Tag Archives: 1970KikiProject#2

book launch!

last evening, i enjoyed a social + literary new experience! i’ve never been to a book launch party! [did you get a visual of me throwing hardcovers at people when you read today’s title? that’s what i was aiming for – haha!].

the person being fêted was carrie snyder, a local author, who recently released her second novel, the juliet stories:


[sidenote: thanks to my reading log, i know that i finished carrie’s first book, hair hat, on june 17th, 2005, and that i gave it a *** (three star) review! (and i am not lying about that rating just to sound nice!)].

now, i don’t really know carrie personally, but we have met before (when she’s been in at the store!). and i know of her, thanks to six degrees of separation connections, and the fact that we are both alumni of the same high school (carrie is younger, *sigh*). then, when tricia and i were out on monday, we discussed this upcoming event. upon realizing that i would know several people planning to attend, i decided to go!

the venue for carrie’s book launch party was the starlight. i have been to this social club dancing til the wee hours before – that was the site of the science lecture that i attended back in september!

uptown events are the best because we can travel by foot. tricia and three of her friends – i already knew two of them! – picked me up on the way to the starlight. five minutes later, we were there!

here are a few photos from the party – i didn’t take very many. intimate lighting makes for wonderful atmosphere, but it’s not so conducive to photography!

tricia and carrie

guests mixed and mingled, then carrie read from her novel. here’s our table (my walking companions):

(L to R) tricia; shannon; me; kim; kathy (kathy and i were in the same high school class!)

carrie reading from her book

it’s such a small world! i think i knew or recognized every second person at the event – as someone said, it was like one big neighbourhood party!

i had a really fun time last evening, and i do think “the juliet stories” would be a perfect inclusion as one of my reads for this year’s kiki project. carrie’s writing style is engaging, but most of all, i am taken with her word choice and turn of phrase. i wish her the very best!

enjoy your sunday! i am going for coffee outing #10 with this gal

…and then watching the fashion show oscars this eve!

the best and worst of this year’s kikiprojects

now that i’ve had a few days to bask in the glow of completing this year’s 1970 kikiproject, let’s hand out ten awards, just for fun!

most favourite project: #3: get fake fingernails with polish and nail art (i would sport fake nails like these all the time if 1) i could type with them 2) they didn’t destroy your real nails 3) i could afford it)

most expensive project: #9: travel to aruba solo (and totally worth every penny!)

longest project: #26: knit with silk (from june 15th to august 31st – knitting only! does not count yarn winding!)

shortest project: #6: play roll up the rim (shorter than throwing a quarter in a slot machine!)

most disappointing project: #10: drink coconut water (so gross! i could only manage a few sips!)

most pleasantly surprising project: #37: watch a charlie brown christmas (way cuter than i anticipated!)

project sure to be a one-time-only event: a tri-tie! #8: graduate from cake class; #30: puzzle for 4.5 hours straight; #31: compose a 100 item xmas list (i promised the fam i wouldn’t put them through that last one again!)

project i would most like to repeat: #25: watch a movie in 3D (and choose a quality film next time!) [this excludes fake fingernails]

the brush-with-celebrity project: #7: get my photo taken with canada’s #1 ranked male marathoner (and reid did come through at the toronto waterfront marathon in october, qualifying to represent canada in the 2012 olympics!)

most spur-of-the moment project: #18: buy a groupon (when i saw the groupon offer, i knew it’d be a fun new experience to try purchasing it!)


several times, when writing a project recap, i have mentioned to you that x project was one that i had hoped to do for ages and ages. (examples include: #5: watch the entire oscar awards ceremony and #32: attend the oktoberfest parade, live).but, there were so many more! here is a list of kikiprojects that did not see the light of day:

~ zuuuuummmmba!!

~ take a bikram yoga class

~ go to costco with bff debbie

~ visit gina in winnipeg

~ kiss george clooney

~ take little e to a movie

~ bake a baklava [basically because i like how that phrase rolls off the tongue!]

