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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shopping for that special Treasure!

On my last post, regarding my shipment of vintage beads, one of my readers, asked where I purchased my beads from. While I do scrounge through antique shops and flea markets for vintage treasures, I do most of my serious bead purchasing online. Craft supply stores like Michaels, are great for beginners, or for someone who just wants to make a personal piece of jewelry. If, however, you want to sell your work, you need to buy wholesale, and look for competitive prices, or look for unique beads and findings to make you jewelry stand out. I have spent countless hours searching for certain bead suppliers, but I know the time is well spent when I locate a fabulous and dependable supplier or an amazing bead artist. Now...some of them I will keep secret, so that I can keep some of those goodies all to myself. However, for all you beaders, jewelry designers and crafters out there, I will share with you some of my favorite sites.

For sterling and Bali silver (wholesale only)
For vintage and unusual finds: and
For wire and jump rings:
General beads and findings: and

There are also many great suppliers and talented artists that create handmade beads and findings on Etsy, eBay, and Artfire.
Happy shopping!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
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Monday, August 29, 2011

Package of treasures!

 Look what arrived in the mail today! Some FABULOUS vintage beads for my Fall designs. There is nothing like new supplies to get those creative juices flowing.

I am so excited! These are gorgeous aren't they? Pin It

Friday, August 26, 2011

Love Locks

On the Pont de l'ArchevĂȘchĂ©, which is the  bridge that crosses from Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Left Bank of the River Seine, and the Pont des Arts bridge, thousands of ribbons and padlocks with messages,  names and initials are attached to the metal rails. These are known as "Love Locks", and are quite a sight to see. Since my son is an avid lock collector, this was certainly a trip highlight for him!

 I found it to be a unique form of art!

 Apparently, you are supposed to pledge your love to each other, lock the padlock to the bridge, and toss the key into the river below. The story goes, that to break the pledge of love, one must find the key and unlock the padlock. Yeah...right!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Visual Banquet!

Well you can't visit Paris without going to the we went. The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world,  and if you want to see some amazing art, sculptures and artifacts, you will not be disappointed here! First let me tell you that this place is MASSIVE! It is quite overwhelming, and you will never see it all in one day. 

 All I can think of as we approached the Louvre is, The DaVinci Code!

We picked a couple of sections and took our time to appreciate everything.  We spent most of our time in the Egyptian section, which houses the most Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt itself. This collection alone is housed within 20 rooms!
I was quite taken with this mummy.

Check out the intricate wrapping pattern.
I loved the colors and designs on this sarcophagus.

 and of course we just HAD to go and view the Mona Lisa!

The interior was stunning!

The way the artist used the the colors in this painting were intriguing. The faces are neutral colored, with the background and garments being brightly colored.


I also loved the intricate details on this metal door!

Everywhere you looked, was a feast for the eyes!

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Inspiration a la Art Nouveau!

Just down the street from where we were staying in Paris was this amazing building....very Art Nouveau!

 Art Nouveau design is very organic and sensual, ornamental and asymmetrical, and is extensively influenced by nature, with its decorative use of flowers, plants, vines and the female form. Art Nouveau design was popular from the 1880's to about 1920.

Isn't this the most exquisite door way you have ever seen?

 What a fabulous building to live in. It would be a pleasure just to come home everyday and see this magnificent work.

 Just look at the details! Now this is inspiration!

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Friday, August 19, 2011

City of Light

After spending 2 action packed weeks in England, we took the Eurostar train from London to Paris, to enjoy a week in the city of lights. There is something quite humbling about being in a country, where you do not speak or read the language fluently. However, having read that the French people can usually speak English, AFTER you have made an effort to converse in French, we did just that, and put forth  our very best effort each and every time we were out and had to  order from a menu, or inquire about something. Being Canadian, and being exposed to the French language on all our packaging and having learned some French in school, did help...but we were still pretty lame at it! However, the French people seemed amused and grateful that we were trying our best to learn their language, and were very friendly towards us. My son who always hated having to take French in school suddenly seemed to be enjoying this new way of communicating, and actually admitted that speaking French was fun!

Our apartment was a quick 10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, so obviously that was our first stop in this very beautiful city.

 This is the view we had from our apartment window.

 There certainly was a lot of action outside our apartment, and it was quite entertaining to watch the world go by from the comfort of our living room.  We got around on  Batobus which cruised along the river Seine, and made stops at certain landmarks and attractions along the way.

