Author Archives: lorahliemaybe

About lorahliemaybe

My creative life as a Bower Bird

Ontario-the Gemstone Capital of Canada!!


Part 1

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photo credit: nice trails

This is how I imagine my rock hounding forays to be but alas they are not: reality is dusty dirty hot (and often rocky) roads, creek beds and lakeshores picking through sharp I-don’t-know-what-they-are-at-the-moment stones hauling my pick axe and bucket, stubbing my toes and grinding my knees.  O the joy of it!

Toronto is a real dead zone when it comes to rock hounding. What is a “rock hound” you may ask yourself? The definition according to my memory of random information is a person that, often compulsively, searches for stone material and formations in their natural habitat as a hobby.

Ontario is the “Gem Capital” of Canada…with an abundance of Ruby, Amethyst and Moonstone to name just a few. The epi-center, Toronto, has nothing…kind of like the eye of a geological gemstone storm.

And I mean NOTHING gemstone like-Basalt, Bedrock, Limestone, Granite, Marble and Gneiss is as spectacular as it gets. I could dig 400 meters and pluck me some good old 3 million year old bedrock, but my fingers would be pretty raw.  This is about the time that water started forming channels into bedrock and formed the Great Lakes.  North America was already formed 150 Million Years before that with the 300 Million year old Great Continent of Pangea doing it’s thing and breaking up into the World as we now know it. The Toronto region is what remains of the now under-sediment layers known as the Laurentian Channel.

Once, I found a metallic vug within a sizable chunk of Basalt. The metal component somehow torn from it’s birthplace up North when glaziers rampaged Canada during the conclusion of the last big Ice Age 2.5 million years ago (or perhaps during the glazier retreat of 14,000 years ago). And to make it even more desirable, the metal had been molten when the vug formed laying ripples upon its-self as it cooled after it possibly spewed from a volcano.

That is my story and I’m sticking to it!  Some have said that it is just slag (man-made metal or glass debris). However I don’t know how the slag, if it is, would have been dripped from a machinist into undisturbed Basalt containing fossilized crinoids.  Feel free to give me your opinion!  I am certainly no expert!

I carved the piece into a sort of trapezoid and was very careful not to disturb the vug too much. It sits beside me every day and is one of my favorite specimens. The large chunk of which it was contained rests in a box to be further explored.

As does this yet to be determined piece…something volcanic judging by the bubbles.


There are plenty of areas that contain fossils though. Clams, trilobites, brachiopods, gastropods and trilobites used to rampage Toronto in the muddy lime-rich waters that was our prehistoric landscape.

The time is coming soon for me to venture out!  I’ll be returning to the location where I found the basalt in the coming months.  Just as exciting…the Toronto Lakeshore is chock-full of fossils!  I look forward to gleaning more specimens and knowledge of the local geological history as well as a trip to one of the many abandoned mines up North.  Here are a few images of my fossil finds: (crinoids, brachiopods and trilobites)


Happy Hunting for those that do!

Raven & Apollo

Raven & Apollo

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Raven and Apollo’s voices are entwined through-out Greek history.  Apollo the God of Prophecy and Light and Raven who’s special ability of speaking to people combined forces eons ago in ancient Greek mythology, which closely tied and spilled over into developing Celtic beliefs.  When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, they incorporated the Greek Mythology as their own.  Apollo was the only God to not be given a Latin (Roman) name.

He had the gift of prophecy and was strongly associated with healing. A patron of the arts with his lyre symbolizing music, poetry and dance.  Identified with Helios, the sun god, Apollo was considered the bringer of light and often depicted in his golden chariot.  Revered for bringing sunlight to bring crops, health and prosperity to mortals.

The main story of how Apollo and Raven came together goes like this….Apollo, the ladies man (God) that he apparently was got pretty bored one day running the Sun across the sky.  He flung a White Raven (may have been a crow-historians haven’t fully decided) to spy on his current Love at the time Coronis only to find her cheating!  Apollo was so angry when Raven brought him the news that he scorched Raven’s feathers Black in his fury.