~ go drinking after work

~ go to either the christkindl market in downtown kitchener, or the live nativity play at bethel church

~ watch a foreign movie with english subtitles, filmed in a language i have never watched before (ie not french or spanish)

~ take an ice bath [ok, i didn’t really try too hard to make this one happen!]

~ paint a bathroom [i wanted dad to give me a lesson and paint either the master bath or main floor bath in some shade of orange]

~ get a pedicure

the fun thing is that even though i have finished up the new experience project, nothing says i can’t still enjoy any one of those listed activities!

what’s a new experience that you would like to try in 2012 (ie anything on your life bucket list that you would like to check off?) i am going to keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities as they present themselves!

new experience #41: volunteer at the resolution run

well, here it is – the very last new experience of this year’s 1970kikiproject. wow. it feels a little emotional! happily, we launch next year’s kiki project on monday!

i had decided wayyyy back in the fall to volunteer at our new year’s day resolution run for a new experience. as we got closer to the date/the end of the kiki project, i thought i would make this event project #40, and then i’d have one more project to complete between january 2nd and 8th. however, the vibe just wasn’t coming together for what to do for that last new experience. so, i ratified my plans and decided to see a movie as new experience #40, and volunteer at the run to wrap up the project.

the more i thought on it, the more i liked the concept. this final kikiproject would include philanthropy; it was on new year’s day; it is a fitness-focussed event; it would be an opportunity to hang out and be social with my friends from the store…what a 100% winning combination!

the resolution run is an annual event held at many locations across canada. for the kitchener-waterloo chapter, we hold a 10k run (at 10:00 a.m.) and a 5k run or walk. (over 400 people participated, this year). the race site is the kitchener ymca, the race director is manager paul. [sidenote: the kitchener ymca holds a special place in my heart: from about 1990 – 2002, it was my gym, and that’s where i got introduced to aerobics, taught aerobics, made close running friendships…i spent a lot of happy hours there].

anyway, i told paul i was happy to help out…but could i please volunteer indoors?! i did not relish the thought of being a course marshal, outdoors in january. good call on my part! while we enjoyed above-freezing temps this new year’s day, it poured rain during the 10k and rained steadily for the 5k. our poor outdoor volunteers were soaked and chilled [it’s one thing to be active running or walking in wet conditions, and quite another to be standing still!].

so, i got to handle the food/refreshments table!

the following is a pictorial description of my new year’s day volunteer experience:

when i arrived at the y at 9 a.m., it was just overcast - too bad THAT was not the start time for our events!

i'm dreaming of a...green new year's?!

my y gum: old stomping grounds...i mean jumping jacks and high kicks grounds!

manager paul has organized numerous resolution runs, and by now has streamlined the process:

the course: 4 loops for the 10k and 2 loops for the 5k

manager nicole from theOTHERstore co-ordinated the food supply!

pylons to help mark the route!

nicole and me - hope people will be hungry for clementines!

friends and familiar, friendly faces. i so enjoyed seeing everyone! people were so willing to pose “for the blog!”

alan and becky!

derek and cindy (nicole's mom!)

annette and will!

david and meredith with mom, sue!

ken! (the shrinking - or streaking - tortoise!)

michael, brenda, and paul!

when you registered for the resolution run, you received a free jacket with your entry:

nico, kaylene, sandy, and steve model their jackets!

and a blast from the past! a friend from my y days just happened to be at the y!

what a serendipitous encounter to see selena! we enjoyed a wonderful catch-up chat!

and guess what! a new experience within a new experience: TWO blog readers came up and introduced themselves – i’ve never had that happen before!


ali and me!

it was SO cool to meet both dawn and ali, in person!

oh yea – i did fulfill my volunteer duties, too!

with meredith and annette!

our refreshment table offered water; granola bars; juice boxes; bananas; clementines. given the rain, i think soup, coffee and hot chocolate would have made welcome additions!

guess what else – i realized i never showed you who the orange mittens were for (my last christmas knitting project):

the mitts made an appearance at the res run...

