Welcome to my crazy world!

Hello and welcome!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My favourite part of Animal Kindom!

Can you believe this is a food station at Disneys Animal Kingdom?
Honestly, I want this in my driveway!

ATTENTION ALL ANTIQUE JUNK LOVERS!  I was tempted to try to sneak things out of this park in  my pocketbook (purse in Canada, but I'll try to fit in with the US lingo...)


My Oh my,

Well its been a while since my last post...

I baked a tonne of stuff for the kids bake sale (actually, I baked everything for the bake sale) as I guarantee peanut/treenut free and a peanut treenut environment (due to my son being anaphylactic, my home could be certified).  That was a huge success due to my handy piping bag.  Funny that if you pipe icing on anything, it elevates it to 'professional' level.  Thank you George Brown College for teaching me how to pipe!

Then, we drove down to Florida (Disney World to be exact) for 8 nights of luxury and good peanut/treenut free cooking at the Grand Floridian - Thank you so much, Chef Tim and crew at the Grand Floridian Cafe.  It was HOT HOT HOT!  Coming from Canada where we do actually have very hot summers (in Toronto), this heat was unbearable!  I mean we would leave our hotel room at 8 a m and be dripping sweat before we got to the monorail!  Regardless, it was fun, and thanks to Mr W. Disney, Epcot (experimental prototype community of tomorrow) serve beer that you can walk around with...so I learned to appreciate the merits of beer.  Especially the beer in the England  pavillion, (which could be purchased with fish and chips cooked in canola oil - so the whole family could partake in my guilty pleasure). 

No antiquing on our trip although it tugged at my heart strings.  My kids are too young to appreciate it, and there was absolutely NO ROOM IN OUR CAR FOR ANYTHING besides a box of poptarts!  You Americans have the best poptart flavours!!  We bought ice cream sunday and cookies and cream!  WOW, the kids had to wrestle me for them!  I dont even like cookies, but these poptarts were insane!

I dont know if I mentioned how much I love Disney.  Mr Disney, or whoever runs Disney World, and makes it possible for all kids (even those with severe allergies) to have a good time, and fit in, and eat what they like!  It truly was a magical experience for my family (two years now).  Its the only vacation where we didnt have to stay in a room with a kitchen, and me do the cooking.  CHEF TIM, I LOVE YOU !!!! 

At every meal, the chef comes out and speaks to the allergic child and cooks for them!  I mean it!  Liam feels right at home in this hotel.  Even at the parks, they sell prepackaged peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which are snackables, and no cross contamination can occur because they arent made on site.  They have Divvies and Enjoy Life products which cater to many of the top allergen sufferers.  We drive down so we can splurge on The Grand Floridian, and the meal plan is honestly pretty affordable - you would probably have to spend near to that just eating at McDonalds 7 nights a week! 

As my Armenian ancestors from the village of Ourfa would say...

I want to kiss Walt Disneys mother (loosely translated of course)!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Looking back on lusher days....
the leaves are wilted
the pink has browned
the stems are left
to remind me of the flowers that bloomed
and promise me that if I can last until next year
they will return to put a smile on my face

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Independence Day Armenia!!

To all my fellow Armenians, behold our flag being flown high next to the Canadian and Ontario flags in Markhams Civic Centre.  Thank you Markham, Thank you Ontario, and above all Thank you Canada for being a shelter for so many displaced Armenians.  I have called Canada home for the last 42 years, and couldnt imagine living anywhere else.  Thank you for letting me feel like this is my home.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An AHA moment!!

Did you ever have an item of furniture which you really liked, but it needed work?  I have this vintage lamp, which was no bargain, so I didnt want to spend more money on it, but the lampshade was almost tattered, and, unless I spent big $$$ at a specialty lighting store, I couldnt find a replacement shade for it.

Here is the before photo of the lamp, and tattered shade:

This is just the tatter on one side of the shade, the paper/plastic liner is really torn all around the shade.  YUCK!
Then as I was perusing my usual bloggy haunts last week...I came across a post on one of my regular sites:  http://beachvintage.blogspot.com/2010/05/project-day-2-minute-lamp-revamp.html 

The lovely Austrailian beachy Goddess which writes this blog had a simple, cheap, and gorgeous idea about just such an ugly lamp fix!!!  So, here are my 'AFTER' photos:

And here is my new lovely lamp illuminated:

WOW!!  What a difference, and it cost me a  whole $2 (Canadian, none the less!!!!)  Isnt it just lovely now? 

