Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some things I'd like to be doing

I'm getting totally burnt out on the crazy of this year, and I'm ready for Christmas.  Not because I'm done with all the prep, but because I'm done.  You know?

The other day I found myself thinking longingly of the evenings I spent browsing through creative ideas and tagging them from my Pinterest account.  That's how much I need a vacation.  (not to put down Pinterest, which I find immensely valuable.)

Some things I would do if it were up to me:

Sit down
Cook Chicken Stew with Dumplings for supper
Bake bread just for the aroma
Watch a marathon of Foyle's War
Stare at a grey sky as long as I want from a warm cosy room
Curl up in front of a fireplace with friends and hot chocolate
Read a book, cover to cover and not just a page a day

I'd add 'nap in a sunbeam' and 'enjoy a really good cup of tea' except that I'm able to make time for those things.  They are called Survival Tactics.

And now: back to work!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I missed my window

My cutoff for getting all the leaves raked up and out to the curb is the first snow.

Guess I blew that...

At least I got some into bags first!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Some pretty things

It's definitely autumn here, with either bright blue skies behind starkly orange tree canopies or grey days that could stand in for murky movie scenes in a graveyard.

The local church has had its big fall rummage sale, and I got some vintage linens, one of which makes a nice background for the white bowls I bought recently:

The excitement about those is, they match my current dishes.  White dishes are pretty boring in their way, but they look very peaceful in the cupboard with strong clear glasses that all match each other from size to size.  My dish cupboard is one of my favourite things about my kitchen: even in the most chaotic moment, I can open that door and take a deep breath knowing that some things get to stay orderly no matter what.

I found a mug in the same shop - Anthropologie, if you're shopping - with an M on it.

It's not a great mug, or rather, it's a great big huge mug with a terrible handle.  The position is wrong for balance and the size is wrong for fingers and you can't really carry the mug at all without burning your knuckles.  On the other hand, it's got an M on it!  And pretty scrolly flowery things.  And you can fill it once and then sit down for a really long time.

Also: I discovered that the local posh grocer makes a cranberry-orange loaf every bit as good as the one mum taught me to make, which means I can have it without having to make it.  Not that I don't like making it.  But if I did make it, it would use up all the time I might otherwise spend eating it.  You can see my difficulty.

Since August I've been thinking a lot about writing, by which I mean writing has been happening in my head, but my hands are busy knitting.  I don't know why that is.  I used to think all those other interests are me putting a barrier between myself and my writing and feel quite annoyed with myself for not being more responsible and focused.  Now, at least some of the time, I wonder whether the other interests are feeding future writing, like random plants do a fallow field. 

It's a pretty thought, isn't it?  And it leaves me free to do what I like, which at the moment is to drink another cup of tea.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Murky Grey Mornings (how I love them)

I'm sure this is a product of having read Wuthering Heights so many times as a kid

(seriously, is that any kind of example a 12-year old should be getting for adult relationships?  apparently yes, since I've always been better off than Catherine.  read it lately?  whoa)

but I do love a murky grey morning in fall.  There are so many possibilities for the day, all of them layered - from rain clothes and boots to the many ingredients in the cookies you'll probably bake or the pages of the book you'll read since it's too crummy to go out gallivanting through the heather. 

No sun to make you squinty or too warm.

Leaves standing out but softly against the sky if they are still on their trees; the ones on the ground bright against the darkened pavements.

Air wet and chilly enough for a good strong sweater

A hot drink that much more comforting

A nap that much more enticing

and anything you actually accomplish so much more rewarding.

Also, I get to go out and hear music while knitting later, and then have supper in a restaurant with friends.  And I tracked down my favourite weird skirt to wear. So even if it was gorgeous and sunny and warm it'd still be a pretty fab day.  Yay!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The fine art of mailing it in

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians!

and aren't we lucky to have summery weather (at least in Southern Ontario) for it? of which I have been very much taking advantage, though mostly in my 'big organizational overhaul' way.

I have had time for that because back when people first started to let me cook the Big Holiday meals, I worked very hard to make them great, and now I cheat everywhere.

