Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My last craft show of the season!

A huge thanks to all those who came out last week-end to the Hotcakes show, supporting local artisans and giving a wee boost to the local economy. Great to see you all!

For those Montrealers who didn't make it to Hotcakes, and who still need to do some last-minute shopping, fear NOT!

The RUSTY PLUM Craft Sale is back in Montreal's Mile-End, and I'll be there, along with lots of other amazing crafters!!! Please bring along a non-perishable food donation for Herstreet/La Rue des Femmes, an organization helping homeless women with housing and autonomy.

◘ Saturday December 20, 10am to 7pm
◘ Sunday December 21, 10am to 5pm
At the Ukrainian Federation, 405 Fairmont W., corner Hutchison

Come and have a peek - I'm sure you'll find some perfect gifts! *** AND... a wee little gift for you - mention you saw this message on my blog and I'll give you $5 off any purchase of $20 or more!

I must apologize to my readers for being a bad blogger again.

As I'm sure you understand, craft show season is a little crazy, and I put up and took down my display at 7 different events, one more than last year - I seem to add one on every year! And it doesn't seem to matter how many times I set up my display, it always takes me waaay too long!

Christmas is next week and I've done diddly-squat. I'm going to cram my baking in next Tuesday. Our family does the big New Year's celebration, so there's stuff to prepare for that too (here's last year's for an idea). And I've done... zippity. Yikes.

Will be back to good blogging habits again in January!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This week-end I'll be at Montreal's HOTCAKES... PETITS PAINS SHOW!

Come and get your holiday shopping done this week-end!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday December 12th, 13th and 14th, from noon to 7pm, I'll be at the 3rd annual Hotcakes Craft Sale / Petits Pains Show, at Eglise St-Enfant Jésus, 5035 St-Dominique, between Laurier and St-Joseph, a 10 minute walk from métro Laurier.

You'll find original, handmade gifts for everyone on your list, while supporting local artisans and crafters! Hope to see you there (^_^)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some new and new-ish cards

Yesterday was a card making day; did a new version of my Holiday Crane - the colours are a little off here since it's very overcast here.

The cranes are paired up in packages with my new design below - can you tell it's a little gift (I thought it was such a good idea, but if you look at something and poke around with the design for too long, you kinda lose perpective)? I think I'll be doing these year-round in different colours, since I like the simplicity of them. Pretty happy with how they turned out.

I package cards by 6's, 3 each of 2 designs which seems to work well for customers. I'll have to also make more of my other set today, which you see below, since I sold almost all of them this past Saturday. At certain shows I sell tons of cards, at others, hardly any; the one this coming Sunday, is usually good for cards.

Then there's my other larger card (5"x7") series, but I'll write about that another time...

The post office will be opening soon, so I'll be heading out the door into the snow (just a smattering). Looking forward to the the first coffee of the day that I'll make when I get back!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

You can NEVER tell...

This past Friday evening I was feeling pretty down since the craft fair at the CBC was rather pathetic (please see previous post for my excited ramblings). What I and all the other sellers thought was going to be a lovely two days of regular sales ended up being the longest two days I've ever spent in one room. Apparently in former years it's been quite successful, but hardly anyone came this year! I felt bad for the people who did venture in because then we were all like sharks circling innocent prey - well, no, it wasn't really that bad, and I'm not an aggressive seller, but it kinda felt that way :) I met some really nice sellers though, which is always great! And I did have a pretty good lemon poppyseed scone from the cafeteria there - the coffee, however, was another story. Hmph! I thought Canada's national public broadcasting agency would at least have good coffee! You can NEVER tell...

Yesterday's craft sale hosted by Ikebana International Montreal made up for the poor sales the previous two days, yay! A small scale event, sales were brisk for the four and a half hours we were there. Did I say "yay" before? Yaaay!

Got two shows to prepare for this coming week, one at Collège Villa Maria on Friday and Saturday, and one at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre on Sunday afternoon. Looking forward to a good week-end in sales, but once again, you can NEVER tell, right?

I have no photos of my week-end sales, or anything pertinent to this post for that matter, so here's a picture of me and my friend Cathy. I think we were around 8 years old, so this would be 1975-ish. She is holding scantily clad Barbie and I'm holding the Ken whose head I would later experimentally stick in the spout of a boiling kettle (it's plastic, what did I THINK was going to happen?).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bad habits and a list of food

I'm feeling like this is going to be a productive day. Well, I have no choice really.