Thanks Simone from Beach Vintage!!!  You are one smart lady!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not much, whats new with you?

Well, okay if you really want to know:
  • I just started a baking theory class at our local downtown trade college.  I've taken a 'for fun' baking course there before, but this time I decided to take one from their certificate program.  Not that I would go for the whole certificate, as I have a university degree, and to be honest, although it looks good on paper, it hasnt done much for me.  I want to take a couple of courses from a few of their baking arts/hospitality programs.  Lets see where it leads...
  • I'm doing something with the kids today, but I cant tell anyone cause I dont want to jinx it.  The kids dont get what I mean by 'jinxing', and I'm a bit embarressed at my double standards because I pretty much a realist...dont believe in horoscopes, fortune tellers, etc... but when it comes down to being jinxed...well, thats a whole other ballgame!
  • I bought an incredible lot of war memorabilia (I live in Canada, where its legal to buy/sell US war medals) belonging to a Vietnam Veteran, who donated them to a church charity shop prior to his death.  He said his family didnt want them.  Can you believe it?  I'm not a pro war person, but I couldnt imagine a family not wanting something like this.  There is his purple heart, and the pin which accompanies it, a marksmanship medal, a vietnam medal, a brass lighter with 'Ask not what your country..." , and a sketch of a naked girl on it, his dog tags, and patches from his uniform.  It was a real history lesson for me and my family, looking at this mans very personal memorabilia.  Very grounding.
  • My iphone didnt take the best photos, but it gives you an idea.  I dont think I'd ever sell them, I just bought them really to preserve them. 
    Heres a bit of nothin...Last summer we went to Disney World and stayed at the Grand Floridian, and look at the gorgeous chairs they had in their lobby!!  I wanted them so badly!!!  I'm might not want them in dusty pink velvet...love pink, dusty pink not so much.  Arent they adorable!!!  Wishing peace and prosperity to all.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Go suck a lime!

Hope everyone had a great weekend...my daughter did!  Cheeky monkey!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A promise is a promise...

At work...but had to post these 'after' pictures of yesterdays stool, just like I promised...  Isnt she just lovely?
And doesnt she just look so happy in her new spot?

Very purple and very very happy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh What a busy weekend!

I cant believe its back to work again!  Where the XXXX did the weekend go?  Well, my 7 and 8 yr olds attend a drama class on 9 am every Saturday morning, and this was their last week, complete with a performance...unfortunately the performance was at 8 pm Saturday night, which isnt such a big deal, right?  Well, it wouldnt be, except that:
  1. There are only 4 kids in the class (two of which are mine)
  2. The place is almost way downtown and towards the west end of 'almost way downtown'
  3. I'm tired
So we went to this performance and it was great.  The kids had written their play, and my kids have had no acting experience before, so my daughter (who takes absolutely nothing seriously) just had fun, and didnt care if she was supposed to 'put on a show' she just put on her show.  One of the kids in the class is actually on commercials, and is a well known face on Canadian television (his commercial was played nonstop the last few months).

Lucky you, no photos of the play!!!

Then on Sunday I decided to 'makeover' a thrift store stool which had been kicking around my basement, waiting for its prince to come, and he came in the form of a lavender can of spraypaint!!  Here are some 'before' of Cinderella...

She had great bones, but a yucky coat of peachy paint (oil I think).  I began by spraying her white, but the under coat of paint didnt let the new paint cover it so well.  The peach just kept bleeding through, so I had to cover the mess with the lavender paint, which covered well, and was quite a nice happy colour.  This will be a step stool for my kitchen.  As usual, I forgot to take an 'after' photo of Cinderelli, so I'll have to post that next time, but you wont be disappointed, cause she couldnt get any worse.   Its like the Cosmo cover with Lady GaGa on it....Werent you all surprised at just how pretty she is under all that crap/costumery she puts on?  I mean, lets be honest, anything would be a pleasant improvement.  Just like Lady Gaga, my stool now looks surprisingly fresh and pretty! 

Last but not least, I got my English loot today!!!  My husbands buddy went home to the UK last week and as usual I send a Cath Kidston shopping list with him (bare bones, and not to complicated list) and today he dropped off my goodies!!  I mean its not as good as going myself...which is such a sensory experience...a visual amusement park of goodies, but I am so grateful for his delivery!  Here are some photos, and remember these were taken on my iphone at my ugly grey work cubicle for a background, so imagine how b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l  they are in real life...


