My grandma totally inspired me last weekend to paint pumpkins. I bought a can of chalkboard paint weeks ago and I’ve been waiting for something to come along to paint it on.
At Thanksgiving dinner, my grandma had a craft station set up for the kids. She had each child choose a pumpkin to decorate as soon as they arrived. Then she set each child and pumpkin at a table with bowls of glitter, eyeballs, sequins and pots of paint. The kids loved it and it was so nice to see them all spending time with their great grandma. All cousins, big and small were helping – her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
My grandma is one of the best DIYers that I know. When I was a kid and I used to visit her in Florida, we would spend hours at craft stores and then come home and make everything from wreaths, scrunchies, painted shoes and shirts. I loved it!
Here are some of Grandma’s art “students” hard at work:
We had a DIY family photo shoot the other day. The weather was chilly but gorgeous. We set up our camera on the tri-pod, set the timer and snapped away. It was tough to get going and get everyone in place, but once the kids knew that a bag of timbits was up for grabs, they were very cooperative in showing their pearly whites to the camera.
We have hired photographers before, but always find it fun to take our own pictures too. Even if you snap 30, you are bound to get 2 or 3 good ones. I knew that even if we didn’t get any, we would have a lot of good laughs together.
I am loving the fall styles at Gap right now. The Bloor Street store is fantastic! A couple of weeks ago they had a pop up sale with 40% your entire purchase. I love me a good sale!
What we’re wearing:
me: Gap denim jacket*, Gap always skinny cords, pink flamingo tank from Smart Set, boots from the Bay
hubby: Gap cords, Gap hoodie and Gap shirt
son: Gap straight jeans and Gap cream long sleeve shirt
daughter: Gap legging cord and shoes, Target cardigan, Levi’s denim jacket
*I have had this since I was a teenager – for almost 2 decades. I think it has held up pretty well and I love the way that it still looks. So classic – everyone should own one of these!
Poufs are such a great addition to any room. It seems that they are popping up everywhere from Target to Crate & Barrel to Etsy.com.
We have one in our living room to use as a foot rest and my son has one in his room which he uses as a seat/foot rest/cushion/play thing/place to stack books. I remember when I brought the one in our living room home from Urban Barn, my husband sort of teased me for buying something called a “pouf”. He is now the “pouf hogger” in our home during late night TV watching.
You can’t help but love them. Seriously, if you don’t have one already, you could use one in your home.
I think the next pouf in my home will be a DIY….stay tuned for that one 🙂
The other day I experienced yet another delay on the TTC. I waited down on the subway platform for almost 20 minutes before I decided to just walk home. I am glad it was a flat shoe day. The walk took about an hour and was actually really nice. I am always in such a rush to get home at the end of the day and often don’t take the time to take in my surroundings.
Once I got past Broadview and into my neighbourhood, I took it all in and rediscovered what a great area of the city we live in. It is so close to downtown (if, of course, the TTC is on schedule) and everything is within walking distance – market, drug store, pediatrician’s office, kid’s school, Tim Horton’s.
Body Blue has a fantastic selection of jeans and casual wear. They also carry some amazing outer wear – I’ve fallen in love with a Mackage coat or two there once before. They often have sale racks out front of the store that hold some major steals as well. Their customer service has always been #1 for me.
Parade has some gorgeous items. Prices are on the mid-higher end compared to most of the other clothing stores along the Danforth, but well worth it for the quality of items that they carry. They have their own line too, which I love. Their pencil skirts fit me like they were made for me. This store is by far, one of my favourites along the Danny. My only complaint is that I am usually made to feel guilty if I don’t purchase something during one of my visits. Some of their salespeople need to ease up on their sales tactics a wee bit. However, their stuff is beautiful and I tell everyone to go there.
If you need a new necklace, pair of leggings, top for a night out or a pair of Tom’s, stop by Social Butterfly. Their prices are not over the top and they always have a good selection of sizes. I just love walking by this store window. It always lures me in!
Food & Restaurant
There are a ton of both Greek (of course) and sushi restaurants along the strip, but my favourite place to get take-out on the Danforth is an Indian place, Sher-E-Punjab. They have the best butter chicken. Mmmmm. And they will even deliver to our house, which is just a couple of blocks away. Yes, we could walk to pick it up, but in the winter, the delivery option is fantastic! I only wish they were open on Mondays.
