Thursday, December 29, 2011

For Unto Us...

Merry Christmas week and pre-Happy New Year!! 

Let’s go back a couple of weeks to the day we were finally able to get our tree.  We went to the same place we go to every year and came home with a beauty.  It was an easy choice and we were able to begin the decorating process in record time.  I have a box (many boxes, actually) but a specific box for Christmas lights.  Each year, I put them away in working order so there are no surprises the following year.  When, what to my wondering eyes should appear… but 3 strings of lights with 50% of the bulbs blown.  **sigh**  Last year I spent 2 days searching – and finding – the non-working bulbs.  This year, with N.E.wear projects and a deadline, I opted to replace the entire strings.  There must be a better way!!  L.E.D. lights, you say.  My track record happens to be tarnished with them, too.  So, I supported our local hospice thrift store and replaced my strings with someone else’s donation.  And now the tree twinkles in colours that surround our angel decorations.  On the top of the tree is “Angie”, the same angel we used on our family Christmas trees when I was a little girl.

I have to say our Christmas has been delightful – we’ve been able to “skype” with our long-distance relatives and kept our busy-ness to a minimum.  But here’s the question:  Is it right that a Canadian girl celebrate Christmas with green grass and a blooming weeping pussy willow?  I’ve searched my snow-starved soul long and hard, and my husband has convinced me that the lack of snow over Christmas has saved lives.  This season is already riddled with stressful travel time issues and with whom we spend that time.  So… I put on my big-girl panties and let this one go; not having miserable road conditions to deal with was a Christmas blessing. 

Today is Thursday, December 29 – 3 days from 2012.  We have been very blessed this year and look forward to making the most of each day we’re given.  From our home on the pond, our family wishes all of you good health, good friends and enough free time to appreciate what you have. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Frosted Window Panes...

I’m not usually on the road at in the morning, but last Thursday I was headed to the Certified Angus Beef meeting room to pick up what remained of my stock after their Christmas Show & Sale.  It was my second such show and at the very end of the day, someone bought the dragonfly wing earrings and the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly wing pendant.  Even though everyone who sees my wing pieces catches their breath when they find out they’re made from REAL wings, this jewelry is not for everyone.  Not unlike switching summer dresses for chunky sweaters, finding real wings is seasonal so I await next summer with baited breath.

Being on the road at last Thursday morning was a gift; the landscape was covered in a heavy frost.  I call it hoar frost and someone on Wikipedia wrote:  “The name hoar comes from Old English and can be used as an adjective for showing signs of old age in reference to the frost which makes trees and bushes look like elderly white hair.”  I like that definition.  Everything was still.  Everything was quiet.  Kind of like what the carol Silent Night says – “all is calm, all is bright”.  Evidence of the death of fall was everywhere.  And it was beautiful.  Really beautiful. 

In our road trip last month, we saw the same vision while driving through northern Ontario one morning.  The only sign of life was a lone wolf standing in the middle of a small, frozen pond.  I’m not sure why I’m so smitten with this image.  Perhaps it goes to simplicity.  Being in awe of what’s in front of us and not taking it for granted.  My friend, Ginny, has a generous bird feeder hanging from the tree in her front yard.  She has the most beautiful collection of birds who frequent her feeder daily.  Ginny also has a hunter kitty.  One day she handed me a handful of feathers – striking, red feathers, and striped grey/brown and black.  Sadly, she explained that they belonged to one of the cardinals and a Carolina wren that used to visit her feeder.  She hoped I could use them.  I’ve added them to the Khepri jewelry.  Wings.  Of all kinds.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Here to N.E.wear - It's Official!

Welcome to the official Grand Opening of "Here to N.E.wear".  While I do like to journal, the main purpose of my page is to keep you current with N.E.wear designs.  Here you'll find examples of custom pieces in the Commissions and Sold Gallery, and all my work that is available directly from me, from The 120 Artists CoOp and from Westwood Studio, both located in Wooster.  The options are almost limitless as to the colour combinations, shapes, designs and findings materials.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner (for those who live south of the border), the Christmas season is almost upon us.  Maybe this year you'll want to give one-of-a-kind gifts.  Check out the photo galleries and see if anything strikes your fancy. 

