Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Cottage

On my birthday, I was fortunate enough to spend the afternoon at my grandparents' cottage. "The cottage" hold a lot of great memories - I used to spend up to 2 weeks there during summer break, swimming, playing cards & board games & being spoiled by my grandparents. The cottage is on an island in Lake Nipissing, which holds 7 or 8 cottages, 2 of which are owned by my grandparents. You can see more pictures of the place here, when I blogged about my last trip there.

One of the best parts about swimming at the cottage was the beach, which is actually on the property adjacent to my grandparents' & belongs to my grandma's brother. Tiptoeing in off the slippery rocks just doesn't compare to the traction you get in the soft sand. See:

Way more fun when you get to run in! Even for the big kids, like my nephew & younger brother shown here. I think you can tell by their reaction that the water is a little chilly. I only went in up to my knees, walking to & from the beach (going across the water & up the rock instead of through the sand & up the wooded path, which would mean sand stuck to my feet).

While the kids were swimming surfing, a trio of ducks joined in on the fun:
They didn't really appreciate getting chased though... A bit later, lunch being ready, I went to leave; what I failed to notice was that they had made their way to the other side of the beach, right where I was headed. I almost cornered them & one was separated from his mates:
He honked, calling them along: hurry, quick! Before it's too late!

I didn't move, so the other two quickly ran after their friend & they hightailed it out of there:
Hopefully they weren't too traumatized!

Fall 2011 Colour Palette

Can you smell it in the air?
Feel the chill breeze in the morning?
Have you noticed the sunset painting the sky at a slightly earlier hour?

It's true.

Fall is almost here.... there's no denying it!

I must say I'm actually pretty excited. Autumn is about changes, it's the transition from lush, vibrant summer to icy, slumbering winter. This year, for me, it's the transformation from graduate student to full-time employee, with all the hard work & excitement that comes in between.

Well..... at least I hope to find full-time employment before the end of winter!

There's just something about fall though that makes it a favourite season for a lot of people. The crunch of leaves underfoot & their wonderful earthy smell; the rich harvest of crisp, tart apples & grinning pumpkins; brand new pencils, erasers & notebooks... it's back-to-school time & back-to-the-routine time; time to nest & prepare for the winter.

Time to shake the wrinkles out of your fall clothes! Are you excited? I am! I have a whole drawer full of sweater just waiting to be worn!

To get you in the same mood I'm feeling, here are some hot colours for the season:

Fall Brights
warm brick, gold, deep lavender, sweet apricot & dusky teal

Autumn Neutrals
chocolate raspberry, creamy tan, burgundy brown, dusty navy & juicy olive

All of these colours pair really well together and with your basic black, white & grey standbys.

Burgundy, especially when it takes on more burnished tones, is my favourite fall neutral. I have a sweater or two in the colour & just scored some lovely cords that I'll be showing you in an upcoming post. I need some new winter shoes / boots, so I've been looking for something in the tawny-wine shades. I haven't found anything yet, but I did see some awesome gold flats that I really wanted to pick up, if only they had been a bit more comfortable....

All the fall colours are so tempting, don't you think? It's their versatility that lures me in - they go with anything! Trust me, try out a few combinations that you think you might not like. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised!

What colour combos are you loving this fall?
Keep an eye out for an upcoming post revealing a few of my go-to autumn outfits!

Monday, August 29, 2011

MCP Project 52: Weeks 28-34

Well, I haven't been very good at keeping on top of this challenge... but it has been fun going back through my photos & finding one for each theme taken during the allotted week. Still, I'd like to put a little more thought into it, especially once I graduate & enter the job search phase which should give me a bit more time at home with my camera. I know I've said that before though, so we'll see! As long as I keep taking pictures almost daily, I'm happy!

