Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hodgepodge with ModPodge

 From this Side of the Pond

1. What's a skill you think everyone should have? 

Everyone everywhere? That's pretty broad. I could say something basic like "reading," but there are people in places and circumstances where even that's an n/a.

Can I say that I think it would be a good thing if more people (not everyone) had better reading skills, and not just what Mortimer Adler called the basic "I'm literate" skill, but the levelling-up skills that allow us to catch not just the words but the ideas that are thrown at us in a text?

2. Do you have a special place or organizational system for gift wrapping? Do you still buy 'real' cards to send for birthdays, anniversaries, get-well, etc? 

Gift wrapping--I have one bin to collect ALL the used gift bags, tags, pieces of recycled tissue paper, etc., so that's "wrapping central." I don't buy new wrap very often, maybe for Christmas sometimes. I also don't buy buy individual cards very often because they're super-expensive. But I do make cards, or at least improve plainer ones that have come in a pack or from a thrift store. (Sometimes with Modpodge.)

Grab bag of bits and pieces. Somebody had started painting the wooden shapes and then quit.

I used the shapes, the tape, and the floral cutouts to "juice up" some otherwise blah cards for Easter.

3. It's National Banana Day...are you a fan? What's your favorite thing to make with bananas or, if you're not a cook, your favorite thing to eat that contains banana? 

Around here, probably banana bread. We keep finding it for half price at the supermarket, so it's hard to say no to that.

4. Do you believe in second chances? Elaborate. 

A second chance for...what, a career or something? Sure.

Maybe not so much for a hairstylist who shears you the wrong way.

5. What is your idea of fun? 

Realizing that the secondhand bookstore you're checking out also has a second floor.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

It's Fashion Revolution Week, that time when we ask "who made my clothes?" Or when we at least try to do some good for the fashionary planet. 

My contribution is creative thrifting. A couple of days ago I found this scarf for a couple of dollars, that was kind of calling my name.

I pulled out some (also thrifted) spring/summer clothes and had a floor-modelling session.

I love the way the scarf seems to work with everything else; that's when you know something was a good buy.

Linked from the Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Tossing the Wednesday Hodgepodge Salad

 From this Side of the Pond

1. What's a talent you wish you had? 

My husband's skill with electronics. Still Mr. Fixit after all these years.

I do know how to make chocolate chip cookies.

2. In one word, what's your state of mind right now? 

My mind this afternoon is a salad of 1830's U.S. history, decluttering the hall closet, Canadian politics, a writing project that's due soon, and the potato soup that's cooking in the slow cooker.

3. What's the next major purchase you need to make? Will it happen this month? This year? 

These days just getting a load of groceries qualifies as major.

4. Tuesday (April 2nd) was National PB and J Day...did you celebrate? Is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich something you eat weekly or more? What's your favorite kind of jelly? 

PBJ is more of a once in a while thing than weekly; no special kind of jelly required.

5. Are you easily intimidated? Who or what intimidates you?

Television remotes.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Easter candy from the Eurofoods store.

And a mostly-thrifted Easter outfit. I was not sure at first how these vintage stripes were going to work with my other clothes, but actually they fit in quite well.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Start With a Notebook (Spring/Summer Clothes)

 This floral notebook cover is called Blooming by Eliza Todd. I thought it was very cheerful and colourful, so I decided to use it as wardrobe inspiration for the coming months. The photograph makes it appear  bright blue, but the real-life book is closer to slate blue. Besides that, I see a lot of pink and pale blue in the design, plus white, soft green, and the odd bit of orange and brown.

I posed the book against a few favourite things.

A couple of scarves...

A bit of makeup...

A new pair of glasses. I thought I could see how this would work.

And here's the story...

It's Global Recycling Day, she reads online. She is curious enough to go and check out the website.

She doesn't consider herself a particularly political or protesting person, but she does understand "mend, repair and reuse in order to sustain the usefulness of the items around us for as long as possible." In planning her spring-into-summer wardrobe, she wants to use mostly the clothes she already has, but she's also not opposed to thrifting a few things to help them all hang together a little better. She might even buy a couple of brand-new things, with the intention of using them well and making them last as long as possible. 

What kind of weather does she need to plan for? Some years, where she lives, there's hardly any spring at all, and people seem to jump from coats and boots into shorts and sandals. This winter has been milder, though, and (barring an occasional tantrum) spring does seem to be staking out its turf already. She decides to start with a core of navy (or denim blue) and white clothes, in a range of cool-to-possibly-hot-weather types, and blossom out from there. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Wednesday Hodge-Pi-dge


From this Side of the Pond

1. Thursday is National Pi Day...are you good at math? What was the last thing you had to calculate? Did you use your head or technology? Last slice of pie you ate? 

