Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pate de Verre



After burying myself in school for the last several weeks, I finally got busy doing something new and different, and very cool: Pate de Verre.  I had no idea what this was all about when I stumbled upon the website for Nanopod Studio and saw their list of upcoming workshops.  

But since it wasn't terribly expensive and was just an afternoon, I figured: What the heck - might as well give it a try...  

The instructor was Tosca Teran y Hidalgo, and she was amazingly patient.  I think I asked her 627 questions (many of which were duplicates!)   

The inside of the mold is "painted" before you do anything else.  The paint is not what you'd expect.  It's very finely-powdered, coloured glass to which you add some kind of magic solution to bind it enough so that it will hold in place.  Once you have the outer (or bottom) layer painted, then you fill the mold with little bits of ground glass - the pieces are so small and so fine that they looks like grains of sugar.  







Next, the masterpiece is kilned for several hours.  The temperature of the kiln is fairly low (comparatively speaking), which is why the glass granules retails their shape, as opposed to melting together. 

Here's a short YouTube video that gives a brief explanation of what Pate de Verre is and how it's done.  


*  *  * 

So, I did the first part (above) on Dec. 13, and went back tonight to pick up my finished piece.  Very cool! 

I had to use a little chisel  and a pick (it looked like a medieval dental instrument!) to gently smash away the plaster cast.  I literally broke the mold.  Anyhow, the pics tell the story and you can see my colourful skull end result.  

Did I mention that this activity was very cool?!  I had a lot of fun doing this and look forward to doing it again some day.








The five photos above were taken by Tosca Teran - the artist-instructor who owns Nanopod Studio.  Tosca is awesome - and very patient!  Her studio is filled with all sorts of her creations: jewellery, metal works, glass works, a wild pair of shoes and a very funky pink felt headpiece/wig! I can't wait to return and discover some new creations.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I'm in good company!



It was a pleasant surprise to see Blood and Groom listed in this "tour" of Toronto mystery novels, especially since the book came out just over five years ago!   And I have to say, I'm in great company.  I've read just about all the other authors mentioned on this page (which is from the January 2015 issue of Toronto Life Magazine, on page 97).  Pretty cool that Blood and Groom is listed as one of the "ten grisliest" whodunits!  Since it was PI Sasha Jackson's first case, I'm sure she would agree.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Netflix: Misc. Documentaries 7




Very good!  Of course, in my case, they were speaking to the choir.  Lawrence and Richard put forward a pretty solid, very coherent argument.  


Kind of neat, but not exactly Earth-shattering.  Fun to see a face and say "Ooooh!!  Him!!!  I didn't know he played that character..."  


As as fan of improvisation, this was a treat.  Again, not exactly Earth-shattering, but interesting.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Recent Reads: Loss Great Crush



Hated this one!  Just awful, solipsistic, not the least bit funny, self-indulgent... an utter waste of time.



OMG!!!  I had forgotten how beautifully written this book is!  Not a single throwaway sentence, every single word belonged on the page!  And the story - wow!  I had forgotten so many details in the 30 years since I last read it.  Wow - jaw dropping!




I love the idea of Dorsey's books - his tone and humour grab me, but as I've said before: He carries on the joke just a wee bit too long.  




Friday, October 24, 2014

Netflix: Misc. Documentaries 6

Loved it!  I already knew the gist of the story, but I knew little about the band and its growth/changes over the years.  I did see them in concert a couple of years ago (with Arnel singing) and it was fantastic.  I've long been a fan, so of course I thoroughly enjoyed this!


Great idea, poorly executed.  It would have made a huge difference if he'd taken it on more as an exploration in investigative journalism and added analysis of sorts to it.  I wish he'd explored the ad world writ large, maybe peeked at effects of advertising, growth of consumerism, etc.  As it was, the movie felt like it had no point.  Too bad.


