Tuesday, March 27, 2012


 I've been avoiding things again. But in avoiding, I remembered other projects I've been meaning to do! Like this silver dish. On a visit to Victoria BC, a friend found out I loved antiques, so she got out all of her tarnished silver and let me keep whatever I wanted, provided I polish as much as I could. I love polishing. But unfortunately, the dish I kept has been sitting on a shelf and looks like this now. I just haven't had the time.

And I've really fallen into this giant cross stitch. Since taking this picture, I've actually reached the top of the final picture! There's another whole top quarter to go, and all of the bottom, though.

 And one night I got tired of it and thought, you know that dish is going to take maybe ten minutes to do...

So I did it :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Judy Blume eBooks: Don't Care.

Reading through this article on the New Yorker's book blog. I do agree with much of what she says, because yes, I did read my first Judy Blume book at my best friend's house, and we did giggle over it and share others (she also secretly ordered Goosebumps books from the scholastic catalogue and we giggled over those more), and yes, I did go straight to the library to read as many of her books as I could. Reading Deenie inspired me to write my own books, but you can imagine how good they were, being written by an eight-year-old girl whose only experience with sex, violence and family strife were from a single book written for eight-year-old girls. I don't think I even knew what a halter top was, and that book also made me think I had scoliosis until I was about 16.

The point I'm slowly getting around to making is that there's no reason Judy Blume's titles being released as eBooks should bother anybody. And this is the problem with the view on eBooks. They don't replace print books, and for many writers, publishers, and readers, it's never intended that they will. They're more convenient, sure, and they save some paper maybe, while some people find it strange to mix such an analog activity as reading with something so technologically advanced as a tablet, but aside from the huge booksellers and their requisite device sales, the existence of eBooks doesn't affect much of anything.

I'm just getting worked up about these two examples: readers lamenting the loss of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and the objections over Kindle versions of childhood favourites. I ask how many people have been able to afford updating their set of encyclopedias, and in fact how many people still have a set at all. What's more, the print version is being discontinued so the publisher can concentrate on their interactive, constantly updated subscription service, which in all honestly sounds affordable, useful, and more aware of its audience. Maybe I'm biased because I spent more hours playing on my CD-Rom version of the Canadian Encyclopedia than I did reading through the 1968 American encyclopedia that was missing several volumes but hey, I can still name almost all of the Prime Ministers.

And Judy Blume books? Well, it seems to me that the market for the electronic versions are more geared towards parents. Many young girls, myself included, read them with their friends, and without their parents knowing. How many young girls today have an eReader? How many of them can buy and download books without their parents knowing? Why can't two girls share an eReader the way they could simultaneously read a single copy of Starring Sally J. Friedman as Herself? How does this change the experience in the slightest?!

As I see it, electronic versions of some of Judy Blume's titles mean that I can now read the books I never read when I was young, and re-read the books I loved. None of this takes away from "that brief yet exhilarating time in a young girl’s life in which internal narratives take precedence over external attributes." One cannot force one's childhood on the children of tomorrow. That's just arrogant.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CBC NewsWorld Door Curtains

 I installed some cafe-style curtains for the doors between my studio and the bedroom!  It's nice to be making things that are for myself or don't have some deadline attached. In fact the last Christmas present is done, framed, and at my house, but because it's so late, I've just been putting off sending it. I don't have a box, the actual object is bigger than I thought it would be, etc. Some good news this week though: I was accepted into the only Master of Publishing Program in Canada! So the best possible thing that could have happened to my career is about to happen. For serious, check out this view. So I guess I'm pretty good at what I do. 

It was just the sort of thing to get me motivated to finish some projects! So I sent my mother out for wine and champagne, invited the rest of the family over, and put up these curtains. I needed them because back when I was a teenager I also had this room as my bedroom, but there was film on the doors and window so that light could get in (it's in the basement so the studio actually has no windows except for these), while maintaining some privacy. When I moved out to go to school, I stayed in the spare room when I was home, they gave my single bed away, and painstakingly peeled the film off of these windows to open up the space. It seems like a pretty tough job, and it was never finished; you can still see some of the film on the bottom panels of the doors. 

 But the leftover film was good news! That meant that I only had to cover the top three rows of windows, and had a little more freedom. In Halifax my room already had window treatments: ugly plastic white blinds and a mysteriously flimsy curtain rod above them. I always dreamed of putting lace curtains up, but living in a place for four months at a time discouraged me from decorating too much. Not to give the impression that the place didn't feel like home! The living room was bright and spacious, and the kitchen was one of my favourite places to be, when I didn't have to share it with the rats.

THE POINT IS, I started thinking a bit about that curtain rod. It was thin and plastic and fit into little hooks you screwed into the wall or window frame. Pretty simple. That meant I could attach the curtains to the doors which made way more sense than the alternative, if you know what I mean. What's more, an extra rod at the bottom could make it ruffled and happy and kept in place!

 It went pretty well. My mom brought some curtains that she made for her boyfriend's old apartment so I had pre-made curtains to work with. Sort of. I had to cut them in half, and when I hemmed the edge, I accidentally sewed the opening at the top shut. Normal people would have just taken a seam ripper and taken out those stitches, but I chose to cut the top off and make a NEW opening. I don't know what inspired me to do that, but it made the curtains too short.

Nevertheless, I don't think it looks half bad. Next on the list, getting that gift sent out! And making some bedding for the crib we have so the niece can play with it. I made her a quilt the summer before she was born and I have some of the fabric left over, so I'll do my best to make it match hers. Don't know what I'll do about the mattress that used to be in there though. Part of me just thinks some thin foam padding, and the other part thinks I'm getting caught up in the idea of what USED to be in there. Ah well. My grandmother probably made the original bedding, and her ideas are always the best.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Across from the Colisseum
a woman sits on a ledge
or squats
she is too large to tell.

Hand on knee, smoke in hand
she puffs, horks, spits, repeats.

The ugliest child I have ever seen
brushes past, grinning fuzzy teeth.

"Were you just on camera, you little Jackass?"

The wind lifts his laugh away.

At the corner of two one-way streets
a woman, maybe ninety
prim and done up
aside from a smudge or two
on her pink sweatpants
crouches behind a trash can
to shelter her cigarette.

A sudden gust and a quiet shout
she has tumbled over backwards.