31 May 2008


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Sometimes a good, anger-fueled cleaning is good for the soul. Even better when it is followed by a cathartic trip to the dump.

I got an overdue notice earlier in the week for two books out on Kiddo's card. After a lot of sorting and shuffling we found one -- though the title on the book was not the same as the title in their catalog (the barcode matched though, so I knew I had the "right" book). The other book was lost to the tides of crap around here and we ended up just paying the replacement cost (which will be coming out of Kiddo's allowance).

Anyway, the search, along with the fact that we had company coming for dinner, propelled me into an angry fit of cleaning that basically blew through the main floor -- including one stack of filing and another stack of shredding -- and out on to the deck which is where we gathered a van-load of junk that we took to the dump. Ahhhh.

The deck clean-up also unearthed our stepladder which meant I could secure the screen to the window upstairs and now we can get a breeze going again -- yay!

29 May 2008

Zigzaggers review

Some of you may already be familiar with the Zigzaggers blog -- it's a great resource which collects reviews of sewing machines. Anyone who has considered buying a machine at a yard sale or thrift store might want to read through the growing number of entries before parting with their cash! (Think of it as the Lemon-Aid™ guide for Sewing machines.)

Anyway, my Singer Style-O-Matic review has been added to the blog (thanks!) and the attachments I mention in the review have now arrived, so I may submit an edit sometime in the future.


28 May 2008

Lipstick comes alive!

In my course today, I was doodling in the sidebars of my course material. A lot. One of the doodles was a pig with big kissy-lips. Of course that made me think of the phrase "like putting lipstick on a pig" and within about three stops on my train of thought, I suddenly had a new blog idea mapped out. I texted Hubby with the idea right away (so I wouldn't forget it) and this evening, I slapped it together. Woo!

Lipstick On A Pig now lives at designshortcuts.blogspot.com and will feature shortcuts and resources for quick and easy web (re)design.

Interesting aside, it's my first opportunity to play with Blogger's layout design options... and I quite like them... so far. So don't be surprised if you see Flotsam and Jetsam in a new shade of lipstick in the coming weeks.

27 May 2008

Where am I?

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Actually, it's a trick question. This photo shows some minor alterations to the campus; there is a production company filming a movie of the week miniseries ("Impact") at UVic for a few days.

I don't usually get over to this area, but I am attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute this week, taking Issues in Large Project Planning and Management -- wOO! (Actually it is much more interesting than the title suggests.)

The really interesting thing is that the DHSI brings together people from across Canada, the US and around the world -- well, at least from the UK ;) Learning about the projects they are working on has really made me think about where we are (at work) in our digitization ventures. Overall, I think we're in a good spot, but I am starting to see where changes need to be made.

25 May 2008


I think this could be filed under "stuff no one really needs but might make a great gag gift"

24 May 2008

So much I want to do...

Argh. My brain is splitting off in a dozen different directions.... part of me just wants a lazy Saturday, part of me wants to get out and do something, part of me wants to craft madly with all the supplies I recently uncovered upstairs, part of me wants to work on the local history book, and then there are the myriad of other projects I need to finish! Gah!!

Some days, choices are overwhelming... perhaps a nice cup of tea will sort things out...


...though I am leaning toward the crafting. ;)

21 May 2008

Research mode...

In amongst everything else, I am currently obsessing over some local history stuff -- I am in research mode. Tonight, I have spent the last couple of hours gathering basic info and starting points from the web, but I will likely need to spend a few hours trolling through newspaper indexes to find the real dirt. While I started researching thinking I would do an article, I'm now convinced there's enough to put together a full book. I'm not going to blog about the exact subject -- not yet, anyway.


Tonight, it seems pretty exciting, but since I have a notoriously limited attention span.... well, who knows. However, I think I might actually be able to pull together enough in the coming days to actually write up a query letter to send to publishers -- before I lose steam. There's a first for everything. :D

20 May 2008

How do YOU spell "share"?

In the beginning there was DIGG. Which begat the DiggArmy, which sucketh both mightily and hard.

Actually, DIGG was far from first (Slashdot was far earlier and has a similar 18-30 year old males living with parents vibe; Fark is in the same boat, too) but it provided my first run-in with a large group of people (largely men, largely aged 18-30) who have nothing better to do than maliciously crash websites, start flame wars, and bait newbies -- not necessarily in that order.

DIGG bugs other people too: my hubby, Ryan Tomayko, and Wil Wheaton, among others.

Recently, I came across KiRTSY, the grrl-positive alternative to DIGG. You may have noticed the little "ADD to KiRTSY" button below each post. I really like this site because categories that make sense to me, including arts & crafts, and it seems... well for the moment anyway, a happy place. We'll see how long that lasts.

