Monday, December 31, 2012

Daisy Got Mail

Oh, how to contain the excitement around here as Daisy received her first piece of a mail in a very long time.  The envelope was addressed to Daisy and had this card inside:

Daisy laughed and laughed at the card, which has two guys in the front seat, and two of her distant kin in the backseat.  Love it!

Then, she read the note on the card, hand-written by her cousin Whoopsie Daisy in Idaho.  Can you believe it?  That Whoopsie Daisy is a lovely soul, and so thoughtful!

Thank you so much to Whoopsie Daisy for making Daisy's day!  (And to my dear Auntie Jan and Uncle Dave, who gave Whoopsie Daisy the stamps!)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Goal Review

Last year's goals did not go that well.  Here they are, from a post at the start of 2012:

2012 Goal #1:
Finish off all of the started and in-progress quilts. 

I started off with such promise!  I'm just going to say that work and my back injury in the summer really got in the way on this one.  I think I got one project done, which is totally lame.   For 2013, this has to be a goal, the projects and fabric are seriously piling up.  Need to get the back fixed up though before I can do too much.

2012 Goal #2:
Pay off renovation loan in 2 years, not 4.  

Hmmmm....  I did make one extra payment toward the loan, but then got distracted with something or other.  This is a goal for 2013 too.

2012 Goal #3:
Make all gifts for Christmas in 2012.  

See explanation for not achieving Goal #1.  Now the good news is that as a result of some jewelry classes coming up in January and February, you can probably count on receiving either sewn stuff or jewelry stuff next Christmas. 

The first class I took at our local technical college in November was pearl knotting, which is surprisingly challenging.  I made this little freshwater pearl necklace and bracelet, and while the knots aren't bad, there are other problems.  Like where the silk thread broke halfway through and I had to glue another bit on, etc.  Anyway it's another skill and I'm sure to eventually get the hang of it, let's hope I get better before I start making your Christmas present.

New Year's Eve Plans

What are you doing for New Year's Eve?

Since staying in is the new going out (apparently), I'll be heading over to Kim's house to watch CNN for New Year's.  We both like to watch Anderson and Kathy ringing in the New Year, and of course they're broadcasting from Times Square again this year.  I think it might be fun to be there one year - staying at the Casablanca we would only be a few feet away which would be fantastic.

December 31st UPDATE: New Year's Eve at Kim's is cancelled.  :(  Kim has a fever and Noah has been sick, so I'm staying home.  Hope everyone enjoys a healthier 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012 in Review

Highlights from this year's Christmas!

The 2012 tree was nice, but look at the new mantlepiece, courtesy of my pal Brad!  Still need to do some work to make the mantlepiece perfect, but it was nice to have somewhere to hang the stockings for Daisy, the kitties and me.

I gave Kim a quilt for Christmas, and since Noah is my biggest quilt fan, it went straight onto his bed.  How wonderful to have such a quilt lover - hope that lasts as he get older.

Noah is a spectacular cake decorator, he takes after his mommy this way.  Here he is after he placed the decorations on the Happy Birthday Jesus cake for Christmas dinner.  Still not sure about this tradition, seems to me there should be 2012 candles on the cake, but Kim and Noah looked at me like I was wacky when I suggested adding all of the candles, so have to leave this idea for now.  Noah added a full manger scene including the camel and the wiseman, nice one Noah.

I feel totally spoiled, I received so many gifts!  So many wonderful things to use, to wear, to read.  Even as fun as it was to unwrap everything, it was still the most fun watching Noah open up his gifts.  He was pretty excited about the Forest Police lego set from Auntie P.  Here are his Auntie P gifts.  (Notice that Kim has yellow walls just like Auntie P - we both chose the same Farrow and Ball paint for our living rooms.)

One of the best things from this Christmas was committing to "Wrapped and Done by December One".  The idea came from one of the blogs I follow and it was a great one!  It's the first time I've been totally done early - no wrapping Christmas Eve.  It was kinda nice to watch everyone at working running around shopping at lunch every day, knowing I was totally done.  Mom and Kim liked the concept too.  This idea is a keeper for sure.

