Wednesday, June 29, 2011

With all of this yarn to crochet with, I've been making doilies. I have dreams of making a tablecloth out of them but we'll see what happens. Here's a peek at a golden doily that I finished up this morning. At some point I have to starch and iron them but for now they are tucked away in my new storage system. I'll take some pics tomorrow of my storage solution for my crocheting and crafting materials (a small portion of my crafting things anyway).

Monday, June 27, 2011

We're back from our trip to my hometown. If you don't already know both Ed and myself are transplants to the big city, we grew up in different but similarly sized places and we are frequently on the road traveling back to our hometowns to see family and friends. 

This weekend we were visiting my parents and partaking in some small town charm, we attended a parade made up of tractors, horses, classic cars, and shriners in tiny cars. Buzz was able to hang out with some cousins and watch the entire parade with great enthusiasm. He spent the entire time pointing to everything that went by.

The rest of the weekend was spent around the city and at my parents house. As usual we went shopping at the thrift stores (more on my finds later) and came back to Toronto with way more stuff then we took on our trip. What took up the most room in the car on the way back was a rather large bag of yarn. My mom picked up this great find at a thrift store for less than $10, an amazing find. After going through it all it was very obviously one persons entire collection, or at least a huge part of it. Many of them are actually vintage yarns and there are enough of some of the colours for larger projects, they are all in next to new condition. I am beyond excited about the variety of colours as I simply can't find these shades in my local store, and the price was quite obviously right. The picture below is probably less than a quarter of all that was in the bag, I can't wait to get started on some crochet projects!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Buzz's room is on Ohdeedoh!

Buzz's room is on Ohdeedoh! We were on the road today (more on that later) and as I am not exceedingly tech savvy (no cell phone for me) I didn't get the news until just a couple of hours ago. I love ohdeedoh and so this is super exciting for me. If you have never seen ohdeedoh then head on over and check it out, see how awesome designing for kids can be.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What I Love Wednesday : The Zoo

Living in Toronto has some great benefits, and for us one of the biggest is the ability to go to the zoo often. We have memberships at the zoo and we try to go at least once a month, the best time to go is definitely in the spring or fall when the place is practically deserted. Once the cooler weather hits the school groups go into hiding and the wide open spaces that are left are a wonderful retreat from the busy city.

Since we go to the zoo often we are able to take our time viewing our favourite animals, riding the zoomobile, and playing at the splash pad. We never feel the need to rush around the zoo and see everything which is quite the luxury at a zoo this large.

The zoo often has events going on at the zoo and we take part whenever possible. We've participated in raising money for the polar bears, and Buzz has even trick or treated at Halloween, we can't wait to take in more events this year.

This week we've been to the zoo twice and we experience what is by far my most favourite zoo moment, Buzz finally came nose to nose with one of the polar bears. We always see the polar bears when we go to the zoo but we hadn't had a good underwater viewing experience until Monday. It seems that the conditions were perfect, the water was clear and two of the bears were rough housing near the glass. At one point one of the bears swung his head down under the water and looked at Buzz. Buzz was thrilled and so was I!

The idea that for less than $200 a year we can go to the zoo as much as we like is wonderful, if we go only once a month the cost per trip breaks down to about $16. I think its great value, and its always a magical and educational trip for all of us. For as long as we live near the zoo we will most definitely have memberships.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It takes Buzz about 3 minutes to get dirty head to toe when we go to the garden. When we get there our pristine little boy climbs out of the stroller and in no time at all he turns into a very happy little dirt monster. 

Luckily the garden is equipped with water taps where Buzz is quite happy to get cleaned up before we go home. After a quick wash he is ready to hop back in the stroller and go home.  

Buzz is absolutely in love with the garden although he still has yet to eat anything from our garden. Every time I offer him a fresh strawberry or some lettuce he laughs as if the idea of eating anything fresh from the garden is some sort of hilarious joke. I'm sure at some point he'll eat something that we've grown, but until then at least he finds it all fun and humourous.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Something Found: Breadbox

I've decided that I might as well make a somewhat regular post called 'Something Found'. I often shop at thrift stores and have recently started going to yard sales and  I find some wonderful things on my travels. While I'm not going to show every item that I find, there are a number of items that are so cool they need to be shared. I'm not sure how often I'll write these posts but as I have quite the collection of great secondhand items you'll likely see these posts often.

Something Found: Breadbox

Another Saturday, another morning of yard sales. I once again scoured kijiji for upcoming yard sales and found two groupings of sales. In Toronto where parking can be scarce these neighbourhood yard sales are usually your best bet as it reduces the amount of driving. Since Buzz is in a toddler seat in the car the neighbourhood sales also reduced the amount of times we had to get him in and out of the car.

