Saturday, November 16, 2013

Watch this video : My Knitted Boyfriend

Says Noortje de Keijzer of the ‘My Knitted Boyfriend‘ project:

‘My Knitted Boyfriend is a cushion with a story. A cushion with a personality. A cushion to kiss! Or, well… to cuddle, to caress, to hug, and to smile with. Because this man is always happy. And he is flexible as well. He will have a mustache if you prefer mustaches. He will wear glasses if you prefer glasses. He likes to sit on your floor, on your couch or at you dinner table. But most of all he likes to lay down next to you in bed. With your head on his chest and his arms wrapped around you. This way you will never feel alone ever again. With this man you can be sure, he will never leave you.’

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Put down your phone

I dare you. Put it down for a day.  

The little girl on the swing broke my heart....

Saturday, November 02, 2013


I'm having trouble with my creativity lately. I'm burned out, tired, and sick.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Uppercase #19 is out!

I have almost every issue of UPPERCASE magazine. It's a regular purchase, even though it is a bit spendy. It is so worth it! Subscribe here,  OR if you live near me in Toronto, you can pick up a copy (and past issues) at The Workroom. (Queen Street West at Brock). While you're there, pick up some fabric ! Make something!

Have a flip through.....

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bye for now, Nova Scotia

I didn't blog half as much this summer as I thought I would. Too much time up the ladders! Many people asked me if I had time to enjoy myself. Yes! All that time up on the ladders (outside) allowed me to be out in the beautiful seaside weather -- and to enjoy the fabulous views. I did finish painting pretty much all of the outside siding (except for the very top few feet of the peaks). The trim will be finished next year.



 (view from our front lawn)

 Mr B came back to NS in mid August and the Lovely Miss L and Mr Z came for a (too brief) visit. The day after they arrived my parents came! So my last few weeks in Nova Scotia were happily spent with family....

Reflections on the summer...

That Atlantic water is darn cold!  I didn't swim once! Next summer I WILL try to swim in the pond.

I'm sorry that I didn't get to spend more time getting to know the neighbours :( Next year, I will be a better neighbour :)

Tradespeople are SCARCE. Nothing got finished. Not. one. thing :) Sheesh.

I bought a little homemade rowboat at the end of the summer (actually, my mom went and finagled the final transaction). It was built by a man named... Squirrely.... I can't wait to buy oars next year and row it around the pond!!! We are having LOTS of fun coming up with a name. It is currently brown because it was made for duck hunting :) I'm not keeping it brown, because the only name that comes to mind for a brown boat is The Poop Deck....

My mom also found lots of furniture for me that I haven't even seen yet! (thanks mom)

And my dad did SO MUCH WORK. He wasn't supposed to. He completely cleaned the basement out (Z helped too!)... and tore the rotting front porch off and did so many other things after I left.... including shutting down the place for the winter. (thanks dad)

I'm really missing the Privateers Bounty flavour of ice cream..... (A black licorice ribbon, a sea salt caramel swirl and crunchy toffee pieces in rich vanilla ice cream).I wish that I could have brought home a gallon :)

But now I'm back in Toronto (aka The Centre of the Universe) again :)
Back to school has been great. My class is full of interesting characters this year! They'll keep me on my toes. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold last weekend, so I'm not in top form. And extra-unfortunately, I've been summoned for Jury Duty later this week. Ugh.

But for now I'm still dreaming of walking on the beach, while the water swirls around my toes....

And I'm singing this song......
(please click here go to Sara Harley's Blog to sing along with the G3s)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So -- I'm already having the back to school Nightmare!

It went like this:
I'm running through the school hallway, on my way to class. But then I run into a broken staircase -- and I have to jump over a huge abyss. I'm too scared to jump. The caretaker is encouraging me to jump. Then the bell goes. I have to jump. I spend a REALLY long time psyching myself up, and then I jump. I scramble up the side and run through the hallways, and up and down many sets of stairs.... then I get to my classroom. And the parents are all inside. They are not impressed. It is the first day of school and I didn't even meet the children outside in the playground like every other teacher did.
My classroom is some kind of courtyard, with a pool in it, and a rotting, rickety wooden pool deck. I call the kids to climb out of the pool... but they ignore me. I can't get them to come out of the pool. They aren't listening! The parents are rolling their eyes because I have no control of the children. Then they leave, sneering and say "Good luck..."

Then I woke up. Yikes!

Usually, my back to school nightmare goes like this: I run and run from class to class, but I can't find my classroom or my kids. Then I find them,  phew.

