Friday, March 21, 2014

Dressing for Downton

I am a fan of Downton Abbey so I was really excited to learn that the costume tour included Toronto’s Spadina Museum.   Today, my girlfriend and I took a couple of hours to enjoy the exhibit which included a selection of 20 costumes worn by Lady Mary, Sybil, Edith, Cora and the Countess of Grantham.

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The costume exhibit takes place on the third floor of the Spadina Museum (a historical Toronto property built in the late 1800s – with additions into the 1900s).
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The Spadina Museum is a neighbour to Casa Loma (pictured above), one of Toronto’s historical landmarks.
The curators included a photo booth with props. Say Carson!
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Gloves & hat from the exhibit’s prop inventory  (dress mine from Shabby Apple).
Have a lovely weekend,
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pysanky: Ukrainian Easter egg decorating workshop

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{above: beautiful pysanky eggs for sale at the workshop}

On Saturday, I attended a pskanka workshop. It was a fundraiser for the Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre in Lviv, Ukraine. 

I have long admired pysanky eggs and wanted to try the technique.  Pysanky is much like batik -  beeswax resist, dye,  and a steady hand.  {There is an excellent process tutorial here.}    Briefly, the beeswax is applied with a small tool called a “kistka”.  The kistka works like a pen. A funnel holds the wax and the melted wax moves through the point.  An open flame is used to heat up the kistka and melt the wax.  Both the wax and dye are applied in stages as the design evolves.  Dye is applied from the lightest colour to the darkest colour.  Once you are finished your egg, you have to remove all the wax by melting it off using heated oil and/or an open flame.

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It takes quite a bit of practice to master the kitska and controlling the flow of the melted wax - especially on the egg’s sphere. I had to change my design several times because I dropped several wax blobs on the egg. While it took me nearly 2.5 hours to complete a single egg which turned out very primitive (!), I learned a great deal about the technique.  I even plan to sign up for next year’s workshop.

“Being given a Pysanka is a gesture of friendship or could be a token of esteem. Just as the ancient people drew symbols of sheep they wished to hunt for their families, Ukrainian belief is that Pysanky in the home brings good fortune and health, as well as protection from harm.”  Annie’s Hallmark on the history of the Ukrainian Egg

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Happy crafting and thanks for stopping by,

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Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day

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Spring is scheduled to arrive this week, but temperatures in these parts are still well below freezing.  Our neighbourhood skating rink had its closing party this past weekend.  We skated with lanterns and flash lights under a big full moon, I think the March full moon is called the Sugar Moon - for the maple syrup harvest. The girls return to school today after a one week break.  I suspect many students will still be adjusting to daylight savings time.  
For those celebrating today, I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I stitched up these little popover dresses for my daughters’ American Girls.  They are now ready to dance a jig.
{Free Pattern: Oliver + S popover sundress   Shamrock Fabric: Heather Ross Briar Rose collection }
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The dresses were embellished with felt clovers that I found last year Daiso and the mini hats are from the Dollar Tree.  
I am keen to sew a few more AG outfits.  Both the girls and I came away from the AG shop in New York very inspired. I marvel at some of the details, such as restrooms and toilet stalls with doll holders.
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Our family’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations started a few day ago.  For the past several years, my husband (and now the girls!) have have put on annual Irish sing-a-long at the childcare centre.  This year there were performances at two different centres which were well received.  This is one of my favourite photos!
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Before I sign off, I thought I would share another NYC photo.  In Little Italy there is a very interesting shop called “It’s Always Christmas in the City”  on display was a festive St. Patrick’s Day tree which some of you might enjoy.
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day and may wind always be at your back,
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

6th Birthday Getaway: Scenes from the Big Apple

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Hope’s 6th birthday weekend coincided with the end of my husband’s school break and the beginning of the girls’ school break so we decided to skip the traditional birthday party and plan a little NYC getaway. 
We were surprised by the lack of snow in Manhattan and the temperatures were balmy (above freezing !).   Our seat sale flights were to Newark, NJ airport. I was a little concerned about the transfers into Manhattan, but they turned out to be very economical (kids ride free on both the train and the airport express). We made our way around the city by subway or foot.
There are so many things to see in New York. Here are some of our favourite moments.
The Big Piano, above, and the Muppet Workshop, below – both at FAO Schwarz.
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Dylan’s Candy Bar
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Sampling many of New York’s hot dogs
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Dinosaurs and butterflies at the Museum of Natural History
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Cinderella on Broadway complete with Carly Rae and Fran Drescher.  The girls loved this production. 
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Birthday dinner at the American Girl Cafe.
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One of Hope’s special birthday requests was to see the green lady.  We took the ferry to Liberty Island.  Monument and crown access tickets were sold out, but we were able walk around the Statue of Liberty and explore the small island.  The photo looks chilly, but it was quite sunny and around 8 degrees C.
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It was such a fun mini vacation and a memorable celebration.  We  left the city wanting to visit again soon.
Happy 6th Birthday dear Hopie!
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