snowy day

I had a surprise day off today, probably the last in a while, so I decided to make the most of it and take Nicky out for an early morning snowy day walk. For some reason late February snow always surprises me but I think it happens here pretty frequently so idk why that is! It’s actually snowed like three times in the past week but today is the first “real” one.


Nicky staying cozy in his stroller with the weather shield on!


This week’s Thursday treat was cupcakes, at Gwen’s request. I used this recipe for white cake, but halved to make 12 cupcakes. I topped them with this cute Fairy Tale sprinkle mix from Sweetapolita and they were a big hit with all the kids.


This boy loves his apples.

spring is springing


this famous Skinnytaste bagels


Nicky’s fave lunch right now: peanut butter sandwiches cut into “coins”


it was my birthday this week


dolly slumber party

Spring is starting to happen outside, and inside I’m getting a little bee in my bonnet to do my version of spring cleaning, which mostly involves rearranging things. Right now I’m obsessed (OBSESSED) with turning my kitchen closet into a pantry, which means I’d have to move all the tools and brooms and cans of pant into what is currently my craft closet, and move all my craft supplies… where? What I really want to do is put proper storage in the hallway and have my craft supplies there. Unfortunately I can’t afford to buy a bunch of cabinetry at the moment but I also haven’t been doing much crafting so I might just put it all in some big Rubbermaid bins temporarily.

What else? I’m very keen to finish painting our bedroom, and to repaint the hallway which assaults my eyes daily with its grotesque yellow paint. I need to put up all the art I took down when I painted the living/dining room as well as some in the little kids’ room. Speaking of the little kids’ room, last weekend I finally mostly finished sorting out and organizing the toys, which had been in a messy jumble since we had the floors done (last spring…). I need to get some storage for under Gwen’s bed to sort out the last of it still but it’s already much better.

I’ve lost track of how many teeth Nicky has now. They keep popping through in batches, and he’s been miserable, but I think he’s very very close to being done? The four dreaded molars he’s been working on since he turned one (FOUR MONTHS AGO) have mostly popped out (at last check he had three) and in the meantime his canines have appeared as well. This means he’s started sleeping through the night again (occasionally) so Gwen is sleeping through the night in her own bed (occasionally). Of course nights like that (of which last night was one) mean we have mornings like I did today, when they both wake up much earlier than normal. Nicky hollered me out of bed at 6:15 and when I brought him out to the living room I found Gwen already there, watching Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron.

Tomorrow is another early morning, as I have the second of three spine injections at the pain clinic out in the suburbs at 7:10am. I’m definitely not looking forward to it but best to get it out of the way and have the rest of my (long) weekend free!

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Those poor palmiers, I very very diligently halved the recipe and then grabbed the wrong size of measuring cup and used twice as much sugar as they needed! They were (mostly still edible) but pretty well encased in carmelized sugar. I need a do-over on them.

Last week Gwen had her first-ever Pajama Day at school and honestly you’ve never seen a more excited kid. Also: they were allowed to bring stuffies and two of her friends brought toys Gwen gave them for their birthdays.
Pork chops with apples & onions are a favourite family dinner, but I need to talk about those peas. I threw them together at the last minute, cooking them in butter with lemon zest and smoked salt and they were delicious. Even picky eater Gwen admitted she liked them “a lil bit,” and Nicky couldn’t get enough.

I spent a few evenings sewing a couple of rag rugs together using this DIY to make a new pouf. The rugs were $13 each and I stuffed it with old duvets and pillows I was planning on getting rid of so in addition to being easy it was very affordable! Initially I wanted more neutral-coloured rugs but the ones I found were much more expensive and I decided to go with the thrifty option. The kids and pets certainly think it’s great.

I have been working hard to slowly but surely refresh our living space and HONESTLY I am so happy with how it’s all turning out. The living room/playroom switch has opened up so much more space for playing, and just makes so much more sense than they way it was before. The simple act of repainting the (new) living room and dining room all the same colour makes those areas seem so much bigger as well. We shortened Taylor’s desk which got rid of even more wasted space and clutter, and opened up the office into the living room. And other than our new couch (which was sorely needed) I think the only purchases have been paint and a few small decor items. Other than that, it’s all been rearranging.

