Friday, October 31, 2014

Spooky Spooky Spooky

Okay, so it isn't too spooky over at my place on Halloween.  I like to keep it on the gentler side as not to scare the little ones.  I do admire some of the really spooky houses that have been set up in my neighbourhood though.  The pre-teens always seem to get a charge out of that.

I ran down to Target today to stock up on some extra chocolate.  I have to wait until the last minute to do this as if I have it in the house earlier it tends to call my name to come and eat it up.  But hey, if you buy it today it is 30% off and I do love a deal.

On my travels I spied a few good costumes and particularly enjoyed the little ones dressed up.  While in line paying for my chocolate I saw a sweet little girl with her Mom, in line behind me.  Mom was a jail bird and the little one was Minnie Mouse, I think.  They were buying pumpkin pails.  After I paid for my goodies, I asked the mother if I could put some treats in their buckets.  Well, this little girl was so excited and it made me remember the excitement of Halloween when you are little.  The costumes, the anticipation of waiting for dark, the fun of seeing all of those jack 'o' lanterns lit up and the best part, walking up to most doors in the neighbourhood and getting candy.  We could even go to our local candy store, "Chalmer's", and Mrs. Chalmers, an elderly lady who lived above the store , would give us treat bags.  Does it get any better?  It was all over for another year in about two hours time but wow it was fun.  I try to remember this as I jump up to answer the door, yet again.  I think I will give out candy until I am too old to make it to the door.  ha ha

I think we are ready for the big night.  The lawn decor is up and moving.  Not too scary except for the claws on that black cat.  Last year we had little ones walking right up to it and it made me think of how big it must look to a three year old.


The pumpkin is ready to be plugged in.  I know... slacker!


Frankenstein is on the front door ready to greet trick or treaters!


In keeping with the Frankenstein theme we have some goodie bags with his face on them.


We also have some Halloween toys.  I think the kids might enjoy a treat that is not a sweet.  Although, Lisa and Steve have insisted that I have made a huge mistake with this purchase and that kids only want candy.  I beg to differ.  ;)


And a big bowl of chocolate bars.


The older visitors will like these best.  Yes, I give to anyone who comes to my door with a costume.  If you are 17 years old, I don't judge and just celebrate that you are celebrating Halloween instead of drinking in the park.  I know this may come after the candy collection but I like to think not.  ;)  A somewhat innocent view from someone who was married to a mountie for 26 years of their marriage.  LOL

I'll leave you with a photo of Thomas in costume.  Too cute!!  I only wish he lived in my neighbourhood and not across the other side of Canada.  :(


Wishing you all a spooktacular Halloween with lots of treats and not too many tricks!

Happy Halloween!

Jen

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

That 70's Tangent ~ Fire-King

So my thrifting days continue.  I'm still on the hunt to replace some of my old kitchenware with even older kitchenware.  LOL  The vintage stuff is so much more interesting!  At the rate I am going, some of my new kitchen stuff is going to be donated to charity to free up some room for the old stuff.  I know, it sounds weird.

As far as glass kitchenware, Pyrex is still my number one.  The quality is top notch and the colours and patterns are the best.  So where does Fire-king fit into this? Well, it isn't Pyrex but it still does have its merits.  Some of the patterns are very lovely, almost Pyrex like and could even be easily confused as being Pyrex.  But, if you look really closely, the milk glass isn't as white and the patterns look like they almost might wear off.  It just isn't the same quality as Pyrex.  The plus side to Fire-King is it's price and availability.  Finding Pyrex items other than bowls and casserole sets are near impossible around here.   What about baking dishes?  To order these Pyrex items on eBay or Etsy gets very pricey.  No worries,  there seems to be plenty of Fire-King in the thrift store and it is cheap.  Here's what I found.

This loaf pan was thrifted at Salvation Army for $5!


I love the detail in its pattern not to mention the colours.  It is called "Meadow Green" and was released in 1967.


My next find was this 8"x8" square baking pan.  Perfect for making squares!


I found it at The Goodwill for $4!  Its pattern is called "Candle Glow" and it too was released in 1967.  It was available until 1972.


These two additions look pretty cute in my kitchen cupboard.  




Although Fire-King is not my number one favourite here are some other Fire-King items that are really quite striking and I would be snapping up given the chance.


Love these tulips!



Simple but striking.



Yum... turquoise!

Jen

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

That 70's Tangent ~ Hoot Hoot

I have a new addition to my 70's kitchen decor thanks to friend and fellow collector of vintage goodness, Terry.  Terry was out thrifting North of the city last week when she came upon a beautiful owl napkin holder.  She texted a photo of it to Rob's phone asking if I would be interested in it for my collection. As soon as I saw the photo I was smitten.  Take a look.


