Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Cookies


With everyone's favourite special guest: Christmas coloured vanilla chips!

Me? Oh, just whipping up some sugar cookies to decorate, with a handy mug of white hot chocolate.

The chocolate colouring? Oh, that's because of the Kahlua.

Almost ready!

It IS difficult to get a real red with food colouring. Good thing we bought those pink glitter sprinkles.

Talia confuses cookie decorating with finger-painting

We used regular buttercream icing for decorating, as opposed to the gel icing or royal icing. It was easier to make, and it didn't seem to make much of a difference since we weren't using piping bags anyway.

My cookies. Most proud of the giant pink whale on the right, the uh... social commentary zombie below, and of course the minimalist reindeer on the left.

Other award-winning creations include "Kangaroo with Stole"

 And Tony wins best use of toothpicks with this train

 And always, of course, the raccoon-deer!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hanukkah Dinner

 Treats for everyone this year. A potluck Hanukkah dinner, for which I made an Irish coffee cake. Because um... well if you know Ulysses... um... you'll get it.

That and I this cake graced the cover of the latest issue of Fine Cooking and I just wanted it. Assign dessert to me, and your potluck gets serious.

Only the chocolate curls didn't work out at all. I even tried their tip of taking a vegetable peeler to the chocolate bar. But flakes are better than nothing, and CERTAINLY better than Christmas-coloured vanilla chips, so all in all a success.

I just love this apartment. At this point a discussion was had about the waiting list of potential tenants, with the result of a few disappointed guests (mainly me).

Table is set, manischewitz poured.

The menorah is lit and a prayer is said.

And then the light doesn't even last through dinner! What is this?!

A good night. All very traditional and warm, at least until we migrated to the Jane Bond and I tried to buy that Nat King Cole record with Hanukkah gelt as a joke, and the DJ didn't know what it was. And then I couldn't find any real money, so that was embarrassing.

In other news, I hear Vancouver got REAL SNOW today, while my mother just picked fresh herbs from the garden here in Waterloo.  What is THIS?!

Next up, decorating Christmas cookies!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

So What Have YOU Been Doing Lately?!

Probably something big and important. But so have I!

 Ooo, hey, this is KIND OF a big deal! Look how big that projection is!

One of the most stressful nights of my career spent on this and the printing is backwards. On the other hand, the specially commissioned photography is a smash hit! At least with me.

ArtShare! Not originally my idea, but I voted for it over my own contributions at the beginning. Then Got tired of it and passed it off (nothing against the title, but I was working on two at the time, and looking up art galleries gets tedious). Jelena did some amazing things with it, and it looks real swanky.

I want to read this book. At least I know how it ends, kind of. The best part? When a panelist said they were dissatisfied with the cover design because it looked like a D&M cover. Our reaction: "It looks like a D&M cover!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Of all four titles, this was my baby. I'd like to say I designed this, but it was a real D&M person. I found the black splat, and I chose the font. Oh, and the back cover, which you can't see here, was all me. Again, copyright issues.

The final design for Twitterverse. Deemed the most "do-able" title, this might become a real thing one day, and well isn't that something? The little book that could. If we could actually get the CBC community blog in on this, oh momma (I've been watching a LOT of Frasier, I do warn you)

Our lovely presentation materials. Particularly lovely is Lee's catalogue design which, although 'spooky,' is an Emily Carroll original. And it's the fall season anyway! But really, I've worked on catalogues before, and the panel was right to say it looked as professional as can be.

An example of the postcards for Twitterverse. I wish I had taken all of the extras and used them as Christmas cards.

My point is: I haven't been doing a whole lot of anything, other than school. But that's been quite a bit of work, and a lot of stress, and I'm sure I haven't been the most pleasant person to be around. But for three glorious weeks, I don't have anything to do but finish Willie's quilt and hear about your lives. Making the usual trips across southern Ontario in snowstorms, hoping not to get into any accidents. And if I DO, let's let it be like the one many years ago, where I calmly swerved away from oncoming traffic into a soft snowbank that couldn't have damaged the car if it tried. We were stuck, sure, but within ten minutes a kind gentleman in a pickup truck stopped and offered to tow us out if only we had some rope. With low hopes, I opened the trunk to find nothing but coils and coils of rope.

A story I tell every Christmas, but still... the thankfulness never dies. So go get your Christmas tree, and leave the rope in the trunk. You never know when you'll need it. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Some Sun, Finally

 You know, sometimes I forget my apartment can look like this. Everything's been so dark and damp lately.