...and as seen on paul, the recipient!

being the shoe professional that i am, of course, i subconsciously tend to look at people’s feet. check these out…

i guessed that those were nike air pegasus shoes - yup! never seen those groovy colours, though! (the wearer bought them in tennessee - that figures!)

i've mentioned these NB shoes before on the blog!

all in all, i could not have asked for a better way to end off my 41 new experiences. all participants seemed to have a great time, and it was much fun to celebrate the arrival of 2012 at the resolution run event.

do you have any new year’s day traditions? in order to volunteer, i unfortunately had to skip my annual viewing of the rose bowl parade with dad. i did get to clean the condo casa – love to start the new year with an organized home! and i chilled out by painting my nails and watching a movie!).

new experience #39: whiten my teeth

on the thirtieth day of december...

there is no better time of year than christmas to display dazzling teeth. photo! smile! “cheese!” ’tis the season to strike a pose flash a bright grin!

i’ve asked my dentist a few times, over the years, about different methods to make my pearly whites whiter. so, i basically decided on this kiki project just out of curiosity. i got a giggle out of pursuing this idea because it seems so self-absorbed and hollywood-esque! heck, i should get a spray-on tan and fake boobs and blond highlights while i’m at it!

i procrastinated on starting this project for a good few months. i wanted to get the whitening kit when it was on sale, but even when i did see it on sale, i put off committing to the purchase because of the cost: $44.99 (sale price) for a 28 day supply. i dove in when i decided to use my shoppers drug mart points. ah, what i don’t do for the kiki project

the kit i purchased

i was impressed when i read the instructions: all you need is five minutes a day. hey, that’s a piece of cake! i needed to find a set point in the day (routine lover that i am), and i would have picked wake-up/first thing in the morning, but the directions advised not to do the treatments right after brushing your teeth. so, i settled on taking five minutes while i got ready for work/got organized (or about 8:30 a.m. every day).

first impressions:

~ the strips are thinner than saran wrap! i had envisioned insertable trays, like what the dentist uses for fluoride treatments.

two strips - the longer one for your upper teeth, shorter for the bottom

~ tastes fresh, like toothpaste, and is a teensy bit foamy like toothpaste, too.

~ creates lots of garbage, what with the outer box, the individual pouches, the clear plastic to which the adhesive upper and lower strips are attached, and the strips themselves.

an example of a day's pouch - strips are inside

i actually started this blog post back on december 1st so that i could keep a photo journal and comment log as the 28 days ticked by…on day one, i was most curious about what my teeth would look like on day 28! would there be a noticeable difference?

day one:

a regular pose...need more teeth!

a little better...

out to attack!!

day two: the instructions warn that you may experience sensitivity. i was a bit worried because when i’ve tried whitening toothpaste before, i’ve had to discontinue it due to sore gums. but the strips don’t bug me at all! and i love the fresh, minty, clean feeling after i use them!

day three: at stitch n kitsch, mom tells me my teeth are “glistening.” [does that mean they will be “blinding” by day 28?!].

day four:

is there a difference? can YOU see a difference?!

day five: this is the first morning where applying the white strips feels like part of my getting-ready routine. just like remembering to put on (tie-dyed) underwear and to comb my hair.

day six: dentist appt this aft! now my teeth will be even more sparkly, i hope! i tell my dentist how whitening toothpastes have made my gums and teeth feel sensitive but the strips do not bug me at all. he says there are so many chemicals (*nice*) in the pastes that the combo in the strips may omit one ingredient to which i have reacted, before.

day seven: it’s official – i’m addicted to that super-clean mouth feel, after removing the strips.

day eight:

is it the reflection off the turtleneck, or are we seeing more whiteness??!

hey, if you want a close up of the teeth, you're gonna get a view up my nose, too...

day nine: i was totally rushed this morning and flubbed the application of the strip onto my bottom teeth. so my upper choppers now have a +1 advantage.

day ten: i ♥ love ♥ this new experience!!!!

day eleven: i wear lipgloss to the carols + lessons service at church. let’s draw attention to the teeth! [maybe this project is not such a good thing – it’s encouraging me to be self-centred!].

