blue sketchbook pages 14 & 15


A droopy eyebird, a gold lamé doughnut explosion in space, and a super sheen comet.

Ballpoint pen, markers, gesso, metallic gold paint pen, old wooden thread spool label.

Up in the attic I have a big sparkly round gold lamé tablecloth with a single cigarette burn in it, given to me 25 years ago by my cousin Chris back when he was working for a party rental company. I’ve been hanging onto it all this time waiting for the perfect project. Throwing it on as a cape and going as Rick Wakeman for Hallowe’en has always been high on my mental list of options, but my hair is all wrong and also, I can’t play piano.

the kitchenening: part ten


We have tile. I’m falling into a swoon over here.


And just like that, the colour of the countertop we chose finally makes sense. Even knowing the green tile was coming, living in this unfinished kitchen for the past month I’ve been willing myself not to hate the countertop because of how uninspiring it has looked next to the cold white primed drywall. Against the green it’s suddenly beautiful, and I love it.


Having lived here for a month now, we’re completely rethinking this wall opening, and are now pretty sure about what we’ll build to fill in this space: a midcentury style wooden divider, the kind with upright dowels or spindles going through small shelves. Peter’s mother’s house had one just inside the front door, providing a screen to set the entryway off from the living room, and I’ve always wanted to incorporate one into our house. It certainly took us long enough to think of it but now that we have, it’s pretty obviously the perfect solution. We’ve been enjoying having the visual and conversational link between the two rooms, but more importantly, shelves are better suited to our maximalist decor sensibilities. And all those ceramic frogs have got to go *somewhere*.

blue sketchbook pages 10 & 11


Mycelium everywhere, branching on the right and a worm-shaped spiral on the left, with a horned bird.

Ballpoint pen, markers, gesso, bingo dabber. Page 11 is a two-strip newsprint bingo card tipped into the book to create a new page. I used to collect and bring home all the cards our club paid out on during my volunteer shift at the bingo; some of them wound up in my mixed paper junk journals (my perennial bestselling item) and some travelled in my bag to Spanish class to get doodled on.

books I read in 2023

1. Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries (re-read)
2. Margaret Lawrence, The Diviners (re-read)
3. Dexter Palmer, The Dream of Perpetual Motion
4. Lawrence Hill, Some Great Thing
5. Souvankham Thammavongsa, How to Pronounce Knife
6. Zadie Smith ed., The Book of Other People
7. Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster
8. Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
9. Nick Cave, The Death of Bunny Munro
10. Alexander Boldizar, The Ugly
11. Joan Barfoot, Exit Lines
12. Homer, The Oddyssey (re-read), Emily Wilson, translation
13. Selçuk Altun, Songs My Mother Never Taught Me
14. Anouk Markovits, I Am Forbidden
15. Camilla Gibb, This is Happy
16. Timothy Findley, The Piano Man’s Daughter
17. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
18. Johanna Skibsrud, The Sentimentalists
19. Alan Watts, TAO: The Watercourse Way
20. Joan Barfoot, Charlotte and Claudia Keeping in Touch
21. Lori Lansens, The Wife’s Tale
22. Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome
23. Herta Müller, The Appointment
24. Sunil Yapa, Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
25. Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
26. Joan Barfoot, Getting Over Edgar
27. Doris Lessing, The Summer Before the Dark
28. Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans
29. Shirley Jackson, The Lottery and other stories
30. Yasuko Thanh, Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountain
31. Rudy Weibe, Sweeter Than All the World
32. Joan Barfoot, Critical Injuries
33. Leila Slimani, Adèle
34. Isabel Allende, The Infinite Plan
35. Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
36. Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies
37. Q Hayashida, Dorohedoro
38. Salman Rushdie, Fury
39. Sharon Bala, The Boat People
40. Nino Ricci, Where She Has Gone
41. Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost
42. Sonali Deraniyagala, Wave

first finished project of 2024


Over the first few days of the new year I finished up the binding and the last bit of quilting on my indigo and gray snowball quilt, and embroidered my signature. Once the weather is a little nicer I’ll go outside and take some better photos and put together a few notes on the construction and inspiration. For now here’s a portion of it laid out on the kitchen floor. It’s already been warming us on the couch and has graced the guest bed for visiting family. I’m so pleased with it and now have a grand plan to go through all of my decades of stashed fabrics around the house and compile the lot of it into blankets. I didn’t need a new hobby but here we are, and I’ve definitely caught the bug.

the kitchenening: moving in

The kitchen isn’t finished, but it’s finished enough to move in and start using, so that’s what we did over the holidays. Soon we’ll have to move all of our stuff back out from the counters to make room for the tile to be installed but for now we’re starting to get a feel for the new space. We’ve already luxuriously unfurled our mess onto the vast countertops.


We’ve been planning all along to install a grillework in that wall opening, but now that we’re actually living and cooking here it’s kind of nice having a window there so we’re going to take our time and perhaps explore different options. I’m currently leaning towards installing shutters so I can bang them open and shout killer one-liners into the living room like Florence from The Jeffersons.


I’ve never had a vent hood over the stove before and have very much been looking forward to no longer filling up our bedroom with food smells, but so far I keep forgetting to switch it on when I cook. It’s hard to learn new things in old age.

the kitchenening: side quest complete

An empty room with hardwood floor, dark wood trimmed windows, white ceiling, and green walls.

We’ve had a few days of rest in the kitchen work, waiting for appliances and the last bits of cabinet, so I was finally able to get the living room painted. We’ve lived with someone else’s joy killing beige in this room for 20 years while waiting to have the ceiling repaired, but we’re looking forward to spending the next 20 snuggled down in this cozy room with its dreamy green. The wall to the left is closest to the actual colour and I can’t wait to see how my new quilt is going to look in here.

Now to start drawing up plans for the built in shelving we’re planning for the wall that used to have a doorway through it.