Sunday, August 29, 2010

Let there be lamps.

I picked up this lamp for free on kijiji.

I taped off the fixture and cord using some very advanced techniques and spray-painted the base.

And then added an inexpensive new linen shade. Much better.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Did It!

Ya gotta love a caution tape finish line...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Eat to Train or Train to Eat?

They say when you are training for something like a marathon or a triathlon that you shouldn't change anything about your diet in the days leading up to the event. I can't help but wonder though: what if you've been eating nothing but junk? I thought I'd better play it safe and eat equal parts unhealthy and healthy food today in preparation for my sprint distance tri in the morning. On the lunch menu:

Let me just say that this ice-cream is SO good. All of the PC Ice Cream Shop Flavours that I've tried are. Something tells me that they are seasonal. I hope not.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Internet Infos, An Open Letter to Zappos

This is one of the most eye-catching banner ads I've seen in awhile, if not ever. It is for a website where people submit their "secrets" kind of like Post Secret. I wasn't overly thrilled by the website but the ad did get me to click on it which I don't ever really do. 

Speaking of online ads, I've been hyper aware lately of how much information is gathered about us as we surf the web in the privacy of our own home. I can shop for something online and two days later end up on a completely unrelated website only to find that banner ads are trying to sell me the exact thing that I had been shopping for (Zappos I'm looking at you). It has so quickly gone far beyond gathering http cookies. And if it is that easy to find out what I'm shopping for, I can't help but wonder what other information are "they" collecting about me?

I saw an interesting video clip on CNN a few weeks ago and it mentioned the website BlueKai which is an online date exchange company. I visited it and was able to see what I'm "in market" for (Clothing, Shoes) and what my "interests" are (Knitting/Needlework, Sewing, Handicrafts), and the fact that I'm in Canada. Nothing surprising but interesting nonetheless.

* Please note: At this point in the blog post if you are not the fine folks at you don't need to read on.

Dear Zappos,

I feel like you and I are becoming fast friends. You already know that I have been shopping for a pair of Mizuno Wave Creation Runners in a US8 and a pair of Hunter Original Tall Boots in a US7 with some Charcoal Cable Cuff Welly Socks. In fact, you have been on SO many of the websites I frequent lately trying to sell me these items, it's crazy! And you know Zappos if there is one trait that I can admire, it's persistence. So I probably would have purchased these items from you but there's only one problem. And it's something that I don't understand because with all the other information you have about me, it's something you MUST know. I live in Canada. And you don't ship to Canada. Story of my life. Okay, that's not fair. You don't ship to Canada but you've created a website that DOES. Wonderful! Only, THAT website is still shipping from the states so we'll still have to pay the extra duties and taxes. And THAT website doesn't have the same return policy or the free shipping both ways. And even though the word Canada and a maple leaf are in the logo of the site, all the prices are in US dollars. Wait a minute, why bother with the "Canadian" website? Is it so you can drastically reduce the inventory you ship to us? I thought so. Because none of the items I want to buy are on the Canadian site. So as you've been cyber-stalking me all over the place (and doing a damn good job of it) it's actually quite funny; you've been trying to sell me things that you won't actually sell to me! Don't worry, you can laugh about it. I did.

Yours in shoes,

Feets and Treats

I've been tired lately. And the days and the weeks just keep going by more quickly. And I have hardly the time to think about blogging let alone actually do it. But things will quiet and slow down soon. And even if they don't, that's okay too. I ordered myself some new Hunter boots today. No more pinched toes, blisters and sore feet when I'm horseback riding and out mucking around.

Speaking of treating myself; tonight I think I will be ingesting something that looks like this, that I will thoroughly enjoy although it will likely make me feel nauseous. It's all part of the experience...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Eat, Sleep, Repeat.

This morning I ran out the door in a hurry to go horseback riding, and when I got home in the afternoon I grabbed a small snack before I headed off on my bicycle to map out some new running routes. Once home I had good intentions of making a good meal but then I saw the unmade bed in all its comfiness and decided to crawl into it for a few minutes. Well, a few minutes turned into a few hours and when I woke up at 8:00 pm I was starving. Problem. We need groceries. But I'm too groggy to move at all fast so it takes me two hours to wake-up and get to the grocery store and home. And then Dave is getting ready to head over town to get together with some friends and I offer to drive him. By 10:30 I'm home again and cooking. I have big intentions of making a three-course meal with a snack afterward. I make the appetizer -- Baked Feta with Bread. 

And suddenly, I'm full. I'm sleepy. And I'm craving that bed again. Might as well grab a good bad book, some Sharp White Cheddar Kettle Corn and some Root-Beer in case hunger strikes (again).

Lucky for Dave I guess I'll be saving my Zucchini Fritters and Puffed Pancakes with Blueberries and Whipped Cream for tomorrow. Sweet Dreams ...................................

