Monday, 31 December 2012

2012: My Favourite Shots of the Year

Howdy Folks!
As this year draws to a close and we ring in 2013, it's a good time to look back on the year passed as we look forward to what the next will bring.
As 2012 saw me develop significantly in a new-found love (photography.  Duh.), I thought it fitting to sum up my year not in my favourite posts, but simply my favourite shots.  
I learned a lot about myself through photography this year.  I discovered a love for candid portraits, food photography, and nature shots.  I learned a lot about composition, colour, balance and emotion.  But best of all, I learned to take my camera nearly everywhere; you never know when the mood will strike, when the lighting will be perfect, when you just need to create a moment that is worth remembering. 

So here's to the moments we all want to remember from 2012.  
Happy New Year


Thursday, 20 December 2012

My Month in Retro Specs: November

Better late than never, right folks? Here's a collection of my favourite posts from November.

Autumn Leaves
The Old Barn
Spotted Collars
Ships Ahoy
Pumpkin Pie Waffles
Baked French Toast

November was a fun month around these parts.  The blog got a new look, and I spent more time in my kitchen to accomplish my Restaurantless November.  The leaves changed colours and fell, and the "holiday season" started to become apparent.

Here's what I'm looking forward to for (the remainder of) December:
- making candy and chocolate concoctions for gifts - wrapping the last of my gifts to give at Christmas - The Shaw Festival Christmas Lunch - doing some crafts in my time off - Sleeping in!! - seeing Toronto friends (I MISS YOU!) - getting all gussied up for New Years - seeing some SNOW already!! - eating too many sweets - taking too many photos of it all.

Hope you have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

OOTD: Toadstools, Fringe Boots and Big Collars

A couple weeks ago I scored a box full of vintage clothes from work.  I work in theatre, and people in the local area love love love to donate their old clothes (and most of the contents of their attics) to the theatre.  Some of the stuff we can't actually use, however.  Vintage clothes tend to need some fixing up (anything elastic in what I got is totally shot and needs new elastic, for example) and won't really hold up for 100 performances.  Typically, we take vintage garments in to take them apart and create a pattern for a garment made with new material.  Now, we're in the "off season", and the building is quiet, so when one of the wardrobe coordinators casually told me she's sorting through bags and bags of clothes from the 50s-70s that we didn't really need, I asked if I could take a look! She said I was welcome to whatever I wanted and OH BOY I took advantage! This dress was among the items I scored, and I have already worn it twice.  I just love the big collar, and the front placket with buttons for show! It's thick, and rather warm for winter, since it's totally 100% plastic, hahaha.  Needless to say, my boss totally made fun of me when he saw the box of amazing polyester clothes I scored.  Hey man, I'm on a budget! Free clothes are ALWAYS a good thing (especially when they're so cute and roughly your size!).
Fact: 2 fringes are better than 1
The lesson to be learned here is: you never get what you don't ask for.  My mother taught me that, and I'm slowly coming to realize how true it is in every aspect of life.  Now, "asking" may not come in the form of "May I....", but in this case it did, and it worked in both my favor and the theatre's.  They had less clothes to donate out, and I scored some amazing dresses and tops to keep me giggling insanely and out of thrift stores (HAH yeah right) for the next little while.  Ask, and ye shall receive. I love it!
Speaking of loving, I am head over heels for this Amanita Muscaria pin from artist Margot Jenner.  I met Margot at City of Craft and I just had to have this brooch! Good thing I snapped it up, because she's totally sold out! She's promised to let me know when they're back in stock, so I can pick another one or two up, to use for my first giveaway.  because giveaways are fun and cute stuff is awesome. Here's Margot's Blog and Shop if you don't want to wait around for the giveaway in January!
The Deets:
Glasses: Vintage, Kingpin's
Clip-on Earrings: Thrifted
Dress: Vintage
Belt: Thrifted
Tights: Topshop
Boots (My favourite pair!): Vintage, Kingpin's 
Jacket: Mango (years ago)
Purse: Betsey Johnson (even older!)


Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Vitameatavegamin I Love Lucy collectors edition Barbie I gave my Mum for Channukah, givin' you a sideways glance for the blog's 100th post!
Watching: The entirety of the James Bond series! I had never seen most of the Bond films (certianly nothing pre-Brosnan), and seeing as how Ephraim owns them all, I thought it was high time to work my way through them.  I went to see Skyfall a couple weeks back, and now that I have seen Dr.No and From Russia With Love and Goldfinger I have really enjoyed all the little references to those films in the most recent installment! I mean the Aston Martin is pretty obvious, but the fact that Skyfall begins with Bond and Moneypenny in Istanbul, when she says in From Russia With Love that she wishes Bond would take her there... just such good writing.  I love when a series can look back to its beginnings, keep itself on track, and still entertain a modern audience like it's nobody's business.  Also, Sean Connery was pretty foxy.  So there's that, too. I also wrapped up Breaking Bad last week and MY GOD.  I think that was the BEST series finale I have ever seen.  I am getting goosebumps just thinking about how everything wrapped up.  Wow.
Listening to: Mother Mother - The Sticks.  I am so in love with this album, and fell more in love with it after seeing Mother Mother perform in Toronto earlier this month.  If you're not familiar with their music, I encourage you give them a listen! My favourite Canadian band, by far.
Planning: A pleasant little holiday break.  I don't leave Niagara until boxing day, so I have a couple days on my own to do some crafts, work on whatever last ditch attempts at my Four Simple Goals I can, and probably play some video games.  I have an N64, and recently picked up Banjo Kazooie, Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards, and an expansion pack so I can finally play The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. I am probably going to be kind of glued to my TV for a couple days, there.  Fun fact: I worked at multiple videogame retailers while in high school, but have never owned a console newer than the N64 (okay well I was gifted an NDS but I don't actually have any games for it, so... I'm not sure it really counts).  I suppose I should also plan on actually making the handmade portion of Ephraim's Christmas present too, hmm?
Thinking about: How to fund my life being an independent artist and designer.  I have been immensely fortunate in getting a full time gig in the arts doing what I want to be doing, right out of school.  But as this position is intended for a recent graduate, the fairy tale has to come to an end sometime.  Being self employed full-blown-all-the-time freaks me out, and I have no doubt I will panic and try to get my crappy Fabricland job back to keep me calm (but not really because Fabricland customers mostly suck).  I have many practical skills, but haven't as yet had to put my all into getting a small business off the ground as a means to support myself.  For the last few weeks I have been dreaming up clothing lines, jewelry concepts, I have worked on acquiring some footwear lasts (the foot form you use to give the shoes shape) so that I can continue to work on my shoe work as I cannot afford to go overseas to complete my training.  It's scary, and exciting, and I am so thankful that I have taken the time and effort to build a platform through this blog that I can use as a springboard for future pursuits.  So, don't be surprised if this kid starts advertising my own online store around these parts in the (for now rather distant) future.  I have plans a-brewing.
Reading: Dune by Frank Herbert.  Probably not the best choice as an attempt to complete my pathetic goal of reading 2 books before 2013, as I only started reading it a couple days ago and it is 500 pages long, but I am starting to really get into the mythology of the story. 
Making me happy: I have lots of supplies to create some new fun things! I had a big shopping trip to Michael's and Bulk Barn and I am well equipped to make all kinds of bark, brittle, and decorated cookies.  It's going to be a tasty week! I also picked up some supplies for a few craft projects I have been wanting to work on, and make use of some items laying around my house.  I'm really looking forward to being productive in my upcoming time off! Well, when I'm not playing video games, that is.


"Currently" is a feature started by Megan of the blog Megan is Love.  I have used her sample categories, but the answers are all tragically my own.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Super Brunch Sunday: The Gem

Now that it's no longer my restaurant-less November, I'm expanding Super Brunch Sunday to include restaurants (the majority of which will be located in the Toronto area). I love brunch, and the one thing I like more than eating it, is not having to cook it myself.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.
 The Gem, located on Davenport at Ossington in Toronto, is more renowned for their nachos and beer (SO GOOD by the way.  And the burrito is nice.  Great vegetarian options for once!), but they prepare an outstanding brunch spread on Sundays as well.  From 12-4pm, all kinds of eggs, french toast, home fries and much more can be YOURS! On this day, I ordered the butterscotch pancakes.  They were perfectly fluffy, but honestly the butterscotch chips tended to clump together and were too sweet! Next time I think I'd just get the regular pancakes, because the texture was just perfect! 
Ephraim got the eggs over medium with bacon and french toast.  We both have a sort of "standard" breakfast order, and this is his! I love that for the toast they give you a big hunk of toasted baguette, well buttered.  I am totally a butter person.  I don't care how well margarine spreads, I'll never pick it over butter!
One of my favourite parts of The Gem is the decor.  Unfortunately I didn't capture the best of it, as there was a small brunch crowd and I got all self conscious about having my camera out.  We go every couple of weeks though, so expect a supplementary post chalk full of Elvis busts, Pin Up wall art, and lots and lots of glitter.  OH the glitter! I did get a couple shots of our table for your enjoyment.  All of the tables at the Gem are topped with glass, but the table tops themselves are filled with postcards, business cards, doodles, photo booth pictures, the works.  I've added a couple pieces to the tables in the last year, and it's pretty fun to see a ticket from a show you went to (but someone else's seat!) or a card from your friends business, while you sit down to a pint or some eggs.  It's my favourite neighbourhood haunt!


