Monday, May 31, 2010
As a result, I left my car at home this morning and got a ride in with my colleague Lesia, who passes near to where I live on her way to the office. I was planning to walk home tonight after work but it was sprinkling rain a little bit and there were thunderstorms in the forecast, so I hitched a ride home with her as well. Of course, it didn't end up raining very much and it wasn't quite the 33 degree weather that had been forecasted so I probably could have done the 4.5 km walk without getting wet or overheated but I'll try again tomorrow.
We also had a demonstration of electric bicycles at lunch today, provided by a company called Bionx. They call it an "intelligent mobility system". You start with a regular bike and add the mechanism to make it electric. I was so put off by the $1,700 price tag that I didn't stick around to hear the details of why you might want to do this to a bike, I am assuming it is to motorize the movement and make it a little easier to get around as compared to generating all the energy strictly with your body but please, costs for the conversion units start at $1,700 and that's not including the bike! That seems a little beyond the average consumer's price range to me for an item of this nature, but I could be wrong. I guess if you're willing to do what it takes to help the environment on a regular basis, you might be willing to put down that kind of cash to go farther, faster and easier on a non-polluting mode of transportation. Too bad you can't use a bike all year around up here in the Great White North!
You can read more about the Challenge here: http://www.commuterchallenge.ca/. It's taking place all across Canada this week. The various offices in our company are challenged to compete against each other to see who can generate the most "sustainable commutes". The winning office gets bragging rights and a pizza lunch. :)
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Here's a picture of Jen holding her book:
and a picture of the front cover of the book I made (below). Even when you have a sample in front of you and use most of the same ingredients, the finished product always looks different for everyone, no two are exactly alike!
Saturday morning, there was a 2 hour class on the topic of Alcohol Inks, which I had never used before. They are specially designed for use on glossy paper. They dry almost instantly and there are so many colours to choose from. We finished the class with a series of tags that have a description of the technique on the back and a sample of the finished look on the front, just like they make at Ranger University!
We took a break for lunch and when we got back to the store, Tony (one of the owners) was busy mixing mocktails - non-alcoholic versions of strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas - yum! What a refreshing idea for such a lovely summer afternoon.
The afternoon class was a "Completely Distressed - Layout Master Class". We made six 8" x 8" layouts in 4 hours based on originals that Jen had created. Here's a picture of one of the ones I made, which is pretty close to Jen's original. Haven't decided what picture I'll put on it. The caption reads, "Creativity is an endless journey where we should always take the scenic route." Amen to that!
Many thanks to Jen Starr and the staff at Bizzy B for a great bunch of classes, I really learned a lot and can't wait to put the techniques to use in my own creations.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
In spite of having such an enjoyable time last night and today, I have resisted the urge to take the classes being offered during the day tomorrow and on Monday night, and it's just as well because I have to say, I exhausted!! But in a good way. That special kind of tired when you've been learning all sorts of new and exciting things and your brain is so full of information and creative ideas that you feel like you can't possibly formulate another thought or make a decision to save your life, you just need to lie down for a little while or veg in front of the TV for long enough to get the energy to put yourself to bed!
Tomorrow, I shall tell you all about the classes I took but in the meantime, you can check out the Bizzy B website (http://bizzyb.ca/) if you want to read any of the details about the classes offered for the rest of this weekend. They're being taught by Jen Starr, a certified instructor for the Ranger line of products (http://www.jenstarr.typepad.com/, who is in town from New Jersey and who will also be teaching at A Scrapbooker's Dream in Bolton (run by the wonderful Elizabeth, whom I met originally in a class at Beadfx and then again last year at the Bead & Button show, http://ascrapbookersdream.com/) on Tues and Wed next week.
Here's a picture of our group from this morning - me on the left, then Jen, Barb (one of the owners of Bizzy B), Vicky and a lady whose name I did not get.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I'm having dinner tonight with an old friend I haven't seen for...hmm...maybe 20 years? Maybe a little more, maybe a little less. I can't actually remember the last time we saw each other. We worked together one summer at Ontario Place back in the very early 80's, stayed in touch for several years after that and eventually somehow lost contact. It happens - life gets busy, we were living in different towns, building our careers, she and her husband were raising a family, just everyday stuff like that. Somehow the years fly by and all of a sudden, you think, hey, I wonder what so and so is up to these days?
I Googled her two years ago when a bunch of us former OP staffers were getting in touch, found her email address and sent her a note. We've had several email exchanges since then but believe it or not, it has taken us this long to arrange to be in the same city at the same time and be able to coordinate our schedules so we could get together.