That's it.
None of this jumping over an abyss, like in a video game. None of this "ignore the teacher" stuff. None of these hostile parents!

What's with that?

(note the name of this school -- for real! It's just outside of Rochester, NY)

Friday, August 09, 2013

Today in Port Mouton... it's a lazy day

Overcast, 20 (68F)... waiting for rain....

I can't paint outside... I could have painted inside, but I needed a day off. I'm puttering, tidying, and catching up on my blog reading.
I needed this day :)

These are the coasters that I made with dropcloth scraps.

First I added some felt accents... but when I tested the wineglasses out on them, they were too wobbly.
So I'm going with a piece of felt sandwiched between 2 circles of dropcloth, and some simple stitching around the edges.

Mr. B is bringing some of my turquoise felt when he comes back next week, so I can make some more!

(and don't you just love my new mug?? I got it in a little shop in Mahone Bay. Sigh... I love Mahone Bay.. you can see the town live on the webcam here)

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Today in Port Mouton.. summer is slipping away...

So I made slipcovers!!
I've never made slipcovers before -- but I've been procrastinating waiting for over 20 years to make these!

A kitchen island/ peninsula sure comes in handy as a cutting surface! (note Lie To Me on Netflix on my iPad)

I traced some parts and made paper patterns, and some parts I just measured and cut (the straight parts)
Then I pinned the pieces to the chair:

(can you guess what I used to make these? No? Painters dropcloths! It took 1 drop cloth (5x12 feet) to make each cover. With very little to spare. I made 4 coasters from the scraps!  Not bad for under $13.

The back and sides are pinned together:

And sewn and turned to check the fit (I basted it all together first, then trimmed the seams and finished them at the end. For the second one I trimmed and finished after each step because it made sewing on the skirt much easier)

 The seat base and the skirt, pinned!

Finished - except for the seat cushion:

This is what the seat cushion looks like :)

Andy seems to think that this is his own, personal chair.


Then I made the second one. It wasn't quite as fun as the first one.

Sorry that they are such a boring colour Meep! Meep has been hearing me talk about these for two decades. They were supposed to be burgundy... green.... velvet... patchwork velvet..... and, uhhh... I have all of the fabric for them.... but in the white beach house, they have to be white, right?

Saturday, August 03, 2013


I'm usually in Phoenix this time of year, at ArtUnraveled. I miss my friends terribly!
Seth's blog shows his awesome classes and has my friends Susan and Don hiding in the pictures :) Susan and Don also sent me a photo of them at breakfast. Oh how I miss eating my omelets with Don and Susan... and Adina! And I miss Linda and Olivia at Happy Hour. And Lorri on vendor day..
So, even though I'm in the most beautiful spot on earth right now, I miss my peeps. Hope y'all are having a GREAT time!!!
(And I miss Maija, Ruth and Joanne -- who also aren't there this year)
Oh, and I miss the classes too -- but really, mostly, I miss the people.

(I gave these tags out at AU last year)
(not only am I felling lonely, but I'm feeling frustrated because I can't get the !@#$% lawnmower to work -- I got it going okay last week, but , nope, 3 hours worth of swearing today, and it JUST.WON'T.WORK. The grass is 6" high, and I'm an embarrassment to the neighbourhood :). Sigh..... on a happier note, it's not supposed to rain this week, so I should get the exterior painted. Well, the parts that I can reach without climbing on the roof.... which I won't do alone....

okay, thanks for visiting my pity party :)

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Today in Port Mouton

Sunny with some clouds, high of 21 (70f)

I have been working my butt off!

It seems to rain every other day, so the outside painting has really slowed down (the wood has to dry out for about 2 days before i can paint, so I've been 1 1/2 weeks without painting)

However, I've been painting inside!

Here's the sunporch:



And the bedroom:




Unfortunately ALL of this paint in the bedroom has to be sanded off and redone. The paint store sold me an expensive primer (over $50!!) and said that it would be "perfect for this" (it is fake wood paneling - the primer adhered well to the real wood paneling) Well, it wasn't. 2 coats of primer and a coat of paint later, it does this when I run the back of my fingernail over i (not even scratching with my nail -- running the BACK over it. sigh....) Will sand it back to get a better grip. Hopefully, the paint store will replace the paint and primer. It's Benjamin Moore, so a bit spendy. Pretty, though, isn't it? It's not a huge job to redo, but super annoying because, as you know, I'm here without transportation, so I have to wait for Mr. B to return to go to the paint store. Grrr.

