6 Nov

How many Canadian items are in this picture? It’s not just hosers Bob and Doug McKenzie from the Canadian classic Strange Brew, but the headgear.

Now that I’ve lived in Canada longer than the United States, I have a hard time remembering what I called winter hats before. Winter hats? Knit cap?

The toque, or tuque,is  pronounced  ˈtk, not toke. According to Wikipedia, the term is Canadian English and was assimilated from the Candian French, tuque.

It’s a great vocabulary work to adopt. I am a fan of specific language and it makes sense that a knit winter cap has it’s own name. Next in Canadian lessons, the loonie and twoonie.


Kicking Fatties in the Pow Pow

6 Nov

Just came back from watching my first Warren Miller film. So enthralling to see what people can do, so sad I’m not doing it! Have both added backcountry adventures to my life list and will soon be watching a ski bum movie. I’ve been missing the era of Ski School and the like.

Knit Comfort

4 Nov

Looking out at the yellow leaves of this delightfully late fall, I have sweaters and boots on the brain. Gotta cover up for my first winter that involves sub-zero temperatures in over a decade.

One thing I did bring from the West Coast is a Cowichan Sweater.

Original Cowichan sweaters are named after and come from the local First Nations group on south-eastern Vancouver Island. The sweaters combine traditional Salish spinning and weaving and imported European textile methods.

The patterns combine 2-3 natural colours and are either geometric or representational. Although there are traditional themes and layouts, these sweaters have taken on a modern flare and were even appropriated for official Olympic merchandise of the 2010 games in Vancouver. Also popularized by the Dude, these sweaters combine tradition, fun, and practicality. Now the hard part is choosing one.


3 Nov

November isn’t just about moustaches. Perhaps the female version, just because it’s associated with BlogHer, November is MaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.

They  say daily habits are the source of creativity so I’m going to try it.

For now, this daily content creation is new to me so I’m going to introduce another project I started on working on, trying my hand at curation.

I started a digital birdhouse collection. It’s been interesting to see how narrow my tastes are, favouring wood, natural materials, and especially white ceramic forms.

It’s fun watching the collection grow, learning about the multitude of birdhouse designers out there, and cultivating the desire to make some of my own. I like it when digital beginnings lead to real world events! I look forward to more of that.


The Next 100 Days

2 Nov

During the summer, I completed a Michael Beirut inspired design project, repeating the same creative act for 100 days. Celebrating the domesticated landscape around me, I took flower pictures and edited them with instagram.

As a result of the project, I became one of those people who couldn’t walk by flowers without stopping. It was rewarding to have the delicate details jump out in the midst of the overheated city.

Noe that fall is here, I am missing the summer weather and the project. Will have to embark on a new project for winter.

Here are my top 5 favourites of the collection. What will your project be?


Just Say Yes

20 Oct


Have you ever had a great idea of yours immediately rejected? Or do you find yourself shaking your head when faced with opinions or ideas you haven’t heard before? Researchers have found that people tend to react negatively to new ideas. Novelty can triggers feeling of uncertainty and discomfort. This “anti-creativity bias” often leads us to dismiss new and good ideas for tried and true solutions that we are comfortable with.

“Uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most,” states the study. Yet we know we need innovation. Science and technology developments make lives better and easier while being highly profitable. We do embrace innovation eventually. For example, Steve Jobs had to become the CEO of Apple twice before achieving mainstream success.

So now that we recognize this reaction but that it is limiting, what do we do? So can we change this instinctive reaction to novelty? The Rules of Improv, as summarized by Tina Fey in Bossypants, provide a ready made solution. When engaging in an improvised dialogue, always being by responding affirmatively, then add something of your own. Not a question, but a statement. Finally, enjoy the process. There is no right or wrong, but my continuing happy accidents will occur.

1. Agree – Always agree and say yes

  • Respect what your partner has created
  • Start from an open-minded place

2. Yes, And – Agree, and add something of your own

  • Don’t be afraid to contribute
  • Always make sure to add something to the discussion

3. Make Statements – Whatever the problem, be part of the solution

  • Don’t ask questions all the time
  • Offer opinions and suggestions

4. There are no mistakes, only opportunities

  • Many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been beautiful, happy accidents

By following these steps, we can not only begin to embrace new ideas but begin to build on them. It is so much more rewarding to create and contribute than disagree and criticize. Let’s all be part of the solution, whatetever the proble.

image via Shepard Fairey


Mueller, J. S., S. Melwani and J. A. Goncalo. 2011. The Bias Against Creativity: Why People Desire But Reject Creative Ideas. In press at Psychological Science.

Catt, M. People are biased against creative ideas, studies find. Cornell University press release, August 25, 2011.

Good design is

7 Oct

Explore each principle further at: inksie