December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

December 22, 2010

Dog Sweater Donations

After a year of stockpiling small handknit dog sweaters, I've made the decision to donate them to a small dog rescue. Happy Tails rescue focuses on bichon frise and maltese although pictures on their website suggest they might take mixed breeds. Some pups have to be shaved because of severe matting and a soft fuzzy garment might provide some comfort. Hopefully I will have a couple of pictures forthcoming.

December 12, 2010

Flowers for Christmas

Yesterday's Holly Jolly sale has come and gone for another year. Beautiful goods to be had but few customers. Oh well.
I came home to the first orchid in bloom. I don't remember it blooming this early last year but who's complaining! I have another that's cultivating buds and , for the life of me, I can't imagine what I'm doing to encourage such fertile behaviour. I think it's 'benign neglect'. Yes, that's the ticket. Leave them alone, water little - maybe even spray the soil instead of watering. All those tarantula-like roots reaching out of the pot scare me. I think I'm supposed to transplant but that just might kill them off... I think I'll just leave them be.

December 7, 2010

Another addiction surfaces

The first snowfall has lingered and renewed itself on a daily basis. It's not unpleasant except for the blasted wind. I awoke today to my apartment temperature at 66 Fahrenheit (an American thermometer). How did it get so cold?

So it's quite pleasant being indoors and I seem to have succumbed to the making of 'sausage' jewelry. I'm not sure how to name it but Nancy was the first to give in to the allure of wire and beads in an obsessive way. Her work is exquisite. I'm not so productive and have only one and a half pieces to show for my efforts so far. Maybe if I could just apply myself to Viking Knit...

November 25, 2010

Xena went back to the vet today where she is actually being boarded by the original owners. Miss Xena, true to her name, was very combative with my little cat. My Tayoh who is so good natured and so terrified of Xena. She was terrorized into living in my closet. I couldn't bear it....Xena had the need to be an only child and I couldn't give her that. I feel so guilty but I'll soon get over it now that Tayoh has the freedom to run around the apartment and can use her own washroom instead of mine. The past ten days have been really trying as I tried to make Xena feel at home. I felt so pressed to fill the void left behind by Amber but now we'll just coast and come to accept the loss.

November 24, 2010

Jewellery Class

Last Sunday had our dear friend, Karen, teaching yet another of her talented projects. The Viking Knit taught previously was so daunting and I wondered to myself :'would this class be as scary...?' I did manage to finish the pendant (aka sausage) but the shape was not the same as the example. The beads were not tight enough for my liking. I would still wear it though once I find the right chain. No, there will be no Viking Knit attached to this pendant.
I attempted a second one using 18 ga wire which seemed to hold up the whole mess just fine. But the beads here are too uneven. I shall probably clip them off and start again.

November 17, 2010

Welcome Xena

I decided to adopt another cat after Amber's passing since Tayoh seemed so lonely. I happened to find a 13 yr old female waiting a year for the taking at the vet. Her name is Xena, Warrior Princess. What an awful name and quite descriptive of her attitude. So far she's been terrorizing Tayoh who is so sweet and non-threatening. If I recall, it took a year for Amber to accept Tayoh on a certain level but never entirely. Xena is huge - 17lbs and on a serious reducing diet. So far she has managed to consume her own special diet and Tayoh's food as well. Her carrier would house a Great Dane. Needless to say, the cabbie carried Xena right up to the elevator where I could push her the rest of the way.
Despite her size, she is very limber and can jump up to 4 ft high. She needs a serious combing and bit me twice for my efforts. What are the possibilities of clipping her nails.....

I think I should change her name in the hopes of influencing her demeanor in a more positive way. I think I'll call her Lily (after Lily Williamson). She doesn't seem to respond to Xena anyway.
Oh, what have I done... Mind you, it's only been 1 day in her new home. I suppose I should give it a chance.