Having said that, I have 2 wonderful Nova Scotia friends who I met through blogland, although hilariously coincidentally, I went to the same High School as Sara - at the same time (but she was 3 grades above me so I didn't know her), and Amanda lived a few blocks from my school in Toronto until she moved here just over a year ago.

Amanda was going on a road trip to Lunenburg and offered to take me along (who says no to Lunenburg? Pas moi!). After stopping in Bridgewater to pick me up a dehumidifier and a fan (super damp basement - 85%  humididty) and going to the fabric store and to some trift shops, and the grocery store... we finally made it to Lunenburg and went to Dots and Loops and The Makery. I didn't escape without some personal shopping....
(Little house necklace by Gold Fools, from Halifax)

And Sara came to visit and very graciously took me into town - to the hardware store... where I picked up painters drop clothes. Tune in tomorrow to see what I did with them..... We also hit the grocery store (i have enough tp to last a year) and we went out for lunch at Lanes. I recommend it!  Afterwards we took Andy for a walk on the beach. He loved it! I haven't taken him in his bike trailer to the beach yet. My legs and lungs are still getting used to the solo rides up the hills.

(you can click on their names to visit their blogs)

Woo Hoo - 2 dry days in a row! As soon as the dew drys, I can paint outside! I hope to get a lot finished today. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today in Port Mouton

Rainy, Foggy, High of 17 (62F)

Well, while taking the wallpaper border off, the stripper bubbled the paint and now I have to prime it, skim coat it and sand it (and prime again). Sheesh. A make work project. AND lots of wallpaper was applied straight over the drywall. AND some was hot glued on :)

Here are some more interior shots.
Still the main floor:

Living Room (yes, I will be painting the wood paneled ceiling)(oh yes I am!).
The living room only has a window that opens to the sun porch. It used to have a window on the left (north) wall, but it has been taken out. I wonder why?

 Sun Porch . Such a pretty view of the harbour. Sorry to tease you.

Up the stairs!

And here is a shot of Andy and I walking on the beach the day that we arrived. . It was cold! Then it got hot. Now it is cold and rainy again. Such is life in Nova Scotia.

I'm off now to prep for some painting. Honestly, there will be "after" shots some day :)

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Today in Port Mouton - Rainy

Rainy, high of 20 (68f)

Well, it became so stinkin hot that I could only scrape in the early mornings. And now the rains have descended upon us, and promise to remain for the week. So we have abandoned the outside and are focusing on the inside.

The "Before" Pictures:

This shot looks from the kitchen into the main floor tiny bedroom (or office - but we are using it as a bedroom)

 Our bed will go into this space:

 The other end of that little bedroom - I think that I'd like some sort of shallow desk with cupboards over them. There is a build in closet to the right, but it doesn't fit all of our clothes. And I prefer clothes on shelves.

The kitchen! (that view looks over the "pond")

I intend to paint all of that woodwork out with white. Oh, yes I am! I've chosen Benjamin Moore Cloud White. It is a slightly warm white. I really want this place to look "cottagey" . Think Shabby Chic.

First up - removing wallpaper borders (you can see them above the kitchen counter, and continuing around the room).

Friday, July 05, 2013

Today in Port Mouton

Sunny,breezy, high of 26 ( 79F)

As many of you know, We bought a little house in Nova Scotia this year. (You can read about my excitement here) . We have finally arrived! We got here on July 1 (a 2 day drive from Toronto). The last few days have been spent buying groceries, waiting for our truck to arrive with our stuff, unpacking our stuff... etc., etc.,)

Now I have a minute or two to blog :)

Here is the house!
That's a "pond" in behind and to the left. Across the road is the ocean.
We can kayak in the pond and in the ocean!.

(click on the photo to make it larger!)

It is currently a light blue/grey. We have spent part of yesterday and today preparing it for paint (it sorely needs a paint job).

That window on the side is a large window in the kitchen. I sat drinking my tea this morning watching loons in the pond (it is a huge "pond" -- more like a lake - it gets water from the ocean and has a "reversing falls" where they meet.

I'll be blogging a lot more frequently now -- and showing lots of photos of our transformation.

Anyone coming to Nova Scotia this summer? Coming to visit me?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tea and a Book - A Life in Stitches

This week's tea is Earl Grey -- my favourite. It helps keep me warm on these cold spring days (will the warm part of spring ever really come???)

