Thursday, January 24, 2013


I created a new flickr group this year, the  " Age of Elegance "dedicated to Jane Austen books , literature and the Edwardian and Victorian eras.... The idea was to give the artist time to create ... at least 6 to 8 weeks to really get into the craft themes of this era. 

SO, January/February's ATC theme was ' weaving" . All members were asked to weave a basket of posies for their ATC. 

Since  this type of paper weaving is a Victorian past-time, it should look somewhat delicate.
I tried weaving a valentine heart with mylar, then drawing florals with  prism pens, creating additional flowers with  floral punches and filling in with  fingernail confetti, however the slippery medium was too big. Quite frankly,  the whole concept was too modern... I liked it, but somehow I was creatively, "fretting."

 Then, I got this idea, to weave a basket of ribbons, using feathers, shredded organza, decorative gold wire and ribbons. Smaller ribbon would have been more appropriate. The result is pleasing, though bursting at the seams and overflowing the 3.5X2.5  size. Back to the drawing board !!!!

Realizing that the weaves were too big for the small ATC card size .... I was thankful, for the extra time, to develop an idea, Gradually I pondered  another medium and found myself playing with a simple piece of jutte string. "Bing" ...  the light came on !!!!!

The "Age of Elegance Age" era  encompasses many eclectic themes, such as  fashion  and  the Japanese culture ... so my mind was privy to a myriad of themes, that I hadn't even thought about in last two weeks... Yes..It took that long for the theme to gel !!!!

Luckily, I had brought some of my  empheria  to Japan and was able to find many appropriate vintage images to fit into the seasonal category.' Bling Bling"

 I was eager to use this cherry blossom background. Connie(http:// )  had sent me this lovely image, ages ago  so I very humbled cut  it up and separated into scraps, ( ha ha) to fit into my vision.... "girls floating through an ocean of cherry blossom". 

Of course the flowers are smiling( on top) along with all that childhood admiration. The jutte weave served as reeds wavering through the shallow passages of their imagination. ..Of course it's my childish imagination ( Ha Ha) ... I was now having fun with the themed medium.....I like it !!!!

So, I had to create another.

While  visiting in Japan , I've acquired so many beautiful papers. This gorgeous red washi paper  contrasted  so  beautifully with the geisha's kimono.

Again, I was inspired to use the jutte as flower stems, then "OOPS" with a sudden slip, I began to frame the whole outer image ... creativity was  taking over...WONDERFUL !!!! I'm so happy with the result !!!!

Often we take on an ATC  theme and hurry to the deadline, when really the lesson here is to take your time and try, try, try, again.. until you are content , little bird !!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


 "GREEN TEA RESOLUTION "  ... It's 2013...  Time for those New Year's resolutions. 

Today, I'm pondering life with a cup of tea in hand and  a myriad of exotic ideas to buzz me into the future. Hm-m-m-m ... In front of me, is the Fukuoka Now magazine and an article on the benefits of Green Tea that I really need to " sip" in.

Did you know that Green tea  prevents tooth decay? I didn't ... Green Tea leaves ferment and oxidize  as soon as they are picked, so nutrients such as catechin, carotene and vitamins are preserved. This helps in the prevention. How I would love to reduce  my dental visits ( ha Ha) Wouldn't you ?

The list goes on .... Green Tea effectively burns fat... so that means I should a consume at least gallon of the stuff  per day ( ha ha).. since it's a lose weight year. The caffeine in the tea promotes the metabolism of fat. Good news ladies ... Drinking green tea and engaging in physical activity burns body fat.

Drinking  green tea also maintains the skins elasticity, and vitamin C strengthens the capillaries, improving the skins ability to remain warm. I'm all for a natural beauty aid.  Aren't you ?

I bought the above teabags from the " Mararu" in Kitakyushu,Japan and wondered if it contained as many of the nutrients as the powdered frothy green tea... both are tasty refreshments, but I prefer the powered form. You can select your tea from hundreds of available green teas outlets  online, at  grocery stores  or  in specialty tea shops. It an exciting teatime journey !!!!!

Green Tea also," prevents hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure".  It reduces the cholesterol in the blood.  Wow ...  I'm impressed. This is valuable information that anyone over fifty or even younger should adhere to... There are so many benefits..benefits...benefits for a healthier YOU  and ME !!!!