November 3, 2010

Holly Jolly is coming to town


Really, the venue doesn't look this spooky in colour but it makes for a good Halloween picture. This year's Holly Jolly Christmas sale is being held at the Zion Church Cultural Centre on December 11 from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. It is located at:
1650 Finch Avenue East
(on the north side of Finch Avenue East, one block east of Don Mills Road OR two blocks west of the DVP/404)

So preparations have begun in earnest.

More information about the sale will be coming as the date approaches. Stay tuned.

October 16, 2010

Viva Carrie

This video reflects the joy of the Chilean miners' freedom. Carrie, the Golden, hails from Chile and is so adept at the merengue that she puts many of the stars on Dancing With the Stars to shame.

October 10, 2010

Amber, rest in peace

I just returned from the Veterinary Emergency Clinic where my dear Amber of 14 years lost her battle with breast and pancreatic cancer. I can't believe how fast this was - 9 days from diagnosis. I'm already missing her terribly and my little cat is feeling the change. She's stopped eating. I consider this ominous but I shall just have to let her adjust to being an only child before concluding that something medical is going on.
Oh, to love and then to lose....

September 21, 2010


This fun video was made by the group OK GO for their song White Knuckles. The dogs are rescues and all were adopted.

August 31, 2010

Cesar is coming!

Tails up - Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, is starting a Canadian tour and will be in Toronto on November 1st at the ACC. Anyone going?

August 29, 2010

The Last Emperor

For years now I've been wanting to see this movie again. It's almost never shown on tv. But I remember the day I saw it in 1987 at a theatre on Yonge Street in the freezing cold of winter. We had to wait over an hour before the doors were opened. No Starbucks in those days. This film is visually stunning and so, so sad. It was on tv last night and I still want to see it another time.

August 25, 2010

Back to boxes

I'm finding it hard to complete any of the projects I've started. For instance, I've been knitting a baby sweater for months now and I've finally finished the last sleeve. But the dreaded part of sewing all the pieces together is staring me in the face so I've decided to ignore the whole business. This is the part I hate the most. Good thing I made a size 3 so I have a couple of years of avoidance left.

I've been starting back on fabric boxes and, once again, I just can't face sewing the pieces together. Here is the underwater theme.
And another one I've started to avoid completing the first one. I'm just going to have to find some self-discipline here...

August 15, 2010

What to do in the deadly heat


The first item of business is to shop the Shopping Channel for a new coffee machine. One that exclusively makes cappuccinos, latte macchiatos, cafe mochas and all done perfectly. It's Nescafe's Dolce Gusto. Then buy a new orchid and admire as new buds unfurl. Then check on the girls to make sure they are comfy.

Any more than this would be far too taxing.

July 29, 2010

The experiment

After learning how to fashion paper roses out of coffee filtres, I decided to conduct a little experiment. Would the cats approach the paper flowers as they do real flowers and pull them out of the vase? Ha! They do. Is it image recognition that lures them? Whatever it is, I have to hide the paper flowers from their view. What a drag...

July 22, 2010

My favourite new book

Carmi's Art Girl's Guide to Paris is full of the sights, textures, and tastes of this beautiful city. The perspective is unique to those of us who make art and view the world as an inspiration for the next piece. It is a diary of sorts and offers an amazing indulgence of the senses. Some of the photos are downright voluptuous. One waits in anticipation of the next installment.

You can find the Art Girl's Guide to Paris blog at

July 8, 2010

Death Valley Days

No, that's not me - it's the girl (bombshell)in the Perrier melting ad. I've been without air conditioning or a fan since Tuesday. Deathly hot. Even the cats are seeking cool by lying on the floor - not their usual location which is in my bed. This afternoon the technical expert is coming with a new motor and thermostat. In an attempt to not look like a slob, I started vacuuming. What a stupid idea since the vacuum generates its own heat and my muscle activity is generating even more. So I'll look like the slob I am.
Can't wait till bedtime when I will say "to sleep, perchance to dream...."