It doesn't help that, despite the mild climate, this is the farthest north I've ever lived. These photos have a time stamp of 5:00 for example, but that can't be because it's usually long dark by then.
 The sun came out yesterday and I took a picture of the mountains on my way to get a bottle of wine. You couldn't see them all, but it's more than has been visible in a while. Turns out this has nothing on today. These clouds dropped a bunch of snow and left.

I actually wrote some new stuff today, but only because I've been thinking something over that I can't make a big deal about until I have a bit more information. You know, one of those decisions I want to make on my own. TEASER!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Good Week for Gifts

 Last week was great for generous industry guests and relatives. First, Robert McCullough came by to talk about Appetite, and brought along enough free copies for everyone. Wanted Smitten Kitchen, but so did the three people who got to the from of the room before I did. Epicurious is just fine too.
 Lara Smith from D&M came by to talk about production editing, and brought enough dummies that I took home the fanciest one. Maybe I should have left it in case the dimensions matched someone else's project, but I have never been so excited to have a book with nothing in it.

 I'm trying to decide whether I should get everyone to write in it or I should keep it pristine forever. Tough call.

More importantly, a lovely card from one of my two favourite brothers, with something special inside that allows me to do just what the card says!

 And last but not least, a wonderfully meta Canadian magazine.

So of course this calls for a present to myself: on personal recommendation from the gents at the Harbour Centre BCLiquor, where maybe I'm becoming too much of a regular customer.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Have Longed to Move Away

Discussed in the Paris Review

Dylan Thomas has always known how to put it.

I Have Longed to Move Away
I have longed to move away
From the hissing of the spent lie
And the old terror’s continual cry
Growing more terrible as the day
Goes over the hill and into the deep sea;
I have longed to move away
From the repetition of salutes,
For there are ghosts in the air
And ghostly echoes on paper,
And the thunder of calls and notes.

I have longed to move away but am afraid;
Some life, yet unspent, might explode
Out of the old lie burning on the ground,
And, crackling into the air, leave me half-blind.
Neither by night’s ancient fear,
The parting of hat from hair,
Lips pursed at the receiver,
Shall I fall to death’s feather.
By these I would not care to die,
Half convention and half lie.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Good news for friendly neighbours, and a happy birthday to MomBlom!

In this house:
 I'm almost finished my neckwarmer! Unfortunately I ran out of the teal yarn, so I've had to continue in the light green. I'm working on it in such a way as to make it look intentional. I hope.

 Mostly what I've been working on is the book project for MPub! Here are some lovely catalogue pages that I didn't design! Or write the copy for! But I did write copy for a different title, I just didn't present it so don't have those pages on me. They look pretty much the same though because, you know, unity and consistency and all that.
 I think it looks pretty professional, myself. We have a website! Check it out! There's not much to check out, but the fact that it actually exists is pretty fantastic.

And of course, my secret project. Which admittedly has fallen by the wayside a bit. I realize that the lighting in my bedroom is terrible (something I'm trying to remedy) and that the colours look awfully bland, but aside from being a bit Crown Royal-esque, they're very rich, and the yarn is very soft.

The stripes aren't all the same width, but they do follow a pattern. Again, "intentional."

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Truth number one: Sometimes I wish I could get my boyfriend to try beard products. It's not like there's anything wrong with his beard (it's quite nice), and I don't know what beard oil does exactly, and he'd certainly never go for it. But still, my instincts say it's a good idea. The same instincts, however, that make me want to dress my dog in tuxedo and name my unborn children after obscure post-modern literatary characters.

Truth number two: About 7 and a half years ago, when my dad was in the middle of writing a journal/sitcom/novel/memoir about himself and his brothers and sisters, he found out he was sick. Very sick. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see why his records of all the hilarious conversations over the last 50-something years suddenly turned to more serious topics. After breaking the news to his family and colleagues, and after his first round of chemo, he wrote the first draft of his eulogy. This was years before he died, and in the meantime he got healthy enough that he must have destroyed the file: too morbid, or something. My confession? I came across it, and read the whole thing. No, not the whole thing. I skimmed it for my name.

Truth number three: I dunno, those were pretty honest right there.

Nothing is visually exciting this week. I've been working on some fake pages for a graphic novel Emily Carroll is doing for our simulation publishing company, but I can't put those up for fear of some sort of copyright backlash.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Link to Something I Didn't Make.

Oh my god.

In other news, crazy things are happening in the publishing industry (insider views: it's not so bad). Looks like an okay time to beat it to Germany and let the dust settle, but also... there are so many options :)

And the the merger. Had a meeting with a D&M executive who started with a "did you hear about the big merger?!" But I heard "murder," and since there was a very strange "alarm condition" this morning, I was thinking the worst. Then I realized what she'd said and that she was talking about Penguin and Random House. Hopefully my sudden lack of shock and interest wasn't too uncouth.

