Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Item of the day: Weekly Planner

An agenda is still something I use to stay organized - and since I always started a new one in September when school started, I still do. I'm a bit late on it this year, but I'm thinking of picking up this one by mylavendercottage.
I like the weekly pages, with lots of room for each day's tasks, & the monthly tabs which make finding your spot so much simpler! There are extra pages at the back for phone numbers, to-do lists & notes too.
Do you keep an agenda or some sort of monthly planner?

Scenic Rd

Pat & I decided to go for a hike Sunday afternoon. The Bruce Trail runs through Hamilton along the escarpment, with lots of waterfalls along the way. So we made our way to Scenic Rd on West Mountain, found some parking & a trail. We quickly discovered Princess Falls.
Our trail was at the top of the falls (where this photo is taken - Princess Falls is actually taller than this little cascade appears) & we walked along the mini canyon carved out by the water. There wasn't much to see though, it was prettier along the trail. Berries were everywhere - we saw them in every colour:

red: orange: green & yellow: white: black:& this cool blue-ish-green (sorry about the blurry photo - old camera):Shriveling fruit was everywhere (and just as worthy of a photo):Indeed, it was the mouldering fruit on the ground that made me look up:A pear tree! The first one I see in full fruit. I picked my fair share & plan on making a crisp. The first time I make a pear crisp - I'll let you know how it goes!

We usually make strawberry or raspberry, my mom makes a delicious apple crisp (though Pat isn't a fan of baked apple) & I recently made an awesome nectarine & raspberry one - what's your favourite crisp flavour?

I'm planning on going apple picking this fall - something I've actually never done. Have you ever been fruit picking? If so, what kind of fruit?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Item of the day: Lunch Bag

It's that time of year again: back to school time! Although I don't really get to go back to school shopping anymore, it used to be my favourite shopping trip of all. I still love browsing through the back to school sections in the department stores & Etsy though, so I figured it'd be fun to make that the theme this week.
A good lunch bag is a good place to start (seeing as it's been on my mind - Pat needs one for work) - I particularly like these stripes by BonTons. It looks like it would hold a lot & I love the traditional paper sack shape.
BonTons also has a wide selection of awesome insulated lunch bags, in case you don't have the benefit of a fridge. I like this bird one.

How are you packing lunches in an eco-friendly way this year?

Mosaic Monday

Pencil crayons!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Recommended: Labyrinth

I've been reading a bit more lately & recently started Sepulchre by Kate Mosse. Immediately, I remembered how much I enjoyed her writing & the first of her books that I read, Labyrinth. Seeing that I'm bringing in the latter to work for a labmate - and considering it's been so long since I last recommended a book - I thought I'd introduce it here too.

Labyrinth has a bit of everything that I like in a book. Part historical drama, part present day search into the past - with a little bit of self-discovery, mystic & romance thrown in for good measure. The story skips between the 13th & 21st century, telling of 2 young women inescapably linked despite the years between them.

I particularly enjoy how Kate Mosse unfolds the story with a heavy dose of foreshadowing. The main characters tease us with unfinished thoughts, hinting at important events that they know about but that the reader does not ... yet. The imagery is rich & the characters real & likable. This is definitely a book I'd read again.

If you liked Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code but thought it was a bit of a light read - then this is a book for you. It may seem a bit long at around 700 pages, but it really is a page-turner: one you won't be able to put down.

Let me know in the comments if you've read this book or another one by Kate Mosse - what did you think?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Item of the day: Grocery Bag

Now that all the cleaning is done, all that's left to do is groceries. Make sure to grab some reusable bags - I like this bright recycled one by hankietankie!

