Nathaniel the Tarantula

A little while back I wrote about my boy’s awesome idea for this year’s Halloween costume. I am pleased to report that, through a collaborative process, his idea developed from conception to the real thing.

Kids tarantula costume

BIG spider…

AND he’s a finalist in a halloween photo contest!

Vote for The Tarantula to win this contest in two easy steps:

1. View the great photo of our spiderific creation by Tangerine Photography.

2. Click LIKE to vote for The Tarantula.

Thanks for your support.

Here’s how it all started…

Kids tarantula costume sketch

Latest writing project

Several people have asked me if I’m working on anything new. The short answer is yes. For the long answer, check out this post on ProsperoCity, my blog dedicated to writing.

Up, up and away…

You may or may not know that I sew. A lot, actually. So much that I’ve started a separate blog to chronicle my projects. Most recently, I helped a good friend design and construct 26 (twenty-six!) superhero capes for her daughter’s 6th birthday party.


Read more…

“Step into my parlour…”

You know, for someone who wants the simple life, I seem to have a rare talent for planning complicated projects.

Hallowe’en is coming. It’s always been my favourite holiday, even more so now that I’m a mom. For about a month now, my 5-year-old and I have been dialoguing about what costume he wants me to make this year. First, it was a skeleton and I must admit I found the idea of buying a costume oddly inviting – waaay easier (and cheaper, too, as it turns out). Then, he suggested a ghost. A small section of my artistic side died at the suggestion of a sheet with holes cut in it. He must have sensed it because his next idea was a robot. Finally, lastly and no turning back or changing of minds, he has decided on a tarantula.


Since settling on the creepiest of all spiders, he has been asking every day when I plan to get started. We did some sketches, which he coloured, and purchased the fabric yesterday. I’ll post my progress.

Yes, it may look messy, but believe it or not, it makes sense to me.

View from the back.


Just trying to get my head around all the pieces we’re going to need to put this puppy together.


The black and rust-coloured fun fur is absolutely perfect. Now, all I have to do is turn 2-dimensional swaths of fabric into a 3-dimensional gigantic spider. No problem!




The Coop

I’ve been a tardy blogger recently as my time has been taken up with attempting to decipher the mysteries of internet marketing, work, a vacation (yay!) and tending to my garden. I’m going to stray from my usual topic of late, self-publishing, to focus on something that just plain makes me happy: my garden.

For years, in our small, city garden, we had serious issues with racoons having a pool party in the pond, taking a bite out of each tomato and generally trashing the place. Enough was enough, so my man built an enclosure for the vegetable patch. It’s basically a pergola covered in  chicken wire and it works like a charm! It’s also a handy place to keep our parrot safe and secure when the whole family is outside.

The plot is only about 7′ x 9′, but thanks to square-foot gardening, I can pack it all in and keep the critters out.

My boys chose the seeds this year – sunflowers, cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkins, cucumbers, lettuce, green beans and carrots. I chose the seedlings – tomatoes, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and eggplant. (Actually, that was purchased by accident. Not sure anymore what I thought it was.)

Part of the reason we can fit so much into such a small space is that the vines like the pumpkin, cucumbers, cantaloup and watermelons can climb on the chicken wire. Mind you, it’s my first time growing pumpkins, so we’ll see what happens!

The accidental eggplant.

Finally! A sunflower that the squirrels can’t destroy and scatter around the garden to mock me. In case you’re thinking that looks like a painting behind the sunflower, you’re right. It’s from the set of a play I wrote and directed a few years back…

Book Launch Highlights

Last Friday, I launched my book, In the Fool’s Footsteps, and I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. I invited friends and family to my local bar and restaurant, where much of the book was written. (There was something creatively magical about three coffees and two pints that propelled the story forward.) Champagne, food, a reading and book signing – perfection.

Click here for a quick video of a portion of the reading I gave.

In the Fool’s Footsteps is available on Amazon ($12.99 for the paperback; $9.99 for the ebook).

Versatile Blogger Award

Imagine my delight this morning when I logged on to discover that I have been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award by P. Taylor at knit4profit. Thanks, P! I’m honoured.

The award also comes with the responsibilty of naming another 15 winners and to let them know by commenting on their blogs:

  1. himbo
  2. laila at infoglyphs
  3. Writer’s Guide to ePublishing
  4. The Writer’s (Waiting) Room
  5. harperpages
  6. The Mental Health Blog by Eva Tenter
  7. Courting Madness by Coco. J. Ginger
  8. Literary Man
  9. Eternal Domnation
  10. I’m an organizing junkie
  11. The Witty Herald
  12. 400 Days Til 40
  13. Anansi the Poet
  14. The Feel Good Tribe
  15. Lori’s Lane

Lastly, recipients are asked to list 7 things about themselves:

  1. I’m an author.
  2. I (want to) work as a freelance proofreader, writer and editor.
  3. I teach sewing lessons.
  4. I enjoy machine knitting.
  5. I dislike peanut butter. (It’s a texture thing.)
  6. I always wanted to be Dorothy Parker when I grew up, but now I’m loving the life I have created for myself.
  7. I have a pet parrot named Loki. (after the Norse god of mischief)

Thanks again, and do try to enjoy your Monday.

They’re He-e-re…

The day before my son was born, I felt an overwhelming urge to clean the house. They call it the nesting instinct. Today, one day before my Book Launch Party, I had an equally strong compulsion to clean. Partly because the house has been neglected in these past couple of weeks and partly to distract myself from worrying about whether my books would be delivered in time for the launch. I had a backup plan, but would not allow myself to indulge it until the last minute for fear of turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Lately I’ve been practising positive thinking and I’m here to tell you it works.

My books arrived today!

How Did the E-Author Sign Her E-Books?

When I first announced my upcoming book launch, a common question I’ve had has been whether or not hard copies will be available (yes) because people want a signed copy, and how on earth would I be able to sign an ebook? I pondered it and initially came up with nothing.

There are clever digital signature programs out there but I hesitate to rely on technology on the spot while people wait in line. Then I ventured into the scary and intimidating world of Twitter. There I saw something wonderful – a lightbulb moment, if you will. One of my favourite authors, Christopher Moore (@theauthorguy) was touring with his latest novel, Sacre Bleu, and a fan brought a handmade book jacket for an ereader that she asked Mr. Moore to sign. He took a picture and tweeted it.

I don’t know who the fan was, so I can’t give her credit, but I did steal her idea. Here is the result…

This is the template I used. I created a table in Word, sized the cells to the proper dimensions and inserted the picture.

The finished product after cutting, folding and gluing.

I think this lends a lovely tactility to an otherwise virtual experience. It’s a nod to the phenomenology of traditional books.

Drumroll please…

When I decided to self-publish my debut novel, In the Fool’s Footsteps, I challenged myself to spend as little money as possible on the venture. That’s partly because I have limited funds and partly because I love a challenge. I have publishing work experience and thus the skills to design and format the digital and hard copy versions. I also expect that my marketing and event planning work experience will come in handy.

Although I have an eye for and some training in page layout, I am smart enough to recognize my own limits. That’s why the cover art is the one area I decided to make a financial investment. I commissioned Matthew Marigold to photograph and design my cover. I just got the first mock-up yesterday and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Cover art by Matthew Marigold

In the Fool’s Footsteps will be available for purchase on Amazon on June 1, 2012.

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