World Pride Toronto 2014

Gallery

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Happiness is celebrating Pride with the world.  World Pride Toronto 2014 is over but we have wonderful memories of the week-long celebration, including our friends’ wedding, a stroll in the gay village, the colours and diversity of the people joining … Continue reading

Street Party

So what happens when a major urban street is closed for road construction and repair? The neighbours come out to play!  This past Sunday, our good friends R & K invited us to the Queen’s Banquet, a street picnic on Queen (a street typically occupied by cars careening down the hill).  According to the architects in the crowd, this was a perfect example of tactical urbanism, (projects that aim to make a part of the city more enjoyable or more lively for the residents).

Thanks R & K and the Queen St. gang for a lovely evening.

Happy 2013

Aside

Happy New Year!

I’m back!

It’s a new year and I want to take this opportunity to thank all my lovely followers and the wonderful folks who have commented, liked or simply visited my blog.  I didn’t realize how much of a thrill I would get when I received notification of a new follower, a comment or a like.  Although I try not to be obsessed by my stats, even a visit from an unknown person somewhere in the world results in a jolt of excitement.  So thank you for contributing to my joy and supporting my creative journey.

I wish you peace, comfort and joy in 2013.

Anna Marie

Changing Seasons – The fifth Season.

snowman

In seems like here in Canada we have five seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and the Holiday Season.  The Holiday season starts showing up somewhere in mid-October and gains momentum after Halloween.  It hits full force in early December when mall hours are extended, radio stations play holiday music 24/7 and television stations broadcast sappy holiday movies where everyone lives happily ever after.  Cookie trays and fruit cakes shows up at work and baking frenzies occur at home and Starbucks’ holiday drinks re-appear (Peppermint mocha or eggnog latte anyone?). Employers host holiday teas for their staff (and sometimes even give out bonuses). Family and friends host holiday open houses where there are more goodies and libations to enjoy (calories don’t count during the holidays).  Car roofs loaded with Christmas trees appear on the road and holiday lights light up the dark nights.  For many people, this holiday season culminates during the last weeks of December (and early January for some) with copious amounts of food and gift giving.

Of course, the  aftermath of the season (pounds, bills, broken toys and electronics) lasts so much longer – but who wants to think of those “nasties” while we’re in the throes of the holiday season.  Time enough to think of those things in the long cold nights of Winter.

So in the spirit of the holiday season, I decked out my little tree and have shopped for gifts (although I’m not finished).  I don’t bake but more than make up for my lack of baking by eating the cookies and cakes placed before me and I will not refuse an offered glass of wine or punch.  But mostly, during this holiday season, I am trying to feel the true holiday spirit in my heart and hoping for peace and joy and comfort for everyone near and far.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays….Peace and Joy to all!

This post was inspired by WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Changing Seasons.

Rainbow

 

MOO called my attention to the pink glow of the fading day outside.  As I stepped into the back yard and looked up into the sky, an incredibly beautiful rainbow greeted me.  As I watched, the colours slowly faded into the  soft rose and aquamarine sky and moments later the rainbow was gone.  I walked away feeling as though I had just received a gift, a reminder of the beauty that surrounds me always if I just pause a moment to look around.  It was a perfect reminder, on this Thanksgiving weekend of all the riches and joys I have in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bird-themed Bridal Shower

I had to once again channel Martha Stewart to create a theme for my little sister’s (aka Lil Sistore) bridal shower.  Mama P. invited 70 of Lil Sistore’s nearest and dearest to the event (you can’t do small and intimate in an Italian family) and took responsibility for organizing a great Italian dinner (Antipasto, Manicotti, Chicken Florentine and Strawberry Parfait for dessert) and the Italian relatives baked tray upon tray of cookies (because you can’t have a shower without cookies for all the quests to take home). This meant that the decor and games were left to me (the daughter without the craft gene!).

Lil Sistore loves vintage, birds and pink so we tried to blend these elements in the decorations.  We wrapped the favours in craft paper and chiffon bows and Lil Sistore made the tags (using her Cuttlebug dye cut machine – So not my thing!).  She was cursing by about the 30th tag!

We (actually My One and Only)  filled a bird topped apothecary jar with candy covered chocolate eggs for a guess the number of eggs game. My One and Only counted the chocolate eggs (613) and may have eaten about 30 along the way.

The bride’s table had a blue bird-cage filled with pink peonies.  I don’t have patience for flower arranging generally so my cousin thankfully was available to take on the task.

I added bird motifs on the receiving table and pink accents throughout the venue including small white boxes that contained flavoured sugar packets that we used as place cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I reviewed the preparations I realized that I didn’t really have to have a craft gene – just organization skills and the ability to delegate – I managed to get everyone else to do the finicky craft details while I just had to “supervise.”  Despite Lil Sistore’s aversion to events where she is the center of attention she had a great time.