Is this the most lovely messinger bag you've ever seen???  I feel like I'm back in Brownies, with all my badges!!  Its has a nice substantial weight and feel to it too.  I'm very happy (until I convert the pounds to Cnd dollars!!).

The next item on my list was this lovely flour sifter

She's absolutely gorgeous and will have a very loving home!  I want to go to the UK myself!!  Why are all things British so damn amusing and loverly????  Damn those beautiful Brits!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Look what I found!!!

I was at my local junk shop, and I found this absolutely adorable piece of barkcloth!!!!
Its not too big, but I'll have to keep it for when I open that Tea room I've dreamed of...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter came like a big chocolate bomb!!

Since I gave up chocolate and candy for lent...40 days without chocolate left me really really Jonesing...so in preparation for our Easter Sunday meal, here is what I made...
So Yummy and since I dont make this kind of cake that often, I'm still working on my icing techniques...you dont want a cake to look too perfect! 

Then I decided to try chocolate covered marshmallows, which I'd seen in a local chocolate shop, which I cant even take my kids into because its covered in nuts!  They decorate with jumbo tubs of Kraft Peanut butter, which is fine and dandy except for my anaphylactic son!  He'd run out of there screaming Heebie jeebies!!!  So I made a guaranteed nut free version that the kids could eat...are you ready for it?  Okay...Here they are drying on a piece of styrofoam.  Heres an extreme close up of a very sprinkly one!!!  Who's getting a sugar rush?  The kids thought I was the best mom ever!!  Here they are just before I wrapped them in cellowrap to take to my Moms house: Isnt it the prettiest bouquet you've ever seen?

Peanut/nut free Chocolate covered Marshmallow recipe: (ALWAYS check all ingredients!)

  • 1 bag Kraft Jet Marshmallows (usually peanut/nut free)

  • 1 box Bakers sweet chocolate squares (8 squares)

  • 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons crisco (check ingredients)

  • 2 cups rice krispees

  • 1 or 2 packs sprinkles of your choice (McCormacks in Canada is nut free) Not all brands are nut free - the major baking brand which is sold in North America at Craft stores actually have traces of nuts and you should call them to confirm, as they dont label very well.

  • nut free gummy worms or other soft candy of your choice

  • a pack of short bamboo skewers or lollipop sticks
Place two marshmallows on each barbeque skewer, with the top one covering the point.     Prepare a plate with rice krispees and another with sprinkles.  Get your styrofoam ready to place your dipped marshmallows for drying, also prepare a large cookie sheet lined in parchment.  Now you're ready to begin (it can get messy, so make sure everything is ready ahead of time). 

Melt your chocolate and shortening over low heat in a small heavy saucepan, until fully disolved, being careful not to burn the chocolate.  You can remove from heat and mix until any lumps remaining melt in the hot chocolate.  Leave for a couple of minutes if too thin, but it should be ready for dipping.  Empty the hot chocolate into a large, heatproof water glass or mug.  Dip a prepared skewer into the chocolate until 3/4 of the marshmallows are covered.  Remove and gently swirl chocolate to cover marshmallow and to let excess chocolate drip off back into glass.  Roll in rice krispees and dip top in sprinkles.  You can be creative here, and only roll in sprinkles, leave plain, whatever.  Use whatever you like (coconut is nice too).  I'm limited with what I use because I want to ensure its safe for my son, but if you have no such restrictions, go buck wild in the candy/baking sections and just make a willi wonka dream come true!!  Stick the prepared skewer into the foam, for a few minutes until set (the weight of the marshmallows may cause them to  sink down the skewer).  I topped any such exposed sharp points with gummy worms, or gummy pigs (Percy Pig??  from Marks and Spencers - my UK trip last year).   After you've covered all your skewers, and let them cool at least ten minutes, remove from  foam, and place on side on parchment, and leave for an hour.  Cover with foam and place in freezer until ten minutes before you want to serve (you can remove earlier if you want).  Voila!

I'm overcome with chocolate!  Now I've decided to place myself on a self induced lent until the end of June, when we will be going to Disney!!!!!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Spring Swap gift is here!!!!