This week I'm focusing on non-fiction:

 A Life in Stitches: Knitting My Way Through Love, Loss, and Laughter
by Rachael Herron

(I took this book out of the Toronto Public Library -- If you click on the image of the book it will bring you to the Canadian Amazon site-- For the US Amazon link, click here)

I've never read any of Rachael Herron's "Cypress Hollow" fiction books (How to Knit a Love Song... and others)... and I can't remember why I ordered A Life in Stitches -- I must have read about it on someone's blog.... But I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like reading about why people knit (or paint, or sew, or scrapbook). This book is written in 20 essays, not chronological, nor do they need to be. They tell a story of how Rachael came to knitting, how it stuck with her through thick and thin, and how she made a career out of her two loves -- writing and knitting (not her only loves :). They are the kind of stories that keep you turning the pages and saying "tell me more".

This book has inspired me to dig out some yarn that I thought I'd never use and knit it up. (uhh, it's a sparkly teal mohair blend). I'm going to make a cardigan! I've never tried one (all that I've been knitting for the last few years has been socks, and, more recently, cotton dish cloths). I don't know how she did it, but Rachael somehow inspired me to challenge myself a bit :).

If you're a woman and you like to knit -- you'll like this book. If you're "crafty" you'll like this book. Mr. B -- you might like this book! (Mr. B knits).

I've ordered Rachael's first fiction book from the library -- I'll keep you posted!

Rachael's blog, Yarn-A-Go-Go is here!
There is currently a call out on her blog to help make a "love blanket" (or two) for members of one of the victims of the Boston bombing. If you knit, and can send an 8x8 square to Rena in the USA who will sew together the squares, please head over to this post. Seriously, an 8x8" square doesn't take long (hello? dishcloth?), and you can help make a fuzzy hug for someone whose life has been ripped apart. 
(fibre and colour are your choice, but dk or worsted are best)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It saddens me when the arts are undervalued :(

We've just found out that the Toronto District School Board is slashing the Itinerant Music Program ( Band, Strings, Orff, Vocal, Recorder, Steel Pan Drums) before the Trustees are informed or able to vote on this drastic change of policy.

To save a tiny portion of their budget, they are planning to drastically reduce the quality of music education for students by laying off the expert music educators. It's heartbreaking and shortsighted.

My school  uses these programs each year, and we will miss them terribly if they are taken away.

It only takes a minute to sign the petition below, and your support will make a difference.

Thank you!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tea and a Book - The Dog Stars

Today's tea? Hmmm, what does one drink when discussing the end of our world? A nice calming passionflower, perhaps?

Have you read The Road by Cormac McCarthy? (I have). Seen the movie? (I haven't). It was one of the most bleak and depressing books that I have ever read. I liked it, I couldn't put it down, but it left me with a sense of despair. And not much hope.

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller is of a similar genre. A post apocalyptic tale of survival. This book, while terribly sad, gave me more hope. Not hope that I would "make it" in a scenario like this, though - I'm pretty sure that I would be gone in the early days :). I give this book 5 stars (out of 5). For the hope and the poetic writing :)

Nine years after a flu-like virus has decimated the population, Hig has eked out an existence with his best friend - his dog, Jasper. his wife, family, friends - gone. He lives in an abandoned (well, everywhere is abandoned now) airport alongside gun-toting, somewhat antisocial, Bangley. They have a strange symbiotic relationship, and do fairly well surviving and protecting themselves and each other. (remember, that come the apocalypse we will all be fighting each other for food and fuel).  Hig is a former recreational pilot so he is able to fly a Cessna out and around the vicinity to explore and survey the area. Hig is lonely and keeps remembering a voice that came on his plane radio years ago from a town (city?) a long flight away. Unfortunately the town is too far away to fly to and back from (without refueling) so Hig has never risked it... but that voice continues to gnaw at his mind.... Should he take the chance? Could there be something like his old life out there? What is left in the world?

I see now that I need to make friends with some ex- navy seals.... although you know that I just have to look at someone with the flu and I get it. I will not be one of the survivors :) . But, when I read Stephen King's The Stand so many years ago, I thought that I had some promise.... I think that I will revisit that book again soon. Meanwhile, I'll stockpile my olive oil (good source of calories) and keep my treadle sewing machine in good repair.

If you liked The Stand and / or The Road, you will definitely like The Dog Stars. If you want to know what our world could be like after the bird flu and a blood-borne virus kill most of us, read on :). It is a story of love, loss, hope, and the unlikely friendships that we make when our lives are falling apart.

