Tag Archives: ontario

snowed in

snowed in

What a temperamental weekend. From ten inches of snow on Friday to warmer temperatures and rain on Monday, my head is just about ready to explode.

I’ve been struggling to write a post about all of the plant babies I recently became Plant Mum to after I decided I wanted an army of air cleaners in my house. Actually, struggling isn’t the right word, so much as lazy and distracted. Oops.

Then, Snowmageddon, or some other crazy name, happened, and I got all snow photo happy all weekend.

Then, I got distracted with planning for New York City this weekend and getting orders complete and being woken up at four in the morning by playful cats, random brain activity, and snoring husbands. Talk about dragging my feet yesterday.

I’ve also been holding off because I plan on segregating this here blog to its own space. It doesn’t feel right having this all lumped together, blending portfolio with carefree blog posts about life and things.

Having said all that, let’s rewind to the important topic at hand – SNOW!

Talk about the most beautiful Friday ever, despite having to drive on the snow covered roads to work, while everyone else stayed home in their pajamas watching movies.

By everyone else, I literally mean everyone else because my workplace wasn’t all that deserted. People around here are hardcore snow drivers who throw caution to the wind.

snow feeder

snow mountains

tea lights

It was rather entertaining, Friday afternoon and evening, watching car, after car, after car, get caught in the hell that is Side Street Snow. From having our shovels borrowed to just watching people attempt to push their cars out of the snowy pits, we had some sort of Caught in the Snow Fiesta to wintess until late in the evening.

The next morning, however, the skies were crystal clear blue, the air was chilly, but warm enough, and our neighbour had some pretty intense icicles forming on the back part of his roof. By intense icicles, I mean, icicles that can kill you by just looking at you.

roof icicles

Sunday morning was much of the same but came with the added benefit of frosting. The world was white. Perfect, pristine, white. A delicious cake with perfect icing that had yet been tasted or poked.



Mornings don’t really get much better than that.

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secret date night

secret date night

It’s February. FEBRUARY. How in the world did that even happen?

Actually, no, I take that question back, because I’m pretty sure that every single year pans out this way. January always seems to start off incredibly slow. Each day feels endlessly long and it’s downright glorious because you feel as though you have all the time in the world.

Then, January 15th hits and all hell breaks loose. The next thing you know it’s February first, and the moment you blink, boom, it’s June.

This is how it works.

Don’t blink.

Last weekend was Surprise Date Night weekend. Finally. For two months I had to endure and ignore Randy’s endless teasing. It was kind of fun though because it seemed like my blah, lacklustre attitude drove him a tiny bit crazy. He teased. I teased. It was all a big tease.

The funniest part in all of this is that I managed to properly guess our Secret Date Nigh activity without any hints. The little I did know, and the little info Meg was able to draw from Erik, confirmed my random hunch. I am Detective Extraordinaire and lucky for me, being a skilled detective is exactly what I needed for Secret Date Night.



Murder Mystery

Many moons ago, after our self-hosted Murder Mystery night, we talked about doing a “proper” one out in the wild somewhere. I had looked up a number of places that hosted them, but we never really moved on actually attending one.

Enter my initial Secret Date Night hunch, and my ultimate ruining of the secret part of Secret Date Night. I really excel at ruining secrets. I’m not sure if I should be proud or disappointed.

We wined and dined with the Mysterious Players at Aberfoyle Mill. After reading a terribly disappointing review of the show on TripAdvisor, I was wary, expecting terrible wait staff service and awful actors.

Fear not! The night was fun! Sure, by the end, our server was kind enough to disappear, leaving us to hunt down another so that we could, you know, actually pay for the evening, but the rest was enjoyable.

I awkwardly began the night by requesting “something cheap” when asking our server for a glass of wine. We kept that momentum going by absolutely confusing the actors whenever they came to our table to chit chat. The one fella just had no idea what we were on about, and frankly, neither did we, I think.

