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A very talented Swedish artist.

The internet can be amazing.  I recently started using Instagram, which I love  because photos are definitely my thing.  I love seeing what people make all over the world.  Shortly after starting to use Instagram one particular poster caught my eye, both because they had the same name as me – Yvonne – and because their work was photos using rich, beautiful colours.  One day their post was particularly striking, a gorgeous bright blue contrasting with an equally gorgeous bright orange.  Although I love both of those colours I rarely use them together.  However the photo appealed to me so much I decided to use those colours in a pendant.

I mentioned to Yvonne on Instagram that her photo inspired my pendant and she was so pleased she wrote about it.  Then, when she found out that she was having an exhibition she decided that she would like to have the pendant to hang beside the photo.  So now my pendant is in Sweden and will be displayed next to Yvonne Kundig’s gorgeous work.  As well as photos she does beautiful paintings of flowers.  If you’re in Sweden stop by 😉

Here is her Instagram:

And her Facebook page:

And the location of the exhibition (which starts on August 22nd):

And my Instagram:

Her photo:
Yvonne Kundig


My pendant:Orange and Blue



Inspiration – Red Rock Canyon and the Grand Canyon

One of my biggest inspirations in my work is the amazing colours found in nature. Sometimes they seem surreal because it’s hard to believe anything could actually look so beautiful.  I certainly found that was the case in two of the places I visited over the holidays this year – Red Rock Canyon and the Grand Canyon.

Red Rock Canyon is in Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas.  It’s hard to understand why people would choose to sit in a gloomy, stuffy casino instead of seeing this marvel of nature.  The drive there is through desert scrub, which is beautiful in it’s own way with Joshua Trees, yucca plants and cacti.  The mountains look stunning even from a distance but as I got closer I could see the most amazing colours in them!  White, black, brown, oranges and reds!  Each was unique and amazing and every time the light changed they looked entirely different.  And the closer I got the more beautiful they got as I could see the curve of the hills, the roughness of the rock and even more variation in the colours.  This particularly colourful area is called the Calico Hills.  A very apt description.  It was wonderful to be able to get out and walk on the hills for a bit and admire the textures and up close minutiae of pattern and colour.  It was hard to leave and I would love to return and be able to explore the area further.

My other destination this season was the Grand Canyon.  And grand it is!  It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  The weather was very cold and the trails were snow and ice covered so I could only see it from the top observation areas, which gave a stunning panorama of the South Rim.  It’s otherworldly, like being on some unknown planet.  There are so many layers of reds and oranges and browns, and the rock formations themselves are fascinating.  I could have stared at it for hours and everywhere I looked I saw something new.  Unfortunately I was only there for a short time.  For anyone planning to visit I would recommend going when it’s warm enough to hike and staying for a few days.  It is truly, truly breathtaking!

Needless to say, both of these journeys will be inspiring some new work, both in my jewellery and in my enamel art panels.  Stay tuned to see the results!

Here’s a couple of pictures to  give you a taste of what I saw.

Red Rock Canyon, The Calico Hills




The Grand Canyon





I was lucky enough to get to go to Africa this year.  I visited South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

First up was Cape Town, South Africa where the highlight was taking a rather daunting cable car ride up to the top of Table Mountain.  I also saw some adorable penguins and brave baboons (one stole someone’s cookies).

Then it was off to Namibia to embark on a 4 day boat journey up and down the Zambezi River.  The banks of the Zambezi abound with elephants, cape buffalo, warthogs, giraffes, impalas, hippos, baboons and more.  I also went out in a small boat for water safaris where I got to see  animals quite close up.  The variety of wildlife is amazing.  This part of my journey also included a day of going to the Chobe National Park in Botswana for a land safari.  Even more animals!  The jeep had to stop to let elephants cross the road, and zebras, and giraffes!

The next part of my whirlwind tour was Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  This is the highest water fall in the world, and it was very impressive.  This was one of the most exciting parts of my trip because I got to ride an elephant!!  The place I went for my elephant ride is an elephant sanctuary.  All of the elephants there are either orphans or they were born there.   They have a huge reserve that they live on when they’re not giving rides to lucky people like me.  I know the reserve is big because I rode for over an hour and there was no boundary in sight.  There are many completely wild animals there as well, such as cape buffalo, warthogs and impalas.  The elephants are very relaxed and you can tell their caretakers are very fond of them.  I was quite nervous when I first got on (they are huge!) but quickly got used to the height and loved the experience.  After the ride I got to feed them.  They have two ways of taking their food.  If I said “trunk up” they put their trunk up and I threw the food in their mouth.  If I said “trunk down” they curled their trunk down then the end up so the tip points up like a bowl and I put food in the trunk, then they transferred it to their mouth.  And then, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, I got to pet a cheetah!  The cheetah’s name is Sylvester and he was orphaned as a baby after a lion killed his siblings and chased his mother off.  He was originally raised in a regular home with house cats but when he got big he was too rough to be kept there so he went to live at the sanctuary.  He roams around the reserve when he’s not getting attention from visitors.  There are wild cheetah there but Sylvester doesn’t think he’s a cheetah, he thinks he’s a house cat, so he ignores them.