As for my recent road trip, I made it home safely after a week-long trip across western Canada.  I’m in grandchild withdrawal already.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Road Trips

The beautiful thing about a road trip is...  actually, there are many things; you get to know your trip mates REALLY well - you get to try regional foods - your surroundings can be inspiring - you gain a new appreciation for what you love about being at home - you get to drive, and drive...  and drive.  I think after we're finished, Amy & I will have driven over 3300 Canadian km. or about 2100 miles (for my friends at home).  For the most part, the roads have been clear, the skies have been kind and the deer and moose have kept to themselves.  Today, we had lunch in the Cornerstone Bar & Grill in Kenora, Ontario.  It used to be an historic bank building.  We have been eating the usual as-healthy-as-you-can-eat road food, but today we felt like having a treat.  We ordered a yummy chicken, avacado, tomato, greens, roasted red pepper sandwich on toasted sourdough with the REALLY YUMMY house salad of spring greens, candied pecans, red onions, goat cheese and balsamic vinegrette.  We thought we'd been to heaven.  Why can't I get inspired to make that for lunch at home?  Oh - Did I mention my two grandboys are with us?  They had pizza.  Did I also mention they've been champs the entire time??  We've been on the road since Friday night.  I have been inspired by a couple of things this trip:  the strength of my daughter as she has wrangled the details of this move, and the turbines at the Red Lily Wind Farm near Moosomin, Saskatchewan.  My fascintation has to do with the steady, graceful motion to get the job done - both with Amy and the turbines.  I believe N.E.wear will benefit from this inspiration!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My favourite season.

Fall has always been my favourite season.  Always!  And I really like the idea that the word "fall" has Old Norse derivatives - from the land of Vikings, and all.  Maybe that’s why I have such an affinity with rocks. 

So much has happened since N.E.wear’s inception.  And "N.E.wear" wasn’t the first alphabetic configuration.  Let’s go back over a year ago, to last August.  My daughter, Amy, was here visiting with our two grand boys, Ethan and Christian.  I thought it might be fun to make some jewelry with Ethan, who was about 4½ at the time.  We chose colours of polymer modeling clay and E. thought he would be good at turning the handle on the pasta roller.   After a few passes, the exact thickness was achieved.  We cut some shapes from different colours, placed them on the base, rolled again and merged them together.  Amy started cutting out shapes and by the time we were finished, we had 2 sets of earrings and pendants.  This is really when I had my first vision of making jewelry.  And of course, never mind having enough pieces to sell, or where to sell them or any sort of business plan – I needed a name.  And I wanted to use our initials:  N, A and E.  “NEA”.  ANE”.  “EAN”.  Nothing worked.  Then, suddenly – there it was.  AnE.wear.  After some testing, however, it became evident this was going to require some phonetic symbols to ensure correct pronunciation.  Argh – too complicated! 

Finally, after simplifying my medium from polymer clay to acrylic paint came the simpler spelling of N.E.wear.  It wasn't a TRUE epiphany, but it was certainly a great ah-ha!

Monday, October 31, 2011

In the beginning...

My jewelry adventure began on December 5, 2010.  I attended a Christmas decoration workshop at our church.  I made a few things, but what caught my attention was the process of squirting acrylic paint into clear, glass balls, turning them upside and allowing the paint, which I so carefully squirted inside, to drip out.  The result was a gorgeous mix of red, silver and white, flowing into and around each other – creating a decoration card shops could only dream about.  After 3 days, the paint had finished dripping and had dried.  The workshop leader supplied a beautiful wired ribbon to tie onto the cap of the glass ball.  I’ve always been crafty, but this was extremely simple and produced an amazing effect.

I got my Scrabble friends together one afternoon and before our weekly Scrabble tournament, we made glass ball decorations.  Not only were the colour options endless, the assortment of glass balls available made each piece unique.  We squirted and twirled and when the last ornament had been turned over in its own little plastic cup, we stood back and surveyed our handiwork.  Our homes would be well-decorated this Christmas with the most eclectic array of coloured glass balls.  Hand-made!  We could give them as gifts, too.  Our minds were dizzy with the possibilities.

Christmas came and went.  We put our precious glass balls in storage.  I even found a few of our “gifts” in the spring rummage sale.  Hm…     Throughout the winter I made more glass ball ornaments experimenting with different colour combinations.  As I looked at the paint drippings, I realized there was more to this than just glass ball ornaments.  With this revelation, N.E.wear jewelry was born!