Not only beautiful but functional too.  It's always great to have napkins handy at the dinner table.  This ceramic piece is hand done by someone.  Only wish there was a name on the bottom telling us who it was that sat in ceramics class decades ago finishing this little owl.


A new life will be given to this little guy for many years to come.  A big thank you to Terry for thinking of me and knowing my style so well.


I'll leave you with yes, another Ryan Gosling meme.  LOL  I just can't help myself.  I have found some really good ones of late.  This one speaks to those of us who love owls.  I'm guilty as charged!  ;)


Jen

Monday, October 27, 2014

One Fall Afternoon in My Backyard

Last night it started snowing.  We knew it was coming.  It usually comes much earlier than this.  It isn't that pretty sparkly dry kind of snow that comes with a sunny day.  It isn't cold enough for that yet.  It is the wet, mucky kind of snow that comes with a grey overcast day.  But, I plan on staying positive about this winter.  I strive to embrace each season with all it has to offer, the good, the bad and the ugly.  But on this somewhat bleak Monday morning I choose to remember the beautiful Fall we just experienced.

On this particular afternoon...

the sun was shining


and the leaves covered the ground.


There were red leaves


and red berries.


I happily noticed just how much corn the Blue Jays had been eating.  Last year not one creature discovered our fall time treat.


And the best thing in my backyard is happy pups!



Wishing you all a wonderful fall day wherever you are and hoping that the snow hasn't found you yet.  ;)

Jen

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Adventures in Knitting with the White Sisters

When we think about knitting, it is easy to conjure up the image of a person quietly sitting with two sticks and some string making something.  You would think that knitting and its existence ends there, but you would be wrong.  There is an entire knitting world out there complete with its very own unique culture.  Susan and I saw this firsthand last night when we went to our first knitting event.

The White sisters have been fans of The Yarn Harlot also known as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee for a few years now.  We follow her blog so we can drool over the amazing knits she creates.  We buy her books because she is an author too.  We also laugh a lot because she is a very funny lady.  And hey, she's Canadian which makes us feel a bit special.  We don't have as many people in our country as our American friends and celebrities are scarce.  Yes, I said it.   In our world she is a knitting celebrity and knitting celebrities are to be sought out just as rock stars are!

For a long time, Susan and I felt sad that Stephanie never came to Edmonton.  We dreamed of how exciting it would be to meet her in person and hear her story.  We were beyond excited when we learned last spring that she would be coming to Edmonton, through our local yarn shop, and doing a weekend of classes.  We weren't interested in making a full weekend of it.  Honestly, we aren't that social and her class on knitting up her "sock recipe" we had already mastered through her book.  We were thrilled that we could buy a ticket just to hear her speak and that we did.

Just like trying to score tickets to a rock concert there was the watchful eye to find out exactly when she was coming.  Then there was a registration process, payment process and even a special trip to the opposite end of the city to pick up tickets and name tags before the event.  Then there was the planning of what to wear.  At a knitting event a person wants to wear some hand knits.  Susan wore her hand knit socks that carefully coordinated to her new blouse.  I on the other hand had a problem.  I only have one pair of knit socks that didn't match anything.  It was too warm to wear a scarf so, no knit fashion for me.  I did bring along my hand knit socks in my knitting bag.  For some reason I felt that I should have them with me just incase someone asked to see them or if I had to prove that I indeed was a knitter even though I wasn't wearing any evidence of it.  I know it is weird.  Really, who would see Susan's socks?  I told her on the way that she better take off her shoes and put her feet up on the back of the chair sitting in front of her.  We laughed this off, but apparently there is a solution to this.  The avid knitters tuck their pants into their knit socks so that the socks can be admired.  Yeah, that was weird too.

The next preparation came in planning what knitting to bring to the event.  People at knitting events don't sit around waiting for the celebrity to arrive on stage.  Why waste time that could be spent knitting?  They bring along their knitting and greet the knitting celebrity doing what we all love... knitting!  Susan made sure that she was at a good part of her sock, a part that didn't have too many decreases and require some concentration.  I rushed to get my mitten knit past the thumb.  I didn't want to have to deal with scissors or darning needles while at the event.  So we packed our knitting, packed our two books for the book signing and I charged up the camera battery and brought the camera along just in case Stephanie would allow a photo to be taken.