AND ... Finally, a cure for the common cold... Green tea strengthens the body's defence system against infections, so using it as a morning gargle protects against viruses. ( gargle gargle)..It's an amazing little plant, isn't it !!!!

Here's another little tip,my friends ... Forget about expensive cosmetics and facelifts...  Drink green tea , as it prevents 'aging'. The strong anti-bacterial properties limit oxidization in the body and maintain a pH balance, by promoting the bodies alkalinity.  I, for one, can personally  can attest to the youthfulness and beauty  of the  elderly asian population.... The Asian ladies are age defying beauties.

Here's a Ripley's " Believe it or Not"...Green tea prevents food poisoning. ( Hee hee) The catechin contained in the tea, has a powerful effect on the bacteria that causes food poisoning and  it regulates the intestinal functions.  Possibly the reason that they paired green tea with Japanese beloved sushi.

YES...Tea is a perennial scrub, that we all enjoy. I'm encouraged into thinking  ' green' as one of my resolutions of 2013.  Green symbolized growth and renewal of  the heart and spirit.

 Wishing you all, a happy and prosperous, 'Green" New Year 2013

Monday, October 8, 2012


AUTUMN is upon us , with it's lusty array of colours, red, yellow, green and brown leaves dance with the wind and encourage me to create....ATC's.

October, is the perfect theme for the " Let's Swap Atc's group on flickr. The idea was to create a challenge and at the same time educate. Most people know how to make these little 2.5X3.5 cards, but always choose the same medium to work with ... so it's  more productive to give a tutorial for beginners and encourage  older members to try new creative techniques.

I chose, magazine paper , cut 'n'paste. It sounds easy, but really, on a small card it's much more difficult than first  anticipated( Ha Ha)

Buy using old magazines, you are both recycling and creating new artwork... so start with a cup of tea, get comfortable with your favourite mags and find some pictures, words and pages that inspire you ...Rip them out (r-r-r-i-i-ip-p-p-)...Love that sound !!!!!!

Look for the most interesting textures and pages , then combine several together to form the background of the card.

 Layer sections of the paper to cover your card.  There may be one images such as a face or  animal that can be  cut into strips... experiment for more  interesting collage effects. Below are the images and words that rocked my imagination... Where do I begin?

The theme was October .. so that helped a little  and I set out cutting leaves and choosing words, colours  and images( above) that fit into that category. 

Here's my first attempt.( sideways) .....I'm NOT  very happy  !!!

So back to the drawing board, but I'm not going to throw it away, because it has already been primed with paste, some great words and a gel medium...I'll  REUSE  it.

After you've layered everything with a gel medium.. you can finish off the edges with paint, a black marker or stamping ink.  You can even dab on a little colour...

 OK...I left it overnight since I  wasn't getting anywhere with this  cut 'n' paste approach to ATCs.

SO I slept on it. In the morning I ventured out for alittle doggie walk and realized, the  perfect beauty that was collaged all around the yard. ..The leaves were INSPIRING me.

" Cut 'n' paste " ... Here I come, infact, I was literally, dancing into the studio ( BING) 

 READY ... SET ...  GO

 I  added a few  new details over top of that ugly, old,  cut'n'paste ATC card.... Then played with the images, opaque pens, shapes and words , sealed the entire card with gel medium and sprinkled on some glitter to give it that OCTOBER MAGIC.


This is how I feel about Autumn. 
Take the time to be inspired by nature 
Be creative with OCTOBER.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Wishing all my wonderful followers the magic and joy of Christmastide.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Christmas is upon us and it's time to think about what I'll wear for Christmas Dinner.... Maybe I'll don something oriental ....

AH.... the glamour of the orient.... Japanese love fine fabrics, ornamentation and dressing up. I found it especially thrilling to observe the various costumes and clothing designs.

Their fashion flare has been culturally preserved for centuries through the iconic Geishas and Warlords.... While visiting Kumomoto Castle, I couldn't help but notice the guard ,traditionally dressed while guarding the entrance to the Castle.

I just had to snap this picture of a young modern Japanese girl walking in the palace grounds. It's a new millenium of fashion in Japanese as East meets West and mingles.

Often I sit at the shopping mall sipping a a latte at Star Bucks marvelling at the artistic layering of design that defines that there is a multicultural adjustment happening in the Asian fashion industy. I love people watching here ( Ha Ha)
And I love window shopping at the Osaka Hotel where they display the most beautiful gowns for Weddings, Christmas parties and celebrations. They're all gorgeous and very frilly. Wouldn't you love to wear this dress... AH ... if only we were all a tiny size 5...

