Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It wouldn't be

It wouldn't be Christmas without Johnny Mathis and "The Christmas Song"...Chestnuts roasting on an open fire....Carmi is over there pumping up the volume on her One of a Kind inventory and Martha has her little bottle brush trees in mind...

Happy Birthday, 74th. today to Johnny Mathis. Take a listen if you wish.

Chances are you'll be happy you did as you are swept down memory lane. It's just so nice.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Road Trip!

We're off again....soon...not right now...end of the month sometime...for all of you who were surprised to see me at the gym today! I posted this so that I could get good ideas of places to go, eat, shop ...whatever. I am marking down all the ideas in my Chicago 2009 Fodor's book that the Professor got me for my birthday.

Plans are for The Art Institute of Chicago, Hancock Tower for the view and the luncheon buffet, The Architectural Boat Tour, Shopping on the Magnificent Mile...especially the American Girl Store...bitty babies....out to Oak Park and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio tour, as well as Hemingway's birthplace and museum. Blueman Group is playing at the Briar Street Theatre.

Where are your favourite Chicago stops...especially eateries???
Deep Dish Pizza, Hot Dogs and Steak are supposedly de rigeur in Chi Town!

Gourmet Magazine
“Your Guide to America’s Best Restaurants”

“New York may be a pastrami town, but in Chicago the basic currency is corned beef, mountains of it, sliced thin enough to see through and piled on fresh rye bread. Manny’s, a cafeteria- style delicatessen, has absolutely splendid corned beef, carved before your eyes, as well as Friday-only short ribs worthy of a starred French chef and greasy, irresistible potato pancakes.”

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chicago Itinerary includes cupcakes..........

Yes, Carrie's in New York City outside of Magnolia Bakery eating her cupcake, but we plan to find the best cupcakes in every major city we visit, and we're off to Chicago soon. Very nice that they did this interview on my birthday!

Chicago here we come!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Song of the Whale....

This ad is so beautiful it makes me cry.

Speaking of Whales, this is one of the most wonderful children's books I have seen lately.

hat tip: GMS

Cupcakes Again

Cupcakes Take The Cake Blog
There is even a recipe in this post!

Hat Tip: David Plummer
Credits:Cupcakes Take the Cake.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tapping and Cupcakes

I think I may be on to something. Remember how I took up tap dancing last week? Well this could combine two very special talents ....

Crazy Cupcake Dance

I was just really worried about the pregnant gal and some of those squats! Stay tuned for more cupcake madness.

To read the interview of how something like this comes about....Only in New York

Table Linens

I'm in the mood for a new tablecloth. Something by April Cornell might be nice.

I'd like to sit at this table.

April Cornell

Which one would you choose?

Photo Credits: April Cornell

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Coat Story

This photo by the way, is the one emblazoned over the Claiborne counter. It inspired me to buy the coat in the first place. I need to look like this in Europe.

Last week I was attending a course in downtown Toronto and decided to take the GO train in lieu of driving. It was a rather chilly day so I opted to wear my new Liz Claiborne jacket. I was feeling rather spiffy and was lucky enough to actually find a parking space at the Clarkson station. I guess in retrospect, I should have been more aware of smiling faces in the waiting area. I descended the train at Union Station, and it wasn't until I was in the long windowed walkway area that I saw myself mirrored in the reflection. Noticing a bit of a tilt in the image, I thought perhaps my over the shoulder purse was pulling my coat off to one side. A few tugs and still an unusual picture, I looked down only to discover that I had mispositioned my buttons making the coat totally lopsided. At this point, I was quick to nonchalantly unbutton the entire shebang and carry on. Whew. But those smiling looks back at the station were probably more from amusement than friendship.

The class over, I did the return voyage and perhaps it is now my overactive imagination, but the women across from me, were doing that askance look...furtively engaging ones eyes, then quickly back to their reading, only to meet each others gaze when heads lift simultaneously once again...bit of a smile....and so on. Upon reaching my car in the parking lot, I felt quite warm and took off the coat, folded it and placed it on the back seat. What was that envelope poking out...had I not put everything back in my bag? Closer inspection revealed the tags and button envelope still intact hanging from the plastic thing-a-ma-jig under the arm.