Fairy Door Discovered in Sitting Room at Auntie P's House

During a recent tidy of the sitting room, I noticed a little country fairy door behind the curtains.  From the look of the door, it's pretty clear that country fairies are coming into the house through the garden.  I immediately called Noah to ask for his advice.  Noah and Kim came over to see the door and discuss what to do about the fairies.

On Noah's arrival, he inspected the door and concluded that the fairies are actually living in the basement, so we spent quite a bit of time running up and down the stairs to check to see if we could catch the fairies or find their sleeping spot.  No such luck but the fairies did play a game with Noah.  I have a feeling that with such active fairies, we may find another fairy door in the house somewhere over the next few weeks.

Searching the internet, I did find some information about the fairy door, which was very helpful.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Personalized Christmas Bag

A couple of months ago, Noah came over to visit Auntie P and I asked him to draw a Christmas picture for Mommy.  He drew this sweet picture with his Mommy on the left, alongside Santa and Rudolph:

I took the picture he drew, printed it on fabric, and added borders to make this little Christmas bag for Noah to use when giving his Christmas gift to his Mommy!  Adorable, and it can be used year after year.


Merry Christmas!  I hope you had a wonderful happy time.

Snow has finally arrived here in Toronto, with gusto.  We got a large snowfall last night, the biggest we've had in a couple of years.  Here's the view from the front door which I could barely open with the snow blocking it:

I am back to work today but not going into the office - even Daisy took a look this morning and turned back inside to go and lie in her dog bed again.

Kim is coming over this afternoon to shovel, (thanks P!)  and wow do I ever need the help today, I'm totally snowed in.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mayan Apocalypse for Daisy

Today was the end of the world apparently, although it didn't happen for most of us.  For Daisy though, it wasn't a great day!

Daisy had a scrap in the dog park this afternoon with another dog named Stella, and apparently Stella won.  Daisy came home with a big gash on her paw, and we rushed up to the vet to get stitches to close the wound.

Miss Daisy is not a fan of any kind of pain so she is limping and crying all over the house, even with her fancy painkillers and other drugs to ensure she heals quickly.

Poor Daisy.  :(

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Auntie P's Christmas Tree 2012

Here it is, a little blurry but a quick picture of my Christmas tree this year.  I'll try to get a better one when Kim and Noah come to visit next weekend - Kim is a great photographer.

It seems like every year lately I have to replace all of the little white mini lights for the tree.  Last year I bought them from Shoppers which was probably my first mistake, they lasted only for the duration of the tree display.

This year I bought them from my friendly little Home Hardware store, and already had to bring one set back.  Let's hope the rest of them last for at least a couple of years.  Yet another example of products we really need to bring back to North America for manufacture - I'm getting tired of the cheap crap made in China.

Best Christmas Gift So Far

My homie Kim REALLY knows what I like, so look what she brought me back from her recent trip to Kuala Lumpur!

I love these Starbucks city mugs, I have a few of them and I will continue collecting them from places I visit or want to visit (let's hope Starbucks keeps making them!).  So far I have the KL mug, plus NYC, Washington DC, Chicago and Boston.  True, I haven't been to Chicago or Boston yet but they are on my "must-see" list for the next couple of years.

Next Christmas, mom and I will be visiting Boise so I'm really hoping there's a Starbucks city mug for Boise too.

Love the mug!  Thanks Kim!

Happy 5th Birthday Noah!

Noah celebrated his 5th birthday on December 4, and his perfect mommy Kim gave him a lego-themed birthday party for a few friends.

Here are a couple of pictures showing how amazing the party was.  First, he had 3 cakes, can you believe it?  Kim is a master cake decorator so she was ready for action on the Lego cakes - a yellow lego piece cake, blue lego piece cake, AND a lego guy cake!

He had a bunch of friends join him for the party, and of course at a lego-themed party, what else to expect but lego games, party favours, decorations and of course Lego guy to guide the kids through a lego activity.

Sure is different from when I was a kid - we weren't allowed to have birthday parties.  :(

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Visit to Santa

What a great day!  We started off the day with a trip over to Stasis, to buy some beautiful preserves and some magical maple syrup.  I've bought a few things from Stasis over the past few months.  They're a small local provider of small-batch, organic, special foods.    They are the one of the only Toronto places you can find products from Quebec's Societe Orignal, who have the most fantastic food items around.

