One Sweet Journey: Chapter Three

Previously: Sergeant Blackberry took on the challenge of finding Jam Jar and guaranteeing her allegiance to the Sweetness Club. Some pieces of toast kept their hands to themselves as everyone around them high-fived.


It was by means of sailboat that Sergeant Blackberry, charged with the task of delivering an Oath-capturing receptacle to the young Jam Jar, drifted away from the Sweetness Club headquarters, toward the field where his quarry lay with a tummy ache. The boat was fashioned from cracker boxes, sealed with water-resistant marmalade and equipped with old paper bags – for sailing. Dubious as it may have appeared, the boat whisked Blackberry towards Jam Jar quickly and true. 

Jam Jar had scarcely moved an inch when Sergeant Blackberry arrived, rankled to discover the new recruit prostrate on the grass. ‘Scout! On your feet! There will be no lollygagging, dillydallying or shilly-shallying in the Sweetness Club! There’s been a whole mess’a  people not being sweet these days, and you’re here to do something about it!’ Blackberry detailed the instructions about the Jam Oath, but when he presented J.J. with the glass jar, well, we’ll not go into the specifics of what happened, but it was not any sacred Sweetness Club words that filled the jar, but rather whatever it was that was causing the tummy ache.

Suddenly, Jam Jar felt a whole lot better.

One Sweet Journey: Chapter Two

Previously: Jam Jar had a tummyache on a beautiful summer day (how woefully inappropriate!), and collapsed onto a package from the Sweetness Club (how did it get there?). 

Some indeterminate and insignificant distance from where Jam Jar lay sorrowfully in a field of soft summer grass, there gathered a group of noble-looking foodstuffs. Among them were, to name some of the more outstanding members of the group, a piece of toast, a jar of peanut butter, a morsel of blue cheese, a stick of butter and, sitting on an imposing throne of berries, a prodigiously large jam jar. The latter rose from his throne to address the group, causing a cacophony of jingles and jangles as the various medallions festooning his coat shook about. 

‘Esteemed members of the Sweetness Club,’ he began, ‘we can assume by now that our package has reached the young Jam Jar. Our dreams of combatting the recent drought of Sweetness in the world now have a crumb of hope.’

High fives, fist bumps and other matter of celebratory gesticulations spread around the circular chamber of the Sweetness Club’s headquarters. (The pieces of toast tended to avoid such shows of celebration, since physical contact invariably made a mess at their feet.)

‘However!’ the speaker continued, ‘If this young candidate is to be of any use to us, she will have to demonstrate her commitment to the cause. She must memorize the Jam Oath. Sergeant Blackberry, go, find her and have her recite the words into this old jar I was about to recycle. Bring it back to me and I shall determine her role in the Sweetness Club.’ An air of seriousness seized the room; everyone understood the gravity of finding somebody to spread Sweetness to a world that needed it so badly. ‘There may be much ahead of her.’

One Sweet Journey: Chapter One

One Sweet Journey is a serial novella about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the Sweetness Club. Chapter One begins today.

When you really stop and think about it, a tummy ache is something that should never happen on a beautiful summer day. But it was on such a day, in the middle of a soft, green field, under the soft, yellow light of the summer sun, that Jam Jar was beset by the inconvenient interruption of a world-halting tummy ache. 

“Ergggggh,” moaned J.J., collapsing into the grass. The tickle of the earth, something usually delightful under her bare feet, was bothersome. That’s a tummy ache for you, though: nothing is fun. 

As J.J. hopelessly wobbled about with her aching tummy pressed into the ground, she felt something under her. It was a tiny brown cardboard box, with looping letters that looked like cooked noodles reading, “Sweetness Club” and, under that, “Spread the Sweetness” and, under that, “Good for Tummy Aches.” 

And, just like that, Jam Jar had been drafted into the mysterious Sweetness Club and given the rank of Raspberry Scout. And, just like that, J.J. was about to start a big adventure. She just had to pick herself up first. 

History of Valentine's

As A Jam Story laces up for Valentine's Day, preparing to spread good ol' Jammy sweetness with cards, surreptitious love notes and, of course, Sweetness Club memberships, we find it interesting to look back on the history of Valentine's, which, as it turns out, is rather colourful but sort of unclear. 