I can only imagine that there are a few GO transit riders conjuring up a story about the crazy woman who "likely stole the coat" and was in a such a hurry that she forgot to remove the tags and buttoned it one button off! This same coat is the one that had me leaving my credit card in Kingston at an outlet shop, and having the worry of getting the card back without canceling everything. Something about this jacket.

It's a great coat, but a funny one. You'll notice (click on photo to enlarge) that none of the models in the Claiborne ad have buttoned their coats :)

Photo Credit: Liz Claiborne

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I'm thinking cheese boxes. Tomorrow I will sand my Balderson box to perfection.

Hopefully our instructor will be willing to fashion something a little more funky than the traditional tuffet.

Photo: MacKenzie Child

Friday, September 18, 2009

A New Read

Some time ago, I was in a position of having to make crucial decisions in a tight time frame. When I was unable to contact family members the instant I needed them (usually via cell phone) I started to wonder HOW in the world I was going to get the immediate response I required?

I thought "If I were Madeleine Albright no one would be tardy in their reply to this situation!" I had a feeling that "Madame Secretary" would just make the decision and the world would have to live with it. My new credo became..."If you get a message from me, and it is either signed or voiced "this message is from Madeleine", and you do not respond within three minutes, then the decision is mine and it is binding.

It worked for a while, most ignored it, as I'm pretty good at making the best decisions anyway :) and the rule still holds.

The most humourous response I ever received was during the Clinton administration with, for me, an urgent request of my nephew. Of course I signed off "Madeleine here!" and the response came slightly out of bounds, and a bit contrary, but signed off "Bill".

I can't wait to get my hands on this book.
Review the book

Hat Tip: CEP
Credits: Harper Collins Canada

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just Mary

It's sad that Mary Travis of "Peter, Paul and Mary" has seccumed to leukemia at age 72. Growing up in the 60's it was impossible to escape the effects of the groups "folk" and liberal politics. They were leaders in anti Vietnam policy, and walked on Washington with Dylan in 1963. Themes of racial equality and activism defending the defenseless. "Blowin' in the Wind", "If I Had A Hammer", "Lemon Tree", "Puff the Magic Dragon"

Leaving on a jet plane was a song that The Professor warbled to sing our babies to sleep. They loved the melody. There isn't much of a folk trend in music these days, but this music stands the test of time.

We were lucky enough to see them live not so long ago in the idyllic summer setting of Chautauqua. I know the Professor will sing for our grandchildren.

Photo: Yahoo News

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tapping Tuesdays

I know, it was a totally spontaneous decision, and then there you are...tapping your feet off.

Devon made me do it.

In a previous life, about a million years ago, I tried tapping in a Church basement in Oakville, apparently when I still had a modicum of balance. This session is going to be a challenge. Ten weeks.

My "old" tap shoes, exactly like those pictured above, which were retrieved from a bin at said Church basement are about 2 sizes too large, and stuffed with insoles on insoles...still a little wide. They fit Devon, but not me.

In the day, it really didn't matter what you looked like at St. Mildred' was a basement and there was nary a mirror in sight, but THIS is a studio with mirrors. Gosh I'll be wearing something very different next week. It was a bit of a scramble to get into the class, hunt through a box of possible alternative taps and then follow instructions realizing that I could hardly stand on one leg even on a good day!

This will be great for balance and hopefully a whole ton of weight loss. Nothing like the truth of a dance studio full of mirrors to stimulate a change in shape. If you think the image you are conjuring up is hilarious, you should have been there.

Our first lesson, I kid you not, resembled many of the moves exhibited in this Michael Jackson video...including the music.

I'll be in Devon's aerobics class this morning. I may just take my taps!

Photo Credit:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fabric love

I LOVE Amy Butler fabrics.

Last week while Irenka and I were downtown, we cruised by

Mac Fab Fabrics, Toronto

I was on the hunt for fabrics to do a sewing machine cover that I spied in a recent issue of Somerset Home. We are now signed up to take a class at the Sewing Convention in photo transfer onto fabric. Mac Fab has great Amy Butler fabrics, and on sale too!

I learned this weekend that the quilting shop Quilters Palette also carries this line. Quilting shops seem to be getting fewer and farther between these days, so I'm always happy to learn about good stores.

Irenka and I are also anticipating an upholstery class where we hope to fashion pouffs out of antique cheese boxes. I think these fabrics would be marvelous. Not to mention, much better for floor cushions than the unfortunate incident with the Costco Dog Bed!