Many view the Raven as a dark and mysterious harbinger of doom, death, lost Souls and of Battle Cries. As a Black carrion bird the eating of dead flesh and croaking voice reinforced this viewpoint.  There is more to this, with Raven’s ability to speak a perfect spiritual go-between with the spirit world and our own.  A psychopomp. One who aids Souls to the other side without judgement.

Sapphires are believed to be the Stone of Prophecy (and Wisdom) and ancient Greeks wore them for wisdom at Delphi when seeking answers from the Oracle at Apollo’s Shrine.

Pink Sapphire such as the one below brings the wisdom of resilience. It stimulates emotions and encourages love, forgiveness, and release of the past. It honors acceptance and strength of heart!



And to close I have to add this West Coast version of Raven depicted in Raven by Gerald McDermott as the “Trickster” ….. read this one so many times to my little guys!





Welcome to my blog!  Here you will find an eclectic summary of my life, Art  and info about my Jewelry Creations.  Hope you enjoy!

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My most ♥♥♥ item!  And of course it is Canadian!

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My children are always on my mind and in my heart each and every day!


I’d like to feature the first art show that I was involved in since my cancer journey began curated by the very busy Lauren McKinley Renzetti….

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Woodbine Park Companions

Woodbine Park Companions”  I have loved photographing the Mute Swan and the American Black Duck for the past eight years. The Swan’s mate was busy in the marsh with their nestlings.

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One of the very best compliments ever……a young lady called wishing to interview me for an essay she was working on for school.  I had never met this young person, but I was so delighted to hear from her! 



Pencil Sketch Picture Effect:


Revisions, revisions, revisions!


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Hope all of you had a fantastic festive time during the Holidays and the New Year is treating you well!

The New Year is ringing in a lot of changes here at lorahliemaybe.  As you will notice I have decided to de-clutter my blog and keep it more minimal and (hopefully) on target about Art, Art events in Toronto and the creative process.

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The flowers are for the theatrical production of “Hair” to debut at Hart House Theatre Downtown Toronto opening later next week.

Wishing you all well and bye for now!

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#Artist’s Life: Summer



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A colorful vignette upon the mantel at the East End Arts new location at St. Mathew’s Clubhouse situated on the South End of Riverdale Park, Toronto. Artist Unknown.

I managed to attend a few summer artsy events this year including “Postcard Flash Fiction” put on by East End Arts with facilitator Hunan Hazime. She really seems to get around the city with a number of get-to-gethers including locations such as Workmans Arts and Inkwell Workshops!  It was a pleasure not only  doing some quick writing (the group exercise was especially fun), perusing 1950’s Postcards that Hunan picked up in some London Ontario shop, and seeing a few familiar faces…one of which must be at least 5 years since I saw her last!  And bonus…we sat cozy peering through the windows at the torrential downpour flooding Toronto during the afternoon.

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My local neighbourhood community group The Pocket Association also kept people busy during the summer, including a nearby Jewish Cemetery Tour (I hopes this happens again in October), Movie nights at Phin Park and Art in the Park events.  Speaking of Phin Park…it’s new official name (previously Phin Ave. Parkette) had a celebration for new signage.  

No…that is not the new signage stuck to the tree!  This was the very first minute of one of the Art in the Park events.  I am very busy making a butterfly mask.

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I made a pit stop to Arton’s Beads before they switch ownership after 30+ years supplying Toronto’s bead o’holics.  This area on Queen Street West is a popular area for tourists to take photos with iconic murals as the backdrops.

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 A little peek at minis to end your day!                                             

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Of Ghosts and Garnets: Close Encounters



Of Ghosts and Garnets: Close Encounters

1978, the summer of mayhem. Before internet stalkers and Craig’s List predators. Deirdre still played under the Nut Tree. It’s canopy of gnarled branches and abundant leaves forming the perfect cave. Mid-summer prickly three-part pouches would form containing inedible nuts. Prickles finer than an eyelash that would coat an unsuspecting thumb with annoyance.