We were finally at the event.  We went early to get good seats as they weren't reserved and we apparently weren't important enough to get invited into the VIP section.  LOL  Now when I say we were at the event, we weren't quite there yet.  We were in the building.  A big hotel with many sections and rooms and very poor signage as to where the knitters were.  Hmmm.  No worries, knitters at a knitting event stand out, after all they are draped in their knits.  I have never seen so many shawls and cowls and pants tucked into socks.  We decided on a quick trip to the ladies room and then we would hang around the knitters in the lobby and follow them in.  After all, they looked experienced.  This wasn't their first rodeo.  They had a certain confidence about them.  They would know where to go for sure.  Our plan was in place.  We came out of the ladies room back into the lobby, wait.... where did the knitters go?  They were gone!

The White sisters wandered around for a bit.  Down one hallway... dead end.  Through another passage looking for any kind of sign.  We finally spied one lone knitter on a bench.  As I asked her if she knew where the knitters were, Susan found a tiny 8.5 X 11 paper sign with an arrow pointing us towards the knitters.  We were on our way.  We walked a bit further and were met with a huge professionally printed banner advertising the "Family Practitioners Convention".  Oh I guess the doctors are having an event too.  Yes they were.  We rounded a corner and ended up in the middle of the doctors convention!  They were young.  They were professional.  They were net working.  There were platters of cheese.  I momentarily debated having a piece then remembered that I was a knitter and not a doctor.  The cheese was for the doctors.  Protein to feed their smart brains.  I passed one young doctor who was feasting on what looked like a really great piece of prime rib roast smothered in a rich gravy.  Where were the knitters?  Every once in awhile I would spy one.  There's a person with a knit beret!  Can't be a doctor.  Follow that person, I would say to Susan.  Just as fast as the knitter would appear they would disappear into the crowd.

I finally found a man with a suit jacket on.  He was wearing an identification pin.  Yay, a hotel employee.  He'll know where the knitters are.  As I began asking him if he could point us in the right direction, I had a feeling of panic wash over me.  Maybe he was a doctor?  Did his tag say "Dr."?  Am I asking some doctor if he knows where the knitters are?  Just as my panic crested he smiled and pointed across the room to a tiny doorway.  It was hidden away and surrounded by the doctors and cheese!  There stood a tiny line-up of ladies draped in knit wears, knitting bags in hand,  handing in their tickets.

We were finally in the room.  We got to the seats that were after all the destination of months of planning.  We were only two rows back from the VIPS!  The White sisters were organized, they planned, they came early.  Bit by bit the knitters filed in.  There was chatting and the faint background noise of clicking needles.  One lady explained how she brought two projects, one for the wait and one that she could work on during the speech.  I'm assuming that this project didn't require her to look at what she was knitting.  Yes, these avid knitters would stand and talk and knit and never even look down at what they were knitting.  We took out our knitting and joined in with the crowd.  I wasn't nearly as smooth.  I had to fish out my measuring tape and some stitch markers at one point.  I had knitting "stuff" sitting on the empty seat next to me.  Suddenly we saw her enter the room.  Susan and I gasped a bit.  There she was.  The Yarn Harlot in person!  We were star struck.

Her speech last almost two hours.  She was hilarious.  We laughed lots and it felt good.  But she came with an important message.  We learned how important knitting is to our lives. We don't knit because our lives are pathetic with nothing else to do.  We knit because it is our joy and our passion.   We learned how knitting has been proven to help with anxiety, PTSD and ADHD.  A child who can't sit still in the classroom for story time may be able to if he or she can knit while listening to the story.  She asked us to celebrate our knitting.  To stop down playing what it is to our lives and what it is that we accomplish when we create a knit project.  It felt good to be a part of this community.  I felt very happy to be a knitter.

The evening ended with the White sisters finally getting to meet their knitting mentor! We got to see in person, the beautiful sweater that Stephanie had just finished making and had posted on her blog. We have our books signed as living proof of this meeting and better yet... Stephanie Pearl-McPhee agreed to have her photo taken with us!


It was a great night.  :)

Jen

Friday, October 24, 2014

Around the House

I love me a Ryan Gosling meme.  When I came across this one I had a chuckle.  It is always situations that we can identify with that make us laugh the most.


I am often guilty of leaving my crafty stuff laying around the house.  Here's what can be found on any given day.

Two sets of fingerless mittens for Lisa sit on the coffee table in the living room.   It is the one item that she lets me knit for her each year.  They still need to be sewn up.  I have decided that if I put them in a yarn bowl, they serve as decor.  LOL



A pair of mittens in progress sit on the end of the sofa.