Amy Butler Pouffs

For my birthday, I received a joyous tea cosy fashioned from Amy Butler fabric, with an applique with the pink version of

Polly Goes to Paris Fabric

This all adds up to great inspiration of the sewing type. Lots of projects to get at. Think I'll have a cup of tea and get inspired while enjoying my new cosy! Thanks Juliet.

Photo Credits: Amy Butler Designs
True Up

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Found One!

After having spent some time in the country over the summer, I became aware of a line of china that I never knew existed. "Shelley". My niece is named Shelley. One relative was sure that my Mum had purchased a "Shelley" for Shelley. I dutifully turned over every one of the 60 some odd tea cups and saucers in my collection. No Shelley. The hunt was on. Yesterday at the Christie Antique show there were many different patterns to choose from but this one seemed the most adorable. I had been warned by an experienced collector to keep my price down and avoid the higher priced tea cups and saucers. After perusing the entire hundred or so vendors, the Professor and I decided on our approach. Well, he did. The Professor doesn't mind bargaining, I do.

Came away having learned a lot. There are many more "Shelley's" out there than the odd vendor would have you believe, and they can be had within my price range. Now we've decided that this will be something else for us to look out for....Aberfoyle is having a Saturday one-day event September 26th.

Happy Birthday Shelley!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Some things really do get better with age

Partly due to the change in the musical accompaniment I like the latest/old guys version...not unlike myself........some things get better with age :)

I'm doing to a Photoshop class today. You listen to the music.

Thanks Di.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saturday Outing

The weather is "iffy" for this Saturday for an outdoor event, but after many years of wanting to attend, this is where we'll be.............

Christie Antiques Show

Photo Credit: McMurchie Lane Antiques

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I could not resist

I just couldn't, because the inside of the hood is teeny tiny polka dots!
Size 0=3 months

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sirius Trouble

As I've mentioned previously, I could now live in my car.
Sirius 60's on 6.
This gets me into a lot of trouble, because I'm amassing quite an iTunes collection. All worth it.

Do you remember a song called "Soul Deep" by

The Box Tops

How about "Wishin' and Hopin'" by

Dusty Springfield

This is so Princeton "Hello I Love You" by

The Doors

This just makes me dance like the crazed Go-Go girl in the video

"I Fought the Law"

The Bobby Fuller 4

Those were my purchases for today. I'm updating my iPod and going to dance in the living room. This is great road-trip music.

She's Back

First day of the 'New Year'. The little chubby girl is back and going for round two. That would be 10 pounds...+ a tad. Hard to be dieting when cupcakes are in the offing, but taking a run at it. Back to the exercise classes and the good old "routine" today. I think I like this. I think I'm better with a schedule. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE summer and the total lack of restraint, but I'm also happy with "back to school".

Friday, September 4, 2009


When Dana and I were in Maine this summer we came across this poster. It was in an antique shop and they were essentially trying to sell the frame (which we didn't like and would not have chosen), but we both adored this print. The shopkeeper was kind enough to tell us what it is.

Vittorio Corcos

I love her gaze. I love what she's wearing. The umbrella and the hat on the bench. The slight hint of the turquoise scarf at her neck...her sleeves. It's autumn and I think she's thinking about all the new things she'll do, starting with reading those books. She looks like I feel these days.

Photo credit:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

From Russia with Love

"Music is a terrifying thing!...Music makes me forget myself, my real position, it transports me to some other position not my own. Under the influence of music it seems to me that I feel what I do not really feel, that I understand what I do not understand, that I can do what I cannot do... Music carries me immediately and directly into the mental condition of the man who composed it. My soul merges with his and together with him I pass from one condition into another, but why this happens I don't know".

Leo Tolstoy

I heard this quote by Tolstoy today that I had not heard before. I love it with all my heart.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September is for Sewing

When my nieces were here we got into talks on apron making.

As September is National Sewing Month albeit in the USA....and I've been obsessing about aprons lately, I decided to combine the two thoughts and today I purchased "Simplicity 5201"

Perhaps it was the picture with the model carrying a paint brush that made the decision easier.

This is a very "artsy-smocky" sort of apron.

Like this one. You can actually make one from a vintage table cloth. I like that idea. Reuse, Remake, Restyle!

If next month happens to be National Painting Month, I'll already have the smock!

Credit: Simplicity patterns

Cell Phone Karma

Hat Tip: DZ