Monday, September 30, 2013

A is for Apple

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Fall? I really, really do. I'm a sucker for a fun Fall outing, and apple picking is one of the classics. On Saturday I convinced Jer that we needed to go. Unfortunately for us, about 80,000 other city dwellers had the same idea.

The parking lots were full and cars were parked up and down the road for at least a km. Don't get me wrong, apple picking is a lot of fun, but never in my life have I seen an apple orchard actually crowded. I don't know what it is about this year. We made the drive, so we decided to join the cars and take a nice walk to the orchard.

I chose this specific orchard for one reason..HONEY CRISPS. The most delicious apple of all the apples! Sadly, those delicious honeys were at the far end of the property and the line for the wagon ride to get out there was ridiculous. Josh was comfy in his baby hawk, but I wasn't sure he'd last that long, and oh, the crowds! We decided to forget the $10 per person admission fee and buy a bag of apples in the ready picked shop.

It still counts, right? I really wanted to keep one of the baskets, but they weren't for sale. After purchasing our bag of apples, I took some pictures over the fence so we could at least pretend we had the orchard experience.

Next time we go during the week, on a crappy day. Eventually, we plant our own apple trees and skip the crowds all together. At least this boy is too young to be disappointed with our change of plans!

We finished up the experience with some Fall baking (ok, that was really just me). I love that apples & cinnamon baking smell!

I grew up with one of these contraptions in my kitchen, and found one for myself at a thrift shop several months back. If you don't have one, you need one. If you have one, you know what I'm talking about. No more chopping. You've never had so much fun with apples in your life!

Apple slinkies! Harder varieties will produce more epic slinkies. The Honey Crisps kept breaking.

Usually I'd go for a pie, but I don't like the crust so I decided to make an apple crisp instead, and it was good. I used this recipe. If you're using sweeter apples, cut back on the sugar. Serve it warm. Add vanilla ice cream if you're feeling extra decadent. Of course eating the apples right out of the bag is always good too, and that's what we'll do with the rest of them.

If you enjoy a challenge, make sure you bake when you're home alone with the baby who will definitely need to be held as soon as you're halfway through slicing up your apples (leave your wrap in the car that is out with your husband). For added fun, make sure you drop as much as possible on the floor so you have to shoo the dog and cat away with your foot while trying to finish what you're doing. One handed, one footed baking! It's really fun, I promise. These guys really do make life much more interesting, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To Market, To Market!

One thing I do love about this city are the awesome markets that pop up every now and then. There are the well established ones, like St. Lawrence, but there are also newer, smaller ones that are quickly growing. This was the third month we've (Lulu & Lolie) done the Leslieville Flea (you can check out our posts on their blog here and here), and it keeps getting better and better. We always take time after setting up to go around to the other vendors, and although it ends up being a bad thing for my wallet, it is so much fun! I've found a few things I had been searching for for a long while. This time I came away with a retro play table and chairs set that was actually Lucy's. She was planning to sell it in our booth, but I snagged it for Joshie instead. I also got an adorable handmade quilt from Broody Hen Designs (who have an Etsy shop you can check out. Is this monkey onesie not the cutest thing?).

When we started up Lulu & Lolie we hadn't really talked doing shows/markets, it was all about setting up our booth in the Pickering Antique Mall. The Mall was just opening, but there was a well established Flea Market and Farmer's Market next door and Pickering is just a few minutes drive from Toronto, so we thought there'd be a good sized crowd coming in. Unfortunately, that hasn't quite been the case. We're still enjoying the booth, but moving on to these markets in Toronto has been a great decision (as well as Leslieville we've done a Harbourfront Festival and the Parkdale Flea). Set-up/take down is quite a bit of work, and much more complicated with a little one, but it is worth it and I am lucky to have so much support. There is no way I could do this otherwise. We've met so many great vendors with a variety of vintage, antiques, and handmades, and lots of great people coming through. We also get visits from some of the sweetest pups out on their morning walks. Customers who weren't able to get out to Pickering can get around the city much easier.

We like to change things up, so our display and stock is different each time. This month we brought out the wool blankets, sweaters, coats, and hats since the weather is getting cooler. Next month (the last month of the year for Leslieville) I'm going to pull out the holiday stash and bring putz houses, mid-century Japan ornaments, and santa mug sets. We both agreed we liked having two clothing racks instead of one. Much more room to browse!