It feels like Christmas all over again!  My lovely swap partner, Carolyn, of Lee Prairie Designs (Des Moines, Iowa), sent me two beautiful fat quarters of fresh spring fabric, an adorable spring bunny, and a Lee Prairie original kit!!  As Carolyn is such a quilter/crafter extrordinaire, I chose to crochet the gifts I made for her (ahmmm...my stitching techniques can be called 'rustic' at best)!  Here are photos of her lovely gifts.  Carolyns company, Lee Prairie Designs, designs and sells quilting and applique patterns, and is definately worth checking out.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chuckeeees in LUVVVVV

Ok, some may find my clown creepy (stop emailing me, I know who you are!!!).  But I LUV clowns, and actually find them to be quite quirky.  So, thats why I just couldnt wait to display my find from two weeks ago.  I had Mr. Loretta hang my shelf, and here's a photo!!  I promise I will add more stuff to my shelf, and rearrange (I used to be a merchandiser), so it looks just right.  The plastic bags did eventually come off their heads.  The same day, from a different thrift shop, I found vintage cupcake toppers with the same clown heads (how freakin insane!!), I'll just have to figure out how to display them!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I shall never drink cold tea again!!!

Yip Yip Yippeee!!  My tea will always be cozy, and warm, for now I have my very own tea cozy!!!  Its kind of snug, but isnt it adorable??  I still have to iron it, but I had to put it on my tea pot unironed cause I was so impatient to see it!  I got the pattern from this book and it was pretty straight forward, but I have to make another one slightly larger...my tea pot may have a thyroid disorder (like myself) cause its on the plump side.  NOT fat, just plump, and it had to be squeeeeezed into the cozy. 

Hi, my name is Loretta, and I have a problem...

I dont know when it started, probably about 8 years ago, and it wasnt really a problem then, just an itch...since then my itch has grown into an uncontrollable, spreading rash...My name is Loretta, and I cant stop buying junk!  I go to any and every thrift store I can find, sometimes a few times a week!  My 'loves' have spread too!  I used to love 'made in japan' cute statues and cookie jars (Pi), kitchenobilia, chenille bedspreads (oooh I really LOVE those!), and vintage anything.  But I used to stop at that!  I knew my limits.  Then, I started buying vintage fabrics, notions and table clothes.  Now I buy old wool blankets too.  And I justify everything!!  I NEED this for my next ________  project (insert quilting, sewing, crocheting, felting, etc...) - did I mention I dont know how to do any of those things?  Okay, I just taught myself how to crochet, and I can mock sew (I call it the 'dont look too closely' sewing technique).  The real problem with my addiction, is that like an alcoholic whose face doesnt hide the long term affects of the booze, my home can no longer hide the long term affect of all that junk!  My basement is only yea big!!  I'm sure its a fire hazzard!!!  I've got to do a huge purging (but I dont want too, I whine)! I love all my crap (thats such a harsh word, isnt it?)!! Also, my stuff is loved, even if its dumped in my basement!  I still see the value, humour, and potential in it!!  I've got to start giving you a brief glimpse into my collections, because I'm sure you would NEVER judge me!  I mean 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone' or words to that effect...Just last week I bought a bag of these beautiful babies (5 large, 2 small).  I mean, who could resist!!  My husband, and kids all thought they were creepy, but I've always loved clowns!  Someone had to save these poor discarded clown heads, didnt they!!!!  I painted an old shelf which I had saved a couple of years ago, just to display them!  My husband just hasnt found it in his wee itty bitty heart to hang it for me!!  He thinks doing income taxes is more important!  Huh!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Canada Gold Medal Apple Pie

Okay, I know this post is late but I've been sooooooooooo sick, its the first crack I've had on my computer (almost) since the Olympics ended.  Sunday afternoon we all gathered at my sisters place for lunch and to watch the final mens hockey game between Canada and the USA, so this is what I baked for dessert:   A maple leaf for each gold won to date, and one for the final game...I know some might think that would be jinxing it, but it worked!!  Doesnt it look good???  And thats before it was baked!    Look at the 'after' photo, covered in sugar and oh soooo flakey.  I'm at work now (shame on me) so I dont have the recipe, but I'll be sure to post it tomorrow.  A truly excellent pie recipe, just like all the Canadian Atheletes!!!  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Country Livings Blackberry Vodka Recipe

Last year we attended my sister in laws wedding in Halifax, England.  It was on September 12th and I'm sure it was the hottest sunniest day of the year (or so the locals swore)!  It really was a gorgeous day and a lovely wedding, and a really wonderful time spent with all of my husbands family both from England and Ireland.  I wont drone on and on about my trip, especially as it wasnt 'perfect' from a truly selfish standpoint.  We hadnt rented a car, and my husband wouldnt get on the train to go to York so we didnt get to a Cath Kidston store.  I know its selfish, but I'd crossed the Atlantic Ocean, was one train ride to go shopping that taxing?  APPARENTLY.  Hmm...