It's 10am, got my second coffee sitting in my good friend, the French press. Just got back from doing some work for a community newspaper that I volunteer on - wanted to get it done early so I still have full day to work. I feel like there's a flame at my heels today since it was only yesterday that I really got into gear again for my next sales, which start tomorrow. What is it that makes me act like a meatloaf on some days and a whirlwind on others, when I could just spread the work out evenly and have a normal work week like everyone else? I think I'm a freak.

Anyway, it IS going to be a productive day. Got some more pendants to varnish, some jewellery to assemble and cards to finish up. I'll be setting up early tomorrow morning at CBC / Radio Canada (Canadian Broadcasing Corporation, kinda like the BBC in the UK); looking forward to that one! It's a nice building too and they have a decent cafeteria - although I usually bring a lunch to sales events, I'm always concerned about having good coffee and a good snack.

My brother, Doug, and sister-in-law, Karen, were in town this past weekend to see a play that their son, my nephew Phillip, did the costume and set design for. He's studying at Concordia University here in Montreal. The show was great, the costumes were amazing (woo hoo Phil!), as were the actors. I'm always amazed at young theatre folk, as the acting (and singing in this case too) just comes so naturally. Where can I get me some of that talent?

We all went to my sister, Pat's for brunch on Sunday morning. My other sister Nancy, remarked in an email last night, that I'm like my mom in that I like to list what foods are at any gathering and comment on them. Cannot deny it. I like to eat, I like to look at food, talk about it and take pictures of it. It's all true. I didn't have my camera on Sunday but thank goodness Karen had hers (yay!). So here are the boys looking a little odd, that's Doug in the Habs' cap (he always wears a cap), Phillip in purple and JF saying "cheese"...

And here was brunch (Nancy, my sistah, this list is for you):
  • lovely fruit platter - that pineapple was crazy good
  • clementines (yay, it's clementine season again!)
  • a delightful and mild camembert from the monastery in St-Benoit du Lac
  • chocolate chip muffins (fresh from Pat's oven)
  • whole wheat bread (fresh from our bread machine)
  • the BEST bagels in the world HANDS DOWN - Montreal bagels (why are they the best, you ask? the secret is in the Romanian Jewish recipe that you apparently don't find in other cities. ). These are not buns with barely a hole in the middle, THESE are the real thing.
  • cream cheese, to sit on the bagels of course
  • smoked salmon, to keep the cream cheese company of course.

Now for some randomness... This terribly unflattering photo supports a theory: apparently, our armspans are supposed to be kind of equal to our height. So I wanted to test this, and Phillip measured me on the tiles. I guess I'm kind of proportionate despite my very short legs.

Ok, will get to work now. On my way home this morning, picked up an almond croissant from the Italian bakery around the corner and will have half with my coffee that is now very strong since it's been sitting in there for 15 minutes! The other half will accompany my afternoon coffee. Aaaah, the ever so temporary joy of sugar and caffeine.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jewellery party report...

My first day of selling for the upcoming holiday season went really well!

Last Friday, I went to the primary school where my friend, Rhiannon, works and did pretty well with the staff there. Everyone was so nice (as they were last year)! We then went to her place to set up for our jewellery party; she has a great house, perfect for this kind of event. We were both kind of nervous, but it ended up going really well. It was a small gathering of 8 lovely women, but everyone ended up buying numerous items from me, so I ended up doing as well as I do on a pretty good day at a craft show. The whole day added up was just fine and dandy!
Here's my jewellery table in the living room. The format of the evening was great, very casual and relaxed. People arrived, got a glass of wine and then came to look at the jewellery. I have lots of pendants not on a chain or leather necklace (middle display board on my table) since many people already have numerous chains at home, and customers also like to choose the colour and length of leather for their necklaces. I also brought along all my tools and extra findings to put it all together, and everyone was happy with their custom-made pieces.

Here are my cards on the coffee table, and my catalogue that I left out in case people were interested to see where I work and other kinds of pieces I make. I also did a draw for a chiyogami pendant necklace at the end of the evening.

