Visiting a Winter Wonderland

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

230/365, originally uploaded by jill willcott.

My long absence can only be excused by the fact that I'm home for the holidays. I've been spending everyday and night visiting with friends and family, catching up on the five long months we've spent apart. It has been snowing like crazy here and there was hoar frost for two days straight on all the trees. It's like living in a winter wonderland. I've been taking lots of pictures, and I'll catch up with you when I'm back in the big city.
I hope you are all having lovely holidays with friends and family.
Merry Christmas!


Monday, 7 December 2009

As predicted, I came home from the Robber shopping event, not with Christmas gifts, but presents for myself! One of which was this lovely ring by Species by the Thousands. I went in thinking I would buy the wolf ring, but this little guy stole my heart. The finish on this ring is amazing. I've admired Species by the Thousands jewelery at Robber for quite awhile and it was time to make the leap. In fact, Robber is one of only two stores in Canada carrying this amazing jewelery line.

Foxes are magnificent animals. I've been lucky enough to see two of them in my lifetime. It's hard to pick a favorite species of fox (why would you, really?) but, the lovely Planet Earth series introduced me to the Tibetian Fox, which I'm positive is the coolest fox in existence.

The orange fox print in the background is by a local Toronto artist, Katie Muth, who I had the pleasure of meeting at her table at Winter Fling...A Craft Thing this past Saturday. (Thanks Michelle for letting me know about the craft sale!) The print is actually a card, but I think I will just put it in a frame on my wall.

Fierce Bunnies by Sonja Ahlers

Saturday, 5 December 2009

DSC_3414, originally uploaded by fieldguided.

Anabela introduced me to Sonja Ahlers yesterday when my friend Kaye and I met up with her at the One of A Kind Show, here in Toronto. I had heard about Sonja's fierce bunnies before the show and seen them behind glass at Magic Pony, but nothing compares to seeing these bunnies up close and holding them in your hand. They are the softest sweetest creatures that will make all your worries go away. Just what I needed after a rough week.
I simply couldn't resist taking home one in a mitten (being a mitten knitter, and all). Taking advice from my favorite quote from Le petit prince: Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux (It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye), I took my time picking my bunny, looking for a special one. The special bunny that I took home is the little one in the beige mitten on the right. Isn't she sweet?

You can find some of Sonja's bunnies in her etsy shop.
Anabela has a lovely post about working at the booth with Sonja here.

Hot Water Bottle Cozy

Monday, 30 November 2009

My friend Alison likes to send me magazine clippings she thinks I would appreciate. She's right on every time. The latest clipping I received was a picture of a hot water bottle cozy knit with oatmeal coloured wool with a cable down the front. I knew I had to try to make a pattern of my own, how hard could it be! Well, four attempts later I think I've come up with the keeper. Sadly, after four attempts I gave up on the cable, it got too complicated.
Funny thing, after I finished the first version I went into the Indigo Book Store on Bay and Bloor and found the exact water bottle cozy in the clipping for $29.99!

I was going to save this pattern for myself until after Christmas, but I thought maybe some of you would like to make some quick Christmas/Holiday gifts, as well.
I hope you don't mind that it's not typed out. It's a small pattern, but I hope it isn't too hard to read! Plus, I thought my wonky little drawing might make you smile.

The pattern. Click on it to make it larger.
Let me know if anything confuses you or is incorrect.
ERRATA: Super important on the increase row right after the ribbing you should end up with 32 stitches, not 36! Anna (who is smart as a whip!) caught this math problem right away. She is right, if you start with 16 stitches and increase one for every stitch you have, you end up with 32. Now you know why I'm not a mathematician. :P
Thanks Anna!

The supplies. You'll need two skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca's Bulky yarn and circular or dpn needles in US size 17 or 12.75mm.

The back with a hole for removing the water bottle.

The front.

The first attempt. I need more water bottles to fill them now.
I used two balls in a mustard color and one in grey to make three.

Robber Shopping Event!

Poster by Caitlyn.
Click on the poster for a link to the Robber blog.

I was so excited to discover that a number of my readers are fellow Toronto residents (Hi Michelle, Hi Julie! To name a few.). So, when I heard of this shopping event at my favorite store in Toronto, I knew I had to let you know about it, too.
Here's the down low:
When: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 from 6-9pm.
Where: Robber, 863 Queen Street West
What: Night of Shopping
Why: To support the Daily Bread Food bank and to shop for lovely items.
How: Bring a non-perishable food item to receive 15% off Fall/Winter merchandise!

I hope they're able to collect a number of items for the food bank and I hope to see you there!
I've got my eye on a few things:Steven Alan Striped Sweater.

Species by the Thousands Black Wolf Ring.

A Fantastic Weekend.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

When Anabela invited me to come with her to the American Apparel rummage sale with her this past Friday and I couldn't say yes quick enough! One of the most exciting things about living in the big city to a girl from a small town is the possibility of an exclusive sale!

