Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Help, The Lost, The Fort & The Rule of Four

Happy New Year's Eve!  A book swap has taken place!  This new selection covers World War II, physics, complexity theory, poetry, and estate planning!  Speaking of estate planning, I was reading the Vancouver Sun's article on the new Wills, Estates and Succession Act that includes changes to British Columbia's probate rules.

The Anglo Files, The Radiant City, and Shiva's Fire, Winner of the 2000 Parents' Choice Award for Story Books, are also featured!  Enjoy!

Happy reading and have a safe holiday!



Happy New Year's Eve!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful and prosperous new year!

The Ashbys

As countries ring in 2014, you can follow the festivities here.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Do You Like Fresh Fish?

Image by Jacqueline Ashby
Do you like fresh fish?
It's just fine at Finney's Diner.
Finney also has some fresher fish
that's fresher and much finer.

But his best fish
is his freshest fish
that Finney says with pride,
"The finest fish at Finney's
is my freshest fish, French-fried!"

don't order the fresh
or the fresher fish.
At Finney's, if you're wise,
you'll say,
"Fetch me the finest
French-fried freshest
fish that Finney fries!"

~ Dr. Suess
From Oh Say Can You Say (1979)

Want to learn more about Dr. Suess? Here are 5 things you may not know about this famous icon.

Friday, December 27, 2013

somewhere i have never travelled,

Image by Jacqueline Ashby

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence: 
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, 
or which i cannot touch because they are too near 

your slightest look easily will unclose me 
though i have closed myself as fingers, 
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens 
(touching skillfully,mysteriously) her first rose 

or if your wish be to close me,i and 
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly, 
as when the heart of this flower imagines 
the snow carefully everywhere descending; 

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals 
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture 
compels me with the colour of its countries, 
rendering death and forever with each breathing 

(i do not know what it is about you that closes 
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) 
nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands
From W [Viva], (1931): LVII

For Cummings reading of the poem, listen here



Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Chester Greenwood: Inventor of the earmuff  
winter winds
begin to 
begin to 
begin to 

winter winds
too gruff
it's time 
to wear 
a pair 
                                                                             ~ Lee Bennett Hopkins

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

New Books!

New additions to Skookum!  I've added a BC local!  Kate Pullinger, author of A Little Stranger, is from Cranbrook, British Columbia.  Also, Skookum's little guest book is filling up!  Great to learn that you are enjoying the books and the little library.

Have a wonderful day!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Days to Celebrate

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember:
"We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September."
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
                                                                     ~ Oliver Herford

From the book:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Romance & Intrigue

This morning, I added a few more books to the selection.  The cover of The House I Loved reminded me of a scene plucked right from the television series Downton Abbey (Lady Mary on the right with one of her many suitors).  Enjoy! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Stock

Skookum is filled with a delightful book collection ranging from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Percy Jackson!  There are also a series of little people books focused on early learning.  For adults, my wonderful neighbour on Purcell shared a few of his favourites: Hawaii and Mexico by Michener!  With this snow, it's hard not to think about heading south for warmer climates.  And finally, a couple of feel good books: Marley & Me and The Vegetarian Bistro.

Skookum's first guestbook entry came in from The Koops!  They were also the first family to use the library ;)  

Help yourself to the bucket of treats including bookmarks, erasers, pencils, chocolate, and candy canes.

Happy Holidays,


Friday, December 20, 2013

First Snowfall

Woke up this morning to a beautiful snowfall.  Skookum's first winter!  Tomorrow morning Skookum will be stocked with new books and loads of treats.  Come on by!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Visitor

Great Grey Owl. Image provided by Wikipedia.

Hello Friends,

The holidays are nearly upon us and to celebrate Skookum informed me that the Great Grey Owl would be visiting the little library and leaving an assortment of treats behind.  Beginning Saturday morning, browse through a variety of holiday-themed books, treasured classics, and new adventures!  



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!