For example, a lot of people choose between turkey and ham for the main course.  Both are simple and require minimal intervention during the cooking stage.  But I've learned the hard way you can go crazy with brining a turkey before, and making turkey stock after.  So I go with spiral ham.  It's even pre-sliced!

Vegetables for this fall feast often include a delicious squash mashed up with maple syrup and butter, or potatoes mashed up with sour cream and butter, or better still scalloped potatoes and oh how I love those. Here is an amazing revelation though: if you slice up carrots and wrap them in tin foil with pats of butter and and some brown sugar, you get no-brainer candied carrots that pair nicely with cut potatoes roasted in olive oil on the otherwise unused bottom rack of the oven.  And nobody cares that nothing got mashed or sauced.  Unless they really hate mashed veg and cheese sauce, in which case they love you even more for not making them eat that.

Think about this one too: given the choice between fresh beans steamed on the stove (three pot pieces to wash plus cutting board and knife), or peas thawed and cooked in butter in a (solitary) saucepan, guess which gives you more green on your plate?

Oh, and let's not forget pumpkin pie.  Ever since the year I did everything but remember to put sugar into the filling, I send somebody out to buy one.

Hope your day is simple enough to do fun things with too!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A vest from a sweater

The other day I discovered I'd missed by 24 hours a small friend's birthday.


Plus, she has everything.  Fortunately I have a cupboard full of more than everything.  Specifically, this previously-felted sweater:

Prior to the panic it was in one piece.  But it didn't magically burst into segments - I had to snip.

Today we will look at what came of the body part.  First, some blanket stitch:

Pretty pretty blanket stitch, will I ever tire of you?  Especially now that I know to turn in the raw edge and catch it with some of the stitches so you get a nice clean finish?  (had I but disovered this trick before the vest project...)

The blanket stitch is burgundy because nothing else looked better and because I also had these cute flower embellishments in the cupboard:

You may have to trust me on the beads being the exact same shade of burgundy.  Also on the flowers being a rich purple, not at all this weird blue that the camera interpreted.  I sewed on bar pins - more stash cupboard genius - so that Small Friend's Mum can remove them when washing the vest.

This is what they look like on.  Cute?

I deem the vest Cute.

I just hope nobody minds the pink angora fluffs that are gonna be all over whatever she wears it with.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baking from a foreign cookbook

During the summer, Melissa wrote about cookbooks she likes called Ladies, A Plate.  The title refers to the tactful code at the bottom of a community event notice in New Zealand for attending ladies to bring along some baked goods to share. 

We know where this is going, right?  I had to have these books.  Or at least one of them.  For a start pretty much everything Melissa does or gets interested in is awesome, and also, the custom of catering en masse is traditional to the neighbourhood where I grew up, too.  Bonus: did you click on the Melissa link and look at the covers?  Please. 

Right away when my copy of the original book arrived I spotted the cuteness of the recipe titles - 'bumble bees', 'butterfly cakes', 'coffee cloud cake' - and in particular the presence of 'Nainoma Bars'.  This recipe is immediately recognizable as what is known in my circle as 'Nanaimo Bars', after a town in British Columbia, but also 'You Name It Brownies,' and even 'Johnny No-Name Bars' because they are known under so many different titles.  (graham/coconut/butter/cocoa crust, vanilla pudding-enriched icing for filling, melted chocolate poured over top.)

I love this book and have been making recipes from it, none of them yet keepers but all - and collectively too - fascinating.  Like, who knew you could have so many ginger-based recipes in one book and have them all be different?

And another cool thing: dissolving the baking powder in milk or water so it's part of the liquids added to the dry ingredients.  Where I live, the baking powder gets sifted in with the dry stuff.

Those are 'Friendly Road' buns, named after the depression-era radio show where the recipe was first shared.  By my local standards, they are not a bun but rather a tall satisfying cookie, sweetened noticeably with a little addition of Golden Syrup (sweeter than pure corn syrup and generally one of the most delicious things imaginable: try it on pancakes.)

These are Ginger Kiss halves, served without being sandwiched over icing because who has time? They poured out onto the cookie sheet like cake batter, but puffed up prettily into a soft but firmer-than-cake morsel.  I balked at the amount of ginger the recipe called for and halved it, but of course it came out very delicately-flavoured so another time I would make it as directed.