Oh, and earthquakes and hurricanes.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cushion Detail

Some late-night cushion detail. This is just a pillow case, and is the easiest thing to make. Maybe not the easiest ever, but... well you'll see.
 It's essentially a rectangle of fabric. Fold it in half and sew two edges.
 We don't have a sewing machine, so we did ours by hand. I used a backstitch! Looks pretty pro.
 Until you look at the other side. But it should hold together pretty well. I didn't attach the third side. I just shoved the pillow and did a nice tuck like I learned to do when I cleaned hotel rooms. Very crisply :)
 Today, I went to what was shamefully my first conference! I got a lanyard and everything. There were little tags to write your twitter handle on, but I felt a bit silly and as if anyone would be reading my tweets anyway, but then I ended up feeling rather technologically backward. Which, at a tech conference, is a little sad. But the eBook information workshop restored my confidence. These instructors are teaching us well.
 And my package of magazines came in the mail today! I'm particularly excited for this feature!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Forgotten

I brought my camera to school. I have been meaning to do this because the lounge has a fantastic view of the mountains, BUT:
 It was raining.

I also brought it to photograph the knit-up we had, but forgot. Because it's me, and I forget everything. Like that time when I had work in Cambridge until 11pm and interning in Hamilton (an hour's drive away) the next morning at 9:30 am, and drove up after work only to realize as I got out of the car that I'd forgotten everything. Willie drove me back to work because he's nice. And how many times have I reached my destination only to notice that I've left my purse at home? Many. Oh, and a few times I drove away and only noticed while waiting for a red light that I wasn't wearing shoes.

And another thing I never noticed before, maybe there's another inspiration for these quilt colours...

And finally, the best thing to come out of the MPub program so far: a free Death Star Moleskine. The Death Star is on the inside. And has "SAMPLE" written all over it.

It's supposed to keep raining for the the next two weeks. So I guess everything people say about Vancouver is true.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Knitting Detail

 Knitting photos are hard. But I tried, which is the important thing. This is my new neckwarmer in the making. I have, of course, begun a new knitting project, as I do, so I've had to opt into wearing my ornate Indian shawl as a scarf for the last few days. It's pretty and I love using it, but my clumsiness with caffeinated beverages has made me nervous about having and using nice things. In any case! I started this neckwarmer as I usually do, which is to cast on whatever looks right and to continue without any sort of written pattern. I don't know how many stitches there are, but for this you need to cast on a multiple of four. So I began, and I got bored, and decided to make it ribbed: knitting four and purling four. That also got boring quickly, even with the addition of the light green, so I decided to switch the ribs up a bit. Looks like technical fabric or whatever you call it. 
 But it's still super easy, and I knit it when I get tired of following the crazy pattern I'm doing for my other project. All you need is a double pointed needle. Knit two, then slip the next two knit stitches onto the double pointed needle.
 Now ignore the double pointed needle and purl two.
Slip the next two purl stitches onto your double pointed needle. Ignore it and knit two, then purl the stitches on your double pointed needle. Continue in this vein all along the row. Once finished, you can continue knitting four and purling four for a few rows before getting your DPN out again. Should look like this, eventually:
Thinking about this too much just makes me want to do different things with it, like making subtly obscene little openings, or making the exes cross or naughty things like that.

So instead I'll think about pumpkins like I did for much of management class, and about my future as a legislative assembly transcription editor.

In all honesty though, I'm getting feelings about the possibilities of visual aesthetics in literary publications that I just can't ignore. I wish I'd been able to pay more attention to the guest speaker (Haig Armen) last week about interaction design, but alas. Life and other homework, huh? But really, this thinking as well as the new Wrinkle in Time graphic novel that's out are making my mind buzz, and I realize that as much as I was brought up to (appear to) think that graphic novels were inferior, I loves me some fantastic illustration. I know everyone probably does, but I just can't stress enough how important the visual experience of a story can be. So I have three branches that I would love to follow from this degree: the first is Taschen, which started out as a comic book shop and is now, of course, well known for its prolific output of art books and other such things. Plus they're based in Cologne which would be super convenient for me. Second, I'd absolutely love to go to Drawn & Quarterly, because holy heck how awesome would that be?! And third, maybe I'll just go into cookbooks and crafting magazine editorial. But that's so 'me' that it's boring, you know?

I keep thinking that these sorts of places should be reserved for the more design-minded folks, but my fumbling technological skills are all that are holding me back. I did do some of the preliminary work on David Collier's book of Hamilton-themed drawings. I don't even know what the official title or release date is though. And I probably would feel more a part of it if I hadn't been going into W&W only once a week by that point. Ah, well. I think it's time for some wine. Yes.