Monthly Archives: December 2010


This will be my last post before Christmas.  I have at least 30 things left on my to-do list and am in dire need of a wormhole….with Dr. Who in tow, if possible.  Time travel seems like the only way I’ll get everything done that needs to be done.  In keeping with the name of the blog I will be posting pics of all the messes created in the process of getting everything made for Christmas….I promise.

This is the last piece I finished for the store.

Another little Labradorite piece, glowing happily for the holidays.

The simplicity of the leaf perfectly offsets the Moonshine of the Labradorite.  This one positively glows a soft, silvery blue.

Happy Holidays everyone.  I’ll see you Monday.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Lotus Eye

Just a quick post today.  ‘Tis the season to be cranky and busy.  Put it this way…I typed the word quick in the previous sentence 4 times as “quack” before I got it right.  I’m thinking that says something of my state of mind, at the very least.

I finished this stunning Tiger’s Eye pendant.  It’s the one with the bands of Hematite running through it.

I am especially happy with how the golden Tiger’s Eye sets off this Lotus cut-out.

This piece is going into the store in the morning, along with 4 other new pieces.

Now I’m off to try and finish some of my own gifts for the holidays.  Happy Solstice and Joyous Yule everyone!

The Woman in Red

I’m going to share someone with you.  Someone very special.  Someone I have enormous respect for and who is one of the people I am fortunate enough to have inspire me.

I first met Amber Ward when she was Amber McGregor.  Her children were students of mine and I just really liked her.  I liked her parenting style, I liked how in-touch she was with her kids, I liked her take on life.  And she always had great hair.  Hey…I’m female.  Hair matters.

One of the strongest memories I have of Amber though is the day she came into my studio, looking absolutely stricken, and said quietly to me “I need to collect my children.  My best friend’s husband was just killed in an accident.”

It was one of those moments when time just stops.  Her face in that moment is frozen in my psyche.  I will never forget the depth of sadness I saw in her eyes, her face, her body-language.  While we waited for her children to gather their things, it occurred to me that I thought I knew who her best friend was.  I asked her who.  I was right.  It was Brandy.

Time stopped again.  I knew Brandy.  I had cast her in The Vagina Monologues, which I had directed a few years earlier.  If you’ve ever clicked on the Brandy Ink link on my blog, you know her too.  My heart just turned over and landed with a dull thump in my gut.  What do you do?  What do you say?  There’s not much to say.  You send your thoughts to them.  You wonder how you can help.  You go and hug the ones you love.

Then, only a week or so later, the unthinkable happened.  Amber experienced her own unspeakable loss.  I cannot even begin to imagine what these two amazing young women have experienced.

The thing is though, even though I know it’s been a journey filled with sorrow and pain for them, both of them have walked through it with profound dignity and grace.  I look at these two women and think “There’s the very embodiment of the strength of women”.  They’re also an example of how the friendships between women, the connection we’re capable of, can hold you up, even lift you up.  How we can choose to see the best in people, even be the best in people.

I went to a party last night at Amber’s home.  It was a party for Brandy to celebrate an event of astounding joy.  To watch both Brandy and Amber filled with joy was an honour and a privilege.  To see that they had both found love again, were both surrounded by great friends, loving children and family made my own heart feel very full.

I had been thinking a lot about joy lately.  Amber is a blogger as well and I had read her post about joy being a choice.  About how it’s ok to  seek it out and embrace it when we find it.  About letting it flow through us.  To see it in action was as magical as the Party Tree in the back yard that looked as if it had been decorated for the occasion by Woodland Elves and Faeries.

So if you’d like to get to know Amber a little better, you can click *here* or on the link in the sidebar.  Grab a cup of tea and take a moment for yourself.  You’ll be surprised what you learn about yourself through her journey.

The little red reindeer lives at Amber’s house now.  When I saw it, it just reminded me of her.  My husband, when he looked at it said “It’s perfect…if Amber were a reindeer THAT’S what she’d look like”.  I agree.  A glorious red reindeer, jumping for joy.

Pink Guitars & Lime Green Cars

I simply could not have asked for a better last day of work before the holidays.  To be able to make a living doing something one loves is always a blessing.  For me, it’s also a ton of fun.  I worked in health-care for years, and while it had its rewards, teaching music to kids…..assisting my husband, actually… satisfying in a much deeper way.

My little girls were my first class today.  I have to be careful calling them that, because the oldest is 13 now and the youngest is only a couple years behind her.  They love to sing and rock out and work so incredibly hard at their craft.  I say craft, because it’s definitely not a passing whim for these girls.  They’re dead serious about what they’re doing here.  There’s more tears with this group than with the older kids, but it’s clear that they’re tears of frustration.  They want so badly to do well.  When their fingers don’t do what they’re telling them to or when that stubborn rhythm just refuses to stick there’s often some waterworks.  Thing is….they cry a bit, but they don’t stop working on it.  They don’t throw down their instrument and stomp away; these girls dig in, dig DEEP, and find a way to make it happen.  That’s not something we taught them, it’s who they are.  They make me so damn proud.

They came in today wanting to write a song.  They’ve been working so hard, they’ve earned the right to take some time and see what we could come up with.  Songwriting has not happened a lot in our classes because it’s so time-consuming and, quite frankly, older kids second-guess every word, every phrase, every idea.  They’re so afraid someone might think something is dumb, or, *gasp*, that THEY’RE dumb.  We try and work through it but it’s so easy to get bogged down it often just doesn’t happen.  Not today though.  These girls were popping out ideas and lyrics all over they place like pink, fluffy popcorn.

These girls blow me away.  They get things on a really fundamental level that we as adults know on an intellectual level but often drift away from.  Things that we know are really important.

They love their friends so deeply.  If you really want to see waterworks, just let one of their friends say something thoughtless to them.  You’d think all the puppies in the world had just gone *poof* and disappeared, never to return.  It made me realize that I love MY friends very deeply.  The people in my life who have lent me their support, their patience, their laughter, their tears, their understanding and their love.  You know who you are.  I can’t even begin to know how to express my gratitude for my life being graced by your friendship.

It was very humbling to be reminded of what’s important by these dynamite young women.  They’re so smart….and brave…..and they’re already stars.

© Pink Steel/JanMac 2010

Loverly Labradorite

If you’re Canadian, you’re already saying “Hmmmm……Labradorite as in Labrador?”  Yup….just so.  While this gorgeous mineral is found elsewhere in the world, it is indeed named for its preeminent source, Labrador, Canada.  It’s ours….ours ours ours.

I could go on about how it’s feldspar and that the glow it radiates is called Labradoressence (how’s that for a mouthful?) but all you really need to know is that it has this mystical glow about it that makes you wonder if there’s a tiny moon, all its own, trapped inside each cabochon.

I purchased this stone a while back and was doing some pricing research today.  I was shocked to find how much the value of this stone has increased in the last 2 years.  Stone prices trend quite dramatically.  Things like fashion colours, jewelry-store ad campaigns, and celebrity exposure can all drive prices up.  Popularity hugely influences stone prices.  Amber is a good example.  I have some gorgeous pieces of Buttercream Amber jewelry I purchased before the Home Shopping Network started flogging it.  I paid approximately a quarter of what the same pieces would go for now.  Same with things like Padparadscha, freshwater pearls, and Tanzanite.

This piece will be in the store next week.  If you like Labradorite, grab it quick.  The next one will be much more spendy.  (I love that word….learned it from my American Cousin.)  After all, who wouldn’t love to have their own personal little moon?