Maggie decides that they make the perfect head rest until I notice and snatch them away.


A tiny pile of memorabilia being collected for my art journal sits on the kitchen counter.  Family members have been educated that random piles such as these are not to be confused with garbage and disposed of.  This is art supplies and inspiration!


A quick trip to the basement is always a guarantee of finding a craft mess.  Why? Because this is where the scrap room is!  My desk usually looks something like this.  Yikes!  I really need to get back to that LO that I started two weeks ago.


Then there is Susan's desk too.  She usually has a project on the go too ready to work on if we decide to scrap on Crafty Tuesday and give our knitting needles a rest.


When I look at these little messes I feel happy.  I see many creative outlets.  I feel inspired.  I imagine hours of crafty fun to be had.  These "messes" make my house feel like my home.  

Hope you spend some time today creating some little messes. :)

Jen

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Pyrex Wish List

When I was little, I remember being so excited every year when the Sears Wish Book catalogue came in the mail.  It always had a beautiful illustration on the front cover which usually included Santa Claus.  It was page after page of Christmas gift ideas and the toy section was huge.  I would look through each page carefully deciding what I would ask Santa to bring me that year.  Looking back, it was lucky for me that my mother always ordered our toys out of this book and had them delivered to our apartment.  Santa never let me down.


There is something exciting about having a wish list even as an adult.  You know that old saying about it being better to love what you have rather than have what you love.  It is the joy of thinking that one day you might actually have your wish fulfilled.  Loving vintage Pyrex is great for the wish list experience.  It isn't like you can just go out and buy what you love at the store.  You have to hope to find it one day while thrifting or even be lucky enough to find it on eBay and then pay the huge price.

Here's what's on my Pyrex wish list.

Above and beyond all wishes is the Butterfly Gold lasagna pan.  These pans are hard to come by and when you do they cost a fortune.  I wonder if they didn't produce as many back in the day.  Maybe people used them so much that they just wore out.  I actually make lasagna so this pan would be beautiful and useful.


The Pyrex refrigerator sets are something else.  There is just something about these tiny containers that have so many possibilities.  Again they are hard to come by.  You might find the odd one without a lid and even then they are pricey.  The Butterfly Gold set is beautiful!


Susan and I always joke that if we came upon a set while out thrifting together, the fight would be on.  LOL


The last thing that I dream of is the Pyrex bowl set from the 1940's in primary colours.  They go for about $75 a set.  Someone paid over $400 for a set that was brand new in it's original packaging! Although I love pattern and these bowls are solid, there is something so striking about the set.


I can see my Granny White in her kitchen baking up a storm.  This is just a dream as I don't know that she ever owned this set.  She was an amazing cook and baker.  Her shortbread was the best!  I love this photo of her sitting in her kitchen sometime in the 1950's.   I especially love the hand beaters mounted on the wall.  That cute little Boston Terrier in the bottom left hand corner is my father's dog, Tipper.


Granny Taylor must have had the pink set that was so popular in the 1950's.  The reason I think this is because Susan has the large pink bowl that was Granny's.  Maybe it was the only one left of the set.  Here's Granny Taylor in her kitchen on Easter Sunday of 1975.  She would be pulling the ham out of the oven.  How was she so calmly doing that with three grandkids running around her?  LOL  I loved Granny's kitchen and can remember it in vivid detail.


Well it looks like my love of vintage Pyrex has brought be back to kitchens of days gone by.  It's fun to remember.  It is also fun to wish.  I'm wishing for that piece of Pyrex at the end of the rainbow.  :)

Jen

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time

Susan came over today.  We did some knitting, met Rob for lunch at our favourite Chinese food restaurant and then did a bit of thrifting.  We always have fun on Tuesdays and one of my favourite things we do is have tea time.  Tea time usually happens between 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm.

Lately, tea time is much more enjoyable thanks to Susan's sweet cookie adventure.  Susan is baking her way through an entire cookie cookbook!  She bakes cookies on Monday's and then brings over a sample for Tuesday tea.  It is really fun to try so many different types of cookies from different parts of the world.  Susan has a blog detailing her adventure which you can take a peek at here.

Today's cookies were called "Piglets",  made from a recipe from Mexico.  They were so good!  They had a hint of orange and cinnamon,  a nice crunch and were great with tea.


Today's tea was David's Tea.  I had "Midsummer Night's Dream".  It is a delicious blend of citrus and mint.  Susan had "Orange Blossom".  A citrus delight.


We even had it Downton Abby style and served it on Royal Albert china "Enchantment".  We decided that tea tastes much better from a china cup.


