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Sarabande Treasures

A return to grace and elegance.



Welcome to the garden studio!

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Your Passion Awaits!

Posted on 8 February, 2021 at 0:40 Comments comments (2661)

It's time, I believe, for a little romance; a little escape from reality and a flirtation with the unexpected ..all via my imagination at least. I invite you, this year most especially, to conjure your imagination, discover your passion and embark on your own journey of creativity, which will inevitably take you to a place far beyond the confines of tedious pandemic restrictions. Romance your imagination! You see, I am convinced that never before in our own lifetimes has creativity been so vital a calling as it is during this time of profound change. Imagination is the key. I ask myself how, in years to come, will I look back on this period in my life; this fork in the road where there were two very distinct paths to choose from? Which of the two roads will I come to know so well, trusting I'll be guided on every step of my creative journey? One road is dismal, dark and dusty. Its weather-beaten signpost clearly reads 'FEAR'.  The other road is edged in greenery, sunlit and inviting...well, it heralds LOVE all the way! And so it is. I turn my face towards the sun and in the distance my creative muse beckons me back to the ancient places; places where she knows only too well my imagination is happy to reside. There I am free to wander the quiet woodlands and meadows fragrant with wildflowers and stirrings of the most magical variety. The breezes whisper a myriad possibilities. This is where my spirit is happy to linger awhile and collect along the way the many inspired ideas being offered me. I discover, for instance, that behind the walls of a long-forgotten garden still grow rose bushes and in full bloom, no less. Their fragrances are intoxicating and their colours vivid. Roses have long been my favourites. Ah, the English rose gardens I've strolled through in years past. Roses have found their place in human history throughout the ages. Long ago we named them; attributing meaning to their many hues. They bear a language all their own that transcends mortal words. And so, this singular treasure becomes the inspiration for a new chapter in my ever-evolving creative process of jewellery making. And because English history is one of which I am perhaps most familiar, I choose to draw on the old legends in the time of King Arthur and to those of King Richard the Lionheart in the 14th century for many of the creations you will see offered by the Sarabande Treasures studio this year. The Gisbourne Rose Collection is one of the first. So too, the foundation stone for this year's creative musings will be Celtic symbolism which speaks undeniably of the eternal: in love and thus, in life. Strong symbolism, centuries old that has the ability to hold as much power and mystery for humankind now as it did in the time of the early Druids. There is much to be done and so much to create in joy and hope. My desire is to share the possibilities and excitement that the imagination holds for all of us, through my own creativity as an artist. The journey's begun! Don't look back. Let's take it together.


Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May ~ John William Waterhouse 1908


The Colours of Late Summer

Posted on 23 August, 2020 at 17:05 Comments comments (63)

Every season offers us colours to inspire, to create and to reflect upon. Here at the garden studio I currently enjoy being surrounded by a riot of colour. The spectacular dahlias are in full bloom and putting on an amazing show. They stop passersby with their beauty of shape and colour. Sunflowers reach up to touch the clouds; some easily 9 or 10 feet in height. I call them nature's birdfeeders as the nuthatches, bush tits and sparrows feast from them the day long. Blackberries herald the upcoming Fall harvest when many are inspired to create in their kitchens, dishes that highlight all the delightful flavours and abundance we are offered at this time of the year. I love to feel and observe the change of seasons. The evenings draw in a bit sooner now and the greenery that surrounds me is slowly turning, aging and preparing for a time of slumber as the richness of the autumn season approaches with different colour schemes to entice our creative moods. For me it represents my very favourite time of year: nothing inspires like crisp, cool autumn days. My senses seem to be reawakened in the annual treasured retreat to the cozier pleasures of Autumn days soon to come.

Autumn Anticipation

Posted on 9 August, 2020 at 18:55 Comments comments (288)

Yes, I know, I know.  There is still plenty of summer to be had and enjoyed over the next month or so, but I must admit that my favourite season of the year in on the horizon and I am inspired at the very thought of Fall colours and scents.  Here in the studio I have begun my research into the jewellery collection colours I will choose, the scents I will use in my Autumn soaps and even the papers I will use to create Fall themed greeting cards. Here is a sneak peak at a couple of the new soap offerings starting in September.     

A Love Affair With Paper

Posted on 21 July, 2020 at 14:00 Comments comments (122)

I LOVE paper. I love the look of it, the feel of it and the vast possibilities it offers me. From the top shelf of my bookcase I extract an old volume from the vintage and antique collection that resides there. Ah, the scent of an old book whose smooth pages are buff with age is intoxicating to me. And so, there is the bookcase filled with printed paper and then there are the shelf loads of papers that I have amassed over the years and still continue to collect for use with my greeting card passion. I guess the minute I could put crayon to paper I was drawing and then creating cards to give family members for the various special occasions sprinkled throughout the year. My parents kept every one! Here's a sampling, which never fails to make me smile.

Creating greeting cards has always been a pleasurable pastime, as there are always new materials to be discovered and fresh ideas to explore. It's not just the papers that inspire, it's the sheer joy of using felt pens in dazzling colours, ribbons, rubber stamps and a whole host of embellishments to create something which is truly unique. It really is a form of play that I seem to have kept alive since childhood. Even more satisfying is sharing this creativity with the recipient of the card. It's great fun to personalize greetings by choosing just the right image, quotation or even colour scheme.

