Substitute teacher turns garden shed into used bookstore

Substitute teacher Kevin Stebner moonlights as the operator of a used book store — and you can find it in his backyard.

Situated in the Beltline and run out of a tiny green shack, the inside of Shed Books is illuminated by strings of lights and crammed with literature.

It also features old dishes and a lawn mower, because in spite of the books his patrons come to peruse, it remains a functioning shed for Stebner and his husband, Joe.

And though the space itself might seem quirky, Stebner came by the job honestly.

‘The used industry in Calgary is pretty slim, so there actually aren’t a lot of used bookstores anymore. So this is just a means to have a place to have those books find new homes,’ Stebner said. (Elizabeth Withey/CBC)

He previously worked at as a manager of a bookstore and missed it, Stebner said.

It was this history — and a penchant for book-buying — that would eventually lead to the creation of the little book store.

“I just have a tendency to hoard books in general — even just at home, my house is essentially a big library as well. So it got to a point where books were overflowing, and then I’d bring books to the shed labelled ‘shed books,'” Stebner said.

“But then my husband was like, ‘Well, why don’t you just take those books and flip them?'”

A place to pass books on

Described on its Facebook page as “specializing in curated and curious lit,” many of the titles found at Shed Books were sourced by Stebner himself, who hunts for a lot of his merchandise at thrift stores.

He said that customers also donate their own, because used book stores are increasingly hard to come by.

“A lot of people just bring them in, because they want … another place to pass books on,” Stebner said. 

“The used industry in Calgary is pretty slim, so there actually aren’t a lot of used bookstores anymore. So this is just a means to have a place to have those books find new homes.”

The book collection initially spanned one shelf, but eventually grew to overtake six, and runs a gamut of genres that include contemporary novels, poetry, philosophy, sci-fi, graphic novels, the arts and small-press Canadian literature.

Stebner estimates there are roughly 2,000 books on the shelves in his store for used books. (Elizabeth Withey/CBC)

“Robert Kroetsch is my favourite Albertan, so I always tend to try to put something like The Stud Horse Man into someone’s hand,” Stebner said. “It’s my favourite Alberta novel, at the very least.”

Currently, Stebner said he has a lot of Henry Miller that he is featuring on Instagram, but he regularly highlights different authors.

“I want to make sure that everything in there is good, something I could recommend, something that I know is worthwhile to read,” Stebner said.

As to whether or not he has read every volume himself, he chuckles.

“Of course not. There’s 

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The Kitchen Diva: Brussels sprouts shed their bad reputation | Cambridge News / Deerfield Independent

Long before Brussels sprouts became a trendy vegetable, my family, especially, my daughter, Deanna, were huge fans. My mother was raised on a farm and loved to grow all types of green vegetables. She was especially skilled with properly preparing Brussels sprouts and other typically stinky and slimy vegetables — I’m talking about you, cabbage and okra!

While Brussels sprouts have only recently become popular in America, sprouts have been a culinary mainstay in the southern Netherlands and Northern Europe since the 1600s. They may have been grown in Belgium as early as 1200, and are named for Brussels, its capital.

These tiny members of the cabbage and mustard family also have cancer-fighting phytochemicals, are high in vitamin C and are a reliable source of folate, vitamin A and potassium. Since Brussels sprouts are so good for you, why do so many people despise them?

In a web poll taken several years ago, more than 78,000 adults weighed in on the foods they hate. Brussels sprouts finished No. 8 on the list of most hated foods. The comments section overflowed with horror stories about being forced to eat the vegetable as a child.

One thing I noticed about the readers’ comments was that the Brussels sprouts they were served were muddy colored, overcooked and smelled bad. When Brussels sprouts are carefully selected, stored and cooked properly, they have a bright color, a crisp texture and a delicious flavor. When selecting the vegetable, look for small, young, vibrant green, tightly compacted sprouts.

Brussels sprouts are delicious boiled or steamed until tender, but still slightly crisp or roasted to bring out their natural sugars. Use sprouts that are all about the same size to ensure they will cook quickly and evenly. As a rule, Brussels sprouts cook in about 6 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to overcook Brussels sprouts because they will release sinigrin, a natural gas with a sulfur-like smell.

This recipe for Hashed Brussels Sprouts is flavorful and delicious. The quick cooking time and the addition of the garlic, onion and mustard complement the sprouts and showcase its flavors in a unique way. Try it, and you’re sure to become a Brussels sprouts lover, too!

HASHED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 pound Brussels sprouts

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 medium purple onion, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable broth or low-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey or sugar

1. Using a large bowl, pour in the lemon juice. Cut bottoms off the sprouts, and discard. Halve sprouts lengthwise. Thinly slice sprouts, cutting around and discarding the firm core. Immediately toss sprout slices with lemon juice to separate leaves and retain color.

2. Heat oil and butter over high heat in a skillet large enough to hold all the sprouts. When oil mixture is hot, but not smoking, add the sprouts,

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Stylish Summerhouse Transformation Is Perfect She Shed

Retired company director Jane Moyle has created the ultimate she shed in the garden of her Gloucestershire home.

Jane’s she shed won the Cabin/Summerhouse category in the Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2020 competition, and what started out as somewhere to store photo albums soon blossomed into a space for entertaining her 11 grandchildren.

‘It was originally built as a Japanese summerhouse, but was never finished by our predecessors, due to death,’ Jane explains on the entry. ‘It is a haven of peace and tranquility, which considering it is in the middle of a large town is often wondered at by our friends.’

The luxury summerhouse is decked out with sky blue walls and pillared columns, with sunbeds, a sink and a fridge for garden parties, and ample shelving perfect for storing Jane’s photographs and sports equipment. And there’s heating too, ideal for staying warm and cosy into the colder months.