At the first group of sales we found mostly kids things, a lunchbox, a couple of toys for Buzz, nothing terribly exciting and so we quickly moved onto the next group hoping to find something wonderful.

Our trek across town was totally worth the trip, these places were home to older and more established families who had garages full of old stuff that they were ready to part with. Right away we were finding things, and after picking up a little bag of matchbox cars for Buzz he was quite happy to run up the street to the next sale. This neighbourhood was organized and had maps printed up with a list of all sales, these were printed up and on a table at every sale for people to pick up and take with them, this made it easy for us to find our way to the next sale.

About half way through the list of sales we came upon the largest of all the sales, these people were getting rid of everything in their garage and had lined the driveway. Under a few random items I came upon a beautiful sight : a pink and chrome Breadette breadbox. I had already picked up a flour sifter at this sale and I was able to buy the two items for $5 which was a great deal.

The breadbox had been sitting in a garage for a while so when we got it
 home I cleaned it really well, even taking off the piece of wood inside the front of the box. A whole lot of grime came off of this piece and while its not in perfect condition, its pretty good, and the pink colour is beautiful. Its easy to come across vintage items that are grey, green, or beige, but colour can be harder to find so I was beyond happy with pink.

As cool as any vintage item is, if I bring home something this size, it better have a purpose. I didn't really want to use this as a breadbox because our bread has a home on top of our fridge, but it is the perfect size for diaper storage. At some point I would like to work a little harder to get some of the rust off of the inside with steel wool and aluminum foil, but for now i know that it is clean and that is good enough. Everything we need for a diaper change is now stored in a very stylish pink and chrome breadbox.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Now that our garden is full of vast amounts of growing veggies we have turned our attention to adding decorative touches to make the garden our own. Last week I came across a stepping stone kit while cleaning out a closet and decided that we should make it up for the garden. I have a huge stash of magnetic letters (a great find from goodwill) and so I found as many as I could that had lost their magnets and then filled in the rest of the letters for the word 'welcome' with still usable magnetic letters. After pressing Buzz's foot into the centre of the cement mixture I surrounded the footprint with leftover broken letters and numbers, buttons, beads, glass pebbles, and an acorn cap.

The stepping stone is a great addition to our garden, Buzz loves looking at it and its perfect for playing  'I spy' with him. To make your own look for a kit at your local craft store, be sure that it is made using cement or concrete so that it will hold up over time in your own garden.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

As much as I love my son, every once in a while a mama needs a little time off so that she remembers how to act in public without a two year old attached to you (or running away from you as the case may be). My friend Alexis (yes, Alexis, we practically have the same name) came over for dinner and a trip to the garden.

A little info on Alexis

We grew up in the same hometown and went to the same high school, we now live in the same gigantic city and live surprisingly close to one another. Alexis has red hair and when we are out with Buzz she is easily mistaken for being his mother. Alexis is an artist and is the creator of the farm animal prints in Buzz's room. When she isn't working crazy hours at Starbucks, we see Alexis about once a week.

Back to this evening, dinner, garden, and then Ed left the garden to walk home with Buzz while Alexis and I took off in the car and went shopping at Winners. I found new pajamas, they're super comfortable and pretty and I love them. Its so nice to have an opportunity to try on clothes without standing with one hip against the door so that my rather rambunctious child doesn't open it and run away. No amount of cookies or juice (treats that I reserve for occasions when Buzz needs some enticing to sit patiently) will keep Buzz happy in a dressing room, it just doesn't happen.

Its not even a good time when Ed comes along, Buzz wants us to be in the same place at the same time and dressing rooms don't really allow for that. This causes Buzz to run back and forth between the dressing room and the area just outside the dressing room thus ensuring that neither of us is leaving or falling into an apparent dressing room black hole. Thus the hour that I had at Winners tonight without my wonderful child was blissful, the pajamas and coffee afterward were just an added bonus.

After dropping Alexis off at her apartment I returned home to find a fed, freshly bathed, and happy child waiting for me. Being away from him is not something I do often, our lifestyle doesn't always allow for it and that's alright, I love being with him. I love when the three of us are spending time together in the evening. As great as my time away from him was, coming home to hugs from Buzz because he was so happy to see me was the best part of my evening. That and the pajamas, I mean, they're pretty freakin awesome.


I've figured out how to make commenting available to all, not just blogger users, so if you've got something to say, comment away!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I Love Wednesday : The Woodlot

I've decided to start a weekly blog post about something that I love. Anything goes for this weekly post, it may be about an object, an experience, a place,  or whatever else might strike my fancy that week. I will attempt to write a 'what I love Wednesday' post every Wednesday but I'm sometimes quite forgetful, I have pined a note to my bulletin board so that I have a reminder. Why Wednesday? No reason really, 'what I love Wednesday' sounds way better then 'what I love Tuesday' and also it happens to be Wednesday and I just came up with this idea. Please enjoy these posts and feel free to share with me something that you love.

