Tuesday, 8 September 2015



an interesting word with so many implications.

Living a life of luxury means something different for each of us. It may be a state of mind that influences our choices of what we buy, where we live and how we choose to spend our time. One way to indulge our sense of luxurious living is to surround ourselves with meaningful things. Our choices about food, fashion, art and jewellery are some of the ways that we can enjoy a sense of luxury.

Jewellery and art do not have to be high priced, to be luxurious. It must be well-made, well-designed and have a sense of style that sets it apart from all the others.  Local Handmade Luxury offers you art and jewellery that is made here in Calgary, by macmillanmarie Jewellery Design and by Natural Icon.

Jewellery may be a luxury but definitely an affordable luxury. And I believe that is the best kind.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!

This year, the Calgary Stampede will run from July 3 to July 12. And like all stampedes, we will be attending the parade, eating lots of tasty food and listening to some terrific music. My family and I have many memories of free stage performances by singers like KD Lang, Ian Tyson and Reba McIntyre as well as some pretty clever magicians and some talented comedians, too.

We first visited Calgary in 1978. And during the next 5 years, we continued to make the long car trip from Regina to Calgary annually for the Stampede. We finally moved here in 1984. Our son and daughter grew up watching the rodeo and riding the midway rides. With lots of animals to see and so many exhibits to visit, the days never seemed long enough. It really is 'The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth'.

The Stampede Parade soon became an annual event in our family. Early in the morning, on the first Friday of Stampede, the four of us would take the train downtown to stake out our piece of the pavement. The kids were always excited by the pre-parade fun, especially the clowns. The excitement would build as the parade made its way to us, through the streets of Calgary.

This year some friends and I will be starting a new tradition. On July 2, before the Stampede Sneak Preview opens at 6 pm, we will be hosting a show and sale of wonderful handmade products - some Stampede related - some not. So, why not join us for a good time and get an early start on enjoying the Calgary Stampede.

If you are in Calgary, or are nearby, we invite you to stop by the Wolf Willow Studio on July 2, between 1 pm and 9 pm. You can find us at 9 Spruce Centre SW, Calgary, Alberta T3C 3B7.

Drop by the The Stampede Show & Sale  for a great warm up to the Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.

Simple Stampede Themed Wrist Bling
So much more to see!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Story of a Necklace .... Final Installment

Well the necklace is "done". What next.....

It is time to clean-up. Put the findings away. The extra beads, etc.... Sometimes I may take a chance and string the leftover beads randomly to see what I get.

With the addition of silver spacers to some leftover beads I have created a simple single strand necklace that can be worn wrapped for a two-strand bracelet.

Next some earrings and maybe another necklace. Long this time - "Downton Abby" style.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Story of a Necklace ... continued part 3

After sifting through my stash and finding a collection that I think will satisfy my vision I can begin to put the necklace together.

I like to make sure my finished pieces are as strong as I know how to make them. Since this will be a relatively heavy piece I crimp each strand separately onto a closed ring - then I use jump rings to connect groups of strands onto the clasp. When done I have a beautiful 12 strand necklace composed of semi-precious gem stones as well as beautiful glass beads. I like the randomness of the piece very much. What do you think?

This is one of my favorite styles of necklaces. You can create many different options with this design.  The individual strands can vary in length or be all the same, you can mix your beads or keep them the same on every strand, the number of strands can vary - I am sure you get the idea.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Story of a Necklace... continues

I have decided to work with the multiple stands of glass and semi-precious beads. This is my starting point.

Here they are in a more orderly fashion. It may make them easier to see.

Now I need to go collect more "pieces" to the puzzle. I think this will be a simple multistand since the beads are all over the map. Let's see what I find.

Clasp? Findings?  I originally thought I would use gold tone findings but I was not finding what I wanted.

More beads? I like to have options when I go to put it all together.

The extras include black glass beads, pyrite for sparkle and 2 sizes of dyed jade beads.

Let's see where this takes us next.....

..... to be continued

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Story of a Necklace..

I have a passion for jewellery, blown & vintage glass, books, travel, the list goes on and on…


 Recently, I had to suspend my efforts at designing jewellery. My Mother's health has rapidly deteriorated (severe Alzheimers disease) and we had to move her into a new home where she will receive appropriate care. That whole process involved countless consultations, phone calls, correspondence, doctor evaluations and lots of stress. In my case, this process lasted only 7 months, but I have heard horror stories about other families spending up to 2 years or more to make things right.


Before I decided to return to designing more jewellery pieces, I decided (again!) to renew my efforts to try and get "my house in order". Not just the jewellery components stored in my home and in my garage, I mean cleaning and editing everything in every room. Whew! My daughter made a comment the other day that I have been cleaning my house since she was 10 (and she is now 30 years old and a new mother). Twenty years may seem like a long time, but I find that I am still hard at work trying to get “my house in order”.

So, the last thing a recovering hoarder like me needs, is even more issues and "stuff" to deal with. I know how important it is to take action to reduce stress (like meditation), but I also realize that it is just as important to devote some of my time and effort to doing something that is creative. Designing jewellery makes me feel good, provides me with a sense of accomplishment and I find that it is also helps me to reduce my stress level. How great is that! Performing this one activity gives me 3 benefits.


I love making jewellery because it provides me with a challenge, provides me with opportunities to learn new things and because it helps replace my stressful worries with happy and creative ideas. I love to learn and I am always trying new techniques.


In my next few blog entries, I thought it might be fun to record what it is like when I am designing and making new pieces of jewellery. This will likely take more than a few weeks, since I wish to share as much of the process as I can with you.

My jewellery can take many forms. I like using pearls, crystals, gemstones, beach stones, metal, driftwood, bone, ... you get the idea. I may design pieces based on tribal influences, or I may design a period piece that evolves the Roaring Twenties, or perhaps something that is simple and elegant that would remind you of someone like Audrey Hepburn.  


Some jewellery pieces may look like I just walked down an alley or down a beach and picked up pieces of "stuff" that spoke to me. Sometimes I spend hours poring over beads and components in a very well stocked bead shop like K & S Jewellery in New York because I am just looking for an inspiration. At other times I simply get out my tools and design my own components.


My jewellery may contain found objects, ready-made items or unique components that I make myself using silver, copper, bronze, glass, wood and clay. Usually my creations are developed organically, almost as if by trial and error. I am definitely not someone who fabricates jewellery, based on using a ready-made kit, where I just follow instructions that someone gave to me. 


I sometimes favor a design criteria that seems to be in excess. Some of us believe that if a little is good, then more is better. But I may have to work on restraining that urge in me. Using lots of large and colorful beads may be good, but so is the idea of using fewer components that are smaller, intricate and more delicate.



                                                                           -          More  To  Come......    -