Anyway, on the flight back I bought a Country Living magazine (I think...could've been another UK Country magazine but I'm pretty sure it was CL), and it had a great Blackberry Vodka recipe:

  • one part blackberries
  • one part sugar
  • one part vodka
Thats it!  Mix all in an airtight bottle or jar.  Gently shake, or tip bottle upside down a few times, over the next few days until all the sugar has disolved, leave in a dark place, and forget about it for TWO MONTHS!!  That my friends was the hardest part of the whole thing!   Then you drain and eat the boozy berries (too strong for me), and keep the vodka in a clean bottle for ANOTHER MONTH.  Then you enjoy!  I'm only two weeks away from "enjoying"!!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

All you need is love...

Ok, so last night the 3 kids (all in the same class by the way) spring on me that their having a Valentines party today at school and they signed me up for popcorn.  I've made Mother Goose Popcorn for them in the past but I couldnt find my tried and true recipe (cause I'm sooooooooo organized).  So I searched for it on the internet, and numerous versions popped up.  The first one I tried was absolute rubbish and turned my 8 cups of popped corn into popcorn soup.  NOT NICE.  The next one was this one http://www.recipezaar.com/Mother-Goose-Popcorn-48667 and it seemed easy enough, with simple ingredients.  So I pulled out all my gear/ingredients and lo and behold I had no vanilla left!!  Well, I like vanilla or some kind of flavour just so its not sugar popcorn.  If I'm baking and I dont have vanilla, I usually replace it with cinnamon, so what was another 8 cups of wasted popcorn if it didnt work?  I always experiment, not necessarily successfully, but that doesnt stop me...

Here is a peak at all you need, including that antique air popper (you can get them for next to nothing at Walmart).

Very basic requirements here.  My tweeked version of this recipe is:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 8 cups air popped popcorn
  • red food colouring
  1. Mix milk and sugar in  small saucepan, and heat on medium till it boils.  Let it boil for a few minutes just to give the syrup some body, but dont let it burn.  This must be watched.
  2. Add the cinnamon, and mix well so it disolves into syrup.  You dont want clumps.
  3. Now add as much food colouring as you like.   I made it a bit darker, like cinnamon hearts. Mix in well.
  4. Pour hot syrup over popcorn (in a large bowl) and mix as well as you can.  Try to coat the popcorn evenly.  The syrup will gather at the bottom of the bowl, so scrape it up and keep mixing, almost like 'folding' eggs.
  5. Pour sticky popcorn in two shallow cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Place in warm oven.  I usually heat my oven to 200 - 250* F for twenty minutes, then turn it off, and place the popcorn into warm/off oven.  I leave the popcorn in the warm oven overnight. 
  6. In the morning (or whenever you're ready) break up the popcorn and place in airtight container, or just eat it!
Just a warning- Remove any unpopped Kernels prior to coating with syrup or they stick to the popcorn and you dont want anyone to break any teeth.  Enjoy!!

Sorry I didnt take any photos of it once it had dried.  I was too busy/late trying to get it ready for school!  But it looked soooo good!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Where is the time going???

Wow, I cant believe how this week is flying by, and its only tuesday.  Why is it that we've just begun the week and I already feel like I'm waaaay behind?  I'm feeling so guilty too, because I've signed up for the lovely dutch sisters spring swap, and have been partnered up with the very talented Carolyn.  Carolyn I think you're way above my crafting league!!!  Please please please dont be too disappointed!!  I'm still trying to decide what to make, and then I've got to shake my bootie to get it done!!!  Hmm...thinking thinking...what to make...

In the meantime, I thought I'd bring to you poor bored readers another installment of 'An old house in Markham'.    This beauty is called the 'Ambrose Nobel House' and whats so interesting about these old houses, is that they form parts of my childhood.  This particular one used to be on the corner of Markham road and 16th avenue, and its where we used to buy balloons when we were teenagers.   

It was built around 1830 and if you notice, it has two front doors.  Mr. Nobel owned a tannery and its believed that he lived in half the house, and the tannery's office was in the other half.  The Nobels came to Markham from the United States prior to the war of 1812.  So although it started as a tannery, we still call it the balloon house.

I'm also saddened to say that I think its time to remove my Halloween mice from my stair risers.  I find mice so repulsive, but paper images of them are so cute, why is that????   Anyway, the Martha Stewart mice I'd stuck on my risers have finally disintegrated with paws and tails missing, torn and askew...BYE BYE MICKEY and DORIS (sniff sniff)!!