You know how it is with some people, it doesn't matter how long it has been since you've seen or talked to them, when you eventually do, you just pick up where you left off - she is one of those people. I'm sure we'll have no problem finding things to talk about. I'm quite looking forward to seeing her again and having a chance to catch up and reconnect.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
It's really hot today. Really, really hot. Abnormally, record-breaking hot for the end of May.
I was thinking I'd like a margarita to sip while I sat out here. I even stopped at the liquor store on the way home and contemplated buying something to make a margarita with, only I wasn't clear on what ingredients I needed and what I might already have at home. They have bottles of pre-mixed margarita flavours but I was concerned that I might not like the taste - a lot of those ready-made drinks are just too sweet for me. So I left empty-handed, knowing at the very least, I had orange juice in the fridge and vodka chilling in the freezer.
I went online when I got home and checked out a few recipes but they weren't quite what I had in mind, so in the end, I mixed some vodka with some Blue Curacao - okay, that second "c" is supposed to have that little curly thing underneath it, you know what I mean? You'll have to use your imagination, it took me long enough to train my laptop keyboard not to write in Lithuanian, I don't want to confuse it by adding funny symbols to my consonants on purpose.
As I was saying, mixed the two liquors into a shot glass, shook it up in a martini shaker with some orange juice and then poured the result over crushed ice. The result is a lovely lime green colour so I can think margarita visually while tasting screwdriver. It's a combination that works for me.
How did I get the crushed ice, you ask? Simple. Half a dozen cubes in a Ziploc baggie, wrap it in a dish towel, slam away with your hammer and voila! (again, imagine the accent on that "a", won't you?)
Now if you'll excuse me, I must go make myself some nachos, sip my drink and contemplate this other example of smokin' hot:
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I've always wanted to go on the Maid of the Mist, the boat that tours close to the base of the Falls, but couldn't convince Kate to go with me, so I'll have to save that for some other day but I did get some good photos of the people in the blue plastic ponchos. Our ponchos were yellow, thinner than a garbage bag and not a good fashion look but definitely made a difference when we were standing in the spray.
We visited Niagara-on-the-Lake in the afternoon. We bought some fudge, found a great sewing and yarn store where we bought some beautiful ribbon and I picked up some "fat quarters" (1/4 yard fabric squares) and we saw this amazing plant, a Japanese peony tree, according to a handwritten sign posted on the fence outside the house whose yard the tree was growing in (no doubt the owner had gotten tired of people asking!) The flowers were the size of my head and here's the photo to prove it!
This morning, I took part in the Corset Stitch class taught by Kate at Beads of Colour. What a pretty pattern this is, I'm going to have fun making this bracelet. Here's a picture of Debi and Barb from BOC, who were also in the class, as was Marg, the owner of Beadfx and four other lovely ladies Jill, Ana, Helen and Louise, with the ever helpful Chris giving us a hand and finding beads for us as needed.
Tomorrow I'll share some more pictures from our adventures with you, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out Kate's blog (see link on the right) for her version of the story.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
In the meantime, I'm playing with my laptop , watching TV with it on my lap, typing this posting and surfing the Web. Technology is a wonderful thing, isn't it?
Friday, May 21, 2010
I'm blogging from Dundas, Ontario tonight. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea I was going to be here tonight, doing this. Kate McKinnon is in town and she and I had planned to go to Niagara Falls today, then I would drop her off in Dundas on my way back to Toronto at the end of the day. She is teaching classes at Beads of Colour (http://www.beadsofcolour.com/) this weekend and I was to be up north opening up the cottage.
As it happened, literally as we were about to walk out the door this morning, my sister sent me a text suggesting an alternate plan for our weekend and suddenly, everything changed. For the good, I must add. It was a fabulous suggestion and to both our benefits.
So Kate and I had our morning in Niagara Falls and afternoon at Niagara-on-the-Lake and now we're visiting with Debi Keir-Nicholson and her lovely husband and youngest son. But instead of me heading back to the city after dinner, I packed an overnight bag before we left and I'm sleeping over.
Best of all, tomorrow morning, I get to join Kate and Debi at Beads of Colour to take part in Kate's Corset Stitch class in the morning and trunk sale in the afternoon. The forecast is for rain tomorrow, which means it wouldn't be a good day at the cottage anyway. Instead, we'll head up there Sunday morning and stay over until Monday.
Sometimes plans change without warning and everything gets jumbled up and thrown out of whack. In this case, it's all good.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The other day, I was driving to work and as I got within a block of my office, I noticed a sign lying by the side of the road. I parked my car and walked back to pick it up, which turned out to be larger than I had first thought. The woman who rode up in the elevator with me couldn't contain her curiosity, and said, "okay, I have to ask - what is that??" She laughed when I said I'd just picked up by the side of the road, I'm not sure she believed me.