Next Flea I need to take pictures of more of the booths. I always mean to, but I get shy about asking the vendors permission and taking photos in public. At least I took pictures of our booth this time! I will work on that.

 Here's a better view of the baby bird's table. The polka-dot trim is new and I imagine was added to cover up some imperfections, but I love the way it looks. He probably won't use this for a couple years, but I can't imagine I'll find another like it before then.

This is actually a find from the first Flea we did. The two smaller mixing bowls were two of the first Pyrex dishes I ever got, but I hadn't found the larger two at a thrift, or at an antique mall for a reasonable price. I'm still missing the largest bowl, which may be the trickiest to find of the lot.

 I cannot wait for next month's Flea!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I had thought it would be impossible to do much crafting with a new baby, but the opposite has been true. Every time he's not in my arms and there isn't something that desperately needs to be done, I find a project in my hands. I have just had this need to make and create. When he needs a break, the husband plays guitar or a video game, this is just my thing I guess. I kind of love it.

Here is what has been made recently..

The ladies needed new fleecey tubes, so they got a pair with a cute heart print that I picked up the last time the fabric shop was having a sale. I was able to make two in one nap period since they are so quick. The ladies love taking naps in these.

I finished up Birdie's adorable whale sweater. Even though I tested the gauge on this one, I think I was off a little since it is huge. I made the 0-3 month size. Hopefully it'll fit him by the Spring, or maybe even next Fall!

This was my first time knitting images into a project. It really wasn't as difficult as I had thought, although making sure to carry the yarn along and twist it in was a little annoying. The anchor buttons are vintage and came from my stash. I have a bit of a button problem. When I see a bag of vintage buttons at the thrift shop, it usually comes home with me even though I have way too many, and may have promised Jer I'd stop bringing home more. The great thing about it is that I can usually match buttons that are missing from vintage clothing, and there are always some to go with my craft projects (that's me trying to justify it!), but there are way too many.

We have tons of what are essentially butt wipes (for baby). My favourites are a set I ordered that are cotton velour on one side and cotton or jersey on the other. I have the dozen I ordered, plus a few hand me downs from a friend. I like that they're really soft and also a bit thicker, and would always reach for those first.

I had some cotton velour that was another left over from my failed attempt at cloth diapers (I am so regretting that one), so I paired that with some cute cotton prints and made up a bunch of my own. This is a great stash/scrap busting project since you can make these any size you like. I don't have a serger, so I just zig zag stitched around the edges and added an extra seam. I probably could have spent a bit more time on them and turned them, but I don't mind the unfinished look.  It may be silly to spend time on something that will end up cleaned up poop, but I like cute.

I also knit up this little gnomey hat for Josh. Can you see a theme in my crafting? It was super quick and cute. The only thing I don't like is that it's not tapered towards the bottom of his head so it sticks out a bit in the back. Making a bigger size may have fixed that.

The yarn I used for this is Luna Grey Fiber Arts in the mushroom colourway, and is an absolute dream to work with. So soft! It is my new favourite by far.

I have no idea what to work on next. So many ideas!

Monday, September 9, 2013

350+ Tiny White Dogs

I found out about the Toronto Westie Walk the year we got Lola. It was too late to make it that summer, but we were there the next and every year since. A special day each year for our girl to frolick in a field of her own breed. A sea of tiny white Westies. Truth be told, the first year she wasn't so sure about the frolicking, the next she was overwhelmed by all the look-a-likes that she didn't know what to do with herself. She preferred sniffing other dogs to running in the races, she was often more interested in the dog owners rather than the dogs, and she never liked the treats in the goody bags. The novelty was mostly on us, and she probably wouldn't miss it much. Don't get me wrong, she has seemed to enjoy herself every year, if only for all the attention and all those new butts to sniff.

I've been doing the photos for the walk for the past three years. Corey (the lady who runs the rescue) found out about the cat portraits I did for Toronto Cat Rescue and asked if I'd do her walk. Obviously I'm no pro, but I'm cheap and willing to do the work. This year, with my due date having been so close to the walk, I signed off. I promised we'd try to make it anyway if we were feeing up to it, mostly because I felt guilty over things changing for Lola with the new baby and I didn't want to take this away too (again, probably more about me than her, she has been amazing).

