Archive for the ‘cats’ Category

Accordion Book Directions (with bonus cat)

September 12, 2014

workshop -finished book

Last spring I did some accordion book-making with kids as part of a writing workshop I taught at the Kamloops Young Authors Conference. We talked about how each story is a “hero’s journey” (with a quest and obstacles to overcome along the journey), then we created accordion book plot diagrams (with participants plotting out their own hero’s journeys). The books are also meant to look old and mysterious ─part treasure map and part talisman. The kids’ books turned out great!

workshop in progress

Before the workshop, I set out my supplies to photograph the directions for making a simple accordion book. Of course, the first picture was photo-bombed by my cat (aptly named Curious, she always has to check out everything).


Accordion book supplies:

– two rectangle pieces of cardboard for book covers (cardboard from cereal boxes works well). (For the “Hero’s Journey” book project, I cut the cardboard 2 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches).

– two rectangle pieces of decorative paper for book covers (the pieces should be larger than the cardboard by about 1/4 inch or so all around). (For the “Hero’s Journey” book project, I cut the cover paper to 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches and used kraft packing paper, which I “aged” by crumpling up the paper, then smoothing it out and adding brown ink & tea bag staining).

– a strip of paper that will be accordion folded to make the book “pages.” When folded, the pages should be slightly smaller than the book covers (for the “Hero’s Journey project, I cut the paper strip 3 x 16 inches, which fit nicely inside the book covers when accordion folded into 2 x 3 sections –also, three of these strips could be cut from a 11 x 17 sheet of paper).

– ribbon or raffia string (my first thought was to use the natural coloured raffia for an antique look, but my cat tried to eat it, so I switched to fabric ribbon). The ribbon should be long enough to wrap around the finished book and tie (I used a 16 inch piece for the “Hero’s Journey” book).

– scissors, glue

– optional: tea bag & brown ink stamp pad for “aging” the covers and inside pages, small pieces of decorative paper to glue inside the covers (we used antique map images for this project), craft jewels & collage items for decorating the covers

Directions (the following photos are from a different accordion book project, using Japanese paper):

1. Once your two pieces of cardboard and two cover papers are cut, place your first piece of cardboard on top of the back of a piece of cover paper (ie on top the side you don’t want showing). Centre it, so that there is an equal overlap of paper around the cardboard.

step 2

step 3

2. Cut the corners off the cover paper at the corners of the cardboard.

3. Fold the edges of the cover paper, so that they wrap tightly over the sides of the cardboard. Glue. (Do this with both covers).

step 4

4. Glue ribbon to centre of inside back cover (with equal amount of ribbon on either side).

step 5

5. Fold long strip of paper in accordion fashion, so that it divides into equal rectangles sized slightly smaller than the covers. Glue end rectangle “page” of accordion folded strip onto centre of back cover (over the ribbon). Glue the first rectangle page over the inside of the remaining cover, so that when the accordion folds are folded together, the covers come together.

finished book

6. wrap the ribbon around the front of the book and tie a bow.




Jelly the cat in the jam aisle

July 8, 2013

This little “breakfast-time” story I wrote for Smuckers Jam is available right now in the PB & J aisle of  grocery stores across Canada (though finding it is a bit hit and miss).

Smuckers story

Here’s a little look inside:


You can read or download the whole story here. The story is part of a summer campaign to encourage parents to read with their children (and buy Smuckers jam). There is also a contest with a story written by children’s author Ted Staunton as the prize. Find out more here (contest ends Aug 6, 2013). It’s a bit confusing, because it sounds like the prize is a personalized version of my story and that Ted Staunton wrote it (my name isn’t mentioned, and I knew it wouldn’t be when I wrote the story for them), but the prize (from what I understand) is a new story written by Ted, and the winning child and his/her family get included in the story.

Anyway, I had fun writing the story, and I’m happy to be part of something that encourages parents to read with their children (and I like jam).

December Interlude

December 9, 2011

I took yesterday and today off to escape to Vancouver Island for a pre-Christmas visit with my sister and parents. The -4 degrees c. cold woke me up early this morning, and I wasn’t sure if I was up for voluntarily stepping out into it, but a visit to the town where I grew up isn’t complete without a walk along the Cowichan River with my dad. So I borrowed a toque and scarf, and we set out.

As we walked, a V of geese passed overhead (heading toward Cowichan Bay).

We stopped by the sewer lagoon to check if there were any eagles sitting in the big nest in the cottonwoods (none this time), then walked on top the dike beside one of the creeks that flows into the Cowichan.

Mist rose up from the water, and rays from the low sun slanted through the trees.

Two kinglets and a wren poked along the shore, a pair of mallards floated by, and two pale salmon moved like ghosts beneath the surface of the water, appearing and disappearing as the rippling reflections moved and changed.