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mr. Postman

Today is a full-on fall day. There is a chill in the air, and the blustery winds mean leaves falling everywhere.  Brightening up the overcast sky is the fact that it's Friday, some cozy tights and some mail in the mailbox (besides bills)!

A thank-you postcard from Locks of Love for donating my hair:

And my new Road ID so that when I'm out running, biking or swimming I'll always have identification on me should anything happen. I'm really happy with the product and glad that I decided to order one. I plan on giving some as gifts to some active family members this Christmas. Check out their products here.

Thanks Mr. Postman

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dangle Bracelet

I made another bracelet. It's made with Ugandan paper beads. I like how they look like little buoys.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Virginia is for lovers.

I am planning on having several old family photos printed to frame throughout the house soon but in the meantime I have been remembering some potential candidates and wondering which ones will make the cut.

These photographs from a camping trip to Virginia my parents took many moons ago make me want to jump in the car with Dave, head south-west and snatch up some t-shirts at the first gift shop we pass once we cross into the state of Virginia.

Of course, we could always fake it 'til we make it and order them from the Virginia is for lovers online gift shop

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Horse People: Part Two - Chomping At The Bit

I have been wanting to blog about my horseback riding lessons but I haven't been able to. While I want to come home and describe in detail every thing I do, and learn, and experience; I just haven't been able to find the words. For now, a few pictures will have to do the talking:

Toby, the 3 year old paint who I started riding last weekend and am helping to train

Extreme close-up of Toby with Rufus in the background

Toby, licking my shirt

Rufus, the 2 year old Appaloosa that I rode and am helping to train

Danny, the Percheron that I rode a few times. He looks small here. He's not. He's big.

Toby and Danny vying for my affection

Danny and Me

Danny and Winston. I didn't have any good pictures of Winston since he was being a bit unsocial but I "borrowed" this one from facebook so he could make his debut. My first couple of lessons were with Winston but he has been retired from riding due to some health problems.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sweet Sweet Summer Days

Today I went out into the yard, cut a few blooms, put them in a couple of vases with some polished river rocks and set them in the kitchen windows. It took about a minute and a half of my time but it has brought with it a light and lovely floral scent into our home and has made me smile each and every time I've walked by them.  

Speaking of smiling, I'm spending my weekend with this little guy. He makes my heart swell. I had originally decided on the picture on the left to post but then didn't see the harm in also including the one with his tongue out. Too funny.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Indulgent Days of Summer

The last couple of days have been hugely indulgent for me. Yesterday I had my hair done, I had Dimitri's for dinner and attended a jewelry class where I made a bracelet and earrings. Today I had an hour long massage and then had a mountain of chicken, vegetables and jasmine rice with a coconut milk and curry sauce for dinner and organic blueberries and whipped cream for dessert. I've also been ingesting blended coffee drinks with whipped cream like they are the elixir of life. I am really developing a talent for drinking whipped cream through a straw. So good. So so good.

I guess I shouldn't really describe all of this as indulgence. Where I volunteer we talk about self-care and how when you are dealing with difficult topics and devoting a lot of time to volunteer work you have to remember to do nice things for yourself, do things you enjoy and take time to relax to avoid burnout. I'm getting really good at it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Onesies for Averie

I finished up stenciling these onesies for my new little cousin Averie and got them in the mail this weekend. I got the stencils for the chimpanzee and for the little character, Totoro from the website and the idea for the cat's eye glasses onesie from Ashley Ann over at Under the Sycamore. I got the onesies from Joe Fresh for 3 for $10. I also sent a little pewter pendant that I picked up at Aitkens Pewter for Averie's mom. I like having a gift to give to a new mom that isn't a baby item but something just for her. I hope she likes it.

Welcome little Averie!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

In keeping with the baking theme, tonight I baked cupcakes. I use the word "baking" loosely since I made them from a mix! They are still so delicious though. I obviously will not be including a recipe but I'll pass on a little tip: substitute the water with coffee when making chocolate cake. Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made up a batch of chocolate chip cookies last night. I'm all about easy recipes and this one doesn't get much easier. Looks like I'm officially on a baking kick.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup plus 2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. salt

Roll into balls. Bake @ 325 degrees for about six minutes or until barely turning brown.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chimpanzee Onesie

I am currently making a onesie version of this chimpanzee T-shirt I made for Dave a few years ago. My cousin (who always loved all things monkey) just had a little one and I'm doing up a little package to send off to her. As much as I love working away on house projects, it is SO refreshing to work on something unrelated.

Rhetorical question of the day: Is it bad that I use my laptop screen as a light box for tracing?

Horse People: Part One - A Whole Different Breed

When I was a little girl, on my elementary school playground there were a small group of girls and every recess and every lunch every day they would play horses. They would flop their long hair to one side and trot around the billy goat bridge in circles; their right legs shimmying ahead as though it were their lead leg, neighing and whinnying in their new pink spring splash suits. I thought they were so weird. It was well known that they all either had horses or horseback rode. They were horse people.

