Saturday, December 29, 2012

Things that got did. Things that didn't get did.

I've known for a few months that I wasn't going to finish all my 2012 goals. I decided that some would have to be postponed, and some were acts of nature.  And you know what? That's fine. I've made my peace.

So, what didn't get done? 

3rd Ward Goals:
Intro to Upholstery
Mystery Class #4

Well, this I can explain. One, scheduling is difficult when you have a full-time 9 to 5 job. And also, I had another goal - to save lots of money. And taking classes at $200+ a pop is kind of antithetical to saving lots of money. And you know what else? I kind of figured out some basics by myself. 

Developing Online Promotions That Get Results

Well, this goal I purposely postponed. NYU's schedule for this class - my last for the certificate program in Digital Media Marketing - did not work with my schedule. So, I will take it sometime in the new year, before the baby arrives.

The GGs
Laura Salverson, The Dark Weaver
Winifred Bambrick, Continental Revue
David Walker, The Pillar
Hugh Garner, Hugh Garner's Best Stories
Douglas LePan, The Deserter
Dave Godfrey, The New Ancestors

Linda Spalding, The Purchase

Well, I already explained why that one isn't happening before the end of the year.  I'd still like to finish these before the baby comes, but in truth I am feeling slightly burnt out, especially as I'm not really enjoying the older ones, and I'm struggling to get through them.

What did get done? A fair bit, I think:

3rd Ward Goals:
Intro to HTML/CSS
Screen Printing

Digital Strategy: Creating Synergy in Your Marketing Program
Web Analytics: Integrating Website and E-mail Data for Effective Digital Marketing Programs
Strategic Search Engine Marketing Campaign Planning and Execution
E-mail marketing: Integrating Social Media and Mobile marketing for Optimal Campaign Results
Internet Copywriting

The GGs:
Bertram Brooker, Think of the Earth
Ringuet, Thirty Acres
Hugh MacLennan, The Precipice
Germaine Guèvremont, The Outlander
Morley Callaghan, The Loved and the Lost
Lionel Shapiro, The Sixth of June
Adele Wiseman, The Sacrifice
Colin McDougall, Execution
Malcolm Lowry, Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place
Robert Kroetsch, The Studhorse Man
Brian Moore, The Great Victorian Collection
Jack Hodgins, The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne
Leon Rooke, Shakespeare's Dog
Josef Skvorecky, The Engineer of Human Souls
Guy Vanderhaeghe, The Englishman's Boy
Patrick DeWitt, The Sisters Brothers

Misc. Goals:
Get new glasses
Get a haircut
Save money. Lots.
Southwest road trip!
Go to the cottage this summer
Take more photos

I'll probably make some 2013 goals, with some of the fails from 2012 transferred into the new year. Maybe slightly less ambitious next year, seeing as I'll be somewhat busy growing a human, and then feeding it.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Vision

Obviously, when you're me, or like me, you start thinking about decorating a baby room just about as soon as you pee on a stick.

We've been lucky enough to already have been given tons of stuff from friends. Have you ever noticed that as soon as people find out you're pregnant they want to unload all their baby stuff on you? I guess it pays to let your friends have kids before you.

Most of the re-arranging and buying for the baby room will happen in the new year, but I have made one purchase.

It's a print called "Jenny at the table" from one of my favorite ever children's books, Higglety Pigglety Pop!: Or There Must Be More to Life by Maurice Sendak. I admittedly spent a stupid amount of money on it, but I do love it and it's a lovely little image, and perfect for the occasion.

We're heading to Toronto tomorrow to spend Christmas with my family, so Merry Christmas to all of you!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quantum Leap

This past weekend H. and I watched many, many back-to-back episodes of Quantum Leap. Remember that show? Did you watch?

If it's new to you, Quantum Leap is about a time-traveling physicist from the future - in this instance, the late 90s. He "leaps" into other people's bodies and has "to right what once went wrong".

At the end of each episode, we got a teaser of the next episode. A little 30 second preview, and each preview entailed Sam (the "leaper") realizing the predicament he was in and saying, "Oh boy".

Well, this is an "Oh boy" moment for us.  No, I haven't leapt into someone else's body, but someone has leapt into mine.


What? What am I saying? Why are there these unstylish 70s baby clothes here now?  Well, those are hand-me-downs from me an H. to the little someone we're expecting around May 28.

Oh boy.

Monday, December 3, 2012


H. and I just returned from ten days in London, visiting his family, seeing old friends, and doing a little touristing.

A visit to the UK wasn't originally on my list of goals for the year, but our southwest road trip and visit to the cottage were. I think it was a "maybe" trip for much of the year, but then in September H's sister had a baby, and that "maybe" turned into a must.

