28 February 2010

Craft Market next weekend!

So, I took the plunge and signed up for the LoudSpeaker Festival Market on both Saturday and Sunday -- I am hoping it will be busy. It's free so if you're downtown next weekend (which is also Be a Tourist in your own Hometown), please come visit me at the Victoria Event Centre on Broad St. Saturday 1-6 pm, Sunday 1-5 pm.

The available table is smallish (only 30 inches in diameter) and round, so I set up a test table to see how much stuff I could get into that space. I think I will be fine, thanks to the carousel I picked up (where, I can't remember, but I didn't pay much for it). I am working through a short to-do list in order to get everything ready -- worst case, I will do the last prep on Friday as I am off work.


One of the things I need to pick up is more small bags for things that need to fit on the carousel like the catnip mice -- in small bags, I can get three or four in each side; in larger bags, just two. I also want to pick up some more sleeves for my art cards (ACEOs) -- I know I bought a package of 100 but do you think I can find them..? Sigh. Actually, I was pretty impressed that I pulled together enough stock for this show in a very short time. After the show, a lot of what doesn't sell will go up on Zibbet as my start over there.

24 February 2010

creative overdrive

Shhh, I'm creating!

Actually, I am working on a little project that I thought would take almost no time and instead is taking me... well... more time. But that is all I am saying about it because it seems whenever I discuss details of my projects, they disappear into the ether of woulda-shoulda-coulda. So mum's the word until it is done (hopefully by the weekend).

In the meantime, I also signed up to sell my wares on Zibbet -- kind of like Etsy but no fees! Seriously. I did however spring for the premium account -- right now on offer for $7 per month (nearly half off the regular $15), plus if you sign up now, use the code 30FREE to get 30 days of the premium account for nothing. If you want to sign up, please consider clicking the banner below so I get credit for spreading the love :)

I'll let you know when my store is ready and when my other project is done. Woo!

Oh, and I also got an email from the coordinators of the LoudSpeaker Festival asking if I wanted a table at the market. It's a busy weekend and I'm not sure I can fit in a random sale day or two, but I have asked for more information, just in case. Again, I'll put out the word if I'm going to be there!

20 February 2010

Poetic Preface

kitchin_gardens_1603On Friday, I wandered over to the gardening books in the stacks, not sure what I was looking for really, but I found a gem.

The book is a reprint of a 1603 manuscript, "Profitable Instructions for the manuring, sowing and planting of kitchin gardens" by Richard Gardiner. References vary in the exact title and some sources list its publication as 1599. It is credited as being the first English text devoted to vegetable gardening.

The work opens with an author's preface, in which he humbles himself before both God and reader, imploring anyone who knows of better methods to share them with his neighbours for the glory of God.

Following that is another preface, in the form of a poem by Edward Thorne:


Reading it, I was immediately transported back to second year university, to my Medieval Studies class on manuscripts. Of course this book is not exactly Medieval but it is still printed in a typscript that poses a challenge to modern readers where the initial s looks like an f and the v and u are routinely interchanged. Add to that the lack of standard, accepted spelling, capitalization or punctuation and it can be quite a challenge. For the heck of it, I transcribed the whole poem/preface -- you can compare it to the original above (click to open it at Flickr) -- it's really quite a lovely opening for the book (which, itself, is an entertaining read). My transcription leaves the spelling in tact save for the v vs. u issue.

Edward Thorne Gent. in commendation of the worke and the Author thereof.

He that desires with skilfull hand,
to frame a Garden plot,
And to manure and make it apt
For Herbes that serve the pot,
Or choice to make of seeds and Plants,
and best of both to know:
And them in seasonable time,
to plant, to set, and sowe,
Let him peruse this little Booke,
which undertakes the charge,
Of all the fore recited points,
to shew the course at large,
Of Carrets first, and Cabbage close,
and how to keepe them sound:
And Parsnips also to preserve,
and Turnips faire and round.
Of Lettice next, and garden Beanes,
and Onions of the best:
Of Cucumbers and Artichockes,
and Radish with the rest,
These and such other hearbes and seedes,
hath Gardner, in good will:
Unto Sallopian neighbours his,
entreated of with skill,
His talent lent he doth not hide,
if all were understood,
But sets it foorth with willing minde,
to doe his neighbours good.

The poore which late were like to pine,
and could not buy them breade:
In greatest time of penury,
were by his labours fed.
And that in reasonable rate,
when Corne and coine was scant,
With Parsnip and with Carret rootes,
he did supply their want.
The rich likewise and better sorte,
his labours could not misse
Which makes them many times to thinke,
that Salop London is.
Then rich and poore in friendly sorte,
give Gardner all his due,
Who shewes himselfe in all his acts,
so kinde a friend to you.
And wish as he doth well deserve,
his welfare and his health,
That hath so greatly profited,
Salopians common wealth.

