June 4th, 2003
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I have been spending a lot of time procrastinating my work and hanging out in the garden. (I hope my clients are not reading this right now, if you are, forgive me.) But alas it’s true. I never miss a deadline mind you, it’s just that everything is blooming, and I read a book on Perennial Garding so I am trying things out. My gardening techinique is of the experimental sort. After last month where I seemed to be consumed only with work, recent days have given way to idleness and rest. I really needed it. I feel much more tuned in to nature, and the natural flow of things.I’ve also been trying to find ways to blend my work with my gardening experience.
Some examples:
-reading magazine copy while sitting in my hammock.
-setting up my laptop outside with my wacom tablet under the apple tree.
-making sure my cordless phone (the one with the long range) is next to my garden tools.
In fact I should design a tool belt for people who are self-employed, or those who
work from home to use in the summer months. The key is to give the appearance that you are working.

Feeling daring?…read my latest article…
Getting Naked -showing your stuff to the rest of the world
New Stuff…
Bea has a recent entry, ever wanted to become a real life sleuth
Living Out Loud is available for pre-order on Amazon.com finally! Yay! (Now I am not one who has any right to criticize spelling, but take note of how they spell the subject heading “Inspirational. Self-Help”. I wrote them a little note. Maybe you should too, it’s kind of sad really.)
…I have been once again studying “Moveable Type” and am working on putting the newsletter into a new format. When I have worked out all the bugs (potentially next month), it will allow me to add many more features (better archiving, comments, etc.) It will also provide a forum for me to post more often than once a month (as so many of you have requested.) We’ll see how it evolves.
Working on… a couple of greeting card designs…one editorial piece…the garden.
“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon. I’m halfway through this, what a wonderful journey. Just as a great comic book will have you believing the characters are real, so does Michael Chabon with his writing.
“Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage”, by Alice Munro (for the bookclub).
“Stalking the Wild Asparagus”, by Euell Gibbons. I read this book every
year at this time to find out what I should look for on my walks in the woods.
“The Harrowsmith Perennial Garden:Flowers for Three Seasons” by Patrick Lima. Finally a book that gives me several plans to choose from. I’ve always had issues with height, but no more.
Grateful for …house renovations (slowly but surely)…apple,
lilac, and cherry tree blossoms that smell incredible…lily of the valley…dreams coming to fruition.
Jamie Oliver’s Blog He just had a second child, I love reading about successful people who are also parents.
…an update on the Quentin Blake
badge saga (continued from last month). So I wrote a letter to the company (Robertson’s Jams) explaining my story, (that I am a huge fan of Quentin Blake and that my friends brought me the requested three tokens to send away for Roald Dahl badges which featured artwork by Quentin and I would be more than happy to pay for the required shipping fee for them to send it to Canada, .) I received a reply stating “Unfortunately we don’t deliver abroad, however if you have someone in the UK we could send to, we would be happy to fulfill your order. Payment by English
sterling only.” So, I decided to write a letter to Mr. Quentin Blake himself which stated that a) I am a huge fan and wanted to let him know how much of an influence he has been on my choice to become an illustrator by profession, and b) the whole thing about the badges. I’ll let you know if I hear from him. I had to become a sleuth myself to find his mailing address.
Wondermilk, Some nice handmade items for sale. It’s a bit slow on dialup sadly.
…my absolute favourite game from the 80′s, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy At the tender age of 13, I became a huge fan of Douglas Adams and was obsessed with playing this text based game on my TRS80, (this was an early computer that actually used cassette tapes). I spose I’m dating myself here.
…the illustrations of Johny Hannah.
Films I recommend:
Relating to my current article, on the theme of “self-doubt”…
Adaptation -incredibly clever and thought provoking. Even if you don’t like this film you will find yourself wanting to talk about it with friends for days. I do seem to like films that leave you scratching you head afterwards.
Comedian -Jerry Seinfeld. A documentary that deals with what it is actually like to perform as a comedian, as opposed to what we see on the screen. I thought I knew who Jerry Seinfeld was based on his t.v. character. Was I ever wrong. He is completely human and neurotic. I found this film so incredibly helpful this week. Even people at the very top struggle on a daily basis. A must see for anyone struggling with confidence issues.
Researching… Wild Foods…I found a jackpot of wild spearmint in a nearby meadow this week, (I’ll never have to buy mint tea again.) A list of wild foods I have found in my neighborhood, wild raspberries, wild grapes, wild leeks, apples, watercress, mint, milkweed, mulberry. My goal right now is to identify Juneberries which make an excellent pie.
Eating… lemonade (4 lemons, 31/2 cups water, honey to taste)…Gypsy Soup…lots of Dulse to increase my iron levels (toasted in a dry frying pan)…Atlantic Salmon…tortillas toasted with parmesan to make chips…rhubarb.