day twelve:

i'm keeping the background and the time of day the same for each photo update so that the lighting is consistent

i'm getting more daring with the close-ups!

day thirteen: a bit of gum sensitivity on the upper right side – i just apply the top strip to avoid this section – problem solved, and it’s fine the next day.

day fourteen: a customer at the store has glaringly white teeth. i hope i do not stare – i think i talked to her teeth during her sales transaction. it’s on the tip of my tongue to ask how she got that gleam!

day fifteen: valumart will have the crest 3D strips on sale, 30% off, next week!! so tempting!…[i resist buying another round].

day sixteen:

blurry photo cuz i did something to the camera settings during my walk thru the park last eve - will fix asap!

[i am out of thoughts for the in-between picture days].

day twenty:

if we were holding up paint chip samples, i'd say we've moved a coupla shades down the line!

day twenty-four! (merry christmas!)

think we've plateau'd over the past few days...we do have whiter choppers for christmas, though!

day 28 (last day, boo hoo!):

here’s what the strips look like on your teeth:

all my teeth shots look like i am about to pounce on you. sorry!

and the final photo! as white as we’re going to get!…

twenty-eight days of daily applications later...

ok! now let’s go back to day one…

day one - just so you don't have to scroll up...

and again with day twenty-eight…

ta da!

and back to day one…joking!!

definitely a difference, eh?

CONS [get the negative out of the way first!]:


~environmentally unfriendly


~very easy to apply

~only requires five minutes per day

~did not irritate my gums or make my teeth sensitive to hot and cold

~i did see results

~lovely taste and do leave your mouth feeling very clean and fresh **this amazing clean feel is what i will miss most, truly.**

conclusion: would i buy whitestrips again? heck, yes! ->IF i feel like doling out the cash – the price is a significant limiting factor.

now i’ll be interested to see how long the added whiteness lasts!

let’s talk teeth! how often do you see your dentist (every six months), did you wear braces (yes, nine years), have you ever whitened your teeth? (i have now!).

new experience #37: watch “a charlie brown christmas”

on the twelfth day of december...

i know!!! who gets to be my age and hasn’t seen this christmas classic?? i am chagrined.

pause to reflect: we watched oodles of christmas specials, when we were kids: frosty, rudolph, grinchie…all these, and more, were holiday favourites. but never charlie brown! [i can only surmise my parents were not cb fans??]. and in school, in those final, high-energy days before christmas holidays, weary teachers would play christmas cartoons for the class – somehow, my teachers did not include charlie brown in the mix. [tangent: i do know the supporting characters – linus, lucy, snoopie, et al because i had a peanuts jigsaw puzzle when i was little].

so here we are, christmas 2011, and it’s time to see what “a charlie brown christmas” is all about.

dad pvr’d this classic for me last week (i fear mom and dad are going to start charging me an admission fee -> lotsa tv time at their place already this month! i’m thinking of pitching a tent in front of their home theatre system, and just watching all tv specials all the time).

friday eve, i snuggled into comfy sweats (not quite as cosy as the pajama sleepers with feet that we had as kids), and trundled over to the ‘rents.

all we were missing was the popcorn!

the eve’s tv viewing agenda: a charlie brown christmas and how the grinch stole christmas. might as well add on my favourite christmas show ever, while i’m already plopped in front of the tv!

we started with charlie brown.


right from the opening scenes and song (i DID recognize the song) i enjoyed it. what a delightful little story! we all laughed out loud, even, from the cuteness! i esp appreciated the inclusion of the biblical christmas story – that is rare, nowadays, and was interwoven into the storyline very effectively. also, the simple anti-commercialism and true-meaning-of-christmas messages are good reminders for kids.


my favourite character? lucy!


we all laughed at her bossiness and take-charge attitude…because i am lucy, lucy is me! at the end of the 30 minutes, i was all full of warm fuzzies. add a charlie brown christmas to my list of annual must-watch shows. i’d love to watch it with little e! she’d be all over the singing, dancing, and acting.


