Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter decor commences

Setting out the Easterish things this year. The little family will be visiting the week after Easter, but this is enough to get me thinking about a little whimsical decor.

My rendition of the Martha Stewart buffet look...think there's enough candy???

Friday, March 27, 2015

Not sure if it's anyone's fault...

I don't know if this YouTube will hold up for long, but it's worth a go. Yesterday we watched "Into the Woods". It was okay. It is a musical. If you understand that from the get-go, you'll know what you are getting into. This one particular scene is brilliant. The music and the lyrics and the timing are magic....just like Jack's beans. If you haven't seen this film you need to know that this scene has Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, The Wicked Witch, Jack in the Beanstalk and The Baker all accusing one another of being the cause of the (now dead) Giant in the Beanstalk's revenge by his wife...the lady Giant. Mayhem ensues in the forest.

This is musical theatre at it's best.

I liked this movie as a little romp of diversion.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It must be March Break


Myles makes his return to the Court. Still as handsome as ever. He is aging very well.

As always he comes with his toys. They all squeak and I notice that he's still working on the Christmas stash. However, like most youngsters, FROZEN is top of the list. Sheesh...even dogs get bitten by the FROZEN market????

"Olaf" is the chosen one today. I have to ration out these guys over the next 9 days. So far not too much stuffing has been released and no squeakers removed. They ALL have squeakers!

No doubt the rest of our time with Myles will be a blur. So nice that Spring is tomorrow and walking out of doors is a joy in the sunshine. We heard birds this morning.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Worth the trip to DC

There has always been something about the Easter Egg Roll on the White House Lawn that has fascinated me. I just like the idea. I wish I could go this year, with this woman!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The story of the unfortunate

Things were looking promising. The 7 inch round cake pans had been located and purchased, the best and freshest ingredients were in house and it was a baking day. The cakes turned out perfectly. The icing recipe was a bit of a mystery to me as I had never read instructions that required one to add all the ingredients and then turn the mixer on high and beat for 10-12 minutes. Never.

The time came to cut the completely cooled layers in half in order to ice and "nut" the exterior. The cakes were quite resistant to my usual "pull-a-thread" method of layering. This resulted in a few "whoops"....which were totally ignored since I decided the best thing to say after a chunk of cake is dislodged is to say to oneself...."don't worry this is only for us...just pat it back together". Surely the second round of thread bisecting would work. WHOOPS! O.K. "don't even think about this, you are not serving it to guests, just pat it back together".

I think I need to mention right here and now, that I do consider myself a good cook and an excellent baker...well, I did ...used to.

Carrying on. The layers get equal billing with the icing, which I am now wondering...."Was it all the beating? Did I forget to add the total amount of icing sugar? Perhaps it will set up?" The icing is not quite as thick as my regular carrot cake confection.

The nuts. I was lazy and didn't chop them further than what they were in the package. Clever idea. Hold the cake over a large bowl and when you apply handfuls of nuts to the edges, the ones that don't stick will fall back into the bowl and you can scoop them out and reapply. Perfect. The 4 layers of iced cake on the plate are slightly heavy. The "Whoops' are now literally sliding in opposite directions to each other requiring one to not only "NUT encrust" the thing, but balance precariously over the nut bowl. At this point The Professor enters the kitchen and helpfully holds the cake whilst I administer as much of the walnut crumb as possible. He has to leave rather abruptly (probably to avoid wetting his pants) as we are now hysterically trying to keep the entire shebang on the plate. In a fit of pique, I throw the rest of the damn crumbs on the top of the cake, miss, and they end up on what is now known as the "high side". Voila. This is what it looks like!!!

It got slung immediately into the fridge in order to firm up the butter/cream cheese/icing molten slide. That worked, but didn't help the overall appearance. As noted in a previous post, below is what I was aiming for. Not QUITE. Not even the inside looked as orderly. Must have been those pesky Whoopsy Crumbs! It did set up. It definitely tasted better the next of those cakes that is best made ahead. I quickly portioned it out and froze several pieces for a day when a nutty concoction would be appreciated.

I won't give up until I've mastered this little hummer. It's just too adorable, and I do have the proper cake tins now! The shop only uses 3 layers and the cookbook says you can use the fourth layer at home....I'm wondering. I'm also trying to remember what my original recipe was from. Haven't made this in a long time. We shall, however, be eating it for a while. It's just for us!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Gypsy Spirit in me

I cannot tell you how much I want one of these. This is my idea of perfection. Before I laid eyes on these Canadian beauties I was prepared to ask the neighbours on the corner if I could erect their little camper in their backyard and sleep there one night. I made The Professor come on a walk up the street, and check out my urban camping idea. He pointed out that even if we did own one of these little pop-ups, we could hardly get it into our backyard, without removing fences and all sorts of discombobulation. As usual, my most ardent FAT idea of the moment passed, and receded into the "if only" category of wishes. Then today, in honour of the upcoming National Home Show, I spotted THIS! Oh be still my beating gypsy heart.