After that, a trip to Metro Hound for a dog bath, and then to see Santa!  What a great picture of Daisy, she looks a little serious in this picture but she did take time to whisper some gift wishes to Santa while we were there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

I'm not referring to myself with the subject of this post!

Daisy has been living with me for 6-1/2 years, and I've tried several times to get her to join me on the couch for a cuddle, without success.  Some of you might think it's a good thing that my darling dog doesn't want to lie on the couch, but I've always thought it would be nice.

Guess what I arrived home to today!  Yes, Miss Daisy, lounging.  Here she is:

We are having a good week, looking forward to the weekend and Daisy's visit (and photo) with Santa.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Auntie P LOVES ooma!

Wow, another recommendation, crazy!  I absolutely love my ooma, it might be one of the best purchases I've ever made.  The only thing I'm sad about is that I didn't buy it earlier.

Ooma is a home phone, but it's something a little different.  It's basically a home phone that you use over the internet, so you need to have high speed internet service to make this work.

There are other voice-over IP service providers that are offering home phone over the internet service too, but ooma is different.  I've had Rogers Home phone for about six months now, it's an internet home phone that is virtually identical to the Ma Bell offering.

With ooma, you buy an ooma telephone set.  I bought mine at Costco for $149 - that's about the lowest price I've found.  For this price, you get the ooma telo box plus the wireless adaptor.

Here's what the ooma box looks like, with the wireless adaptor on top:

Since I have wireless internet service, the wireless adaptor picks up the internet connection.  Then, I plugged my home phone INTO the ooma.  Seems odd, like you should do it the other way, but not so.

Anyway it was that easy.  I now have a huge set of features like call forwarding, call display, call privacy etc.  My favourite feature is that I can play voicemail messages from the "my ooma" portal, and I can save and send the messages.  I wish I had this a few years ago when I received my first voicemail message from Noah - it would have been super cute to have it saved and be able to play it for him when he gets older.

I also now have free long distance in the US and Canada, not that I make a lot of calls, but it was costing me about $20 a month for long distance.

For $9.98 a month, I have all the long distance, home phone line, fantastic features, etc. - it's wonderful and a huge savings off of the old telco packages!  I am going to save a truckload of cash with this purchase.

LOVE ooma!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

We have a winner: Wrapped and Done by December One

I'm still working on the last few items for the Wrapped and Done by December One challenge, but we have a winner!  Julie (aka mom) is the first to be wrapped and done - and here's the picture to prove it.

I tried to argue that I had more to wrap than she does, but she says that that all of the presents are in the boxes.

Way to go mom!  How is everyone else doing?  Kim, are you finished?

Friday, November 23, 2012

No More Cable Bills!

I received my Mohu Leaf Plus yesterday and taped it to the wall... and voila!  Digital quality picture for about 10 channels.  Most are local channels - CBC and CTV for example, but I also receive ABC from a Buffalo affiliate and a channel we don't normally receive up here in Canada called CW.

The Leaf Plus is pretty cool - it's like a piece of paper and you stick it up on a wall (I used Scotch tape) and plug it into the back of the TV.  That's it!  I experimented a little by moving it around the wall to see if the reception changed.  And it did make a difference, I can receive various channels by re-positioning the antenna.  It's not the best photo below but you can see the TV and if you look carefully, you'll see a cord leading up to that white thing on the wall, that's the antenna.  You can even paint the antenna to match the room colour.  Might just do that.  Gosh I really need to hang some pictures up.

The picture quality is fantastic - as good or better as I was receiving with cable.  I cancelled my Rogers cable and there's about $100 a month now that I won't be paying to Rogers!  With Netflix, iTunes and Hulu Plus, I'm feeling great about TV and movie options, and so much less $.

I cancelled my Rogers internet service today and switched to Bell, getting ready for my next technology experiment, my new Ooma.  It hasn't arrived yet but when I get it and set it up, I'll let you know how that goes.  If it works as well as it should, I'll save another $65 a month by canceling my home phone service and switching to Ooma.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Auntie P Recommends: Apple TV

As you know, product reviews are not normally part of this blog.  But I have to share this one with you because it's been so fantastic.

Apple TV is a little box you connect to your TV.  It's pretty small, about 5 inches square.  And it comes with a tiny remote - if you've used any Apple products, you'll be familiar with the way it works.  The Apple TV remote may be different than other remotes you are using because it's so simple.