The Woodlot

I am a little in love with this company. I heard about them through an Etsy team that I'm a part of and met them at the One of a Kind spring show in Toronto this year, in fact I won tickets to the show through a contest on their Facebook page, but this is not how they won my love. Their products are why I fell in love with them. They own a 25 acre wooded lot and from it they make some of the most beautiful toys, jewellry, and home accessories, among other things.

Not only are their products beautiful, but their toys in particular are wonderful as they are finished with beeswax polish or tung oil making them foodsafe. Buzz has two of their cars and they have stood up very well to everything that he puts them through. These toys are definitely something to keep forever and every item is different, making them extra special. What is beautiful about these toys is that they aren't simply made out of wood, they are made with the wood, creating gorgeous products that showcase the individual piece of wood.

If you want to learn more about The Woodlot and their products then visit their website and their Etsy shop.  Definitely take a look at the rest of their product line, they make some beautiful jewelry and items for the home, you can even buy buttons for your own craft projects.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This past Saturday I did something that I haven't done in a very long time. I went to a yard sale. I love yard sales, growing up in a small city I often went to yard sales as a kid. I have some great memories of my finds as a child, in fact, I still have some of my childhood yard sale finds, a panda bear tea set for two, a brothers Grimm book of stories, a mug in the shape of the bear to name a few. While I have been avidly going to thrift stores these past few years since moving to the big city, yard sales have eluded me. I think that the lack of yard sales in my life has a lot to do with living in apartment buildings. People don't have yards or driveways on which to set up their junk and so they donate the things they want to be rid of, or they sell them online, its almost impossible to simply drive around and hope to spot a yard sale near my neighbourhood.

After hearing about some yard sale adventures of a friend of mine I decided to hunt a couple down online, I found them quickly and easily on kijiji and I ventured out Sunday morning in search of treasure. I was well rewarded for my efforts and came home with a rather old, swivel diner stool. Its rusty, and there is some gum under the rim of the seat, but I love it, and for $10 I felt I got a good price on it. I have two vintage dining sets and so this fits in perfectly with them, plus its an extra seat that doesn't take up much space. I think that if I wanted I have some options in fixing it up, I watch American Restoration, I know what would need to happen to make it look original again. Someday I could get it sandblasted and re-chromed, cleaned up and re-painted, but for now I might simply clean it up, and possibly re-cover the seat. I like that it looks old, because truly, it is old. I will definitely be going out again to see what else I can find at a yard sale.

Monday, June 13, 2011

While at the garden today I ate the first strawberry of the season, it was awesome, everything a fresh from the garden strawberry should be. Luckily this won't be the last, there is another almost ready and hopefully it will be just as tasty. Also the peonies in the other gardens are in bloom and everywhere you look there is a burst of colour and beautiful bloom, its wonderful. The best thing about having a plot at a community garden is that I get to enjoy all the other gardens that are there as well. Some gardens are for vegetables only, others have berries and some have flowers. I love seeing what people use to make fences, from chicken wire and lumber to collected branches and scrap pieces of plastic construction netting, the ingenuity of my fellow gardeners is impressive. When I joined the community garden there were very few rules, I could plant what I wanted, however I wanted. The variety of the garden plots around me is really lovely and interesting.

There is nothing better then having friends over for the day, so today that is exactly what we did. Today J and his mama M came over and we had a great time. The boys did some serious playing, we walked to the garden, and then came back to our place for some pizza and hello dollies. Buzz had a great time, and despite looking incredibly tired after J and M left, he wouldn't fall asleep for a nap. These no-nap days can be difficult to handle, he is only 2 and its a little early for him to not be sleeping in the afternoon. By the time 3pm rolls around we are both ready for a break. To keep him busy while slowing him down a little I opted to break out some craft supplies today. Sparkly glue was a huge hit with Buzz, I'm definitely going to have to get some more.

 Luckily all of this crafting really wore Buzz out and he is currently napping in his room. We'll have to cut this nap short so that we can go and weed the garden tonight, but any nap is a good nap.