The food was really great, albeit, borderline too much. Five courses when you’re not used to eating so much in one sitting is a bit of a belly stretcher. I didn’t even eat that much over the holidays. I just couldn’t stop though. My stomach was shouting no, while the chicken on my plate shouted yes in every language.

Gosh. I’m hungry. Is it lunch time yet?

The BEST part? I GUESSED THE MURDERER, METHOD AND MOTIVE! You have NO idea how proud I am. Out of the four of us, I was the last person to fill out my form and submit it. Everyone teased me, including the actors – “Is she a novelist, or is she a bit slow?” – but I GUESSED CORRECTLY.

I glowed like a five year after eating an entire cake. I was given a Certificate of Wit and everything. You best believe that certificate is being proudly displayed on my fridge right now. I am PROUD. I am so USELESSLY PROUD.

I was one of three people to guess correctly that night. The other two people? The murderer, herself (eye roll) and the lady sitting beside her (eye roll again). I smell fishy business.

The rest of the weekend? Well, the rest of the weekend didn’t even compare.

Hair cuts. Big pots of chili. Oh, and something ridiculous like sixty cinnamon buns.

Cinnamon Buns

Don’t ever prepare the “big batch” recipe of cinnamon rolls unless you’re prepared to spend most of your day in the kitchen making batch after batch of cinnamon rolls. I felt deceived. Despite the name, the recipe went on to say that I would split the dough in half and make two rolls. TWO ROLLS.

I made FOUR. The dough just kept rising, resulting in me splitting it into quarters rather than halves. I suppose it helps that I wasn’t able to prepare everything at once, giving the dough all that time to rise, but never mind that.

On the plus side, we have about 30 cinnamon buns in our freezer ready for last minute cinnamon bun eating. Who wants to come over and have a treat with me?

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etsy tuesday: a flurry of invitations

etsy tuesday: a flurry of invitations

The last number of weeks have been an incredible whirlwind. Just as I finally opted back into the daily grind of a nine to five job (okay, more like eight to four-thirty), my Etsy shop exploded with interested couples (okay, more like brides). Not only that, but the newly reopened community centre down the street from me was on the hunt for a Zumba instructor and suddenly, I was staring three jobs in the face again. The last time I had three jobs was five years. Luckily, my stamina, although not quite the same, is still there. Also, my efficiency is that much better seeing that I’ve had all of this time to learn how and when to do things for maximum results.



I still go mental every now and again because I forget to do something or my because my task lists feel like they’re a mile long.

Regardless of all that, I’m pretty much working from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. That’s also a lie. I definitely take a break to eat an awesome supper while watching an awesome show with awesome husband. D’awww.

I’m gross. So what?

Since it’s Etsy Tuesday for just two more hours, I thought I’d take a stroll down 2012′s very short memory lane and showcase some of the invitations I’ve been working on. The mustache and lip invitations have proven to be an incredible seller, as have the concert ticket styled invites. To my surprise and pleasure, the silhouette save the date cards were finally picked up by a cute couple in the UK and I can’t wait to get to work on their invitations.

See? Adorable. I really wish more people would hop on this bandwagon. I love the style of the silhouettes on a simple, almost 1950s background.

While working on Kevin and Nicole’s invitation, I had moments of hesitation and frustration. I wasn’t happy with it and no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to force happiness upon myself.

Then, the printed piece came in and as I held it, I thought to myself, “Nope, I’m still not a fan. What was I thinking when I created this invitation?”

Now that I’m four variations in with this style, Kevin and Nicole’s may be my favourite. The blue tones with a hint of yellow turned out to be one of my favourite colour combinations. Now, the yellow was supposed to be gold, but Nicole opted to forgo the extra fee for a metallic ink. I don’t think going yellow has tarnished the feel at all. Heck, gold may have even been too much, in the end.

Marci is a sweetheart. I have been helping her with everything from save the date announcements to table number cards to place cards and favour stickers. She’s quick to respond and an absolute doll to brainstorm with. I’ve spent so much time bouncing ideas off of her and showing her samples, and I don’t even care. She’s one of those customers you want to help as much as you can.