Interesting albeit not exactly gripping.  Cool to learn a bit about the biz and the folks behind the scenes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh no... Netflix series #3



Eye candy... delicious eye candy (and by that I mean the clothes in general, but Auggie shirtless in particular).  There's something very slick about this show.  And Eyal is pretty hot too.  Love all the locations (and the Toronto bits!)  Did I mention Auggie shirtless?  


I like the supporting cast/minor storylines much more than I like the lead actor/main storyline.  I'll check out future episodes just to see what happens to the Christian chick and her hubby.  Clayne Crawford, Abigail Spencer and Adelaide Clemens are the strongest characters in the series IMHO.  


This series really just tries too hard.  It's okay if there's nothing else on, but...  Stilted dialogue, plots have to many holes.  Can be fun at times, but overall it's meh.



Love it love it love it!  Terrific cast, terrific characters!  Powered though one season after the other.  Again, it's a lot of eye candy (whether that means the men or the fashions is irrelevant).  


Very disappointing.  Loved Simon Baker in The Mentalist.  Here is seems petulant and one dimensional... almost vapid.  Supporting cast is mostly good, especially Alan Rosenberg, but Dabney Coleman's character is irksome - cold and soulless.  Weak scripts in terms of both dialogue and plot.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Oh oh... Netflix: Series #2


Lovedlovedloved season 1!!!  Liked season 2.  I wish I could to slap Piper.  I want to see more of Alex.  The last scene of the season 2 finale was terrific!


I haven't seen the American version and don't want to.  This Australian show has some of the best script-writing in television!  Cleaver is by far one of the best TV characters ever imagined.  


Eye candy (Jim Longworth).  A fun diversion.  Wish it hadn't been cancelled at the end of season four - theyrleft viewers on a cliff!  Who shot Jim???  And what about the wedding???


Boy, can Kevin Spacy ever play a cold, heartless, calculating son of a bitch!  And Robin Wright as his wife - bee-yotch!!!  Eagerly awaiting the next season.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Recent Reads: Stinking Woman Collapse


A terrific debut novel!  A collection of lovable - and not so lovable - losers, an angry dog, a whack of pot and a stash of cash combine to make this a hilarious backwoods joyride.  The dialogue is spot on, and the characters remind me of the guys my Dad forbid me to date.  I look forward to Brunet's next book.  


Without a doubt, one of the most beautifully written, most evocative books I have ever read (despite the horrific subject matter).  The author's voice is just incredible!


Hmmm... How to make a topic like this sexy?  Answer is that you can't, really.  Reading it felt like I was sitting in a 3rd year economics lecture - which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  It's dry, yes, but still worth reading. Very informative, very detailed, very thorough, and I like books that make me think, that teach me something.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

FREE today on Kindle: BLOOD AND GROOM

You can download a free copy of BLOOD AND GROOM today (Sept. 13) on Amazon Kindle!  
Here's the LINK


SYNOPSIS

When not talking dirty at her part time phone sex job, or singing cheesy cover tunes in generic suburban bars, fledgling private investigator Sasha Jackson is spending her days trying to figure out how ‘till death do us part’ applies to her jilted client. 

Christine Arvisais was dumped by her gold plated fiancĂ© days before mailing the wedding invitations. Four months later, he was shot in a Toronto ravine during his Saturday morning jog. Christine says she was wrapped in seaweed and bathing in mud when Gordon Hanes went to the mahogany paneled VIP room in the sky. 

Then another former fiancĂ© falls victim to another femme fatale and it appears Cupid’s bow is no match for the Grim Reaper’s scythe. 

As Sasha continues her investigation, she uncovers a pattern of guys who skipped ‘I do’ and now never will. It seems a coincidence, until Sasha learns the real meaning of Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. 

With her dad driving her crazy via long distance, and her brother steeped in confusion about his own romantic comedy of Eros, Sasha must figure out who’s whacking would-be grooms before it becomes a case of four funerals and a wedding. 