‘I wanted a quiet place to read and relax,’ says Jane. ‘With the folding doors and the decking outside, it is ideal for outdoor meals, sunbathing, reading. But above all, the summerhouse is surrounded by a magnificent huge weeping willow tree, bronze and green Japanese acers, a yellow robinia and a purple smoke shrub.’

Take a peek inside below…

jane moyle's she shed  summerhouse in gloucestershire

Cuprinol

jane moyle's she shed  summerhouse in gloucestershire

Cuprinol

jane moyle's she shed  summerhouse in gloucestershire

Cuprinol

The overall winner of this year’s Shed of the Year 2020 competition went to Bedouin Tree Shed, a family’s nature-inspired refuge built around two living tree trunks in the back garden of their Blackheath home.

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Shed quarters: how to set up an office in your garden | Working from home

For millions of us, homeworking is here to stay for a while longer at least and some anticipate that they will never return to the office. However, many have struggled to find a satisfactory spot in their home where they can get on with their work undisturbed.

So it’s not surprising that lots of homeowners have been eyeing up their garden as a potential new working environment.

Research by Direct Line’s home insurance arm found that since lockdown began almost 1 million homeworkers have splashed out on a shed or similar outbuilding to use as an office or workspace and a further 1.1 million are planning to do so in the next 12 months.

Companies specialising in shed offices (or “shoffices”) and garden rooms have reported a surge in inquiries and orders. That applies to the mass-market retailers, where the most basic summerhouses start at only a few hundred pounds, all the way up to the high-end players, whose often architecturally striking creations can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

The boom in demand means that some designs are out of stock or you may have to wait several months for a delivery.

So what’s on offer and how much do they cost?

The average “shed worker” spent just over £3,300 on their garden workspace, according to research from the digital bank Starling, carried out a few weeks before lockdown.

The average size of a garden workspace was 65 sq ft (6 sq metres), according to the survey.

There is a vast array of options depending on your budget and aesthetic taste.

Go online and it’s not hard to find small wooden summerhouses for under £500 but something that cheap is only really going to be usable in good weather.

Realistically, you will need to spend a few thousand pounds for something you can comfortably use all year.

At the specialist site Sheds.co.uk, insulated garden rooms and buildings start at £5,694 for a 3×3 metre structure, going up to £9,899 for a 6×4 metre one (these prices include delivery and installation). The walls, floor and roof are fully insulated and the windows are double-glazed.

The Rowlinson 4.2 metre x 3.3 metre garden office log cabin from Sheds.co.uk
The Rowlinson 4.2 metre x 3.3 metre garden office log cabin from Sheds.co.uk. Photograph: Sheds.co.uk

At the log cabin specialist Summer House 24, offices start at about £2,400 but installation, insulation and roofing cover typically cost extra. For example, the 3.2×3.2 metre Nora B log cabin is priced at £2,430 but using its installation service costs an extra £850, while a floor and roof insulation kit is £570 and a roof shingle kit is £180. On its large Hansa log cabin offices costing £14,500, installation alone adds an extra £3,500 to the price.

John Lewis sells garden offices and studios made by Norfolk-based Crane Garden Buildings, including a 3×3 metre one costing £8,499, including installation and delivery. It is made in the UK from FSC-certified Scandinavian redwood, features floor-to-ceiling glass panels and is fully insulated, lined and double-glazed.

What is and isn’t included when you buy

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Sheds – A Brief Look at the History of the Garden Shed

England is a nation of shed lovers, one recent survey puts the figure at 20% of us owning a shed. From garden sheds to bikes sheds, wooden sheds to metal sheds, sheds have a long history and a multitude of uses aside from the storage of flower pots and the garden rake.

Shed is a derivation of an Old English word spelt shadde, shad or shedde which was first documented in 1481when referring to a "yearde in whiche was a shadde where in were six grete dogges." While we still keep animals in such buildings, the need for storage separate to our house is as strong and ancient as our need for a roof over our head.

As far back as humans in caves, smaller caves and alcoves were used as storage areas separate from living areas. The evolution and development of the shed runs parallel to that of the home. As homes became free-standing (as apposed to hewn into caves) so too did the shed, though it would be some time before that name was applied.

In the same way that wealth plays a role in the grandeur of homes, fortune affects the shed. Whereas the majority are able to fit all they need to into a 6×6 Apex-roofed wooden shed at the bottom of a garden, the wealthy are able to afford small extra buildings that are as opulent as their homes. It is appropriate that the nation of shed lovers was the same nation that the wealthy caused to birth the English Folly.

The English folly, such as Wimpole's Folly in Cambridgeshire, are buildings that serve no purpose over than their original storage needs, and would often be built simply for decorative purposes in the gardens of the rich. From gothic towers to elaborate brick sheds, the folly shows that even the wealthy have a love for the shed.

While it has been many a century since a folly was built, sheds are still in high demand in England and there's often more than one in a garden. So why own a shed? The common garden shed is more than just a way to stop the kids' bikes getting rusty (or stolen from the garden) and the range of activities carried out under the pent or apex roofs are various. In fact it could easily be argued that as the extravagance in designs for sheds has reduced, the diversity of its uses has increased.

Often tied in with the need for solace and retreat, many a hobby is able to fit inside a garden shed. From brewing beer to storing collections of old computer magazines, workbenches stocked with power tools, an area separate the numerous forms or recyclable litter or just as somewhere to house what the garage can no longer fit. There's sheds that have been turned into gyms with the installation of home work-out equipment or pool-side sheds that serve as changing rooms or even saunas.

So when strolling around a garden center or looking …

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