May 7th, 2003
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I have gone totally seed crazy. All my windowsills are completely full with pots of basil, tomotoes, daisies, peas, parsley, and some things that I’m not sure about, I call those the wild cards. The tomatoes are kept in an old clementine box that looked so beautiful I had to do a sketch of it in my journal. I realize a lot of things look really good in an old clementine box…

My latest article, ever feel like you are what you do?…
Stone Free -How your business sometimes runs you
I have so many cool things to share with you this month I may sound like I’m gushing but it seems there is an abundance of inspiring things of late…
New Stuff…
Bea has a recent entry, she’s taking a nostagic trip… the Brownie Pouch.
…I wrote a story a while back about my friend Darryl who died in a car accident, (he played Curly in Oklahoma). You can read it here. (it takes a bit to load) He really did make people cry when he sang.
…Have you seen the new Melanie Doane video for “Still Desire You”? The furniture piece behind her is by my partner Arno. It was directed by our good friend Wendy Ord. Here is a frame from it.
Working on… a book cover for Random House…a theatre poster…the new manuscript is finished and sent…more greeting cards.
It’s been a comic kind of month…
“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi, I have never had a book that so completely brought out my own stereotypes about a certain culture and then wiped them out completely. This is the most amazing graphic novel I have ever read! It is both beautifully drawn and written in a way that you can’t put it down. I learned so much about what it was like to live in Iran through repressive regimes, war, and contradiction. It changed me. Everyone should read this book. You cannot believe what this character goes through.
“The Soap Lady” by Renee French This was a serendipitous find in the comic book store. It is a unique children’s book published by Top Shelf (the comic company). I’m very glad that I did not read about it before hand because the ending has a very strange and shocking twist! (note: I don’t want to give it away, but if you are one of those people who doesn’t do well with suspense and you really want to know what it is you can go here.) O.k. the amazon link gives it away too.
Sketchbook Diaries by James Kochalka His work is not new to me but I had never seen this series before. I was in my element when I found this one, it starts with the sentence, “My ambition was to create a grand masterpiece from the little nothings of everyday life.” James draws a tiny four cell biographical comic every day in his diary, (well almost everyday, he even does it while hungover or sometimes drunk.) Some of them are strange (his shower brush is talking to him), some are meditative (him staring at himself in a X-mas decoration), and some are laugh out loud funny, (I could so relate to him waiting for the fedex truck, it’s like a sporting event for the self-employed). (warning: do not read this in bed while your bed mate is trying to sleep! You will wake him/her
up.) It is near impossible not to become addicted to reading about his daily adventures. You can actually read them all online for a monthly fee. (I wonder if he actually makes money with that?) I’m devoted James.
Peepshow (the series) by Joe Matt Like many people I could not believe how candidly Joe documents some of the most sad, embarassing and humiliating moments of his life. There are some things that I would just not be able to put into black and white. We all have flaws and foibles and idiosyncracies, and Joe goes blatantly into the darkside, (man it can be ugly.) I think that is part of the charm of his work. Once again the drawing is so wonderful to look at. (I was a huge Mad Magazine fan and his style is so remeniscent of that era.) I ordered two more in the series “the Poor Bastard”, and “Fair Weather”.
Palookaville #16 by Seth So you all know by now that Seth is a huge influence for me. I never tire of his linework, it seems to get better with time. The endpages of this one have gorgeous sketches of what looks to be beehives, which are numbered. It’s the little treats like that, that make it so fulfilling. (Unfortuneately because the new Drawn & Quarterly site has pop up windows I cannot like directly to his sketchbook. Poke around a bit for it, it’s worth the visit.)
Growing A Business by Paul Hawken This book started out great, I was writing down quotes at a frenzied pace. I love that he says that small businesses have a definite advatages over big business in terms of creativity and new ideas. The book is about businesses based on people, ideas and creativity as opposed to money. It gets away from the traditional business books, which I can’t normally read. He really feels that small business is where it’s at, and that we should ‘use our lives’ in the creation of them. But halfway through “Growing a Business” I got tired of the “product” based model Paul Hawken uses, he writes about what he knows. While he advocates doing something that has never been done before, he uses example of companies that have the same old products (ice cream, cookies, garden tools) sold in a not so new to me way. I am very interested in new models of what business “can” be. I want to read about something strange and unique, or at least inventive. Something that pushes our beliefs about “selling”. What about a company who’s goal was something other than profit? Maybe his newer book Natural Capitalism is more of what I’m looking for.
Grateful for… …fresh air moving through my house…sheets that were dryed on the clothesline…daffodils, tulips, and some purple flowers…soft boiled farm eggs.
The Official Quentin Blake website One of my favourite illustrators of ALL time, I just discovered his fantastic new site. I was particularly taken with the illustrated interview with him, a must read for aspring illustrators, (the sandle in the mail story is great stuff.) P.S. I am currently trying to send away for the free Quentin Blake buttons (when you buy three jars of Robertsons Jam), they seem to only want to deal with people in the U.K. but I’m going to ask very nicely.
Obsessive Consumption, A woman who documents EVERYTHING she buys, can’t remember
where I got this link from but it’s quite fascinating. I’m sure I would get very bored of the documenting process. But the design is beautiful. Too bad about her diet.
…a wonderful link from Erica.
Couverture, I covet the egg cups (I am an boiled egg fanatic, did you know that? I have one every day.)
Mod Girl Fashion Tips, because Mods are cool.
…I really enjoy the watercolour illustrations on Daily Candy. I get the feeling the whole thing is a promotional forum though.
Films I recommend:
Spirited Away If you have not yet seen this film rush out today to get it!
I bought a copy on DVD, and want to watch it over and over. Words do not do it justice, it is a triumph of writing, animation, drawing and music. I have never been a huge anime fan, (I grew up in the 70′s and 80′s when there was a lot of it that very poorly animated in Hong Kong, a lot of bad panning shots), but this is so beautiful to watch. I have totally falled in love with Miyazaki’s vision. I don’t want to give anything away but one thing I will say was how wonderful it is to see a world where characters are not either good or bad but have aspects of both qualities simultaniously (unlike typical Disney films). On the DVD you get to see the storyboard tha Miyazake himself did, as an illustrator I was in awe.
Researching… Homemade pasta, I got a pasta maker as a gift a while back and haven’t given it enough use. And with all that basil I’m going to have it should come in handy. Cold frames, we made one to house the lettuce out of an old storm window.