As you can see from the photo of me standing beside it, it's close to 5 feet long. It's a piece of wood painted yellow with the stop sign bolted onto it. It's broken off of something but I don't know where or what, perhaps some sort of barrier. I also don't know what I will use it for, but I'll keep it around for a while to see if I am inspired to do something with it.
Speaking of magpies, did you know they are a member of the crow family? Which probably explains why they are one of the few animal species to be able to recognize themselves in a mirror. The Canadian version is known as the black-billed magpie and is found in the western half of the country only, between the Yukon and Manitoba. Their elaborate domed nests take about 6 weeks to build and they are believed to mate for life. Their tail takes up at least half of their total body length, which can only be said of three other songbirds.
You can read more about them here:
Magpies are described as "opportunistic scavengers" and I guess that is exactly what I am!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
BTW, if you'd like to create your own countdown gadget for an event, here's the link to the place where you can do so:
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Had a great time at the Blue Jays game last night, even though they lost abysmally to the Minnesota Twins by a score of 8 to 2.
The crowd was small, only about 13,000, so there were lots of empty seats and still I found myself seated behind a very large man whose head blocked my view of the space between the pitcher and the batter. But at least it was easy to switch to another seat.
Yes, I paid the astronomical fee of $12.75 for a hotdog, a small bag of potato chips and a serving of pop that would put a Big Gulp to shame. No, I didn't finish the drink nor did I take advantage of the free refill!!
The most dramatic moment was not the horrible combination of bad plays that took place in the fourth inning that started with a miscatch at first by Lyle Overbay (whose last name should be "Overpaid", according to those booing in the crowd), who then bobbled the throw to third base, followed by that player making an even worse throw to second base, resulting in two errors charged against the Jays and several runs scored by the Twins.
No, the most eventful moment came at the bottom of the 9th as the 3rd out was stepping up to bat and the game was a mere three strikes from being over, when the two drunken teenage girls that had been shaking their booties and annoying their older and more sober neighbours all night were finally escorted out of the stadium by security, to the applause of all in our section.
Ah, that's the beauty of a live baseball game - there's always lots of drama, both on and off the field!!
Monday, May 17, 2010
This current one, I have never warmed to. It's too mean looking for my tastes.
No matter what logo, throughout the years, my philosophy has remained the same - Go Jays!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I know they are vintage because one of them still has the Simpsons remnant tag on it, dated June 29, 1960. It's 1 and 3/8 yards, for which she paid the exorbitant price of $1.82.
This striped fabric is my favourite. There is one piece that is just plain stripes and a matching piece with both stripes and flowers on it. Mom thinks she bought it to make curtains, which she may have done because there isn't enough fabric to do so with the pieces she gave me but she doesn't remember what windows she might have made them for, nor do I remember seeing them in my lifetime, so perhaps she made them before I was born or for the house we lived in when I was a toddler.
Not sure what I'll do with all this fabric. There are definitely some shabby journals to be made with some of it but as for the rest, only time will tell.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
In spite of the cloudy skies and surprisingly cold temperature (I deliberately left my gloves and earmuffs behind as I headed out this morning and had reason to regret that decision several times before things warmed up slightly after noon), everywhere we went today, there were hand drawn signs and lawns covered with a variety of stuff. It was a wonderful sight to behold.
Unfortunately, we were on a tight time schedule all day and could only squeeze in a stop at one house but what a stop it was. It was one of those places where they had just sort of piled various items on top of tables in their driveway, either on their own or all jumbled together in cardboard cartons. We went down the row of tables and didn't see too much, until we got to the very end, closest to the house and suddenly, we hit the mother lode (as far as I was concerned) - the box of games.
I picked up a small vintage Tupperware container full of dice and game pieces and was pretty excited, until I opened an inconspicuous looking candy tin and discovered a collection of Scrabble tiles. To anyone who makes mixed media art or jewellery, this is like the Clampetts finding black gold in their yard - eureka!!
I added a wooden box of ivory dominoes, a travel-sized Yahtzee, a 2 inch stack of stickers, a plastic compartment box filled with beading supplies, a paperback french-english dictionary and a deck of cards to my pile and my sister picked out a Windows Vista for Dummies book, a small metal Winnie the Pooh lunch box and a large glass vase. For all of that, we only ended up paying - you are so not going to believe this - $6.50 for all of our purchases!! That's right, six dollars and fifty cents for the entire lot. Even that was a dollar more than the owner asked for, we forced her to take the extra dollar because we only had twoonies. She was purging and just wanted to get rid of the stuff. We were happy to help her do that!!
Hands down, one of best yard sales scores I've ever had so far! :)