There are recipes in the book I would never bake, but which serve to point out how incredibly dedicated those New Zealand moms were about treating their families with special tarts and mini eclairs and elaborate cakes.  Actually I could never make any other recipes in the book and it would still have been worth buying it - the pictures are soooooo wonderful! and the introductions to where the recipe came from or how it was adapted by dozens of different bakes!  it's everything I like about social history. 

Try a copy yourself and see what I mean - and if you make something I haven't but should, let me know.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sewing some snack bags

It occurred to me at the grocery store one day last year that I was buying a lot of plastic baggies for portable snacks, and I wasn't reusing them nearly enough.  I wondered whether I could possibly sew something for the job - and a very brief hunt online told me not only that I could, but that many, many others have done it already.

I decided on the fold-over-top technique advocated at Angry Chicken and started hunting for organic fabric, because I'd read that some fabrics are treated with things to preserve them from damage during transport that you do not want on your food.  Alewives to the rescue:

When this fabric arrived I worried that the half yard I'd bought of each might not be enough, so I stopped at Stitch in Jordan, Ontario during my next Niagara trip and found that Jocelyn stocks organic fabrics as well.  Hers are hand-dyed and hand-painted in India and have a very nice floppy quality that contrasts with Alewives' crispiness:

Don't you love how you can see where the artist adjusted the painting tool?

I bought three fat quarters that sort of coordinated, and dressed up some bags with contrasting fabric until I came to my senses (they are only for snacks, and I do not have unlimited time):

And then I got to work on my half-yards...

Which resulted in 27 bags, including the larger drawstring one, all stitched in double rows and the edges pinked because my old Singer has no zigzag function.

That's a lot of snacks.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This old chair

Over the weekend I got to see a chair I've been hearing about lately: my Grampa's chair.

It's seen better days, obviously.  In some of them, Grampa was enjoying supper with my mum and sister and brothers and their mum, then setting his head down to rest after a long day; this was during the Depression, when it was hard for carpenters for find work.  I wonder too whether the brain tumor that cut his life short was beginning to grow then, sapping his energy.

Another thing I'm wondering: creamy paint? turquoise paint? a clear varnish to protect both parts of its history?

Not wondering: whether I will be doing this myself.  My Grampa almost certainly got the chair from his, so I think it's safer in the hands of a professional, don't you?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Crop circles

I saw these at my uncle's cottage and had to have their picture:

They remind me of Miss Muffet's Tuffet... which reminds me, it's time for breakfast.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shed a little light: the before and after

Here is what my verymost local municipal tree looked like before the big trucks pulled up yesterday:

The yellow arrow on the upper left points to the problem.

I sat in the living room for the 20 minutes it took to address the entire situation.  The guys would sling a rope around one limb to act as a pulley for another, drop a few leaves with some sawdust, then swing a branch down, canopy first, to the lawn.  A chipper parked in front of the house dealt with the remains immediately but I had time to see the round splotches of disease on all the leaves too high for me to see normally.  The tree is nearly 70 years old so I guess it's not a surprise, but I'm sad to think I might be seeing the last of its long years.

They didn't cut the problem limb itself - they'd need a bigger truck for that - but they did cut away any branch that so much as thought about the roof of the house, thereby avoiding any liability risks in future.  Which leaves us with this:

The house feels so barren.

On the bright side, maybe now I can get solar panels?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cavalry: big truck edition

The weather report for today is high winds and thunderstorms, and I was just taking glass off some shelves in anticipation of a tree limb crashing through the roof sometime around midafternoon when I heard a comforting


and looked outside to see two guys in construction hats getting out of a very big tree-trimming truck.


and hopefully, so will our tree be.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trees that point down

Yesterday afternoon I tucked up with friends in the basement to watch Part 1 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you have seen this film or others in the series you will know there is rather a lot of arguing with bright crackling items, and will perhaps understand how a few authentic lightning flashes and thunder rolls could go along unnoticed.

Well.  When the credits rolled we noticed there was just enough time to buy groceries before supper so off we went outside and, wow!

Tree branches were everywhere they ought not to be.  Barely a block was not sporting a very large limb across the road, leaves pointed up taller than the usual car's roofline, to say nothing of the jagged edges left on trees that had dropped (marginally) lesser limbs on sidewalks and lawns.

