The Studio

After many months of working in the satellite studio in Panama and then many months without a studio, I am so excited to finally have my Peterborough studio up and running again!

Besides a fresh coat of paint and a couple of small tweaks, the studio is pretty much the exact same as it was before we left for Central America. And how I LOVE my little studio – it is my own private sanctuary – to sing along to “bad” music to my heart’s content, to listen to trashy or thought-provoking audio books, and to let it get as messy as I want!!

Where the melted glass happens:

Torch-stationSQWhere the soldering and jewellery-making happens:work-counterSQ One of the changes I made was adding this slat wall… I am currently enamoured with slat wall (so much so that we will be covering a wall in our mudroom with it!!) and love that I can have most of my tools out where I can see them, grab them, and have a clearly defined spot where they belong (which I hope will help kick my habit of making HUGE messes!). slat-wallSQ And finally, my sewing nook…! This has little piece of heaven has been in my mind for years and it finally came together! It is in the house and in the closet of Señor Luma’s office. He has kindly given me a corner of his empire, to allow me a place to sew (for Luma – all of those silk ribbons get sewn by me! – and for Lumita to learn how to sew as she is very interested).

sewing-nookSQ

And it was about time that this studio got back up and running! There are just a couple more weeks until I participate in the 31st annual Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour! If you are in the area on September 26 and 27, be sure to come and visit me as well as the other artists! It is such a wonderful tour – and you get to see inside the artists’ creative spaces (MY favourite thing!!).

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Spicing up our Travels

SpiceTour12We do appreciate good food and cooking with lovely ingredients, in our house. That’s why when I saw a SPICE TOUR advertised, I was super excited to sign up! Surprisingly, Lumita said that she wanted to join me…! We planned it as a “homeschooling field trip” and headed off on our tour.

The Villa Vanilla Farm is a sustainable spice farm focuses on vanilla, peppercorns (white and black), allspice, ground turmeric, Ceylon cinnamon (the “true” and “original” cinnamon), chilies, and cacao (ok, this last one is not a spice, but we’ll overlook that cause let’s be honest… CHOCOLATE!!).

SpiceTour03We watched a skilled worker shave off the cambium layer of the Ceylon cinnamon trunk to get the cinnamon (and the look on Lumita’s face as she learned that cinnamon came from the back of a tree – PRICELESS!).

SpiceTour06We learned that the vanilla flowers are pollinated by hand to ensure pollination (since there is just 1 bee that pollinates the flowers) and that the pods are painstakingly spread out to dry in the sun every day and then wrapped up in clothes at the end of the day for 2 months and the further dried for another year, before being ready to be sold.

SpiceTour08We saw pepper fruits before they are dried to become peppercorns, and saw an allspice tree (yes, it is its own tree and NOT a mixture of spices).

A highlight for me was the tasting (I LOVE me a fun food tour cause you get samples!!!) as we got to try some delicious food created from the spices and cacao from the farm. Poor Lumita though – she wasn’t so fond of the foods (since most were different from what she was used to… She DID quite enjoy the cinnamon ice cream and was even brave enough to go and ask for seconds – in Spanish, all by herself!).

SpiceTour10Naturally, I picked up some spices to bring back home with me! The cinnamon is slowly getting ground in to a fine powder from being beat up in my backpack. It is also providing a lovely olfactory “sound”track to our trip every time I open up that backpack! 🙂

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Coming up for a quick breath!

GULP!! Just going to grab a GREAT BIG BREATH before I head back down… Let me offer a suggestion for you: if you intend to vacate your house to go and live abroad, DON’T do it right before Christmas when things are already crazy busy with the holidays… Just offering up some insights from my experiences. I feel like I have been juggling LOTS and trying to keep everything up in the air – forgive me for all of the things (metaphorical and actual) that I have dropped!

I am calling this "Self Portrait, Dec 2013". You see, I have dropped a couple of snowflakes...

I am calling this “Self Portrait, Dec 2013”. You see, I have dropped a couple of snowflakes…

We are leaving our house in 7 days… Gulp! S E V E N days… That is not very long, eh? On Dec 21, the tenants will be moving in to our apartment in the house and we will head to my mother’s house in the Laurentians (and wear out our welcome with a 3-week stay before flying south to Panama on Jan 15). Do we have a place to live yet in Panama? Nope! (does that worry us? Also nope!).

Currently, our house is looking more empty of the “stuff” that congests our lives (but there is still a ways to go!). The walls are starting to be painted and freshened up (4 years ago we started painting the walls and we finished this week!!). Boxes of things to get packed and sent or put in the basement for storage are every where! We knew that getting things ready would be a Big Job, but we also know that the efforts will be well worth it!

Ladies and Gentlemen…

… start your engines!

Disk "buttons" for the new Silk Wrap Button Bracelet.

Disk “buttons” for the new Silk Wrap Button Bracelet.