June 29, 2010

Ms Fix It

Well, just when you think you've seen it all... you haven't. En route to an xray for my father, he entered the parking lot and plowed into the ticket dispensing machine thereby knocking off the side view mirror (on the driver's side). The ticket attendent went hysterical. I knew he couldn't drive home without the mirror so repairs were mandatory. Out came my bandaids and dental floss and I managed to suspend the mirror in roughly the correct position using these first aid supplies. To make extra sure it was stable, I made a trip into the pharmacy to buy some adhesive tape and that seemed to keep things from jiggling. Now the mechanic will have to assess the damage to see if it can be repaired or if it requires replacement from the Ford factory. The car situation was far more stressful than the x-ray.

June 2, 2010

On Friday I received a registered letter from Industry Canada citing that harmful radio waves were being emitted from my apartment on April 22, 2010. In compliance with the law, an inspector would be dispatched to the premises to investigate. EEK! What does this I suspected of terrorism? Are there extra terrestrials in the neighbourhood? Will I have all my electronic devices confiscated? Will I have to buy an ipad afterall? Have you ever heard of such a thing.

I phoned the number in the letter and thus commenced an interview and the emphasis was on cordless phones and where did they come from. It seems that devices obtained from other countries operate on different radio frequencies which jam the frequencies being used in Canada - probably aircraft are at risk. It turns out that I cleared myself by fessing up to everything and I don't have to worry about a home visit. It's likely one of my neighbours.

May 14, 2010

An old standby

While taking a break from fabric boxes, I tried to get back to making copper book necklaces. I hauled out my big bottle of liver of sulphur only to discover that the stinky solution had morphed into clear water. Now, how did that happen... I quickly headed downtown to Lacy's to pick up a jar of concentrated l of s which smelled suitably foul and I knew I had a winner. Very strong and requires a delicate touch when oxidizing the pieces of copper unless you want it pitch black.
Tomorrow is east coast rug hooking and yet another project will be in the works.

May 10, 2010

East Coast Rug Hooking

I nearly forgot about the rug hooking workshop which I signed up for a few months back. I've been waiting for a cancellation in the Saturday class to upgrade my spot from Friday night to Saturday afternoon. Alas, it was not to be. I've done a lot of latch hooking in the past but I gather the traditional method is quite different.
The class is taught by Jennifer Archer whose website is and a 'teach yourself' handout can be downloaded here. And the class takes place at The Purple Purl on Queen St.East in Toronto. This is a cozy knitting shop which I discovered while cruising the web. Martha is responsible for alerting all to this class.

May 4, 2010

Camping In

When you haven't a specific project that requires a blast of heat, you can always toast marshmallows in the kitchen with your blow torch. Tastes just like the real deal from bonfire roasting. Yum yum. I suppose this may be dangerous to do indoors since you can't see the flame. I'm moving to the balcony just in case.

May 1, 2010

Back to school

Being a great admirer of Nancy's work, I thought I would follow her suit and sign up for Marie Otero's Digital Magic class starting June 14th. This will be a big challenge for me since I'm no good at photo editing and seem to be a big fan of the 'quick fix' method. But it's high time I learned how to do things especially since I now have PSE 8 on board. To find out more about the class, click on the sidebar image.

And lured by Martha's achievements, I've signed up for Tosca Teran's class in metal and glass at her nanopod hybrid studio( class starts on June 22 and I can't wait. The class is maximum 5 students and NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY is emphasized. How perfect is that! Below is the studio's storefront. Quite gorgeous.

April 18, 2010

I am a snapdragon

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Thanks to Irene, I tried this again. In previous years I was an echinacea. I wonder if the questions have changed or if it's me. Probably both.

April 17, 2010

Work in progress

I've been working on this fabric box for a long, long time. As suggested by other box owners, I'm going to make a removable shoulder/across the shoulder strap for wearing as a little purse. That might be a problem for me since my ability at perceptual problem solving is hampered. Maybe it's genetic.
Meanwhile, after my 3rd cup of cawfee, I'm feeling sleepy. Ha! I've conquered the effects of caffeine. By consuming so many cups in my attempt at identifying my favourite flavours, I've now desensitized. Good for me. Or, as Karen says, Keurig is dutch for neat!