Friday, June 10, 2011

something pretty

Something pretty: my very own raincloud in my hallway, complete with raindrops. You may have seen the fabric pigeons that I did on Buzz's door but this was my first fabric cornstarch project. I can see it from where I sit typing at the computer and I love it. We didn't think that we should put any nails into this particular wall because there is a fuse box located on the other side of the wall so a cornstarch fabric decal was the perfect solution. My sister gave me the polka dot fabric ages ago and I love it so much but have found it difficult to sew with as it is quite thin. Being thin however makes this fabric perfect for use as a decal, I love the way that it turned out. Its surprising how lovely a little raincloud can be.

stormy weather, wonderful results

Summer storms have brought some wonderful surprises, the garden is growing like crazy and today Buzz and I found caterpillars! He isn't all that fond of creepy crawlies yet but he was a little fond of the fuzzy caterpillars.

Take a look at the crazy awesome lettuce in my garden. This batch was the result of Buzz getting his hands on a packet of seeds and spilling them everywhere. We now have a patch of lettuce next to the neat and tidy square foot lettuce. It tastes great, I've have a couple of leaves but I haven't yet convinced Buzz to try it. He found it quite amusing that I was eating something from the garden though, it would seem that he hasn't quite grasped the concept of where food comes from. He is only 2 after all so I will forgive him that.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Room for Buzz

I've finally done it, after much organizing, decorating, and moving furniture to and fro, I've finally taken pictures of Buzz's room. I'm a  huge fan of the room tours on ohdeedoh and over the past year or so I've found some great ideas while looking through the website which came in handy when setting up the room. We're lucky that our apartment has very sizable bedrooms, allowing lots of room for Buzz to not just sleep in his room, but play there as well.

We decided not to paint at all in this room because we aren't sure how long we'll stay at this location, instead I used lots of photos, illustrated images, artwork, and even some homemade fabric decals to liven up the walls and the door.

 Adorning the door is a great big polka dot 'B' with a flowery blue pigeon on either side. I cut these out of fabric and followed this tutorial to learn how to stick them to the wall using corn starch. It worked wonderfully and when we decide to move they will peel right off without stripping the paint.

Buzz has been lucky enough to receive some great artwork as gifts and all of it looks phenomenal on his walls. The images of the animal people are from grand ole bestiary on Etsy , I love that they are way more interesting then your average animal photo. Flash cards, vintage pennants, and postcards fill in the other space between photographs.

 A vintage light switch cover - a gift from an Auntie, was the perfect way to spruce up an otherwise utilitarian fixture in the room. The barn shelf was bought at a thrift store and for a couple of bucks and I switch out the trinkets on it often.
A giant Ikea leaf perches in the corner, even after having it in his room for over a year, Buzz still seems amazed by it. One entire wall of the room is taken up by windows, its great to have all of that natural light, however it has made it  a little difficult to arrange furniture and find curtains to fit. The current middle set of curtains are still a little short as I haven't got around to adding a piece onto the bottom of them.

An Ikea side table and two orange chairs inside the door make a perfect space for Buzz to colour with crayons. The chalkboard above the table is a vintage find, bought at a Goodwill store for $3. The orange chairs were also a secondhand find by my parents, my Dad painted them orange and they fit perfectly in the room.

 An Ikea shelf turned on its side is a perfect storage solution in the room, not only does it create a home for toys and books, but the top is a perfect place for an aquarium. The prints on the wall are part of a set of 6 (only 5 are in the room, the 6th is not yet framed or hung). These are done by a friend of mine and are perfect in his room, I like that they are pieces of art that can grow with him and that he can work into a home of his own when he is older. I made the two paper buntings that you can see strung around the top of the room. I used scrapbook paper and cut out triangles, folded them, trimmed the edges, and glued them over a length of string.

Buzz on his bed. The seahorse light is another Ikea find, it gives off a nice warm light in the evening when he is falling asleep. The seated owl piece of art to the left of Buzz is done by my very talented sister. She also made the paper mache hand puppet on the Ikea shelf. You can find more of her art and puppets here.

hot day, cold lunch

Recently, as the weather has been getting warmer, I've been making myself a smoothie for breakfast or lunch. I love how fresh it tastes and it is often a great energy booster. For the most part I make my smoothie using frozen fruit, vanilla yogurt, and vanilla soy milk. I find that if I use milk in place of the soy milk it is simply too much milk and my throat gets angry at me - thus the addition of soy milk.

Last week I read this article on the blog of a friend of mine and she suggested using cinnamon in a smoothie, so today I did. I would suggest following the rest of her recipe, I'm sure its great, however I simply added cinnamon to my regular smoothie recipe. Cinnamon was such a great addition that I am most definitely going to use it again and again. Thanks for the wonderful idea Sarah, cinnamon in my smoothie made my day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

sneak peak

I promise to get a tour of Buzz's room up shortly, but in the meantime here is a bit of a sneak peak. Buzz was quite excited to jump around on his bed yesterday and I happily snapped some pictures.