 

The Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia from February 13 - 15 with a mixture of gaiety, animal sacrifice and some questionable (historical judgements reserved) behaviour. Today, there is surely some darkness associated with the fourteenth day of February, with the potential to leave people feeling left out, or to remind people of previous, tender heartwounds. 

A Jam Story is taking a light approach to Valentine's.

 We travelled through time for inspiration.

We travelled through time for inspiration.

We encourage you be a little whimsical this Valentine's. Pin a Jam button to your chest, give a fun love note to an old friend, or leave a small card at a stranger's table. 




Winner of the Jam Sweepstakes

And the winner is...

(Just a second)

At the Royal Bison Art and Craft Fair, we at A Jam Story had you, the Royal Bison Goer, guess how many buttons it took to fill this jar.

We'd like to thank everyone that participated, but there can only be one winner! There we some extravagant highs and some puzzling lows. In fact, there were  88 buttons, which means the winner is Cherlyn. Congratulations, Cherlyn!

Cherlyn's amazing intuition won her a  6-month Sweetness Club Membership, which means that she and hers will receive something sweet from the Jamverse every month. Read all about it here!

Everyone else, you too can join the Sweetness Ranks for 6 months, 12 months or FOREVER*. A Sweetness Club Membership also makes for a perfect holiday gift, extending the gift-giving season across an entire year! Wow! 
 

Happy Holidays! 
Love,
A Jam Story



*Pending quantities and apocalypses

Royal Bison // Black Friday

Hello, dear readers and Western consumers! 

Today is an interesting day in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is Black Friday, the epicentre of the storm of sweet deals, long lines and vicious combat now known as Black Friday Week. Black Friday is originally an American concept, but in recent years it has cast its invisible hand elsewhere, including Britain: 

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It is also the first day of the Royal Bison, Edmonton's biannual, oh-so-fine art & craft fair. It is home to some of Edmonton's (and this year, the prairies') most wonderful creatives, crafters and artists. It is a chance to support locally made talent and strengthen the community. 

Both the Royal Bison and Black Friday are unique shopping opportunities. But at one you can have a Bailey's Coffee, talk with some neat-o locals  and buy things only available in your hometown; at the other you can buy several flatscreen TVs for the price of one! 

My mind's made up. See you at Walmart!

 

Incoming Bison!

Do you hear that? The thunderous, still-distant but steadily approaching clamour of hoofed feet barreling toward Edmonton. The roar of creative ungulates storming the Cosmopolitan Music Society not just from our own city's arteries, but from the entire Canadian Prairies. It's the Royal Bison Art and Craft Fair!

We'll be there on the 5th, 6th and 7th, armed to the teeth with not only all the cute, jammy stuff you can find here on our website, but also with new (and improved) holiday gifts!

There's a full list of vendors at http://royalbison.ca/, but since we've got your attention, we'd like to make a personal plug for first-timers State Motto Bitters (for tasty, tasty improvements on your home cocktails) and other first-timers Granville Woods Electric Company (super cool light fixtures)!  

See you at the Bison, Prairie People!

Recommended Reading

Canadian illustrator Jon Klassen, acclaimed author of the heartwarmingly grim children's books I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat, and collaborator on an ever-growing list of other works, released a new book last week, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole. 

  Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. Illustrator: Jon Klassen. Author: Mac Barnett

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. Illustrator: Jon Klassen. Author: Mac Barnett

If I achieve nothing else this week, I will get my hands on this book. Aside from the endearing illustration style (about five colours of pencil crayon, Klassen has been known to say), the books Klassen works on acknowledge that children are the scheming, schoolyard-justice-seeking humans we all remember once being.

It feels like a week to lie down with a good book.

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Sheepwalk: How did we miss this?

Fall is no stranger to bizarre practices (Pagan Apple Magic, for example). Fort Saskatchewan, just down the road for you Edmonton-based readers, has its own amusing fall ceremony, the Sheep Leaving Parade. As the cold settles in, even the warm, wooly beast that is the ovis aries must part for a warmer home. This tiny migration provides an audience with a modest spectacle. The sheep parade through the streets of Fort Saskatchewan on their way to their winter homes. We have tragically missed it this year, but rest assured that our calendars are marked for next September.

 www.edmontonjournal.com

www.edmontonjournal.com

A closing Apple Magic hot tip: take an apple, peel the skin off in one piece and drop it to the ground. Whatever letter the fallen skin resembles is the first letter of your next lover’s name. 

