Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I don't know why, but I love fabric covered buttons. They're not as practical since they're much harder to keep clean, and they often tend to be a little floppy because of how they're sewn on, but they just look so delicious and sweet!

If you search Etsy for fabric covered buttons, some of the cutest little buttons come up! I just love these, these, and of course little red. So much fun!

I have this beautiful Nani Iro gauzey fabric that I had no idea what to do with (I still don't, actually). I clipped off a tiny piece and made it into fabric buttons! A simple, yet satisfying craft. I could make buttons all day long!

Now, of course, I have no idea what to use these buttons for.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Week of Pyrex.

My mom and I have always been very close. I'm lucky. She was very strict when I was young, but as I grew older she loosened up and we grew closer. We've shared many special hobbies over the years, giving us something to do together. This ranged from something as simple as going on walks together every evening, to redecorating, to going to dog school classes together with Lola. This past year we would attend church sales, holiday bazaars, and antique fairs together, and more recently she has come on many of my Pyrex runs. She has seen how much fun the hunt can be!

This past weekend, mom went up to cottage country (I'm so jealous, I love cottaging) and did some Pyrex shopping in the amazing antique markets they have there. It was so sweet of her to bring me back something, and I loved that she had so much fun doing it. She was telling me stories of how two other women were searching the market for Pyrex and it turned into a little friendly competition of sorts. In the end both parties ended up walking away with lots of goodies. My uncle, who's cottage she was visiting, did think she was a little crazy for buying so many 'old dishes', but she had fun doing it.

My Pyrex collection is getting a little out of hand, filling up two entire cupboards. This morning was spent packing up books into boxes to clear a shelf for bowls. If they were my books I would be donating them since they are never used, but since it's not up to me they are going into the basement storage closet until their true owner comes to pick them up (hopefully soon! I hate to see books not being appreciated).

I am going to have so much fun arranging and re-arranging that shelf! I bet this sounds silly from a non-Pyrex lover's perspective, but I'm sure you can understand that we all have our things. This one happens to be very useful - when I cook or bake I have so many dishes to chose from! I can even colour coordinate! Okay, that was only half-serious, but I do think food always looks better served in pretty dishes.

And who can argue with a pink patterened bowl? Not me!

I am grateful.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Faux Patchwork Quilt.

I love love love this fabric! It's Pear Patchwork Red from Superbuzzy. I bought it months ago with the intention to turn it into a picnic blanket. Can't you just picture summer picnics on this sweet patchwork? I didn't have much use for a picnic blanket during the winter months, so this project kept getting pushed aside. Spring didn't leave me with much time for picnics, but now that Summer is here I am looking forward to the first of the season, and that of course requires a new blanket! It isn't quite finished yet, but it's supposed to rain over the next few days so I wanted to snap a picture of it outside while I could.

I like to call this my 'cheater quilt' because the patchwork is printed right on the fabric. It is perfect for a first time quilter who wanted a simple weekend project that provided great results! I also wanted something big so that at least two people plus a picnic could fit comfortably on top.

I used a natural cotton batting on the inside. It adds a bit of thickness and weight to the quilt, but it's fairly thin and light so the quilt isn't too heavy or stiff. The backing is a plain cotton fabric in a beige tone. The front is so busy that I wanted something solid for the back. I plan to bind the edges with red to pick up the red in the pattern as well as the front seams (which don't show up very well in the pictures).

There will be seams running the other way, but I'm having trouble deciding how to space them. The patchwork pattern repeats every four squares across, and every six squares down. I wanted to have the seams create squares on the fabric, but I'm not sure I want to break up the pattern. I guess that is something I'll have to figure out soon! I cannot wait to use this blanket!

Next time I will do it the 'real way' with real patchwork squares and maybe even some interesting stitching. For now, I am very happy with my faux patchwork quilt!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

18 years.