There's all kinds of hostess incentives and gifts you can offer; just google "home jewelry party" for lots of ideas. I opted for one necklace & earring set as a gift for hosting, and 10% of the evening's sales in gift certificates or merchandise. I really enjoyed this relaxed format; I didn't do any kind of cheesey presentation - not that there's anything wrong with that, I just feel a bit silly chatting about how to wear my jewellery! I think the women there enjoyed an evening out to get some early Christmas shopping done, and a chance to meet and chat with some new acquaintances. Everyone commented on the uniqueness of my stuff, so that made me feel pretty good :)

Definitely something I'd like to do again, and something I'd totally recommend trying!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Setting up shop in a school & in someone's home...

These chiyogami pendants are fresh, varnish still drying. Needless to say, they are far from the kitties' reach...

I made this batch because this Friday, I will be going to an elementary school where my friend Rhiannon works, to set up shop in the staff room. She invited me out there last year around this time since some of her colleagues liked my work, and I ended up selling much of what I had brought with me in the 90 wild minutes I was there. It was kind of overwhelming, but great! I had heard that school staff rooms are a great place to sell jewellery and other hand made items, since teachers are often looking for gifts, or a little treat for themselves, and last year's experience definitely supported that!

So they're allowing me back there again this year (yay!), and then that evening Rhiannon is hosting a home jewellery party featuring... me!

We had talked about the possibility of doing this earlier in the year, but I wanted to leave it up to her since it would be in her home and the burden would really be on her. I'm so happy it worked out, and even if it ends up being a quiet evening with a few friends passing by, I'm really looking forward to just trying out this format. I've read about other jewellery makers' experiences and wish I had a big enough (and nice enough!) apartment to host something like this - one day...! But for now, I'm so grateful for good friends like Rhiannon, who is also a very enthusiastic supporter and wearer of my work (I get kind of embarrassed by her compliments) and she's really looking forward to this Friday too! I'll let you know how it goes.

In case you're interested in doing something like this yourself - or with other jewellery makers or artisans (would be neat to host a mini-craft fair, don't you think?), here is the invitation I put together for this Friday's party. It's meant to be sent out by the hostess. Please feel free to use it for ideas for your own invitation (click on it to enlarge).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Week-end eating!

Monday, phew...!

Seems like it was a busy week-end for lots of bloggers out there - mine was jam-packed, and involved lots of eats from some of Montreal's best restos!

Saturday lunch/dinner: Indian food from Indian Curry House in Montreal, where our taiko group often eats after performances. Toronto taiko group, Nagata Shachu, were our guests since they were in town for two shows. Director Gary Kiyoshi Nagata is an amazing taiko player (the best in Canada!) and teacher who we are fortunate to call our friend. Their show was stellar, to say the least.

Sunday lunch: Beautiful Japanese bento style meal at Sakura, for a volunteer appreciation gathering of a community newspaper that I volunteer on. Crap, I should have taken a photo!

Sunday dinner: My sister has turned us all onto Roberto's lasagna since she started ordering it in the humungous family format size years ago. The homemade pasta and simple tomato sauce is the best. The pan is so big, we always get to bring some home (^_^), so no need to even think about dinner tonight!

Sunday evening was a perfect evening, with dinner at my sister's, and my brother Ron in town overnight on a stopover on his way to a meeting on Canada's maritime coast; my nephew Phillip made it too since he actually had a free evening from his university studies (we'll be going to see a play he is working on (costume and set design) in a couple of weeks. Here we all are: Pats, me, Ron, Amy, Phillip, Sarah, JF (our cousin, Judy, had already left).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en!

This was taken probably five or six years ago... My sister made Ebi the cat a Hallowe'en cape with silver bats all over it (can't see it that well here), and we tried to make him sit in the window with the pumpkin, which he got tired of pretty quickly. He slept the rest of the evening.

Please be sure to keep your cats safe and indoors tonight, especially your black cats!!!

It's going to be a busy week-end for me - enjoy yours (^_^)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A bit of everything...

Just received some flyers in the mail for an upcoming show - you can see one of my necklaces on the cover, second from the bottom, yay! This show is at a private high school here in Montreal; I did it for the first time last year and it was a really good one for me, so I'm really looking forward to it again this year. I had a few great trades with other sellers too, which is always fun!

Lots of new pieces being created in my wee little studio... This one is up in my shop:

It's October 29th, and we woke up to a dusting of snow this morning. Aaack!
I remember many times as a kid, having to wear my ski jacket under my Halloween costume... it's supposed to be much warmer this Friday though, for the trick or treaters :)

To warm ourselves up, a fall favourite: butternut squash soup, well, more of a potage. Turned out yummy, although I went a little heavy on the pepper.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gearing up for the busy season & treasures in the garbage!