Hello, my pretty.

A visit to Richmond Park
The abbey at Battle.

And now it's just 3 weeks until we head to Toronto for Christmas. Which means I have less than 3 weeks to get all my 2012 work done. Yikes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Under Wraps

Here's a little project that I've been keeping under wraps for months - a baby blanket for a new niece. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have spotted it - until my sister-in-law joined Instagram herself, that is, and I had to delete all pics of the secret blanket.

Here's the finished not-quite-masterpiece:

I started the blanket back in August, and thought I would be able to finish it by late September, when the baby was due.

Always a helper.

Getting closer.
Haha, well that was a joke. I finished in October, well after baby A. was born. And then I had to wash all the cat hair off it, and by the time I got around to fixing all the little mistakes, it was so close to our planned trip to London to meet baby A. that I figured that I may as well just pack it and bring it, and present it to her myself, instead of just mailing it.

The helper gets naughty.
It is far from perfect, but it was made with love. And liberal amounts of frustration. I hope she enjoys it, even if it was a bit late!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wherein I blame the hurricane

With about 6 weeks or so left in the year, it becomes apparent that I will not reach all of my 2012 goals. One goal, specifically, is reading the last of the Governor General award winners.

I started reading these in July 2010, and I had hoped to be done with them at the end of this year. But I won't, and I'm just going to go ahead and blame Hurricane Sandy.


I do most of my reading on the subway going to and from work. In fact, H. and I usually take the local (read: slow) train just so we can have some time to read. And also because we're lazy and want to sit. However, that train is still not back to normal, and isn't traveling into Manhattan from Brooklyn yet. So, we're forced to take the express train, and there are no seats, and it is packed like sardines, and no reading can be done.

all posts need photos.
I had seven more books to read before the end of the year. Today they announced the 2012 winners, so now I actually have 8 more to read. But I've been stuck on Hugh MacLennan's The Precipice for about a month now. Ugh! I'm so ashamed!

Adding to the shame, in the week I was home when my office was closed due to the blackout in Manhattan, when I couldn't even do work because our servers were all down, I did not read a single page. Looking back, I'm not even sure what I did that week. I stared into space, I think? I did some online shopping? Shame, shame, shame.

Poor tree, stupid hurricane

If I were to really push hard, it is possible that I could get through these last 8 books before December 31. I only have about 30 more pages in The Precipice, and I can probably finish it tonight if I stop watching Friday Night Lights. But next week H. and I head to London for 10 days to see the family, and I'm not going to read when there. I will be cooing over our new niece, doing some shopping, and eating Dairy Milks.

Anyway, I just thought it best to come clean to you, since I know you were counting on me to finish those damn books before the end of 2012. Oh well.

Izzy is mad!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tchotcke'd is totally a verb now

H. has a system of dividing responsibilities, or maybe it's expertise, that he calls "baskets". So, for example, shopping is my basket, even if we're shopping for him. This means I have to make the plan and lead the way. Movies are his basket, which means, I don't know, that he controls the Netflix queue and puts all my movies at #436. It doesn't really make any sense to anyone but him, this basket system.

Furniture is my basket. I accept this because it means I make the furniture decisions that keep hideous things out of our lovely apartment. Records are his basket because I don't want anything to do with them. Anyway, where was I going with this?

Oh, back in July I mentioned that we were looking everywhere for a record cabinet for H's increasing collection of vinyl records. And then, finally, we found one! On eBay!

There's a part of me that always thinks "paint it!" when I see that faux bamboo, but this is actually quite a nice chunk of wood so we won't be painting it.

First things first, the Investigator had to take a good look at it.

Once it was approved by the dauphin, it was ready to be filled and tchotchke'd.


It meant a little rearranging, because we used to have a floor lamp and a magazine rack in that spot:

like so
But we've just moved those, like so.

ta da!
Anyway, H. thinks I'm "spoiled" because I got new furniture, and furniture is my basket. I think he's spoiled, because we wouldn't have needed it if it didn't have records. Obviously I'm right.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thar she blows


H. and Izzy and I are just fine, thanks for asking. We have been wearing pajamas for a little too long, and the cat has had a few too many treats, and I've had a few too many Fudgsicles.

Was that part of your hurricane prep?

Our neighborhood is in a higher elevation than much of Brooklyn, so we were safe from the flooding. Also, for once the dearth of trees in this part of town was a benefit, because on brief glance there don't seem to be a lot of downed trees or branches.

It was harrowing, at times. The wind was amazing and scary. We watching the flooding in other parts of the city with shock. The lights flickered, but the internet stayed strong! The cat, usually such a wimp, was completely unfazed.