In August of 1991 my family took a trip to the Toronto Humane Society. We were looking for a small dog, but what I really wanted was a white cat. At Brownie camp earlier that summer I even wished for a white cat in the Enchanted Wood (there was a section of forest dubbed the "Enchanted Wood". One night during each camp session, the leaders would dress up as fairies and put on a play for us. Paper lanterns hung from the trees and 'fairy dust', which was really fine glitter, was sprinkled all over. It was truly magical, even if we all knew it was really the leaders in costume. There was a concrete mushroom that had been in the forest since the camp was opened, and each of us would take a turn sitting on it and making a wish while 'fairy dust' was sprinkled over our heads.) There weren't any small dogs at the Humane Society, and I was terrified of the larger ones (my cousin had a large dog that used to nip at me, which fostered this fear), so we were going to leave without a new family member.

On the way out, I pleaded "can't we just look at the cats?" My ciocia, who was living with us for the year, convinced my mom to humor me. So off to the cat room we went, just to look. Then it happened. We immediately saw her from across the room - this tiny white thing with huge paws, head and ears, playfully batting at the cage bars. We all fell in love with her and my mom knew she couldn't say no. She was our cat. All the way home my brother and I debated names. Being seven and not quite nine, we came up with some pretty terrible ones. We finally settled on Snowie, with an 'ie' because she was a girl. That's what you get when you let kids name the cat!

A few hours after we brought her home, after she had run around the entire house and climbed up every curtain she could find, we realized she had fleas. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the vet, bathing the cat, and then vacuuming and cleaning the house top to bottom. We had set up a fancy basket for her to sleep in, but she preferred sleeping on my face. That didn't last long! She eventually found many favourite sleeping spots, including the top of the fridge.

A week after we brought her home she got very sick. She lay on a pillow behind the couch all day and the vet was concerned she wouldn't make it. For months she was on medicine to make her strong. It came in a squeeze tube and she used to lick it off a spoon. After that, she was just fine, and she grew into a beautiful 12 pound cat.

Snowie was my best friend growing up. She listened to me, she loved on me, and she let me love on her even though I probably drove her crazy. When I was sad, she showed up at my side. When I was sick, she cuddled with me. When I had an allergy attack, she was the first to realize something wasn't right, and when she was sick I knew right away.

Just over three years ago Snowie was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer. We thought it was a death sentence. I felt terrible because we had put her through all kinds of testing and treatment before realizing what it was, and now we being were told she had two years at most, but even that was unlikely. Each subsequent vet visit filled me with worry. She seemed fine on the outside, but her test results told us she wouldn't make it past the winter, then the spring, then the summer, then the fall...

Right after we brought Lola home Snowie's test results improved significantly. Suddenly all her blood and liver values were nearly normal. It was incredible! More recently her kidneys haven't been doing as well, and again we were told that she wouldn't have much time left. Well, she's still here and going strong. This girl does not give up! She doesn't seem to be uncomfortable or in any pain either. She jumps and plays, explores our yard (supervised of course), cuddles up on our laps, begs for her favourite treats, stands her ground when Lola bothers her too much, likes her water straight from the faucet, and naps in all her favourite spots. I hope she continues to prove everyone wrong. She is so strong.

We're not sure of her actual birthday since she was a rescue, but she was around eight weeks old when we brought her home and the vet guessed June 25th. So today we celebrate 18 years of Snowie.

Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thrifting Day.

Rummaging through thrift stores, antique shops, church sales, bazaars, flea markets, yard sales, and any place of the sort, is one of my favourite pastimes. There are so many interesting things to discover. Things that someone has discarded or passed on. Being a Pyrex junkie, this bodes well for me since it means I can hunt for my beloved Pyrex and not break the bank. Plus, it's much more fun than buying online! I often stumble upon other things too.

Like these plates! I'm not sure what they are, but they have the bumpy bottoms that Glasbake dishes have. Searching online hasn't brought up anything. In any case, they are super cute and how could I go wrong for $2 for four plates? EDIT: I've found out these are by Federal Glass. It's a pattern called Chalet.

