Category Archives: Toronto

My Ears Are Still Ringing


I went to the Jameson 360 party at the Great Hall on Saturday. It was essentially a pre-Paddy’s Day party that was being held in several locations around the world. It was cool since they were showing you live broadcasts of all the other parties going on while you were at yours. It was a free event but you had to get tickets, which I got through work connections.

The bands were really good this year, too. It was The Dunes followed by Never Ending White Lights and they did really well I thought. Better than last year’s anyway. There was supposed to be free Jameson & Ginger handed out at this event however I never saw any. I had to buy drink tickets instead. The only redeeming factor is that a Jameson drink only cost $5 and I didn’t have to tip! My night cost me under $20!

The only sad part about the night was that I couldn’t hear a single thing when the bands were playing. My ears were ringing so much that all day yesterday and even today I can still hear/feel it. This is especially sad because two guys actually came up and started talking to me and my friend! I think they might have been interested! I talked for a few seconds with them in the lull between songs; long enough for guy #1 to introduce me to guy #2 who was kinda cute. Unfortunately guy #2 kept trying to talk to me about something (which was good!) but I couldn’t hear ANYTHING!

I tried to tell him that I couldn’t hear him, tapping my ear and looking apologetic and all that, and then he just sort of left! And never came back!

I don’t get it. I mean, I couldn’t hear him, but if we wanted to talk couldn’t he wait until the song was over?

Did I do something wrong in this situation? Should I have pretended I could hear him? I mean, what do you do when you’re at a loud concert and can’t hear the other person? It’s kind of embarrassing. I really would have liked to have chatted with this guy, I mean how often do I ever get guys talking to me? The one time they do I can’t hear them and I guess it turns them off!

I just don’t get it.

Ladies, should I have done something different? Guys, would you walk away from a girl if she couldn’t hear you during a loud concert?

ChickAdvisor Shopaholic Event

I’m a member of the Toronto edition of ChickAdvisor.com; which is a really great review site for my area (and now across North America, too!). I love going there to scope out reviews on restaraunts, spas, salons, products, you name it! I also contribute by writing some reviews of my own. (Check it out! My username is gingercorsair)

Anyhoodle, Chick Advisor held a Shopoholic event last night at the Varsity theatre in TO that me and my friend MR went to. It was my birthday present to her :)

For 20 bucks we got a ticket to the show, a cocktail of our choice and a really nice swag bag. Y’all know how much I love my swag! I thought it was a pretty good deal.

It was a pretty good bag, even in comparison to some of the ad-event bags that I get. I totally dig that there were no ad-sales pitches included 😉

I was going to take a photo of my bag but it’s exactly the same as Lowe’s of cocoandlowe.com, who I had the pleasure of meeting last night. So I’m using her photo. Hope she doesn’t mind!

For your viewing pleasure:

What you’re looking at there is:

  • Clorox disinfecting wipes in a super-cute dispenser!
  • Maybelline eye makeup including a liner, 2 mini-palettes and a single shadow in a lovely purple
  • Maybelline’s Lash Stiletto mascara (read my concise review here)
  • Maybelline bronzer
  • Maybelline lipstick & lipgloss
  • Dermalogica sample pack (with my fave microfoliant!)

Not a bad haul, eh? I traded the lipstick, liner and mascara with MR since I already have those items and she wanted them for her sister. Now I just have to find someone to give the Maybelline stuff to… I’ve already got all the colours in higher-end products so I don’t really need them. I guess the only things I’m keeping are the microfoliants from the Dermalogica kits and the Clorox wipes! Oh well, you can’t win them all!

Another nice feature at this event was the Dermalogica skin bar. I went to get a little skin consultation. The girl was great and very knowledgeable, but since I’m a beauty junkie already I didn’t really learn anything new.

As for the Shopaholic movie itself?

I thought it was cute :)

It was totally different from the books, but I think the same spirit was there. Of course its just as frustrating as the books; I wanted to reach through the screen and shake some sense into Becky Bloomwood; but overall it was a nice, enjoyable chickflick–perfect for my girl’s night out!