next, dad queued up the grinch…except he pvr’d the jim carey movie instead of the boris karloff cartoon! oops! luckily, grinchie is being shown about 37 times between now and xmas, so we are all set to tape it again, tonight.

and…i finished mitten #2 during charlie brown!

perfectly pumpkin-y!

it’s official: christmas knitting is finit-o.

i think.

what is your favourite christmas special? there was one the brother and i loved when we were kids called emmett otter’s jugband christmas that i have not seen on tv for years. on the other hand, i have adamantly refused to watch the little drummer boy for about 30 years – it is way too sad when the little lamb gets run over – i can’t handle it. in our teens, we started watching this version of a christmas carol, starring george c scott, or this musical version featuring albert finney, every year!

new experience #36: introduce mom to the wonders of stitch n kitsch

on the fifth day of december...

i have been to stitch n kitsch.

mom and i have been to craft shows.

mom and i have never been to stitch n kitsch!

on saturday, mom met me at the store at 4 p.m., at the end of my shift:

thanks, paul, for snapping our pic!

then, all we had to do was meander up king street, and we were at…

ever since i attended the spring show, i have been DYING to take mom to stitch n kitsch. and, we planned eons ago to utilize this shopping excursion for our december outing of the month!

i was so happy when i saw the show was on ’til 6 pm:

the saturday show ad/poster

we wouldn’t have to rush around – hopefully, two hours would suffice!

right inside the entrance - they sure know how to make me feel at home!

(yarns from studioloo)

we’d been inside about 47 seconds and walked two feet (seriously) when i spied a must-have purchase from black orchid designs:

the vendors with my....

retro 50's pin-up girls hair clips!!!

gah! these are so me. thanks, mom, for the treat!

remember how i couldn’t wait to get back to the king eddy for bread pudding? (which was a bust). well, ever since the spring, i have not been able to get the thought of the tie-dyed undies out of my head. we made a beeline to that booth…

at the next show, in the spring, i am totally getting the tank top...

...and i am now the proud owner of tie-dyed bikinis!

dance of joy!! thanks, mom! [yes, i am spoiled].

mom and i stuck to our tried ‘n’ true shopping method: a tour around the perimeter; a spin around the interior; a second circuit to catch what we missed the first time.

if i showed you everything over which we exclaimed, we’d miss christmas, this post would be so long. here are highlights:

christmas tree decs! a whole tree in handmade ornaments would so rock.

love those walnut pin cushions - and the trees look fresh out of a dr seuss book!

what captured my attention on this pottery bowl is the fine detailing of the tree branches. gorgeous.

i SHOULD have got a wooden tree for my collection - the small was only $6!

(from bearface design)

more ornaments! cardinals spotted!

handknit goods!

how adorable is this re-fashioned onesie? too bad the nieces are past this stage!

check out the unique rims on these mugs! it's unfortunate that i do not need a mug...

haha - how much more appealing is "jam" than "cream?!" what a creative marketing term!

and my zen moment of the day:

each necklace features a different a-ha-ish quote

on our second loop, mom made two purchases:

we cannot show what's in the bag!

i can only say that we picked up adorable, wearable surprises for little e and cutie c.

i had to snap a photo of sidney’s (chum chum press) cards. after my own christmas card making experiment, i have total respect and admiration for hand-designed paper creations!

love the clear and crisp designs!

mom bought a pack of notecards, and sidney graciously posed for the blog!

mom has a *thing* for paper goods -> a love which i inherited!

on our way out, i allowed myself to drool and linger over the yarns. then i spotted:

manly yarn??!

how hilarious!!! i love it! then, mr manspunyarns proposed a fantastic photo idea!

let's recreate the yarn label...in real life!

see, this is exactly why i love stitch n kitsch – for the omni-present humourous quirk factor. the whole vibe of the show just jives with my being.

i asked mom to provide a few words about her first stitch n kitsch; here’s what she had to say:

