five things | twenty-five

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An inexplicably friendly and cuddly Mark Fluffalo welcomes you to this post.

My fave Jessica Sea is running a COLOSSAL sale in her shop rn, get 40% off orders of $10+ with the code OHGODWHY.

The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues. Can I pretend I had foreknowledge of this? As a preschooler all Sym did was play and I have the same plan for Gwen.

One of the best shops ever, Stay Home Club, just launched a line of shirts & onesies for kids and babies! I ordered Gwen this greyscale kitties tee and I know she’ll be obsessed with it.

Go “like” the Lisa Frank facebook page, you won’t regret it.

I started making a new pair of size seven boots for Gwen in the spring, riiiiight before my carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis. Obviously I had to take a break from working on them and was just finally able to finish them yesterday and guess what? They don’t fit. Luckily I have enough of the suede to make her a new, bigger pair BUT in the meantime I’ve listed the too-small pair for sale here.

summer’s end

Robson Street Porches
The porches on Robson Street being dismantled.

I don’t want to sound like one of those autumn-obsessed people* who start shrieking about sweaters and pumpkins before September even starts but like… summer is SO OVER. The storm last weekend brought it to a screeching halt and it has been cloudy, cold and wet ever since. The other night it was so cold I wore wool socks to bed! When the sun makes the occasional brief appearance it gets really hot again, but only for like five minutes- just long enough for you to sweat to death in all your rain gear. Maybe the clouds will lift and it’ll be actually sunny and warm again but for now, it is so fall.

Taylor has been in San Francisco for a work conference all week (he gets back tonight). While he was away I didn’t want Gwen and I getting bored and frustrated with each other so I planned all sorts of outdoor excursion for us. Unfortunately the weather stymied most of them, so we mostly stayed close to home. We went for walks in the neighborhood, played in the park across the street, and splashed in many puddles. Even though we didn’t venture that far afield, Gwen’s newt suit & boots still got a helluva workout.

While we’ve been stuck at home I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done. I rearranged all the furniture in Gwen’s room AND cleaned out her closet, I’ve stayed on top of most of the housework, and I’ve been cooking lots of ACTUAL meals with REAL food. Over the summer I kind of let things slip a lot, but this week of unemployment by myself I’ve really tried to form some good habits. My hope is that if I get in the habit of cleaning properly and cooking when I’m not working then maybe once I am working I’ll keep doing it? That’s the idea at least.

*I put my September calendar page on my tumblr and tagged it “autumn” and it’s gotten more notes and reblogs than any other thing I’ve made and posted myself

all i know about simple syrup

Every time I post a picture of a fancy drink (alcoholic or otherwise) on my instagram people ask where I get the flavoured syrups I use for them*. Did I buy them? Did I make them? How did I make them? Is it hard to make them? How do you use them? How long do they last?

Generally I do make all the flavoured syrups I use (the exceptions being some elderflower and lingonberry drink concentrate from Ikea) and it is SO EASY to do, literally anyone can do it. There is a reason they call it simple syrup! All you need is sugar, water, and the flavouring of your choice. I keep a few different ones in the fridge and love adding them to to cocktails, juices or seltzer to ~elevate~ my drinks. They can also be used for sno-cones or slushies, or in sauces for ice cream, waffles and other treats.

Basic simple syrup will actually keep pretty much indefinitely (sugar is a preservative), but the addition of different ingredients can affect the shelf life. A general rule of thumb is to keep them, refrigerated, for up to a week. If you don’t think you’ll use up a whole batch in that time these recipes are very easily scaleable. Always be sure to properly clean and sterilize jars or bottles you use to store your syrups. PERSONALLY I keep mine unless they start looking funky, like if they grow a mould (this has never happened) or become cloudy when they weren’t cloudy before (this happened one time). But I’m a rebel, and you my wish to err on the side of not poisoning yourself or others.

basic simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool and transfer to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

You can change the flavour profile of your syrups by using different types of sugar, like brown, golden or coconut. I made a mixed berry and vanilla syrup using a mixture of half plain sugar and half vanilla sugar that turned out delicious. More recently I made a honey syrup by mixing equal parts honey and water.

The fun part is adding the flavours! All you need to do is add herbs, spices, edible flowers or fruit to your syrup.

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berry or stone fruit flavoured simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh, canned, or frozen fruit of your choice

This is a good way to use up produce that might be a little past it’s prime (squishy strawberries, mummified frozen peaches). For fresh fruit, wash it and chop roughly (for stone fruits only, smaller fruits you can use whole). Frozen fruits do no need to be defrosted before making your syrup. Canned fruits should be drained and gently rinsed.