The excitement waned a little upon taking a look at the lineup. Eep! (This doesn't even fully capture the insanity.)But, we forged on.
I left with a nice pea-coat in a burgundy color that seems to be discontinued on the site.
Our pal Caitlyn picked up another cute winter jacket, and Geoff and Anabela found a few goodies as well, but I'll let them tell you about it. :)On Saturday, a group of us went out to see Fantastic Mr. Fox, and yes it was (fantastic, that is). I won't tell you more, you'll just have to see it, too. Now I'm rounding off the weekend with some homework accompanied by Sufjan Stevens's Songs for Christmas.
Hope your weekend was equally fantastic, and if you celebrated American Thanksgiving over the weekend I hope it was lovely and delicious!

In desperate need of recipes

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Pardon the poor photo snapped by my Blackberry.
Last night I made this Chickpea and Fresh Tomato toss recipe that a friend recommended, it was yummy and made enough leftovers for lunch.
It was just the kind of recipe I needed for quick, cheap, and delicious food.
I'm looking for more recipes that are delicious and easy to make, what are your favorites?

Happy Early Christmas to Me!

Monday, 23 November 2009

I have been patiently waiting for Anna's shop to open for ages and my patience was rewarded today. Wow, was it ever! I just bought myself (and a few Christmas gifts for good measure) a ton of adorable stationary including that adorable animal card above.


Sunday, 15 November 2009

Soon will have this (via Forty Sixth at Grace), but for now I want to share with you some pictures I took in the park this fall. My very first fall of red, big squirrels, and blankets of leaves.

Knitting some socks.

Monday, 2 November 2009

I'm doing this new thing where I actually follow through on the ideas I post in the Things that are Inspiring Me Right Now posts. I made those pumpkin cupcakes and now I'm whipping up some wool socks. I'm using a pattern called Absolute Beginner Socks that I purchased years ago at Romni Wools here in Toronto. I tried to find it online to no avail, however, Anna posted a great compilation of sock knitting links. I swore I wasn't going to become a crazy sock knitter, but I think I've changed my mind.

Things Inspiring Me Right Now

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

(via The Thinking Tank, original source unknown)

1. This knitting pattern (sent to me by Miss Print). Perhaps, finally a good start to go about making this.
2. The DV by Dolce Vita Blast Boot. (via Kate at For Me-For You) I may have just bought some practical winter boots, but now I'm obsessed with this pair.
3. The Lula Scrapbook.
4. Kate Miss's Mini Pies.
5. Knitting up some cosy wool socks. I'd love to knit up something as elaborate as the cabled socks in the above picture, but for a more immediate result I'll probably knit up a simple pair.
6. Pumpkin Cupcakes! (via A Cup of Jo)
7. Cute post on Selbu Mittens with a Troll!
8. What I Wore Today Flickr group.

Winter Boots

Sunday, 25 October 2009

I've spent most of my life rebelling against winter in the province that finds itself under 4ft of snow and weeks of -40 Celsius temperatures (I think that's -30 Fahrenheit). I drove everywhere in winter and wore high heeled boots to my heart's content (no, really!). This year I live in a much milder climate (so they tell me), but without a car to drive me to and fro. So, I finally made my parents proud and bought myself a pair of real winter boots. I bought the Timberland Mount Holly Earthkeepers from Get Outside. The sole is rubber that won't freeze and become slippery in low temperatures and they're lined with fleece. I'll admit my number one aversion to practical winter wear is always that it looks, well, practical. But, these boots had just enough cute to win me over.

If I still lived in Manitoba I'd be under a foot of snow right now. But whenever winter does come to Toronto, this time, I'll be ready for it!

The Pie Shack

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

(all pictures via BlogTO, where I discovered the Pie Shack in the first place)
So the dessert party was a success, thank you all for your input! Of course, I was so silly and forgot to take any pictures of the event, my deepest apologies.
I now have a fridge full of leftover desserts, never a bad thing I suppose. :)
I just wanted to tell you a little bit about a lovely bakery I ordered the apple pie from, called the Pie Shack. It took me about an hour to get there by streetcar from my apartment, but oh boy was it worth it in the end! From the outside the pie shack has an adorable sign with a pie cooling on the windowsill, a little doghouse and a bike with a basket. On the inside are large wooden tables to sit down with friends and share a slice or two.
The store was packed on the Saturday before Canadian Thanksgiving and I patiently waited in line behind a few people who ordered some pumpkin pies to go. The owner Tim is so welcoming to everyone in the shop, he made sure to call everyone by name and shook many hands as groups were leaving. Tim and the other gentleman working to the time to make sure each customer was given personalized service and their undivided attention.

