Go Screen Free!

We’re very connected here at the library–it’s not just about books anymore. But we can certainly understand the need to go screen-free once in a while, and hey, books are the ultimate “device”, right?

I came across this great post by Heroine Training about trying to do more screen-free options once in a while, and the list is awesome. From books and magazines, to slow reading newspapers, maybe the good old days weren’t so bad after all.

Take a few minutes to see how many of these you could incorporate into your life…for a day, a weekend, or even more permanently. And then drop by the library to get a book, a magazine, a puzzle to take home, a museum pass, or even a ski pass! We’d love to have a little chat, too—face to face. (None of those self check outs for us!)


White Space

In our early writer’s group workshops, we talk a lot about “white space”. What exactly is white space? When you step back and look at a page, is it jam-packed with text? Are there any breaks at all on the page, through dialog or short paragraphs? If not, we have to work on fixing that.

White space is necessary for a number of reasons. It’s easier for readers to actually read pages that have white space. If not, they might not continue with a book. White space helps control the flow of a piece of writing, too. Imagine long, wordy paragraphs of description. Sometimes, that’s tough slogging when you’re reading. It also probably means you need more dialog or shorter thoughts when writing. Break it up, mix it up…it all makes for easier reading, and a better flow.

So…let me ask you. Do you have enough white space in your LIFE?

I came across a blog post recently that talked about this very question. White space in real life equates to time you have to think, to do things outside of your work and your obligations. It allows us to stop and see the beauty of things, to create, to imagine, and to be more than our schedule. Brilliant, isn’t it?

If you had to write down every item of your day into a list, and then label everything that was white space, would you have a thick, black day….or would you actually see some space in there? Maybe the act of just looking at it with squinty eyes might allow you to make some changes. Put a little coffee break in here. Schedule in a nap over there. Take a walk with the dog. Do some yoga.

Put some white space in your life. It might make a big difference in how you feel.

Gift Giving Ideas

Have you finished all of your shopping yet? Stuck for ideas? I came across a wonderful and practical blog post that has “11 Minimalist Gift Ideas That Add to Happiness, Not Clutter”.

We’re not talking minimalist gifts like one of these Modern Nativity DIY sets (although c’mon…this is brilliant). No, these minimalist gift ideas are to inspire less waste, less clutter, and less fuss. But they’re all fantastic ideas (like giving a Texture Magazine subscription that can be read on a tablet or computer, or how about a single season’s worth of yoga classes).

Go ahead, click on the article and become inspired. Maybe you even have a few suggestions of your own for our readers? Comment below, and provide links if you have them. Inspire us!

Do You Need Help with your Wardrobe?

For a fun, and frivolous post today, I’m talking clothes. While the transition in Canada from Winter to Spring to Summer can seem like it happens within a day, it makes for really confusing clothing choices. While you might need to start out the day with a warm sweater and a jacket, by lunchtime, you can be sweating it out and wishing for sandals. So how can you weed out those “useless” clothes and invent your own capsule wardrobe that will make sense all season long? The answer, apparently, is shirts, and lots of photos.

I ran across this interesting blog post about building a Winter capsule wardrobe. It starts off with the mind-boggling fact that in 1930, the average woman had 36 pieces of clothing in her closet. How many does the average woman have now? ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY. I’m pretty sure the author of this article has been in my closet. And the worst part? Most of these items rarely get worn.

So what does she suggest? You can read the full article here to see how she pares down a wardrobe, but some of her tips are great:

  • Consider your climate and lifestyle first. If you need clothes for work that are drastically different from casual ware, then you might need more pieces than she suggests. But most of us can get by with several top/blouse/shirt/sweater items, a few pair of pants, and some good shoes.
  • Create style boards on Pinterest or Instagram. Lots of people post their outfits of the day. If you like something you see and think you can pull it off, consider adding it as a staple. Once you have several outfits on your boards, see what they have in common, and purchase one or more good quality items that can be used in all of your looks.
  • Make sure your clothes FIT! Sure, it can be a pain trying on clothes at the store, but once you find those pants that really make you feel good, buy them in two or three neutral colours. And if you can’t find just the right fit, consider having them tailored. It might cost a little extra, but you’ll wear them until they fall apart.

