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Hey folks! This blog was such a great and wonderful outlet for me while I was using it. Thanks for reading along. Unfortunately the pricklypants chapter of my life is now closed. I am now focusing 100% on my music career (check out that neat picture of me taken by Claude Brazeau performing at my CD release!)

Fear not though, I am still blogging three or four times a week at You can read all about my experiences as a musician, the books and resources I love, mixtapes, giveaways and more.

See you there!


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those evil, evil brooms: vilifying sustainable products


Lately, Craig and I have been trying to make the transition to a more sustainable household. I guess it’s not much of a “transition” since this is our first house together. Let’s say we’re trying to start off on the right foot. We bought that book on sustainable nesting skills, learned how to make our own pickles, and started making crafty gifts for each other. Some things takes more time and effort, and others are just common sense.

Let’s talk brooms. Our house is entirely hardwood floor and tile so a good sweep is all we ever really need. We bought a nice broom so we save energy by not vacuuming and we aren’t making trash all the time Swiffer. The ease and affordability of sweeping makes me wonder why in the world anyone would spend money on extra swiffer pads that you have to keep throwing out and replacing? How are these products even marketed to people? The answer is to vilify brooms. Take this older swiffer commercials:

(lots more vids and analysis after the jump.)

Continue reading

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mailbag: they draw & cook

Hooray! It came! A few weeks ago I won a draw on design work life and the other day, my prize arrived! Yay! I won this awesome compilation of illustrated recipes compiled by the fine people at They Draw & Cook. It’s (cute and long) title is Nate Padavick & Salli Swindell present: They Draw & Cook, 107 Recipes Illustrated by Artists from Around the World.

I’ve been cooking up a storm lately so I’m excited to try some of these delicious and beautifully illustrated recipes. Hmmm, on second thought, this might also make a great Christmas gift for my sister. Oh I can’t decide!

What are your Christmas gift plans? Do you have a cook/artist in your family that would love this book? Pick up your copy here!

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i’m in the ‘shed


In jazz we have this slang term (and it’s many derivatives): ‘shed, ‘shedding, woodshed, woodshedding. It can be used as a noun or a verb. Here are some example sentences:

I’ve been in the ‘shed all week.

I’ve been ‘shedding all week.

I’m going to go to the woodshed for a while.

I need to get some woodshedding in today.

It basically means “To practice one’s instrument in self-imposed solitary confinement for an extended period of time.” It’s a cute phrase because it’s a joke with an implied punch line. A slang term for an instrument is an “axe” and the woodshed is where you go to sharpen your axe. Heh.

All this to say, reading The Artist’s Way has already done a number on my musical motivation and I realize I want to spend more of my day in the woodshed. This means that posts on pricklypants might be slightly less than daily. There will still be pretty pictures and my sharp wit (wink wink) so stick around!

Will you miss me? Beg me to stay in the comments! (hee.)

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movie review: 50 / 50

Oh. my. god. I bawled my eyes out while watching this movie. In public! 50/50 is a really touching and (based on a) true story about a 27 year old man named Adam (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who gets diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. The story follows Adam as the cancer affect his life and his relationships with his girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard), his best friend (Seth Rogen), his mother (Angelica Huston), and his therapist (Anna Kendrick).

Despite all of my crying, this movie is actually a comedy, and it’s really funny. You get a really nice mix of Seth Rogen’s crass writing with some well placed dark humour. It appealed to my two favourite types of comedy!

The one thing I thought I was going to object to was the love arc between Adam and his therapist. I was SURE it was going to be all icky and power-dynamic-y, but it was very tastefully written. On-screen they never have more physical contact than an arm touch or five. Also, Anna Kendrick’s super adorable demeanor is really endearing.

What are you watching lately? Have you seen 50/50? Do you cry while watching movies? In public like me? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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journal writing makes time (free desktop wallpaper)

I started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron today. For a long time I had hesitated in starting to read it because I know it’s a spiritual book and I always resist anything with that label (because I’m a militant Atheist). I decided once and for all that it was time to reconcile the differences between my curmudgeonly logic-brain and my free-wheeling artist-brain so I could get some work done and be happy in my arts career.

