Thursday, August 4, 2011

Little Cities Inside Electronics.

I am currently in the Ottawa airport, and they are showcasing the work of artist Marcus Lamoureux (work above). The collection on display is made with old electronics parts. I was struck by how, lacking any scale, they resembled small cities when viewed up close.

This image made me think of a map of an island industrial district - Annacis island, or the like.

The whole concept reminds me of a video I once viewed of Bjork explaining how a television works. She is so cute... Watch it here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Mini Arctic Bouquet

Look! I made a tiny bouquet of tiny arctic flowers. The "vase" is a souvenir Iqaluit shot glass.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Secrets of Crop Rotation

While feeding my current obsession with edible landscaping (from Nunavut...), I came across a fascinating page from Designing Edible Gardens on how and why to rotate you vegetable crops. It all finally makes so much sense!

There are 4 phases to crop rotation:
Year 1: Leaves (lettuce, cabbages, etc.). These will feed on high nitrogen levels in the soil
Year 2: Fruits (tomato, peppers, squash, cucumber, etc.). These don't like nitrogen as much, and will feed on phosphorus in the soil
Year 3: Roots (onions, carrots, beets, etc.). The root vegetables will take the last of the phosphorus from the soil
Year 4: Rebuild (peas, beans, etc.). In year 4, you plant vegetables that increase the nutrition of the soil, fixing nitrogen, etc.
There's a lot more to it than this, but it clarified crop rotation quite a bit for me. There is also the option of mixing plants together (one that needs high nitrogen with one that fixes nitrogen in the soil, for example), but that's another matter, and one I'm not yet too familiar with.

On that topic, my copy of Rosalind Creasy's Edible Landscaping has arrived in Vancouver and is waiting for me to come home! 2 more weeks, and I'll get to read all about it and look at the piles of beautiful pictures... So close...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Make Cheese? Make Cheese!

I always thought that making cheese was a long, drawn out process (that must be why it's so expensive, right?), until I saw this tutorial on how to make your own ricotta cheese, from Lex. Who knew it was so simple?

And then I found you could make your own cottage cheese, or paneer. Also awesome. I must look into this whole cheese-making business.

After making cheese, you end up with whey - milk plasma. It can be used to substitute milk in baking; apparently it works well in biscuits or bread. I imagine it would be excellent for pancakes, as well. There is also a recipe for whey wine on the Wikipedia article that, though I have no idea how it will taste, I am strangely compelled to try...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Muslin beginner

I been sewing for years, but am only just cluing in to the concept of using a muslin to fit a pattern.

The term muslin (or toile) refers to both a test/trial version of a sewing pattern for fitting purposes. It also refers to the cheap un-dyed cotton fabric frequently used for this purpose. Old sheets can also be used (hooray for re-use!)

The bonuses of using a muslin include that you can fit a pattern without ruining your more expensive fashion fabric, plus you can keep the muslin fabric to be used again later as a pattern perfectly fitted to you.

Since the muslin doesn't need to be finished, just fitted, it goes together fairly quickly. Plus, if something is too small, you can just cut it and sew in a strip of fabric - the look is not what's important, just the shape.

I am looking forward to getting home to my sewing machine and putting this practice into use. while in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, I bought tons of lovely cottons in the markets there that I am dying to put to use. Many of my previous patterns I have put days and days of work into, only to be unhappy with the final fit. I am hoping that a few hours sewing a muslin will keep this from happening too much in the future...

Abu Dhabi Cottons:
So fun and colourful, and some were as cheap as ~$1.50/m!! I <3 shopping in Abu Dhabi...

I recently found this post through the ever-fabulous Gertie, and fully intend to use the resources mentioned, especially the website.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Edible Landscaping = Very Yes!

I love gardens. Unfortunately, I live in an apartment with a small patio, and I am out of town for work for the greater part of my summers, but I dream of the day when I will have a yard and will be able to have a garden of my own. What will I put in it? Will it be ornamental? Or full of delicious herbs and vegetables?

I have been realizing lately that, when that day comes, I may not have to decide between the two. After hearing about Julie Bass in Oak Park, Michigan facing jail time for planting a vegetable garden in her front yard (after the city forced her to rip up her lawn, no less), I began to look into how to make edible gardens aesthetically appealing as well. Read her blog on the experience here.

I came across the book Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy. The images I have seen are so beautiful - to think you can eat (almost) everything in the garden! I immediately bought the book; it will be waiting for me when I get back home. I can't decide if this is great planning, or just teasing myself...

I also was directed to this wonderful page at the Dave Wilson Nursery all about growing orchards in your yard. What a wonderful way to enjoy delicious fruit and a beautiful tree!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Knit daisies - so cute!