Today I continue to create paper greetings for friends and I also sell my creations here in my studio. Any occasion, any style (I have to say I am partial to vintage images and themes) can be found on the large card spinner that sits behind my work table. I feel certain that my traditional mode of conveying greetings will never make way for electronic Christmas cards, birthday greetings etc.   Beautiful as these cyber creations can be, my form of expression will continue to be a little paper trifle that arrives neatly sealed in an envelope. Guess I'm just a traditional girl at heart, hopelessly in love with paper!

Come on, get HAPPY!

Posted on 1 July, 2020 at 22:15 Comments comments (0)

Has anybody out there taken on more knitting projects lately, tried some new recipes or started a garden patch? Welcome to the creativity club. Creativity is a sure fire road to happiness and certainly these days, we all could to with more of that. For me, creativity is my lifeblood. As far back as I can remember, I have always found ways of being creative. In childhood, while growing up with my three sisters, we were forever making things out of paper, plasiticine, fabric or really just about anything that fired our imaginations. We sang, acted and played the countless, age-old games of 'pretend'. That has always been the case with me. Art college, commercial art classes, media studies; I pursued the education, but at the end of the day it was always about how I interpreted the world around me that invited the muse to come a callin'. This is how every human being taps into their genuine and unique creativity: by observing with all the senses. We all have the ability to be creative. YES, it's the truth and also it's a pretty important truth for all of us human beings. Better health, happiness and the opportunity to make this world a better place: that's what creativity gives us. So please allow me my 'soap box' moment as I strongly encourage you to sing, dance, cook, paint, garden, draw, compose, photograph, sculpt.....whatever it is that inspires you to express yourself (see, you don't need to know how to draw a stick figure after all). With a little bit of determination and desire, you'll soon be feeling a whole lot of happy.

It's a soap day!

Posted on 25 June, 2020 at 16:25 Comments comments (107)

I'm making soap today. It's one of my passions that years ago turned into another facet of the Sarabande Treasures gem.  I've always loved beautiful soaps; Italian or French triple milled most especially. Apart from taste (which no doubt I was able to sample once or twice in my childhood), a lovely bar of soap can awaken all the senses. Firstly, the look of an exquisitely wrapped bar of soap is something I find irresistable.  Beautiful bars of soap are like little gifts that tempt you with visual delight until you break the seal to reveal the smooth, satiny and, for me, always scented bar within. If it's a good bar of soap, then you have two, maybe three weeks of pleasurable cleansing to enjoy. Then, it's on to the next scented treasure! I must confess, I'm a bit of a kid in a candy shop with my soaps. I want to try nearly every scent that lures me in. Variety is the spice of life, after all!  And so, for the past ten years or so, I've been creating my own soaps from natural and 100% biodegradable ingredients. I love this knowing exactly what goes into my skincare. I do the same with my face and body products, but that I will tell you about some other day. Although not available on my website, a good variety of my all vegan based soap can be purchased here at the studio. Yes, I do a castile based foaming liquid hand soap and also unscented soaps for those who prefer the simple cleansing properites of superior soap. There are soaps for all seasons. Today it's summertime scents of Coconut Lime and zesty Lemon Cream. Autumn will offer scents such as Warm Apple Pie, Pumpkin Spice and Autumn Leaves. The Christmas season heralds soaps of magical shapes and scents: Winter Berries, Cranberry Orange Spice and First Frost along with many others. The 3D snowman-shaped soap, for instance, makes his happy return each year to the delight of adults and children alike. As always, you are most welcome to come and see it all for yourself by simply making an appointment via email or telephone anytime!

From this.....

To this.

Introducing Sophie

Posted on 21 June, 2020 at 22:10 Comments comments (662)

I'd like to introduce you to my little pal, Sophie. Once a skinny and fearful little rescue cat from California; she has been the healthy and happy heart beat at my feet for the past seven years and it's safe to say we are pretty well inseparable. I am certainly not what some would term 'A crazy cat lady'; (geez, I hate that label), but somehow calico cats have been a big feature of my life since my first one adopted me during my years living in England.  Benny flew back to Canada with me in 2005 and she lived to the ripe old age of 19 and 3 months. Calicos are a particular kind of cat. They like to rule the castle and have their humans to themselves. Now this particular calico, as you can see, likes to have her canine chums around to visit. Seeing them all together makes my heart sing. The dogs will get their own blog at a later date! Suffice to say that I could not imagine my life without animals and certainly not without the gentle little Spirit who I call Sophie. I hope you get to meet this calico charmer if you make a visit to my studio. Did you know that calico cats are almost always female? Sophie happens to have the unusual feature of being a ridgeback cat as well. She is the brightest, most colourful gem in the jewellery box!

How many cats that you know enjoy watching Hallmark movies?!

On the rare occasion, friends from across the street come for sleep overs!

Welcome to the garden studio!

Posted on 18 June, 2020 at 18:05 Comments comments (634)

Welcome to the Sarabande Treasures Studio here in beautiful Oak Bay, Victoria.  I hope you will always find your time spent in the garden and studio to be peaceful, relaxed and very welcoming. It is such a pleasure to share with you the creative and inspired setting in which I live and work.