I think the pressure of the holiday season has finally hit me. Sales have picked up a little online (yay!) and I've got five craft events/shows that I have to prepare inventory for, three that have been very good to me in the past, and a new one this year that I'm looking forward to.

The paper that Chibi was lying in last Friday's post is now mostly cut up into the sizes I need for some new cards. Gotta put it right back in the plastic bins or either Chibi or Ebi will sprawl out over it.

Went to the post office this morning - sent and order to a customer in France whose mother is Japanese and who was chose my jewellery because she was looking for earrings with some kind of "Japaneseness" about them. I'm always happy to meet other people of Japanese ancestry, but who are not Japanese (not born in Japan), since this is what/who I am too. Whaa, identity, that's a whole other thing to blog about! Post office lady still stuck my parcel in the measuring slot, but she might have actually listened to me this morning when I said my schpiel about the flatness of the boxes - I was in a better mood so it didn't bug me like it usually does.

I was probably in a good mood because I had spotted these in the garbage passing by the bank, on my way to the post office, and trotted back there once my parcels were mailed. These are old shelves that the bank used for various forms, but they are a perfect height for risers for my display. They'll lie flat, of course, and not on their sides as pictured here.

I have a huge roll of black velvet that I got at a bazaar last year - hey, everything looks better covered in black velvet! These will replace the flimsy boxes I've been using until now, that are always threatening to cave in. They were kind of awkward and heavy to lug home, but well worth it!

Yaaaaay, for freebies (^_^)

Friday, October 17, 2008

The post office lady and Friday Cat Blogging

Every time I go to the post office, it's the same thing:

  • I present my parcels, packaged in cd boxes that I switched over to in April (they are flat and can ship for less than a third of the price of jewellery size boxes).
  • One employee in particular insists on taking out the little slot measurement device to make sure it fits through, which means the lower price applies.
  • Every time I say in a light-hearted manner, "It's still the same size." What I WANT to say is, "The boxes haven't grown since I was here last week, lady. I'm not trying to fool Canada Post into charging me $1.92 instead of $6.45 - I purposely changed my packaging to fit into the less expensive category! And anyone looking at the box can tell that it's less than 2cm thick" ... A few times now I've even mentioned to her, very politely, that I switched over to these flat boxes because I know about Canada Post's regulations regarding package size.
  • Her answer this morning: "Hmm, I just have the tendency to want to measure it. You never know!"
  • My eyes then roll back in their sockets (I have no control over this), I let out a big sigh and a ,"You see, they ARE still the same size, hahaha..." AND she always tosses my customs forms (which I take the time to fill out at home so she doesn't have to) receipts at me. What happened to customer service training, or even just basic civility?
  • I gotta learn to just go with it. She isn't going to change, but I can -therein lies the challenge (^_^)

Thanks for letting me vent.

It's Friday!

Cats are wonderful for so many reasons. They are great company and the perfect destresser - just looking at them makes me smile. I cannot pass by a cat on the street without smiling at it (I always smile at dogs too) and chatting a bit if it will listen. My two cats are the best, although they still don't get along too famously; way better than it was before though. This morning I immediately felt better when I got home from the post office and scritchy-scratched my kitties. Instant relaxation. My Chibi:

I've been buying lots of paper for cards, in preparation for the holiday season. Au papier japonais here in Montreal has a superb selection of some of my favourites and I like to buy the full size sheets and cut it myself. Of course when I get home and unroll it to cut it, Chibi comes charging over to slide around on it and lie on it.

Of course. But how can I not love her for that?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Procrastinating.... and oh yeah, a 20% OFF SALE!

Ouf... I am slow to get with it these days. Even though it should be a whirlwind of a production time. Today is going to be a good day though, since I know I have a rehearsal from 5 to 11pm - psychologically when I know I have limited time, I get more done. Go figure. Five members of our group Arashi Daiko will be playing taiko (Jpnz drums) with a bunch of other amazing world musicians at this show on Saturday in Quebec City. So excited!