A few blocks away, half of a tree had been split away from the whole right at the base of the trunk, careening sideways and taking out the awning over the front door of the nearest house.  Worse, in another direction, an entire tree had been ripped off its trunk and deposited straight up the front lawn of a house set, mercifully, well back from the road; its second-storey eavestrough is bent, and both storeys' frontage is completely obscured by a wall of leaves and branches that press in at the windows, but the roof is untouched.  I feel sad for the gorgeous landscaped garden which will likely not recover from the combination of initial impact and imminent sawdust, when the city's forestry crews come to cut it up.

My tree, the tree that shades my house and dapples sunlight into every window and is generally much loved by me and mine, seemed unaffected by all the excitement.

But no.

There is a long gash along the top of one of the larger branches - I am guessing about 4' in length, and 2" wide in the middle - near where it joins the trunk. Yesterday there was a crack in the same area on one side, today an additional crack in the same area on the other.  That branch is coming down, and if it's not in the hands of the already overloaded forestry workers, it's on my roof.  I'm hoping for the former.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The getaway

I was invited to a cottage and left on Friday morning, expecting a long drive.  Fairly quickly, it turned into this:

Miles and miles of this. 

Hills, huge hunks of ancient rock, and loooooots of green things growing.

It was very. very. relaxing.

On arrival, the sky looked like this:

and the shoreline - because of course, the cottage sits yards from the edge of a pristine lake - looked like this:

I'm sorry I can't photograph the air or the mingled scent of trees, small animals, damp and heat, and deep calm.  It was wonderful.  I hope I get to go back!

Friday, August 12, 2011


Cute tin wrapping, or inspired solution? You decide.

7 home-baked cookies looking for transportation

1 tin available

Former label from tin - previously removed - left glue, still sticky

Paper closest to hand an attractive sand colour but

Said paper, aka Parchment Paper, proves its nonstickiness by

Not allowing tape to stick.

Conclusion: either it's lucky the baker is an imaginative knitter, or it's obvious that the baker was too lazy to cross the room for another paper choice. Or both.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Autumn: on its way?

Okay, I've had a few clues here. 

One is that we're not yet halfway through August which makes it Still Summer. But I'm tripping over crispdry leaves outside that are spilling out of the corners in which they had congregated in corners earlier in the month.  They are all green, but that doesn't fool me.  I mean, they fell off the tree.

Another is that suddenly it's cool enough outside in the mornings that I need to wear sleeves (in April, I would have considered this balmy and gone sleeveless, but I'm putting that point down as another clue.)

A third: I've been baking. When it's heatwave season, I'm too busy being slumped on the floor in front of the air conditioner to think of something crazy like that.

Plus, have you noticed I've been writing in the diary lately instead of just posting a picture and maybe commenting on it?  It's fall that always kickstarts the writing, for me.

Oh, and I'm thinking harder about what exciting things I want to be wearing soon.  This mostly involves layers and layers of black, but still.  The key word 'layers' is in there.

I suppose Spring is the same - you start getting milder moments in March, even when there's still snow on the ground.  Seasons don't come and go by the calendar but in little steps - they are a process, like life.  And like life, you gotta take those little reminders and recognize that what you have now is going. 

This year though... I'm thinking that instead of shoring up for what's coming, like I usually do, I might just focus on enjoying what's left of Now.

(while finishing the cardigan I'm knitting for fall.  Because I don't want to lose a moment of cool weather on not wearing it.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The art of cheerful thinking

I always bring a friend along when I have to have a blood test, so I have somebody to look at and hold hands with and talk to about a subject totally unrelated to the needle going into my arm for the purpose of removing something I rather like having inside me.  My preferred topic: Holidays I Might Like To Take Some Day.

Today I had to give a blood test, and the topic was: Holiday I'm Taking in Two Days.

Me: crystal clear lake waters!

Friend: starry night!

Me: springy pine needle paths!

Friend: mosquitoes!

Nurse: putting vinegar on your skin deters mosquitoes.

Me: thank you for that tip! and also, dock!

Friend: mosquitoes! and other biting insects!

Me: lake! barbeque! marshmallows roasted over a fire!