Add the water, sugar and fruit a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool, then use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

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apple or pear flavoured simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
the peel of 4 large apples OR 6 medium apples OR 6 pears
1 tsp lemon juice

Make this syrup if you have a surplus of apple peelings, like if you’ve just peeled a bunch to make a pie (and not like me, who made a pie because I peeled a bunch of apples to make this syrup). Be sure to wash your apples before peeling!

Add the water, sugar, peels and lemon juice a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool, then use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

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citrus fruit flavoured simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup citrus juice
2 tbsp citrus zest

This recipe can be used for lemons, limes, oranges or tangerines. Maybe even grapefruit? I haven’t tried that one yet. Be sure to wash the outside of your citrus fruit before zesting.

Add the sugar, water, citrus juice and zest and fruit a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool, then use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

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floral or herbal flavoured simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup loosely packed fresh OR 1/3 cup dried edible flower petals or herb leaves

If you are using flowers petals, you need to make sure the flowers are edible. Here is a good resource for determining what parts of which flowers are edible. You also want to be sure no pesticides or other chemicals have been used on any part of the flowering plant. Wash all leaves and petals before use.

Add the water, sugar and petals or leaves a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat, cover and steep overnight as it cools. Use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

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ginger, cinnamon or vanilla bean simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 small piece of ginger (5″ long, peeled and thinly sliced or grated) OR 3 cinnamon sticks OR 1 whole vanilla bean

Add the water, sugar and ginger, cinnamon or vanilla (slice the bean open lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add both seeds and pod to the mixture) to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool. Use a fine sieve strain out any solids and discard. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.

Happy syruping!

*People also ask how I make shaved ice and the answer is I GOT AN ICE SHAVER, YOU SHOULD GET ONE TOO. This is the one I have.

all new

A big update to the shop today! I’ve removed all the out-of-stock colours and added NINE all-new colours:
magenta, a super-hot pink
carnation, a medium metallic pink
bubblegum, a light metallic pink
pumpkin, a bright metallic orange
brass, a bright metallic yellow
lavender, a metallic pale purple
deep purple, a super-dark purple
forest, a cool dark green
leaf, a bright metallic green

Some of these colours are available in very limited quantities and once they are sold out I may not be able to get more so don’t miss out!

glitter colours 09 2015

Additionally all three Sara M Lyons + Unicorn Parade banners are back in stock in my shop, and in the next few weeks we’ll be adding a new banner to the line so keep your eyes peeled for that.

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Speaking of Sara, I’ve been working with her to completely redesign the look of my ~brand~ and over the past weekend I’ve updated the look of all my social media, my shop and my blog. My last redesign was done when I was suuuuuuuuper depressed and was pretty stark, so I’m really happy with this change. Please click thru to check it out!

new etsy custom listing

windstorm

There was a huge storm here over the weekend. Living underground as we do, I didn’t even realize until I took Gwen with me to the post office on Saturday and we were almost blown away. Afterwards we tried to go to the farmer’s market to get some tomatoes and berries but the wind was so bad they had shut down early.

A lot of branches and whole trees and power lines came down, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power. I wasn’t one of those people, for which I feel incredibly lucky. The border of the blackout was actually just 1 block north and half a block east of my house!

01 cedar sidewalk
All these red cedar twigs and branches and cones all over the sidewalk are weirdly inspirational to me, like I want to photograph all the individual elements and put them together to make like… desktop wallpaper or giftwrap or something. Maybe when it’s dry out I’ll go collect some fresh specimens off the tree.

02 crow on fence

03 puddle reflection

04 fallen tree
That is not where that tree is supposed to be.

05 gwen on beach

06 sunset beach

07 gwen on log

08 gwen on rock

09 gwen on seawall
Cozy in her her owl blanket.

10 stormy skies
Ready to start storming again at any minute.

On Sunday the rain and wind let up long enough for Gwen and I to take a little wander down to Sunset Beach and along the Seawall. The weather was definitely feeling mercurial; at times so sunny and warm I had to take of my jacket and sweater and at others threatening more rain, but other than a few errant raindrops we stayed dry.

sale promo Aug 2015 final day
ALSO: Today is the LAST DAY to use the code SUMMER25 to get 25% off everything in the shop. I prob won’t have another sale until Boxing Day so get your orders in asap!

five things | twenty-four

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sleepy friends

How Dogs Get Older

Looks for the Very End of Summer

The trailer for He Named me Malala.

