Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010


The hat fits him!
I guess as my cousin's son he is officially my second cousin, but I will be an honourary auntie.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

tomato rainbow

I received some seeds in the mail the other day. I picked out a few new heirloom tomato varieties to try this year. It was so difficult to narrow down my choices. There are just too many varieties available out there in internet-land, and my garden is small. I ended up ordering these from a woman in Pennsylvania who has a small seed business called Amishland Heirloom Seeds. This picture above shows most of the types I grew last year. I'll be reprising some of them for sure, like green zebra, black plum, and blondkopfchen (little blond head). My new seeds include Blanche White (a white tomato with a slight blush when ripe), Pink Grapefruit (golden outside, pink inside), and World's Miracle (a long pointy red Russian paste tomato - I hope to try a little canning with these if they do well). It really is remarkable how much difference in flavour there is between the different types. And they are so so beautiful. Last summer was my first time growing my own tomatoes, and it spoiled me forever for store-bought tomatoes, especially in the winter when they are just so very sad. Does anyone have any tomato growing tips or varieties to recommend?

Monday, January 25, 2010

biking weather?

The weather has been so mild that I've been contemplating taking my bike out of its resting place in our front sunroom (I'm not one of those hardcore people who rides all through the winter). This is the view through our living room window. Our bikes sit there all winter, taunting us, 'Come on. Ride me. I know you want to.'

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

blue monday

I was talking to my brother on the phone tonight. He said he had heard that today (the third Monday in January) is known as 'Blue Monday' and is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. Me? I'm feeling pretty good today, but I can definitely see how in general this particular time of the year can be especially bleak. One thing I am lamenting is the lack of sunlight. I took these pictures on the weekend when I was home during the day. It's kind of sad that most of the time I'm at home it is dark. I don't really mind winter all that much, but I do miss having a few hours of daylight left after coming home from a day at work. And it certainly is a drag for picture taking. But, those weekend afternoons at home with the wintery gray light filtering through the windows are pretty special.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

second hand retail therapy

Thank you to those who commented on my post yesterday. The best cure for that kind of blueness is to be reminded how common it is to feel that way once in a while, and to be reassured that it's okay to be lazy sometimes. Your comments really helped me to just chill and enjoy my day.

I did take a walk. When I'm walking alone I like to have a destination in mind, so I ended up walking over to the nearby Value Village. I find second hand shopping pretty therapeutic - especially when I'm alone and can really take my time. I found a few great little things, but not so much that I felt guilty buying a bunch of junk that I don't need, so it was the perfect little pick-me-up.

I got some groceries on the way home from VV and made myself a big bowl of my favourite comfort food pasta (this recipe on Orangette but with arugula added: yum!). In the end, they day wasn't so bad. I never did do anything very practical, just indulged in some unnecessary shopping and ate some rich food, but if you're going to have a lazy day, you might as well really try to enjoy it right?

This little octopus book was one of the treasures I found. It has fantastic illustrations and a great story - very detailed descriptions and a simple narrative style. I especially love the last paragraph on the last page (the last picture below).

Friday, January 15, 2010

plain old regular blues

I don't tend to write much here. I don't really feel like I have a lot to say in general. But I find that I genuinely enjoy reading the thoughts and feelings so freely and generously shared by other bloggers (Err. I really hate the term 'blogger'). I'm kind of in the mood to be a little more like that myself today, so....

A lot of people have been mentioning having 'winter blues' lately. I'm kind of feeling that today myself, except I don't think it's really a winter thing - more of a 'day off' thing. I tend to really look forward to having free days off, with my options open as to what I choose to do with my time. The problem is, when those days happen, I end up feeling kind of lost and lazy. Today is one of those days. There are too many things I kind of WANT to do, many things I feel that I SHOULD do, nothing I really HAVE to do, and I'm ending up doing nothing at all. This all ends up sending me spiralling downward into feeling bad about myself (I think my biggest self criticism is my lack of discipline). I also, by default, end up on the internet, looking at blogs of people who seem to have perfect productive neat tidy beautiful lives (or 'blog lives' at least - obviously there is more to a life than what ends up on a blog). Sometimes these blog lives are really inspiring and motivating, but sometimes they can contribute to this tendency of mine to just get overwhelmed and avoid trying to make any progress at all.

