Some of the first shapes we’re introduced to as a kid are found in letters of the alphabet. Even before we can read we’re exposed to letters. You know, story book covers, wooden blocks, colouring books, etc. I love letters, words, alphabets and languages. There are so many shapes to be found in all of these. I have such a fascination with type because each character can be transformed literally over and over and some how, although not always, retain their legibility. Mind blowing! Take the letter ‘T’ for example. It can be transformed into many different styles (calligraphic, cursive, hieroglyphic and more) and yet, our brain knows which lines to look for and where they’re positioned to tell us which letter we’re viewing. One other very important thing to consider when looking at the shapes of letters is the positive space and the negative space. I get excited when type designers or illustrators push the legibility to the limit. That’s one thing that is always motivating when working with type – the challenge – how far can you go before this shape isn’t recognizable anymore. One great book to flip through is Mike Perry’s, Hand Job: A Catalog of Hand Drawn Type. It’s an awesome showcase of illustrators challenging these recognizable shapes and they’re all drawn by hand! I’ve posted a small collection of some of my favourite hand drawn letters above. I hope you like them as much as I do!
Without a lot of people knowing it, there has been a dedicated team who have made it their duty for the past nine years to remind Hamilton’s veterans that they are never forgotten. Inspired by an idea from Hamiltonian and veteran, Ed Mahoney, Greer Gordon and Albert Lieberman began organizing a lunch that welcomed veterans, their spouses and close relatives following the traditional ceremony at the cenotaph in Gore Park. Political speeches are put aside and instead the lunch focuses on a delicious three course meal, warm drinks and live music from the 30′s and 40′s by local Jazz and Swing signer, Lady Dee.
As Greer is organizing the details of the annual event, Albert is collecting donations throughout the city. Many corporate sponsors, such as, TD Canada Trust, Nestlé Canada and Scotiabank (to name a few), continually donate their services, goods or time to the event. But the majority of donations comes from individuals and local businesses like, Zarky’s Fine Foods, La Jardinere Flower Market and Stanley M. Tick & Associates.
Greer was quoted saying in this article published by the Hamilton Spectator, “They are being recognized. My whole plan was that they would be treated like royalty for 2 1/2 hours. I wanted them to know that they are the most special people in the world and that people care about them.”
Besides for designing the various print materials, I’ve been lucky enough to have had the great opportunity to physically volunteer at this event the past two years. Speaking with our veteran’s and listening to their stories really puts things in perspective. I still can’t fully comprehend the sacrifices that these brave men and women made for our great country.
You can support this annual event by purchasing my limited edition Remembrance Day note card or by volunteering on November 11th. Contact Greer Gordon at Contempra Office Services at email@example.com or at 905.527.5651 for more information.
Like you, I enjoy traveling. Taking in new experiences with all five senses. I’ve already prepared my list of continents and countries that I’d eventually like to visit. But, before I fly off I want to know my country first. I want to see the landscapes, hear the music and taste the foods that made Canada what it was and are now making Canada what it is. This way when someone asks me, “What’s Canada all about?” when I’m abroad, I can actually give them an honest opinion.
In June, Britt and I had the opportunity to fly over to the Yukon Territory to visit friends, Emilie and Mike. The two of them (plus their pooch and kitty) were gracious enough to let us sleep in their fancy home instead of outside with the bears. (Phew, thanks again guys!) Emilie and Mike both took their time to introduce us to the city of Whitehorse and all its amenities. The ‘big city’ was big enough (it had a Starbucks and Canadian Tire) and still small enough that from higher up you could see it all. One of the things I enjoyed the most was driving around with personal tour guide Mike and seeing the neighbourhoods of Whitehorse. There was even a community garden! Once we had settled at our HQ in Whitehorse, Britt and I rented a shaky Chevy Aveo and zoomed through the territory on a quick week long road trip that took us further into Yukon and into Alaska and British Columbia. As you could guess, there were lots of scenic stops along the long winding roads with a bear or two thrown in there to keep us on our toes. What I found really interesting, being the nature nerd that I am, I was completely thrown off by Yukon’s plants and animals. The sounds were of birds I’d never heard before and the plants were much smaller and not as leafy as the ones that I know here in Ontario. When we returned, the four of us traded in Avey for big, bad Tahoe which gave us the power we needed to climb mountains, fly and run over bears if we had to. To feed my curiosity, we headed further north to the ‘heart of the gold rush’, Dawson City. Do you like gold? Do you like dancing girls? Do you like gambling halls? Well this is the city for you! Actually, that’s more like how it was. Although, from walking down the streets, some of the houses still look like they’re from the late 1800′s (picture cabins with tin roofs). Besides for a lot of driving we managed to do a few other things like ride on a ferry, melt away in a natural hot spring, take pictures of wildlife (yes, a grizzly!), camp in Kluane National Park’s Kathleen Lake and Tombstone Territorial Park, and ride a train along side the Trail of ’98 into the mountains of Alaska. The photos above don’t even come close to the indescribable feeling I had when I was surrounded by a landscape so full of history. It definitely makes you remember that we are all just small little specs in this vast and wild world. Now, go explore!