** apologies for the tardiness of this post! I was home ill yesterday and just wasn't up to looking at any food that wasn't toast or tea.  Feeling much better today, but still taking it pretty easy.  Hope you're all having a good weekend so far!**

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A New Toy and a Bokeh Attempt

I got a new lens in the mail today! As a reward and motivation catalyst for my restaurant-less November, I decided I was going to buy myself a 35 mm lens.  I know, "doesn't spending the money you saved defeat the purpose?" Well, yes, sort of.  But seeing how much money I spend a month on dining out that I could be spending on awesome stuff like camera equipment, is a big motivator to cut back, and cook more.  I was going to buy the lens (which is actually quite affordable) for roughly what I was spending dining out for the month.  On a whim, I thought to check Henry's online to see if they had a better price (I'd rather not support Best Buy if I don't have to) and checked out the used section while I was there.  Sure enough, they had the lens, rated a 9 for factory new without packaging, for $90 less than new.  That lens was totally properly packaged, including all papers, when it arrived in the mail this morning.  There it was, perfect, second hand, floating in its box amidst an excess of inflated baggies.  Next time you're lusting after a new piece of camera equipment, consider buying used.  Lenses can last decades if you treat them well! Give someone else's unused lens the attention it deserves!

Just as I was putting my coat on, itching to use my new lens, I thought I should try out some shaped bokeh to make use of the Christmas lights up around town.  I made the star too small, and the images came out dark and vignetted.  Still, these looked really dreamy, so I thought I'd share.  I really like the one below, it's the icicle style fairy lights hanging off a house, which I am peeking at over their hedges! I like that you can just make out a couple bits of hedge. It really is a magical technique!
I'm looking forward to trying this again when I head up to Ephraim's parents' place on Boxing day.  They really decorate for Christmas, and if we get snow like we did last year, I'm going to fill my memory card.  I'm so excited to have more flexibility shooting indoors with this wider angle lens! Guess this means I have to set up a nice spot to do outfit photos indoors now...


Monday, 10 December 2012

Berries and Baubles

On my walk to work one day last week, I happened to bring my camera along with me.  I admired as I walked, the elaborate and classic decorations strung up on trees and fences, placed in bowls and within windows.  Lovelier still were the natural decorations of late fall that these bits of plastic and glass seem to mimic. The shiny spheres.  The plastic pears and apples springing out of nearly every flower pot in town, a trend I don't really understand.  It's a beautiful time of year, and I enjoy it when it's not too cold to.  I just wish Christmas was in the depths of February, when all is slush and darkness and the bitter bitter cold.

But with any luck, I won't have to walk to work, then. So sure, I'll take the pretty things now.


Friday, 7 December 2012

D.I.Y: Purse Makeover

Today over on Bubble My Licorice I have an easy and very effective purse makeover tutorial! It's my first ever guest post, so please head over to Bubble My Licorice to check out the DIY! It's a great weekend project to help you fall back in love with some underused bags in your collection :)

This week's Super Brunch Sunday will either be posted on Sunday, or held over till next week.  But you've got this little project to keep you busy in the meantime, now haven't you?? Have a great weekend!


Thursday, 6 December 2012

One of a Kind Christmas Show

Craft show season is upon us! And it's my favourite.  This past weekend I went to the One of a Kind show in Toronto.  One of a Kind puts on a GIGANTIC craft show twice a year, with their Christmas show being the larger of the two.  And it's huge.  I mean it took us a couple hours to walk the whole show, and that had us stopping at only a few booths! I tend to do the whole circuit, grab business cards, and then loop back to make purchases after I've thought them all through.  And I will share those purchases, but I'm saving that for another day! I didn't take too many photos at the show because a) many of the booths had no photography signs up and b) it was a total mob scene, because it was the last day.  But here are a couple snaps from the show.  If you're in the Toronto area and you've never been, you'd better get your butt in gear for the next show in the spring! 
I love going to craft shows with Ephraim because it's a good chance to be able to see what kind of stuff he likes, particularly when it comes to clothing items! His mother's company Paradigm Designs has been showing at the One of a Kind shows for years, so many of his gifts have come from local vendors over the years.  It was really exciting to discover a new vendor, Breed Knitting, a men's knitwear clothing company from Montreal.  They sadly don't have a webstore yet, and they ran out of every size except for small at the show! Their wares were gorgeous, and I already told Ephraim we'll have to hunt them down at the spring show so I can have him try on stuff to buy him a gift.  They had a lot of optical illusions knit into their sweaters, plus knit bow ties! Their booth was really slick looking too!
Ephraim's long time favourite Yve's Drop had one of the coziest booths at the shop, with a cowhide rug, fireplace, and lots of rich wood as a backdrop to their screen printed men's ties.  They also had this very dapper looking mannequin. 
Well, that's it for now! This coming weekend is City of Craft, and I aim to get some more in depth photos of the goings on.  As well, expect a post in the near future of all my craft show scores! I got to focus on myself as I got my holiday shopping done nice and early.  Lucky me! Now I just have to wrap everything up for channukah this weekend.  I guess I know what I'm doing after work tonight!