Friend: blackflies!

Me: I am never bringing you with me for a blood test again.

(H'mmmm... I wonder if that was the point?)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A long summer's nap

I'm not getting a nap today, but I'd really like one - I started the summer buoyed up with nervous energy that's finally dissipated over the last week or so.  So in the absence of opportunity, I'm imagining the perfect miniature sleep.  In a hammock under tall trees, or on a shady porch after a lunch of iced tea and cucumber sandwiches, maybe. And then waking up refreshed to a supper that somebody else made.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Good story, catchy tune

Two winters ago, I listened to La Boheme via captioned YouTube videos, of which this is the first in the series:

Last night, I listened to the recordings I bought once I was well and truly obsessed, and fell all over again. I'm not good with opera, I don't know why, but La Boheme is just so easy to love.  And it really helps when you know what the singers are saying.

* * * * *

here's more:

Act I part 2

Act IV part 1

Act IV part 2

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The train that runs on this track hadn't been able to for a couple of months when I took this picture - other sections of track had washed away in heavy rains.  Isn't it amazing how fast things these plants grew, with no train to knock them down?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A recipe

Okay, it's pretty much just fruit in a cup - and apparently I'm one of the last to know that drizzling honey over fruit is a delicious idea. But see that lemon wedge in the green goblet?  Yeah.  Lemon juice drizzled over honeyed  fruit = super yum.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A first

The first solid food I ever ate, I took unasked from Mrs. Denver's basket of freshly ripened tomatoes.

I wonder if that's why red is my favourite colour?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bridge to somewhere

This is the covered pedestrian bridge in Wakefield, Quebec. I watched young men climbing through the diamonds to leap off into the cold clear water below, their bicycles left behind, but it turned out they were motivated not only by the heat.  The owner of a vintage bike with a pretty wicker basket was lying on a sunny rock downstream, already surrounded by admirers.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

White on white

This picture reminds me vividly of my uncle's basement circa 1975:

He and my aunt had a plastered hallway painted white - so cool and still - that they'd lined with white bookshelves full of stories that could take you anywhere.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Skiving day

The only thing better than spontaneously skipping work on a sunny summer day?

Mini-putt.  (with new red shoes.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You're facing the wrong way

I like to sit down as much as the next person, but I don't think I could break my gaze long enough to do it here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Steal this look

Last week I visited a cafe full of tables with unironed vintage cloths over them (I strongly suspect mine had a sheet) and I was enchanted.  Not least because I have a good few vintage tablecloths and not a lot of enthusiasm for ironing.

Also enchanted by: wraparound screened-in porches.  But those are just a little less spontaneous to copy, dagnabbit.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Back in my day

A few weeks ago I visited a train museum with an impressive collection of old Toronto Transit Commission subway cars.  This is the model I rode on when I first moved to the city:

You know what?  I really miss it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Did you hear about the postal strike we had in Canada a few weeks ago?  A lot of stuff got held up for the duration, much of it way more important than my mail (like, bees and other live things that kind of needed delivery to stay live) but as mail started to come through again I couldn't help wondering when I was gonna get my New Yorkers already because a girl can only read vintage copies of the Bobbsey Twins for so long before getting more than a little crazy.

So this is a welcome sight:

Very, very welcome.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An empty chair

I took this picture the other day to test out some photo processing software...

and was surprised by how well it captures my feelings.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


My porch doesn't look like this today:

I almost wish it did because it is so terribly hot these days, but then I wouldn't be able to take my spinning wheel out there. I'm settling for enjoying the memory while enjoying the breeze.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chipped paint

This is the Gramma Step:

As I understand it, it was made by a teenaged boy and his dad so his Gramma could climb up into his first pickup truck and ride around the countryside with him.

It's been painted a few times and was well-used by Gramma, and then by a Nana with bad knees, and now by me... as a footstool, as a chair when I'm weeding, as a backdrop for photographing some knitting, and even as a little step to reach up high.  It weighs a ton - there's no way it's gonna tip over when you're on it - but that strap on the end makes it a cinch to cart around to wherever you need it.