If "green" is your thing, there's HUGG -- which actually bills itself as "DIGG for green" -- personally, I'll pass; I get my eco-news from Green Daily.

If you're really curious, check out this long list of DIGG clones -- though be warned, many have already failed, bringing up 404 pages or domain parking lots.

19 May 2008

Missions Accomplished!

Woo! Somehow, I managed to check three big things off my to-do list this weekend.

Saturday, I spent most of the day sorting and tidying the office/craft room (it was just the office, then it got cluttered with a bunch of storage overflow, then I wedged in my sewing machine... and well, it was out of control). I wanted to do three things: sort out the overflowing mess of stuff, uncover Hubby's desk so that he could actually use it as an office again, and get the big old filing cabinet out of there. All got done on Saturday, though I may have jumped the gun on the filing cabinet as it is currently sitting outside our front door with nowhere to go. Oops. (If anyone wants it, come get it! Hurrah, 3 freebie posts -- Craigslist, UsedVictoria and Freecycle -- and 72 hours later, the filing cabinet is gone!)

Yesterday, I got my crafty websites re-designed. I finished tweaking CreativeMiscellany (adding a link to the Facebook fan-page and building the "et cetera" page) and I totally redesigned the CuppaJoe Cozy and Wradical Wrap site. We moved it to a new server (thanks Hubby!) and finally purchased WradicalWraps.com to point there, too. I still have to build the media kits for both sites and sort out the custom order PayPal tie-ins for the cozies and wraps, but overall I am quite pleased with the results. Here's a screen-capture of the new cozy front page:

Got feedback? Leave me a comment!

18 May 2008

It's Sunday....

... so how about a little blasphemy in cartoon form? (Actually, it's not that bad.)

Today's Daily Bizzarro over at the Bizzaro Blog imagines Biblical Creation if God had hired a contractor.

Heee hee!

17 May 2008

the ups and downs of buying and selling online

It's a quiet day around here, aside from kiddo's constant interruptions to show off her LEGO creations, and my thoughts are focused on e-commerce.

In 5 hours, I will know whether I have won an eBay auction for a box of attachments that go with my vintage Singer sewing machine. It's the first time I've bid on anything on eBay for years -- the last thing we bought was in 2005; prior to that, the last time we were actively selling was 2002. We got really burned back then by two bad transactions in a row -- one sale and one purchase -- and I have been carrying a chip on my shoulder ever since. So, we'll see how this transaction goes and try to re-build the trust.

I also have to take some time this weekend and re-design some websites; part of this means redesigning e-commerce on my CuppaJoe Cozy site. Actually, I need to redesign the whole thing. Anyway, I have decided to keep the Paypal option for custom work only; stock will be sold in the "coffee and tea" section of my Etsy store.

Meanwhile, I need to find new ways to promote things. I was reminded, by a new comment on an old post, this week of some ideas for promoting my CuppaJoe Cozies and Wradical Wraps that I may just follow through on. I was also approached by someone in Connecticut about wholesale pricing on some of my products, but since my Etsy pricing wasn't well thought out, when I went to do wholesale calculations, it didn't look great. Of course what really blew it all out of the water was the cost to ship things across the border. Sigh. So, I will be re-examining all of my Etsy and online sales, with thoughts toward both wholesale and retail pricing.


And now, it seems Kiddo is done playing with LEGO and wants to sew. I have told her I will teach her to use the sewing machine... carefully... so that's my next task for the day!

11 May 2008

Photography, books, and good food.

First of all, some Happy Mothers' Day wishes to all the maternal parents in the audience.

This morning, Hubby made me savory stuffed french toast at my request (mmMMMmm) and I'll be going out to the Keg for dinner this evening for dinner. Until then, I plan to have a hang day, doing very little.

This weekend has been all about hanging, actually. I had Friday off and it was the first flex day in a while where I had nothing really planned. I took Kiddo to school (on the bus, which makes her very happy) then went into town.

I wandered around the waterfront taking photos before starting my shopping wanders. I was happy to get a pretty good photo of the Johnson Street bridge in action, from the parking lot beside the Janion hotel.

My shopping day included visits to Sally Ann (found a copy of Dark is Rising (which I've never read) for a buck plus a bag of rick-rack), Solstice Cafe (for Kicking Horse coffee!), BeadWorld (beads, of course), Capitol Iron (hardware supplies), and Value Village (big bag of buttons and some kids' books).

Had lunch with a co-worker, took a few more photos in town, went to the Market on Yates for dinner ingredients, then hopped on a bus home. I was happy to be using the bus on Friday because I am pretty sure every road crew in the CRD was out working -- road work, sewers, utilities, you name it -- tearing up the road and blocking traffic all over the city.