The Ashbys

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Skookum's Guest Book & Info Flyer

Hello Friends,

Inside Skookum's Library you'll find a Guest Book that you can leave your name and a comment.  If there is a novel you're interested in reading, you can also jot down the author and title in this little notebook.  In addition, there's an information flyer explaining how this Library works.  Please feel free to take one.  

Have a wonderful Sunday!



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thank You!

I want to thank my friends and neighbours who attended Skookum's launch party. Thank you especially to those that helped with the set-up! Mother Nature also cooperated and we were fortunate to have mild weather today. Treats and hot chocolate were served to those that joined us. Five hundred books were on display donated by The Book Man. A bookmark table for the children was also set up. The kids did a wonderful job creating their personalized page keepers:

Skookum dressed up for the event. Julie, my gifted neighbour and owner of SweetNothings Floral Design, created this beautiful wreath for the Little Library:

Julie also designed this delightful flower cupcake complementing the cookies and candy canes. 

Baked goodies lined the table! Thank you to Grandma Zlata and Tracycakes for the delectable morsels!

And as the party came to a close, I found this touching card left for us by our neighbours:

Thank you and you're more than welcome! I hope you all enjoy Skookum! Remember that the books are yours to keep. Please feel free to forward them on to friends and family or return them back. I still have several books in stock waiting to be shared with you.



Friday, December 13, 2013

Skookum's Open!

Hello Friends!

It's Friday the 13th and Skookum is officially open to the public! The books above and below are currently available! Looking for a particular book? Send me an email. I'll see if I have it in stock.

Children's literature:

Adult literature:

Hope you have a great weekend!



Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Skookum Reads! Little Free Library #9442

This morning, Mr. Jeremy Dace came out to help me with Skookum's posting.  It's done!  I know I've said this before but I am truly overwhelmed by the global and local support I have received towards this project.  Thank you to my Kickstarter backers, my family, and my friends for making this beautiful library a reality. 

Skookum will be open for books beginning Saturday, December 14th! Same day as the launch party! See you there! 

Mr. Jeremy Dace Securing Skookum!

Cheers and much love,


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Almost There!

Hello Friends! 

Great news! Skookum’s library is done! Our little friend is ready to welcome the community. We spent this last week addressing the structure's final touches and delivering launch party flyers to our neighbours’ mailboxes. Finn’s grandma Zlata sent us two boxes filled with cookies that she baked for the party. And today, our wonderful friend Dale came by to help us cut the post and prepare it for the library. The last step is to secure Skookum! Almost there!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Every Kid Needs A Champion

“Every child deserves a champion — an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” ~ Rita Pierson

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

We're Having a Party!

We're throwing a Little Launch Party to commemorate the opening of Skookum Reads! Little Free Library. We invite our neighbourhood and fellow book lovers to come celebrate and meet Skookum! We'll have a kid's table to make bookmarks, hundreds of new and used books to choose from, and some delicious treats to nibble on!

When: Saturday, December 14th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Where: Skookum's Little Library located at 35375 Selkirk Avenue, Abbotsford! You won't be able to miss it!

It's supposed to rain, please dress warmly. Also, please bring a recycled bag to carry your book/s home in.

A big thank you to Skookum's Little Launch Party Supporters:
City of Abbotsford
Friends of the Abbotsford Libraries
The Book Man
The Teachers' Learning Store
Tracycakes Bakery Cafe
Zlata & Ian Franklin

Monday, December 2, 2013

Post & Painting!

Setting the Post

Hello Friends!

The weather here has been cloudy with a chance of meatballs. We woke up yesterday to sheets of rain and wind but I was on a mission to get that post in the ground and no hailstorm was going to stop this woman. It's funny when the native New Yorker in me erupts. I woke up the troop and off to work we went. Rob did a wonderful job installing the post. I assisted in the post's plumbing and was responsible for the final call so if it's crooked blame me. My glasses were sitting near the front door when I was assessing the level. We also finished painting yesterday. I have a couple of final touches I'd like to add but we're almost done!

Final paint job!

