Posted in Homeschooling, Library Challenge 2010

What’s The Library Worth to You? – 1

Library services seem to be the easiest item to chop from strained municipal budgets these days, even though libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.

Although consistently committing to a project is a challenge for me, this is something I feel passionate about.

The challenge, issued to myself and others is:

keep track of the value of your use of the public library for 2010.  At the end of each month, compare it to what the cost of library services is per citizen per month.  Celebrate the difference and tell everyone!

This is informal and there will be no “library police” checking – but it’ll be interesting to see how the numbers stack up.

My thoughts on counting:

Since I live in Canada, I will count the price of each book checked out in Canadian dollars, usually printed somewhere on the cover or book jacket.

Movie rentals will be counted at the going rate for renting from the video store (not the purchase price).

Computer use in the library will be counted at the going rate at the internet cafe for the time used.

Not every book checked out will be listed in the blog, but I will keep track via spreadsheet of the dollar value and post at intervals.  The most interesting books will doubtless figure either in posts or in the bookshelf list on the right-hand side of the blog.

Who else is up to do this?  Thoughts, anyone?

And does anyone know how to make a badge to celebrate this that could be shared in the blogosphere?

I’m already at $28.99 as I have a book that we’ll be reading through New Year’s, Light Up Your Child’s Mind: Finding a unique pathway to happiness and success, by Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis.

Subsequent posts will describe exactly HOW I know that libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries, so stay tuned, and feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences!

Posted in All things food, Homeschooling

Yet Another Reason to Homeschool

or yarths for short, which has a great piratey sound, doncha think?

This is an entertainingly written but ultimately chilling  piece on the 20 worst fast foods for children.  It starts by pointing out that the average family spends more on eating out than on books and educational materials, music, movies, and video games combined.

In the ensuing discussion, one poster points out that school dinners are just as bad and suggests that Emeril, Rachel Ray, and Martha Stewart should be tapped to do something about it.  In England Jamie Oliver had a series, Jamie’s School Dinners, where he worked with kids in one school to get them to try healthier alternatives.   The difference was that the kids were bringing their own packed lunches and he was trying to get fresher/healthier stuff packed by the parents.

Families who are able to homeschool can teach their children to cook from scratch, can eat lunch at home usually, and dinner can be made as part of the daily routine instead of exhausted parents getting takeout or going out because they’re too frazzled after a hard day’s work to cook from scratch.

Posted in baraka, creativity, Homeschooling, quilting

… and the winner is ….

drum roll please!




Lucy, please email me your name and mailing address and I will send you 2 fat quarters and a small surprise. My email is

Here’s how this random drawing was scientifically conducted:

Here’s the “hat” (actually a tote bag with fused embellishments):


and here’s my completely impartial, preliterate assistant!

So thanks to everyone who joined in, this was fun. I’m still visiting different people’s Fall Festival entries, which will likely take me months. Stick around, everyone, don’t be a stranger!

And for everyone who DIDN’T win, remember I’m doing another small giveaway which will start on Saturday October 24th, when I belatedly throw open my studio right here. So do come back and try again!

Posted in Art, Homeschooling

Theme Thursday

For a peek at how British design legend Zandra Rhodes worked on the design for the opera The Pearl Fishers, click:

I’m currently working on a silk wallhanging and love the pink and orange she uses.  She reminds me a bit of Freddy Moran, so colourful and bold and talented.  And they don’t need to dress up in red hats and purple dresses to express their individuality just like everyone else either!  Secretly I’m envious (which I realize is a really corrosive emotion) because I’m still fighting against the chameleon and my urge to fade into the wallpaper.

In desperate need of a travel fix, I stumbled across 1001 and its “panophotographies. ”   (you can tell the authors are French and in need of an English editor LOL!)   These are 360-degree photos of UNESCO World Heritage sites.  I went to Zanzibar, Axum, and Samarkand, then for comparison checked out Luang Prabang in Laos and Ayutthaya in Thailand, places I’ve been blessed to have been able to visit in person.

It takes a while to get the hang of zooming around in the photos, and there are some limitations in that you can’t zoom in for really close details, but visually it’s a great treat.  It’s like being inside a bubble because you can look down and see pavement (remarkably similar everywhere I went!) or up and see sky.  The African sites (Axum and Zanzibar) are full of people; less in Laos, and for Samarkand I wonder if they cleared the area before starting work.  There’s not a person to be seen.

The site has over 2,000 panophotographies, so it’s going to take a while to work through them all!

I found several less creative but useful online references today:  Art and Architecture Thesaurus , the Union List of Artist Names and the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names.  I stumbled across these from The Map Room.  Within minutes of this little cyber-detour I had actually made use of the Art & Architecture Thesaurus to check a document I was editing.  And stumped by a word someone had used at a meeting which was not in the dictionary, I googled it and Urban Dictionary galloped to the rescue!

Posted in Art, Homeschooling

Theme Thursday

In the Raw Art Yahoo Group, Quinn McDonald suggested posting links to sites that may be of interest to fellow artists in our blogs.
are two blogs by a creative and entertaining crafter in the UK. I feel I have a lot in common with her and it’s a joy to read what she has to say.

Rima, who is a nomad in Britain, blogs about her life on the road with wonderful illustrations. She and her partner have committed to living their dream in a courageous way.

Savanna Redman is one of us raw artists. Her website is at
You also HAVE to read what she says here at the Dharma Trading website (if you’re not a fibre artist, trust me on this one! Dharma is THE go-to store for fibre art supplies)

Fingers crossed that these turn into live links!
Posted by Ruth at 8:51 PM
Labels: Dharma, Into the Hermitage, Rima, Savanna Redman, sewq, theme Thursday

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Posted in Art, Homeschooling

Movable Books

Check out Paul Johnson’s website,

This British artist is coming to Island Blue to do two workshops in July, but they are both sold out 😦

Prices of his limited editions I feel are VERY reasonable.

He uses fabric dyes on water colour paper and is doing pioneering work on developing literacy through the book arts.  The work is vibrant, rich in text, and draws you right in!