Reviews for Blood and Groom

“The toughest fictional woman P.I. in Canada.” -Bill Selnes, Mysteries and More  

"Sasha Jackson: she's tough, can drink with the best of 'em, and isn't afraid to bend the rules." (Karen Russell, HowMysterious.com) 

"Fans of strong female characters and fans of detective novels will enjoy this story. This was a fun read, and I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Toronto’s sexiest new detective can get in to in her second book." (PaulTheBookGuy.com) 

“Edmondson writes a fast-moving book with a hip protagonist. I give Blood and Groom a rating of Hel-O since Jill Edmondson is a new-to-me author and Blood and Groom is a fast-paced, fun read.” (Helen Ginger, straightfromhel.com Blog) 

“Sasha Jackson is one of the best literary characters I’ve discovered of late. She’s an edgy and unconventional ex-musician turned private investigator. Canadian author Jill Edmondson spins a marvelous yarn with a sense of humor. She shines a bright light on Toronto. Biting humor, pop references and colorful characters make Blood and Groom a fun read.” (Amy Steele, entertainmentrealm.com) 

"Blood and Groom is a sprightly read - a promising start to a new series and a fresh writing career." (Joan Barfoot, The London Free Press) 

"Blood and Groom's main character, newly licensed downtown Toronto P.I. (and former rock singer) Sasha Jackson, has enough sass and quirk to hold a reader's interest." (Quill & Quire ) 

"The style is fresh, well-paced and uses dialogue that feels real. Toronto is nicely portrayed as a place fit for dispatching grooms. Edmondson shows the storytelling skill to turn this into a series with room to grow." (The Hamilton Spectator) 

“Blood and Groom is full of down-to-earth people and pithy portrayals of some weird characters. Conversations are snappy. It is a light, fun read and I’d be interested in seeing future stories.” (The Waterloo Region Record) 

"It's a quick, entertaining read best enjoyed with double vodka tonics and morning after grilled cheeses." (shedoesthecity.com Blog ) 

"Parts are very funny -- especially the sex chat and Sasha's nerdy pal Victor, and her gambler dad... Bizarre! Not as bizarre as the ending, with romance and finance combined to deadly effect." (Lucille Redmond, Ireland Evening Herald) 

"A fast-paced, soft-boiled novel with a distinctive voice and a sassy protagonist." (Jim Napier, The Sherbrooke Record). 

"The book is fast-paced... and the tone is the quick and funny style that appeals to fans of Janet Evanovich. There's a lot of promise here and we'll look forward to Sasha Jackson's next adventure." (Margaret Cannon, The Globe & Mail) 

“Jill Edmondson’s Blood and Groom is a fast-paced whipcrack of a book — a a little edgy and a lot of fun.” (Bookgasm.com)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Oh oh... Netflix: Series #1

I said "oh oh" in the title of this post because I know I have no discipline & if I get hooked on a series, then I'll be glued to the television until I've binged on the whole thing!  These are a few of the TV series that I've watched and enjoyed recently - they all kept me up way past my bedtime!



I marathoned this in April/May after hearing so many people talk about it (I had never seen a single episode).  Loved it, although it was disturbing as hell.  Loved the Jesse character, Hank was great, hate the two wives, and as for Walter... what is there to say?  Gotta admit, though, that on occasion, I found parts of the plot hard to swallow - characters and script didn't always seem to jibe.  Nevertheless, addictive!  And Saul rocked!  I eagerly await his spin-off series!


Rather weak scripts, lots of holes and implausibilities in the plots, and the dialogue is trite at times, but WHO CARES???  It's fun to watch just for the eye candy and fashions!  And I love the fact it's filmed in Toronto - always fun to spot places/things I recognize as parts of YYZ.  Can't wait for the next season.



I hated the Rose Byrne character - vapid, shallow, weak, selfish and a whole lot of other things, but it didn't matter; this was Glenn Close's baby!  Wow, can she do evil!  Cold, manipulative, soul-destroying evil!  Glenn Close was just terrific in this.  I also liked the story arcs ("cases") that ran through the seasons: Ted Danson and John Goodman were wonderful, and were the storylines.  Worth watching.