The first tool the book suggests is to do “morning pages” which is three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing, first thing every morning. In other words, you just fill three pages with the first thoughts that bubble up in your head in the morning. You write until you fill three pages even if all you write is “I can’t think of anything to write. I can’t think of anything to write….”

I’m not sure if others are like this, but this type of writing has been how I keep a journal for as long as I can remember. A while ago I made the desktop wallpaper above to remind myself that keeping a journal doesn’t take time out of my day, it makes time by clearing my head. Positive affirmations, hooray! So far I only have the desktop in 1200 x 800 resolution (right click here and save-as to download, you can also click the photo above) but if there’s demand for more, I’d be happy to create other resolutions.

What do you do to keep your mind quiet and your artist-brain happy? Exercise? Meditate? Laundry? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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ladies, what do you do with your rage?


I don’t get angry very often. In fact, before today I really can’t think of the last time I got so mad I had trouble calming down. Usually I get a sort of silly faux-rage that makes people laugh. Today I got angry and I’ve been raging for a little while now.

What do you do with your rage? I’ve heard of women who scream and cry, work out, write in their journal. Do you call someone specific? Do you prefer to be alone? I so rarely get angry that I’m not really sure what to do with it. A close friend of mine took a class for women about anger and expressing anger. Maybe I should try that…

Dear readers, I am reaching out to you! Tell me how you deal with RAGE in the comments below.

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animal stickers!

Here’s a not-so-secret confession: I love stickers. When I first started using a log book to track my self-employment hours, I would use stickers as a reward system. Every time I did something awesome (answer all the emails, write a few contracts, work on taxes, practice voice routine) I would put a sticker in my log book. When I flipped back through the book, I would be instantly gratified with the shiny/fuzzy/colourful stickers and could see right away that I had actually gotten some work done.

Craig got back from New York on Saturday and brought me back this pack of Cavallini & Co. animal stickers. Aren’t they beautiful? There’s all kinds of animals from squirrels and cows to zebras and tigers. I also love that they’re matte. I always pegged myself as a shiny sticker lover but I’m pretty smitten with these. Thanks Craig!

What’s your not-so-guilty pleasure? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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free printable: jazz lyric poster

This is my very first attempt at making a typographic poster! I really want to get into this more but I thought for my first attempt, I should keep it simple. “The very thought of you makes my heart sing” is the first line from the GORGEOUS jazz standard My One And Only Love. Listen to Frank Sinatra sing it for a guaranteed eargasm.

If you happen to like this poster, you are in luck! Simply right click here (or the picture above) and save-as to download a hi-res pdf that is perfect for printing. It was designed for 11″ x 17″ printing.

Do you like it? Do you hate it? Do you have any tips for future typographic posters? Because I could sure use some. Leave them in the comments below!

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mailbag: hoax issue number five

Mail mail mail! I love getting mail, don’t you? I had totally forgotten about ordering this zine but last night, Hoax issue number five: feminism and community arrived. I read a few of the articles last night and this morning and already my perspective has been shifted.

Since joining SASC and going through the training I’ve been really interested in how radical, feminist, and collective spaces function. Hoax 5 is really interesting because it addresses possible conflicts and power dynamics within the radical feminist community. Lena Chen’s article What My Feminist Agenda Looks Like addresses how mainstream feminism treats women as one class of people (as opposed to a group of people differentiated by race, class, etc.) and how this lets mainstream feminists dismiss issues of race, class, etc, because “they’re not women’s issues” (to paraphrase enormously). My favourite example of hers was this:

What do poor women care about an extra CEO or two? Doesn’t that just mean that now there’s a woman in charge of organzing the exploitation of those less well-off?

And Chen’s article is just ONE example of the fine writing in this publication. I’m really happy with this zine. In fact, I’ve already ordered issues six and I can’t wait for it to arrive!

Would you like to see your art/writing/book/photography/whatever-else-will-fit-in-an-envelope on pricklypants? Drop me a line at renee at pricklypants dot com or leave a comment below.

Posted in Crafts/DIY, Feminism | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments