Tag: Dane

The Really-Real-Make-Believe Collective

SusanKU_VVmugI am up to my neck in 5th birthday party preparations, but I had to stop and say, nay SHOUT, that this week marks the second anniversary of my lovely, indispensable editing/sanity-maintaining/friendship-over-miles collective The Veggie Vag! I wrote about it last year, so if you’re curious, hit the link and read on, the VV continues to be all it was a year ago, but better, deeper: solid goodness. I doff my hat to fellow members Christa Couture and Lindsay Zier-Vogel. And to our imaginary assistant Dane.

This year Lindsay wrote about the VV and you should check it out here, we are a charming trio if I do say so! She says of the VV: “We are each other’s backbones and backup dancers and I don’t think there’s a single word I send out that these two brilliant women haven’t read / edited / weighed in on.” 

Fron L to R: Christa Couture, Lindsay Zier-Vogel and Susan Kendal (that’s me!) cheers-ing their awesomeness and 2 years of formal Veggie Vagging.

Christa sent us a photo of herself cheers-ing with her 1st anniversary mug, saying, “It’s more than a mug – it’s a reminder every morning I’m home of the dearest friends, the biggest laughs, the quickest rallying of support/bat signal replies, the best edited grant applications, and the feeling of shrinking the geographical spaces between us.” Which of course meant that Lindsay and I had to promptly stop what we were doing and also Instagram photos of ourselves cheers-ing … the best kind of procrastination!

Cheers VV.

The Veggie Vag Mug!


That’s right, now you can order your very own Veggie Vag mug!

After a recent post about my editing/writing trio and our fictitious company Veggie Vag a number of people said they loved the mug so much and wanted one. So I thought I’d make them available on CafePress. Now you too can drink your coffee in … style?! And you’ll feel the eternal love of the Veggie Vag and our faithful Dane. Much respect to Veggie-Vagger Christa Couture for the inspired design.

Veggie Vag: where make-believe and pratical collide

This post is in praise of the dreamers and creators. The brave ones and silly ones who still play house and superheros and make mud pies when they’re adults. It’s also a little love story to 2 great friends of mine …

(L to R) Christa Couture, Maria Kendal, Susan Kendal, James Kendal and Lindsay Zier-Vogel at Susan's wedding in September 2003. Photo by Rhya Tamasauskas. Christa, Susan and Lindsay are the charter members of their company Veggie Vag. As far as we know this is the only photo of all 3 of us together since we are rarely all in the same place at the same time. What a shame! We'll do a shoot next time we're together. Though we are all very young and foxy in this one ...

I am fortunate to be surrounded by folks who are bursting with imagination, the kindred spirits that Anne of Green Gables was always keeping an eye out for. There are 2 such friends with whom I am having a most excellent, ongoing “practical-make-believe” adventure — Christa Couture and Lindsay Zier-Vogel, wonderful women and artists in their own rights, musician/designer and writer/book-maker respectively ( check them out, they are extraordinary).

And what is our awesome practical-make-believe game? We have a “company” called Veggie Vag. It sounds just rude enough that it makes us giggle, hard.

We even have a logo that Christa, in a fit of procrastination, sass and hilarity, used her graphic design skills wisely (?!) to create a few months ago:

Veggie Vag started about a year ago. You might ask, is it about vegetables? Or, is it about vaginas? Both would be fair questions. Veggie Vag is not really about either, other than the fact that we’re all ladies. And we do like veggies. It’s really mostly about editing. And being friends across miles of space and life. And being hilarious to ourselves.

We were all busy with applications, building websites and so on (the usual) around this time last year and were often editing for each other, enjoying getting the value of 2 perspectives on our work. We started to joke that we were like a collective. Then we decided we were a collective, which meant we needed a wicked acronym. Christa came up with both, she’s the most clever of us, hands down. VEG was first, it stands for “Virtual Editors Group,” which was funny and accurate. But then she said wouldn’t it be more awesome if we were authors — well, Lindsay actually is an author — then we’d be the “Virtual Authors Group,” ahem, VAG, which was infinitely more funny than veg. Put them together and we are really, virtually (as it were) the unstoppable Veggie Vag!

The cool thing is that between the 3 of us we’ve edited grants and “About” pages and difficult emails and cover letters. I got an amazing logo by being a member (thanks Christa!) and we’ve all  had a lot of success with the things we’ve edited for each other. Not only do we have this ah-mazing faux company together, we are quite useful to each other. Keeps us in regular contact too, which is brilliant!