Been procrastinating with making stuff, cleaning up my studio, rearranging my tools and materials. Yikes. I said it before, I'll say it again - I am the QUEEN of Procrastination (capital P).
Because of my wandering and oft leaky brain, I totally forgot last Saturday that I had reserved a showcase spot on Etsy, to advertise my little shop. Totally missed it - didn't even select the featured items that would appear in the showcase pop-up. Grey matter, fail me not again!

Well I remembered that I've got a showcase spot today (yay!) and yesterday I took photos of some new chiyogami pieces, as well as other items, and got some posted in my shop last night.

... AND, I'm having a sale: 20% off everything in my shop, even the items already reduced in my sale section! Woo hooooo!

Clicking on any of the items pictured here will take you directly to its link in my shop!

Sale details:
* Regular shipping fees apply. Please make your purchase and I will send you a revised invoice with the applied discount. Or if you prefer, please go ahead and pay, and I will simply refund you your discount.

* Please note that I will be away from my computer today from 4:30pm until midnight, and I will make the revised invoices and process any refunds as soon as I get home. Thank-you!

Since I'm kinda late doing this blog post too (like, a couple of weeks late, haha), I think I will extend this sale for my blog readers for tomorrow as well! Just mention my blog in the note to seller at check-out (^_^).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Cat AND TURTLE blogging...

I let out a gasp and then a chuckle when I saw this photo on Etsy. Everything about it is perfect - the colours, the cat's pose and attitude. Love it!

The beds are the lovely work of Jayne of likekittysville. Model kitty Betty Bob now lives with Jayne, who has rescuesd many an abandoned cat (often feral) who have come a-knocking at her door... Have a look at Jayne's other beautifully designed modern beds for your funky feline.

Onto the turtles:
A couple weeks ago, we were all having dinner at my sister Pat's, when my sister-in-law Karen happened to mention that my brother Doug will NOT read my Friday blog post if it has to do with cats. Skips right over it.

Now, Doug likes animals, has always liked my cats, is good with dogs, and their kids who are all grown and out of the house now, always had a bunch of pets: birds, guinea pigs, snakes (two that are now around 8 years old) and turtles. They couldn't have a dog or cat in the house because of allergies, but they would have if they could have. And yet, he doesn't want to read my fascinating Friday Cat blog posts. Hmmmffff!

Over the years, on top of the little pet-shop turtles for his kids, Doug also rescued some turtles who were going to be out of a home when his construction company was preparing some boggy land prior to building. I believe he's relocated turtles to new homes in ponds and marshes closer to his home (they live in a small town near Toronto) safe from the construction bulldozers. One of these turtles, Margaret, is now living in an indoor turtle pond built by my bro, along with Jesse and Flash.

Here is the pond in their living room (you can click on it to see better). Oh yeah, and btw, that wooden chest was my grandfather's and it was sitting in our musty basement for 50 years or so; Doug did an amazing job refinishing it. Back to the turtles, apparently, Margaret (the biggest one) sometimes escapes, teetering first on the bamboo fence and then leaping to the floor below, so Karen and Doug have to be careful where they walk. It seems the turtles are pretty happy here.

Which reminds me, I will have to make more of these cards...

Hope you enjoyed this Dougie! Have a good week-end everyone (^_^)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Autumn leaves...

I went to see my osteopath yesterday, who made some adjustments in my usual trouble spots; often when I have pain somewhere that I have always thought was a muscular problem (I get terrible hardened spots in my forearms and shoulders since I work with my hands and am hunched over my work table for long periods of time; I'm sure playing taiko also contributes a little) it's actually structural, and a bone has moved or slipped slightly out of position. The muscles then get all wonky since they too are pushed out of position, soreness ensues and well, you get the picture.

Anyway, I ended up walking home, about an hour's walk, since the weather was nice and I didn't do any yoga this week since my back has been bugging me. I made a decision while walking: that I will bring back my collages for my craft shows this season (and I'm writing it here in my blog so I don't try to weasel out of it). A few years ago I started using leaves in combo with Japanese paper, needle and thread to make these little framed pictures. (for some reason, the picture uploads on its side all the time, and I can't flip it once uploaded -strange!)

These would do well at craft shows, but were not terribly cost-effective for the time they take to make and the price of the frames. I have a whole slew of frames that I would keep buying every time I'd see nice ones while out shopping, and yesterday's walk saw me harvesting more leaves for my collection (I've got 4 old telephone books full of them!). So I'm all set - I'll at least use up the frames I've got in stock. Now the only problem is finding room for them at the shows I'll be doing, since my table is usually pretty full with jewellery and cards...