lots of asparagus…homemade salsa (tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, chilli pepper, brown sugar, salt)…whitefish…shishkabobs on the BBQ.

April 3rd, 2003
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Spring has finally arrived to my area, (I hope). It keeps teasing us with occasional flurries. I spent my Sunday afternoon visiting a friend’s farm holding and bottle feeding an hour old baby sheep. Life is good. The farm has a way of putting things into perspective. Almost as if to say, everything is as it should be. If you can, visit a farm close to you. You won’t regret it…
For those of you who ask me, “how do you manage all those speaking engagements?”, my latest article…
Warrior in Training -the Path of Sweaty Palms

New Stuff…
…The Wish Jar Tales main page has a new look.
Bea has a new entry, start to see your surroundings with a new eye… Mystery Tea.
…How to make a living doing what you love has been permanently posted here. Bookmark it and send it to your friends, it’s free.
Working on… new product ideas…greeting cards…editorial work.
“One Writer’s Beginnings” by Eudora Welty, Not a how-to book per sey, more like an autobiographical journey into the writer’s background. An intimate look into the roots of the writer, the chapter headings are quite simple but telling, “Listening”, “Learning to See”, “Finding a Voice”. I particularly responded to this passage:

It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves life grass. Yet regardless of where they came from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them

March 5th, 2003
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So many things to share with you this month. I’ve had some great trips to the city in an attempt to gain some outside influence and to escape the feeling of being cooped up. I know spring is merely weeks away and I cannot wait for that lovely melting earth smell that comes during the thaw. For this month’s wish jar tale, I chose to write from the gut, here goes nothing…
Journey to the Dark Side (Luke)
New Stuff…
…For those of you who haven’t heard Bea’s Diary was chosen as a Yahoo Pick! There was a lovely little review which you can read. Her popularity has soared as a result, much to my surprise. There was also a little news bit at Altpick.com.
…Bea also has two recent entries, Sublime Saturday and Random Cutting Collage.
…I will be doing a presentation for a drawing class March 24th at the Ontario College of Art and Design at 3:30pm!
Working on… several editorial jobs…and another book concept (in it’s early stages).