Baby Ugly would receive the most care here, while Deirdre would sweep the dry dust floor with a broom made out of leaves. The doll would be fed meals of mashed choke cherries and seeds from the popping pods of towering weeds. But mostly she lay on the dirt looking un-blinking upwards at the blue sky peeking through the network above. Choke cherry juice oozed from the hole punched into her doll vagina so she could pee.

“Stranger Danger” hadn’t been invented yet. Though the plan was implemented in Deirdre’s house on what to do when one encountered a “weirdo”. Do not open the door to anyone, do not run home so the weirdo’s could see where you lived, never say your parents aren’t home and most important, do not accept candy and get into strangers’ cars!

Some days, as an outing, her Father would take her and her brother Brendan in the bomb on wheels lime Pinto to view the weirdo’s. Aimlessly wandering behind a black wrought iron fence in their pajamas. The large expanse of bright grass green emphasising the filmy layers of cloth as they walked, while they mumbled and stumbled into the air.

They would park alongside the fence and sit silently in the car watching. Rain or shine. No radio blasting Johnny Cash. Their Father occasionally drinking a slug of nasty red wine from the Thermos. The very wine that sometimes Deirdre would down a half glass in order to get the spins. It was like getting dizzy without having to dance in circles in the basement with her upside down broom partner for twenty minutes. The wine was certainly more immediate.

The weirdos would huddle during a rainstorm in the front entrance to the grand building, under the awning. It might have been Deirdre’s imagination, or the lack of detail that could be picked up by the distance of their vehicle, but they were always barefoot. “Those are the weirdos you stay away from” thrusting his pinky outwards as he screwed the cap back onto the Thermos before starting the car. The ritual complete before returning home through the winding roads of NewWestminster and it’s ancient Canadian Pacific darkness.

On this day though Deirdre had money on her mind…and how to get some. She had a plan. To save enough to run away once she turned thirteen. Instead of shooting her parent’s while they lay in bed sleeping one pre-dawn morning. The Angel had saved her from shooting herself the year before, the bullet ricocheting and what she thought disintegrating into the wall like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. The loudness of it setting off extreme panic to put the (rather pretty with the ornately carved cream bone handle that was a stark contrast to the dull black metal) revolver style handgun back in its place underneath the wood bar.

In the cave she carefully constructed “Babysitter” flyers with a fringed bottom for her phone number so that prospective in-need-of-a-babysitter people could conveniently and easily tear off her information and shove it into their pockets. Targeting the apartments, not a complex but rather a grouping of upper middle class rentals under separate Lordships, two blocks away. Tacking the fresh sheets of paper in the laundry rooms of the facilities.

Then she waited. And waited. Each day glancing through her eyelashes at the phone in the kitchen, not wanting to jinx her chances. Finally the day came! She answered the shrill ring ecstatic that no-one else was around to pick it up and discover her surreptitious plan of escape.

The introductory part of the conversation was lost to her excited mind. “Four children…” a soft male voice was explaining “…I can pay you $20.00 an hour”. In her haste that evening as her parents sat in the Livingroom watching Emergency she blurted out “I got a job babysitting for $20.00 an hour!”

“How many Kids?” her Mother, leaned back in the recliner, summer housedress exploding over her loose stomach. “Four”. “That seems like a lot of money and a lot of kids”. Deirdre’s heart sank, she knew the “look” in her Mother’s eyes meant she was not allowed to do the job. That the caller was a weirdo. The next day she phoned the caller back “My Mom won’t let me” as the soothing voice of the caller spoke of agreement and understanding. No one else called that summer.

