Tuesday, May 30, 2006

last weekend (part 1)

in case you didn't see my post in my comments section, thanks again to everyone for their sweet birthday wishes! every single one of them made me smile...


so this past weekend was probably my busiest one in a very long while. i did so many fun and interesting things that i think i might have to devote most (if not all) of this week's bloggy entries to sharing it all with you.


after work i got the windshield fixed, which was neither fun nor interesting. but what i did immediately after picking it up from the shop, was! i headed over to the annual textile museum yardage sale. i was a bit bummed because it started at 11am, and if i hadn't had to get the blasted window fixed, i could have been there by 12:30 before things were picked over. as it turned out there were still lots of goodies to be found at 5:30.

vintage patterns were 5 for $1! since i don't sew, i wasn't worried about finding patterns in my size or styles that i liked. all i did was pick out the ones with lovely retro illustrations so they can be turned into something cute and crafty.

i also bought about 5 vintage magazines, 3 of which were these vintage needlecraft magazines. i also scored an issue of martha stewart. (if you look closely you can sort of see the stacks of patterns i picked up...i think i got about 20 in total)
a stack of vintage sewing patterns

and most of you have probably figured out by now that i am totally and completely obsessed with vintage buttons...especially the pretty plastic ones. so i had to get these (total $1.50 for the whole lot)
vintage buttons

in all, i spent just over $6!!

as if that wasn't fun enough, i went out friday night to a massive houseparty (300+ people) to see paul's new band, soft copy, make their live debut. they rocked the house!

then to bed at 3am...and up the next morning at 6:00am! stay tuned to find out what was able to get me out of bed after only 3 hours of sleep!

Friday, May 26, 2006


as much as i tried to pretend it wasn't, yesterday was indeed my birthday. i turned 35 (although i told everyone at work i was 70 and added, "see what a vegetarian diet can do for your skin?!").

paul gave in and let me celebrate in the most low-key way possible. he did manage to eventually convince me to at least go out to dinner. however, we got into the car and quickly realized our windshield had a massive crack across it. unfortunately, the stress of worrying about how much it would cost to replace sort of killed our appetite. we decided to abandon the idea of going out for a slightly pricier meal at pulp kitchen and got indian takeout at our local cheapie digs instead. it was still yummy though.

paul surprised me with carrot cake from the restaurant we had our wedding party at
b-day cake

he also got me some great presents (stars cd and a cookbook)
b-day loot

noah joined us at our quiet little party (and even let us put ribbons on his collar).

and the good news is that my insurance is going to cover most of the cost of the windshield.


now for the really exciting news: this afternoon when i got home from work, i was browsing through the latest NOW magazine (local free weekly) after i ate lunch. just like every other week, i opened it up to my favourite section first. as i was reading, something jumped out at me...i thought i was dreaming when i saw that my name was in the style section!!!
ratgirl in NOW


Friday, May 19, 2006

because you have a long weekend to get sucked in

ok, my latest obsession has even caught ME offguard.

the cutest video game ever with amigurumi characters!!

i'm so not the video-game-type...or at least i haven't been since about 1982 when i spent hours in front of the tv playing pacman, space invaders, and asteroids.

but these cutiepie amigurmi critters are what have me hooked, i think.

you need to try this!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

spring storm

it started to thunder a bit just as i was about to take noah for a walk this afternoon. i figured i'd better stay put and wait it out. we got caught in the rain yesterday (without an umbrella) and i didn't want to get soaked again. good thing we stayed inside because a few minutes later the skies opened up and a massive hail storm pelleted our neighbourhood for a good 10 minutes or more. it stormed for such a long time that the hail actually started to accumulate on our deck and lawn! (i had a dreadful snowy february flashback looking out at the backyard!)

spring hail storm

here's a closeup of the pellets
hail closeup

poor noah was a bit freaked out by the noise (it was thundering a lot plus the hail hitting the roof was quite loud). i brought him up to the studio and bundled him up in his blankey to make him feel safe. i think he liked that.