Reading… “The Life of Pi” by Yann Martel, (for the bookclub). I have to say is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I won’t give anything away (it’s easy to do as there are many surprises). But I will say, I DARE you to put it down after page 107! It’s impossible. I was gripping the armchair and constantly getting up for water and food! This book really makes you think about what it means to tell a story. Yann Martel has the gift.
“Without Reservations -the travels of an independent woman” by Alice Steinbach. A lovely story about a middle aged woman who realizes that she has fallen into the habit of “defining myself in terms of who I was to other people and what they expected of me.” So she decides to take off to Europe for a year of finding herself. My favourite thing in this book are the postcards that she regularly sent home to herself.
“Making Memory Books and Journals by hand” by various authors. Is a compilation of three books in one. Someone had recommended this book to me recently so I decided to pick it up. While the actual directions are quite lacking, (the photos are too small to see what the maker is doing), I find it a good source of inspiration. Filled with lots of images of artists journals. I’ve started to incorporate sewing into my journal and find it quite freeing, it reminds me a hours spent watching my grandmother darning socks.
Grateful for …really good books that transport you…japanese paper…a vivid imagination.
Enjoying… hours of fun at LooplandGoldtop…I was actually very moved by seeing her drawings of the hospital equipment, I love when people can make the most out of a trying experience.
…I’m sort of dreaming of a French Country Cottage, landscapes filled with green hills and castles. And this one is affordable.
…if you haven’t seen it yet How to Draw a radish is a good alternative to doing “practical” things. I particularly like the quote “Always have $1 and a pen with you at all times. (The $1 is to buy another pen, in case the first one runs out of ink.).”
…kicking my butt, Knock Knock Products
…and for some daily reading try Making Happy.
…illustrator Brian Rea
Films I recommend:
Donnie Darko I always laughed at the title of this while passing it in the videostore, thinking it was the cheesiest name ever. This film rocks! (My partner didn’t think so.) But I love stories with old books, mysterious characters, cryptic messages, and fantastical characters played by Patrick Swayze. The website gives even more background info on some of the strange characters and has different levels to reach via passwords, codes, etc. Think Twin Peaks meets X-Files. Layers. I want to get the DVD. Enlightenment Guaranteed Another from the Dogma school. A charming story about two brothers who travel to Tokyo to spend time in a Buddhist monastery. Recommended for anyone into Buddhism, it goes into many of the concepts that I am working on myself, (non-judgement, lightheartedness, sitting), but it does it in a funny, entertaining way. Made me laugh, cry, and smile.
Researching… Wind Power, I’m thinking about getting a windmill as the cost of fuel is beginning to skyrocket.
Eating… drinking lots of green tea…asian chicken soup with soba noodles…potato and fennel soup…spinach risotto with asiago and carrot.

February 4th, 2003
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After many days of feeling cooped up in blizzard like conditions (the road is closed today, my town is an island), I decided to get out and get moving (I am essentially lazy at heart and given the choice would rather curl up with a good book than spend my energy getting geared up to go out). But I must admit it feels really good to move my body. Part of my remedy? I got tired of spending hours layering before being able to stand the cold, so I broke down and bought some fancy snowpants (yes, my frugal self relinquished control). I cannot believe the contrast! I no longer feel the biting wind through the seams of my fifteen year old shell pants (borrowed from an ex-boyfriend and never returned). The new ones are light and comfy (and don’t cut me when I sit, ten layers will do that to you.) But best of all, I feel invincible to the cold, like when I was young and didn’t feel it. It’s like having your own portable house or space pod. It makes me want to go outside again, I am free! So after lunch I am going to venture out into the woods with my snowshoes.

From the Wish Jar Tales…

Think Less, Draw More -A Lesson from Ewe
…Great News! Miss Bea now has her own site, update your bookmarks.
…she also has two new entries, Cafe Chronicles, and Things I’m Doing to Beat the Winter Blahs.

Working on… a new kids book manuscript…and another book concept (in it’s early stages).

“When We Were Orphans” by Kazuo Ishiguro, (for the bookclub). I’m really enjoying this one, part murder mystery (1930′s genre), part historical drama. The same author who wrote “Remains of the Day”. Very British.

“Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf. Her hommage to Ullyses by Joyce. Stream of consciousness writing, I wanted some background before I see “the Hours”.

…my portable spacepod…the ability to see the world with new perspectives.