I haven't had any pie for awhile, but I did make jam bars yesterday, so that's close. (And we had birthday cake on the weekend, so that has to count for something.)

Anybody shopping for groceries (or anything else) these days needs to be calculating: sizes change, prices change, ingredients change. Is it better to buy two packages of name-brand cookies so you get the discount, or another brand that gives you store points, or the generic brand that doesn't promise anything but cookies? Multiply that by...well, just keep multiplying. And dividing and adding and subtracting. 

2. What makes a house a home? 

Something you choose yourself, that makes you smile when you see it.

3. Your current favorite green thing? 

A green plant that came in a gift basket two years ago and has outlived all its basket-mates.

4. How do you define achievement? How does your personal definition look similar to, or different than, society's definition? What's something you think is worth achieving in life? 

Managing one particular thing well enough not only that you make it work for yourself, but that you are able to hand it on or down to others, to teach or inspire them to do the same for others in return.

Or, for some of us who have never figured out that one particular thing, squishing a few lesser-sized things together and doing the same.

5. What song is a good soundtrack for your life right now? 

This Good Day, by Fernando Ortega.

If rain clouds comeOr the cold winds blowYou're the one who goes before meAnd in my heart I know
That this good day, it is a gift from YouThe world is turning in its placeBecause You made it toI lift my voice to sing a song of praiseOn this good day.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

When I was younger, there were things I learned to do, things I took lessons for, things I thought I should do...and most of those things I haven't done in years. All the things the grownups tried to push me to be good at, I wasn't, very, or it just didn't work out. Sometimes I totally embarrassed myself by letting myself get pushed into doing those things that I wasn't, very. I could tell when I wasn't, very, because people would be too polite about it...or sometimes even not, which maybe wasn't as awful as the too polite way.

Now I do more of the things that I never had to prove that I could or couldn't do. Because they were the things I cared about in the first place.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Midway There

 From this Side of the Pond

1. February is coming to a close. Give us a two-word phrase that tells us something about how yours went.

No snow.

Until today.

And where we live, that's pretty unusual.

2. If you had to describe how you're feeling right now as an amusement park ride, what ride are you on? Explain. 

That's kind of hard, because you could be, for example, happily going around on a Ferris wheel, or you could be stuck at the top and feeling seasick.

Well, let's say that right now I'm walking around the midway, figuring out how to use up some tickets.

3. What's something on your desk or a nearby wall that cheers you up when you see it or walk past?

The artwork we've gradually added to the loft room where the computer lives. It's so nice to have enough walls for that! Two Group of Seven prints, two Mark Rothko prints, a poster of quilts from a museum in Lancaster County, and a folksy picture of a country store that we found at a thrift store and just liked. 

4.  Are you a salad eater? How many salads do you typically eat in a week? Your favorite kind of salad? 

No, we are not big on salads here, especially in the last few years as salad vegetables have become very expensive and often not very good either. Sometimes we buy a bagged salad on sale, the kind that has chopped kale or cabbage in it. We eat some of it that night, and turn the rest into a stir-fry.

5. Without telling us the category give us your top five ______________. 

Sun-dried tomatoes


Italian sausage

Black olives

Extra cheese

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

A thrifted dish for springtime thoughts. Except not so much for today, the blusteriest, wettest, coldest mess of a day I think we've had all month.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Things That Matter, Or Not

 From this Side of the Pond

1. What kind of thinker are you-doer concrete thinking) analyst (analytical and abstract thinking), orator (logical thinking) inventor (imaginative thinking) or original thinker (creative)? What makes you say so? You can try this little quiz (link here) to help with your answer. 

I tried the quiz but I kept overthinking the answers, so not sure what that says about the way my mind works. The categories seemed to be putting people into groups such as verbal, visual, etc., and I wouldn't have gotten that necessarily from the way the questions were phrased ("Do you like puzzles?" is kind of vague). So, I don't like those categories too much, but I'm a word person who likes to make creative connections.

2. Do you own a crock pot, air fryer, and/or instapot? Do you leave said small appliance sitting out? How often do you use it/them? Favorite thing to make in one of these? 

CrockPot / slow cookers: got our first one as a wedding present 30+ years ago, have used them ever since, replace them at yard sales and thrift stores as they wear out. Right now we have three in-service ones, different sizes and shapes. We don't tend to do recipes with long lists of ingredients in them--more likely to put meat or chicken in them with some kind of sauce. We used them for both the turkey and the sweet potato/carrot side dish on Christmas. Today we're making navy bean soup in our medium-sized '80's slow cooker. They all live in the cupboards when they're not being used.