This weekend I’m going to repaint the wall where Taylor’s desk used to be (there were a couple of shelves above that we took down that left a major amount of holes behind), and next I’m going to focus on the playroom. I want to finish repainting, move the blackout blinds to make more space for naptime, create new book storage (shelves? a bookcase? boxes?) and invest in a new play kitchen. I got rid of Ol’ Bluey when we had the floors redone but I need a new one. I just feel like it’s something kids really love! I’m like 99% decided on this one, although I loathe the pink and would paint over it/replace it. It has a lot of space for play and I like the shape a lot. I have it planned out in my mind how I’m going to install it in this weird, awkward corner while still leaving space behind it to store the folded minicribs when they aren’t in use, with a shelf above it that has a framed poster mounted on the front to store the minicrib mattresses. It’s hard to explain but I’m very confident that it will work. I’m just hoping that the kitchen drops in price a lil more before I pull the trigger on it.

Also this weekend we’re going to start putting the tree up! Long-time readers will know I like to have it up, bare, for a while to let the kids get used to it, so we won’t decorating until December 1st. A little Christmas has already started sneaking in though: the new mushroom ornament and the felt Santa (made from a kit by Gwen) are already brightening up the room with holiday cheer.

get going

Symphony is a teen, and as a teen she is pretty disinclined to do a lot of the things I want her to do. Number one among these is basically anything that involves her leaving the house, like you don’t know how many times I have asked her “do you want to come to the beach/park/Ikea/craft store/mall with me? I’LL BUY YOU STUFF” and she’s just like “nahhh” and stays in her room. Like, I can MANDATE that she HAS to come out sometimes but it usually turns into a nightmare of crabbiness and complaining and it is exhausting and unsatisfying for everyone involved.

But now I’ve figured it out, the thing I can use to get her out of the house at any time, and that thing is Pokémon Go. It was finally officially made available in Canada just yesterday and as Taylor tweeted last night, we’ve caught the Poképox.

Go ahead and laugh but it is actually really fun to play (even for an old like me who has never been into Pokémon). Because we live in the middle of the city there are tons of Pokémon, Pokéstops and Gyms in our neighborhood- there is actually a Pokéstop in the park across the street that is close enough that when Pokémon are lured to it we can catch them from inside the house! Sym is having a blast playing it and I am having a blast with a shared activity my teen actually wants to do with me, outside, all the time. We went out twice last night and we’ve already made two excursions today- one this morning for a long walk and then a quick one just behind the house when I saw there was a lure at the Pokéstop in the alley- and we have plans to go down to a nearby fountain to look for water types after I finish work. We’ve met/had conversations with other players, traded tips and we have some new funny stories (like how when I realized I could catch Pokémon in my bedroom I plucked a Meowth right off my baby bump, and when we warned some people about the real, actual skunks in the park they asked “what kind of Pokémon is that?”).

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Sym holding an Eevee in the eeveening.

I know a lot of people (boring people probably…) think it is stupid but like… how can I argue with a game that gets my kid out of her room and excited about something?

the cat is a dumb dumb

THIADD watermarked

New sticker, inspired by one of my fave shows, You’re the Worst. The second season just ended, so if you haven’t watched it now’s the perfect time to marathon the whole series. It’s funny, dark, absurd, and basically amazing. And for more unique, handmade stickers, check out my shop.

Yesterday I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner (meal planning problems) and I just started craving something with chorizo and peppers and little pearl onions (my fave). I went and got everything I needed and just fried it all up with loads of garlic, red pepper flakes, pepper and smoked salt (my other fave). It smelled SO GOOD while I was cooking it and according to everyone else it also tasted delicious. Not that I would know because literally two minutes before it finished cooking I got sick with food poisoning from something I’d eaten earlier that afternoon! So instead of eating this fantastic meal I’d slaved over I went to bed and felt sorry for myself. Later in the evening I was able to stomach some tea and toast but like. That’s not what I wanted!

I’ve been making good progress on my ongoing project of Taming the World’s Most Skittish Cat. Mark Fluffalo is actually hanging out with me in the office as I type this, rolling around on the floor and begging for pets. Honestly this cat loves being petted SO MUCH, it’s really his downfall because he has no choice but to confront his fear of FRIGGING EVERYTHING (cat toys, blankets, velcro, etc) in order to get the pets he so desperately wants. Anyway, normally he is only friendly in the bedroom and super antisocial everywhere else, but literally just this morning he decided to hang out. Georgie is loess than thrilled with this development as she wants all the pets for herself. So does Mark Fluffalo tbh; last night I was petting Georgie and Mark walked up and flumped down right between us. In spite of this sibling rivalry I swear they are on their way to becoming best friends (also in spite of me smooshing them together and saying “best friends. BEST FRIENDS.”) and I predict they will start playing together any day now.

more december

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I just shipped the very last order that was placed before my holiday cutoff so hopefully things will be a little less frantic around here. I still have open orders but I don’t feel as desperate to get them out like YESTERDAY OMG so I can focus a little bit more on Christmas presents for my family.