Soon, we’ll embark on the invitation adventure, and I can’t wait to see the results. Her colour scheme on the mustache and lip invitation has been my absolute favourite so far.

Steph and Geoff were my first couple to request something other than my standard silk stock. For them, I ventured into linen territory and ultimately, I was rather pleased. In fact, I’m beginning to think that I may to start offering linen as an available option in my listings. The texture adds a neat element to the feel (Hah! Feel!) of the invitations, making them a little more traditional rather than something that’s a little bit more in the ways of an artistic print.

I guess?

Gary and Victoria were my first couple European couple to place a very large order. My heart broke when tracked shipping came up at just over $80. I understand that I’m paying for someone to take my package and fly it overseas for me, but wow, $80. I knew international shipping was expensive, and I suppose I should have known to expect something like this, but I still managed to hold out hope that Canada Post would surprise me in some wonderful fashion.

No such luck.

No such luck at all.

On the bright side, she was lovely about it and LOVED them when they arrived:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I absolutely love my invitations!!!! They are exactly what I was expecting. I can’t wait to send them out!!! You have been wonderful !!!!

I have been so lucky with my Etsy brides. They have been so lovely and sweet. There have been the rare instances of bridezillas, but they tend to be so zilla that they opt to work with someone more traditional. My gals have been nothing short of the best. At the end of the day when I’m exhausted after a day of work, followed by a night of work, their excitement and appreciation makes this all totally worth it.

/end sappy moment

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wednesday reads: bargain hunting

wednesday reads: bargain hunting

Every year, four out of the seven University of Toronto St. George campus colleges host book sales in support of each college’s respective library and programming. Unfortunate for me, up until about three minutes ago, I only ever knew about the Trinity College and Victoria College sales. A quick google-fu has shown me the light and left me feeling disappointed in having missed three out of four possible book sales over the last number of weeks.

Whatever. It’s fine. It’s not like I realistically have room for an additional 567 books right now, anyhow. Bringing home that many extra books would only mean having to throw out our bed or couch or something. Actually, hey, that’s not a bad idea. We could make a bed and couch out of books! That would be a neat DIY, right? Right?

Okay. Maybe not.

I’ve been to the Trinity College book sale three out of the last four years. On a whim, four years ago, while living in Toronto, I decided to give the book sale a chance and have been unable to tear myself away ever since. Every year, I mark the new dates down on my calendar and excitedly count down to the big book sale weekend, as though I were five years old and waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Nevermind that I also excitedly wait for Christmas like that to this day. That only proves that somewhere, deep down, I am mostly just a child in an adult’s body.

HOWEVER! How can you NOT be excited for these University book sales?! One year, I spent $50 and left the sale with four bags of books! $50! FOUR bags of books!

This year, I spent $33 for 13 books. A girlfriend of mine, who I insisted come with me, picked up something like 6 hardcovers, as well as a selection of paperbacks, for around $40.

Since first attending the sale four years ago, I’ve been able to pad my classics collection, increase my plays and poetry, add to my ever growing pile of children’s books, as well as pick up more current novels that I had been holding out on purchasing new.

Sure, as much as I could rush out to a used book store and find myself some bargains, I think part of it is the thrill of the hunt in an old, historic building with creaky wooden floors and beautiful architecture. You never know what you’re going to find with the selection varying wildly year to year. Each year, I leave with an entirely different type of purchase.

Plus, each year kind of has its own so-called adventure associated with it. The first year, not knowing what to expect, I found myself having to lug a couple of very heavy bags of books back home with me on the subway, and awkwardly walking them back to my apartment. The next year, post sale, I had my hair cut downtown where the hairdresser spent an hour hitting on me as I drank red wine. This year, we followed up our book binge with cheap eats and browsing at IKEA.

Also, getting caught up looking at toilet stall art that expands into an entire stall of philosophical discussions on humanity and love, and reading it.

… only in a university washroom.