Here’s what my co-founders have to say about Veggie Vag:

Lindsay Zier-Vogel: The Veggie Vag is an editing machine, a sounding board, a safety net and cheerleading squad. It’s a place to daydream and blue-sky and hammer out details. Every grant and proposal and project description that passes through these diligent hands is all the better for it. It’s a thoughtful and hilarious editing collective that keeps three of us closer than I ever could’ve imagined. Whoopi, Cate and Julianne should be so lucky to play us in our biopic …

Christa Couture: What started as occasionally asking friends for editorial advice grew into a collective, not quite formal, but steadfast and dedicated, of three women supporting each other’s work. My own work is better for the input of the Veggie Vag, and I love being up to date with, if not also being helpful to, the work of my co-Vag-ers. The Veggie Vag is friendship and artistry combined — a team of writers, thinkers, brainstormers, schemers, planners and best of all cheerleaders … cheerleaders in yellow pant suits and berets. Or spandex. Depending.

[IMPORTANT ASIDE: With “yellow pant suits and berets” Christa’s referring to Je M’appelle Steve, a brilliant YouTube clip we at Veggie Vag like to watch over and over til we cry with laughter. The more you watch it, the funnier it gets.]

Veggie Vag even has an assistant! His name is Dane. Dane Joseph McKellen. He’s fabulous. He’s shower fresh even at 4pm. He anticipates our needs. Dane shows up with a latte just before you realize you need one. Dane reminds you of impending deadlines and copies all the grants. Dane keeps extra mascara and tampons in his desk drawer. Dane orders Thai when you’re working late. Dane put fresh flowers on your desk and clears the boardroom air with aromatherapy.

I could go on and on about Dane, he’s a gem. Dane even has a twitter page, of course, @daneofalltrades. If you’d like to check him out, drop him a line to tell him he’s doing great or ask for some wardrobe advice, do it! But don’t try and lure him to your company, he’s ours and is as loyal as the day is long.

I got mugs made for our 1st anniversary this month. Dane reminded me that it had been a year since we named ourselves and signed the lease on our excellent, 2,800 square foot downtown Toronto loft offices. He suggested that mugs would be particularly classy. I agreed. And every morning I drink tea and think of my Veggie Vag ladies, standing by should I need some extra eyes and perspectives. Or a laugh. Or commiseration.

I am a dreamer. I love imagining and make-believing and creating — so much so that artist and creator became my profession, it seemed inevitable and obvious to me from a young age. I choreograph and dance, I make and inhabit worlds and ideas of my choosing and construction. I sew and craft, imagining and creating what I hope or suspect might work in fabric or paper.

I also spend a few hours teaching creative dance to wee kids each week, which allows me to gallop as a horse, swirl as a wind storm, dart as a fish. It’s a space to remember the fantastic, immense imaginations we are born with. That we have the capacity to believe the impossible into all-sorts-of-possible at our start, but often squelch or embarrass or forget that faith right out of ourselves.

Cheers to make-believing, even, or perhaps especially when you’re an adult. That’s it for this Veggie-Vagger, over and out.

Cutting, tweeting, pinning

After a lot of days spent reading about business models for crafters while nursing my now 4-month-old and stolen moments with the computer working on my website and familiarizing with wordpress, my challenge to myself this week is to actually get some production started. I need to feel the balance rebalancing — the admin matching the actual making, and admin’s been winning for a while. So I’ve been cutting …

CUTTING: … that’s right, I’ve been cutting out burping pads — next the linings, then the sewing, last the quilting, but due to small boys at home, I’m setting modest goals, and this week it’s to simply cut!

TWEETING: And I’m on Twitter at last at last – I popped my tweet cherry yesterday! It’s sort of wonderful and awful all at the same time to have joined yet another form of social media, but I can see how it’ll be useful and I admit it’s addictively fun — that’s partly why I resisted! Follow me for goodness’ sake! [Truth: I actually caved and joined for Dane Joseph McKellen, but that’s a story for another day …]

PINNING: As for the pinning, my friend, the lovely and stylish Ray Hogg told me about Pinterest, and I’m in love. It’s a bulletin board of things you find online, plus you can follow other cool people’s boards thus increasing your knowledge of awesome on the internet. I’ve said goodbye to sending emails to myself of great url’s that I don’t want to forget. I highly recommend. Here’s one of my pages!