I put our Christmas tree up a few weeks ago, just bare with lights so Gwen could get a little used to it before we add the decorations (which we’re doing tonight). My old cat Claire used to love lying under the tree and so when I saw Mark Fluffalo doing it I felt all warm and fuzzy… until I noticed today that a whole section of lights were out! Taylor told me the cat had been under the tree last night (he was working from home) goofing around before running off, and when we took it apart we found a wire that had been chewed nearly clean through. Why oh why are cats such dodos? Hopefully it was not a pleasant experience and he doesn’t do it again, but Taylor (with small help from me) was able to splice the wire back together.

Last Saturday was Taylor’s office holiday party and also the ninth anniversary of our first date. NINE WHOLE YEARS. He surprised me by hiring a limo to drive us around the city before the party while we drank champagne #hearteyesemoji The Saturday before that we went to Ikea and I bought a credenza for the dining room and filled it with all our board- and card games.

This afternoon I got Gwen to take her nap in her bed for the first time since May, which meant I was able to clean the house while she slept. It was a short nap, but I feel triumphant.

kitty black cat

no-name cat

There are a lot of fluffy black cats in my neighborhood and they all like to hang around at my office window. I mean, there ARE other kids of cats as well, mostly stripey, and my upstairs neighbors have a fluffy silly goose of a ragdoll who keeps trapping himself outside and then meows at my window until I rescue & return him to his owners. But mostly it’s the fluffy black cats who come to my window to ask for pets.

There is Smokey, a big tom belonging to my neighbors two houses west.

There is Lola, a medium molly belonging to my neighbors two houses east.

There is a little no-name cat that I think is a female (due to her size) that I have no idea where she lives or who she belongs to.

Smokey likes to pretend he is unfriendly & too cool for pets but he is a really a hair baby. Lola is a little skittish but also loves pets, and the no-name cat is SO FRIENDLY OMG. She and Lola will both come right inside onto the windowsill or even climb down onto my desk. Gwen loves it when this happens because Gwen loves any opportunity to pet a kitty. She’ll come running over breathlessly squeaking “hi! hi! hi kitty black cat!” and will pet and pet and pet those cats as long as they will let her. The other day she actually tried to climb out the window after the no-name cat, she loves petting them so much.

All this talk of fluffy black cats may have you thinking “hey Tanie, don’t YOU have a fluffy black cat?” And you would be correct, I DO still have a cat, and if you follow me on instagram you would have seen me posting a lot more pictures of him recently.

Mark Fluffalo is still very shy and very skittish, but he freakin’ LOVES attention, and his love of attention is starting to become stronger than his love of hiding under the furniture all the time. Two times recently he didn’t run under the bed when I walked into the bedroom. When he is under the bed I can reach under there and pet him and he doesn’t hiss or scratch me anymore. The other night he cuddled next to me on the couch for a really long time and was so chill I was even able to trim five of his claws before he bit me (not hard). It’s a kind of miracle. It’s also miraculous how gentle and patient he almost always is with Gwen. He is less scared of her than anyone else so sometimes the only way to pet him is to send Gwen in first because he won’t run away from her. It’s a pretty good trick, and she definitely deserves a lot of the credit for taming this savage beast.

gwen & mark

kitty black cat

monday morning

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My hairdresser went on a month-long vacation and in that time my bangs grew OUT OF CONTROL. They got so long I had to start pinning them to the side and now I’m considering growing them out, oops. I just got them in December, and getting bangs once my hair reached a certain length was always the plan but idk you guys, I don’t love them this time. I guess we’ll see how it goes- failing at growing out my bangs was part of the reason I cut all my hair off two years ago.

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The other weekend I finally got around to weeding my terrible garden and seeing which of my plants have survived another year of my neglect, so now we’re in the part of the year when I pretend to care about it and buy some new plants and remember to water it every day. Last year I bought a ton of groundcover plants but lost interest in them too quickly and they all withered and died. This year I bought just one, a Corsican mint, as well as this cool-looking little fern. My upstairs neighbor also gave me a bunch of pansies that I planted in the worst spot in my garden, right under the foyer window where the roof overhang means no rain reaches the plants there (it’s where all my groundcovers died last year). Will I be able to keep any of these plants alive? ONLY TIME WILL TELL but probably not.