Well, I had a good time of it, so if they do another one you’ll probably catch me there! Who knows, maybe one day you might even bump into me!

Lost Wax Casting Results

In an earlier post I showcased some of my work in my intro to silversmithing class. Well, it’s time for an update!

I took a second class at the studio called lost wax casting.

The way it works is, you get hunks of hard wax and use little files and gouging tools to shape the object that you want. You can make really awesome 3D pieces with this, and any type of jewellery (rings, earrings, necklaces, etc.).

You carve the wax exactly how you want it, because every single detail including mistakes! is going to be cast in silver later.

Once you’re happy with your piece, you attach it to a “button” of extra wax on the bottom of a flask. It sticks up in the air and looks like a lollipop! This is then sealed in a cylinder called a flask, and filled with a plaster substance. The wax melts out in a kiln leaving a perfect impression, a mold behind.

Next you melt your silver down in a crucible with your torch, then pour it into the mold you created over a special vacuum. After it cools a little you get to do the really cool *pshhhhh!* quench in the water!

Then you have to finish your piece. It’s usually ugly and covered in black tarnish, casting skin, and sometimes firescale if something went funny in the casting process. I had all of the above on my pieces.

I cut the pieces off the button, then filed and polished all the crappy bits away. For the two skull pendants I made for me and my brother; I used a oxidizing acid in the recessed areas to darken the silver permanently for effect.

Check it out!:

I carved each of those skulls individually, and boy! was it hard! It’s very difficult to work in 3D like that for me. There is no adding, only subtracting. If you slip up or go too deep, that’s it, your piece is garbage. I think with practice it would become easier to do, but I found it very challenging this first time around!

I also made this ring:

I did a super-high polish and if you look close enough you can see my hands and the camera reflected in the silver!

So those three pieces conclude my foray into the world of silversmithing for the moment. I’ve signed myself up for a clay silkscreening class that starts in April that I’m totally stoked about. I will probably go back and take the next level of silversmithing at a later date because right now I’m just tired of inhaling silverdust all the time! hehehe

…So, did any of you take my advice and find something fun and creative to do during the dull doldrums of winter??

*blushes*

Wow, thanks for all the nice (and enthusiastic!) comments about my jewellery, guys! I knew they were kinda nice, but not that nice, you really made my day!

Unfortunately I won’t be selling them on Etsy any time soon, those were my projects in a 6-week class at a studio here in Toronto. Three of the rings I made for my friends and family, and the other three I made for myself and wear them quite regularly 😉

I would have to spend years in metalsmithing classes and set myself up with an expensive studio (or rent one) and materials suppliers in order to continue making jewellery. There is quite a lot of time and effort involved in making something like those and I really just took the course to keep myself occupied during the winter.

(of course the more you do it the easier and faster it gets, but I would need a lot more teaching to be able to work on my own!)

I definitely have a much greater appreciation for those artisans who do sell their things on Etsy after seeing how much work it takes to make a simple silver band.

I am flattered that many of you would like to purchase some of my creations, but since I can’t really continue making them in quantity, I thought I’d offer you some links to Etsy sellers who use the same techniques and materials I learned to use.

Lavender Cottage
Rachael Sudlow Jewelry
Sheena Jewellery

You can easily find more great jewellery and artists on Etsy for yourself! Just pick the type of item you want and narrow it down to metal or metalwork to find more stuff like mine.

What I’d really like to point out though, is that any one of you are capable of making something as unique and beautiful as the pieces I made. I just signed up for a course; I had never done this sort of thing before! I am artistically inclined, but I can honestly say that everyone in my class made some stunning quality pieces, and you can too!

I found this class through Craigslist of all places. I encourage you to check your own city listings, community centres and local studios to find a creative activity that makes your heart hum. If you’re in the GTA, the Toronto Craft Alert blog is an excellent resource.

Now then, I’m going to go and admire the new ring I just finished casting today 😀

*Don’t forget to enter the draw for my give-away of 3 FUZE prize packs!

Silversmithing

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on here before, but I’ve been taking some silversmithing classes at a local jewellery studio.