Monday, May 15, 2006

spring cleaning

some of you may recall my obsession with "before" and "after" pictures. i haven't done one of these in awhile but cleaning up my desk in the studio was waaaaayyyy overdue. i had to take a picture of what it looked like before, mainly to prove to myself afterwards that there was a huge improvement.

studio desk *before*

studio desk *after*

yeah, a bit of an improvement...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

she's crafty

this afternoon i went down to the distillery district to catch a show called "she's crafty" at the arta gallery. i've had the postcard for this show sitting on my desk for weeks and today was the last day of the show...i figured i'd better stop procrastinating and get off my butt!


the show was an exhibition for the grad students of the sheridan college crafts and design program (hello? where was this diploma in craftiness when i was shopping around for a post-secondary education 15 years ago!!??). there were so many beautiful and colourful things to look at. it was obvious that these students had poured their heart and soul into what they had made. the attention to detail was incredible!

the woman at the gallery was really nice. i asked right away if i could take photos and (much to my surprise) she said it was no problem. i took a lot of pictures but here are some of my favourite things from the show.

dolls with handmade clothes

skirts with appliques

a life-size "softie" girl with a (fabric) cake for a dress

i think these cute dresses were inspired by pioneers
pioneer dresses

this woman's work blew my mind! her installation was inspired by couples ending their relationships. kinda sad, but her work was beautiful and looked like it took an incredibly long time to do. these are her individual fabric booklets that tell the story of each character included in her bigger book called "double dutch" (you can see the big pink book on the table to the left).
little booklets

this is a page from her bigger book. every page was made of fabric and the pictures were a combination of ink drawings and bits of fabric and ribbon. the story was interactive in that certain parts of the text were silkscreened on fabric and and you had to lift it to read the next part hidden under the flap...sort of like a "pop up book".
double dutch

this next one reminded me of vania because of her lovely {vintage} apron collection. these were beautiful handpainted linen aprons. my camera doesn't do them justice.

and a close-up of my favourite

and i have to show a few pictures of the distillery area because it's so old and pretty.


hope everyone had a good weekend!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

clothing swap

last sunday, i went to my very first clothing swap! i was so excited because i had been squirrling away a ton of clothes that either didn't fit me properly or i didn't like anymore. i was hoping for an event just like this so i could give some of my favourite pieces a brand new loving home. however, some proved to be extra hard to part with:

like my crazy thrifted golf skirt which has seen years of indierock shows (but not one golf course!)

and my much-loved wraparound panda applique skirt i bought at a used clothing store. pandaskirt
it even had the name of the person who owned it before me stitched inside!

and here's the mountain of clothing i managed to part with and bring to the swap

when i pulled up to the building where the swap was being held, i was so excited to see mishka and her friend claire! turns out they were headed to the same place. claire was a sweetie and helped me carry my massive hockey bag stuffed with clothing up the 2 flights of stairs. another friend, michelle was also there. it was a really nice surprise to see her there too!

i scored some amazing vintage buttons...

...as well as a lovely grey cardigan, a black button-up shirt, a big rusty-coloured woven scarf, an embroidery hoop, a pom-pom maker, and a skirt previously owned by both mishka and claire. i don't have pictures of the clothes though because they're all in the laundry right now.

but my biggest score was this lovely light blue vinyl overnight bag. i love the faux-croc pattern!
(noah's in the picture to provide scale and a bit of cuteness!)

i was a bit nervous someone else at the swap would want it too (which meant it would be decided by a sob story or a coin toss). luckily nobody fought me for it, but i was ready with my plea for mercy. i told everyone i really wanted it because i have plans for a trip i've been hoping to take for years...and it's finally happening this summer! i explained i thought i'd look so much classier walking into the hotel with this swanky bag, rather than my monster-sized backpack. ;)

the coolest thing is that when i got home and went through the bag opening all of the zippers and pockets, i found a restaurant receipt. but not just any restaurant receipt.....i'm pretty sure it's a receipt from the city i'll be visiting ....the reason i wanted this lovely bag in the first place!

am i right? is that a receipt from new york city? well, anyway....that's where we're going in july!

and i've got a hot travel bag to take with me!

if indeed that receipt is from new york, isn't that kinda freaky that it was in there???

(michelle....maybe we can meet up for a cupcake while i'm there?)