Here's what the box looks like, and the remote beside it:
You connect the little black box up to the TV with a cable, and there's a power cord too that needs to be plugged in to power up the Apple TV.  It was so easy to set it up!  I basically plugged it in, and then followed the prompts on the TV.  It could not have been simpler to install and to use.

Here's what you need to make it work:
  • Apple TV (it's about $100, you can buy it online with free shipping from Apple)
  • An HDMI cable - this doesn't come with it, so you need to buy it.  I bought mine with my Apple TV box, directly from Apple
  • Wired or wireless internet service
  • iTunes account (it's free)
I really like this product because:
  1. Apple TV allows me to use my big TV in my living room anywhere I want, I can move the Apple TV around or use it into the sitting room, or bedroom, or the basement.  I don't have a cable outlet behind this TV, just the Apple TV.  I have wireless internet service in my house and so I don't need any cabling throughout the house to see TV shows.
  2. I use Apple TV with Netflix and watch all kinds of cool shows.  Netflix rocks, it's $8.99 a month and I can use it to watch unlimited TV through my Apple TV.  I can watch TV shows, movies and documentaries, there are thousands of things to watch and it is all commercial free.
  3. I use Apple TV with iTunes to watch even more shows.  Sometimes Netflix doesn't have a show and I really want to watch it - like Homeland, Downton Abbey, or Revenge.  I can buy these on iTunes for $20 - $35 for a season, and watch them on my TV.
  4. Once Apple TV is purchased, there are no other costs.  It was about $100, and that's it!  Nothing to buy, no additional costs, ever.
I like Apple TV and Netflix so much that I am looking at canceling my Rogers cable TV service.  I just received my November bill and with taxes, I'm paying $135 per month for Rogers TV.  That's $1,620 a year!   I've ordered a digital antenna and if it gets me local news channels, I'm going to cancel.  Here's the business case:

Year 1 costs:
Apple TV: $109 one-time cost
Netflix: $8.99 per month, so $107.88 per year
iTunes: six TV series (not sure how many I'll actually buy, but this is a good guess) $35 each, so $210
Mohu Leaf Plus (this is the digital antenna I've ordered): $80

Total costs for year 1: $506.88

Year 2 costs:
Netflix: $8.99 per month, so $107.88 per year
iTunes: six TV series (not sure how many I'll actually buy, but this is a good guess) $35 each, so $210

Total costs for year 2: $317.88

The Bottom Line

If the digital antenna works and I can get some basic news channels, I will save $1,113.12 the first year, and $1,302.12 each year after that by ditching Rogers.  

What a deal!  And fantastic TV.  The only thing I haven't figured out how to get is CNN, but I'm sure to get something over the next year or two, the technology is evolving so quickly.

If you are getting cable TV for free today, this might not be much of a deal for you, but I would still recommend Netflix because there is so much great content.  But if you are paying for cable today, you might want to join me and save a whole bunch of your hard-earned money.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NYC Trip!

Last week's trip to NYC was great!  Kim and I had an amazing time, we just shopped, shopped and shopped some more.

Each of us brought back shoes, clothes and makeup, enough that we had to bring back two suitcases each and carry on luggage too.   I'd like to think that we made a healthy contribution to the US economy.  :)

Here's a picture of my shopping stash piled high on my bed - it doesn't really do the purchases justice.  The personal shopper we booked took us all over the place and we got some amazing deals - and then we each spent another bundle at Sephora on makeup.  

The hotel was expensive but I really think it was worth every penny (not sure Kim totally agrees on this point).  It was literally steps away from Times Square, just a tiny hotel tucked in on 43rd Street.  The service was personal, the breakfast and snackies were great, and the hotel general manager hugged us both when we left.  When was the last time that happened anywhere you visited?  I vote for staying there again next year, we'll see what happens on that front.  It's such a small hotel that it was hard to get reservations - I booked in June and secured the very last room with two double beds.  The hotel has literally got only about 50 - 60 rooms, it's tiny, and charming.

We went out for dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.  Tuesday night we went to Kim's favourite place, Tao, and it was a bit of a disappointment in terms of the food.  But the restaurant was amazing, it has an absolutely massive Buddha 16-foot statue that stands up basically two stories.  The building that houses the restaurant was once stables and then a movie theatre, so you can imagine how high it is inside.

