Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the eve before Christmas...

A cozy winter Solstice, a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Image: Santa's Light by Bill Bell

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Boredom detector

All I know about this image is that it is called "Boredom Detector" and it is by Howard McWilliam. Isn't it wonderful?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Dread Crew shall be mine!!!

I'd love to win a copy of The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods by sweet/salty Kate Inglis, and even to review it (although I'd more than likely just gush). So here goes her contest meme.

Cover image from website, artist: Sydney Smith

Stories that Stick

1) You are facing an epic journey. You may choose one companion, one tool and one vehicle from any book or film to accompany you. Or just one of the three. It's up to you. What do you choose?

The Doctor (David Tennant incarnation, please!) and a magic wand and... hmm... Howl's Moving Castle for transport? Or a pirate ship.

2) You can escape to the insides of any book. Where do you go, and why?

All of my cookbooks (haha)? Whoville at Christmas? Christmastown & Halloweentown? Oh wait those two are just a movie. Oooohhhh, the Clayr library in Garth Nix's book Lirael! It's in a glacier. The world of Philip Reeve's Larklight? Hard to say. I'm not sure that the perfect book-world exists for me. I just know it would be styled by Henry Selick and/or Tim Burton. And it may have muppets.


3) You can bring one literary character into your current life. Who do you choose, and why?

My very own dæmon. I wonder what animal it would be? 
Or perhaps Captain Jack Sparrow... but I get the impression that he's more fun to watch romping on the screen than he would be to cope with in real life.  


4) _________________ is my go-to book. I could read that book fifty-seven times in a row without a break for food or a pee and not be remotely bored. In fact I’ve already done that but it wasn’t fifty-seven times. It was sixty-four.

Do audio books count? It's got to be the Harry Potter series. I can't tell if it's like medicine or candy to me. Maybe candy-coated medicine? It is the literary equivalent of hot cocoa and a cozy sweater. It is perfect company for stressful times. I listen to Stephen Fry reading it over and over and over and ... over some more.

5) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most enviable?

Anne Shirley, I think. What gumption! What moxie! A kindred spirit. And the Pevensies, I suppose, even though a lot about the Narnia books irk me. But imagine living out a whole lifetime (as royalty in a parallel universe no less) and then getting to go back to being a kid again.

6) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most frightening?

I didn't really get scared of literary characters as a kid. I got scared of nature documentaries about freak storms or swarms of biting insects. That shark in Jaws made me think twice about swimming at the lake though... oh and when I was very young I think I was afraid of the Ghost of Christmas Future, that thing is creepy.

7) Every time I read _________________, I see something in it that I haven’t seen before.

Hmmm. Other than HP I don't re-read things that much. Lets say Chronicles of Narnia and the Little House on the Prairies series' because I ate those up as a kid and then re-read them as an adult with completely new eyes. And Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy... that's worth reading more than once to see the hints and details missed the first time around.

8) It is imperative that __The Mortal Engines books__ be made into a movie. Now. I am already picketing Hollywood for this—but if they cast _someone incompetent_ as _art/style director_, I will not be happy. I will, however, be appeased if they cast _Ewan McGregor (I don't know what role... but who doesn't like Ewan McGreggor?)_.

9) _________________ is a book that should never be made (or should have never been made) into a film.

Oh yes, there are lots of these. Let me say instead that Mermaids was a book that was actually better as a film.

10) After all these years, the _________________ scene in the book/movie _________________ still manages to give me the queebs.

Trying to think of a creepy book... erm... I know there's some gross monster stuff in the Abhorsen books, but I forget specifics. I can not stand it in movies OR books when someone vomits. That's gross.

11) After all these years, the _________________ scene in the book/movie _________________ still manages to give me a thrill.

Well, I am a total Christmas movie nerd, so lets say that scene where the Grinch's heart grows three sizes? I love all the Christmas parts of the HP books too (NERD) and um... I always choke up when Anne gets her dress with the puffed sleeves.

12) If I could corner the author _________________, here’s what I’d say to them one minute or less about their book, _________________:

I couldn't. I'd be too shy to approach a famous author in public I think! Or just too conflicted (they need privacy too!) or something... and anyway, in just a MINUTE? No fair. I love Jeanette Wintersons books, but I think she would seriously intimidate me. For most of the authors I love I would probably just say THANK YOU. And also, how do you get that job???

13) The coolest non-fiction book I’ve ever read is _anything by David Sedaris_. Every time I flip through it, it makes me want to _hire him to narrate life, it would make every situation into a quirky little vignette_.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My book of shadows (but not really)

Ever since I saw Practical Magic (and probably before), with that strange and lovely book of shadows, I've wanted one of my own.

(Screenshot of the Amas Veritas website - if you liked the look and feel of that movie you should browse this website, they have lots of photos. Practical Magic is not exactly my favourite movie but there is something about the style, especially of the Owens house that appeals.)

Apparently I am not so shaddowy though because the book I ended up creating has none of the dark spells and instead has lots of recipes (and the food splotches to go with them). In the end it's really just a recipe scrapbook. I've got it divided up into sections based on the time of year (the old pagan wheel - which I can't say I observe any more than to simply notice them come and go, and maybe use it as an excuse to make something seasonal and tasty). And so I thought, as it is nearing All Hallow's Eve, that I would share a few pages from that section in the book. It still has some blank spots left, which I would be happy to fill with any autumnal recipes anyone wants to share!
(I have blank spots in other seasons too, so it doesn't have to be fall-ish)





(I sometimes cut things out of magazines or other sources... not that I keep track of where they come from. So.. er... I don't take credit for anything in the book not hand-drawn, other than as a collage-ist)

Monday, October 26, 2009

trick 'r treat! And more.