If you look into the images of these things there are a multitude of THIS! The Shepherd Hut can be customized any which way.

My dream even has a musical accompaniment.....rockin' my gypsy soul! Magnificently I will fold into the mystic....backyard. The Professor can get a fog horn!

The Toronto Star says:


"Launching at the National Home
Show, the Shepherd Hut by Gute,
is a breath of fresh air. Movable,
modular and pre-fabricated, this
trailer-like hut becomes an exten-
sion of your home. Showcased in
the Ultimate Backyard, the Shep-
herd Hut is designed to withstand
the harsh Canadian winter, making
it the perfect portable guesthouse,
home office, children's playhouse,
or simply a quiet place to escape
to. It can be fully customized to suit
your needs and wired to operate by
either battery, generator or exten-
sion cord. Handcrafted in South-
ern Ontario and set atop cast-iron
wheels, a Shepherd Hut offers a
brand new way to think about your
outdoor living space. To lean more,

Needless to say, I am now going through all of Van Morrison's music and thinking about visiting the Home Show. March 13-22. Can you just imagine??????

Credits: Toronto Star The National Home Show Advertising Feature.
Photos: The web,

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Small things

Small things can make one giddily happy.

I may have to shovel a path out to the old lilac tree today. Despite the fact that there is much sun and melting going on, there is still a huge quantity of snow in the backyard. I'm just so excited to get this little hummer hung out for the birdies! My friend Bonnie found this at the "One-Of-A-Kind" show and thought of all the bits and bobs that I have left over in yarn.

Oddly enough, when I was quilting with Sashiko thread, I had a pile of bits and bits and bits of ends and mentioned to the teacher that this was really piling up. She said she just throws them out on the patio and the birds are ecstatic to have ready made nest material. It's soft and cosy too. I will add a bit of that to my latest garden ornament and watch as the neighbourhood gets colourful this spring.

This darling invention is made by Martin House Art in Barrie Ontario. They may have to be contacted via the "One-Of-A-Kind" show, but luckily the spring version is coming up soon too! Thanks BAP I'm all atwitter!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Who ever heard of.......

I have many, many cake pans. I did not, however, have a 7-inch round cake pan. I'm not sure if I've ever even heard of such a thing. Needless to say, I had to track down one two in order to comply with Butter's carrot cake recipe. Not a bad idea, but standing in Golda's Kitchen Shop the salesperson and I looked at the pans, looked and each other and half for you and one half for me...that's a "smally" cake isn't it!?? If you need anything unusual, Golda's is a good bet. I had to restrain myself.
Now I have to scout out the ingredients and make the cake! A nice thought for the celebration of spring.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

busy hands

The other day I was scouting around for some supplies at Gitta's in Port Credit and walked up the street to Linda's knitting shop. Walked in, said "I need a project". Linda decided it best to narrow down the field and after very few clever questions, delineated my search as "t.v. knitting". YES!!! Outlander style.... she whipped to the wall of non-scratchy - hand painted - baby alpaca, and flipped a pattern from the copier for me. Voila!

There may still be a few chilly evenings where this will come in handy despite the fact that we are all now looking forward to Spring. Only 12 more days and lighter nights! Yeah.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Inspiration for the weekend

Fortunately for their parents, all 5 kids ~ The Five Browns ~ studied at The Julliard school of music with scholarships.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Been looking for this ......

First saw this on CBC Stars on Ice and have been looking for an official video of this piece. This totally clean version of Radiohead's "Creep"... magically skated by 4 great Canadian women skaters.

The Music: Scala & Kolacny Brothers is a Belgian women's choir, conducted by Stijn Kolacny and arranged and accompanied by Steven Kolacny on the piano.

I'd love to see this live..."Stars on Ice" is in Toronto ~ May 8, Air Canada Center.

Monday, March 2, 2015

What I know today

Today, Monday, March 2nd., 2015 is the 50th. anniversary of the world premiere in New York City of "The Sound of Music", starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Tuned in to the last half yesterday but may have to pay homage again today. Best ever.

Having had a few wakeful nights of late I decided to read "Dear Jane" The two hundred twenty-five patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt, by Brenda Manges Papadakis. If this doesn't induce sleep through abject fear, I'm not sure what will.

The most important lesson learned was the cutting out of the template pieces. After having traced the design onto the fabric, it is instrumental that you cut away the line on which you drew the pattern. The thickness of the pencil mark can affect the accuracy of the size. This came up when I was tracing around the felt ornaments I am currently working on. Cutting inside the line...makes sense! Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have made some crazy decision to try this based on my dear daughter Jane's name. I'm over that now.

Wendesday is World Read Aloud Day.

Regarding Date Squares...Parnoosh are the best dates for baking with. The Medjool dates may be more exotic and better for eating, but for cooking, nothing beats the Parnoosh. Cheaper too.

You can try and fool yourself. Buy some spring flowers and pretend. P.S. Daylight savings time is this weekend and spring is officially here on March 20th.