The last part of my journey was back to South Africa, to Kruger National Park.  I stayed at the Manyeleti Private Game Reserve concession, which is a private area attached to Kruger.  I went out in a jeep every morning and afternoon to look for animals.  All the favourites were there, elephants, zebra, warthogs, giraffe, impala, etc.  Far, far too many animals to list them all.  Even walking around the lodge I would see kudu or duiker antelope happily munching on leaves or elephants strolling by my window.  Sometimes while in the jeep the elephants got a little too close and we had to back up pretty quickly to get out of their way.  This is where I finally got to see lions.  A pride of lions had killed a cape buffalo not far behind the lodge I was staying in.  The lions were so beautiful!  Although it was a bit gruesome to see them tearing apart their breakfast of buffalo.  I also got a brief glimpse of rhinos.  It’s so sad that these huge animals are terrified because poachers are constantly killing them for their horns.  They have patrols that search for poachers but Kruger is the size of the country of Wales, so it’s a lot of area to cover.  They have recently decided to move over 500 rhinos to smaller, more easily patrolled reserves.

Here are just a few of the many, many, many pictures I took!


Ripley’s Aquarium

I finally made it to the new Ripley’s Aquarium in downtown Toronto this week!  I love aquariums, from the small home version with guppies to the huge Osaka aquarium with it’s whale shark (yes, I was lucky enough to visit that one a long time ago).

The aquarium has very strict guidelines for animal care and is involved in a lot of research and conservation projects, including the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.  They have many educational programs for those visiting and for teachers to share with their classes.

I like the fact that the Toronto aquarium has native species as well as the more exotic and colourful varieties of fish. The tanks are large and beautifully presented.  The Pacific Kelp Exhibit even has a wave maker to simulate the surge conditions of the British Columbia shoreline – it’s mesmerizing to watch the kelp and the fish swaying back and forth!

It’s really hard to pick my favourite part of the aquarium.  It’s amazing watching all the different species of rays in Ray Bay.  There’s such a hypnotic effect to seeing them gliding gracefully past.  But of course Dangerous Lagoon is so amazing too, I swear those sharks are watching me as they swim by!  And the jellyfish!  Oh the jellyfish!  I could stand there all day watching them undulate and change colours with the light.  I think I took about a hundred pictures of them!

Needless to say I enjoyed my visit.  Apparently they have sleepovers in the aquarium too.  I can just imagine going to sleep while watching sharks swim over my head!  Magical 🙂

If you’re interested in visiting or more information here is their website –

And here is a little slideshow of some of the pictures I took.  I have some amazing videos too but they’re a bit large to put on line.

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My boyfriend and I are going to Argentina next month, which is very exciting.  But what’s more exciting is monkeys!

We are going to be based in Buenos Aires but we are taking a side trip to Iguazu Falls, which is a massive waterfall four times the size of Niagara.  It is bordered by Argentina on one side and Brazil on the other.  We will be staying on the Argentinian side in a national park.  I’m looking forward to waking up to a view of Iguazu Falls thundering away outside the window.  But I also found out that you have to keep your patio doors closed at night or the monkeys will come in and steal things!  Of course, now I want to leave the patio door open 🙂

I’m so excited about the monkeys I bought my first camcorder so I can film them.  Maybe when I come back I’ll start making monkey jewellery, lol.


Fireside Culture Week auditions

Are you talented?  Would you like to share your talent with others?  Do you live near Parkdale?  Then check out the auditions for Fireside Culture Week!  They’re looking for musicians, visual artists, comedians and performers.  The event itself looks like a great time, see their facebook event page for updates.

Here’s the Facebook event for Fireside Culture Week itself :

Here’s their blurb for all the audition details:

In its third year running, “Fireside Culture Week” is a week-long showcase of music, art, fashion, food, comedy and theatre celebrating the unique and diverse community of Parkdale! From March 14 to March 19 2011, Queen Street West from Roncesvalles to Dufferin will be animated with local talent and acts within various traditional and non-traditional venues.

 This is a fantastic opportunity for you or your group to gain exposure while supporting the amazing neighborhood of Parkdale and wonderful causes! (All donations will go to support local charities).

 An honorarium will be provided to selected participants.

 Do you have a talent you’re aching to share and/or show off with Parkdale? Here’s what we’re looking for:

 Musicians (all styles, solo or group)

Poets/Spoken Word artists

Dancers (all styles, solo or group)

Visual Artists (all styles)

Comedians (solo or troupes)

Variety Acts (Contortionists, Jugglers, Sword Swallowers, Clowns, Illusionists, Fire Twirlers…etc.)

Auditions will be held:

Date: Wednesday, February 9th. 11:00am – 4:00pm.

Place: Cadillac Lounge, 1300 Queen Street West

Time: Please send an email to festival @ to confirm your audition time. Drop-ins are more than welcome, but we’d love to hear from you first to find a time that suits you. Please inform us of what kind talent you’re bringing to the neighborhood!

 If you have any questions, or you cannot make the above audition date and would still like to participate, don’t miss this chance!! Email us and we’ll work it out!