I am very attached to the Gramma Step, with its chipped red paint that speaks of years and years of constancy and usefulness and love.  But at the moment I think I value most the fact that it makes the chipped paint on the porch look rustic and charming.  Because I really don't want to paint the porch again this year.

Friday, July 8, 2011


One thing about being so swamped you only retain really vital information: you don't know what colour hydrangea grows outside the office window until after the blooms develop.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

The prettiest snack

I highly recommend treating yourself to small pieces of vintage kitchenware - and then using them. (oh, and eating fresh berries. Delicious!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A train

The best thing that happened to me yesterday:

riding with friends on a vintage Toronto streetcar (one I like to think my grandfather, who was a carpenter and worked in  the Toronto Transit Commission's repair yards during the Depression, might have touched) and being reminded of a short train route to try on another day.  I love to be happy, but happy and anticipating more happiness all in the same moment?  So great.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sewing the retro satchel

Okay, if we assume that by 'this week' I meant 'next week' when I promised to show the latest sewing project, then we're still good. Here it is:

Yep, another child-sized hiking satchel (tutorial here).  I am telling you, these things never get old: they are just the right size even for an early reader or graphic novel, with a pouch in the back for snacks or pencils or both, and plenty of room left over for juice, more snacks, a notepad or sticker book, and a little stuffy or some toys for long car trips.  Or, you know, you could use them for storing treasures found on an actual hike.

This time I ran into sooo many problems though, mainly because I was feeling sewing-averse at the time.  For a start, I'd already given a bag made exclusively from the vintage bedspread I wanted to use for a main fabric to a friend of the girl I made it for, and my only other option was this super dark denim that kinda drabbed it down. 

Compensation: lining made from a mostly unstained cut from a very old linen tablecloth my mum hung onto long after it was stained beyond whitening and worn into holes to boot.

Thank you mum!  It's so washable and incredibly soft to the touch - perfect for a project like this. My young friend will never have trouble finding the last ladybug-shaped chocolate in the bottom of her bag.  Also, I managed to use more bedspread for the pocket, and, having tracked down a white button with holes from the button stash I was able to use matching embroidery thread to make a shank version for the loop closure that ties in more of the pink.

(side note for anybody thinking of using a similarly ancient textile: I had to double-seam the linen lining because the fibers were so weak by the time I got to them.)

You can see where I messed up a lot of the topstitching, having procrastinated on making this till two nights before the birthday, but worse than that was a huge problem with the flap.  I deviated from my pattern thinking I could make the bag roomier by putting on a longer flap, and for some reason - hysteria induced by exhaustion? - I thought it would be cool to make the back part of the flap out of more denim.  Once I'd gotten it all ready to sew on I noticed I would now have to put the button down on the bottom of the bag, so I had to stitch it into the usual place, a pointless long flap hanging down the back of the purse.

Well, I thought, maybe she could wear the bag backwards in crowded airports - this girl's dad is a pilot, so she travels a lot - as a kind of teaser to thwart pickpockets.

Then I had a better idea and stitched on a very basic heart with my very basic machine, and because it looked as bad as that sounds I handstitched on a very basic heart with more of the pink embroidery thread.

For once, I think more is more, don't you?  She liked it, anyway, so I call it a success.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recovery in progress

Hello there!

I see I haven't posted here in a few weeks... I do write about knitting every weekday of course, but two things have kept me quiet at the Diary:

not much Procrastinate-y has occurred to me

that I have had the energy to write about let alone prep photographs for.

Reader, I am completely wrecked.  Two years of hard slogging in the emotional mines, topped off recently by quite a bit of physical labour, have left me quite happy to do nothing more ambitious every day than eat foods my body likes (as opposed the ones I like) and stay on top of the laundry situation.  I actually washed the vintage teatowels that pass for curtains in my kitchen this week, and while ironing them (!!!) to hang back up again considered taking a picture of them in all their strawberryness to post here, but... too lazy.  Welcome to the new normal.

Some small delights:

I wrote a few lines the other day in a book my writing mentor gave me to aid in Not Losing Ideas.  The only reason I didn't have to dust it off before lifting the cover was that it was buried under a lot of other things that caught the dust first.  The only reason I wrote the lines down instead of committing them to my mental compost pile was that I found the book while digging through the other things to find something that proved not to be there, or anywhere else I could see.

