Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Dutch Mona Lisa and the sights and sounds of San Francisco

Ghiradelli’s special Vermeer edition dark chocolate
The past five days have been a blur.  I took the girls to San Francisco for a reunion with their aunties. 
It was Evangeline Hope’s first time to San Francisco.  Lily said her favourite part of the trip was going down Lombard Street and across the Golden Gate bridge in a 7 seat mini van.  Evangeline Hope was less decisive, but didn’t understand why we had to go home.   As far as mini milestones, I had a chance to see Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring which was on exhibition at the de Young gallery and it was my first time taking both girls solo on a flight.  It went fine!  The Aussie behind us told me upon disembarking, he was really concerned at first,  but "I didn’t hear a peep out of them" (!).   Here are a few shots of our visit. 
Fisherman’s Wharf
Mandatory Cable Car Ride
View from my sister’s balcony
Flying a kite at Ocean Beach
San Francisco Botanical Gardens
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands
and me with the massive lens I rented!
I hope you are having a great week,

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy St. Valentine’s Day


A few weeks ago, I purchased a sweet book  by Golden Books called “Vintage Valentines”. It was  a spontaneous purchase, but turned out to be a huge hit with the girls. Lily is now partial to old-fashioned Valentines, especially ones with dogs and cats.  In our explorations, we found a cute popcorn valentine  and she decided that she wanted to give out popcorn to her class on Valentine’s Day.  We decided on mini Orville microwave bags and found them on sale at Food Basics for $2.99 (8 bags).  Popcorn is the 5th food group for the girls (we actually use an 80ish air popper because we don’t have a microwave) and a fitting treat for Valentine’s Day -  you may recall those memorable scenes of Charles and Carolyn Ingalls enjoying popcorn in bed!

[I later found out via pinterest that someone else had the same idea - presentation is more sophisticated.} 




For Evangeline Hope’s Class Valentines {for her girl friends}, we found some cute button hair clips at the Dollar Tree and used this "Cute as a Button" free printable.


This year, we started our class Valentines early and worked on them slowly over a few weekends.  I wanted to allow sufficient time for the girls to write the names out by hand and equally enjoy the activity. Last year,  I left the Diana Ross Valentines a tad too late and there were grumbles as if it were a burden (which sort of defeats the motivation behind the holiday!).

As for my Valentine, this year my sister suggested we try a Valentine swap.   She created a beautiful heart box with vintage playing cards that belonged to my dear grandpa.  The box was exploding with little treasures of the mostly non-chocolate variety (I have been off chocolate for over a year!).


I am not a very good paper crafter so I was a little nervous about this challenge.  My sister really digs old fashioned valentines (as much as Lily) so I made her this box, with a Meg Ryan 90ish touch.  The paper doily and trim are all from the 60s or 70s (thrifted). It was fun to see how we both used a heart box and achieved such different results!


PS in the cheesy cute department -   you can buy mini honey bears at the Dollar Tree and vintage image here !


Valentine hugs,


Monday, February 11, 2013

Our Valentine Doll House Decor


This past week, we received some wonderful handmade items for our doll house.  My sister took some thrift store dolls and with a little felt and ric rac love  gave them a new life (I think one pictured above was a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy!!), transforming them into special Valentine’s Day dolls.   I believe the one below may have been one of those international costume dolls.


My bloggy friend Kim K sent us a lovely package of Valentine miniatures (cakes, chocolate boxes, and mini love notes!) Her love for miniatures and doll houses inspire us.

Final touch for this party : a kissing booth for the doll house Labrador.


We also made a kissing booth for Lily’s  poodle  (small cardboard box).


Happy crafting and thanks for stopping by!  The snow we received Friday is supposed to melt today (rain forecasted) the city will be one soggy mess.  Thinking about everyone who continues to weather this storm and the clean up.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lunar New Year & Dim Sum

To those celebrating this weekend, happy New Year! here is this year’s photo.  {The dresses are thrifted, the parasols are from Toronto's Chinatown.}
I have been working on a little journal project.  Mandarin-shaped chip board journals were on sale for 1 cent at Michaels a few weeks ago.  I started to collect our past CNY photos and stamps.  This is the idea…I am not very good scrapbooker, but I do like the idea of having a hard copy of important photos collected in one spot.
For CNY, I like to go out for dim sum with my workmates.  As it is a brunch / lunch meal, it is also fun to do with children, if your kids are adventurous eaters. I would definitely recommend Grace Lin’s book 'Dim Sum For Everyone" to set the mood.  Dim Sum refers to little dishes of buns, dumplings, and cakes served with tea. 
I am not an expert in these matters. I had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong about 10 years and ago and was very intimidated by dim sum, but time has changed that.  In my experience, there are two sorts of dim sum restaurants, the sort where the rolling trolley (pictured below) makes a continuous round and you take what you would like and the server will mark down on your sheet what you take.
At other establishments, you can pick from the menu and the dishes will be brought out in order (this is my preference, but perhaps not as authentic, and usually  more expensive).  Here are few photos of dim sum dishes at the Crown Princess in Toronto.
Fried Snow Peas
Pan Fried Turnip Cake
Pan Fried Chicken & Veggie Dumpling (Japanese Style)
Steam Lamb Meat With Chu-Hou Sauce
Shrimp and Vegetable Steamed Rice Noodle Roll
Baked Salty Egg Yolk Paste Bun
Shrimp Dumpling
Sign for more please (it was delicious)…!
Happy New Year!