Why do we read these books about the end of our world? To scare ourselves? As preparation for an uncertain future? To make our (current) lives feel so much better?

Music to listen to while you're drinking that tea :

One of my favourite "End of the World" stories was an episode of Twilight Zone -- Time Enough At Last...... You can watch the whole half-hour episode here:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tea and a Book

I've been trying to catch up on my reading lately. I currently read a few books a week -- one fiction and one non-fiction. For the past few years, I've been listing the books that I've read on my sidebar (see it over there>>>). I've decided to do a weekly book review here on the blog. I'm doing book reviews for parents bi-weekly on my teaching blog, so I'll see if I can keep it up :)
I'm going to call it:
Tea and a Book
and will try to post it every Sunday....
If you would like my opinion on any of my past reads -- please ask. 
I have a really good sense of what I will like to read, so my reviews might seem like I like every book ever written :) . But really, I don't like to waste my time, so I choose carefully.... 
What is your most recent "great read"? 

Check back on Sunday for this week's review -- The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (recommended to me by my friend Don Madden over at Fully Flummoxed.)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's day!

I haven't had one of these for.... 30 years?

But I'm on vacation, so I'm embracing my inner leprechaun!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Zinio + Automatism

Lucky me!
I was a winner on one of my favourite design blogs - automatism! Thank you so much, Lori!

And I won my favourite thing ever! A magazine subscription! Well, a digital magazine subscription :) 

It was a giveaway sponsored by Zinio -- a full year's subscription to the magazine of your choice! I already subscribe to Living Etc and Mollie Makes on Zinio so the one that I said that I wanted was Country Living UK -- such a pretty publication, that I occasionally buy in print. There are so many others that I wanted, but I thought that this one would make me the happiest!

I still read plenty of magazines in print - there is nothing nicer than the feel of quality pages in your hands (hello, uppercase you are the best!) -- although I haven't really been buying many during my year of frugal (which is continuing into it's second year!). I only bought magazines last year that I had already committed to through my local store. I have to admit though, that my blog reading and pinterest gives me as much eye candy as my brain can handle.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Very proud mama :)

My daughter, Miss L, is so strong! She is a competitive weightlifter :)
Here she is at her most recent competition!

She is a very multi -faceted person. Her University degree is in Forest Conservation AND French Literature. She is completely focused on having a healthy mind and body. She loves to thrift and is quite crafty. Check out her blog, reverdie. 

She makes the sweetest hooked ornaments!


Saturday, February 09, 2013

Happy Weekend!

After our little snow storm yesterday, today has turned into a BEAUTIFUL day! The sun is shining, the birds are singing.... we can't get our car out of the garage :) .... Tomorrow I will be heading to the Love and Rummage Sale at the workroom. See you there?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Big News!

I'm going to make my summers more simple. Well... perhaps they won't be so simple this year, but in the future?
I'll be slowing down and spending the summers in Nova Scotia!
(We bought a little summer house)

I really look forward to walking out on the wharf in the morning with my tea and just taking in the view and the ocean breezes.... hopefully I won't be running and cursing the dreaded Nova Scotia Mosquito!(who I have met and battled before. I'm pretty sure that the mosquitos won)(they are horrid little buggers - you slap them and they just give themselves a shake and then fly off)

This wharf is a 5 minute walk away....

If you know Nova Scotia at all, I'll be on the south shore..... the closest beach is Carters Beach. It is about a half hour walk away -- just a few minutes on my bike!

The prettiest beach on the coast (ok, that is very subjective. My mom says Beach Meadows is the nicest... and yes, Beach Meadow is a very pretty name). Do you know the beaches in Nova Scotia? Which one is your favourite? I'll check it out :)

A special thank you to Mr. B who was very supportive of this crazy dream.... and to my mom (partner in travel)...  and to Sara who enabled me :) and lived vicariously (and sometimes in person!) through the searching, the viewing and the purchase!

Source: via Martha on Pinterest

(all of the photos here are from my Nova Scotia Pinterest board -- the photo above with the quotation is another view of Carters Beach)

(photos of the house and property will be posted as soon as I get back there to take some)(that won't be until the summer, unfortunately :(  The family who sold it to us will be living there until the summer. I can't wait to show it to you! Especially some before and afters.
And I can't wait to see Sara and John and their menagerie again -- and to meet some of my NS blogging friends in person! Especially Amanda Pedro - who relocated from Toronto a few years ago. If you live in Nova Scotia, please let me know!