Towards the end of summer, her Uncle Frank and his son were staying with them. Frank asked her parent’s one afternoon if he could borrow their bed “for a roll in the hay”, his dead fish, skinny pale upper torso and need revealed to the World. Her cousin Eric was fun. A year older with that fresh off the farm boy looks and winning smile. They would skateboard in the empty parking lot next door, equally play soccer and, not until a few summers later, do Rush together from emptied out D batteries. But that summer, things got a little strange. Eric started grabbing her chest during Hide and Seek. And… “Eric is peeking through Deirdre’s door knob hole when she is getting dressed!” Brendan would shout prancing around the house with this happiest of knowledge and the will to proclaim it.

Not that she completely didn’t like it. But she knew it was wrong. And didn’t understand these close encounters. A week before they left Deirdre’s Mom sent her to the Plaza one evening to get some bread from the grocery store. This was unusual as it was almost 9:00, the sun already dipping out of the sky. The streetlights were hissing in sequence as she made her way two blocks in the opposite direction of the apartments where her flyers now hung limply dampened by dryer mist.

Passing the grocery store wondering if she would be in trouble because it was closed a hyper beam of light shone in her eyes leaving flickering sparkles in her retinas. The car went by and she began to walk home. It cruised past again, full of young men yelling obscenities holding glinting beer cans. She faded their voices out, not looking at them, hoping that made her invisible. “Hey girl wanna ride?” One of the men in the back popped his door open, a long be-jeaned leg snaking out. Then a second leg slithered out amidst roaring laughter.

The second emerging sneaker activated Deirdre and she started to run like a deer. All of her pretend deer activities coming into play. Swerving and maneuvering onto the far side of the Plaza while the man gave chase. Quickly peering behind to see how close he was getting she miraculously leapt over the first cement plant box centered in the parkette walk-way. She had prior knowledge of the planter’s station however the man did not and plunged into it shin first. Legs abruptly stopping while his upper body keeled forward with no time to put his arms outward. “You little Bitch!” he limped and scrambled back into the car. “Get that Bitch!”

The car gave chase while the mantra “don’t let the weirdo’s know where you live!” flooded her head. Deftly avoiding running straight home she ran towards the alley between the plaza and the paint facility leaping over the concrete car block with fading yellow paint. Knowing the car couldn’t get through she observed them leaving the lot. Crouched down she waited to see if they were circling the area like a blood lusting shark. Once it seemed safe she ran home breathlessly to tell her tale to an open-eyed unresponsive Eric.

That alley ran quite a few blocks from the Plaza, through the grouping of apartment buildings and landing at the end of the Denny’s restaurant. Wilfred Oden, the lower mainland teenage serial killer was later found to reside at the second building of the apartments. With his wife, a calm, hippyish woman who was totally unaware of his secret life. He lured unsuspecting adolescents with monetary candy. Wrapped in window washing and other such job packaging.

Years later, Deirdre would pore over old reports of the serial killings. One of the girls went to the same elementary school she did. Deirdre would study the black and white newsprint photo of her, remembering how nice Lucy had been. During a school festival she had paid much friendly attention to her, and whipped up steaming blueberry pancakes in the kitchen. What made her stick in Deirdre’s mind was one of her fingers were permanently crooked from an injury. The news photos never showed her hands to really confirm in Deirdre’s mind that it was her for sure; she didn’t know Lucy’s last name. She did remember the round glasses that she wore to school and were always in the pictures.  She imagined how they got cracked during the attack.

Years later, Deirdre would also think of the unseen babysitter phone call and hear his indelible voice, wondering… could it have been Wilfred?


DIY Wall Décor: Wax Resist Zinnias

DIY Wall Décor: Wax Resist Zinnias

Fade-out Effect:

A fun and economical DIY wall décor that you can create in an afternoon!  Old world wax resist water color Zinnias from the imagination of lorahliemaybe.

Supplies that you will need from a dollar store:

  • 8″ x 10″ frame
  • watercolor paper a few inches larger than frame
  • 1 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper or other printed paper
  • a couple of paintbrushes in different sizes
  • any water soluble dollar store paint in 3-4 colors
  • 3 wax crayons, dark blue, green and brown
  • translucent tape
  • pencil
  • flame source
  • a piece of wet paper towel
  • a small mixing dish and jar for water   

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You might like to sketch out your drawing like I did.  It needs to be smaller than the finished frame size, no more than 7″ x 9″ with the image horizontal (top to bottom longer than side to side).  While it is being painted it is a good idea to leave a blank area around it to help stabilize the paper while it is wet.  I like to start a flower from one point and build upon that with a repetitive “wave” motion.  To get some flowers that appear to be sideways I just work above that center point instead of all around.

