Monday, June 28, 2010


Well, since just after my throat surgery, I picked up what I thought was a summer cold. Apparently, it's some type of viral problem in my throat. I cough 24/7 and yet my lungs,ears, and glands are fine. I've been to two doctors and both have told me not to work out anymore until this is cleared up. I'm not sleeping properly, and I'm tired. I am pushing to get things accomplished, when I'd really rather just lay down.
SO, I guess I better do what I've been told. After all, since I hadn't lost any weight anyway, I'm not going to sabotage any of my efforts thus far.

I'm working on getting photos printed and framed this week for the first of three juried art shows I'm entering. I finally found someone who will do the matting and framing at a more reasonable price than Michael's. Unfortunately, when you enter juried shows, they require proper professional framing. You just can't go buy a ready-made frame and put your photo in and be done with,no.

I have edited many things in my house and have now posted some stuff on Kijiji for sale. I'm hoping this will help my 'Get a new camera' fund. I also had some fairly valuable jewelry which I have now put on consignment at a high end jewelry store in town. Fingers crossed! Maybe, just maybe, this will move me closer to my new Canon DSLR camera.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

OOPS! ...A glitch in my contest...

Well, I will make the best of this!
Apparently, I ended up confusing people about my contest.
I had also put a notice on my Facebook page and some have misunderstood what to do.
As a result, some went to my Fine Art America website and posted their comments there instead of my blog.
I will not ask those people to go back and post here. Instead, I will bounce between the two sites to see who has participated.
At the point I choose the winner, I will first list on my blog all the entries and what photos they picked.

Again, I apologize for the confusion and will just make the best of it at this point.

Note to self: Do better the next contest I hold at explaining the process.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Yes, I'm finally doing a giveaway!
Go to my Fine Art America website (link is below)....

Pick one of my photos as your personal favourite and a brief statement as to why it's your favourite.
The time limit on this giveaway is for one week...Contest will end at 6 PM on Wednesday, June 30th.
The winner who touches me with their reason for picking one particular photo, will get a signed, framed, print of their particular pick.

As a photographer, it's SO much fun to see what different people gravitate too and I'm excited to see the choices.

Good luck to all!!! Leave your choice as a comment below, please!

Monday, June 21, 2010

TIME FLIES....!!!!

Well, once again, the days have gone by and I didn't find time to do some posts.
There are so many things that have taken place and so many more things to take place. Where does one begin?
Let's start by confessing that I received my first speeding ticket in almost 20 years last week. This one will hurt! I was doing 108 kms. in an 80 km. speed limit. I had just passed someone and came over the hill to encounter an unmarked police car. I tried to explain to the officer that I just passed someone but she wasn't interested in my story. I admitted I was, indeed, speeding but there was a reason for it. $135.00 later and I'm sure a couple of points, it's now in the past.

I was busy with some meetings for a sale I'm helping chair in September called "Artisans & Arpeggio" for the Keene United Church. We will have artists selling their works, various unique food vendors and will serve wine and cheeses from the area. This is a fundraiser to help the church repair a very, very large and very, very old stained glass window in need of some tender loving care. I just finished drafting a contract for all the vendors which need to get mailed out.

We also spent a couple of days getting ready for a community garage sale. The sale was Saturday and was not a huge success. The up side, however, was we met some new people who have moved into the Keene area and thoroughly enjoyed the BBQ held afterward. I'm more and more convinced that garage sales are a waste of time. I will post the larger items we had for sale on Kijiji and see what happens.

I've entered four more Juried Art and Photography Shows and two of them you enter your work and they pick what will get shown the day before. The other two, you're required to send .jpg photos and they will be juried and then you're notified if you're accepted. It's a fair amount of work to prepare for these shows.

I've also been invited to attend a photo shoot on July 9th at the Picton Beach marshes on July 9th. This will be a first for me, so I'm really looking forward to it.

At the moment, I've been sick for two days and really don't have much energy or enthusiasm for much. I must 'buck up' and keep on moving.

Below are some of my photo submissions for the art shows.....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Well, it's been a week since I did a post and have given much thought this past while how I want to move forward with my blog.
Yes, I'll still include some personal posts, but want to feature an Etsy shop once a week, a recipe spot and maybe even some other surprises as I go along.

TODAY, I'm going to feature another Etsy shop....

Up until this point, I have not featured any shop like this, but will continue to find more unique shops you might be interested in and maybe even purchase an item or two!

This particular shop is called 'Midwest Finds'. They have been featured in a few well known articles and venues so I hope you enjoy. I've basically transferred an interview these wonderful people did before and added a few of my favourite pieces from their shop.... Sit back and enjoy!

Please go visit their shop and I hope you find something you like and must have!

Tell us a bit about yourself. We are Bernard and Jena, living among the cornfields of Illinois. We met in college while he was singing and playing the piano in my dorm lounge (I guess I'm a groupie). That was 27 years ago! Since then, we've had three kids, lived in eight different places, been to India five times and started a nonprofit organization.

We live in an old church building just two blocks from the town square. That's 6,000 square feet--plenty of room to store jars and all our treasures! The church is actually connected to a four-bedroom house that once stood across the street. In the 1950s, the church bought the house and attached it to the church building for Sunday school rooms and office space. The church is a one-room chapel built in 1912 and the house is a magnificent mission-style structure, full of woodwork and stained glass. We love beautiful, historic things, so living in this place has been a wonderful adventure.

Our shop is really a family business. Our son is off at college, but the girls help clean jars and pack boxes. They also give us advice about what's "cool" enough to put in the store.

