24 February 2012

Two Year Anniversary Give-Away!

Today marks two years since Milé and I moved to Small Pond Arts.

Smooch!  Picture taken at the Big Splash
Time is a funny creature.  In some ways two years seems like a long time; we’ve accomplished so much, and I think Milé and I have both been deeply changed by our new life.  But two years isn’t really all that long; after all, it’s a measly 730 days.

Here’s some of the things that I did in the last 730 days:

Bought our first home
Hosted a dinner party for 50+ people and threw some killer parties
Made two mobiles – one of bones and one of sticks
Led four community workshops
Facilitated dozens of artists in residence... and fed them all
Started a blog and wrote 34 posts.

Now I’m not trying to brag, but I feel like that’s a significant amount of stuff.  And honestly, I’ve been working pretty hard, but I haven’t been killing myself.  I could have done more.

Milé did a whole bunch of other stuff, too, like painting tons of paintings, having art shows, stiltwalking around Picton, and becoming one of the most famous mustachioed men in the County. 

A lot of people ask how we did all this. How did we make a life for ourselves that seems to most people like a crazy dream?

Well if you have a crazy dream, guess what?  You can actually do it.  Well, probably. But it’s not for the faint of heart. It takes fearlessness. Courage. Support of your friends and family. Hard work, obviously. And a little bit of foolishness. I've never really felt afraid that Small Pond wouldn’t work. You can't fear failure if you want to succeed.

I could be yours.

Now it’s your turn.

We want to know what you’ve done in the last two years.  What are your accomplishments?  What are you most proud of?

Tell us in the comments section below by 7 PM March 15, 2012 and you could WIN one of these great prizes:

First Prize: A custom oil portrait of you or someone of your choosing by Milé Murtanovski
Second Prize: Yeti puppet (pictured above) by yours truly, Krista Dalby
Third Prize: Two CD's from our friend, Arlene BishopSnarky Girlpop and Begin Again.

One entry per person. We’ll post the winners here on March 15, 2012 by 8 PM, as selected by random.org

It's time to toot your own horn. Good luck!


  1. Oh, the gauntlet has been thrown down!! This will be some fun...

  2. Accomplishments for the last two years...
    Went to college while having a part-time job and an internship, graduated with honors.

    Gave the biggest gift I could to my mother by raising money for her trip overseas. When I say raising money, I mean cleaning people's houses, walking their dogs, or sitting with their children. It was a labor of love and I am very thankful her trip did happen.

    Improved the relationship with my father...

    These are the major ones that I really thank God for :)

    wildorchad (at) rambler.ru

  3. Bought my first house.. turned it into a home that feels like "us". Got married at the Regent Theatre (the first one in history we think!). Visited the Badlands in South Dakota.

  4. I would like to introduce myself. My name is Janna Munkittrick-Colton. I am a Library Assistant at the Belleville Public Library and have been there 34 years. I am also a member of the Heritage Belleville Committee.

    I have along with a friend of mine started a business called Jan-Bo's Puppets. We create and perform puppet shows for all ages. We have performed at the Belleville Public Library for its anniversary celebration and part of the Door's Open. We have performed Discovering Belleville several times over the past year and repeated it at the Canada Day Celebration on July 1. We also performed at the Consecon Family Day on July 2 and Bloomfield's Blowaway Summer Program on July 16, Quinte Conservation on July 29 in Belleville and Picton; Deseronto Public Library on August 19th. We also volunteered our school for multiple performances at the Quinte Ribfest. We recently performed at Belleville Festival of Trees and the Probus Club of Quinte(Discovering Kente Mission); Napanee BIA for their christmas weekend and at the Brighton Public Library. We will also have performed at Deseronto's Family Day on February 20, 2012. We are excited about the prospect of performing multiple shows at the Quinte Ribfest again this summer(our third year).

  5. Hey there,

    I'm Meghan, and I have been paying bills for the last 1.5 years. It's hardly interesting or noteworthy, but I made a decision not too long ago. I'm not going to slave away for my entire life doing something I don't enjoy.

    So, I'm back to school to make a career for myself, and I've been married a little over a year now. We've yet to have an actual arguement - though we've had some monumental stressors.

    The most important thing for me is that I finally launched my artistic project 'Angel and the Stickmen.' I started my blog in January of this year, and I've made a small name for myself in my own little circle.

    It's the start of something that I hope will spread to people of any artistic background. The whole reason I draw is to show people that they have potential while also creating something visually mind boggling. So, I'm going to keep working, and I hope to reach as many people as I can over the years.


    ~Angel and the Stickmen

  6. Congrats on all you've accomplished! It's a great inspiration. It feels like the older I get the quicker time flies. So 2 years can feel like an evening out some days.

    When I look back on the past 2 years, or more specifically that past year it's filled with 5 years worth of life. I left behind a job I loved, that was being restructured and farmed out (newspaper industry:( moved across the country and have started my own creative business thunderpeep designs. I'm a graphic designer by trade, but love surface design and have started my own design company, stationary, textiles, housewares based on my illustrations. It's still growing and figuring itself out, but has come so far in this first year that I'm excited to see just how much more I can make of it!