Cool Site: Toodledo

If you're like me, you keep to-do lists. Many of them, on scraps of paper & in notepads (or mini notebooks) all over the place. Recently, I've started keeping an ongoing to-do list online on the site Toodledo. I've tried a number of different list-keeping sites, but here's why I like this one:
  1. Sort, sort, sort. I like to keep things organized on many levels - you can do that here. You can sort your to-do list into contexts & folders. That way, you can keep different parts of your life separate - and still keep separate folders for all of these contexts.
  2. When looking at all your tasks, you can sort them by priority or due date as well. This way, you can easily see what's overdue or what you have to do in the next week. A hotlist tab allows you to see those tasks that are most pressing & a starred tab allows you to look at any jobs you've flagged.
  3. One other feature that I really enjoy is the Goals. You can set lifelong goals as well as long & short-term goals. These goals & the tasks in your to-do list can then be organized by whichever goal they work towards achieving. This way, you can not only have the satisfaction of crossing things off your to-do list, but you can also see how it's contributing to your long-term goals!
  4. You can schedule tasks to repeat if necessary - daily, weekly, monthly, etc. So handy!
  5. There's a fun function that allows you to print out your to-do list in a small booklet form.
  6. The calendar lets you neatly see what you have due over the course of the month while the search feature lets you find things easily.
  7. There's also a place to store notes that belong in your folders or are associated with your goals but don't necessarily fit into your to-do list.
Of course, you can upgrade to a pro account for a certain fee, but the free account gives you all that I've mentioned above. There's a lot you can customize too - from the look & theme, to what categories you see & sort by. Which is more than enough organization, if you ask me!

What do you think of keeping an online to-do list? Do you already have a favourite site?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Feature: Wash Clothes

Grab your cleaners - it's time to scrub! There are so many different wash clothes & scrubbies available on Etsy, you're sure to find the perfect one! Here are a few of my favourites:

These eco-scrubbies by EarthToGert look like they'd be really effective against grime in the kitchen & soap scum in the bathroom.

I have two of these wash clothes by bibelots. I like their larger size & texture, they clean really well.

Speaking of texture, these wash clothes by yarncoture are amazing. I use the spa ones for showering (they're so soft), but these thicker ones would be great for washing dishes & sinks too.

In the kitchen, I use the wash clothes my gramma knits for me - once they get old & full of holes, I use them as rags.

What do you use for rags?

Friday Five

I had a busy week at work, here are some highlights:
  1. I ran muscle baths while the technician is on vacation. More of the same next week.
  2. I made a chocolate cake.
  3. I started reading Kate Mosse's Sepulchre.
  4. I found the adaptor for my old camera, so I've been taking lots of pictures. Lots of fall gift tags & flowers. Still no word on my Nikon...
  5. Lots of new listings! I particularly love these woodland cards though:
What were you up to this week?

If you've blogged a Friday Five, be sure to link up in the comments & I'll go read your post!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Item of the day: Brilliantezza Scrub

Alright, we've done laundry & the floors during our cleaning week, now I think it's time to get some serious scrubbing done. This organic cleaner by Anthodia will do the trick!
I often use baking soda or vinegar while cleaning, especially my bird's cage & the fish tank since I don't want any harsh chemicals in their homes. What sort of organic or natural cleaners are you using?

Birthday Flowers

I was blessed with 4 bouquets on my birthday - I'm so spoiled! The flowers are all so beautiful, I had to take the time to show them to you.
First thing in the morning on my birthday, I get a call from the flower shop saying they have a delivery for me today, will I be there in the afternoon? But... who could they be from? I had no idea - I grilled Pat - nope. I asked mom, gramma & my aunt when they called - not from them either. WHO?
At noon, I get a flower delivery.
They're from my MMG friends! How sweet - I told you how awesome they are! When I called mom to tell her (she was curious who they were from too), I only talked to my dad. When my mom got back from the grocery store, she called me back & asked me to describe the flowers to her.
This is the lovely bouquet I described: daisies, 3 kinds of lilies in pink, hot pink & purple.

"But... those aren't what I ordered...!"