Monday, May 08, 2006

happy birthday paulie!!

paul's birthday was on sunday, so our weekend was all about celebrating it! the fun started on saturday morning when we went over to our friends andrew and sabine's place for a "birthday brunch". nothing like good friends (and food) to make a milestone b-day a little less scary. they put on quite a spread! i've never eaten so much for breakfast in my life!


we had veggie sausages, herbed potatoes, scrambled eggs, fruit salad, fresh croissants, mixed greens salad, and fancy cheeses from the st. lawrence market).

after dinner, paul's dad and his partner joan came to our place for cake. i picked up a lemon cakelet from dufflet. it was so good...very lemony but not too sweet.

later i gave paul his gifts.

inside these packages were the postsecret book and a silkscreened tee by a local designer named yasmine louis. postsecret

the image on the shirt is from a photo she took of the 401 highway. the saying on it says "the 401 was still, we listened to the radio" (or something along those lines...i don't have it in front of me at the moment). especially meaningful since paul and i spent countless hours travelling the 401 to visit each other on weekends when we were dating...i was living in guelph and he was in toronto.
(sorry for the lack of photos of the birthday boy, but my honey was feeling a bit camera-shy yesterday...)

ps. paul's new band put up a page on myspace this weekend with a couple of their new songs. take a listen over here if you'd like! his bands older stuff (the songs i knew and loved before i even knew him are over here and here).

Friday, May 05, 2006

thursday's "charming" dinner

last night i made yet another recipe from garden of vegan. this time it was "charming fennel roasted vegetables", on pg. 119 for those following along at home. i also made breaded tofu, which came from my head not the cookbook. the dinner was absolutely, gold star, A+!

i'm loving this cookbook...everything is so easy to make because the recipes use just a few ingredients. (perfect for me because i'm a super lazy cook.)


thanks for the tips about blocking acrylic. i think i might give it a go. i've never blocked anything before (i guess i'm a lazy knitter too???) but i feel i should at least try with this project. the spot where stockinette meets garter is doing some mad curling and i'm not so happy with that. pictures to follow...promise!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

red buttons

this afternoon i stopped in at a neighbourhood vintage shop to pick up some old buttons to finish off a knitting project that has been gathering dust for months.
with any luck, a picture of the final product will be posted in the next couple of days... (ps. is it possible to block acrylic???)


and just as i was writing this post, we heard a clanging bell out on the street. it rang and rang...and then a robotic sounding recorded voice came on over a loudspeaker and said "ask us about our lawnmower sharpening". paul and i ran to the window to see this driving slowly up our street.
i love it! maybe it's just me, but it seems so old-skool!

ahhh... one more reason i love our neighbourhood!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

more new dishes

last night's dinner consisted of 2 more recipes from the garden of vegan.

1. "zoe and andy's sesame tofu" (pg. 122)-- soooo easy! 6 ingredients (one of which is the tofu) and let it marinate for 2 hrs in the fridge. this was fantastic!

2. "coconut curry vegetable bake" (pg. 124)-- also super easy! the bad news: i couldn't find any curry in the house. the good news: i substituted a tiny bit of cumin (because i like cumin in everything) and a healthy dose of ground ginger. man, it was so good that paul said that's the way we should make it from now on...forget about the curry. next time, this is going to be even awesome-er over rice.
coconut veggies + sesame tofu

(no new recipes tonight...paul's out at rock practice and i can't be bothered to go to all that trouble to cook for one.)

and a cute picture of noah sunning himself in the late afternoon sun in the studio.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

hugs for the library

i hit the library jackpot this week! a bunch of the books i had on hold came in at the same time.
(from bottom: knitting over the edge, simply felt, the garden of vegan, calciYum, readymade: how to make (almost) everything, martha stewart--good things, simple knits with a twist, budget makeovers, budget living--home cheap home, martha stewart--tag sales & flea markets, stitch 'n bitch crochet, 52 projects, sarah harmer--i am a mountain)

last night dinner was from a recipe in the garden of vegan. i made spicy vegetable hot pot (pg. 163) over couscous. it was a super easy dish to make. i made a few substitutions though...i used a tiny bit of asian chili sauce instead of a chili pepper, brocolli instead of cauliflower and a veggie bouillon cube + water instead of stock. it was absolutely delicious! my favourite part was the big chunks of green apple that cooked with the rest of the veggies. the spices were really fragrant but didn't add heat to the dish.

yesterday i also made zucchini carrot cake (pg. 128) from another one of my library books, calciYum. this book also has some great recipes packed with....well, calcium...from non-dairy sources like almonds, leafy greens, and tofu. the cake turned out really yummy but i have to admit, it took awhile to peel the carrots & zucchini and then grate them. it required a bit more prep than i like, (yes, i'm a lazy cook) but i would definitely make it again. i added some ground ginger and nutmeg along with the cinnamon to make it extra flavourful.
zucchini + carrot loaf
(you can see we couldn't wait to try it!)

i'm off to make tonight's dinner. not sure what it'll be yet, but i do know it'll be another recipe from garden of vegan. and after dinner....curling up with my mountain of books!!!! bliss...