Casa Sushi comes in second for take-out joints. You get a ton of food for a small price. The kids also love going to eat their bento boxes at Casa Sushi. Take out or dine in, this place is so convenient and the food always yummy. They also score big points for being kid-friendly.
The two markets at the corner of Logan and Danforth are always full of fresh and local fruits and veggies. Both stands are good and their prices are comparable with each other’s. It is odd that two places, selling the exact same product to the exact same market, can both stay in business. But, good for them! And good for us – there is always tons of selection. We shop there every other day.
I had to include this shot of a soon to open brew pub between Logan and Broadview on the south side of the street. For the longest time, it has sat empty. Before that, someone spent an awful lot of time and money on a not so attractive facade. In fact, I thought it was a major eye sore. Then someone else turned it into a “club” which sat empty most nights from what you could see. I think it was just too big and I don’t think the Danforth demographic is a fit for a night club. The new owners (or old owners maybe) have done an excellent job of giving it a nice, new facade and it looks like it is set to open any day now as Louis Cifer Brew Pub. I wish this place luck and hope it survives in this, what seems to be, cursed location. Hopefully it will be on my favourite list soon.
7 Numbers This is definitely a kid-friendly place but is also a lovely place for a date with your husband! They don’t mind when you come in for dinner with your stroller. The food is always great and the vibe is funky and cozy.
Pizzeria Libretto The atmosphere here is great. It is so lively and you always bump into someone you know. The pizza is delish and it’s also a good date spot.
Bob & Paige Salon. I love this place. Specifically, I love their cappuccinos, head massages and Tony, who cuts my hair. The service is great and the people are friendly. Definitely make an appointment well in advance and don’t turn down the scalp massage.
Urban Nails There is an abundance of nail salons along Danforth from Broadview all the way down to Coxwell. I have tried maybe 5 or 6 of them and so far, my choice for best manicure goes to Urban Nails.
Odds and Ends
Pretty Things – I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into this place for the first time. By the looks of things in their store window, I figured the prices would be crazy high. Nope! They carry an amazing selection of costume, statement necklaces. Sure to give Stella & Dot a run for their money! Totally affordable if you are looking for something for a night out or even a really special occasion. Although I miss Suckers, the candy store that it once was, I can see myself shopping here again.
Ever since I moved to Riverdale, I have loved poking around La Di Da Boutique. It is a store that you definitely want to spend some time in while you leave your husband on the bench outside. They sell everything from Hunter rain boots to scarves to fancy note cards to baby gifts to earrings and clutches. You need some serious time for this one because there is a lot to take in.
IQ Living is a neighbourhood favourite. Whenever my mom or sisters come down to visit us in Toronto, they always want to go to IQ Living. Their window displays are amazing. I think they must be working on their autumn harvest window right now because the white sheets are up. They sell kitchen supplies and gadgets, wine glasses, funky lunch boxes for kids, and a great selection of gift cards at the check-out that I always enjoy looking through.
There are so many great places along the Danforth – just too many to mention here!
What is your favourite place along the Danforth?
Here is the latest DIY project that will be incorporated into my 2.5 year old’s new big girl room. I had so much fun making these. In fact, I started off making just a couple of them to hang from her ceiling, but I had so much fun making them, I just kept going and going. Who knows where this will go…
What you will need:
Pack of large tissue paper, 8 sheets per pack (the stuff from Indigo works well)
Wire or pipe cleaners
Ribbon, twine or tulle
These are so quick and easy to make. Anyone can do it.
“Where can you use them” you ask?? Make them for your wedding, your children’s rooms, your classrooms, birthday party decor, or your cheerleader Halloween costume! I recently tied a giant green one to the top of a five year old’s birthday gift. She loved it!
Start by laying the stack of tissue paper flat on a large surface.
Fold it like an accordion and make the folds 1-2 inches wide.
Fold the whole thing until you have a long strip of folded tissue paper.
Take a pipe cleaner or craft wire and wrap around the middle of the strip.
Cut a piece of ribbon or twine (I used some long tulle that I had left over from my wedding) about a foot long (you can always trim later) and knot the ends to create a loop/handle. Lay it parallel to the strip of tissue paper.