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This is not our cat, it belongs to some of our neighbors and sometimes they bring him down to the backyard so Gwen can pet him. She is absolutely obsessed with kitties right now, and when I hold him (his name is Theo) she climbs into my lap and lays there quietly, softly petting his little paws and ears. It also helps that he is the chillest cat in the world, but she is much nicer to him than she is to any of the dogs. Seeing her gently patting him and whispering “ki-y” is so sweet and really makes me want to get a cat even more.

I haven’t had much time to post lately because I’ve just been so busy with real work. I am mostly caught up on orders but so behind on other things, it’s ridiculous. I actually put my shop on vacation temporarily to try and give myself some time to catch up!

The thing I’m focussing on right now is finishing a pair of bunny boots. They were ordered by one of my kickstarter backers, and I SWEAR TO GOD THEY ARE CURSED. Little things keep going wrong with them so they are taking me forever to finish. First, when I went to attach the little black studs for the eyes, they would not set right and just crumpled and bent and eventually I had to pull the mangled remains out so many times that the leather of the vamp (the toe section of the boot) tore. I had to cut whole new vamps, but I’d already attached the muzzles & noses to the old ones so I had to unstitch them to put on the new vamps, but then I discovered I’d accidentally hit one of the noses with my mallet, ruining it (they are small triangular studs). I was so frustrated that I ended up doing a completely different face, with appliquéd features instead of the studs. Then, when I went to sew the first finished vamp onto it’s shaft, I sewed almost halfway across before realizing I’d forgotten to put the ears into the seam, so I had to unstitch that! And for the final curse, after finishing the upper of the first boot I went to assemble the second and discovered the other pair of ears was missing. Now, I’m 90% sure that I did make four ears, and in all likelihood Gwen got ahold of them and put them somewhere so clever I won’t find them for months. HOWEVER there is also a slight chance that I only ever made two ears, and any time spent searching for the allegedly missing pair would be a waste I can’t afford. So now I have to make another pair of ears, which I probably already made, making it also a waste of time.

It’s just really frustrating and exhausting and as a consequence I am at the end of my rope with everything in my life. I’m tired and have zero patience for nonsense from anyone. Last night I ended up so frustrated by little things Taylor and Sym and even Gwen said and did that after making and serving dinner for everyone I shut myself in the bedroom to read this supremely boring book I’ve been slogging through and didn’t have anything to eat myself until later. Not very mature or productive, I know. Also not productive is the work avoidance procrastination I’ve been doing: running errands with Taylor that I don’t need to go on, rearranging the foyer, deciding the most valuable use of my time is to take Gwen shoe shopping, gardening. NOT THE WAY TO GET THINGS DONE. Hopefully this week I’ll be able to get properly back on track, because lord knows right now I just want to go back to bed and pull the blankets over my head and go “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” to all my responsibilities.

people who look like their dogs

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Every morning when I walk down the hill to the elementary school I see a man who looks like his dogs. One time I talked to him and petted his dogs, but he’s usually on the opposite side of the street as me so I don’t often get the opportunity, which is unfortunate because they are some very cute and friendly pups. He has two Brussels Griffons, and if you’ve never seen one before then click that link because you are in for a treat for the eyes. The man who owns these two dogs has a beard and I swear, it is styled in the exact same way that his Griffons’ “beards” are styled. I actually wonder which came first: does he style his beard that way because of his dogs, or does he style his dogs that way because of his beard?

He’s an older man and with some wrinkles and character in his face (I would describe him as rugged and outdoorsy), and all his features, not just his beard, have a real Brussels Griffon look, especially his eyes. It’s kind of uncanny! Last Friday Taylor and I were in a little cafe down the street getting coffee before we went to the aquarium, and the man walked by. Taylor had never seen him so I LUNGED towards the window and was like “LOOK LOOK IT’S THE MAN WHO LOOKS JUST LIKE HIS DOGS” and two girls sitting nearby started laughing because the one girl had literally just said the same thing to her friend.

Now the question is, do I look like my dog? There was a point a few years ago when I was slowly lightening my hair from dark brown to blonde and one of the in-between colours was a very Georgie reddish brown, but idk. I don’t know if people see me and Georgie walking down the street and say “There’s the woman who looks just like her Pomeranian!” Here are some pics of us together, so you can judge for yourself.

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The day I picked her. I’ve gotten a lot of flack over the years for getting a dog from a breeder but I’m not even exaggerating when I say that no rescue would give me a small dog with my house full of children.

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We were both in the puppy uglies with this hair lol.

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When I was pregnant with her future bff Gwen

Anyway. Today is Georgie’s birthday, she is five years old! Happy birthday to LITERALLY the greatest dog ever, beloved by all.

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Well, beloved by most.