What a wonderful experience!  Cathy has been talking up the Stitch N Kitsch since she attended in the spring: “Mom, you so have to put it on your calendar.”  There were unique, and quirky, and delightfully artsy items, all demonstrating a fine-arts level of expertise.  We went through once, and found items we just had to get (e.g. tie-died undies.)  We went through twice and found items that somehow we had missed the first time.  Would I return?  In a heartbeat.  Already, I have  the spring dates tucked into the must-transfer-to-the-2012-calendar file.  I know that my favourite shopping partner will accompany me.

you betcha we’ll be back in the spring! and i’ll be wearing my undies and my hairclips!

holiday craft shows/bazzaars: what have you experienced? while one of a kind is totally impressive (over 800 vendors!), both mom and i find it rather overwhelming in scope -> we hit the wall of creative absorption before we get through even 1/3 of the offerings. stitch n kitsch is perfect: one hour’s worth of delightful goods to behold, right in our ‘hood. perfect.

new experience #35: make my own christmas cards!

on the second day of december...

so who thinks about next year’s christmas in january? me, that’s who!

making my own christmas cards was another of the kiki projects that i knew i wanted to do right when i dreamed up my 41 new experiences idea. and almost eleven months later, i finally got to put my plans into action!

step one: for the past few years, i’ve admired the ink + stamp gift cards, thank you cards, invitations etc that sil ana has created. i knew she had a whole kit of inks/stamp designs/doodads so i asked to borrow her supplies.

a box and a tin full o' fun! where to start?!

project error #1: due to our schedules, i did not have a chance to actually get a hands-on introduction to stamping from sil ana. i just collected the supplies and took them home. in retrospect, it would have been better to have ana show me the ropes before i began the cards because i had absolutely no clue as to that the heck i was doing. you will see what i mean in a minute!…

step two: i went over to michaels and bought my blank cards. i had thought i’d like to make about twenty cards – and they must all be unique designs! – and i was able to get a pack of 24 cards. perfect! i also could not resist picking up some embellishments. hey, everything (including the cards) was 40% off! groovy! [sidenote: i’ll point out, here, that my intention in making my own cards was NOT to save money. when all was said and done, it would have been cheaper to buy boxed cards – making my own cards was strictly to enjoy the artsy experience!].

day one:

i set up shop on the dining room table:

my michaels purchases...

some of sil ana's stamping stash...

my 24 cards - i love the two shades each of red + green to play with!

i decided to start with something simple:

ok, those look good!...

how about four more?

all right! that’s eight, and they look very nice…but they’re a bit B-O-R-I-N-G!! [ok, just conservative. i want pizzazz!]

time to dive into the stamping!!

i don’t have pictures of this part because it was all i could do to juggle ink + stamps + thinking creatively.

the good news is that i didn’t goof anything up too badly. however, by the time my kitchen counter looked like this…

i cleaned as i went along!...

…i was feeling a little disheartened. similar to my cake decorating efforts, the images in my head were not translating to the project. i decided to call it quits for day one after stickering and stamping sixteen cards (to various degrees of completion):

the fruits of my labours

step three: back to michaels! after two days of reflection, i concluded that i love stickering more than stamping. so i bought a few more stickery embellishments (at 40% off!) to finish up the cards:

sequins, snowflakes, baubles - now we're talkin'!

day two: i picked up with the sixteen cards that needed some oomph added to them.

for example:

before (ink stamped snowflakes)...

and after! (saved by the addition of snowflake stickers!)

ok, here’s a funny story: when we were little, and mom would bake cookies, there would usually be one or two cookies that turned out a little mis-shapen or squooshed. we called these cookies “gorps” – and they’d be the first ones eaten.

well, after day one, i had a “gorp” card that needed some serious help:

wah! amateur-level stamping at it's finest! notice the smudge by the big "E" and the lines by the "s" and the "!"

i bedazzled to the best of my ability in order to save the merry xmas gorp:

strategically placed sequinning!

upon whom will i inflict this poor card??? no one who reads the blog, that is for sure!

day two really was super-enjoyable. i got daring and hauled out the glitter, even!

glittering was not messy at all, really!