On Wednesday night we went to my choice, a vegan restaurant called Candle 79.  It was delicious!  I think Kim was a little iffy on some of the tofu items but her main course was a mushroom risotto, it was the best thing we had on the trip.  I wish I had ordered it - mine was pretty good, but not as tasty as the mushroom risotto.  

The night we went to Candle 79 it snowed, and the subways were stuck.  It was tough getting up to the restaurant but we managed to snag a taxi after the subways stopped.  

Before we knew about the subway problem we walked to Grand Central Station to pick up the subway to 79th Street, here's a picture as we approached the station so you can see the snow that was starting to pile up.

We had such a good time, we decided to make this an annual trip!  A little later in November and we'll be able to catch all of the Christmas decorations - some stores were just starting to bring them out when we were there.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New York City - Post Hurricane Trip

Just a few more days, and then Kim and I are off to New York!  It looks like there will still be lots of post-Hurricane strife in New York, but we'll adjust our trip and contribute to the local economy in our own way.

I'm looking forward to some Christmas shopping, and to a different scene - just a few days away from home.

Here's where we're staying, the Casablanca - you'll be able to read all about it when we get back with a full review.  The hotel stay is my gift to Kim for Christmas, let's hope it's a nice one.

I'm desperate for some clothes for work, and Kim needs some too, so we'll be doing some shopping on that front too.  Happily we will be there for more than 48 hours so we can bring back lots of things without a customs problem.

The beginning of my vacation hasn't started off that well - Daisy has been shaking her head constantly this week so off to the vet we went... and came home with a bushel full of veterinary medications and a $700 vet bill.  Wow, it sure costs a lot to look at sore ears.  But the vet wanted to be extra careful so did a blood test, gave her a full exam, two shampoos, two ear cleaning solutions, prednazone and antibiotics.  Not sure there's anything else left that she could possibly take!

That sure made a dent in my clothing budget for the trip, but still I'll have enough for some new shoes and a sweater or two.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wrapped and Done by December One Update

Well this 2012 objective is going well!  I've almost finished Christmas shopping, and the wrapping is going along swimmingly.  I just wrapped up a bunch more last night, pictured in here shopping bags ready to go downstairs to the spare room for safe keeping (read: out of way of the kitties who will find the ribbons a little too fascinating).

Mom and Kim have apparently joined me this year for the "Wrapped and Done" initiative - how is it going you two?

One week to the US Election!

I just listened to a CBC radio story about why Canadians are so fascinated with US politics.  It seems to be largely that US politics are so lively - we are a boring bunch here in the snowy north - most of us agree on this point at least.

On election day, November 6, Kim and I will be arriving in New York City for a vacation.  Total coincidence on being in NYC on the big day, but what a great time to be there!

I'm sure in the remaining week there will be full-on coverage on CNN, and then we'll be able to watch the results come in after our busy first day touring!

Although Finished is Better Than Perfect is a non-political blog, I can't resist noting that although I have tried donating to Obama's campaign online, apparently they don't allow contributions from non-US residents.  (Ok to be honest I wanted some Obama election swag, can you believe this button collection!  But, you can only get the pins if you make a donation, and they don't allow donations from outside the US.)

The other really enjoyable part of the election from this standpoint is all of the humour and parodies of the election.  Saturday Night Live has been busy making fun of the campaign ads and debates, here's one of my favourites, a pretend Obama ad featuring relevant decision points about Mittens.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pretty, Pretty New Window

I received my stained glass window last week!  I finally got it secured into the window today, I absolutely love it.  The artist who made it is in Chicago, she's started an online store and I love her work.  It's magical!  Cheryl is a delightful woman who in addition to making this stunning window is also encouraging me to start my own online store selling baby quilts.

Here it is from the inside - note my fabulous ladder sitting precariously on the stairs.  You can't see the precarious bits but trust me on this part.

In order to see it well the hall light has to be on, so here's one view, gosh I really need to replace that spring wreath, and clean the eavestroughs....

And here's another view, a little closer to the window, but the light from outside is reflecting off the window.  Isn't it lovely?  This was the best 2011 birthday gift ever, thanks Kim - you da bomb!  :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Christmas is Coming!