Last week was a bit of a marathon, so when I finally had a day of rest (er, Sunday, as it happens) all I could do was go to the farmers market and oogle the squash (and take a few home), and then collapse on the couch. We watched a good old-fashioned ridiculous Halloween movie and ate take out (no energy to cook up the farmers market fare! Maybe tonight...). The movie was trick 'r treat, which I'd never heard of but stumbled across in my search for something seasonal. It's pretty bad, but in a (mostly) good way. On the plus side it has a couple of familiar faces (Helo! Sookie Stackhouse!) and the set is exactly the kind of thing I love, especially in halloween/holiday movies. Over the top, jack-o-lanterns all over the place, monster costumes, cute little town, cute little houses, tree-lined streets, spooky woods/abandoned quarry/crazy neighbour guy... it has such a perfect not-real movie-land feel. I liked their creepy little evil Halloween spirit. The movie honestly wasn't all that scary; there were a few gory-ish scenes (and I could have done without the tainted-candy scene... blech) but this is definitely horror-light. It's the kind of thing I would watch again, just for the atmosphere (to put on in the background while doing something crafty).

(note: Neat! They are going to make/have made it into a comic book.)

Anyway, it did help me to hop into the Halloween spirit. And as usual, the next thing I do is go on the hunt for new (to me) seasonal imagery. And as usual, the internet does not disappoint!

A few of my favourite All-Hallows Eve pictures for this year:

Halloween Lanterns by Rare Bird, Julianna

I discovered a folk artist Charles Wysocki:

The Black Squadron

Cave Dwellers

Fork in the Road

The House with Seven Gables

Sweetheart Hotel

And here are a few older (to me) favourites:

A couple from David T Wenzel

And the Witches Light by Bill Bell.

Now I am so in the mood to carve pumpkins and eat candy! But alas, back to work.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cheating (a bit)

I just added this comment to a friend's blog post about writing poetry. I am re-posting it here because I am too busy/tired to write real posts! Or just because it is a lovely, stop-you-in-your-tracks kind of poem.

Oh, but don't forget that there's room for humour in poetry! It doesn't all have to be aching beauty or angst, right? I sometimes find that poetry can be hard to get into because of that snob-factor. Not that I have not been stopped in my tracks by aching beauty (or angst) when done right. But playful is so much more approachable. Two words: Shel Silverstein. 
Well, for inspiration, here is one of the ones that stopped me in my tracks (I hope you haven't heard it a zillion times... I think it's one of the few poems out there that gets around. Still. Aching beauty.)

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work, 1986

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Peeking out of my hobbit-hole

It's boring for me to complain (again) about the amout of work I'm doing for school (again). So I won't. But I will share a few pretty pictures that are cheering me up and helping me to remember to appreciate this honey-coloured season before it's gone and the world has turned to frost.

The picnic by Matthew Scott

Safe in the Burrow by Sally Elford

Owl by David Wenzel


A selection of autumnal favourites from The Black Apple

I am hopeful that there will be time for visiting the Magic of Lanterns before it ends on November 1st. It seems doubtful given that we are quite booked up with work events, a wedding, a move (not ours!) and of course the schoolwork that plagues me... but maybe there will be an evening that can be stolen for admiring lanterns in an autumn garden.

(poster and image on the bottm from the "la Magie des lanternes" website, image on the bottom belongs to Michel Tremblay)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nerding out for Fall

Well friends, it's Fall again, and as always I am in love with the season. Actually, truth be told, I am impatient for it to get started. Not sure what's up with the weather here in Montreal but it seems like we've gotten off kilter somehow... it took forever for summer to start (which I was fine with) and now we are still living in summer-land when it should be all golden and autumnal. Sheesh. 
But, even though it remains warm (and even a little humid some days - gross!) my brain has gone all blackberry bushes and acorns. Actually my brain has gone all exhausted and useless! That's right - more schooling for me. All done online this time, which is both wonderful (lots of flexibility) and a huge challenge (discipline? what's that again?). 
ANYWAY. When I am not working or doing homework I am (naturally) searching for lovely fall images online. In doing so I discovered a series of childrens books that I somehow missed when I was little: Brambly Hedge. It is really sweet - and everything I always loved in picture books: a whole warren of tiny houses and rooms inside of trees and hillsides full of mouse-people and mouse-sized furnishings. Oh, the detail! I will certainly be putting a few of these books onto my Christmas list. 


*All images belong to the Brambly Hedge creator - Jill Barklem

**Update to add: When I posted this I had completely forgotten where I originally found this wonderful series. Since then I've rediscovered the source. A little bird told me. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thrifty treasures

Who doesn't love a good day of thrifting? There is, luckily, a decent second-hand shop near where I live. Decent because I always find something (usually more than I can carry, so I have to put some stuff back) and because the prices could not be better. (New(ish) dress for 5.99 anyone? Fall jacket for 9.99? Purse for 4.99?) But not MAGNIFICENT because the location and the ambiance of the shop itself leaves much to be desired. It is one of those "get a buggy and wander the aisles" kind of places. Warehouse-y, not boutique-y. Hence the prices, so of course it's worth it, but you cannot be rushed. If you were you would miss out on things like pretty summer dresses, short trench coats (really cute, but my photos didn't turn out, so maybe later), and apatasaurus brooches. I can't quite figure out where that could possibly have come from ... a dinosaur museum? Who knows. I love it though. Mostly because I think it's hilarious, but also because dinosaurs are rad. And I actually think it's kind of pretty. A bit heavy though, so I will have to be careful about where I pin it.