I seem to have mostly reset my perception of 'sweet' such that I can bear drinking tea with about a third as much honey as usual.  This is a good thing for the local bee population.

I reorganized my textile supplies in a showcase sort of display that I adore looking at in spite of not having the least desire to sew.  It's so beautiful I keep thinking I must take pictures of it for the Diary.  On the other hand: lazy.  Plus, there is the terrible interior lighting factor (next on the to-do list.)  Perhaps you can imagine taking every cute vintage storage container you own, from old cookie tins and handbags to china bowls or crystal wineglasses, and putting bits and pieces into them before setting them out in some sort of dust-resistant furniture. 

Another not-picture-taking detail:  I am officially in love with an elusive tea blend, Scottish Breakfast.  I found it at the local Posh Grocer's and adored it, bought a second tin that was the last on the shelf and was not restocked, found it in loose tea form at a more distant Posh Grocer's which then stopped stocking it, then secured it in bag form again at the first PG's.  Each version has enormously pretty packaging but you'll have to imagine that too I'm afraid.

There are a few leaves from the third purchase shifting gently in the tea at the bottom of my cup right now, reminding me of Auntie Bert.  Auntie Bert told fortunes with tea leaves and she was Never, Ever Wrong, mainly by virtue of predicting things she knew were about to happen.  She was a very good Aunt (my great-aunt, actually, in name as well as deed.)

It being June, the garden is growing.  I spent exactly one weekend wresting weeds out of the ground and setting in a very few new plants and ever since the constant cycle of rain and sun has been working wonders on it all.  There are a lot of blossoms, all very pretty, but not as fragrant as the lilac bushes at the hospital (about which the less said the better.)

I am loving Blogger.  I may not write here often, and I may be less often interesting, but writing here has been a great way to keep writing at all and following other people's blogs has been a great way to catch inspiration.  Today's bright spot:  the ever-talented Lucy at Attic24, who possesses the view voted most likely to be coveted by me and is generous about posting frequent photographs of it.  It sounds like Lucy is having a pretty lousy time of it too but my goodness, she is smart.  Three words, folks: flowers, chocolate, magazine.  How could I forget the medicinal powers of that particular combination? 

I am totally getting up the energy to acquire the magazine she's reading.  By which I mean, getting somebody else to pick it up for me.

(I did sew something last week, and I took pictures, and I'll post them in a few days.  Promise.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Rainy days are great for weeding, because the dirt gets looser and it's easier to work the roots out of the ground.  Yay!

Rainy days are great for digging worms, because the dirt gets looser and it's easier to work the worms out of the ground.  Yay!

Rainy days are terrible for people who freak out about worms wriggling up with the roots of some plant and either squirming and curling away or weaving blindly after having been unexpectedly cut in half by a not-meaning-any-harm trowel because there are so many more worms than on a normal sunny weeding day.  Ugh!

Rainy days are great for sitting inside, knitting.  Whew.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cherry blossom time

On Monday it was brought to my attention that there are cherry blossoms blooming in High Park.  High Park is pretty much on the other side of the city from me, but by a freak scheduling accident yesterday I found myself by midafternoon with fresh bread from the bakery for sandwiches and some friends who wanted to go see some trees and eat a picnic supper.

It wasn't a sunny day, but that didn't seem to bother all the other people who wanted to see some trees.

Seriously, the people watching was incredible.  So many pretty young girls in fancy gowns or otherwise elegant attire posing with trees or rocks for their boyfriends and said boyfriends' telephoto lenses!  So many high heels for the 45-minute blossom walk!  So many white blouses and dresses!  None of which turned up in any of my pictures.  (I felt a little silly taking pictures of that when everybody else was pointing their cameras at trees.)

But the blossoms were also amazing.  I've been to Washington D.C. in May so I know cherry blossoms can be spectacular, but I don't remember this sea of white where you usually see green.

Soooo maaaaany trees!  2000 apparently.

And so many blossoms.

While in the park I spotted other cool things, like evidence of bona fide Canadian beavers

orangey-yellow crocuses

and an odd dirt heap

that turned out to be a maple leaf-shaped flowerbed.

I really gotta get over to High Park more often.