Wrap the pipe cleaner around both the tissue paper and ribbon.
Cut off both ends of the tissue paper strip into points. You can curve them as well – I personally like the way the pointy ones turn out.
Begin pulling the tissue paper apart. Be careful not to rip the paper. Pull down both sides and you will start to see your pom pom.
Once you are finished, reach inside for the tulle (or ribbon) so that you can hang your pom pom up.
We took the kids to Campbell’s Orchards in Prince Edward County this past weekend. It was packed with people looking for pumpkins, apples, gourds and hay rides.
Campbell’s has ducks, dogs, kittens, an enormous pig (we thought she was pregnant, but now seems to look the same size each time we go), a swing set and a giant sandbox for the kids to play in. It is a great change of scenery for us and the kids when we are at the cottage.
We go to Campbell’s in the summertime for fruits, veggies and a play in the sandbox, followed by yummy Kawartha ice cream.
In the fall, they have two corn mazes – one for kids and one for adults. For the kid’s maze, they give each child a clip board. They have to find pictures of things in the maze that would be good for making yummy pies and then draw pictures of the items.
The kids loved running off the path into the corn stalks and going in different directions trying to get lost.
There are some little kittens at Campbell’s. We have watched them grow all summer. Their names are Mac and Tosh. They were also hiding in the corn fields…
Definitely stop by Campbell’s if you are over in PEC. We look forward to another visit later this fall!
Even though the days can be sunny and beautiful (we were actually water skiing last year on Thanksgiving weekend), the nights can be downright chilly during fall cottage season. This is one of my favourite months at the cottage when the leaves are turning, the nights are so cool that you need a fire in the fireplace, and the corn mazes are open in Prince Edward County.
Here are some things that you will need in September and October at your cottage that will make you happy and/or warm.
I don’t care what anyone says, I love Uggs and I think they are soooo stylish. You might think they are ugly, but they are some of my most favourite footwear. Sometimes I want to sleep in them. I have a dark brown, tall pair that my husband bought for me about 5 years ago. I had them dry cleaned last year and they came out looking gorgeous. I am thinking about getting another pair because I love them so much. Maybe grey this time. I wear them in the winter, on the coldest of Toronto winter days, with bare feet and I am always warm and toasty.
#2 COZY BLANKETS
This is the one thing that you can never have enough of. The old, wool blankets that have been around the cottage for decades are the best. They are so warm and classic.
Sweater weather has arrived! Does anyone remember these big bulky wool sweaters from the 1990’s? They sold them in stores called Balta or Ola at Upper Canada Mall among other places. I think you can get them on Etsy now. I had a couple in grade 9 or 10, packed them away and now wear them at the cottage in the fall. They are perfect for cottaging because they are over sized and you can put layers of fleece and hoodies underneath.
#4 WORK GLOVES
If you’re going to be closing your cottage for the winter in the coming weeks, you will need a good pair of gloves for working…weeding the garden, taking out the dock, sweeping out the fire pit.
#5 MOUSE TRAPS
Inevitably, at this time of year at the cottage, there are mice. I am terrified of mice. I know it is ridiculous but I actually feel almost paralyzed when I see one. Last weekend at the cottage, we were preparing a meal for the kids and after I took it out of the oven and sat it on top of the stove, a mouse ran right across the middle of it. As I stood on top of the island in the kitchen shreeking, my two and four year old stared at me with wide-eyes. I said to them in a very calm voice “uh, no need to be afraid of mice guys…they really are more scared of us”. Who am I kidding?? Mouse traps are a definite must. Eek.
This past Sunday, we were looking for something fun to do with the kids. We thought about the Science Centre and the Aquarium, but quickly put those places out of our minds, remembering how jammed they can get during weekends in the fall. We asked the kids what they wanted to do and their answer was simple: “Ride the subway!” So we packed a bag of snacks, bought a family day pass for $11 and rode the rocket for the afternoon. We went in all sorts of directions, transferring trains several times and even hopped off to grab some ice cream at Nathan Phillips Square.
So parents, next time you are thinking of a big plan for your Saturday or Sunday with the small kids, go easy on yourselves (and your bank account), and hop on the subway!
It really is the small things 🙂