kin Beach

Okanagan Landing

Sailing in the Sun

Sage Hills

View from Mom & Dad's

In other news, I've finally signed up for Twitter. I'll admit that I still don't get why this site is such a big hit, but I'm sure millions of people can't be wrong. I suspect I just haven't figured out what makes 'tweets' tick.

Best Laid Plans
is now available September 18 (previously October 15), so I'll be excited to get a hold of my first hard copy a bit earlier.

Also, look for a fresh wave of new jewellery next weekend on my DA account, if not also in my Etsy store. I've held back quite a few new pieces as some of them may end up being consigned locally.

08 August 2009

Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem

Just a quick note this morning, for anyone who's interested. An interview I did with Carrie Hinkel-Gill is now posted on her blog at: moonlightlacemayhem.blogspot.com.

It's pretty comprehensive, so go check it out for anything you ever wanted to know about me.

27 July 2009

DIY enamel

I've been getting ridiculously frustrated with sourcing vintage enamel recently.

For most of my jewellery, I start with junk, then see what I can make. But for some pieces, I want a few special touches and I need outside supplies.

And sometimes once I've got those supplies, I get inspired to make something from scratch. Most of my flowers and butterflies fall under the 'supply' category.

Last week, while browsing online for some economical enameled flowers (in vintage jewellery or as loose charms) - and finding the selection slim and overpriced - it occurred to me, "Why can't I just do this myself?" And it turns out I could.

Butterflies previously silver-toned, flowers previously brass

So for all the other crafters out there finding enamel charms getting rarer and more expensive, hit the nearest hobby shop and pick up a jar of paint for $2.50. You'll never catch yourself trolling eBay again. (Well, not for enamel flowers.)

Now for the rosary upcycle. I wouldn't classify the rosary as junk. But as it wasn't going to serve either of its original purposes - of garnering a donation or as a prayer guide. So it became two new things.

Butterfly statement necklace with watch parts and Lucite flowers

Locket necklace, brass and red aluminum

11 July 2009

Sunbursts and Best Laid Plans

I'm excited to share my recent news that Watching July received an Honourable Mention from the 2009 Sunburst Awards.

I also discovered that Chapters has already listed my next novel, due out this fall. So if you'd like a sneak peek at Best Laid Plans, it's online.

Now I'm off to the All Art Show in Sooke to listen to a reading.

05 July 2009

Rosary beads and claymation

Before Jeff and I went camping this weekend at Sombrio Beach, we received an interesting promotional item in the mail.

A church from Ontario mailed "Jeff Hart" (by the way, I love it when people employ variable data and give Jeff my name) a rosary with a personalized keepsake bag. The purpose for this gift was outlined in the accompanying letter soliciting donations.

It's not possible that this church knew, but Jeff was raised as a Catholic - although I don't think he was interested in the beads.

Regardless of what I think about a church soliciting donations outside its membership, I find it fascinating that this group took it upon themselves to reduce - what for many is a valued holy object - to the significance of a key chain or magnet.

I, however, will make use of the rosary. Look for red rosary beads to show up in a necklace and earring set in my store. (I will recycle anything and everything is fair game.)

On a mildly related note, I sat down to watch a favourite Primus video on YouTube this afternoon after we got home. While camping, Jeff and I listened to an old punk and metal mix of mine and I remembered how cool their claymation videos were (and still are).

I'm always impressed by bands that enhance a distinctive sound by adding equally unique imagery. Even when they're covering another band.

02 July 2009

Dani's on the cover of Monday Magazine!

Well, technically, she's not on the cover, but her photograph is! My good friend Dani Boynton just got her first magazine cover credit and I'm thrilled for her!

Before you read any further, go visit her web site. Seriously, all my links open new browser windows; go check her out.

Okay, now that you're back, it probably makes sense that I begged her to do my wedding and why I'm so lucky to have her do my author bio pics.

If you're in the Victoria area and you need any kind of fashion or portrait photography, she's your gal.

Congrats Dani!

28 June 2009

Interesting custom order

I had my first online custom request last weekend (the same weekend as the events of my previous post!) and I just wrapped everything up today. I had done a commission awhile back, but it was less formal.

This order was interesting because I was asked to duplicate one of my other necklaces, to create a pair of symbolic gifts to give to two friends celebrating a joint milestone birthday.

Given the type of jewellery I create, a duplication is nearly impossible. Fortunately this was a very open-minded customer who embraced my suggestion of creating a 'sister' piece. Ironically, the original necklace was already an adaptation of a brooch I sold locally.

Time Flies Sister Necklaces

(Original black "Time Flies Necklace" on the right, custom sister on the left.)

Coming off a wave of stressful, time-crunched copy editing on the proof of my next novel, it was a nice change of pace. (And yes, I still have a full-time job and a remote semblance of a social life.)

20 June 2009

New goodies at Sideshow

I had a very productive Saturday, so I thought I'd share some new jewellery with the blogosphere. They weren't made today, but are available in downtown Victoria as of this afternoon.

I've been getting a bit more elaborate, so the first few pics are of the same pieces from different angles.

Cameo Clockworks Necklace

Copper Creation Set

Purple Passion Set

Cameo Brooch

Hard Drive Hoops - Long

Winding Earrings

HDD Arm Charmed

14 June 2009

UK part 2: Edinburgh

Even as I type this post, it occurs to me that sharing photos on my blog (when it's much easier to create a Facebook album) is not the most efficient, desirable way to do this.

That said, I've already edited the photos (and my sister already created a Facebook album of our trip), so in chronological order, here are a few snaps from my recent stay in Edinburgh:

Morton Hall
Not quite as expansive as Tatton Park, but infinitely more impressive than my tiny little condo

Aberdour Beach
Sarah and our second cousin on The Silver Sands Beach

Edinburgh Castle
The windy hilltop castle overlooking the city

Scottish Crown Jewels
A very long line for jewels less impressive than the collection at the Tower of London

Rosslyn Chapel
The fabled potential home of the Holy Grail

Rosslyn Carving
Inspirational carving on a memorial on the Chapel grounds

Sisters at Rosslyn
Sarah and I by the main entrance

Burrell Archway
One of many preserved castle archways in the Burrell Collection

Traquair House
The oldest inhabited house in Scotland (with a world-famous brewery)

Traquair Maze
Charming maze with four subsections around a wooden sculpture at the centre