Still it's nice dream about.. especially during the festive season ... While I have been away for sometime...I am now back blogging with a renewed spirit .... Thank You to all my wonderful faithful Followers... I will look forward to sharing with you again soon.

Wishing you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The daylily is native to Japan . It was cultivated as early as the twelfth century in China, and appeared in paintings, on fabrics and porcelain as decorative embellishments for the Asian culture. 

 It is often called the " plant of forgetfulness ", because it was believed to cure sorrow by inducing memory loss.  In Oriental Medicine , it was also used for relieving pain and cleaning the kidneys....and  the dried blossoms of the daylily are often used in cooking. Try  the  unopened buds in your next salads....Delicious !!!

" The soul is supposed to take the form of a flower, such as the lily " .. at least that's what folklore says. If I were to wish to be any flower, it would be the lily, whose beauty is thought to be sacred. There are  so many positive and beautiful omens that have guided this lovely flower through the centuries... No wonder it has become a protective and  cherished icon.

These old fashioned orange or tawny common daylilies, grow 5 feet high, with trumpet shaped flowers, 3 to 4 inches, rising above clumped foliage. The strap like leaves grow 2 feet long and tend to gracefully arch. They normally bloom in June and July, however this year they are a common midsummer delight .

I'm enjoying the Autumn  show of  lilies and cultivate various varieties  in both Japan and Canada. The pictures above are from my country home in Canada.  

I once read that the genus name ( Hemerocallis) comes from two greek words , hemera, meaning "day" and kallos  meaning " beautiful ". The name amptly describes these lovely blooms that last for only a single day. 

However when one is blessed with fields of daylilies , it's a delightful  month long  journey of tripping the light fantastic, amongst the daylilies with the fairies.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Who doesn't love, " BAUBLES, BANGLES and BEADS" ...  It's simply the creative  " THING " to do in the Asian world.  I started dabbling in jewelry arts in Kitakyushu, Japan in 2009, now I'm hooked on this elegant and innovative art.

The key to tying this type of creation together is to slow down and answer a few basic questions ... "Which bead will I choose to go with the next bead "? .... " How many twists and how high should they be to look symmetrical "? .... " Where, oh where, should they be artistically place"? .... (decisions, decisions).  What the heck...I decided to " LET GO "  and cast my  beads and ingenuity  to the wind.

Soon my brain was starting to ache ....  Luckily, the healing powers of the amethyst  seemed to be  a tonic for my pounding headache. Encouraged by my sensei(teacher) to draw a blueprint , I started to become focussed on the gems, shapes, colors, sizes and logic of  design principles. What a gift ....  One thing at a time grasshopper !!!

Certainly, creating jewelry is no fly by night craft. It takes patience and a lot of beaded sweat  to create these ornamental works of art.  After creating a few necklaces, brooches, rings and bracelets, my new found respect for wearable art had become  paramount.

(back of necklace)

This was my third lesson and quite frankly, I was  nervous about the task that my Japanese Sensei had laid before me in the form of  beads, wire and a homemade coiling board. Yes, the Japanese still make their own unique craft tools. There's no Michaels in Japan ( Ha Ha)  Their ingenuity is AMAZING,  isn't it !!!!

                                          ( Thing-A-Me-Bob)

 I was up for the challenge ...   but goodness how clumsy can one person be, while coiling wire around a "thing-a-me-bob" .... practise, practise , practise. It took  me about a week to warm up to the tool and acquire the precision needed to  create and keep all the  circles perfectly round for this project. The  only other option was to use a pencil to coil the wire around...that was fun( Ha Ha )

                                           ( Sensei /right)
(Television Host left )

WELL..The  lessons turned out to be successfully, enjoyable, THANKS to my Japanese  Sensei
 ( right) .   I was over the moon,when the local television station host ( above left) came to showcase my creations ... however it did help that I was the only foreigner taking the classes... Tah Dah ... My moment of Japanese Stardom.

No matter how daunting a task may be ... creating with baubles, bangles and beads will definately challenge the creative juices and  mind blast  you through the trials and tribulations of being  a shy crafter.

 May I suggest, that you  take on the ULTIMATE  challenge  and  wear your  artistry with pride.  There is  great satisfaction in knowing that you DID IT !!!!