Do you have any other great suggestions for creating a simple wardrobe that you can switch out season after season? Let us know!

Rejected Princesses

princessesHave you seen this amazing website called Rejected Princesses? It’s not your typical princessy site, and in fact, is all about amazing, strong, incredible women you’ll never hear about in a Disney movie simply because they are a little bit off-beat.

Check out a few of the many wonders like Jeanne de Clisson:

1or… Mary Anning:

maryanning-560x792The graphics on this website are so appealing and give readers a glimpse into the worlds of these amazing women in a variety of ways. The search capabilities are fun and very detailed, and honestly, let you get lost in the variety and detail of this site and the women it’s about. While it looks like it would appeal to young girls, some of the language is a little frank, so please be aware before you let your daughters take a gander. However, the information majorly trumps the slightly offensive words.

Thanks to Caroline for suggesting this great website!


motivationIt’s fall again, and that means a lot of us are starting new projects, beginning new jobs, or working hard on school work. One thing a lot of us will face over the next few months is lack of motivation. It’s hard to stay motivated on things that occur over long periods, but there are great ways to do this.

During our recent creativity and writers’ group meetings, one thing that came up over and over was lack of motivation. Often, we begin projects (or jobs) with great gusto and enthusiasm, but as time goes by, it’s difficult to keep up that sense of elation and work ethic. So, how can we make it from start to finish on a long project without losing focus? Here are a few tips:


This seems like an obvious thing, but often, we lose sight of our overall goals when we’ve been working on something for a while. It’s a great idea to check in monthly with those goals, to see that you’re still on track, and to focus on the end result. Often, by doing that, you’ll see where you’re wasting time, or even how close to the end you might be. It’s a good motivator to check in. Keep a note in your calendar, or set your phone to remind you to look at the finish line once a month.


If this is a big work project or school assignment, you might not have the luxury of getting help with your work. But, there are things you can do to help you in the long run. Prepare meals ahead of time, ask someone to take the kids for a few hours on the weekend, book a weeknight into your family’s schedule for YOU to get out of the house. All of these things can help you to reach your goals without feeling like you’re losing your mind (or losing sleep).  We can’t do everything.  That’s a really important thing to admit…and by asking for help, whether with your project, or just to give you some “free” time, you’ll achieve your goals without burning out.


One thing I LOVE to do is make lists. But they’re not just to remind me to do things…often, they’re important to sort out things that I know I need to do, but are taking up space in my head. By writing them down, I don’t have to think about them anymore. I can focus on the work at hand, and know that I won’t forget to do that other thing as well. If lists aren’t your thing, or if you have more on your mind than just to make that dentist appointment, try journalling. Keeping an inexpensive notebook where you write everything down that’s going on inside your head can be very freeing. You don’t have to show anyone, and it’s not like a diary where you’re remarking on important things in your life…it’s more like a depository for all of the thoughts that are cluttering your mind. Write about those ugly curtains that you’ve been meaning to change, or the argument you had with your sister about who will be making the pies at Thanksgiving. Whatever you put down on paper is now out of your head, and you’ll be able to focus better.


In our creativity course, we’ve been talking a lot about future things, and how to get there. Say you want to eventually sell something at the Farmer’s Market. What do you need to do to get there?  It won’t just fall into your lap…you’ll have to do some research. Find out what types of products are being sold there (that might mean a trip to the Farmer’s Market one Saturday).  Next, see how much people are willing to pay for an item, and work out your costs (supplies, preparation time etc.). Then, find some cute tags online or at the craft store that you can make up to put your prices on each item. You’ll also need to know how much a table will cost you, how much profit (if any) the Farmer’s Market will require from your takings, and anything else that might go along with that (do they provide tables, signage, advertising)?  Whatever it might take to get you to your goal, write down. And start following those steps to get there. This goes for any long-term project. And as you complete each step, cross them off the list. Just seeing the progress forward will make you more excited as time goes on, instead of overwhelmed and tired.

These are just a few ways to keep you on track when doing a long-term project. While you might not be as excited about it at the finish line as you were at the beginning, completing something is a BIG thing, and will go a long way to feeling accomplished and excited about the next one.

What are some of your tips for staying motivated during a long-term project? Share them with us!