Further along, the red fin of a male salmon sharked up above the water as he splashed upstream.

Beyond the creek, closer to the river, I caught sight of an eagle sitting on a branch, and then another. Counted seven sitting in the one tree. A few more in other trees.

We walked along a dry stream bed to get closer, stepping over the decaying bodies of salmon that had swum upstream to spawn (in vain) weeks ago when the creek was full from the fall rain.

Back on the dike again, we glimpsed a great blue heron through the trees.

Passed two eager dogs, checking out a frozen section of creek.

On the ground, frost fringed leaves and grass.

Above, blue, blue sky.

A good day to walk and look (or sit on a roof and contemplate the day, as this cat we spied on the way home seemed to be doing).

Later, sitting on the ferry on my way back to the mainland, something made me put down the book I was reading and look out the window –just in time to see a pod of dolphins arcing above the waves along side the boat.

The perfect punctuation to end a beautiful, pause-filled day (!)

I’ve been wanting to blog about something else, but…

December 8, 2009

It seems that all I ever have time for these days is a quick haiku. Here’s one from yesterday, when four eagles pulled me out of the fatigue and cold I was experiencing at the end of a tiring day:

waiting for the bus
cold stone step is a hard bench
above, eagles soar

I snapped a quick photo as the bus pulled up, but all I managed to get was blue sky (which was, itself, amazing) and one blurry eagle:

Meanwhile, unpacking and setting up my office/studio space continues:

Holiday House Mystery: further adventures in “My Comic Summer”

August 15, 2008

Lost and found

April 2, 2008

It’s taken several weeks, but we’ve finally finished the move to our new home. Now, it will probably take several more weeks for us to unpack and find a place for everything (moving to a smaller space definately has its draw-backs).

One good thing: In the process of sorting and packing, I managed to find my watch, which I thought I’d lost two years ago (it was in the pocket of a pair of shorts I apparently haven’t worn for two years). My husband also found a long-missing dog whistle, which he thought he’d never see again (also in a pocket).

Here’s a photo of what our new living room looks like right now. It reminds me of one of those picture puzzles for kids. Can you find the three animals hidden in the picture?

living room in process


December 4, 2007

The theme of today’s post is “home.” That is where everyone sane stayed during the cold and snow this past Sunday. I, on the otherhand, was outside at the free (and freezing!) Avril Lavigne concert:

Avril concert

Over three hours in the bone-chilling cold (about 2 1/2 hours of waiting and 1 hour of concert), but my daughter and niece say it was worth it. I have to agree that Avril put on a good show, but by then I was too cold to fully appreciate it. It was a great setting, though (note the tall, snow-covered fir trees beyond the stage), but my body extremities still haven’t recovered! (The weather here is now back to its usual milder December rain.)

Also, I can report that George, the kitten we were looking after, has indeed found a home, where he is apparently already much loved (Curious, his sister, is staying with us). Here he is exploring his posh new digs:

George_new home

Boy George

November 10, 2007

Guess who’s back? Just until he’s recovered from his surgery. . . .


(When he goes to the shelter next week, I’m hoping no one will be able to resist that face.)

Kitten update

November 7, 2007

Remember the kittens I blogged about August 3 and August 25 — the ones we were looking after for only a few weeks or so until they were ready to be adopted? Well, we still have them. Curious, the little female (no longer so little), recovered very quickly from her broken leg. She is very sweet, and my daughter wont part with her (Curious, however, still seems to prefer the dog to the rest of us).


George (bottom cat in the photo) is very likable as well, but we have been trying (with limited success) not to become too attached to him. Tomorrow, he is off to be “tutored,” as the Gary Larson comic goes, and after that he will be staying at the shelter until he’s adopted (actually, the spaying and neutering are happening none too soon, as this week we’ve had to keep the two cats separated). I’m going to feel bad saying goodbye to George, but our place has been feeling too small for three in-door cats, and it will be hard enough finding a new place to rent with one big dog and two cats (we also have our older cat, Meeko).

George is a beautiful, good-natured cat with soft, luxurious fur — good with dogs and other cats. If anyone out there would like to adopt him, he will be at the Vancouver SPCA shelter or the Richmond SPCA education and adoption centre. He’s such a lovely cat, I’m sure he will be adopted quickly. . . . At least that’s what my husband keeps assuring me.

Click here for a link to the BC SPCA website (and shelter addresses).

Kitten update

August 25, 2007

buddiesCurious, the injured  kitten we’ve been fostering along with her brother George, has been mending well and settling comfortably into our household. She seems to have developed a particular attachment to our dog, Dylan, and likes to curl up close to him on his bed. Her cast was removed yesterday, but the recovering leg is still weak. We’re hoping her curiousity and fearlessness wont get her into any more trouble.