Now on to the Pyrex! I did very well today, finding three Pyrex dishes in excellent condition. I already had the small Shenandoah casserole dish, but I wanted to photograph them as a set. $2

One thrift store near me always seems to have English Pyrex on their shelves. I've been there three times, and all three times I've found something. I first got two Vine casserole dishes, and then this casserole dish, and today I found this Chelsea casserole dish. $3

Butterprint! This is one of my favourite patterns. $3

I also picked up this set of Betty Crocker recipe cards. Some of the recipes look really awful, but some are really cool. $2

I also picked up that woven mat for 99 cents. It reminded me of the braided rugs my great uncle had in his cottage. He had one in every single room, including the bathroom. I always wanted one of my own.

Thrifting is about saving money, re-using, and re-purposing - being 'thrifty' - but in some cases it helps fuel our hobbies too. For $12.99, that's okay. I feel as long as I actually use the things I buy (which I do, the Pyrex gets cycled in my kitchen), and I enjoy it, it's fine to have more dishes than necessary. In my book, you can never have too many pretty dishes!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Start of Strawberry Season.

Strawberry season has officially started in Ontario. There are tons of fresh Ontario strawberries available, and the local farms are opening their gates to strawberry pickers (please tell me why it is so much easier to find someone to go apple picking with me than strawberry picking!). Our tiny backyard patch has bits of red peaking out, and our hanging baskets are sure producing! These give us enough to snack on, but I would still like to visit a local farm to pick berries for the bigger jobs, like jam making and freezing. Frozen strawberries are one of my very favourite treats.

The rest of our garden is growing and changing, and filling me with excitement for the good things to come.

The tomatoes I planted in the ground are just beginning to grow tiny green bulbs, but this plant (which I had originally thought was a cherry tomato plant) has several plump green tomatoes.

The gooseberries are ready to turn purple.

The currants are already changing to red.

And the raspberries are beginning to flower and grow. We were worried we wouldn't have nearly as many as previous years because Lola runs through the raspberry bushes and she has knocked over some stems during the winter, but they have filled out nicely.

We've also had our usual visit from the Doves who like to nest in our grape vine, a sure sign that summer is here. It isn't a good place for them as squirrels frequent it as well, but they still come back every year.

I'm almost embarassed to post this last photo as my vegetable garden that I envisioned with straight and even rows of beans, peas, cucumber, and zucchini, ended up looking like this instead..

The beans are also very crowded and I'm worried I will have to thin them out a little. I guess it really shouldn't matter what it looks like as long as I am happy with it. I am very glad it is growing well!

Enjoy the delicious strawberry season!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Banana Bread.

It is rare that bananas make it to the overripe stage in this house. We love bananas! If I had to choose only one food I could eat for the rest of my life, it would be bananas. I wish I could choose something more local, something that I could even grow myself, but they are just too good. Yum! This past week we bought too many bananas, even for us. The leftovers sat on the shelf getting more and more brown spots, until today when after a long afternoon of volunteering in an Elementary School classroom cataloging books and re-doing bulletin boards, I needed a sweet homemade treat. I turned to a favourite banana bread recipe, Fluffernutter Bread by ljc. Delish!

Definitely not a healthy treat, with one cup of mini-marshmallows and one cup of peanut butter chips on top of the sugar in the recipe, but sometimes we need to splurge a little - at least that's what I tell myself.

With all of the marshmallows and peanut butter chips, I find that I don't need to use as much sugar as the recipe calls for. I also use brown instead of white.

Mine never turn out as pretty. The marshmallows melt and leave craters all over the bread. Looks aside, it is wonderful. A once in a while special treat, perfect for a banana loving family.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Rain and me, we never got along. I always knew the Earth was better for the rain, but I certainly was not. It was wet and smelly and ruined a lot of potentially fun days. After I was considered too old to jump in puddles (which you never truly are, but try convincing my mom of that!), rain meant indoor days at my great-uncle's cottage, wet tents and tons of mosquitos, cancelled trips to Wonderland, postponed picnics and beach days, indoor recess, and a host of other things that equalled boring and just not very good at all. Often my brother and I ended up inventing games or discovering something new and interesting, and we'd have a blast, but when I woke up and peaked out the curtain to be greated by grey sky and wet ground, I was still convinced it was going to be a terrible day. As I grew older, rain meant wet shoes and pant hems, bad drivers, cancelled outings, and closed roller coasters. I really wanted to embrace the rain, but try as I might, I never fully could.

