Sunday, 20 November 2011


If I were to sum this week up in with one word it would be: full. I have been blessed with an overwhelming amount of adventures and to be honest I've had one too many pastries this week and I feel like the only thing that will fit me are my Friday pants. Sigh. But amidst this bounty there were lessons learned. 

Lesson #1: You can kicked out of class for anything!
It's happened folks. I got kicked out of class for excessive giggling. In my defense it was the second test of the day and my brain was a little batty from studying. On Monday afternoon I had a test in my business communications class. It went quite well and I am confident that I passed with flying colours. After I finished writing the test and handed it in, I sat quietly at my desk and doodled a sketch of my future wedding dress in my notebook. My friend, Kendra, having finished her test as well turned to me and we engaged in whispered conversation:
Kendra: "I want to go home and check my marks."
Me: "You want to go home and check your bird?"
Kendra: "What kind of question is that?"
Me: "You could have a chicken roast in the oven. It makes sense!"

Needless to say that little miscommunication tipped the scale and we erupted in giggles. Aware that fellow classmates were still writing their tests we tried desperately to stifle our giggles but it was excruciatingly difficult. Unable to hold it back any longer I burst out laughing! My teacher, walked over to me slowly, and asked in a low dissaproving voice, "Joelle, do you need to step outside for a moment?" I nodded sheepishly and shuffled out of class embarrassed. I ran to the bathroom and giggled and laughed until all my smiles were gone. After calming down, I timidly tip toed back into class and continued doodling, avoiding eye contact with Kendra. Hey! How come she didn't get kicked out? She started it!

Lesson #2: How to work with Chocolate
I'm sure the idea of working with chocolate stirs up fanciful images in your mind. Huge bowls full of velvety chocolate. The rich aroma filling the air intoxicating your senses and seducing you until you have no choice but to stuff your face. Even when your stomach is screaming for you to stop eating your tongue and cheeks are begging for more of that luscious flavour. Sigh.

Now getting chocolate to that perfect flavour, snap and texture is a whole other battle. First you have to melt the chocolate to 50 degrees celsius using a double boiler and then tempered it to 31 degrees celsius using the tabling or seeding method. If the chocolate is not tempered right it will not set, be difficult to work with, and will dry with ugly streaks and spots. Once this happens you have to start all over again, something I had to do all too often this past week.

After several melt downs, a few shed tears, and more than one vicious growl at my chocolate, by Friday I finally got the hang of it and was making chocolate cigars left, right and center like a pro. The Chef even commented on my craft and said it look professional. It was a good way to end the week.

Lesson #3: Oats and kitty litter.
On Tuesday we had a lock down drill. I have never had a lock down drill in my life so the prospect of experiencing something potentially dangerous was exhilarating. The alarm sounded and we had instructions to hide in a dark corner away from any windows or doors. Chef Christian explained lock down drill as playing hide and seek. Although if you are sought you get shot.

The alarm sounded and like a herd of 12 years at a birthday party we scrambled to find the nearest hiding place. Half of the class hid at the far end of the kitchen by the stoves, while the rest piled into the dry storage room. The dry storage room is no Hilton sweet, it's about the size of the average bathroom. So imagine shoving 8 people in there all giggling and squirming, with the lights off and door shut. My friend Jillian, took this moment to give some useful and yet random advice: "If this were an actual lock down and we were stuck in here for 4 hours we could pee in the box of oats. Oats are like kitty litter. Just saying." Thanks Jillian. We erupted in cascading laughter! Needless to say if it were an actual lock down our laughing would have given us away and we would all be dead.

Lesson #4: Out crafting the craft fair.
I would consider myself a seasoned craft fair goer. This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending another craft fair. This one in particular is hailed as the be all and end all of PEI craft fairs thus making it my third successful craft fair outing. At each one I have gained perspective, wisdom and tricks on how to survive. It is my pleasure to impart this knowledge onto you.

Step 1: Shop with a friend.
It always helps to have a second opinion and someone to share the experience with. When you feel fatigued and restless they are a companion, encourager and voice of reason. Grab a friend and be prepared for an afternoon of treasure seeking.

Step 2: Pay in cash.
Venders that accept visa and debit as payments are few and far between. Hit up your bank before heading to the nearest craft fair with at least $100-$200 cash in a variety or small to large bills and change.

Step 3: Dress for success.
Overheating at a craft fair can make you antsy, short tempered and make you loose your focus. Stay cool. While the temperature outside is festively chilly, temperatures in the craft fair can reach tropical proportions with all those people milling about. Take advantage of coat check if they have one, leave the coat in the car, or wear light layers. Allowing your body to breathe comfortably will enable your brain to think clearly about your purchases.

Step 4: Working the system.
Craft fairs are overwhelming! Usually held in gymnasiums, cafeterias or community centers they are wall to wall with hundreds of original work. However hobbies are bound to over lap, jewelry, hand knit tea cozies, bird houses, and Christmas ornaments are popular, so don't drop all your money on Vender #2's hand woven beaded necklace when Vender #17 may have a better product and better price.

The trick is to walk around the entire craft fair at least once. Walk in a counter clockwise or clockwise direction working from the outside in. Stay at each vender for no more than 2 minutes. Quickly evaluate the product they are selling and keep in mind two important things: price and craftsmanship. Vender #2 may have better prices but Vender #17 secures his product with wire rather than hot glue. The number one thing you have to remember about craft fairs is that you are paying for craftsmanship and quality. Any yahoo with a hot glue gun can whip up something craft like but it takes skill and patients to make a masterpiece.

Step 5: Make the kill.
Having looked over the venders and evaluated each product, you have made your decision. March confidently and swiftly to the vender of choice and lay your money down. Grab the star fish shaped tea cozy and hold your head high. Well done, well done.

Lesson #5: You are never too old to colour. 
Last Sunday I had the privilege of helping out with the kids ministry at my church. For a solid half an hour I bounced around like a bunny, played ring around the rosie 8 times and laid on my stomach to colour a particularly goofy picture of Noah’s Ark. The simple joy of swiftly moving a blue crayon back and forth on a page was delightful. Colouring is a joyous activity at any age. So run to your nearest dollar store, grab that colouring book off the top shelf, you know the one, with the big daisies and puppies on the front. Buy 3 boxes of crayons and stretch out on your living room floor for an afternoon of childish bliss. Here's an added bonus: we're old enough to know how to stay in the lines! Look what I can do mommy!

Yes, this week was plump with laughter, chocolate, tea and vicious craft fair goers. I laughed, I cried, and I had to out smart more than one spunky old lady before they snatched up the sparkling green and brown Christmas ornament I was admiring. But as each week slowly folds into the next, the air gets a little colder, the sky is constantly held in a dull purple grey, snow a very real and delightful threat, and with every stroll to Starbucks for my caramel macchiato I notice more and more Christmas lights and decorations adorning the streets of Charlottetown. All these are delicious signs that my favourite season is soon to arrive.


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