We moved into the house my parents still live in the week I turned five. There was a large fenced in field across from it then and horses would pasture there for the summer. Every day over summer break we would run across the road and stand on the gate as it swayed back and forth, holding our hands out to display carrots and apples; our thumbs stretched backward, protecting them from being bitten like our mother had warned us to. I loved feeding the horses but was also very afraid of them. I remember a few occasions where I had the opportunity to enter the field with the woman who owned it and I was sure that the horses would trample me.

Later on in elementary school, my best friend's mom would bring us to the stable where she boarded her horse Maidy and would get us to help her lead the horses here and there. She would bark commands to us in a way that assumed we knew what we were doing. I can remember very vividly walking sideways so that I could watch their legs at all times to prevent being stepped on and crushed. It was around this time that I found out that my mother had had a horse too. I had always known that she loved horses. She had horse pins and earrings and pendants in her jewelry box, she had carved horse book ends in the chest of collectibles and keepsakes, and she always jumped at the chance to work at the annual horse show down the road. I had always made a correlation between horses and money and I don't think that anyone ever had to make the connection for me. I guess it was just obvious to me that caring for such a large animal would have to be expensive. It was for this reason that I was very surprised to find out that my mom had had a horse named Shannon who was killed when they were riding alongside a dirt road when they were struck by a drunk driver.

I would never have considered myself a horse person. My limited experience with them had ignited an intense curiosity but without any access to them, and some lingering fears, my curiosity would go unexplored until I was an adult. Throughout all of these experiences and others, I would notice one theme. People who were around horses any amount seemed to be obsessed with them. And not like one gets about just any sport or interest; they would go absolutely insane about them. Just like the girls on the playground, they were horse people. A whole different breed.

Me, at about 4 years old

Mom and Shannon, 1972

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bread Pudding

I've been craving the bread pudding my mom used to make when we were kids lately. I called her tonight for the recipe and stuck one in the oven (it took about 3 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake). I love how when I call my mom for a recipe she can usually just call it out off the top of her head. Apparently it was my dad's mom that showed her how to make it.

Butter six slices of bread, stack and cut stack into cubes. In separate bowl combine 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix bread pieces and mixture together, add cinnamon to taste. Place in greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

You can also add fruit, nuts, coconut, etc. I like mine plain. So good.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bamboo Chairs: The Reveal

Remember those bamboo chairs I talked about awhile ago? 

They were in pretty rough shape. The foam in the seats had all decomposed and would fall out and make an orange mess (you can actually see some foam dust on the floor if you look closely), there were stickers on them, they were marked up, and the ultra glossy finish on the bamboo was a little dated. Not anymore though...

I'm not one for process pictures (I tend to just scroll through them to see the finished project and just assume everyone is like that) but here's basically what I did:

-removed the seats which were attached with two finish nails and pulled the old vinyl and foam off of them (after removing the two hundred tiny upholstery nails in each seat)
-gave each chair a quick sanding to rough up the clear coat
-two coats of primer and two coats of semi-gloss white paint
-reupholstered the existing wooden seats with springs with 2 inch foam, heavy batting and upholstery fabric (The fella came to the fabric store with me and helped me pick out a fabric that we could both live with. He was very patient and very cute with the selection process)
-reattached seats

I found out that my sister didn't get them from a yard sale as I'd originally thought; she got them from my parent's best friends and they'd been passed on from there. I'm looking forward to sending her an after picture to see what she thinks. She probably has no idea that the chairs are even still kicking.  I'm sure she'll be happy to know that they will find a new home in our sunroom and will be a comfy (and pretty) place to rest. 

Renovation and Resolution

Today I got to spend part of the holiday with my dad working away on the kitchen. I have to say things have slowed down considerably what with some of the hot weather we've had and probably partly due to renovation burnout but I'm happy to report that we're back at it and ready to finish things up. Today we cut the butcher block countertops, sanded the edges and put them into place and dry-fitted the farmhouse sink. We did a few other things but those were the noteworthy. Can't wait to post a completely finished picture. Come to think of it, I've posted a few "before" photos of different projects and I think it's about time to get to some "after"s. 

Dad has been taking pictures throughout their renovations to email to my sister and a few of their best friends who are out-of-province. He usually emails them to me as well and that's how they find their way onto my blog. One of my favourite things about the pictures he takes (aside from kitchen progress!) is the camera he takes them with; one of the first point and shoot digital cameras to enter the market. Way back when, my mom decided she wanted a digital camera and my dad bought her one. It was 1.3 megapixels with 8 megabytes of memory. And it's still kicking. And they still use it. And I have to say, it still takes a pretty okay picture. My how technology changes rapidly.