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    Our Anniversary Dinner : Nineteen Years!

    anniversary selfie


    Nick and I recently celebrated our nineteenth wedding anniversary. And, since we were married exactly one year less a week after we first met on a blind date, it marked twenty years of being best friends.

    We went to one of our favourite restaurants, Beast. It's a great place, loved by many who live in and visit Toronto.

    As we knew it would be, dinner was great, from the friendly service, very nice wine, delicious tapas and dessert.

    Here are some photos of our delightful evening ...

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    How to Make Tassel Earrings with Embroidery Thread and a Comb

    how to make tiny tassel earrings using a comb


    Hello hello! With December upon us, you might be wanting a pair of dangling earrings to accessorize your festive outfits. Today, I'll show you how you can make your own, in any colour you desire.

    These tassel earrings are made with embroidery thread, resulting in all the drama of statement earrings, but none of the weight usually associated with them. They are feather light. In fact, you can't even tell you're wearing them. Well, that is until you look in the mirror or someone pays you a compliment.

    With the aid of a re-purposed (brand new, never used) comb, they're easy to make, although they do require the patients needed to work with tiny things. Each pair will take you no more than 45 minutes to make and cost under $2 in supplies.

    The comb is the same one I used to make ribbon gift toppers, in this post and in this one. It's one that came in a package of several when all I really wanted was one. All you need to do is break off four prongs in the middle, to make it useful for making these small tassels and those other two styles of gift toppers.

    Here's how to make some tassel earrings :

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    A Beautiful Brunch with Fine Friends

    brunch charcuterie board


    Sure, I was going for a bit of alliteration with that title, but, as illustrated by the photo above, I didn't have to reach too far to come up with the B-word "Beautiful" to go along with the word Brunch when describing the lovely time Nick and I had on Saturday morning, at the home of Julie and Guy and their sweet sweet children Lila and James.

    It was one of those cold drizzly days outside, but as soon as we stepped through the door, greeted by the sight of these much-loved people and the aroma of bacon cooking and coffee brewing, things warmed right up. The welcome was further enhanced when we were nearly bowled over by two-almost-three year old James, when he ran down the hall to say hello and give us a hug. Swoon.

    Six year old Lila helpfully set the table. It was interesting watching her proficiently figure out the fact that mom had given her one extra plate than was needed.

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    Dinner in a Building With a History and a Personal Mystery Solved

    la carnita restaurant in the historic richard west house john street toronto at night


    My friend Andrea let me choose the restaurant for a dinner out last week and it took me no time at all to pick La Carnita located on John Street, between Adelaide and King Streets West. She'd been there before, so it didn't take any convincing for her to agree on the place.

    While I was eager to try their delicious sounding tacos, I must admit that I was particularly interested in seeing inside the historic building in which the restaurant resides.

    We'll begin with dinner and then talk about the building, which has a unique story to go with it ...

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    Easy Handmade : How to Make a Felted Wool Ball Garland

    very easy craft how to make a garland with felted wool balls


    Ha, I might be well on my way to becoming the queen of garland making here on the internet! What can I say? I'm very attracted to the way a colourful string of things looks, and there's a wall in our home that just looks too bare if a garland isn't hanging there. Of course, I could put some permanent artwork there, but then, where would I hang my garlands?

    This one came about after a quick trip to Michaels for a crochet hook. As I was bent over checking the various sizes, a bag of apparent perfection whispered out to me, asking if I'd noticed the absolutely gorgeous variety of colours it beheld. I responded, "Yes, I see you, and you are very beautiful, but you're in the "needle felting" section, and, while I have a Pinterest board brimming with images of small adorable felted animals, needle felting is something I don't know how to do. And, you're 22 dollars." I left the store with my crochet hook.

    A few days later, I saw that Michaels was offering 55% off one item, and, so, I came to have a bag of gorgeous pure wool felted balls.

    Then, on Wednesday evening, with my essential oil diffuser gently scenting the living room with the aroma of cinnamon and cloves, and with a glass of red wine at my side, I stung them together on a piece of yarn. It was one of the most comforting crafting experiences ever, and easy enough for most anyone to do. Poking that darning needle through those balls was oh so satisfying and the texture was delightful to the touch. I had three garlands finished in 45 minutes, making this a perfect relaxing time-out from a busy day, which yielded something to be enjoyed for years.

    Have I succeeded in encouraging you to give it a go yet?

    Perhaps knowing that right now and extending through until Sunday, Michaels has one of their 55% off one item coupons up with further inspire you. You just need to set up an account to access it and show the coupon to them on your phone when you pay. If you can't make it over this weekend though, they always have a coupon up, usually for 40% off one "non-sale" item, but often for 50% off and sometimes for 55% off. (I'm in no way sponsored by Michaels to tell you this. I just go there all the time for various crafting supplies and have gotten to know how they work.)

    If you live in downtown Toronto, there's a store at Richmond and John. These balls are found on the second floor at the end of the row, near the yarn and just past the jewellery making things. As far as I know they only come in this colour-way. The pure wool felted balls come from Kathmandu, Nepal and each bag contains 115 pieces, in two sizes. As mentioned, I've never tried "needle felting" but these are called "embellishments" for that craft. I think you're supposed to use a special needle and connect and shape them together to make figures.

    (If you'd prefer, Michaels also carries large bags of synthetic balls in the children's crafting section, which would also make cute garlands. The ones I saw were regularly priced at $10 and you get loads of pompoms.)

    I used all but the black ones to make three garlands, which are each 6 1/2 feet long, plus extra yarn at the ends to tie them.

    The balls can move along the yarn, but stay nicely in place once you're happy with the spacing. I chose to leave gaps between the balls however they could be stung together closely as well.

    And now for the easiest DIY tutorial ever ...

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