December 9th, 2016

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December 9th, 2016
I’ve been laid low with a wintery cold this week, but I rallied to do this newsletter-in-brief, because I love you.

I really do.

You, gentle readers, have turned my 2016 around in ways you can’t imagine. Just so you know, I appreciate every subscribe and every read. I love every email and suggestion and kind passing comment in the coffee shop. I have been surprised by the enthusiasm and support that I have received even though it’s just an email newsletter. I am so happy to be publishing.

Sick and sentimental!

Okay… Here are some good links:



This is the instagram account of Sean Charmatz, a storyboard writer and director at Dreamworks and creator of Secret World of Stuff… a series of short animated gems that will make you smile. (Thanks Amelia!)



I wish I was attending Shiny Fuzzy Muddy craft fair in Vancouver this weekend. If you do, drop by Julie MacKinnon Ceramics and tell her I said hi! She makes the most lovely stuff. And while you are there, sign up for one of her workshops – or get yourself on a mailing list – because they are the best.


We are lucky to have the small film studio Hek’s Half Acre Studio here on Salt Spring Island, headed up by the multi-talented auteur Keith Picot: “The silent films on my [youtube] channel are all written, directed, edited and cast by myself..along with building sets and props. The films are, on the most part very short and of a slap-stick nature. Some have been commissioned as advertisements whilst others have been made for the sheer joy of the creating.”


Local businesses collaborate with Hek’s Half Acre Studio to create whimsical, 1930s style, silent black and white film advertisements featuring a cast of characters made up from employees and other locals. When going to see a film at the local movie house, Keith’s movies are often the opening act, and it’s not unusual to be watching one and look over into the faces in the audience and see, if not the stars themselves, at least friends and relatives pointing and laughing.

All Keith’s movies are so well done, with so few anachronisms, that it’s hard to believe that they were created just recently. (Oh except – look, there’s the guy who is my favourite service clerk at the check-out, and there’s the guy who knows which fruits are the ripest in the produce section. Oh! There’s Rob! And the other Rob! And there are Julie’s kids! And Julie’s dad! My favourite coffee shop! Jana’s shop! etc etc.)

I love seeing all the familiar faces in the latest Christmas offering Lucky’s Letter, and Keith is an epic talent.


sbl091216_listening Indie-pop band Milo Green has released the new song We Kept The Lights Onthe sounds of which makes me feel a little nostalgic for the 80s.

Do you ever listen to Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour  weekly on BBC6 music? If not, you should. Host and Elbow front-man Garvey has eclectic tastes and always great guests filling in for him when away on tour. I just found out last week that C Duncan has a new album and liked the track Garvey played. Atmospheric and soporific! Party!

Speaking of Elbow, they will have a new album out next February. The first track is Magnificent (She Says). I do say.





Five Friday Favourites- guest-starring Daniel Bogan

Web nerd and lazy illustrator wannabe (and yes that’s really my last name).
Most often found on Twitter and at The SetUp.

Thank you to Daniel for taking some time out of his busy life to write this up for me!


1. The Apple Pencil
It’s the closest digital thing I’ve found to drawing with a pen on paper – every time I pick it up it continues blows my mind (at least until I have to charge it, anyhow).

2. A Fortunate Life, by Albert Facey
The fascinating autobiography of an Australian living through some amazing hardships shortly before World War I, we were forced to read this in high school and so of course I resented it, until I discovered my probably-accidentally-not-returned-school-library copy a few years later and re-read it. I want to come back to this one every decade or so.

3. Café coffee
You could save a few bucks and make it at home, but I love befriending the people at the local café – that little buzz from becoming a regular, people knowing your drink, knowing the people that make your drink, being a small part of a community.

4. Angry women singing
The first concert I ever attended was Babes in Toyland at The Metro in Sydney, and that was it for me. Hole, Bikini Kill, L7, and all of their friends, screaming into my ears forever, loudly.

5. Being a dad
Finally, someone my own mental age! It’s the best.

 – – – Previous Friday Five Favourites Archives – – –



Five delights for a Friday:

1) The 25 Best Films of 2016: A Video Countdown. This montage of clips from the year’s great movies makes me want to go out and make all the films… or at least see them. David Ehrlich, senior editor at, counts down his favourite 25. (thanks Jason K)

2) So much Cate! So good. Cate Blanchette plays 13 different characters in Manifesto, an installation at Park Avenue Armory, New York. Artist Julian Rosefeldt gives us (warning, artspeak:) “a collage of artistic declarations from the past century reinterpreted as poetic monologues to provoke timeless questions about the gendered, social, and political contexts that shape the artist’s role in society.”

3) “Seager’s challenge is that she has dedicated her life to the search for the smallest lights.” The Woman Who Might Find Us Another Earth – The star-crossed life of Sara Seager, an astrophysicist obsessed with discovering distant worlds.

4) A Late Style of Fire – Larry Levis, American Poet:  “The question every artist faces: What am I willing to give to my art? The answer, for the rare few whose work outlives them, is everything. The brilliant writing and troubled life of Californian Larry Levis came to an abrupt halt when he died at age 49. Is self-destruction required for a serious life of art?” – this documentary looks fascinating. While I swore to myself that I would not mention snow in this newsletter, here is my friend Carrie Cogan’s favourite poem by Larry Levis which she sent me today. I love it. And the snow. And Carrie. In a Country.

5) Peppermint Bark – this is the one recipe I feel compelled to share every single year. Make this! A lot of it. You won’t be sorry. (Don’t make this if you happen to teach one of my children, you know who you are. Well, do, if you want even more).


Thanks for reading! Hopefully next week I will be back to my sparkly self. Or at least get my voice back.

Over and out,

Claire Robertson,
The Small Batch List
Person with a keyboard

p.s. 100 points for guessing the quote in the subject line! Last week was from Kate Bush’s song Dream of Sheep.

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