I'm doing pretty well on my mission to be "wrapped and done by December one", getting Christmas ready earlier so I can enjoy December.  A little glitch with not being able to sew, as you were all supposed to get homemade things this year, but I am hoping my back gets better soon so I can get going on these projects.

Kim and I went to Michaels today to look for some Halloween costume supplies, and I decided to pick up a few things to make a wreath.  Love the Christmas wreaths!

Here's a picture of the wreath, starting to add some of the elements.  It's a bit blurry, oops.  It was fun buying the things at Michaels to add, nice to choose things myself.

And the finished version, it will look even nicer on the wall in about a month.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Great Debate!

Tonight was so exciting, I've been looking forward to it all week.   Sure, it was fun to see Obama and Romney go at it earlier in the week.  But tonight was even better.

It was the debate at George Washington University between Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly.  What a fantastic show!  I have a newfound respect for Bill O'Reilly - I don't agree with his views but I really appreciate that he respectfully argued his position with Jon Stewart tonight.  Gotta like a guy who has a sense of humour and has principles (even if they're on the wrong side).    :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dessert Day

It wasn't supposed to be dessert day, but I guess when it rains, it pours.

I believe I'm the only person I know who likes tapioca pudding, everyone else turns up their noses and says "ew, yuck".   I made some earlier today and bought some fresh local raspberries to go along with it.  Yummy.

And then, who should pop by but my lovely neighbour Patty, with some fresh cupcakes.  She's from the East Coast and has a strong Irish heritage.  Her specialty is Chocolate Guinness cake, which she has adapted to make a batch of cupcakes.  Yummy again, can't wait to try one tonight.

Prepping for the Big One

Yes it's true, I'm a "Prepper".   Not a very good one, though, by most standards.  Most preppers are getting ready for The End Of The World As We Know It by gathering together food, water and other supplies.  Not me.  Sure, these things are important but I've got something else to worry about.

My focus for prepping has been figuring out how I'm going to continue sewing when there's no more electricity.  What else would someone with the world's largest fabric stash be worried about?  For some time, I've been looking for a treadle sewing machine in good working condition.

I recently joined a group called "Freecycle Toronto".  It's an online group where you post items you want to give away.  You can also respond to posts from other people if you want whatever they've posted.  The idea is to keep stuff out of landfills and so everything is free and in varying states of new (or not).  A lot of the stuff that gets posted are small items - things like a bag a dog food that was just opened and that the dog won't eat.  Or a few bricks or other materials left over from recent construction projects.  But there are also things like furniture and even a piano a couple of weeks ago.  If I had the space I could fill my house with treasures from Freecycle members.

Guess what was posted this morning on Freecycle when I woke up?  Yes, indeed, a treadle sewing machine.  I jumped at the chance to go and see it - it was located super close to home.  The woman who posted it was given it by her mother, who had received it as a wedding gift in 1939.  It's not in perfect shape - the belt is broken, there's no manual, and there are no accessories or other things (like sewing feet), but it was free.

I had some help putting it in the car and then unloading it at this end, still can't lift or move anything with my back.  The thing is mighty heavy, the top of the cabinet is wood and the base is cast iron.

Turns out it's a Singer treadle model 15-96, made in 1938 in Quebec.  It needs some TLC and a good clean - the woman who owned it was a very heavy smoker.  I didn't buy it as a collectible, it's to be used when the world ends so I'm just interested in making it workable, not in making it pretty.

Here's what it looks like - it came in a wooden cabinet with the foot treadle at the bottom.

Notice how the "S" and "I" are worn off?  The previous owner had wrapped a piece of wool felt around that part of the machine and hand-stitched it to stay there.  She used it as a sort of pin-cushion, and there were pins and needs stuck in it when I picked it up.  Unfortunately it's caused little pin scratches all over that part of the machine but I think that's just part of the charm and history.