Right now I’m learning lost wax casting, which is where you carve your item out of wax, create a mold from it, then pour molten silver into the mold–casting your piece. I’m carving a pair of skull pendants; one for me and one for my brother. I have also made a cute little ring.

Speaking of which, my last class I made a ton of rings as well. It was more of a true silversmithing construction class. I learned how to saw, cut, hammer, anneal, torch and bathe my silver in chemicals. I learned how to do a bezel setting with a cabochon stone (very hard!) and do all kinds of cool stuff.

I thought I’d share some photos with you of my designs. A few were for me, but three of the rings were for the women who have had the most impact in my life: my mother and my friends T and MR.

This is a black star diopside in a bezel setting. Can you see the starburst?

I pressed the vein design onto brass then cut out the leaf shape, soldering it to a spiral silver ring

My simple beaten band. My mom got a fatter version. This one only took me 30 minutes to make at the end of the course!


MR’s band. Beaten, then oxidezed to a black patina


The “Tree Ring” made to look like tree bark for T

I really enjoy learning how to do unique and creative things like this. How many people do you know that silversmith???

Toronto is great because there are so many opportunities to learn how to do stuff like this. In the coming year I hope to take more classes on things like pottery and ceramics, glass art and blowing and possibly some fabric arts. I guess I’ll have to keep you posted!
…What is your favourite artzy phartzy hobby?

*Don’t forget to enter the draw for my give-away of 3 FUZE prize packs!

Fascinating Fascinators!

Now that I have some new hair to flaunt, I am totally in love with the concept of hair fascinators.
What are they, you ask? Well let me inform you!

Hair fascinators are lovely little (or big!) hair decorations, usually made of silk flowers, ribbons, feathers or all of the above! They’re not quite mainstream yet, and are more common as a bridal accessory at this point, but the creative folks over at Etsy are catching on quick and producing some lovely pieces!

To celebrate the hairdo (and because my birthday is coming up in a few months) I bought a couple of fascinators from a vendor on Etsy:

I really can’t wait to wear them!

I stuck with the more simple designs because they were cheaper, less fussy and will go with more of my wardrobe. If I had a reason to wear something more exotic though, I would be all over it!

Others that I love:


All of these can be found on Etsy, just search under hair fascinator, hair clip, etc.

The pieces I purchased were between $12-$15, but some of the more extravagant ones can be over $100. I plan to wear mine with my hair down, and also to spice up my boring ponytail.

I’ve also found them in a couple of the trendy fashion supply odds n’ ends stores on Queen Street in the Fashion District in Toronto, but they’re all around $40 which is a little out of my reach! Beautiful pieces, though!

Vidal Sassoon: New Look!

So, I did it!

I went to the salon last night and had a pretty good experience. It’s much more posh than I thought it would be. There’s a coat check and assistants to get you drinks and stuff…

My stylist was good, turns out she teaches at the school at the salon which made me feel much better about using her!

In terms of the cut, she gave me the professional opinion I wanted so desperately. She said that longer hair suited me best, but that I should go with my natural curls and enhance those. Normally I go for a straighter look, so this was different! She cut about 5-6 inches (!!) off, gave me more layers to add volume and movement, and reshaped the fringe at the front.

The best part I thought was that she took the time to show me a simple way to do my hair without too much effort. I’m about to give it a go on my own tonight and see how it works out! I am optimistic that the cut will also look good when I don’t do anything to it, or if I straighten it. Time will tell!

Anyway, below are a couple of photos of the new hair. I would like to mention however, that it was raining when I left the salon, and I forgot my umbrella :( So it’s a little flatter than it should be, and also looks a little wet and dark in the photos. Oh well, you’ll get the gist.


So what do you think? Did I do the right thing, going shorter and curly? Or should I have stuck with long and wavy/straight? Was the cut worth $85? I welcome all honest opinions!

Oh, and yes, I would recommend the Vidal Sassoon salon, if you’ve got the extra cash and can make it to Toronto! My cut cost me $85 + tax, and I also purchased some chi-chi Kerastase product for $40 (ouch!) but I had a 15% off coupon so it wasn’t quite as painful.