As for Saturday, it's National Cereal Day.

If you are verklempt because Downton Abbey is over for the season, you have these to look forward to.


March 29

Call the Midwife, March 30

Wolf Hall, Sunday, April 5

Poldark, June? 2015

And that folks is all I know for today!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A little late but hey it's cold outside!

With these days of relentless cold and wind and snow and .....----cold... It seemed like a good time to pick up something I've been meaning to do for a long time. (Read: didn't get this done for Christmas). This is the first piece in the kit, and now I will attempt the cup of hot cocoa. It's a lot warmer making these than actually donning the skates and going out there all bundled up. This is a kit ordered from "Posie Gets Cozy"...aka the amazing Alicia Paulson. If you like a little bit of handwork, this might be just right for you. Check out the site anyway, there are lots of darling little kits to choose from. I love blanket stitch :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Two for Two in awards shows

Don't care what you say. I loved it all. Loved the fashions, no matter what, loved the production, loved the crowd and particularly loved the selection of awards. I was so pleased that "Birdman" came out on top and as well "Budapest Hotel's" great accolades. All in all a splendid night. This may change the tone and rolling eyes when I pronounce that I LOVE Lady Gaga. She's so talented and smart and I can't think of a better rendition to celebrate 50 YEARS of sound of music. Well done all.

In the very slight chance that you missed it last she is, in all her glory. Bravo Oscars 2015!

Photo Credits: All web and Vanity Fair

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cleaning up

I am valiantly trying to tidy/clear/clean up my studio/Gordon's old room/4th. bedroom. It all started because I was trying to find a file folder of paper dolls that I had saved from Mary Engelbreit's magazines ~ a lifetime ago. One thing led to another and I'm in the thick of it now. Fortunately, the sub-arctic weather here is conducive to indoor activities, so I'm not missing anything other than frozen nostrils out-of-doors.

Did you ever hear this totally appropriate and totally silly poem?

"Little Willie from his mirror
Licked the mercury right off
Thinking in his childish error
It would cure the whooping cough.

At the funeral his mother
Smartly said to Mrs. Brown;
"T'was a chilly day for Willie
When the mercury went down!""

Anonymous....{As if anyone is going to own up to this ditty :)}

As you can tell by now, I am on a work avoidance program at the moment. These are a few other things I found, and by putting them here, I can keep tabs on where they might turn up. It's good to clear up, it's quite another to remember where everything was put! From an ancient Martha Stewart Good Things Made Even Better. I may have to suss out a few of these jars, but I have unearthed a plethora of mason jars in my travails of late.

I am definitely going to do this collection this Easter. Whilst I was in the Valentine's aisle the other day, I turned around and there were the Easter bunnies popping their heads up in eager anticipation of their festival. It will take me from now until the beginning of April to cobble all of this together, so I will start now.

In a similar vein, I will also be doing this. Another of Martha's organizing tips. Say what you will, these are cool.

Hope you are all safe and warm inside on this Family Day (in Canada) and President's Day (USA). I know, I'll make Nanaimo Bars right now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Another one

You knew I would have to do this. Another pick from The Grammys. The ads for the Disney movie McFarland have started to air here now. Looks like a movie I will like. Kevin Costner. Love this song and I just know you will be moving your hips to this one.

....Let's do it "Together" ~ Juntos

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In case you missed it

I really loved the Grammys this year. Some are saying they were too slow and old....calling them "the Grannies"....that's probably why I liked them. Indeed. I loved the pairings young and "experienced", and really wish I could find an official video of this Ed Sheeran song that was performed with Herbie Hancock, John Mayer and Questlove, they are prohibited at the moment. The one I have copied here is the official Ed Sheeran video.

Reviewing it, I realized that this could indeed be The Professor and me, dancing at the Faculty Club :) It amuses me that the lyrics are so "youthful"...."When your legs don't work like they used to before.....I will be lovin' you till we're 70"..... Fortunately my soul really is evergreen and this is how I always feel I look on the dance floor (if only) and that's what counts. :) Indeed.

Friday, February 6, 2015

What I have in common

The Professor and I love "The Big Bang Theory". The other night an episode came on with Sheldon attending to a sick Amy Farrah Fowler. I soon realized that every single one of her flannel nightgowns was one that I too own! I still have them. "Lanz of Salzburg". Started in the 70's and told recently by one of the other girls to quit it, and move on. I did. I started ordering LLBean flannel gowns. So, by the way, did the other girl :) Amy Farrah Fowler has a couple of those too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Day After

The day after goundhog day and a split decision ~ no matter what ~ it's winter here! Thought you might enjoy a rendition of The Piano Guys playing a mix of Vivaldi's "Winter" and the ever popular "Frozen". How totally appropriate.

The sun is shining brightly today and the wind has dropped. Still bitterly cold, but's CANADA and it's WINTER. Enjoy.

Close the back door now and go and shovel out the front!