I’ve been making maralade with this recipe. There are so many variations on marmalade it is quite easy to get confused. Unfortunately, I panicked and jarred before it was quite set. The result is quite runny, but tastes divine. I also found this site quite helpful.
Willing to Try is by a favourite illustrator of mine Richard McGuire. *Warning, a very addictive, time sucking endeavor.
These journals by Ex Libris Annonymous are brilliant. The problem is I have an aversion to spiral bindings for my journals. It may be because I feel it lacks permanence somehow, (you can easily rip the pages out without anyone knowing.) I am still on the hunt for bound “found paper” journals like the ones Journey Book by Sharilyn Wright, sadly it has been out of stock for months. Let me know if you find any other sources (available to Canada that is.)
…Beautiful tote bags by Gauchita.

Films I recommend:

Tadpole A lovely little film! Kind of John Hughes meets Woody Allen, (with quotes from Voltaire thrown in.) There is a hilarious scene in a restaurant that makes you squirm with discomfort for the main character.
Go rent it.

Kikujiro Wonderful and painful at the same time, (childhood pain is the worst). The main character is a small boy who wears the most wonderful little knapsack with stuffed wings on the back. Definitely in the black comedy genre.

Researching…Organic Seeds, I am thinking of starting some seeds indoors this year.

Eating…drinking lots of chamomile tea…homemade chicken soup (my own recipe)…runny marmalade…goat’s cheese pizza with carmelized onions and figs…thinking of trying Louisiana Gumbo….butternut squash soup & perogies.

January 6th, 2003
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I feel rather qualified to talk about hibernation right now. I am just recovering from having my wisdom teeth out, (surprisingly I feel the same level of wisdom as before. Why do they call them wisdom teeth?) I have been instructed by a physician to take a couple of days off, (this is not as easy as it sounds). So I went to the grocery store and stocked up on soft food items cottage cheese, jello, yogurt, and anything that could be easily mashed. A quick trip to the video store for a plethora of yet to be seen foreign and domestic films, and one last spree in the bookstore for a book to get lost in. The snow is up around the foot and a half mark, there is a fire in the stove, and nothing to do but surrender to the re-cooperation. My time is measured by salt water mouth rinses and ice packs.

From the Wish Jar Tales…



New Stuff…
Miss Bea is sharing a great new soup recipe in her diary.
Working on…
lots of children’s stuff…a large four page spread for American Girl Magazine.
“How to change your entire life by doing absolutely nothing” by Karen Salmansohn, I LOVE this book. Put this in the category of ‘I wish I’d wrote that’, simple, beautiful design, great illustrations. Sadly her other titles sound a little too cynical (bitter?) for my taste.
“The Woman Who Painted Her Dreams” by Isla Dewar. My first time read for this author, easy to read for when your jaws are sore.
“Comfortable With Uncertainty” by Pema Chodron
“If I knew don’t you think I’d tell you?” Selected Journals of Jann Arden Jann is a Canadian singer/songwriter whose journals are quite candid and hilarious at times. You can also read her journals online.
My new favourite kids book…“Windy” by Robin Mitchell & Judith Steedman is so charming I gasped when I saw it, if you take the slip cover off there are instructions on how to make a kite underneath. Alas, I could find no info on the authors.
Grateful for
…my body’s ability to heal…less pain than anticipated.
This cute flash site.
You may have heard of this already, Bookcrossing I am ready to release three of mine into the world.
I think I got this link from Claire,
Duck for Cover, a great book resource.
The films I rented:
Aprile -I loved ‘Caro Diaro’ but this one left me thinking ‘what was the point of that’? Nanni Moretti could use a dose of Ritalin in this one.
Italian for Beginners -from the Dogme 95 genre. I have to admit I found the primitive nature of this film distracting at first, but once I got into the characters I seemed to forget about the filming (the acting was excellent).
Rare Birds A Newfoundland story staring William Hurt and Molly Parker. William Hurt was painfully slow moving for someone who had a cocain habit!
New Waterford Girl Five Reasons to see this film 1. Nova Scotia is cool 2. Mary Walsh 3. Mark McKinney (of Kids in the Hall fame) 4. Andrew McCarthy is STILL dreamy! 5. the writing is so great! I liken it to a combination of “Angel at my Table” and “Beetlejuice.
Before Night Falls A beautiful film directed by Julian Schnabel, memoir of the Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas. I am curious to go read some of his writing, though I usually shy away from politically motivated
prose (he was self proclaimed anti-Castro), this is a period in history I know little about.
Tonights Feature

Researching…>What are the qualities of the perfect book bag?

Eating…>only soft or liquid things (I am SO craving anything crunchy!)

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