You'll note Thorne's use of italics for proper nouns: the author's name, shown here as Gardner instead of Gardiner and Salop/Salopians which I couldn't figure out at first. Turns out, Salop is another name for the county of Shropshire, where Shrewsbury is located, and Salopians refer to the people who live there.

I'm not done with this book yet, it's fascinating, so you may see more clips here, or elsewhere.

18 February 2010

the start of something....

... not sure what yet... but something.

(And, if you are interested, Frazz is for sale in my Etsy store.)

15 February 2010

Duck, Duck, Goose?

Actually, I am thinking chickens, but ducks and geese could be included in this discussion.

We have been thinking about chickens (the back-yard variety) for some time (pretty much ever since we moved in here).

As we get closer and closer to making a final decision, I decided to re-check the laws. I know City of Victoria allows urban chickens and I know there are no roosters allowed. I thought there was a limit of 10 but now I can't find any reference to any limit.

The city bylaw on Animal Control states:

37. No person shall own, harbour or keep any farm animal or rooster within the City of Victoria.

where "farm animal" is earlier defined as "any domesticated animal normally raised for food, milk or beast of burden and includes cattle, horses, swine, sheep, goats, mules, donkeys, asses and oxen;" -- i.e. excluding poultry.

It also says owners are not to allow their animals to be on any private property other than their own (e.g. your neighbour's flower bed).

I've been through other possible by-laws that might mention the issue and found nothing more. No limit, nothing about structures to house them -- heck it doesn't even preclude keeping them inside one's home. (I would not keep them inside -- eeek and eww.)

Surf over to Victoria Animal Control Services however, and you can read this (if you scroll waaaaay down to the Bylaw Regulations section):

"Farm Animals are prohibited with the exception of chickens, ducks & geese. These fowl can only be kept as pets or for personal egg consumption. Eggs cannot be sold or advertised for sale. Excessive numbers of fowl will bring into question intended use. Roosters are prohibited. If you are thinking about keeping chickens call us and we will tell you the issues and potential problems to avoid. Potbellied pigs are considered Farm Animals regardless of where they are kept (indoors or outdoors)."

I'd sure like to find actual By-laws that state anything about the fact that excess eggs cannot be sold and what exactly an excessive number might be. I'm not even thinking that we would likely come up against any of these issues but I would like to know exactly what limitations are, within the law.

Laws aside, we do have to ponder how to house them, how to deal with potential rodent and predator problems, and what to do when the hens stop laying. For housing, I am partial to the Eglu Cube by Omlet but Hubby is prepared to build a DIY variation. I still don't know if there is a "season" for buying new hens. I kind of suspect there is. Sigh. At least Kiddo is reading Storey's Guide to Raising Poultry that I borrowed from the library. Maybe she can fill us in on the details.

[photo by sarniebill1 on Flickr.]

14 February 2010

Valentine Lunar New Year

If you choose not to take part in the Halmark Card Day, take a moment to celebrate the Lunar New Year and welcome the Year of the Tiger. Here's a New Year wish from Cheap Cheap Real Estate (in Philadelphia) -- it made me smile:

And if you are pondering romantic love, here's Matt Damon, singing My Funny Valentine, from one of my favourite films, The Talented Mr. Ripley:

Finally, to my American readers, may you find a good mattress sale tomorrow, on President's Day. ;)

13 February 2010

In Bad Taste

Regretsy is fantastic for questionable content but I was stopped in my tracks by this particular Valentine card. Wait! Before you click that link you should know it features the Twin Towers, mid-strike, with the text "I'm falling for you."

It's by an artist living in Wisconsin. I wonder if she knows/knew anyone affected by the collapse?

And then there is the issue of the death of Georgian luge athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili just prior to the opening of the big event on the mainland. The IOC was lighnting fast in getting footage pulled from YouTube but my guess is that it had much more to do with marketing and trademarks than common human decency because the footage* continued to air on CTV and NBC, the big official media partners. Today, even after cries of, "Enough, already!" erupted, the NY Times featured an "interactive" look at the accident: freezing 8 frames of the footage and matching them to the track.

You'll notice I'm not linking to these things.

I'm not that old, but I remember a time when the news didn't show people dying -- outside of war zones, and then the footage was preceded by warnings that it might be graphic or disturbing.

A quick search of Google News finds opinion pieces with titles like "Gravity of News Seems to Escape NBC" and "Is a Georgian Life Worth Less than an American Life?" and "Are we Just Crash Test Dummies?" -- good questions. VANOC seems certain of one thing, though, it was not their fault but they will make changes anyway. Unfortunately, Kumaritashvili's death was not the only incident on the track -- there were complaints that it was far too fast. Will VANOC pay any price for this? Only in salaries and bonuses to their spin doctors.