April 16, 2010

Airmile rewards

What is there to do when you have insomnia and need to shop. And you have a lot of Airmiles and nowhere to go. You shop with your airmiles points! Although they tell you it will take a month to deliver, my items were here within 48 hours. The Keurig came with 18 different samples of coffee and tea and it's no wonder I was up all night after sampling almost all of them. The toast is great on bagels and frozen breads of any kind since it defrosts first - if you remember to press that button.

And the deed is done! I've reserved a puppy in the October litter from Cottoncandycotons and should have him/her by the end of December or January. He will probably be called Whimsey and if it's a girl, also Whimsey or the frech translation which is Caprice. Or Whimsey Caprice. Must have a middle name. The dog in the picture is one of the breeder's boys and comes from Denmark. Any colours you see around the face mainly are likely to fade to pure white or just a hint of colour since the white gene dilutes all other colours except if the skin underneath is blue. When Carmi gets back from Paris, we will go visit the dogs and the breeder asked me to bring along some of my dog sweaters in case any Toronto clients are interested. How am I going to wait until the end of December... I guess I'll just keep drinking coffee and watching Cesar, the Dog Whisperer to become calm and assertive. The coffee should have me hysterical and aggressive. Better switch to decaf.

April 13, 2010

Coton de Tulears

Well, I've pretty much decided on a Coton. The name is French but the dog hails from Tulear, Madagascar and is considered a rare breed. I will have to come up with a French name for a boy and girl - no, not 2 dogs but it will depend on availability and, from what I can see in the streets, there are virtually no females in sight. I have the number of a breeder in Scarborough whom I must call today if possible. She's already had 2 litters so far this year so it may be unlikely that she'll breed again in 2010. And I'm looking towards the fall for adopting.This is all very exciting. I want to be invited out to meet a Coton in person.
I have one other breeder I'm hoping to hear from in Brampton and that exhausts all the local breeders. Why do breeders always live out of town...?

April 7, 2010

Puppy Planning

I am sorely tempted by all of these puppies but I need to plan for a proper adoption. Introduction to my 2 neurotic cats, where will the puppy sleep and eat and other issues, blahblahblah...The long haired chihuahua is gorgeous but yappy as hell at 9 weeks. The only female is the buff coloured poodle but Mr. Personality is the Yorkie for sure. I don't know why I'm so obsessed with a hypoallergenic breed when they are so small, how much can they shed? Besides, it's the cats that are the most allergenic. I remember going to the allergy clinic at Mt. Sinai where the nurse told me to trade in the cats for an iguana.
Anyone have any breed suggestions or even know of a Toronto breeder?

March 31, 2010

Last orchid to bloom

Here is the last orchid to bloom. It's a mini and never seems to get more than 3 blossoms but who's complaining...I've had a stellar year in the floral department.
Now, taking the floral theme in a different direction.... Have you ever dropped a big fat blob of tomato-based salad dressing on your favourite pants? I did it last year and tried every non-bleach method known to mankind to rid the offending circle from a pair of heavy linen, khaki coloured pants. Screw it, I thought and reached for the clorox pen. I scratched and scraped and squeezed the bleach all over the stain and it came out!!! Of course, the colour also came out and I was left with a big white circle over the upper thigh. It never occurred to me to dye the pants but I held on to them pending some sort of inspiration. Then, while looking for a space yesterday to house my 500 odd flowers from the 3bird company, I came upon some old-fashioned flowers that I must have ordered as embellishments from Flights of Fancy online store.
( Lo and behold, the bleach stain is now covered.

I think Carmi would be proud.