Over the next two weeks, we'll allow the paint to cure and then Skookum goes out into the world! I'm excited to see how this project is received by the neighbourhood. It's sort of an exploratory study in how little free libraries integrate and/or influence their surroundings. As a researcher, I'm curious if it will encourage reading and learning as well as build on our sense of community.

This project has been incredible adventure that has allowed me to exercise my creativity and imagination while connecting with others. From the Kickstarter campaign to Skookum's character, I've been surrounded by a group of wonderful, supportive individuals who have cared as much as I have in the details and final product. Thank you again for your encouraging words, thoughts, and gestures of kindness.



Friday, November 29, 2013

Getting There!

Finishing up Skookum!

We're almost done! We recently finished sealing the roof. I purchased Thompson's WaterSeal Tinted Oak for the cedar shingles. The exterior walls are the Behr Shortgrass Prairie. I used Behr Chianti for the chimney and name plate.

Rob has spent most of the morning applying the first coat of Behr Powdered Snow to the trim. We still have one more coat and then we'll focus our effort on dressing up the interior. I think I'm going to go with the Powdered Snow for the walls. We should be completed with the paint phase by this weekend and then we need to dig the hole for the post and set it!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

He's Free!

He's free! Over the past 4 months, I've been working on this website for our Little Free Library. I wanted this Library to have an identity and a narrative. He's not LFL #9442...he's Skookum Reads!

I'll let you in on a funny story. Without any knowledge of the site or this character, I received a phone call one night from the builder's wife explaining that the guys were referring to the Library as "Skookum!" 

My eyes welled up; this project exuded Skookum. When Skookum was dropped off to the house, I showed the builder our website and he chuckled. We knew this little guy was meant to be. 

So, I introduce to you Mr. Skookum Reads! You can learn all about this readin’ blue bird here.



Monday, November 25, 2013


Here's the colour scheme I've selected for Skookum's Little Library! We started painting this Friday and will hopefully have it finished by next week. Keeping fingers crossed!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Friends of the Abbotsford Libraries

The Friends of the Abbotsford Libraries

I want to thank The Friends of the Abbotsford Libraries who contributed over 30 books to our Little Library. I visited the Clearbrook Library's Book Sale this afternoon to grab children's books on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The sale continues tomorrow and they've got a great selection!
Bookmarks donated by The Teachers' Learning Store in Abbotsford!

A big thank you to Heidi from The Teachers' Learning Store in Abbotsford. She donated these wonderful bookmarks for the Little Library Launch Party in December!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

To Caulk Or Not To Caulk

This morning, I went to caulk around the chimney. This activity was supposed to be as easy as watching Norm from The New Yankee Workshop build a Chaise Lounge. Instead, it became the I Love Lucy episode where she and Ethel can’t stop the conveyor belt of chocolates.

I admit I was channeling Mike Holmes when I confronted the structure with my loaded caulk gun. I confidently applied pressure to the trigger and ran the tip down the gap. “Beautiful,” I thought, “Nothing to it.” Somewhere in my Rolodex of Holmes on Holmes, I remember watching someone take his finger and run it down the seam of caulk to smooth it out. I did the same. Everything seemed to be going fine until I felt caulk dripping like a stream of taffy onto my hand.

I looked down and there were caulk bird droppings all over the floor. I attempted to stick the cap back on the tip but the relentless flow of the caulk just popped it right off. I tried to plug the tip with my fingers but the goo just kept coming. Within a few seconds, my hands were coated and my fingers began to stick to one another and to the gun.

It was a brand new tube and I didn’t want it waste the product; I thought more caulk applied to the wood would be better, right? Kind of like duck tape. Except by this time, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t keep my hand steady. I realized that all my dreams of working in construction or as a cake decorator were gone. After applying caulk to every gap I saw, I made a mad dash into the house.

Naturally, I yelled for my husband.

“Rob, you gotta look at the caulk gun!”
“Why do I need to look at it? You know what you’re doing,” he said.
“Well, I did, but I don’t know how to stop the caulk from coming out the gun.”
“Is it still flowing?” he asked.
“Ahhh, yah," I said under my breath.