This is a bit how I feel… November is gonna by B U S Y ! ! It seemed like a great idea to try to pack November as much as I could (y’know, to take advantage of the holidays – the time when us artisans to tend to make the most sales), but now I’m a wee bit nervous of how to get it all done… But then I think that I could be writing progress reports/report cards) on my evenings and weekends (while of course still doing my more-than-full-time job) and planning several evenings to get through all of my parent-teacher interviews, and I know that I am going to be just fine!

I thrive under pressure… Ok, maybe “thrive” is a bit misleading. Maybe “get-by-just-fine-cause-I-need-to-have-a-fire-set-under-my-pants” is more true. I have always been that way and I wish that I wasn’t, but after almost 37 years, I feel like change is far off…

A rainbow of colours!

A rainbow of colours!

So get out your calendars and mark down where I am going to be so that you can come and find me (cause as of January, you know where I am going to be!)

November 9 (yup, TOMORROW!), Make it Indie, Cobourg, ON. (10am-4pm)

November 15, 16, & 17, Craft and Artisan Fair, Glebe Community Centre, Ottawa, ON. (Fri 6-9pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm)

November 23 & 24, Christmas at the Marshlands Centre, Lakefield, ON. (10am-4pm both days)

November 29, 30, & December 1, Woodlawn Pottery Show and Sale, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON (Fri 5-9pm, Sat, 10am-5pm) **I am honoured to have been selected as the show’s Guest Artisan!**

November 30 & December 1, Artisans At Work, 2071 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON (Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm)

AND new this year (and I am so so so excited about!), you can find Luma at 2 brick and mortar shops/galleries this holiday season!

If you are close in Peterborough, you can find a selection of my treasures at Gypsy Barn, 41 Park St. South, Peterborough, ON.

And if you are in Collingwood, look for my fab display at Winter’s Gift at the Arts Centre, Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts, 163 Hurontario St, Collingwood, ON.

A big ol' bundle of bracelets!

A big ol’ bundle of bracelets!

December will be a little less busy (haha!! Who am I kidding… Not only is that the month of CHRISTMAS but we are having to be out of our house so that the renters can be in and we are headed to my mum’s place in the Laurentians for a few weeks before we fly out on Jan 15). BUT, since I “thrive under pressure”, everything is going to be just fine… I am even planning an “open house” of sorts so that local Peterborough Luma Lovers (who don’t want to drive ALL OF THE WAY up to Lakefield) can get some shopping done!

Signing off to go and fill up my tank!

PS – interested in those bracelets you are seeing in this post? Head on over here!

Evolution of a Craft Show Booth, Part 2

I TOLD you this wasn’t over yet. Here’s where you can find Part 1.

Now, where I left off… Basically, for the rest of the summer in my 10×10 tent, I continued to play around with the layout of the “furniture”. I felt like my vision was finally coming to life once I introduced old wood windows!

Old wood windows as display frames.

Old wood windows as display frames.

This was starting to give me the feel that I was looking for, but something was still missing… Displaying vertically was still a challenge and I knew that I was nearing the end of my summer shows and moving on to indoor shows that were going to be a 6-ft table. How was I going to go vertical on a table?

At the Danforth East Arts Fair show, I met the people that changed my booth display – FOREVER! In conversations with them, and checking out the front (and back!) of their booth, we came up with a FAB booth display plan.

Here it is in action!

Here it is in action!

The set up in the photo is a 6-ft table with my display on top. I am AMAZED and thrilled at how much in can hold! I will be sharing a little blog post in the very near future about how I built this new display. I have since used it again this past weekend and and totally happy with it! I kind of wish that I could rewind to early July and start again with this display (but have it “bigger” to work with the 10×10 tent!

Now that I have a set up that I am truly happy with (yes, it took about 13 tries!!), I can focus on getting product ready for the holiday shopping rush!

Giving Thanks

Colourful-Fall-Oak-Leaves

I have long felt that Thanksgiving is one of the BEST holidays… I don’t find it to be over-commercialized like most other holidays, and instead of giving (and receiving) gifts, it is about taking stock what you have.

So here are some (macro) things that I am thankful for having:

– family and friends (I feel like this one is kind of a no-brainer but if I don’t mention it, you will all think I am a terribly mean monster).

– a great job that I LOVE going to (this is a BIG one for me after many years working in a job that I was coming to hate more and more with each year).

– the ability to go on adventures (and boy oh boy, are there ever some BIG ones coming up!).

– freedom to do what I want, how I want, when I want (ok, there are SOME restrictions on this, obviously, but for the most part, I really DO get to do what I want, how I want, and when I want!).

Now let’s get a bit more specific in my thanks:

– my studio (I LOVE that little space and all that I get to do in it!)

– a clean kitchen (nothing inspires me more to cook up a storm (and make a great big mess) like a nice clean kitchen!)

– my Dyson vacuum (seriously, it makes vacuuming fun and exciting – really!)

– when my children sleep in.

– the internet (perhaps this should have gone in the “macro thanks” section as it is so huge!)

– blustery rainy fall days (cause they help you to appreciate the lovely sunny days!)

– when my house is tidy for more than 1 hour.

Whatever you are thankful for this weekend, may you bask in its bliss!