This year rain and I have called a truce. Rain doesn't seem nearly so bad when you see your plants shoot up after each rain fall. When you really think about how important rain is and all that it does for us, instead of just 'knowing', rain is actually pretty cool. It might be a little selfish, but planting this garden of mine has changed my mind. When it rains now, I become excited to see how my garden will change and grow. When rain stops me from doing something, I think about what it is doing for me instead. If the rain has you down, you might want to try planting a little garden of your own.

(Just don't rain too much.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Goods.

I really don't like to think of myself as materialistic, although I guess in some ways we all are. Some of us more than others. I hate to admit it, but part of the fun of travelling to the US for me is the shopping. There are stores we don't have here, and things I see posted about all over blogs that come from places that don't even ship to Canada or that charge very high amounts to ship here. It is always nice to be able to go to those places when I'm there.

Months and months ago I saw the Orla Kiely for Target line popping up all over blogs. Cute prints in fun colours on all kinds of accessories. I especially loved the dishes, and kept picturing them at a picnic or on my backyard table on a summer night. I found a few pieces on ebay, but the prices were jacked up and the shipping was incredibly high since dishes tend to weigh quite a bit. Our trip gave me perfect opportunity to search these out for myself, although fitting them in my luggage would be a challenge. You can bet those mugs were packed full of socks and wrapped in t-shirts, and the bowl stuffed with clothes.

They didn't have exactly what I wanted, but I think these are just perfect. The only issue being there are only three plates and three mugs in two different colours. That was all they had. They will just have to be used at gatherings of three, which happens quite often right now - perfect!

Looking a this picture makes me anxious for those summer dinners out on the patio. I can't wait!

Undies are another thing. I always manage to come home with at least five pairs of underwear. At least that keeps me going a while! And they're comfy, which is a must.

Yes, I did just post a picture of my undies!

I did do some shopping at the parks, but I'm happy to say that in a land of Mickeys, very few red shorted mice came home with me.

I mostly stuck to the store in 'Japan' at Epcot where I found lots of Shinzi Katoh (a favourite artist of mine) and other cute stationary. I was very tempted by the stores in 'Norway' and 'Germany' that were full of beautiful Christmas decorations (even Erzgebirge), but the prices were much too high.

Just a couple mice..

(Mike Mouse Vinylmation)

..but mostly park maps (free with admission) to add to my collection.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Beach.

After all of those roller coasters I posted about yesterday, we were due for some rest and relaxation. What better place to do that then on the beach? It didn't turn out to be as restful as we had hoped due to the beach being extremely crowded (on our last vacation the beach was deserted most of the time), but it was still nice, especially during the sunsets.

Our hotel was two blocks from the beach. The quiet evening walks down to the beach and along the surf - his hand in mine, the waves breaking over our feet while the sun set beside us - were some of my favourite moments.

I also enjoyed playing in the giant waves and laying out in the sun, catching up on my reading during the day. Sand in my toes (and everywhere else, including the bottom of my bag), oversized striped towels, the smell of salt in the slight breeze, and the boats saling past...yes, I love the beach.

But I missed home too..

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Roller Coasters.

Here is a secret to those who don't know me well - I love roller coasters. Big ones, little ones, wood ones, steel ones, water ones, bobsled ones, looping ones, I love them all! Jer whisked me away to Florida for ten days (an anniversary gift to me) to visit several amusement parks and spend three days at the beach afterwards. It was wonderful! I had taken a break from coaster riding due to some medical issues, so it was nice to be back on those trains, flying around giant tracks.

Here is a little peek..

As much fun as I had, it is nice to be out of the crowds and the Florida heat, and back in the comfort of my home. I missed my pets dearly. I can't say I wouldn't go back in a heartbeat if given the chance though!
After I get through the 1000+ pictures I took (yes, that's not a typo, I did actually take over one thousand pictures), I will post pictures of my garden. It has grown so much!