Good news though! He stopped the caulk and informed me that nothing, including water, will get between the chimney and the structure. Whew!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Structure is Complete!

Skookum! Our Little Library!

This evening, I received a call from Jeremy that Skookum was complete and ready for delivery. Here he is! Amazing work and such attention to detail!

Side view of Skookum

I love the chimney! We didn't initially consider a chimney but Jeremy thought it would look cute. To me, the chimney is symbolic of home. It's a wonderful addition. But, what really shocked me was when I opened up the door and noticed that he had finished the floor with a beautiful, chocolate-stained laminate. How fantastic is that?

Skookum's laminate flooring

Thank you Jeremy and Donna for your support and interest in this project. I appreciate the time, love, and care that you invested in Skookum. Honestly, it's the most beautiful, well-constructed Little Library I've seen to date. I'm so excited to paint this baby! Big hugs!



Friday, November 15, 2013

Tracycakes Bakery!

Oh sweet dreams! Our local Tracycakes Bakery in Abbotsford is donating 2 dozen delicious cookies to our Little Launch Party in December! It's great to have this kind of edible support! Big hugs to Tracy and the Tracycakes Team! 

Phase 2 & 3 Complete!

Phase 2: Blueskin application. Serves as waterproof barrier.

I'm so excited about this project! I wanted to share with you a few photos of the construction. During the design phase, Jeremy (the builder) and I spent quite a bit of time discussing the features of other Little Libraries and although many of them are "cute" they're not structurally sustainable. The energy that was invested in our dialogue has really paid off and I'm so impressed with his craftsmanship.

Phase 3: Roof and exterior paneling complete!

Thank you to everyone who has backed this project. You've kickstarted far more than this Little Library! Big hugs!



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Making Progress!

Little Free Library Under Construction!
As you can see, the structure is coming along nicely! My friend and builder, Mr. Jeremy Dace, should be completed with the library this week and will be handing it over to me to paint. We're right on schedule for the December launch party!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Bookcase

The books are now free from their boxes and bags and stationed on shelves! A guess as to how many there are? Answer: 521!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

More Books!

Speaking of donations! I just got back from The Book Man! This is what my back seat looked like with 3 boxes of books (the trunk and front seat were also taken with boxes!). Big hugs to The Book Man owner Amber Short for her generous contribution to this project! It's truly amazing to receive this kind of support from the community!

Book Donations

Thank you to Donna Alary and Dr. Peter and Margaret Jones for their book donations to our Little Free Library. Big hugs!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Video: Google+ Crowdfunding Hangout

If you missed the University of Alberta's Google+ Crowdfunding Hangout, you can view it here. Individuals interested in launching a crowdfunding campaign will benefit from listening to the advice of panel members; I definitely learned a great deal from the discussion. Also, you may want to check out Jason Cooper's Kickstarted documentary and his YouTube "Funded in 60 Seconds" clips. My favourites? This one and this one! Take out that notepad and start writing! Very valuable insights!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Google+ Crowdfunding Hangout

On Tuesday, the University of Alberta Career Centre is hosting a Google+ Crowdfunding hangout featuring successful crowdfunders and industry experts. They invited me to participate in the discussion! Panelists include:
I look forward to sharing my experience and encouraging others to experiment with the Kickstarter platform. I'm equally excited to hear from other project creators and the stories behind their crowdfunding ventures. 

Learn more or register for the event here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Skookum Supporter!

I've got great news to share! Over the past two months, I've contacted local bookstores to ask if they would be interested in donating books to support Skookum's Little Free Library. The Book Man, located in Chilliwack and Abbotsford, has offered to put books aside for us! Now we'll have access to a diverse selection of reading material for all to enjoy. Thank you Amber and The Book Man!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Another Package!

The postcard-size bookmarks have arrived! I had them professionally printed on card stock with a gloss finish. I'll be mailing these out to the backers today!