My parents usually tag along, but this year it was just Jer, Joshie, Lola, and myself. I love getting the chance to go out just our little family. We didn't stay long (not long enough for the adorable Westie races photos), but we had such a great time. Both Lola and Josh slept the entire ride home and for a long while after that.

Josh was dressed for the occasion in a little Westie onesie. A little silly, but if you saw the amount of Westie license plates in the parking lot you wouldn't think twice about it! I cannot wait until Josh is a little older and can enjoy the Westie Walk with his dog a little more.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In the Late Summer Garden

There isn't much going on in the garden right now, which is making me miss the harvests of past years. We still had our usuals to tide me over though. The raspberries, currants, and gooseberries came and went in the heat of July. We enjoyed bowlfuls of raspberries every day, and our neighbour two doors down harvested our currants for cakes and jams. The blackberries were sparse this year as one of the big bushes was accidentally cut down.

The strawberries in the patch gave us a few berries to enjoy through the summer and are still going. Next year I will have to make sure we get those strawberry baskets on time so we can enjoy more.

The tomatoes I ended up planting are growing, but so far only the grape tomatoes have ripened. I didn't expect any of them to since I had put them in so late, so it was a nice surprise.

Along with our little tomato harvest, we are enjoying the late summer flowers. Huge bunches of black eyed susans are all over the yard, both front and back. Our sedums are also flowering.

All this garden talk makes me think about all that I wish I had done in the garden this year but didn't make the time for with all we had going on. Instead of focusing on what I didn't do, I will try to focus on next year and what I plan to do then. Starting seeds again would be fun!

I am also looking forward to sharing this with Josh. My brother and I had such fun as kids experimenting in our own garden. My mom set out a little area for us to grow whatever we wanted. We learned so much by planting that garden, tending to it, watching our plants grow and noticing the ones that didn't, harvesting what did grow, tasting both cooked and right off the plant, and cleaning it up at the end of the year. I love that hands-on learning thing, and can't wait to help my boy with a little garden of his own!

I am getting ahead of myself though since that is still a couple years away. For now, his Grammie likes to take him outside to sit on the patio under the shade of the grapevines. Lola, of course, joins them too.

Right now I'm thinking fall bulbs, which we haven't done in years and years. Maybe some daffodils since we only get a few each spring, and some allium, which I have been wanting to try for years.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Chocolate we Keep in the Kitchen

Some days, like the one when your husband is at the airshow taking some rare time to himself, the baby will take the poop to end all poops and will let you know just as the dog rolls in a pile of something you'd rather not know the origin of in the yard and the cat will have made a home on your clean pile of laundry that is the only thing you have managed to clean in days and only because you ran out of clean clothes to wear, or that night when the baby won't go to sleep unless he's laying on your chest while you're sitting up in bed wishing you had those extra pillows to prop behind your back because this position is really not working for you, the dog has a tummy ache and whines to go out but won't actually go until the fifth trip to the yard where you find yourself standing in the middle of the wet grass surrounded by mosquitos, refusing to budge until she empties her bowels, and the cat paces the hallway yeowling because how dare you close any of the doors, not to mention you spilled an entire bottle of pumped breastmilk on the bed because you were trying to juggle the upset baby and re-fill his finger feeder at the same time and oh, if he would only latch on this would be so much easier. On those days, you may want to yell and cry, and fondly remember the days when you only had to worry about yourself, and THAT'S OK, but instead you think about how amazing it is that there is a baby, and a dog, and a cat, and it's you who can fix these things. They want you! You can change that baby bum and calm him down, hand him to Grammie for some cuddles (thank you, oh thank you for grandmas!) while you throw the dog in the bath, and the furry laundry? Well, there are sticky brushes for that and who really cares if you have a bit of cat fur on your jeans? The husband can spare a few moments of sleep to hold the baby while you take that dog outside over and over, and give the cat some attention. There's still enough milk for the baby, and a towel over the wet spot on the bed will do until you change the sheets in the morning. Life may be a little more intense now, but there is chocolate in the kitchen and things are good. So very good.