    It's been scary and exciting and scary. Creating a whole new life at 36 was a lot harder than when I moved my life at 21. I'm definitely a creature of habit and without the mountain forests to get lost in my thoughts with I've been a bit bonkers here in the big city (I moved from Vancouver to Toronto - where I actually grew up) But I'm growing more and more into myself each day, with each challenge and each accomplishment.

    Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. Truly inspiring :)

  7. In case you have trouble posting your comment, email it to me and I will post it for you: krista(at)smallpondarts.ca. This post came to me via email:

    Hello! Thank you for sharing your incredible story, how inspirational!
    The past two years have been a bit of a whirlwind for me in many way with lots of stretches of calm and cool between.
    Now that my youngest babe is old enough for mama to fly again I've taken a LOT of classes; updated first aid and CPR (every parent should know that stuff), took driver's ed and learned to drive for the first time ever (I'm 40!), left my two kiddies with their Gramma for an entire month for a yoga teacher training program in the Catskill mountains, and studied and made plans for an upcoming permaculture course in Nelson BC that I'm so looking forward to (thanks for taking the kids for another month mom!). We also farm-sat for friends and took care of their horses and chickens for a while (and bounced on their giant trampoline every day too, ha ha).
    The other huge accomplishment has been in the area of voluntary simplicity, we've pared down our "stuff" from hoarded mountains to the bare minimum, moved into a really teeny-weeny-but-more-than-enough-for-us apartment and are enjoying the sense of freedom and space very much. A part of this was for me to take the leap to honour my creativity by renting a studio space exclusively for my art and get a website started. I have always had a difficult time selling my work, it's the one area of creating that I'm most uncomfortable with, but this past December I finally participated in not one but TWO craft shows with great success. I sold out of nearly everything I had to offer, it was wonderful putting my creations into the hands of others.
    So now I spend a couple of days a week in the studio making my weird and wacky wonderfulness and indulging the big kid in me. It's grand :D.
    Many blessings and best wishing for a creative day to you!
    Tisha Joy
    craftylittlemonkey at gee mail dot com
    craftylittlemonkey dot ca

  8. I rented wagons at the Calgary Zoo for the summer.
    I went to Burning Man.
    I went to Sasquatch music festival and saw some of my favorite bands.
    I got a job teaching English in Korea.
    I moved to Korea, made a life for myself there and survived finishing my contract.
    I left.
    I finally made it to India, spent some quality time with some amazing kids, and learned a bucket load of life lessons.
    I went to Cambodia.
    I got and finished a short job in Thailand.
    I came to Malaysia and the adventures continues.
    Met plenty of interesting people along the way.
    I finally feel ready to come home and am excited to be in Canada and will never again take it for granted. Maybe the most important thing that has happened in the last two years.

  9. From Ainsley Kendrick via email:

    Hey Small Pond! I just have to say, I am so proud of you two! You are both an inspiration and I hope to come visit someday!

    Things I have done in the past two years.

    Stage Managed over 30 theatre/dance productions
    Roller Bladed around Vancouver
    Found a free Apple Macbook and gave it to a friend in need
    Bought a brand new bicycle to shoot around town
    Moved from Little Italy to Forest Hill
    Got to hold my new nephew
    Suffered the loss of my mother-in-law
    Played on a lesbian softball team
    Marched for Stonewall
    Retired from Stage Management to start work in the Non-Profit Sector
    Organized a gala event at TIFF for volunteers with the Governor General as the guest of honour
    Learned how to make Digital Stories
    Started practising Yoga and Meditation
    Became a Level 2 Reiki Practitioner
    Started taking Art Classes
    Learned something new and important about myself!

    All the best!!