Here's a new pendant I just listed in my Etsy shop yesterday - fitting for fall, wouldn't you say?

This past summer I did a festival in Vancouver, BC, and my sister, Nancy, was also selling there - we had neighbouring tables, so it was a lot of fun. Along with her beautiful pearl jewellery, she makes these ridiculously cute baby slippers using Japanese material. Fittingly, since her birthday is in October, her Japanese name is Akiko, which means autumn baby, and here are some of her autumn-ish slippers. Love 'em!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Updates: taiko and sushi...

If you've made a trip or two to my blog before, you probably know I am a member of Arashi Daiko, a taiko or Japanese drumming group here in Montreal. This is a huge part of my life and that of JF (my husband) as well; I've been playing for 10 years now and he's been playing for 13 years, and it's how we met - but that's a whole other story that I'll share another time!

This is when we were in Japan last year, filming a documentary on our taiko group, part of a television series on world music and musicians in Québec; here I'm trying to incorporate Fujimoto's san's (Yoshikazu Fujimoto is Kodo's most senior performer and the most incredible all-around artist/performer) comments and instructions into my playing while trying to calm my nerves and not make a total boob of myself. JF watches and prepares to receive comments on his playing. Photo by Melanie Taylor (thanks for taking all those shots, Melanie!).

Arashi Daiko is also going to be on tv this Saturday evening, LIVE! Yikes!!! The documentary I mentioned was on the air a few months ago, and led to this other tv show finding us, and contacting us to be on their musical variety show called Belle et Bum (kind of a quirky way of saying "Beauty and the Beast"). Very exciting, although going "live" is pretty scary. And if anyone is going to take a tumble off the edge of the stage or have something stuck on their face when a camera zooms in, it'll be me. I'm serious.

On a crafty note, staying within the realm of Japanese inspiration, here is a new sushi platter I started making this summer, but that I didn't show you all yet. It features a temaki, or hand-roll, those cone-shaped sushi packed to the brim with sushi rice and your favourite fillings - this one has fresh sake (salmon) and its loving partner, ripe avocado. A couple of nigiri and maki complete the meal, with the ever-present wasabi (horseradish paste) and shoga (ginger). I just sold the last one in my Etsy shop for this batch, but don't worry, I'll be making more shortly!

Whaddya think?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is September really over?

I cannot believe how quickly September has just scooted past me.

I did a craft show this past Saturday - very small event at a local church, but I'm content with how I did for a pretty low turn-out. I also got to see some interesting demonstrations. I met glass-blower Cathy Strokowsky a few years ago at some craft shows we were both doing (it was her mom who invited me to this show), and I now have five pairs of her earrings and 3 pendants since I looooove her lampwork beads. Even if I buy something, JF usually sneaks back to see Cathy (and partner Suzy), asks what else I've been eye-balling, and gets it for me - I told you he was the best (^_^).

I've recently become obsessed with lampwork beads in general (not just Cathy's) and I've been doing some serious glass bead ogling on Etsy. This past summer my sister in Edmonton told me she took a lampworking class, so the idea was planted in my head to try it too, "You'd love it, Sand!", she said. Sigh, that would be yet another thing to spread my energies on... If I am going to take a class I will wait until the new year...

Here's Cathy doing a simple bead. Very neat, I was like a kid, watching with my mouth dangling open.

There were also ikebana demonstrations; Linda has been studying and now teaching ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, for the past 25 years. She actually helps out with the ikebana classes given at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal, which is where I spend a lot of time playing and practicing taiko (Japanese drums). Small world.

Here's Linda with a finished arrangement for autumn.

I met some wonderful customers at this little show on Saturday. One of them was this lovely woman who bought a pendant and earrings, and who then came back a little later on (she lives across the street from the church) to get some earrings for her mom. So sweet!

Don't they look great on her?

Just a shot of my earring display...

This has been a bit of a crazy-busy month for our taiko group, Arashi Daiko. I'll tell you about that tomorrow...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday cat blogging... again with the sushi!

This may look similar to other photos I've posted of Ebi trying to get at the sushi while I'm making it. But this is actually another recent occasion - he tries EVERY time! Gotta give him points for trying!