 

Bridesmaids Brunch

I had to channel Martha Stewart in order to properly host a bridesmaid brunch for one of my most favourite people in the world – my sister (aka Lil Sistore).  Despite a significant age difference she is one of my best friends and I was incredibly touched when she asked me to be her MOH (Maid of Honour).  Lil Sistore is a fun, funny, sensitive person and often the comedian of family get togethers.   She is fiercely independent but ready to step in to help anyone in her circle who needs something.  However, the thought of asking someone to do something for her gives her heart palpitations.  So as MOH I hosted a brunch for the bridesmaids and the mothers in order to talk dresses, hair, makeup, decor and a trip to Vegas.  Fortunately for Lil Sistore, I love to entertain.  Unfortunately for Lil Sistore, I struggle with DIY projects (Lil Sistore got the craft genes) but I was determined to host a yummy brunch with pretty, decorative touches.

After hours perusing Martha Stewart Weddings for decor inspiration and the LCBO for food and drink inspiration.  I filled dollar store vases with arrangements of white roses, lilies, hydrangeas and evergreen branches and tied each vase with a ribbon and a tag for either a bridesmaid, mother of the bride or mother of the groom.  Lil Sistore gave each guest a flower arrangement upon leaving.

The buffet menu included:

Antipasto platter

Fennel, orange and pomegranate salad

Roasted asparagus drizzled with a dill and yogurt sauce

Crab salad

Maple bacon

Frittata

Johnny cake

Stacked mini pancakes

Butter rolls

Fruit salad

Cookies and squares

I think we managed to have a lovely day and plans were made, but in the end, what mattered most was the company of good friends and the laughter that we all enjoyed.

Glorious Spring Afternoon

What an absolutely glorious Spring day.  The first sunny warm day in several weeks – a warm 18 C.   I played hookey from work to enjoy the afternoon with my dog and My One and Only.  We strolled along the street browsing in the local shops with all the other happy people enjoying the day.     And the best part of the day, the library called to say that the book I had placed a hold over a month ago had arrived.  I love it when I get home from work and there’s a message from the library telling me I have a book (or sometimes books) waiting to be picked up.  It’s like Christmas morning – you know that you are getting a present but you’re not quite sure what it will be.  I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on my front porch with Abbey and My One and Only reading “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness.  I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon.

Happy Easter

I was inspired (by other bloggers) to do something creative for Easter this year.   After checking out Karen’s Art of Doing Stuff page I traveled to my local Dollar store to replicate her Easter wreath.  Well I couldn’t find all the items I needed and began to feel that this was a bit beyond my skill level.  So I thought I would see if anything else inspired me.  I quickly became overwhelmed with all the options available and all the plastic, bright coloured Eastery stuff lining the shelves (Not my thing).  Then I remembered another blog posting by the Art of Doing Stuff – 10 uses for a dollarama bowl.   What could be easier than throwing some Easter chicks and chocolate in a bowl.

So Happy Easter to friends and family – hope you enjoy my Easter hostess gifts.

Tea Leafs, Tarot and Ouija Board

Every three or four months a group of us (connected through My One and Only’s family) get together for a girls’ get together.  We call this our Cousin’s Day for lack of a better name.   We started this tradition after the group of us recognized that although we enjoyed each others company  we rarely saw each other except for Christmas holidays and maybe a summer barbecue because of distance, family obligations and work.    As with everything that is precious and important, you have to make an effort and make time.  So we initiated our Cousin’s Day.  The rules include getting together for an activity that is new to at least one member of the group.

Some of our activities to date have included: cross border shopping at an outlet mall followed by dinner at a great restaurant; a day at the spa that included brunch, pedicures and lounging by the fire in our robes.  We spent a number of days preparing a dance à la “rock the reception” for My One and Only’s niece.  Five of us did a choreographed dance to “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls.  Let me tell you – we look nothing like the Pussycat Dolls (and some of us could be their mothers) but when we performed the song for the groom (in front of about 300 guests) we were definitely entertaining!

During our most recent Cousin’s Day, we enjoyed lunch and then spent the afternoon in the art of divination. We had a tea leaf reader Amy, come to the home and do readings.  She was fabulous and although most of us were somewhat skeptical, she identified some very personal and specific information for each of us that she could not have known.  The readings were exciting and entertaining for all of us, surprising for some of us, emotional for others and reassuring for others.  As part of the afternoon we also pulled out the Tarot cards and did readings on each other.  These of course were less accurate than the tea leaf readings but entertaining nonetheless.  Finally after supper we pulled out the Ouija board (one of the original boards from the 1970’s).  Whether one believes in the power of the Ouija or not, it was both a hilarious experience (bringing us all back to our adolescence) and a freaky experience.  Picture a bunch of grown women (ranging in age from late 20’s to early 50’s) kneeling around the Ouija  board perched on an ottoman.  The Ouija identified four spirits in the house, all relatives of the cousins.  No one admitted to moving the pointer but it definitely moved and answered questions.

Can’t wait to see what’s next for Cousin’s Day – maybe pole dancing?