  10. Congrats Krista and Milé! You’ve really done a lot of great stuff in our community. Thanks for having this contest too. I always feel like I don’t get anything done and this forced me to see that I am actually doing a few things.
    Here, in a sort of alphabetical order, are a few things I’ve done in the last 2 years.
    - Worked on PEC Authors Festival Board to bring some literary greats to the County.
    - Baked and sold vegan muffins and cookies to The Regent Café (I secretly want to own a bakery). Soon realized that getting up at 5a.m. to bake before I went to work at the library was not smart!
    - Writing 3 blogs: The Reasonable Life, a living-in-the-County blog; Kindradical, where I post about my activism; and Christine’s Vegan Kitchen that is all about yummy food.
    - Had my Christine’s Vegan Kitchen Cookbook published last fall.
    - Held three French immersion Art Camps at the library, making awesome stuff with over 40 young people.
    - Started a French Adult Conversational group 2 years ago that has grown to three groups at 3 library branches that meet weekly.
    - Joined with thousands, including my youngest son Kevin, at the G20 protest in Toronto to raise awareness and demand justice for people and the planet. Witnessed one of Canada’s darkest moments with rights and freedoms trampled and incidents of police brutality, but at the same time was inspired by the over 40,000 people taking to the streets to stand in solidarity for what they believe is right and important.
    - Filmmakers who read my G20 post on my kindradical blog contacted me and came to interview me for the documentary Fortress Toronto.
    - Took up kayaking. My husband builds beautiful Greenland kayaks… nothing to do with me, but worth a mention. They are works of art!
    - Painted a series of clotheslines pieces, one of which was accepted at Art in the County and sold opening night. Was also invited to take part in the Sandbanks Art show.
    - Helped organize the library’s first Santa Claus Parade float and in the process, learned not to stand on moving floats, broke my arm and developed a deep appreciation for my health and mobility, as well as for our universal health care system.
    - Discovered a great way to silkscreen cheaply (which I shared with art classes at the high school) and designed t-shirts that I screened for family as gifts.
    –Was asked by TASTE! to represent the County at Soupalicious. My soups were served to hundreds of people. Soupalicious is organized by The Compost Council of Canada and Plant a Row-Grow a Row, a program to assist in feeding the hungry in their own communities.
    - Had great times with my kids including seeing The Beat in Toronto together, traveling to Montreal for a week long art show (and discovered an amazing hostel in Old Montreal), and having a petting zoo come to our place for my grandkids.
    - Teaching myself to play the ukulele and learned to play happy birthday for my son’s birthday.
    - Presented a workshop at TASTE entitled “Help! Vegans and Vegetarians are Coming for Dinner”. It was packed, which was a nice surprise.
    - Organized the first Zombie Walk in the County. This was done at the library with the help of many others, including Krista of Small Pond Arts.
    - Got certified to teach Zumba classes and did that for a couple of months to feed my love of dancing!

  11. In the last two years:

    I was cast in one of the leading roles in Brock University's main stage production of Phedre where I performed for the largest crowd of my life. Awesome.

    I finally achieved my dream of leaving the country to somewhere tropical. Unforgettable trip to Cuba.

    I graduated with honors from the Brock University Dramatic Arts program.

    I landed a job as head instructor of a summer drama camp at an esteemed private school, sharing my theatrical knowledge with children from 8 to 14 years old.

    I went from being abysmal in the kitchen to being only below average. Win.

    I went on a week long canoeing trip in Algonquin Park with my brother. I pushed my physical limits by portaging over 10 kilometers with over 200 pounds of gear.

    I decided to learn the harmonica, and found that I picked it up quite quickly.

    I got accepted and enrolled into Brock University's Faculty of Education.

    I am currently in the top bracket of teacher candidates within Brock's Faculty of Education.

    I started a blog which I used to start writing poetry again. I surprised myself with my writing abilities and willingness to share it with friends.

    I recently performed in a production of Hamlet in which I portrayed two different characters. I broadened my theatrical comfort zone by performing a female character in full drag.

    I co-authored the official study guide for a new script being produced by a professional children's theatre in St. Catharine's.

    I was just cast in a production for Niagara's In the Soil theatre festival.

  12. Via email from Polly Esther:

    Things I've accomplished in the last 2 years:

    - went to an audition for the first time in years and got the part - The Vagina Monologues

    - with support from fellow cast members, I proudly walked in the first SlutWalk event here in Toronto and came finally went public with the fact that I was a rape victim at 14 years old, 25 years ealier

    - the sign I made prompted many other girls and women to approach me to say that they were still ashamed to come forward but felt much more confident after seeing me do it

    - performed in TVM the week of my 40th birthday, and decided to have some more fun by doing standup the same week for the first time in 7 years

    - stopped being afraid of the kitchen and learned how to bake muffins and loaves

    - wrote and performed a musical comedy piece in the ACPT (American Crossword Puzzle Tournament) last year on a child-sized accordion and will be performing again this year on a melodica

    - will attempt to perform on a new instrument every year!

    - constructed crossword puzzles for a US publication for 4 months *and* got paid a nice amount for it!

    - started writing seriously for the first time in my life and have 2 one-woman shows in the works, as well as a few ideas for short musical comedy pieces

    - went back to latch hook (rug hooking) after decades and completed 2 projects in a short amount of time

    - thinking about starting side business of custom-made rugs / wall hangings and am testing the waters for cost and interest

    - asked friend to help me with huge debt still hanging over my head from the ex-husband, and finally got the amount down (with lots and lots of paperwork) to something I could pay off

    - am now completely debt-free after an emotionally draining 12 years!

    - last year did major decluttering and gave away 1/4 of my clothing, 200 books, cds and dvds, and small furniture items to shelters and charities

    - started applying for supervisor positions at work after not having the confidence to do so for 20 years, and was successful in all attempts!

    - screened Jafar Panahi's film "Offside" in support of the jailed Iranian filmmaker in solidarity with people from all over the world showing it the same week. Was the only person to screen one of his films in not only Toronto, but also all of Canada, and raised money for Amnesty International in the process

    - became Union rep at one of my jobs

    - decided to cut all toxic people who have been treating me horribly for years out of my life - last year included family members, and it was the best decision I have ever made

    - stopped colouring my hair after 25 years and have been fully embracing the gray that is becoming more visible every day

    - acted as judge for *successful* Guinness World Record attempt for continuous grilling on a barbecue at Harbourfront