Here are the last 7 weeks, plus 1 outtake:

week 28: sweet relief
a spoonful of chocolate ice cream

week 29: get in close
a tiny feather from my finch, Michael

week 30: a letter of the alphabet
a shelf in my living room displaying my Amanda doll, the letter A and a collage of a bunny

week 31: sky
a cross-stitch of the sky, with the sky peeping through the window in the background

week 32: my favourite time of day
(well... early morning, but I had a photo of the sunset, my 2nd choice)

week 33: slow down & look back
one of my birthday gifts, a photo album half-filled with photos of my family

week 34: connections

An outtake for week 34:
I thought this was a particularly cool connection. This painting was hanging in the restaurant / bar / hall that my aunt was married in... it's a watercolour painting of a Giesler boat, one my relatives, maybe my grandpa, built. The artist is Arlington Hoffman - I've never heard of him before but his work is stunning. Very true-to-life.

I found this article about the artist & a fishing and boating art exhibit in the North Bay Nugget - there's another photo of the painting & a vintage motor if you wanted to have a look.

Mosaic Monday

It's Mosaic Monday! I hope you'll join us - it's really easy! Just make a photo mosaic - you can use whatever photo editing software you like, or a website such as the mosaic maker & photos from Flickr - & then post it on your blog. Go ahead & pick a theme if you want, but don't feel like you have to. Have fun with it!

Make sure to include a link back to my blog so that everyone can participate. Then come back here & submit a link to your blog post (using the "add your link" button at the bottom). I'll be looking at & commenting on each one!

Here's mine for this week: full.

Here's the list of mosaics for this week. Once you've blogged, click the button below to add your blog post link.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Seven

Here's what I was thankful for this week:
  1. Sunday: spending my birthday with my family
  2. Monday: defense date!
  3. Tuesday: spending the day with Pat
  4. Wednesday: Pat's promotion
  5. Thursday: new books & lazy afternoon naps
  6. Friday: the satisfaction of a clean apartment
  7. Saturday: new fall clothes
What were you grateful for this week?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Recipe: Fall Fruit Crisp

This recipe is more of a non-recipe. Once you've made a crisp, you really don't need to follow a recipe again for it to turn out right. There's no need to measure each ingredient - it's all about approximation. As long as you have the proportions somewhat close, then you can't go wrong!

Make it as big as the amount of fruit or the pan you have. It's so quick and easy to make on a whim! Plus, there are so many different ingredients that work well in a crisp, you can modify it to what you have in your kitchen when the mood strikes (or when those ripening fruit need using up)!

Here's how I made it this time:

Fall Fruit Crisp


around 6 pieces of fall fruit, especially stone fruit like peaches, nectarines and apricots
2/3 cup brown sugar, divided
1/3 + scant 1/4 cup whole wheat or all purpose flour, divided
1/3 cup oats, preferably large flake
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional, add more oats if omitting)
1/3 cup butter, softened
a combination of spices, as desired: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and/or mace


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Chop the fruit into bite-sized pieces.
I used 2 apricots, 2 small nectarines and 2 persimmons. I only peeled the persimmons since their skin is a little tough. Use whatever combination of fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand. Apples, pears, stone fruit like peaches or apricots and berries work best in my opinion, but feel free to experiment. Single-fruit crisps are just as good as mixed-fruit, so be creative!
Throw them into an oven-safe dish and mix in about 1/3 cup of brown sugar, a little less than 1/4 cup of flour (depending on how much fruit you end up with) and 2 to 3 tsp of spices. I went with about 2 tsp of ginger and a generous pinch of both nutmeg and cinnamon.
I also forgot about the flour and ended up with an extremely runny crisp - don't be like me!

3. Combine remaining sugar, flour, oats and nuts.
Add in another 2 or 3 tsp of your chosen spices. You can add as much or as little as you like. I think I went with about 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a generous pinch of both nutmeg and allspice.