After months of reading about sustainable living and growing your own food I made it one of my goals this year to grow vegetables and herbs from seed and establish a garden full of plants that I could harvest. One of the other factors that forced me into starting this project was the uncertainty about where my food is coming from and exactly what I was consuming besides “fresh produce”. When I shop for fruit and vegetables I usually divide my spending between a grocery store, which rarely sells any Ontario grown food, and the various farmers’ markets of Hamilton, which will have limited hours of operation, but do sell a lot of local food. So in the event that I don’t find what I’m looking for at a grocery store and I can’t make it over to the market, I wanted to have my own source of summertime greens.
In February of this year I began planting seeds in small newspaper pots. I planted cucumbers, tomatoes, dill, chives, nasturtiums, basil, hot peppers and some other herbs. Because this is my first time planting vegetables and herbs there were times when I thought to myself, “This is too much”, or, “maybe I should have just started with a tomato”, but I kept reminding myself (and Britt) that these plants have a strong will to grow and will find their own ways to do so. Growing your own plants from seed not only teaches the woes and victories of life in general (special thanks to the fungus Damping Off) but also makes hardier fully-grown plants. Growing from seed also was very cost effective. You may get between 10 to 50 seeds in one $2 or $3 pack (yes, not all seeds do survive), starter pots you can make from newspaper, greenhouses can be made from spinach containers or clear plastic bags and soil is fairly inexpensive and a-plenty! My only big expensive was a $60 grow lamp that turned out to be a much needed item due to the lack of natural light in my apartment. One of the best moments is to wake up and see that your pathetic little sprouts are actually growing and will someday feed you!
As soon as the ground was thawed and the days were warmer in May, Britt and I began preparing a bed (adding in lots of free Hamilton compost) to plant all of our seedlings. As you’ll see from the pictures above, it looked kind of pathetic when we first planted them. In their little starter pots the seedlings looked so big! We also added in a wire fence around the garden to deter small animals from digging up these little ones. After that was completed, they were pretty much on their own. Once a week, Britt and I would drop in to give them some water, pull a few small weeds and make sure no bugs were causing any harm. Obviously an amateur, I was unaware of how much room to leave inbetween my different plants – so it’s pretty crammed for space in there. However, all plants seems to be happy and are now fruiting. In a few more weeks I’ll be harvesting from my first-ever edible garden. And then starting it all over again.
Tomorrow I’m picking up plants at the North American Native Plant Society’s annual plant sale. This year one of my goals is to plant more native plants and one thing that gave me the kick in the butt I needed was becoming a member of this organization. I’ve chosen to do this because the green spaces that these plants naturally grow have become significantly smaller due to urban sprawl. This organization promotes the beauty and importance of Ontario’s shrubs, trees, grasses and wildflowers and teaches us that these “weeds” are in fact the key to maintaining Ontario’s biodiversity. The other ornamental plants that we use in our gardens don’t contribute anything to our local ecosystems. The insects, mammals, birds, etc., have no idea what that particular plant is. It’s like trying to feed me a food that I’ve never seen before and smells kinda odd. The local animals don’t know how to use the plants we traditionally use in residential gardens. We’re replacing the food and habitats of Ontario’s fauna with plants that just don’t fit in here. Another added benefit of planting with native plants is that there is very little maintenance required from you. You’ll be growing plants that are adapted to living in Ontario’s climate. They know what they’re doing – trust them and give them some respect. A book that I found really inspiring and helpful was Douglas W. Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants
Learn more about this great organization by visiting their websites and pages: