Tag: challenges

And Then I Visioned a Cool Bookshelf

Went over to my neighbour’s a week ago for a visit – caught up on how things are going with them since the big fire. Stalwart family, so they’re all “chin up” and “no worries”. Hamish was out at the farm puttering away in the woodshop that was spared from the flames AND the nasty smoke (the house has to be gutted and rebuilt from the studs up due to the wretched stench). As we walked through the shop I asked him if he’d find me a piece of wood with a ‘live edge’ and plane it for me… you know, about yay long for a bookshelf that I’d like to add to the bedroom. Sure, no problem! And just like that, the first project of the New Year was born!

I had already bought 2 wrought iron brackets a year or so ago after I’d done a thorough search of Pinterest’s DIY shelf ideas. Many of the shelving configurations that I liked were a combination of rustic wood and iron. Here’s the one I settled on, thinking it would be important to incorporate my mom’s antique trunk which sits against that wall:


I like the wood to iron ratio, but not having a source for the iron rails, I started looking for wrought iron brackets that were promising. I found one pair and set them aside … oh about a year ago… and they sat in the same spot by the trunk until shortly after I walked over and talked to Hamish last week.

With the promise of a long piece of rustic wood for the bottom shelf, I decided to get the first brackets up. I was thinking that the long shelf will be low, and then I can put another one up and off to the side a bit … and maybe another one directly above it. I don’t know. Anyway, put up the brackets without TOO MUCH swearing…and they are ALMOST LEVEL…! (I have now determined that my metre stick is warped, so that’s going to be my excuse if things roll off of it.)

img_3388Picked up the piece of wood from Hamish a few days after my initial inquiry – it’s a beauty!! Nice and thick and organic. The brackets seem to hold it …
Like how I entered the brackets cleverly on either side of the trunk? I know. So clever.

After I applied a bit of stain to the top edge (that Hamish so lovingly planed to a smooth finish), I wondered if I might like the flip side better, so I stained it too. WOAH!! So nice! How to decide which side will be up? I still have to apply some polyurethane and do some sanding between coats, but the staining is a start!


So that’s stage 1, sans polyurethane. Pretty decent start, I figure! I used that photo to make a sketch of what I want the rest to look like … what do you think? Suggestions?


Reading Again

It’s hard to be a reader AND a knitter. You can’t do them at the same time. And once you really get into a knitting project – or a book – you just can’t put it down. On the other hand, knitting is social, so you can knit when visiting with people and it’s not seen as rude. Reading is very solitary.

And so my reading has fallen by the wayside.

As I said in an earlier post, I’ve decided to take on a reading challenge for 2017. I’m doing it on Goodreads so that I can keep track of the books I’ve read so far this year, and also cue up books that I’m interested in reading. After some pondering I’ve decided to use the framework mentioned in Hannah’s blog – the 26 book challenge, that is.

I can place my first read of the year as “a book published in the last year” or “a book you can read in a day”. It was short but excellent: Joseph Boyden’s Wenjack.


It’s particularly interesting right now due to the controversy surrounding Boyden’s questionable claim to be First Nations. Today I listened to an interview on CBC radio’s The Current with Wab Kinew, Lee Maracle and Kim TallBear. There was good discussion about identity and what it means to be ‘of a Nation’. It was impressed upon listeners the importance of being ‘invited in’ to a community and not assuming that if you want to be a member you are automatically a member.

At some point in the interview Wab Kinew suggested that a reader would not have the same experience with Wenjack had they known that it was written by a person who is not First Nations.

I think that they are relevant because I think that the way a reader approaches a Joseph Boyden novel is influenced by how they understand his identity. Like, I think they would probably pick up a copy of Wenjack and look at it differently if they think that he’s non-Native versus when they assume that he was Indigenous.

Now that’s interesting! I wonder if the same scrutiny is given to all writers when they are writing about cultures or events that they did not experience first hand. Do readers approach Anil’s Ghost differently than The English Patient because Michael Ondaatje is Sri Lankan and Anil’s Ghost was set in Sri Lanka? I don’t think so. I believe that writers who do their research are able to shine a light on various cultures with remarkable accuracy. I think that Wab Kinew and other First Nations are pissed off that Boyden appropriated the voice of a culture for his own gain. But I don’t think that makes him a bad writer.

My second book of the year will likely fall into the category of “a book with someone’s name in the title”. It’s Mary Coin, by Marisa Silver – given to me almost 3 years ago for my birthday. I’ve just cracked it, but it’s an excellent read so far.


Any suggestions for my book challenge? Some categories are tricky … such as ‘a book translated from another language’, ‘a self published book’. EGADS.