Dapple Design Shop will be CLOSED FOR CHRISTMAS from December 10, 2016 to January 4, 2017.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

This and That

Fall feels more like winter.  Several mornings this last week I woke to a wonderland of frost, enough to change the quality of the early light in my windows.  Cold and bright.  Strawberry plants gleamed red and green under their silver frosting and a sad looking potted geranium froze right over.  (I had better unclog that pot before it cracks.)  Even the patio furniture changed under it's whitewash of frost.  Miss S, bundled in her too-big coat, wasn't nearly as thrilled with the changes as I was.  Crunchy grass is harder to walk on and cold fingers and toes aren't as nimble as they should be.  She contented herself by scraping frost off a patio chair with her sandbox toy while I marveled and photographed.  Then back inside to play by the fire.

That was first light.  We were out again, ambling home from the grocery store, at dusk.  Puddles aplenty reflected the dying light, as if to extend the short day.  Miss S munched an apple.  We keep a box of them in the garage and Miss S has a hard time passing by without stealing one.  

A little new-camera fun.  I used the selective colour setting here to drown everything but Miss S's coat and hat to monotone.  The light is soft to start with and I think this effect enhances the mood of the moment -- quiet and grey with a shining path of light to lead us home.

That was last week.  Today looks more like this.

I'm nursing a sick husband and conserving my own scratchy voice.  Miss S is at Nana's for the day, breathing germ-free air and giving mommy and daddy time to rest.  Chai tea from a cheery red mug and a new crochet project are on the agenda.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Bread and Cookies

With the craft fair coming up and a few other things on the go, my to-do list had become oppressive and the Little Miss kept getting in the way.  Untold tension.  A couple of days ago it became very clear to me that I had mislaid my priorities and I set about setting things straight.

I began by taking the Little Miss on a long walk -- settling for both of us.  On the way home I bought bread.  I bought bread.  I don't do that very often, preferring to do without if I don't have time to bake right away.  It had, however, been days.  Leftovers were slim and Gary -- who relies on bread for the backbone of a lunch -- was making quick work of the crackers I keep on hand for toddler snack emergencies.  Toddler snack emergencies, incidentally, were up.  That loaf of store-bought multigrain eliminated the most oppressive task on my list -- not the hardest or the one that would take the longest, but the one that emanated the most guilt.  It tasted like freedom with jam.

Instead of baking bread, I baked cookies.  With help.  This undertaking -- letting the Little Miss help in the kitchen -- was a first and it was spectacularly successful.  I held her so she could look into the mixer at the butter and sugar.  I passed her the filled measuring cups of flour and oats.  She dumped them into the bowl.  Before I knew it, she was sitting on the counter spooning dry ingredients into the mixer with a spoon and discovering that chocolate chips (previously unknown to her) taste good.  Then I taught her how to lick the beater.

Between the bread and the cookies, I felt like I had gotten something right for once.  That sense of accomplishment has persisted for a couple of days now.  Do you ever feel this way?

Sunday, 17 November 2013


Last weekend we had a birthday party.  I had to double check that, but yes, it was only last weekend.  I would not have mentioned it except that I wanted to show you these.

I've been sewing lots of cloth gift bags for the Dapple Design Shop and the Craft Fair next Saturday.  It was fun to use them.  I love giving presents wrapping in something that will be appreciated and used again rather than clog the landfill.  I think of the gift wrap as part of the present.  These are for my sister-in-law and mother on their birthdays.  The bottle of wine is a thank you for my brother-in-law, who designed a business card for me.

For tags, I punched up the cover of an old book.  I got a lot of mileage out of Wuthering Heights, but the book is gone now -- all used up.  Sigh.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Crafting with Book Paper

A couple of people commented on the paper ball photo in a recent post, so I thought I'd take a better photo under real light and let you see it.

Do you remember my Wuthering Heights wreath?  This Christmas ball ornament is a riff on the same theme, though I ran out of Bronte pages and had to settle for Hugh MacLennan's Barometer Rising.  (In the spirit of full disclosure:  I have not read Barometer Rising and feel a bit guilty to have dismantled a book I don't know).  