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Using a dark blue crayon draw in the Zinnia petals loops.  Press pretty firmly.  To keep the point on the crayon every few strokes twirl the crayon ever so slightly (unless you have a sharpener).  The loops can be as big or as small as you like them and don’t worry if they aren’t perfect!

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Using a dark green crayon, outline your leaves and stems adding a center line and a few veins to some of the leaves.

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With a dark brown crayon outline the bottoms of the leaves only right over top of the green you already did to create some shadow.

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Now it’s time to paint!  Lay out your small mixing dish and jar of water.  You may wish to put down a sheet of newsprint to protect your surface and have some paper towel for any spills.  You will only need small amounts of paint in each color because lots of water will be added with your brush.

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To start take a light color such as the sky blue that I used and your larger brush.  Dip it into your water and let it drip into the paint.  Do this a couple of times so that when it is mixed it is quite fluid.  Then smear it all over the painting avoiding the flowers and leaves.  Yes, I said smear, otherwise known as a water color wash.  You might like to wet the paper first or just keep wetting it with your brush as you work.  If a spot gets too much paint, then add more water with your brush to thin it out and make it lighter.  The more times you run your brush over an area with paint, the darker it will get.  You can always practice this a bit on a spare piece of paper if you like.

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While the paper is still wet, on the bottom portion under the flowers I like to add a bit of the other paint colors in side-ways strokes over top of the first color to add some shadows.  This will be added to gradually as the painting is worked on.

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Once that is done then the leaves and stems can be filled in with a green paint.  You may wish to switch to a smaller brush at this point for more control.  To add a bit of depth you can wash them all in with a thin coat and then for some shadow apply another layer of green.  This will make the shadow area (I suggest the lower part of the leaves) while the first, and what should be lighter, layer will act as highlights.

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The Zinnias are done in two easy steps.  First, load your brush with any color, I chose purple, and paint the bottom parts of the flower.  This will be your shadow.

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For the tops of your flowers, the highlight, don’t add any more paint to your brush \(and if there is a lot left, then dab it on your towel).  Dip your brush in the water and smear the what should be very diluted color to the tops, the lighter the better!

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Your painting should look something like this!

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I decided I wanted to have a bit more shadow so added a few strokes of dark blue to the bottom of the flowers and into the shadow area below the Zinnias.

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The hardest part is now, waiting for your painting to dry!  That should take about a half hour or less.  In the meantime lets prepare the frame which starts with dismantling it.  When removing the glass I advise to use paper towels or a cloth so no finger prints get on it.

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I use the glass to trace around to get the size for the scrapbook paper.  This is cut out and with a few tape “rolls” is held on to the backing of the frame.  The frame itself will hold everything together pretty well.  This just makes it easier to work with until the glass is back on.

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Your painting should be almost dry by now.  When it is don’t forget to sign and date it!  Now it can be cut a smaller size (no larger than 7″ x 9″).  I cut mine to about 7″ x 8″ with a scalloped pinking shear .  Get your piece of folded up paper towel quite wet and set it a side.  You can use a lighter or a candle as your flame source for burnishing the edges of your painting.  Go along each edge slowly, about an inch at a time, into your flame source.  As soon as you see fire coming off of your painting, douse it onto the wet paper towel!  Once it lights it can go up very quickly!  You are aiming for just a slightly burned and charcoaled edge.  Once you are done all four edges you might like to run slightly wet fingers or a brush on the edges to smudge the charcoal. 

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Then add a few more tape rolls to the back and stick it to the center of the scrapbook paper.

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Re-assemble your frame and viola…your done!

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