4. Cut in softened butter.
You should get a coarse, crumbly mixture.

5. Top fruit with crumbs.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top.
Crisps are especially nice with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

If you happen to have any. I didn't. It was still delicious.
Use up some of that amazing fall fruit in a crisp tonight! Let me know how good it was if you do!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Five

I haven't posted a Friday Five in a while, so I have quite a few links to inspire you for the weekend:
  1. Flickr photo I wish I took: Clean Sweep by Ric McArthur
  2. Must-read blog posts: how to talk to little girls by Lisa Bloom with a great response on Motherhood Mondays by Joanna Goddard
  3. Recipes I want to try: green bean & tomato salad by Cookin' Canuck ~beet cake as seen on Tiger in a Jar ~ roasted beets as seen on a Veggie Venture ~ pickled beets by Pinch My Salt
  4. Neat tutorial I did try: washi tape magnets via Twirling Betty. Aren't they awesome? I have the urge to keep making more, more, more!
  5. Etsy shops I'm drooling over: KateFete ~ take a look at this amazing whale:Her bird ornaments are adorable too!
    KikiMood ~ has such sweet illustrations! And I absolutely love these sheep:
What's inspiring you this week?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

26 Things To Do Before I Turn 26

My 25th birthday just passed and I've been thinking about this milestone. Not only am I stepping into a new quarter century, but I'm stepping into a new role in life. I'm leaving behind the casual student lifestyle and entering adulthood with all its seriousness and responsibilities.

OK, so I don't honestly expect things to get that serious around here, but you know what I mean, right? No more lazy summer days or late nights spent studying - no more impromptu coffee or shopping breaks - now I have to find a job & start helping with the bills!

With all these transitions going on, it'll be easy to forget the little things. To slow down & have fun. To create, to learn, to grow. So here's a list of things I'd really like to accomplish in the next year. I want this list to be ambitious - I want to push myself to experience and learn new things, to grow as an artist, as a scientist and as a person.

So without further ado....

26 Things To Do Before I Turn 26:
  1. read 50 new (to me) books
  2. write a short story
  3. publish a zine
  4. publish a scientific article
  5. write a guest blog post
  6. learn a 3rd language
  7. learn a programming language
  8. refresh my blog & increase readership by 50%
  9. journal everyday: write, draw or collage
  10. make a series of paintings (3 to 5)
  11. work on series of ACEOs - get to 20 for each (Klimt Goddesses, Women in Science, Strong Women)
  12. make myself an article of clothing & wear it
  13. make all the recipes from World Breads by Paul Gayler
  14. start a new, healthier diet
  15. eat what you buy - waste less
  16. use the green bin diligently
  17. practice yoga daily
  18. take a dance or exercise class
  19. learn to walk in heels & look good doing it
  20. visit another country (besides the US)
  21. walk in the ocean
  22. go camping alone with Pat
  23. move to a new city & explore
  24. host a tea party
  25. find a family doctor & get a full physical
  26. find a job
As you can see, I've included most of the things from my previous list that I left uncrossed. Some of these I know I'll be crossing off no matter what (like #26) - some will be harder to accomplish (#21) - but most are just for fun! I can't wait to get started!

What's on your list of things to do this year?

25 Things List

Looks like I've run out of time to complete my 25 Things list! I'm pretty happy with how many things I was able to cross off - not everything, but then I included a few things that were a bit far-fetched. It wouldn't be much fun if it were too easily achievable, right?

Here's the state of my list now that I've turned 25:

25 things to do before turning 25:
  1. turn an old book into a new masterpiece
  2. find a PhD position - or a job
  3. write a story - edited & worthy of publication (or at least reading)
  4. shoot a gun
  5. ride a horse
  6. practice yoga daily
  7. wear a bikini in public (& feel confident doing it)
  8. visit a province other than Ontario & Quebec
  9. have a successful craft show
  10. stock up my sewing shop
  11. make myself a dress - and wear it
  12. take a dance class
  13. try squash (the sport)
  14. find a fruit farm & pick fruit off trees
  15. design a logo for all 3 shops & have a custom stamp made (use it to personalize packaging)
  16. get my passport
  17. visit another country (besides the US)
  18. walk, then bike, up Hamilton mountain
  19. learn to speak another language
  20. speak at a conference
  21. become diligent with recycling & the green bin
  22. get dressed up & go out for drinks, dancing or something equally fancy
  23. have a night out with my sister-in-law
  24. visit an art gallery or museum I've never been to before
  25. visit St. Jacob's market
The 4 items in purple are things I'm working on... they aren't complete enough to cross out, but I'm working on it. Which leaves 8 things left uncrossed. Not bad, if I do say so myself!