Apart from creating things, what do you do? Bernard is a bassoonist and teaches music theory to college students. And up until last month, we were home schoolers but our students have now graduated. Now that it's summer break for Bernard, we spend our time going to auctions and cleaning jars and cleaning jars and cleaning jars. What else is there in life?

I (Jena) love to write and take pictures, so listing items on our store and working on my blog is my idea of fun. I also like to knit and flip through old books.

What first made you want to become an artist? This is an interesting question for a vintage seller, but we know what you mean. Our Etsy shop started with a garage sale. Bernard came home with a basket full of miscellaneous jars. When we looked them up, we found a complete subculture of Ball jar collectors! That intrigued us and the more we studied, the more fascinated we became. And besides, we were looking for something to do together. The kids were growing up and we needed to reconnect, so what better way than to become treasure hunters together?

Now, as we look at all the damaged jars we run across, we want to find ways to recycle them and that's an exciting project we're working on right now.

Please describe your creative process. As our jar obsession began to take hold, we wanted to incorporate jars into everyday life. Standing at my kitchen sink, I looked at my plastic soap dispenser and thought, "Why can't a Ball jar be a soap dispenser?" We had never seen one but my creative husband went to the basement and came back with a pump lid to fit a jar. He just does that. Give him a problem and he solves it. It doesn't hurt that we have every item known to man somewhere in our basement.

Our hanging jars developed more slowly. We'd seen other hanging jars but didn't like the way they looked. Eventually we came up with the chain and wire combination. His years of making bassoon reeds came in handy--working with wire and pliers is second nature.

Bernard also likes to dig into the sides of creeks, looking for buried jars. That's when he found several ornate broken plates and decided to try his hand at cutting the porcelain and making earrings.

We also just bought a kiln, planning to recycle jars into something new and beautiful. We're always looking for ways to be creative with what we have on hand.

What handmade possession do you most cherish? Our most cherished possessions are historic ones--I have my great grandmother's butter churn and pottery, and an old photograph of the farm they built themselves in the early 20th century. They came from Germany to be farmers and coal miners here in Illinois. That's why we love surrounding ourselves with vintage items--they connect us with the people of the past.

Bernard's favorite is an original (there are lots of reproductions) red-amber Mason's Patent quart fruit jar that he found at an auction.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Although I spent the entire day in my PJ's, I got a lot accomplished today. This is the first day I've intentionally not gone in to workout. My personal trainer resigned and I'm waiting to hear which of the other trainers will take over. I went to bed tired and woke up tired, so decided I'd just work at my own pace without any pressure. It was perfect timing, as it poured rain here most of the day.

Well, I managed to clean my house as we have guests arriving tomorrow afternoon from British Columbia. They used to be our neighbours here in Keene and while living here, we had SO much fun! We will play euchre and poker, for sure! Oh yes, there might even be a few drinks, as well.

I finished the custom ordered plate and will deliver some time over the weekend.

I go back to Warkworth tomorrow to deliver four plates to a shop there. She's going to try four on for me!

A well paced, pleasant day!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


This has been another crazy week, but I decided I was taking time to enjoy some of my personal simple pleasures like....

Sitting out front watching the birds at the feeders and listening to their songs
Buying myself a double scoop maple walnut ice cream cone
Going through some old pictures of my brother and me
Having a wonderful coffee and warm raspberry and white chocolate scone in Warkworth
Getting on Skype with Maggie after she received my little parcel
Taking my time driving to Brockville, listening to music I like
Taking photos of a beautiful butterfly
Laying in bed an extra fifteen minutes before rising
Eating chinese food with my friend
Stopping on the side of the country road to watch the clouds
Singing at the top of my lungs in the car
Spraying my pillows with lilac linen scent

Silly, but those are just a few of the things that make me appreciate my life!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A WEIRD WEEK..........

Well, it's been almost a week since I've posted anything. I must admit that this past weekend, I allowed myself some time to just 'veg' out and do a bit of reading. I did attend a seminar on Saturday morning that was interesting. It was by a woman who was originally from British Columbia, but now lives in Chatham, Ontario. Her story is very impressive. You can learn about her if you go to

I did a bit of gardening, but it was WAY too hot and humid to stay out for very long. I finally turned the central air conditioning on! We so needed rain! Fortunately, it's been raining since about 4PM and we can only hope it continues all night. Our plants, our grass are quite pitiful. We have a well, so really can't risk setting up sprinklers. The only thing that seems to be thriving are the weeds!

Monday, I finally had my throat surgery. Not as easy this time! This is the second vellecula cyst I've had to have removed from my throat. They tell me there's no rhyme or reason why people get them. Trust me, they are very annoying. You constantly feel like you have a peanut or something caught in your throat. I constantly clear my throat and cough a lot. Right now, I'm still pretty sore, but each day is getting better.

Tomorrow, I go see a shop owner in Warkworth to show her some of my plates. I sure hope she likes them well enough to purchase wholesale or take in on consignment.! From there I'm heading to Brockville for the rest of the day and overnight. I will be returning with a great treadmill my friends are giving me. Yeah!

Since I felt kind of lousy yesterday, I did some computer work. I was referred to a company called Vista Print and spent about an hour on the phone with them. They walked me through a complete design of a 'Maggie's Studio' set up for a marketing card I can hand out. I'm really excited about it! My 'rack cards' will arrive in about a week!

I also have a custom order for a plate to complete within the next week.

We also have friends arriving for a couple of days from British Columbia. They used to be our neighbours here. They are SO much fun! They usually trek back to Ontario for a couple of weeks and do their tour of family and friends. Hmmm, better get my house cleaned as well!