Saturday, we went to the GVPL Friends of the Library book sale -- billed as the "biggest ever" I think they may have exaggerated, but it was big. For the past few years they have been having more frequent, small sales in the meeting room of one of the branch libraries. I went to one in that location and swore I would not go to others because it felt like being led like cattle through a series of gates. There was no room to really browse (elbows everywhere) and little choice.

For this sale, though, the Friends of the Library rented space at the Archie Browning Centre in Esquimalt. There were no lines to get in and dozens of tables overflowing with discarded and donated books. I picked up a half dozen books ranging from cookbooks to graphic novels; adding in Kiddo's and Hubby's choices the total came to an amazingly affordable $14.50. My favourite find of the day is probably Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Kids. I got another one in the series a while back -- paying full price -- so a buck for this book was a fantastic bargain.

After the sale, we stopped in to John's Noodle Village on Bay Street. I had low expectations for what looks like a hole in the wall but I think we found the best ginger fried beef in the city! The other foodie treat I got yesterday was a yummy fresh-baked batch of raisin scones, complete with Devonshire Clotted Cream and strawberry jam. MmmmMMM!

Weekends like this make it very difficult to go back to work... sigh.

09 May 2008

creepy fun....

I am now convinced all the cool kids live in Vancouver, most recently because of this Flickr group: Hypothetical Corpses (heh-heh, the group url they chose is "weplaydead").

Some of them are fantastic; I admire people who can bend their limbs in ways that look broken but aren't. I spent a good 20 minutes looking at the photos in this pool.... lots of creativity there and of course now I want to play dead too.

06 May 2008

Donkey Rhubarb?

Yes, those two words do go together, if only in the title of this Aphex Twin track that I found via Nerd Litter (a blog I'll be re-visiting). The video features some disturbing bright-coloured teddy bears with grinning idiot human faces.... and yet, I couldn't stop watching it....

05 May 2008

Crafty Weekend

Saturday started off lazily but eventually we went into town to meet up with my Mother in Law (and collect Kiddo) and check out this year's selection for Free Comic Book Day. We went to three different stores (all in one block on Johnson Street) and each got a handful of comics. I also bought the first three in a series I have been eying for some time.

Over the rest of the weekend, Hubby and Kiddo did some sculpting, I whipped up some flower pins, and Kiddo and I spent a couple of hours making crayons:

Last night, I also put together a how-to, posted over at ThoseDeWolfes. (Download Sunday Afternoon Recycled Crayons (PDF)).

I have also listed some of the crayons in colouring sets with my Monsters and Aliens wee colouring books -- the sets are selling for $4.25 per set on Etsy. Don't worry, Kiddo got to keep at least half of what we made.

I also helped Kiddo to sort and trim down her toys -- we moved the bookshelf of toys out of the living room and into storage -- in return for her LEGO table to the corner. This made her very happy.

02 May 2008

these thoughts have no common thread

I have been very aware of my dream-state lately -- by this I mean that in my dreams I am aware that I am dreaming. I don't know if this "means" anything and I don't really care much, it's just odd, though it used to happen a lot more when I was younger. The oddest example lately was last weekend where I was dreaming that the power had gone out and thought, "Hmm, I should wake up and check if the power's out." (It wasn't.)


Tonight, Hubby and I are planning to take in two movies in the theatre (one after the other in the same complex) because there are several we want to see... it's been a long while since we've tried to pull that trick (not since the days of going to the Roxy, pre-kiddo). Anyway, we should be taking in one superhero film and one adult comedy; reviews will follow.



Being between terms, the library itself is quiet these days, though there are many changes in the wings for staff so rumors are flying and things could get a bit hairy. I am bracing myself accordingly.


For those of you keeping track, we are still waffling on the house-hunting issue, there are so many factors to consider including the fact that the most recent "average" house price in Victoria hit a new record high of just over $650K (to be fair, the median is somewhat lower at $558K) and we really don't relish the thought of spending over half a million dollars for a house. Sigh.

I did take a peek at this house; the price is a bit higher than we'd like, but the house seemed ideal, until I realized there was virtually no yard, save for a stretch in the front, right along a main road. (It also needs a lot of updating -- the current owners have a style that would send most HGTV hosts into some sort of fit or fugue. In fact, I think there may be Astroturf® in the kitchen.)


Last night I pulled out all my beading stuff, sorted it, then put it away again because I wasn't ready to settle in for a beading session, which usually end up taking me several hours. Still, I was feeling the need to make something, so I whipped up a little "sunny side up" pincushion. While I like the design, overall, I need to work on the detailing.