I'm finishing up my 26 Things list at the moment - I'll post it in a minute. I just wanted to have a record of this one first.

Do you have a list of things to do each year?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mosaic Monday

It's Mosaic Monday! I hope you'll join us - it's really easy! Just make a photo mosaic - you can use whatever photo editing software you like, or a website such as the mosaic maker & photos from Flickr - & then post it on your blog. Go ahead & pick a theme if you want, but don't feel like you have to. Have fun with it!

Make sure to include a link back to my blog so that everyone can participate. Then come back here & submit a link to your blog post (using the "add your link" button at the bottom). I'll be looking at & commenting on each one!

Here's mine for this week: 25 (since that's what I turned yesterday).
1. 25 de Março, 2. 25, 3. 25, 4. 25

Here's the list of mosaics for this week. Once you've blogged, click the button below to add your blog post link.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Creative Space

It's been a while since I've shown you my sketchbook - and for good reason! I haven't been working on it much! I've been so busy with thesis & cupcakes & notebooks... well, you know. I think I may have mentioned it once or twice already...

Just a few pages to show you - first, a couple pages of sketching out ideas & practicing lettering:
I got some new packaging tape in, so I had to try it out! The yellow flower one is my favourite. Speaking of favourites... check out that red page:
I LOVE how this page turned out! It was so much fun to fill in & looks awesome:
And a final doodle:
Head on over to Our Creative Spaces for more!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birthday Wish List

Sooooo... my birthday is on Sunday. The big 2-5. I can't believe it - I'm a quarter century!!!

Usually I'm off-the-wall-excited for my whole birthday month... but this year has been different. Mostly because I've been frantically busy finishing up my Master's thesis, but also because of my Aunt's wedding on Saturday. Sunday they're having a BBQ at my gramma's cottage, so this weekend really isn't about me. And (for once) I'm totally OK with that. Indeed, I hope I don't get too much attention on Sunday since it is still my Aunt's celebration.

Still... now that my thesis is almost submitted (my supervisor needs to read it, but he's in India without access to a computer.... gah, just a little stressful since the deadline is Friday), I'm starting to think about my wish list. Here are a few things I'd love to unwrap:

a kitchen scale - I think I'd prefer it to be new, but this retro one by gennamaria is pretty spiffy too:

► a juicer - I really want one by glyntpottery - the green one I've shown before or this pretty yellow one would look great in my kitchen:

► a scarf to add to my collection - I still covet this triangle one by WhiteMoth:

A Game of Thrones book set - by George R.R. Martin - I haven't read any of these yet, but they sound like my kind of book (historical drama with an element of fantasy, and most important, a series of many books!)!

► Birthday flowers - because who doesn't love flowers?
We're away this weekend though - we probably won't be coming home until Monday night or early Tuesday... so if anyone was thinking of having some flowers delivered, don't have them delivered until later in the week! :)

And that's pretty much it. See? Even my list is low-key this year.... I must be growing up!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Wedding, Part 2

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on my dress post from Saturday! I think both dresses had an equal number of votes and while I agree that the orange one is probably a bit more flattering & comfortable, I want to go with the white. I'll feel better knowing that my "family weddings" photo album doesn't have me in the same dress for the 2 latest ones!

So here's the final look - I bought the wide brown leather belt at Le Chateau (and a curve hugging slip from the Bay):

Now I just need to figure out jewelry / accessories. I want my hair up & I think I may go with a flower in it for a bit more colour. I'll also be bringing a second pair of (much lower) shoes for comfort & dancing. I can't decide if I want big earrings (like those I'm wearing here) or a choker-style necklace...

What do you think?
Besides that, I also finished up the guest book my aunt asked me to make for her. I think it turned out perfectly! I'm really happy with it:
Her colours are obviously blue - she'll be holding a bouquet of hydrangea. So I tried to incorporate that flower into the inside pages:

The front & back covers have the "vine" of flowers while each page has a single flower in the bottom corner. You can see more pictures on my Flickr.

I'm so looking forward to the weekend (and not just because my birthday is on Sunday!)!