When it was my turn I proudly announced I was there to pick up an apple pie to go. Tim made sure to give me exact instructions on how to serve my pie that evening and when I was finished paying he brought my receipt around the counter in person to give me my handshake. He even asked if I needed help carrying it anywhere. However, I politely declined, saying I had a long way to go and that I would be fine. When I told him where I was coming from he said "Wow, thanks so much for coming all this way and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving."

For a homesick girl on Thanksgiving weekend a pie from the Pie Shack was just what I needed.
I hope my guests enjoyed that pie as much as I did.

All said and done, my trip to the Pie Shack was a lovely reminder that nothing beats shopping and supporting local businesses.

Thanksgiving Dessert Party

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Dear readers,

This weekend I'll be hosting a little Thanksgiving dessert party. There will be pumpkin and apple pie, for sure. But I'm having a problem figuring out what else to make, so I need your help.

What are your favorite desserts? For fall or anytime.



Things for my table

Monday, 28 September 2009

The kitchen table is my favorite piece of furniture and the place where I spend all my time (especially now that it also serves as my desk). I think these two things would be perfect additions.
I wanted this one, but I wasn't quick enough.

(via 46th at grace)

week thirty-two

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

week thirty-two, originally uploaded by m a v.

I'm a little late in sharing my love for this post, but better late than never, right?
Scarves are certainly one of my favorite things that are ushered back in the fall season, and MAV certainly knows her scarves. Her 3191 Miles Apart post shares some really unique ways to wear scarves this fall. My favorites are the Tie+Drape and the Bow.

Fall as seen by my phone.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The theme to these two photos, other than fall, is "things I carry home."
I spotted the pie pumpkin for $1.25 outside a little family run grocery store and had to have it.
That $1.25 brought me so much joy as I carried my pumpkin home and decided I needed to bake a pie. I also love to collect the red maple leaves that fall from the trees in the park on my way home from work and school and put them in my pockets.

The Importance of Writing Letters

Friday, 18 September 2009

(photo via simplesong's etsy)
Moving away from friends and family is a hard thing to do and it takes a few things to make it better:
  • Unlimited long-distance phone plans
  • Internet connections
  • Comfort items like handmade blankets and stuffed toys
  • A lovely boyfriend who joined me on the adventure (actually #1)
  • Meeting new people
  • Exploring your new living arrangements
  • Having daily adventures
But most of all, nothing solves homesickness better than care packages and postcards in the mail. Thanks to some lovely friends and family I've received goofy postcards from their vacations, a set of teas to warm me up this fall, tried and true recipes, and little care packages full of kitchen goodies from my Mom. Returning the favor has me currently on the hunt for cute cards and goofy postcards, along with little goodies package into envelopes. My current go-to for cards in Toronto is the Kensignton store Kid Icarus and I'm always sure to find cute cards on etsy, like the ones pictured above from simple song designs. Nothing else brings me more joy than coming home to a full mailbox of hand-written letters and I certainly want to pass that joy along.

A.P.C. Short Coat

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

I just started school today and though the weather was warm, fall is certainly here. Though I don't mind studying hard in a library cubicle, I absolutely hate to be cold (why are libraries so chilly?). Thus, I am totally obsessed with the APC Short Coat, it looks so cozy and warm, perfect for long study sessions and late walks back to the apartment. I would love to knit up a cozy cardigan just like this one to curl up in. I know this maybe a little ambitious a project for someone who just finished their first ever sweater, but a girl can dream, right?
If I do attempt it I will have to create my own pattern, but at least I'll know which wool to use.

(pictures via

The Owls Sweater

Friday, 4 September 2009

My free time has come to an abrupt end recently now that I've found work and with school beginning next week, but this last month gave me a lot of free time for creative pursuits. My most important accomplishment was the creation of my very first sweater for me ever! I always thought knitting sweaters would be too expensive and take too much time, but after discovering Cascade Eco Wool and seamless sweaters I'll never look back. The Eco Wool comes in these massive skeins and it only took one and a half for a medium sized sweater, 1 1/2 people! That's a total cost of $36!
The Owls Sweater pattern is designed by Kate Davies and can be found for free on Ravelry. The pattern was clearly written and easy to follow. The sweater shaping in the back makes this sweater flattering and without any hideous bulges, ha! The pattern calls for buttons to be sewn on for the owl's eyes, but to me, that's a little to kitschy. I plan on rocking this sweater like the humanoid version (pictured below) with skinny jeans and a black blazer.

Hand Printed Box Cushion

Saturday, 29 August 2009

One of the most exciting things about my move to Toronto is that I can now take classes at The Workroom. My second day in Toronto I showed up at the shop and signed up for a class on making upholstered box cushions. We met up for two Sundays to complete our projects and it was so much fun. Hard work, too!

I don't have anything for the cushion to go on, so for now it is just a lovely floor cushion for an apartment that desperately needs more seating!

Oh, and I silkscreened the fabric myself with the same print as here.
I cannot wait for my next Workroom adventure!

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