Air fryer--we were given one for Christmas, and it lives on the floor underneath the toaster oven (makes more sense than it sounds). All we've really used it for so far is a bit of frozen food and a batch of sweet potato fries.

Instapot--no, haven't gone there yet.

3. What's something you hold a strong opinion on that matters not at all in the grand scheme of things? 

As in something like crunchy vs. smooth? Or in which order the Narnia books should be read?

I can't think of anything else that works, because I can say something doesn't matter but maybe it really does, to somebody.

OK, here's one: I'd rather drink Tim Horton's coffee than Starbucks.

4. Describe the view from your window. 

Depends which window. Out front, more townhouse units, trees, hydro corridor. But behind that is an amazing nature trail. We used a photo of it for a book cover a couple of years ago.

Out back, a busy road, but across from that we get a good view of evergreen trees. If you sit on the deck and ignore the cars below, you can pretend you're at the cottage.

5. Do you have a favorite brand? Explain.

Brand of...clothes? Nail polish? Vitamins? Cookies? I'm not sure where to go with this one.

If we're talking about things that don't matter, I like OPI nail polish and Chips Ahoy cookies. NAOT shoes are gorgeous, but my budget is more like Skechers (and my last Skechers came from the thrift store, so there's that).

I hate getting stuck on brands, though (of anything), because they disappear so often. Case in point: Plain old Idahoan instant mashed potatoes have disappeared from the shelves again, all you can get are flavoured packets, and I'm thoroughly but quite inconsequentially mad about that.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

In what's already quite a bit of randomness, in a time that feels more random than usual, I'll show you my favourite recent thrift find: a made-in-Japan creamer from the early twentieth century, part of a tea set, with what some people call a sharkskin or orange-rind finish. I have often seen pieces like this at antique stores, but hadn't wanted to pay the money they were asking. But a local thrift store had this one sitting with some knick-knacks, priced at two dollars, and that made me very happy. I also found this vintage ad for the tea sets, on a website about Japanese imports.

So now maybe I'll keep my eyes open for the sugar bowl.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Books, More Books

Here are the answers for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Click the graphic to see the rest at From This Side of the Pond.

From this Side of the Pond
1. Something you've waited for recently? 

This box of books that arrived this week! (Getting that "bit of work" done has been a major occupation since last fall.)

2. What's something you loved to do as a child? 

Dig holes in the sand.

Look for books at the library.

Listen to tunes on my little record player.

3. Something you learned from a grandparent? 

My grandmother taught me that you are never too old or too young to enjoy reading. And marshmallow peanuts.

4. The most visited cities in the world last year (according to this site) were-Bangkok, Paris, London, Dubai, and Singapore. Have you been to any of the cities mentioned? Which would you most like to see? How do you feel about international travel in general these days? 

None of the above, and no immediate plans to do so. If you want some imaginary virtual travel, though, you can follow Betty Bunny around Rabbit Land

5. February is the perfect month to ______________________.

--have Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday on the same day! Not to mention celebrating our blog's nineteenth anniversary, sad and neglected as it may be.

(photo from an earlier blog-a-versary)

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Some people do videos about their thrift hauls. I haven't hauled much over the past month, other than a scarf, a couple of books, and some candles. Oh, and a purple suede jacket that I totally wasn't looking for, but that is a good replacement for two fake-leather jackets that were starting to show their dubious origins.

However, yesterday I was given two whole bags of Dickens novels by a family member. Sometimes you have to go out looking for things, but sometimes they find you instead. Where does one put twenty-seven volumes of Dickens? Well, that's not even a question. It's the book equivalent of shove over, everybody, and make room.

Friday, February 02, 2024

Betty Bunny Hops Again


Betty Bunny is planning another extended trip around Rabbit Land. Her latest science-fiction novel, Waterspaceship Down, has caused such a sensation that she's been asked to do a book tour. She'll be stopping at libraries and bookstores, signing autographs with her always-busy quill pen, and answering questions from her fans. As this tour will start when there's still snow on the ground, continue through the spring holidays (which happen early this year), and  last through  April, she's going to need a whole variety of clothes, although she's not going to have room for more than a small suitcase. Let's hop along with Betty and see how this plays out.

    Betty Bunny’s Wardrobe Inspirations

Pottery earrings from a craft sale  (sure, rabbits can wear earrings, why not?) 

      Two scarves: one navy with pink and purple flowers and green leaves; one much lighter, but also floral.