I've ordered a new belt online (let's hope it fits, it's hard to tell when buying this way) and some Singer machine oil.  When it arrives I'll be able to do a little maintenance and then see if it works!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Happy Kitty Family

I bought a new couch to replace my old one that had seen better days... and a lot of cat scratching.  The new sofa is pretty cool, red with white polka dots, but to save the upholstery, I've covered it in quilts.  The sofa's been in place for about a week.  Here's what the sofa actually looks like under all the quilts:
When I woke up this morning I walked into the living room and saw my happy crew of kitties all curled up on the new sofa!  Apparently they've all decided to be friends so that they can make the most of the new couch.  No room for me of course, but at least the kitties are happy.

Notice Bert is on the top, he always likes to be higher than the other kitties.  A bit power trippy I think.  From left to right, Tula, Peggy and then little Tipsy.

And see below a great photo of a cake that Kim and Noah made for Talika's birthday last weekend.  Talika was one of Noah's nannies and she's become a great friend of the family.  You would normally see a photo like this on Kim's blog since I wasn't at the birthday dinner (but she's not updating hers right now).  :)

Kim made the cake, and Noah decorated it - it's a map from Noah's memory of Sesame Place.  Kim, Noah and Grandma went last year.  This year, Kim, Talika and Noah are going to Sesame Place and it will again be an exciting trip.  I'm holding out to accompany Kim and Noah to Disney World.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bert and Peggy - Camp Tales

Bert and Peggy were at camp this weekend, they had a long weekend sleepover at Noah's house.

It was the perfect weekend - with my back in poor shape, having two less kitties to care for was a great plan, so off they went on Friday night.

And they must have had a fantastic time!  Since arriving home this afternoon, all they have done is sleep on the couch.  They are exhausted - perhaps they were busy all weekend with camp activities?  Were they horseback riding, swimming, and playing tennis?

Not sure, but they are tired.  They will sleep well tonight!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ouch - Auntie P has a sore back

It's been kind of a crappy vacation.  The first week was great, camping with Kim and Noah at Cyprus Lake.  But on the last day, as I leaned forward to pick up a box to pack in the truck, I felt a sharp pain in my back.  Following that, the 5-hour drive from Tobermory to Toronto exacerbated the back pain.

So it's been a week and I've been to the chiropractor almost every day.  They've determined that the problem is a herniated disc in my back.  It's been very painful and so far, there hasn't been any relief with the chiro, ice packs, or ibuprofen.  Noah suggested on a call today that Auntie P should try Robaxacet - tried that too buddy, nothing is working.

Here's what a herniated disc looks like:

On the good news front, all this time at home without the ability to do anything or lift stuff has meant more time for blog updates!

Hope this gets better soon.  It looks like I'll be home for at least another week - chiro says 4 - 6 but I'm sure I can get back to work sooner that that.  It's pretty boring lying around here, even though the kitties and Daisy are fantastic company.

Cool new tool!

I found a new online colour tool, it's great for quilting but I think you could use it for cake making (hi Kim!) or painting a room in a colour that you love.

To use, you load a picture that you like and it comes up with the paint chips.  Here's the link to the site if you want to try.  Here's a chip card I created from a picture that Kim took last week at Cyprus Lake.  Can you see all the possibilities?

And look, here's the strawberry freezer jam photo:

Mom, if you ever read my blog, here you go, here's one for you:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bonus Pet Photos

I forgot to include these pictures in my updates.

First, take a look at this cutie-pie, I'm sure none of you have ever seen her.  This is Honey, the feral mom who is always hiding, and this is the only picture I have been able to take of her.   She is a sweet, clean little kitty, and her daughter Bunny is quite friendly.

Her eyes are unfortunately reflecting the camera flash so you can't get a full picture of how pretty she is.

And isn't this a great picture of Daisy?  She's with her best buddy Fitz who lives across the street with Patty.  Patty snapped this one, I love the lighting:

And finally, here's a picture of Bunny!  She's not quite as mysterious as her mom, and she's learned to like a few pats here and there.  Still skittish, but I guess that is the outcome of growing up outside.

Grumpy Sherri

I'm so glad I'm on vacation this week so I can enjoy the activities as my front yard and driveway are being dug up!

The local gas utility is replacing the gas mains, and that means A BIG MESS.

Here's the driveway, they left the backhoe parked there last night.  Nice.

And the front yard, I've had several "chats" with them about the magnolia tree and the root damage they are doing with the digging.

And of course here's the front gate, mind the hole as you enter.

Hopefully this will all be finished this week, at least enough to cover the holes and make it livable.