When I get back in to civilization, I HAVE to make some of these knit gerber daisies. They are so colourful and long-lasting (and the pattern is free!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vancouver is full of love

Everyone has heard about the riots in Vancouver. It's really just a re-hash of 1994, when the Canucks made it to game 7 in the final against the Rangers. Everyone knew there would be a riot, whether the game was won or lost.

I am currently in Iqaluit, and glad I wasn't there to witness Vancouver's shameful acts. I am, however, sad that I can't be there to give the city my support and love in the aftermath. Especially after having discovered the following site, and all it's outpourings of love. Check it out. It will make you less angry with Vancouver, I promise.

This is Our Vancouver

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Corinne Leigh, creator of the amazing DIY site Threadbanger, has started a new show and blog, Craftovision.

I loved Threadbanger and was sad to see her leave, but it makes me so happy that she is once again creating awesome tutorials for the world. I love the style of her posts as well, with the beautiful black and white retro images.

I also love Dita Von Teese, as she does...

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Laura from Nocturnal Knits is creating an insanely large blanket (She's calling the Giganto-Blanket) from slightly felted roving and knit on 1.5" PVC pipes. I am amazed and in love!

You can watch a video of her knitting it here. Plus, she has instructions on her blog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I have a love affair with Japanese culture - my boyfriend and I have been dying to visit the land of the rising sun for years now. And being a geologist by trade, the news of the earthquake devastation in Japan has really hit me.

Everybody wants to help, and there are some awesome people out there doing some amazing things. Oktak is donating 50% of their proceeds to the American Red Cross relief efforts in Japan and, holy crap, this stuff is cute.

The Craft blog has a list of crafting auctions for Japan relief here if you're looking for other ways to help. Or you can donate directly to Red Cross and skip the middle man.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Freecycle is Great

I have tried to get rid of stuff for free on Craigslist, and I always have trouble. People think that because you're giving it away, instead of selling it, there must be something wrong with it. Then I discovered Freecycle. It's like Craigslist, but only for things that are free. People get rid of some of the strangest things in the name of recycling.

People get rid of great stuff. Example: "small freezer (mount pleasant) by kpandrew
has a dent in the lid but works fine"

You can also get rid of weird stuff. Like old carpet. Seriously. I just got rid of some old kitchen chairs - all in the name of recycling and re-using. This is the fellow who took my chairs:

Bless his heart.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

East Van Craft Wiki

The awesome Emily of Blue Mollusc has created an East Van Craft Wiki. Please add your knowledge to it when possible!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Project Gutenberg and the E-Reader

Wow. You could hear crickets chirp around this place. The holidays came on with a vengeance and tore me from this amazing space. I won't apologize for not posting, because I hate when people do that. What I will say, is I missed it. And I didn't realize how much I missed this expressive outlet until I came back. Let's hope I stay a while.

Not that I haven't been creative. On the contrary, I have frequently chosen creating over writing. It was the right choice in the moment, so I regret nothing.

I did mention the Christmas insanity that took over. Well, one of the wonderful gifts I got this year was a Sony E-Reader (thanks Mike!).

Because I work in such remote locations for long periods of times, I read a lot. When I'm in the field, I will read about a book a week. This means that for a 5 week stay in camp, I will need to bring five books with me, plus extra reading material for the travel there and back. That takes up a lot of space in your pack.

Hence the e-reader. You simply load it with a pile of digital books and read them in the order you feel. Mine will even play music, so I can listen to music while I read (though I imagine this drains the battery).

One of the things that originally drew me to e-books was the fact that you could get digital books from the library, and the files will self-destruct after 7, 14, or 21 days (your choice). I thought this was fantastic, until I found out more about it. The library only has a certain number of "copies" of digital books that can be "out" at any given time. One of these digital copies has to be "returned" before another reader can "borrow" it. So there are huge wait lists for digital books - and these files are only a few hundred kilobytes. They could be downloaded en masse, and there would still be enough bandwidth for everyone. But thanks to digital rights management, we have to wait EVEN LONGER for digital library books than we do the actual physical copy.

And then I found Project Gutenberg. From this site, you can download digital versions of classic books in the public domain. Their collection is good for popular books, but it can be tough to find copies of more obscure books. Not sure what to read? Check out their list of the top 100 downloads for the previous day and see if there's anything you like!

Want to help make the collection larger? Most of Project Gutenberg's books come from Distributed Proofreaders Canada, where readers like you and me help the project by proofreading just one page a day.

One can also purchase ebooks, but considering the fact that they are nothing but a digital file, I consider them to be way overpriced. There is no shipping or production involved. Once the file is created, there is nothing further needed to create more books to sell. So why do they cost the same as paper books? Why? It's not like the paper book will die off. I still like to have hard copies of my favourite books to share with friends, and books with nice pictures to have on my coffee table, and great books for reference. Books are too substantial to ever die out.