We also took the Metro, which is the subway system in Paris and we walked everywhere, we must have walked 5 or 6 miles everyday! Walking was a great way to explore the streets of Paris, and who would have thought that we would have seen this:

 Or especially this!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Charming Cottages

Charming English Cottages ...romantic inspiration!

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Not just a pile of rocks

When we were first planning this trip to England,  the one thing on my husbands bucket list was to get to Stonehenge. So we booked a private tour, which enabled us to go behind the fence and walk amongst the stones, with only a handful of other people.  It was a cool, gray, drizzly morning,the  I must admit it was pretty cool! but the weather certainly did not take away from the experience of this magical place.

 Some people were really into it...chanting and softly playing drums......

A sacred and very special place.

  I must admit it was pretty cool to actually be there amongst these giant stones!

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The man in the dusty antique shop

Over the past year  I have been using some wonderful vintage keys in some of my necklace designs. I love the mystery behind old keys... wondering what doors they once opened? Were they keys to the doors of country manors, or simple city homes? Perhaps they were keys from a secret garden gate, or a backyard garden shed. Some are keys  that were used to wind old clocks, and some of the smaller keys were probably from well traveled trunks and old leather suitcases.  While on my recent trip to England I managed to acquire some fabulous old keys from a small antique shop in a picturesque Yorkshire village.


 We arrived in the village, and my sister-in -law, brother, I strolled around taking in the sights, and browsing through some of the local shops. My son and husband had wondered off to do some antiquing, hoping to find some antique locks for my sons lock collection.  About an hour later, we met up with them and they had great exciting news about an antique shop that they had found. Out of a brown paper bag came several wonderful old locks and keys that had been purchased by my son, and for bargain prices!  Apparently, the owner had taken a liking to my son and his passion for collecting, and they had been let into the owners special attic area and allowed to dig through forgotten boxes, looking for old locks.  Well, this is an antique hunters dream come true! My husband and son were so excited, and said there were tons of old keys, and that I had to come back to the shop to get some of them for my jewelry. Well, I did not need much convincing, so off we all went back to the shop. We arrived to a small shop, filled to the rafters with all kinds of wonderful things.

 Once there, we were allowed access to the attic, and the boxes of many keys. My son was up the ladder, and passing boxes down to the rest of us, who were madly digging through them trying to find the best and  most interesting keys.  Meanwhile the owner, asked us in true British style, if we would like some tea! Well of course, we would...this was becoming a  real adventure! I think I managed to get about 5 pounds of weight in keys, and we proceeded to come back down stairs where  not only tea awaited us, but cookies as well! The teapot even had a tea cozy over it, to keep the tea warm.

 Here is my sister-in -law next to the  fresh pot of tea, and mugs.

This lovely  soft spoken man with the graying hair, had invited his neighbor over as well, and here we were sitting in this eclectic antique shop, surrounded by all kinds of stuff,  chatting and having tea and cookies! The bargain price for the keys was exceptional...he must have thought I was mad wanting all that "junk". 

After we had all left and were on the way home, we started thinking...what if we went back, and he wasn't there,  perhaps he was just a magical old spirit from beyond, like in a Hollywood movie!
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

At the Seaside

During our stay in England, we ventured over to the east coast, visiting Filey and Brighton, and spending five days in Hastings, where my sister lives. Spending time at the seaside, as the Brits say, was fabulous!

Needless to say, the North Sea is very cold!
Brighton on the south east coast was lots of fun! We strolled along the famous Brighton Pier, and had a great day walking around this seaside town. The water that day was actually this very pretty aqua green color.


 My brother, and my husband hamming it up!

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Playing at Spofforth

In the medieval North Yorkshire village of Spofforth, there remains the ruins of Spofforth Castle. While in York, we took some time and went out to the country to see the romantic ruin. Spofforth Castle is actually more of a manor house than a castle and dates back to the 13th century. The cost to go and visit this heritage site is free, and on the day that we visited we were the only people there! What fun we had playing in and exploring these ruins!

How fun is this for a 13 year old boy? My son really enjoyed this place.


My husband...feeling like a king.
We had a picnic lunch on the grass.

 I loved the texture of the old, crumbling rock walls and the way that the weeds, moss and various plants had made their home there.

At one time these windows were probably beautiful stained glass.

It is an amazing feeling to walk through these ruins, and wonder who were the many people that lived here, and what kind of lives did they live?

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