*Some comments have started referring to the footage as a snuff film but I think, technically, it escapes simply by virtue of being captured in a documentary action, not story-boarded.

07 February 2010

New Podcast Episode

I finally got around to re-recording the vocal track and mixing the rest then uploading it to the Internet Archive: Flotsam and Jetsam The Podcast - Episode 1: Mountain from a Molehill is now available as an m4a (Quicktime) track (I think that's because I dragged artwork into the thing which meant it was not just an audio track. My bad.).

I've also embedded it at the end of this post. Credits and links are below (next time I will insert these into the podcast):

The production took a lot of planning (most of a week) and I spent several hours combing through the Internet Archive for suitable music. I recorded one version of the vocal tracks earlier in the week (but I decided it was not good enough) then re-recorded and mixed tracks this evening -- about 4 hours work in Garage Band. The finished project runs about 7 minutes and 15 seconds. I enjoyed it but should I do more? Let me know...

06 February 2010

One Hundred Things

I started this list of "100 Things That Make Me Happy (Besides Money)" about 5 years ago after selecting it as something that seemed simple enough when I first joined 43 Things. Last November, I added it to my PeGeStuDoMo list, again thinking it was a simple task. When I finally got to number 75 in the last week of January, I decided to commit time to it every day until it was done -- even if I just added one item. I finished it on February 2nd.

Parts of this list have been blogged before but here's the list in full:

  1. Walking alone in shaded woods or gardens.
  2. The sound of moving water in nature (ocean waves; streams and rivers; winter runoff or waterfalls).
  3. Observing nature, with or without a camera in hand.
  4. Finding something “hidden” in plain view.
  5. Identifying plants, bugs, and animals.
  6. The smell and taste of a well-made cup of coffee.
  7. Smooth dark chocolate melting in my mouth.
  8. Walking into a house filled with the smell of baking or cooking.
  9. Teaching my daughter cooking skills.
  10. Making soup!
  11. Sunrise or sunset on a slightly cloudy day.
  12. A warm, purring cat in my lap on a cold day.
  13. Reading a story that makes me laugh out loud or cry.
  14. Getting (positive) feedback on things I’ve written; especially if I have made someone smile, or laugh, or think.
  15. Sharing a book I’ve “discovered” with someone else.
  16. watching trashy TV without feeling guilty
  17. watching great TV without feeling guilty
  18. digging into a big bag of fresh popcorn
  19. sharing a big bag of fresh popcorn
  20. pulling together a meal out of whatever’s on hand and having it turn out to be a new favourite
  21. planting vegetables and helping them grow
  22. eating fresh vegetables that I have grown
  23. seeing a great photo or other piece of art—especially in unexpected settings
  24. seeing a deer from the bus or an eagle fly over a schoolyard
  25. bopping along to ridiculous songs in my earbuds
  26. scraping batter from the bowl or licking the beaters
  27. biting into a cookie still warm and soft from the oven
  28. the smell of fresh baked bread
  29. the taste of a fresh strawberry
  30. clipping herbs from the garden to use in a meal
  31. picking fresh fruit from a tree
  32. making pickles, jams and other preserves
  33. judging a book by its cover and being right
  34. finding a new author and going back through their whole catalog
  35. reading e-books while waiting for the bus
  36. reading a free newspaper on the morning commute
  37. wandering through the library just browsing
  38. curling up in bed with a graphic novel
  39. watching full-length animated movies
  40. window shopping
  41. zipping downhill on my bike
  42. all the memories that rush back when an old favourite song is played
  43. the first rain after a dry spell
  44. the smell of the ocean on an overcast day
  45. the sound of a train whistle or horn in the distance
  46. the sounds of a steam train
  47. taking an afternoon nap
  48. realizing I can still learn things, at any age
  49. that a-Ha moment when a concept becomes clear
  50. explaining a concept to someone else then seeing that a-Ha moment
  51. the smell of wet leaves in the fall
  52. the sound of rain on a tent when I'm inside
  53. building and stoking a real wood fire
  54. the sound of rocks being pulled over each other by receding waves
  55. reading and re-reading poetry
  56. writing poetry, especially haiku
  57. taking on a writing challenge and finishing it, even if it doesn't get me anything
  58. crossing things off lists -- in general -- but especially things that have been a long time coming
  59. finding a new use for something
  60. using something I have repaired
  61. watching my daughter sleeping
  62. going to bed the night before I know I don't have an alarm set to wake me
  63. waking up before everyone else and having a quiet house to myself
  64. mushrooms and onions sauteed in butter -- it's always the start of something yummy.
  65. seeing someone wearing or using something I've made
  66. making something without a pattern
  67. following a pattern and succeeding
  68. finding a great tip and sharing it
  69. fancy printed book endpapers, especially marbled ones
  70. holding old books and thinking about all the people who have turned the same pages
  71. marveling at the intricacies of nineteenth century prints from etchings
  72. the peace of walking through a graveyard
  73. trying to unlock how an artist made a given piece of work
  74. playing silly computer games
  75. playing sudoku now that the trend has faded
  76. going out for a date with my husband
  77. fresh-baked apple crumble made without a recipe -- different every time
  78. watching a show on Canadian TV, without bleeps or re-edited dialog and sometimes even with unpixelated nudity
  79. browsing through Etsy and eBay at all the amazing, weird and banal things that people sell
  80. finding and sharing useless trivia
  81. being challenged on a useless fact and being able to find and show proof I was right
  82. looking at architectural details and learning how to identify an architect's style
  83. writing reviews and sharing my opinion
  84. getting results from a strongly worded letter to a company, government body, or other corporation
  85. watching a production line in action whether it is human or mechanical -- I always think of the Looney Tunes "assembly line" music (Oooh! Useless trivia moment, that music is called "Powerhouse" by Raymond Scott.)
  86. rainbows
  87. the idea of unicorn chasers, even if I don't particularly like unicorns
  88. getting lost on the web by link-hopping (easiest on sites like Wikipedia)
  89. watching clouds moving and shifting
  90. watching dew turn to steam on warm summer mornings
  91. having a job that allows me to wear sassy t-shirts and jeans and pays more than $8 per hour.
  92. watching our cat play like a kitten
  93. catching up on tv shows with marathons of a season in a week.
  94. realizing I know enough about a given program to get the result I expect when I am using it
  95. the smell of laundry that has dried in the fresh air
  96. breathing deeply on a crisp, clear morning
  97. standing on the deck with a mug of coffee, just listening
  98. finding the answer to something particularly tricky
  99. imagining what cats are really thinking
  100. finishing this list and realizing there's a lot more I could add.
And, after crossing this off my list, I smiled thinking about item #58.