Improve your love life with Apple Magic!

#YEAROFSWEETNESS 3: SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE

This week's #yearofsweetness is brought to you by local poet, performer and gentleman about town, Colin Matty. Catch him at the Fringe and put this into your browser sometime: http://convictionoverdiscipline.wordpress.com/

O Sweet

O Sweet! My love of sugared things
has brought me to your door step.
I throw hard candy at the window
rattle your roses red
and hum bee songs near the flower box,
sighing for a softer song of you.
But a look, my Sweet,
but an askance glance is all I ask
to set free these butterflies
from their pins and needles
into your roaring orange daisies
whispering blue bells
and pimple red raspberries.
I will weave laurels of your lavender
and preserve your sweetness
for colder nights to come
but first, O Sweet
O grant me a blushing peek!
Pull out these pins and needles,
let us dance in the thistledown
and drink the fading summer sun.  ^_^

Jam at the Culture Collective Arts Market

The Jam team will be making an appearance at the upcoming Culture Collective Arts Market!



For your viewing and purchasing pleasure we will have an array of books, buttons and other jammy thangs to smack your lips at (metaphorically; again, we do not sell jam). 

There will also be nearly endless entertainment from

Rapid Fire Theatre
Lindsey Walker - Music
Colin Michael Matty 
Capital City Burlesque
Junior Brown 
Remo de Janeiro & Rootbeard 

and other vendors deserving of your attention

The Bamboo Ballroom
Derks Menswear
Made Urban
Dead Vinyl Society

Come on by! 

7-10pm

Yellowhead Brewery, 10229-105 STREET


 

Close Encounters with a Groundhog

#yearofsweetness no.2

Attention, all River Valley walkers, bladers, stalkers and waders! There is a new resident that has taken up home along the shoreline just north of Government Hill.

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While at first terrifying in appearance (pictured above), this fuzzy little guy is in fact docile as can be, and will gladly take your offerings of tiny carrots.

Next time you’re strolling next to the river, be on the lookout. Staring in this groundhog's beady little eyes will really sweeten your day. 

Jam once a day keeps the doctor away.

Hi! Thanks for reading the Jam Story blog! Over the next while, Jam is going to be exploring, excavating and sharing everything sweet the world has to offer. Maybe it’ll just be a photo of a koala bear that you cannot go another minute without seeing, or maybe a bonafide, thoughtful essay with a sweet twist. Whatever it may be, you can look forward to a #yearofsweetness.

#yearofsweetness no.1

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently recommended that children be read to every day. Benefits of books at an early age seem to be numerous and far-reaching, including improved “language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime” (LA Times).

 (La Times)

(La Times)

Read more here. Also, just read more, period—to children. But especially Jam. Read them the Jam books. 

Sweet Sneak Peak #5

Fifth and final sneak peak for the upcoming Royal Bison!

The fifth card in my "Mini Bits of Sweetness for Every Day" card pack: Don't Cry Over Spilt Peanut Butter. Because life sucks sometimes. Plus everyone seems to be allergic to peanuts these days. It's a tough peanut life.

The Bison starts tomorrow!

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Sweet Sneak Peak #4

Fourth sneak peak for the upcoming Royal Bison!

The fourth of five cards in my "Mini Bits of Sweetness for Every Day" card pack: All in the family. For those adorable people in your life that are reproducing.

Only 3 more days until the Bison!

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Sweet Sneak Peak #3

Third sneak peak for the upcoming Royal Bison!

The third of five cards in my "Mini Bits of Sweetness for Every Day" card pack: Stand Off. A card that reminds us that collaboration can get sticky.

Only 4 more days until the Bison!

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Sweet Sneak Peak #2

Second sneak peak for the upcoming Royal Bison!

I have now officially titled this mini pack of 5 cards "Mini Bits of Sweetness for Every Day". This illustration is called Lunchadores, because - obviously.

Only 10 more days until the Bison!

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Spreading the Sweetness, Sneak Peak #1

Leading up to the Royal Bison, I'm going to give you all sneak peaks of some of my new illustrations that will be appearing in the *cutest ever* set of mini cards.

My Mini Set of Sweetness cards will come in packs of five different cards that will hopefully come in useful for some of life's most important occasions. The first card's illustration is Jam Heartbreak, because we all know heartbreak can be bittersweet... 

jamheartbreak.jpg