We're off work today, again, and who knows when we'll be back. Subways are looking pretty grim at the moment, and we don't have a car (or even bikes). So, for now, we're just waiting. So over hurricanes.

Now on to the next hot thing to be afraid of: the election. Yikes!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Next up: The Pink Chair

Now that I have two re-upholstered chairs under my belt - and I think they turned out ok - I'm turning to my next project. It's a big one. I'm a little scared.

It's the pink chair.

Yikes! I'll really be testing myself on this one, and I 've been telling myself it's ok to make mistakes on a $35 junk shop chair. But I'm scared, because I really like this chair. I even like the pink. But if you look carefully, it's dirty and stained, and has some tears.

Once upon a time I thought I would just spend $700 (plus fabric) getting it professionally done, but let's be honest: that's never going to happen. So, I'm going to do it. Eeek! I'm scared.

We decided to stick with velvet, and we've narrowed it down to two colors. Both from West Elm's fabric by the yard Performance Velvet:

Performance Velvet: Lagoon Blue

Performance Velvet: Ink Blue

What do you think? Which do you prefer?

Sooooo, wish me luck on this. And I will keep you updated.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Coney Island

H. and I wandered down to Coney Island this afternoon. And by "wandered" I mean "took the N train".

We don't live too far, but we never go there. In fact, I don't think we had been since a cold January day before we were married, when H. still lived in London and was here visiting me.

I think some visitors to NYC give Coney Island a miss because it's a trek from Manhattan. Or maybe they think you should only go in summer? I prefer going in the off-season, when it's not so busy, and you can really enjoy the retro-tastic details without the crowds.

And then we gorged ourselves on pizza and had to take a nap.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Today I'm featured on So Canadian eh? on Hodge:Podge!

AND, she calls me "hip"!

Welcome if you've come here for the first time! And thanks for including me Barbara!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

black or white

I see around the place that milk glass seems to be back in style. I remember my mom having some milk glass vases when I was young, and I didn't like them. And I still don't like them. For no good reason. But recently I stumbled upon black milk glass, and my feelings are changed.

Serving Tray via TieTheKnotVintage, Etsy
2 Tier tray from TeaTimesCreations, Etsy
Art Deco Style tray from paperwhitevintage, Etsy
Candy Dish from Dixie Antiques, Etsy
I'll take one of each.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall $15 Challenge - the big reveal!

Here it is, the great $15 reveal! Well, let me explain something first.

I had a big vision for this. I had dreams. I had $15. And I went to a handful of dollar stores and thrift stores and they all failed me in various ways. And I had to re-think my dream.

So, I went back. And I picked up a few things at the dollar store.

And then I picked up something else at the craft store (is that cheating?).

And then I used some fabric scraps I had (possibly cheating some more?)

And my vignette turned a little more into a project. Like, a single project.

My little helper, always nearby.

But then I thought I need some more vignette in my vignette. But money and time were running out!  So, I got some more things at the grocery store (3rd time cheating??). And then I had a plan to pick up some sticks in the park. Just plain old sticks. But I had an incredibly busy weekend, and an incredibly busy Monday and Tuesday, and I never got to the park. So, I beg you, use your imagination and pretend like there are some sticks in that white jug. And pretend like this jug is on a little table or plant stand, and not on the grubby ground.

And voila... ?

And here’s my breakdown:

Brown yarn from the dollar store: $1.99

Green yarn from the dollar store: $0.99

Foam wreath from Michael’s: $6.99

Assorted mini gourds from Trader Joe’s: $0.69 each ($3.45 total)


But wait! I can’t not cheat more, and I can’t leave my white jug without sticks. So, yeah, I bought some weird pumpkin sticks (or “pumpkin tree” as Trader Joe calls it) for $7.99. Ouch. So, my for reals total is $21.41. Oops.

Anyway, it’s been a blast and I hope that H. and our neighbor across the hall enjoy my efforts (we don’t get a lot of traffic in a fourth floor walk-up).

Have you checked out the other displays?

Monday, October 1, 2012

The $15 Fall Decor Challenge

I've said before that I don't really do seasonal decoration. My apartment looks the same on Christmas day as it does on the 4th of July. But, I do love a challenge. So, when Jeanette at This Dusty House was looking for some volunteers for a blogger collaboration/challenge, I jumped in. The challenge: create a DIY autumnal vignette with dollar store supplies, for under $15.

Eeeeeeeeek. What did I get myself into? Well, you'll see. On Wednesday.

For now, here's what I'll be decorating - my front door.

This is what my door looks like the rest of the year.
Here are some things I was distracted by at the local dollar store, but that are NOT included in my final scheme.

A herd of elephants.
Decorative shoes.

Here is who else is playing!

Aaaaaand, come back Wednesday for the big reveal!
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