Without question, the best TV drama series I have ever watched, hands down!!!  The character development is incredible, the storylines within each season but though the series overall were terrific.  It was almost visceral watching this and even a little bit emotionally draining in a way (I say that as a positive thing).  I can't imagine anything else drawing me in as deeply as this did. Wow, just wow!  I'll give it a while, but I know I will most likely re-watch the whole series.  Lem! Shane!  Vic!  Ronnie!  And let's not forget Aceveda and Kavanagh. A five star, two thumbs up series!  


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Netflix: Misc. Documentaries 5

I'm already a fan of Robert Reich's soci-economic-political views (books, columns), so it's no surprise that I enjoyed watching this.  He makes several important points as he looks at economic patterns and changes over several decades (basically since early Twentieth Century).   His analysis of the changes (women and work, second jobs, declines in unions, etc) in the last ~ 40 years is worth noting.  Definitely worth watching!



















Who woulda thunk that I'd find two documentaries about Bees so interesting?  It's not just about making honey - it's about pollination, farming, the environment, and crop yields.  Glad I saw these films - both were very thought provoking.  





Friday, August 29, 2014

Glass Fusing - WOW! So Cool!

I keep finding so many fun things to do!  

On August 17th I attended a GLASS FUSING class at The Devil's Workshop taught by multi-talented artist (and ad-hoc photographer!) Melissa - check her out on Twitter  .


I've never tried anything like this before - and it was so cool!  It's much easier to do than you'd guess.  Basically, you use a miniature pizza cutter thingamajiggy to score where you want to cut.  Then you use some kind of pliers more or less to snap off the piece you're working with.  You can add layers, paint them, add more layers, and use different colours, shapes and sizes.  These four pictures are from Aug. 17th.  You can see my six pieces (pendants) in their pre-kiln stage.





Today, August 29th, I finally got around to picking up my pieces after being fired.  The firing takes several hours, and then of course the glass needs a lot of time to cool down.  So cool to see how they all turned out!!!  


I like some of the pieces more than the others, but since the whole endeavour was a new thing - an experiment - I've got to say I am quite pleased with the results!  And keep in mind, I was winging it - I had no clear plan or idea of what I wanted to make.  I just wanted to do something creative.  The three blue ones in the centre are my faves.  I really enjoyed doing this and cannot wait to give it another whirl!











Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Netflix: Misc. Documentaries 4

This was a bit of a disappointment.  Bukowski got drunk, smoke, wrote, got laid, and then did it all again the next day.  Blah blah... worked at the post office... Blah blah... got tons of rejections slips... He got drunk again, used the word "cunt" lots of times, wrote some more... Blah blah... 

WOW!  So many interesting back stories!  This was fantastic - tons of talent, lots of dark insight into the music biz, a sharp look at a different time and place, and some wonderful bits of trivia about so many songs I know and love (Gimme Shelter and Sweet Home Alabama to name a couple).  Highly recommended!

Pretty good, but... It would have been nice to know more about the internal change - did they REALLY renounce all thier prior beliefs?  Or did they just get rid of the outward symbols in order ot make it easier to find a job.  I think there was sincerity to their actions/changes, but a bit more introspection would have been welcome.

I love dogs, so it's no suprise that I liked this (and my dogs are both rescues).  The focus of this movie is on shelter dogs being trained as guide dogs, service/therapeutic pets.  The dogs are trained by women who are in prison, which was interesting to learn about.  There were vignettes of the people who received the trained dogs in which they discussed the positive impact the trained dogs had made in their lives.  A feel good flick.

Ahhh... stories of redemption... people who make a difference.   The film focused on lifers who volunteer in the hospice program, serving other inmates at the end of life.  I was misty eyed several times.  Worth watching.  I wish the movie had explored questions about sentencing, the roles of prison (punish or correct?), three strikes laws, justice and race, etc.  but I guess that would've been another movie entirely.  Worth watching.