I wandered in the backyard for a few minutes... took some pictures. It is really bleak out there right now: half melted snow, grey sky, everything looks dead. Sometimes winter can be so incredibly beautiful, but it doesn't seem that way today. Maybe because it is warm and melty and almost feels like Spring is coming but I know it really isn't.

I think I'll take a little walk now. Maybe the fresh air will clear my head and I can get something done when I get back.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

new ebay acquisitions

crystal from the crystal cave

'frozen river' in the crystal cave

Saturday, January 9, 2010

missing the farm

We had such a lovely time at Terence's farm before Christmas. I hope we can go back soon.
We were basically only there for one day, but it was a very photogenic day, so I have a LOT of pictures.

T looking out from the hayloft in the barn.

Touring the land.

This peaceful scene quickly degenerated into a messy lying-down/seated snowball fight.

T shared his old family photo albums.

Veggie lasagna, made with homemade pasta.
Ooh... now I'm missing Terence and the farm even more AND I'm hungry.

thinking about tomatillos

Image borrowed from here.

The seed catalogues have started flooding into my mailbox recently, so I've started planning my garden for 2010. I will be doing some of the same things as last year, leaving out some, and trying a few new varieties. I don't need to order many new seeds actually, because I have extras left of most things from last year. One new thing I'm thinking about trying to grow is tomatillos. Maybe purple ones. They are so pretty and strange, and it would be wonderful to be able to make my own fresh salsa verde. Does anyone have any experience growing or cooking with tomatillos?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

owl baby

Over the holidays I finished this little toque for my cousin's baby (which will arrive any day now).
Maybe soon I can post a photo of the baby modeling it. I hope it will fit!

Monday, January 4, 2010

NOW online profile - a bit late

I just realized that I never did post a link to this artist profile that was done of me by Sara Titanic for NOW Magazine's website earlier in December. I've really enjoyed Sara's profiles of other Toronto artists, and it was truly a pleasure and an honour to do this with her.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

little finland

Ok. So, I am not actually Finnish. But being from Thunder Bay is almost like being an honourary Finn. At least I like to think so. I feel like I'm a little Finnish in my soul or something. While in Thunder Bay I had lunch at the Hoito with my mom and brother.

Karjallan Piirakka: a thin rye crust filled with rice, smothered in butter and topped with egg salad. So yummy.

I did some shopping in the neighbourhood, including the previously mentioned Marimekko spree at Finnport.

I also picked up some beautifully packaged Finnish shampoo. The yellow bottle is honey conditioner, the white is regular conditioner, the brown is tar shampoo and the green is birch shampoo. 'Erittäin Hieno Suomalainen' translates to 'Extremely Fine Finnish Shampoo'. 'Huis Hoito' means 'hair care'.

And I got some pretty licorice from the Scandinavian Deli.

Friday, January 1, 2010

happy new year!

I hope you all were able to enjoy new years eve with your loved one(s). Andrew and I just stayed in and watched a few episodes of The Wire on DVD (2nd time around - LOVE IT). I spent about 4 hours making ravioli from scratch for dinner. We drank some tasty dry sparkling rose. I took a bunch of trippy pictures of our christmas lights. Today we slept in LATE and are now just lazing around, making family phone calls and watching the Winter Classic (the outdoor NHL game that happens every year on new years day) and reading Christmas present books. Pretty much the perfect new years eve/day as far as I'm concerned.

2009 has been an interesting year for me. Lots of big changes and new beginnings. I feel pretty hopeful about 2010. I think it's going to be a good year. I'm really looking forward to continuing with this little blog. You all have been so sweet and encouraging. I can't thank you enough for your support.

Happy happy New Year!  xoxo