Ha! That's because THIS delivery isn't from you mom! But the next one was:
My mom felt so bad for ruining her surprise.... but this bright yellow bouquet more than made up for it. Isn't it fabulous in its Happy Birthday box?
Then Pat brought me home an arrangement from the grocery store (because I asked him to). What a sweetheart!
We met up with some friends in the evening for cake & drinks & my one friend Lindsay arrived with more flowers for me!
That bouquet is mixed in with Pat's flowers & dispersed around my apartment: I ran out of large enough vases! So some of the yellow flowers made it into my kitchen.
They're in some cute vintage vases I "stole" from my mom years ago.
And then a few made it into the smaller glassware on this little table I have behind my couch:
My house is filled with flowers! I absolutely love it - there's nothing more cheerful than real flowers!

Thank you everyone who contributed in making my birthday one of the best yet!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Item of the day: Reusable Swiffer Cover

Time to tackle the dreaded sweeping & mopping. I should really make my life easier by picking up one of these reusable (and oh so eco-friendly) swiffer covers by marinebiochic07.
Maybe the bright colours will cheer me up while I complete the chore?

Do you use environmentally friendly cleaning tools? Like what?

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Item of the day: Ironing Board Cover

Now with the laundry done, there might be some ironing to do. Ugh! But maybe it won't be so bad if you have a cute ironing board cover to look at?
How about these cheery polka-dots from CityChicCountryMouse?

I actually don't mind ironing, but sweeping & mopping? No thanks!
What's your least favourite chore to do?

Inspiration: Janet Towbin

I can't remember where I came across the work of Janet Towbin - through one of the many blogs I read I'm sure - but I was immediately drawn in. I think my love of Klimt & geometric patterns makes it clear why.
A page filled with a repeated shape is somehow soothing. Especially when they are reminiscent of nature, like the "pile of wood" above.I love Janet Towbin's abstract paintings too. The dark muted shades lend a hint of mystery & a thrill of tension to each piece. Her experimentations with graffiti are edgy & urban.
Who are you most inspired by? Why?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Item of the day: Laundry Soap

Now that our drawers are fresh & ready, it looks like we should take care of all that laundry. What better way than to use eco-friendly & vegan detergent?
This laundry detergent by BambuEarth is completely natural with no added preservatives, colour or toxins making this soap ideal for babies & anyone with sensitive skin.
With a clean, fresh scent, it might make laundry day a little more bearable (maybe).

Mosaic Monday

Cleaning up...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Item of the day: Lavender Sachets

So after our week-long birthday party last week, I think it's time for some cleaning up. But it is still Sunday, so let's start with something easy: freshening up the closets, cupboards & drawers. These lovely lavender sachets by MooGoos are just the thing.
But that's not all they're good for: pack them away with your luggage or summer clothes, throw them into the dryer or slip them into your pillowcase to help you slip into dreamland. Sweet!

Lavender is definitely one of my favourite scents - what are yours?

Baby Pictures

As promised, here are some of my baby pictures. Starting with almost exactly 24 years ago, still in the hospital:
Fabulous housecoat mom!
Yep, I had lots of crazy dark hair when I was born, though it soon lightened. I was also blue when I was born because the (dumb) nurses didn't check my mom before giving her an epidural. They just rolled their eyes at her like she was complaining too much, leaned her over & gave her the shot in her back. When she lay back down, they freaked out because you could see that she had been sitting on my head, suffocating me. Awesome. Mom just remembers them running by with this little blue thing, then the epidural kicked in.
I was also born with my left foot touching my leg - bent up to my shin. Guess I was a little cramped inside.... Mom just had to stretch it down whenever she changed my diaper & it soon resolved itself. I've never had any problems with it.
I love how squat I look next to that giant duck & this last one is one of my favourites. Not sure how old I am here, but I'm pretty sure that stuffed animal under my foot is my lambie - we were inseparable for a good part of my childhood (though I can't say I have any memories of it).

Anyway, that's all the baby pictures for a while, I promise! I'll have to try & get some pictures onto my laptop so that I can show you & tell you about my birthday flowers... but until then, trust me when I say they are gorgeous! I was so spoiled yesterday, it was an amazing day! Thank you to everyone who helped contribute in making my day one of the best ones yet!