It’s super rainy here today, the perfect sort of day to curl up with a blanket and a hot drink and watch some super-sad short films:

Till We’re Free, a short film about the kidnapping, torture and murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. Today is the 60th anniversary of his death and the film is free to watch, today only.

Dawn, a short film directed by Rose McGowan about a sheltered teenage girl who is lured into a terrible situation.

five things | twenty-three

toes
Sleeping toddler toes.

Only 1.5 million dollars and this nightmare The Shining-looking carpet museum of a house could be yours!

I have a little cloud-shaped napkin holder on my desk (I use it for mail and coasters) and could def use some more cloud accessories, like these candles or this lamp.

These found photos are incredible, as are these pics of an all-women’s cross-Canada road trip, circa 1954.

ALL the new Beach House!

NEW WITP FULL
I had to discontinue my super-popular “What Is The Point” mini glitter banner due to a supply issue with some of the colours I used to make it, but it’s back in stock with a whole new colour scheme! You can get it here.

Happy Friday everyone!

better

gwen & georgie x 5

Yesterday morning was ROUGH you guys. Gwen was tired and cranky, I was tired and cranky, and it was the morning with the whole day to get through yet. GROSS. In a weird miracle though, everything that happened later in the day was a total delight:

1. GWEN NAPPED. Yes, finally, blessedly, she napped for AT LEAST an hour and a half. I set up a little naptime cot for her in the living room with STRICT INSTRUCTIONS that she had to stay on it. Of course she didn’t, and ended up moving up onto the couch, which she promptly fell off of. Hopefully she learned a valuable lesson about staying on her cot and today will go even better, with a yes to napping and a no to falling off the couch. Because she napped she was in a much better mood in the evening, went to bed at the normal time and stayed in bed until 6am. Just an all-round win in the toddler sleeping department.

2. A shirt? dress? tunic? I ordered a billion years ago came in the mail and is totally perfect.

3. I had at least half a dozen people contact me about childcare! Maybe more! And I have three meetings set up! Hopefully a couple will work out! Fingers crossed!

4. Sara sent me some more elements for my redesign and I’m IN LUV, it’s so cute! The last time I redid my layout/branding I was MEGA depressed so it is all very bleak and it is definitely time for a change. I posted a lil sneak peak on my insta here.

5. My “I am a Wolf” print got a buncha reblogs on tumblr, I’m POSITIVE that eventually this will translate into money somehow.

6. I had wine and cake for dinner because I am an adult and I can do what I want.

rest

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This picture was 100% not staged, I actually asked her to smile at the camera and she did this instead.

I’ve been having a difficult time with Gwen & her naps recently. I thought I had found a groove where I’d take her for a walk in her stroller and she’d fall asleep, but she’s stopped falling asleep in her stroller unless we’ve been out for like… an hour, which just isn’t feasible. Also, when you are out walking around the city there are just so many things with the potential to be loud and wake her up. The other day there was a very loud cashier in a store, a barking dog tied up outside the store, a woman on a mobility scooter driving erratically all over the sidewalk and screaming into her cellphone, a person on a moped inexplicably blaring their horn, another dog barking in the park, and not one but TWO extremely noisy & smelly garbage trucks, all in the space of about 20 minutes while I was trying to get Gwen to sleep.

As a result she hasn’t had a proper afternoon nap in probably a week, and it is showing in her behaviour. She is cranky all the time, and in the late afternoons/early evening she descends into madness. She is so tired and grumpy by the time dinner rolls around, it’s almost impossible to get her to eat, and then make it through her bath without tears? SCOFF. Thankfully she’s been going to bed at night without any trouble, but the days are NOT EASY.

Yesterday she skipped her nap again, and since Taylor was at work so late I decided to let him sleep through the evening and give Gwen her dinner, bath and bedtime earlier than normal. I fed her as soon as I finished work and got her in bed and asleep by six, about an hour and a half earlier than normal. Everything seemed to be going well, until around 10pm, when she woke up. She’s recently learned how to work doorknobs, and won’t stay in her room. We let her get up, have some milk on the couch, then we brushed her teeth and put her back to bed.

Unfortunately she was way too awake to stay in bed and got up a couple more times, so I let her sleep in the bed with me, which was a literal nightmare and neither of us are rested today. I’m feeling very short-tempered and she has had half a dozen screaming meltdowns in as many hours. I’m really really hoping tonight is better, I’m going to go back to our regular schedule and just hope she doesn’t go too bananas this afternoon. We’ve ordered some doorknob covers that will hopefully thwart her from coming out of her room after bedtime, but they won’t get here until tomorrow and I don’t think either of us want another night like the last.