I actually have a half dozen of these balls, which I'm hoping will garner interest at the craft fair in a week and a half.  They're a bit time consuming to make, but I don't mind a little brainless repetition in the evenings.  It pairs well with tea and chocolate.

Pleased with the wreath and ball ornaments, I carried the same book-page technique into gift tags, also for the craft fair.  When something is working, run with it -- right?  Or I'm stuck in a rut.  Either way, I'm amassing a nice selection of tags (not all made from book pages) to compliment my reusable cloth gift bags.

Would you be interested in seeing DIY instructions for either of the projects above?

Monday, 11 November 2013


My roster of life experience does not include much from the category of war, and for that I'm grateful.  On this eleventh day of the eleventh month I don't remember as much as try to think about the unthinkable for a moment.

Miss S and I frequent a park that includes a war memorial -- a nod to the Canadian war monument at Vimmy Ridge.  Just last week, in the early-falling dusk of autumn, we found it lit for the first time and I happened to have my camera.  I pondered the strange juxtaposition of war and this deserted park, quiet except for the giggles of a little girl.

How do you remember?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A New Toy

My new toy is a camera, one that I've been researching and saving for, and that turned up unexpectedly at my birthday.  So what have I been doing since the weekend?  Playing, of course.

The camera, for those who are interested, is a Nikon 1 J2.  I have a basic 10-30mm lens and lots of room to grow.

In the pictures above, Miss S is eating frozen peas.  I could never have taken these shots indoors without flash on my old camera.  Here you see her natural colouring and the light in her hair.

Camera Test #2:  The Playground.  Toddlers move All.  The.  Time.  But I felt like the camera kept up for the most part.  It was fast enough to catch Miss S mid-slide.  Though the image is a little blurred I love that I caught her half way down, feet up, with that look of glee on her face.  Once again, could not have done that before.

After bedtime, another round of camera play.  I really wanted to see what the camera could do in low light.  For these pictures I turned off the overhead lights, leaving a lamp on across the room. I don't have the most critical or educated eye, but I'm impressed and I expect to have lots more photography fun.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Bringing Pins to Life: Caramel Apple Spice Drink

Do you pin more ideas than you'll ever try?  I do.  But every once in a while I dig through a Pinterest board and surface with something to actually execute.  Enter Caramel Apple Spice.

Photo Credit to Laura at Make Life Lovely:  http://www.makelifelovely.com/2013/09/starbucks-caramel-apple-spice-recipe.html

Doesn't it look yummy?  If you read about it at Make Life Lovely, it sounds yummy too.  In need of some cozy fall spice, I gave it a whirl this week.

The caramel flavoring is little more than a simple syrup -- just use brown sugar instead of white and spike the works with a few cinnamon sticks and cloves.  This concoction lives in the fridge until called for, at which time a meager splash (and a little microwave time) infuses plain old apple juice with all the warmth and spice of an apple pie.  It really doesn't take much.

We've been making these drinks all weekend.  In fact, I'm sipping as I type.  Thanks Pinterest.

And a big thanks to Laura at Make Life Lovely for cracking the Starbucks secret and sharing.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Getting Out

Every weekend Gary and I push off indoor projects in favour of a walk outside.  We tell each other that this could be the last nice weekend for a long time.  But so far the nice weekends keep coming.  

These photos show last weekend's excursion to one of our favorite parks.  It's a bit of a drive, but well worth the effort.  Rocky shore lines and the occasional sandy beach.  Bright ocean and bright sky.  Loose forest filled with life and filtered light.  

We spotted this woodpecker high up, noisily mining for bugs, raining chunks of bark on the forest floor.  It's not the best picture, but I was pleased to catch him at all with my little point and shoot.  Notice the run of exposed wood in the bottom left.  He's been busy.

The forecast for this weekend is mixed, but we're still hoping to get out.  Fall is such a good time for rediscovering favorite places.  Will you get out this weekend?

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