March 28, 2010

Afternoon at Belle de Provence

Yesterday I was at Bayview Village and lured into Belle de Provence by the absence of clashing fragrances and the voice of one of the salesgirls describing pajamas to 2 ladies. It turned out that these ladies were blind and had in tow their 2 guide dogs - a German Sheppard and a Yellow Lab, both female and very feminine. It turns out that the Sheppard always disobeys instructions to head for Loblaws and drags the owner into the shop. She noses around the open shelves at the cash desk and this time she managed to score a rubber ducky. Usually when I see a working dog, I feel so sad for them. They somehow look defeated, moving so much slower than those long leg should be going, head downturned that looks less like concentration than the blocking out of doggie distractions. These 2 dogs looked like the life of the party and their owners had much the same spirit. When the purchase of the ducky had been made, the dog was told to turn left and, on her way, she managed to pull out a back scrubber to check it out one last time. For that day, at least.

March 27, 2010

Lilith Fair

The other night I was flipping through the channels out of late night boredom and I happened upon Jimmy Kimmel Live who was interviewing Sarah McLaughlan and Emmylou Harris about the 2010 Lilith Fair. The original was 11 years ago and I sort of found myself there by accident. I went with a colleague and her teenage daughter and her friend. What an amazing experience. So I decided that I had to go, this likely being the last outdoor concert I will ever attend. I ordered my tickets - July 24th at the Molson Amphitheatre - online and, although none of the acts for this date have been announced except for Sarah, I'm sure it will be great. The Florida lineup is amazing! Anyone want to come with me? To Toronto, not Florida.

March 24, 2010

A Cold Spring Day

I would dearly love to go outside in the sunshine but I've been ill all night - chills, no thrills, sick stomach, headache...I guess I shouldn't complain. It's the first time I've been sick in over a year. Got to watch Carmi on the Shopping Channel and I ended up ordering all kinds of stuff I don't need. Now I'm thinking that I should have ordered the flowers. Maybe I will.....
Last night I listed quite a few dog sweaters on my etsy shop. End of season sale, free shipping. I subjected Amber to the runway experience and she was furious with me. The sweater was too big for her anyway.
I'm delighted with the perfect timing of my orchid blossoms. As one plant begins to wane, another begins to bloom.
This is my newest acquisition from the plant stand at the Finch Subway Station.
It's an indication that in 2 months, the balcony can be planted.

February 15, 2010

If it's Valentine's Day, it's the Orchid Show

Every year, around this time, I make the pilgrimage with my parents to The Toronto Botanical Centre (aka Edwards Gardens)for the Southern Ontario Orchid Society show. The orchids are many and varied - from gigantic blooms to teeny tiny specks. And all are displayed in a landscape design resembling the forest floor with lots of wood, moss and ferns. I was determined to purchase a "paph" - also known as a lady's slipper. But the one's already in bloom were $100. So I bought one that is supposed to bloom next spring. We'll see. I did buy an 'oncidium' orchid in bloom and with lots of buds. The colour is so vibrant. Hope it doesn't die from exposure to the elements although I did bring it into Swiss Chalet for dinner. All the orchid 'breeders' insist on an eastern exposure to provide the correct light. I face west so they'll just have to comply with house rules if they are to survive. So far I've managed to keep 3 of them alive here and the latest ones purchased in the subway are having their first blooming in my home so this is a very exciting event since I've done nothing to encourage growing action. Just lucky, I guess.

January 31, 2010

Knitting for imaginary dogs

What was that commercial all about? Incomprehensible yet cute.

The management for my condo refused to allow me to put up a poster advertising my dog sweaters yet they allow moving sales, tutoring and all manner of money making ventures. How is my advertising different... They typed up one sentence for me which was displayed on the bulletin board for 2 days and then it came down in favour of Mandarin Chinese tutoring. I'm so frustrated. I was invited to put up a poster in the Pet Valu store quite a distance from where I live but I think I'll try it. I suppose there's always the option of taping a poster to one of the light standards in front of my building.

Here are 2 more knits.

I rather like the one with the voile daisies and violets. This was actually a way of hiding a fault in the yarn but I think I'll start with the embellishments. Makes them look unique.