04 February 2010

New Coffeemaker

Yesterday I came home and noticed that there was coffee left in the coffee maker. I asked Hubby if he'd made another pot in the afternoon. He said he hadn't. Unfortunately, the carafe was just a few degrees cooler than molten lead and from this I surmised that the "auto off" feature had failed, completely. I unplugged it and the clock stayed on for 30 minutes -- about 3 times longer than it should have. I decided it was possessed by a boggart and we made a note to use the French Press in the morning.

This morning I realized what I thought was our French Press on the shelf was in fact our Bodum milk frother. Doh! Since I really needed coffee, we gave the possessed coffee maker one last go (but I made Hubby promise to unplug it when the carafe was empty). Tonight we bought a replacement. We had actually looked at coffee makers on the weekend (maybe ours knew it was doomed) -- and had come home with a new grinder -- so we had already narrowed our choices. Big bonus, one of our front runners was priced $30 lower at London Drugs so we went with that one (this Oster model).

I threw caution to the wind and brewed some coffee when we got home. It was gooooood. I'm enjoying it now and will be cursing it at 1:30 a.m. when I am still awake.

Speaking of awake, the sunrise this morning was lovely:


Contest Update:
To everyone who added a heart to my Etsy store, Thank You! -- Anne was #100 and will be getting a special something in the mail.

03 February 2010

Not for a fistful of hundred dollar bills

I think I've already made this clear, but I am not a supporter of the big boondoggle set to kick off in a few days. After reading the list of items banned from venues (which will have airport-style security), I commented that you wouldn't be able to get me in a venue with a free ticket and a fistful of unmarked non-sequential $100 bills.

Included on the list
  • Water balloon launchers (really? this happens often enough to need a separate listing?)
  • Leaflets, pamphlets, non-approved publications and promotional material (this just plain angers my inner librarian -- what exactly is a non-approved publication?)
  • Banners containing religious, political, provocative or obscene content and or visible branding and trademarks of sponsor and non-sponsor companies (guess what part of this annoys me? yup, that pesky branding and trademark stuff! What amuses me most is they don't even want logos of the participating sponsors visible -- my guess is they are paying for every reference)
  • Flags of non-participating countries (non-participating in the games or non-participating at that event?)
  • Strollers (because transportation is going to be a challenge but if you want to take your toddler to a once in a lifetime event, the kid is going to have to walk or be carried)
  • Umbrellas (because it never rains in Vancouver)