While Ebi covets the nori (seaweed), Chibi is more of a crab-stick girl...

When I was done rolling all the maki, Chibi came to see what was up, and as usual, she was too fast for me, a wobbly blurry cat next to the slow-moving sushi :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This stuff on my head...

My hair makes me a little crazy. I've dyed it, bleached it, shaved it, even permed it when I was in high school. When I started cutting my own hair and that of friends' at the end of high school, I realized I could change my look just like that; for an impatient person like me who wants immediate gratification this is not always a good thing.

I've hacked off hair when I was sick of it only to lament the fact that I had no more ponytail. I've hastily cut bangs when my hair was at an in-between phase, only to realize I'd have to go through another in-between phase if I wanted to grow it out again. I had a crew cut at two separate times in my twenties, much to the dismay of my mother. I'll have to post a photo of that period some time.

Further aggravating this constant distress with my hair is my cheapness when it comes to what I consider luxuries. I have no problem spending money on concrete things (gifts, clothing, shoes, food ie groceries), but when it comes to things/services I don't consider true necessities like haircuts, massages, pricey restaurants and even osteopath visits, I'm a realy scrimper. I guess it's partially because we don't have the money to spare. My husband is forever telling me to go and get a haircut if I want one, especially since I've been to the hairdresser twice in the last 6 years, and once was for my wedding! I think he's secretly afraid to come home to me with a shaved head.

Anyway, this past week I had reached my limit with what's on my head - again. My hair is very thick and straight which makes it heavy and hot. This was yesterday morning - definitely fed up!

I was feeling ready to hack it off, but I just did that about a month ago in my bathroom; dang hair had grown back! Wanted something layered and light, nothing brushing the sides of my face or heating up the back of my neck.

Enter Mrs. Lee, Korean hairstylist extraordinaire. To make a long story short, here I am this morning after her work with her magic thinning shears.

I want some of those scissors - like a comb with razor blades on the teeth. Hmmm, probably better that I don't have one, I'd probably get carried away and just leave a few wisps hanging off my head.

My hair used to be a lot flatter, but as I've aged for some reason it's more puffy. With age, I am also totally uninterested in styling my hair - woke up after washing it last night, and just wet it a bit to flatten it (looked a bit like a muffin when I first got up) and rubbed a bit of that molding stuff in it. Easy. Here's the back, all thinned out and layered. My head is so much lighter!

So I'm already planning to go back and see her in a couple months so that I'll look presentable when all my craft shows start. My husband is thrilled. Going to let the bottom in back grow longer, but keep it all layered and airy. Did I mention Mrs. Lee is very reasonable, especially for a hair salon smack in the middle of downtown Montreal? I guess that's also why I'm not hesitating to go back again (^_^).

While downtown getting my hair cut, I also found these on sale. They look like Birkenstocks, but are actually Viking Fussforms which fit me perfectly (Birkenstocks size 36 is too small but the 37 is too long). This is my second pair of Vikings, so I know I'll be happy with them for a few years.
Yesterday was a good day!

Now... to work!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Presenting... Artistri boutique atelier!

This past Friday I missed taiko (Japanese drumming) practice. I never miss taiko practice.

The occasion was special - the opening of a new shop, Artistri, in Montreal's Mile-End neighbourhood (home of the best bagels you'll ever taste). I met Artistri's owner, Jennifer Lonergan, at a holiday season craft show last November and she contacted me earlier this year to be a part of her new store. How exciting is that?!

The boutique is in a beautiful, bright space, at 5319 Ave. du Parc, and it looks fabulous! Not a great shot here with all the glare, but the banners and awning are really eye-catching. All the photos are clickable.
Surrounded by some amazing artists' work, here's some of my work in one of the jewellery display towers, and there are even a few pieces in the front window as well, yay!

Shoppers having a peek at some jewellery.

Pottery by my very talented friend, Carmen Abdallah.

Look at this gorgeous quilt by Sandra Jones!

There were lots of visitors, friends and shoppers who stopped by. Just before going to the shop opening on Friday afternoon, I went to Au papier japonais, where I buy some of my paper supplies and also give workshops; there, I met some travellers from England and Wales, who seemed to be looking for interesting spots and shops in the area, so I invited them to the opening and they actually did pop in! You just never know who you'll meet and what a little chat can do :)

Thanks for inadvertently teaching me that, Mom (^_^)