We were feeling like queens!  The only thing we were missing was fascinators.

Jen

Monday, October 20, 2014

To the Antique Mall!

Oh the Antique Mall in Edmonton... it is becoming one of my happy places.  Aisles and aisles to slowly walk up and down looking for vintage treasure.  There are over 300 venders and each has it's own little spot filled with lovelies.  It is a wonderful way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.  It used to be that when I went,  I was on the lookout for hobnail milk glass.  I have officially declared that collection as complete. One day I'll take some photos and share it on the blog.  These days I am looking for Pyrex!  Just a more functional kind of milk glass.  ha ha

As I have said before, there are pros and cons to shopping at the Antique Mall.  It's the perfect place to go if you are looking for that hard to find piece for your collection.  With so many venders there is a better chance that you just might find it.  But this convenience comes with a price... a  much higher price than if you found it yourself while thrifting.  One great thing about the Antique Mall is that the items are often in better condition than what you might find thrifting.  So it is a give and take kind of thing.  I find that I leave the Antique Mall with the thrill of that automatic gratification of scoring some great finds for the collections but I also leave with a bit of a let down feeling that it was just too easy and I paid more.

Here's what I paid too much for this time!  ;)

I found the middle sized bowl for my Pyrex "Woodland Brown" set.  It is pristine and shiny with not a scratch and for this I paid $9.


Oh they look so great together!


Next I came upon this medium sized casserole dish in the "Butterfly Gold 2" pattern.  This second release of the pattern has a different design and the colour is more yellow than the gold of the original pattern.  It is in excellent condition and cost $18.  Its size is the perfect addition to my vintage casserole dishes.  I guess I better start making casseroles.  LOL


My last find lead me to a personal realization about Pyrex.  It's a scary one.  I have discovered that there is no Pyrex pattern that I don't eventually fall in love with.  A pattern that I can originally look at and say "it's okay" will eventually turn into a feeling of, "I love it!", if I look at said pattern long enough.  This is what happened with "Forest Fancies".  This pattern was released in 1981.  The more I looked at it, the more I loved those adorable mushrooms and that surface splatter.  It took awhile though.  I was originally able to pass up casserole dishes at The Goodwill.  Then yesterday happened.  Rob spotted this complete set of 4 bowls,  never used with some of the original packaging in place.  They just seemed so perfect and yes, for $35 they are now living in my kitchen cupboard with the other bowl families.  I think I need an intervention and quick!



It was a successful antiquing day and that feeling of missing out on the thrift store hunt seems to fade more and more as I become distracted with the shininess of these new bowls.

Jen

*Diane's bowl collection was not forgotten on this trip.  I was able to put a lovely set of four together for her.  Unfortunately,  I went to her house right from the mall to give them to her and forgot to take a photo of the set.  Maybe one day I can do a photo shoot when I'm over.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Reading Challenge Update

Last month I decided to give myself a reading challenge.  I chose 5 books that were on the Giller Prize long list of 12 books, to read.  You can read about it here.


 So far I have read three of the five books.  Here's a quick review.

"Watch How We Walk" was a great book.  My favourite of the three so far.  It had me wanting to read more to find out what happened.  I loved how the narration changed back and forth between the main character as a child and then as the main character as a young adult.

"All My Puny Sorrows" was not greatly enjoyed by me.  I found that I really didn't like many of the characters in the book.  I found it dragged in the middle.  It was also full of poetry.  I think this book would be great for someone who reads a book looking for themes and deeper meanings along the way.  I'm sure it could be studied line by line for it's depth but I just like to read a book on a more surface level to find out what happens and be entertained.  I'm not interested in writing an essay on it. I had enough of that in my college days.  LOL

"Tell" was enjoyable.  It takes place after the First World War.  I always gravitate to books of this time period.  I like hearing what life was like then.  It did have lots of the everyday ordinary life stuff but also had a really strong ending.  I loved that it was set in the winter and described our Canadian winter so perfectly.

As for the Giller Prize of 2014, the short list of 6 books has been announced.  I am thrilled that 3 of the 5 books that I originally chose are still in the running for the award,  "All My Puny Sorrows", "Tell" and "The Girl Who Was Saturday Night".

I still have 2 books to read before the winner is announced on November 10.


But for now I am taking a bit of a literature breather and reading this!


I rarely read mysteries but got caught up in the movie hype and some good book reviews from friends.  So far I am really enjoying it.

I'll be back later with my final book reviews as well as the Giller Prize winner.

Jen

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