Welcome to the Workshop

Welcome to the Workshop

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Toronto Zoo.

We decided to hit the zoo today. It was the perfect weather for it. I think the top temperature was about 9 degrees but it was sunny and not too windy. We really wanted to see the Canadian and North American animals before it gets too icy and they all hibernate!
So off we went. It's about a 30 minute drive from our house to the zoo. Though the drive home took considerably longer, you can never predict the traffic in Toronto.
There are so many great things about the zoo here. Probably my favourite part is the size of it. It's so expansive and just gorgeous in the Fall. But that also means a lot of walking, so we only covered half of it in one day. That's where a membership is really handy. (Yep, that's the sound of our bank account hemorrhaging money...)
Here is a slice of the enormous quantity of photos I took today. There's still too many here, but, whatevs...

An example of the look of the zoo today. We could have happily wandered through the scenery for hours.

But we had some North American critters to see.

Seriously. Polar bears! We were gobsmacked by their grace and beauty, and size!
Arctic wolves. We would turn around from the polar bears and there would be a half dozen wolves just standing there watching us. Creepy (glad they had a good fence around them) but beautiful.

Poppet got so excited when she saw ice on one of the benches. Guess she's ready for the snow!

The Snowy Owl was rather cool too.

We had to suffer these vistas at every turn. Unbelievable scenery.

No Tundra is complete without it's own teepee.

We happened upon the Giraffes being let out of their dens. It must be a little cold for them in the mornings, so they emerged just before lunch. We were SO close! I love giraffes.

And then the kids got distracted by the autumn leaves. As you do.

And then, you know, there were hills to run down....

Gee, don't get up on our account.

Or you, big guy.

Look at this fatty having a nap. Glad he's nowhere near our trash.

It was an incredibly long way down to the bears and mooses. Poppet gave up the ghost, and her lovely companion allowed her to share his stroller. Lucky Dad got to heave them up the mountain. Yeah, I just watched, took some photos, had a chat to friends...

I couldn't finish up without sharing a photo of my favourite animal of the day. Pygmy Hippos. What's not to love?! They were happily munching on pumpkins and it was love at first sight for all of us.
Speaking of pumpkins, tomorrow is Halloween! Poppet is going to school dressed up and they are doing a parade around the neighbourhood before lunch. Then it's just a day of fun and activities, some quick dinner and some serious trick or treating. Can. Not. Wait.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Prep Part 2.

On the weekend we went to get our pumpkin. The local park hosted a pumpkin day, and we walked down with some friends to check it out. On the way we saw a fun Halloween front yard. I'll take more pics of the decorating closer to the actual day, most of the locals are probably waiting til the weekend to set up. This yard was certainly a good taste of gruesome...

I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty more limbs sticking out of the ground towards the end of the week...
Meanwhile, we hit the park for pumpkin purchasing, hot apple cider, face painting and cupcakes. It was a fundraiser to gather donations for the building on site which hosts lots of local things. We even bumped into people we know, not bad considering we've only been in the area a month.
One of the best things about Halloween is the sense of community. You get out and walk around, talk to your neighbours and admire the decorations. There's lots of little meet-ups at the park and the kids get very excited. It's a blast!

Much excitement abounded, though we realized we still have a lot to learn. We didn't bring our 'cart' (which the locals use to drag their kids around town) to take our haul home. Luckily, our friends had strollers so we nudged the toddlers out of the way and took the pumpkins home in them instead.

Would you like some hot apple cider with your wasp?!

Home time. First, the 'lid' had to be cut off and then all the orange goop scopped out. Our friends found a cute carving kit with these funny scoops, though i think the serving spoon was more effective...

After the face was drawn on the pumpkin it was time for some carving.

Luckily, Poppet was on hand to give her father plenty of advice...

And at last, here he is. Time to relax and have a beer, or chardonnay, or some gingerbread or whatever. Me? I focused in on the chardonnay...

We were happy with the result. Unfortunately, so were the squirrels. We've since moved him from our porch to the back deck as they were having a good old munch on him. 

Looking forwarding to lighting him up next week. I really love Halloween. Plus, it's getting super cold and you know how much I love that...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Prep Part 1.

I bought this crazy haunted house gingerbread kit at the craft store. Thought it would be fun to make with Poppet for Halloween. In our house, you don't have to look hard for an excuse to do gingerbread, though I'm not quite ready to bake it yet. And why would you? This one tasted great.
It came with everything, just add water...

Control-freak Mummy actually let Poppet have a go (that's quite a challenge for me!).
A handy beer bottle doubled as a rolling pin and then a weight. We let the house sit an hour to set before decorating as it was rather wobbly....

I can't think of many occasions for which black icing is required.

We piped together, and of course a lot came out the wrong end all over me. I'm still washing the black stuff from under my fingernails...

Black apparently tastes just as good as pink!

Waste not want not...

Spooky! Not.

And those orange candies taste just like cough medicine. Mmmmm.....

We had some Aussies over to carve pumpkins and the kids smashed up the house and ate it. The big kids had some too...

Quite tasty. My next post will heavily feature pumpkins, as it should...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And Now... Back To The Action...

So, here is the new home of pikelet workshop.
I found a lovely, shiny desk lamp yesterday but still need to gather some good storage pieces. The crazy bubble-thing on the left is an iPod dock. We originally bought it for Poppet's bedroom but have since stolen it for the living room as the sound is actually pretty good. 
Sorry Poppet.

On the other side of the room is my trusty Expedit bookcase from Ikea. These marvels of storage have lived in almost every home we've owned. Husband certainly doesn't need the instruction manual anymore!
As you can see, it's starting to fill up nicely with crafty goodness after my trip to the store yesterday.

But the most important addition to the space is, naturally, the sewing machine.
Meet 'Bernie'.

I bought a fairly cheap machine, but it's a Bernina so you still get all that Swiss accuracy and a good, solid motor. Really, I hardly ever use anything but a straight stitch or a zigzag so I really can't justify purchasing a machine which can think for me. Yet.
I like Bernie. She's nice. Her flowers make me smile. But I don't want her to scratch my new desk top so I thought I'd make a mat to sit her on. 
Previously, I've always used an old hand towel for this purpose, but I don't have any old towels (only new ones) so it was a great excuse to give Bernie a test run and crack open the new scissors and other toys I've gathered.

This fabric traveled with me in a suitcase from Oz. I decided on something flowery and colourful to keep me motivated, and chose a lovely blended wool felt for the backing. This stripey ribbon had to get a piece of the action too.

After cutting the pieces to size, leaving plenty of room around the base of the machine to hold the scissors and pins too, I decided to anchor it all together with the ribbon to give it a quilted look. You can just see the bandaid on my thumb, obviously I've forgotten how sharp those rotary cutters are. Don't worry, I didn't bleed all over that nice fabric.

A combination of sheer laziness and the NEED to try out my new pinking shears, meant I opted for a trimmed edge rather than making bias binding. Hey, it's only a little mat, it shouldn't take hours! For fun, I used yellow thread on the underside. Why not?!

So, here it is. Rough around the edges in a nice way, and soft on the back to protect that desk.

Bernie loves her new home and a comfy place to rest her tushie. Yet, something was missing...

So I whipped up a dust cover to match. Happy times. And now I've figured out how to use her and have given her a place to roost, Bernie will be soon be working hard to create some poppets for you all. Are you excited?

There was just enough time left before school pickup to put my newly shod feet up and 'chillax', as they say around these parts.

It feels great to be stitching again, I've already got some cushions in mind.  But I might have a play with that new stuffing I bought first. Stay tuned...



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