in the final analysis, i had a lot of fun with this project, and am pleased with the results (except for the gorp card). i will not be too embarrassed to send these cards out. i made twenty-four different cards, i got to putter around with art supplies, and i have christmas cards ready to use. will i do this project again? no! this is going to be a once-is-enough-just-fine experience!

here are the final results:

cards 1-6 (i kept the clean look although i did add sequins to "seasons greetings," there)

cards 7-12...

cards 13-18...

cards 19-24!

and my favourite four:

the snow theme rules!

the next step: address and mail/deliver the cards! i am excited because i like to match cards to the recipients’ personalities, so this will be extra fun, this year! (i usually send out about 40-50 christmas cards, and i have a box of regular, purchased cards to also use).

do you send out holiday cards? ever made your own? i started sending out my own cards when i was a teenager, and have never missed a year, since!

new experience #34: create organics bin origami

sometimes, i open the cupboard door of the storage space under the kitchen sink, and am almost knocked over by the icky smell that greets my nose. phew, what IS that stench??

there's the culprit!

oh, yea. when was the last time i changed the bag in the organics bin??….[at some point, i even showed you a gross photo of the contents of said organics bin – i won’t inflict that on you again, today…mainly because i can’t find the blog post with the photo – let’s just say it was quite a disgusting sight].

almost exactly one year ago, our condo building signed up to take part in a pilot project for green bins. i talked about the open house session they held for us here!

at that time, we received a slew of liner bags for the green bins:

but now there are only three left!

i’d say that our garbage waste was cut back by at least 50% once we started using the green bin. it’s awesome!

i don’t understand why i’m so lax about letting the green bin contents sit around. i’m generally neat and tidy, and keep an organized household…but this changing-of-the-green-bin bag is my achilles heel.

the problem is that the green bin bags are just too durable! with their heavy paper exterior…

they're even bilingual!

and plastic-like lined interior…

what is that material, then, if it's not plastic??

…they never leak, so i just keep dumping in the green refuse ’til the bag is overflowing full!

we received a whole kit of instructions and suggestions with the green bin. one sheet of paper showed that you could make your own bin liners – organics origami!

pictures + written instructions? this should be no sweat!

you can find these very same instructions online here (it’s a video – super ez!).

[tangent: did anyone else fold newpaper hats and boats when they were little? like curious george?!!]


i thought of saving this artsy-craftsy folding project to do as a new experience way back last november…especially after i saw the price of the liner bags at valumart.

so, this new experience is a win-win situation, all around. i get to do a craft project; i get a replenished supply of liner bags out of the deal; the liner bags will be less sturdy and therefore need changing more often; and i save money!

this week, thanks to the plethora of newspapers gracing my abode…

that's only one day's worth, thanks to inheriting papers from both my neighbour and mom & dad!

…i decided it was the perfect time for the green bin bag project.

i put on a little christmas music z103.5 as background entertainment, and got to folding.

[working, working, folding, working…]

i determined that ten bags would be a fair number, both to have on hand (don’t want to have too many in case they suck) and to qualify as justifiable new experience.

ta da!

they're certainly more colourful!

and they fit! (not actually using one yet. the current bag has lotsa days left in it!)

that was very fun! after ~three bags, i didn’t even need to reference the directions, and was a wild folding machine.

once i use a few of the bags, i’ll update you on how they work. will there be a difference between using the globe and mail vs the k-w record? (the globe paper is better quality).

i’m betting the origami liner bags will need changing every 24 hours. maybe this will teach me new habits, and eventually i’ll be able to use store-bought liner bags in a responsible manner!

so, where do the green bin bags go when we empty them? well, there are humungous green bins into which all of us residents can all dump our smelly paper bags:

think of all the garbage space we're saving!

haha, check out the note that the supers had to leave on the bins:

can't believe they actually had to state that in writing

how gross, eh? dog poop in the green bin? that would really stink!!

just how artsy-craftsy are YOU?! knitting is my #1 form of creative expression, but i do like to piddle around with making birthday cards, wrapping presents creatively. i’ve used a glue gun once in my life…and mom and i took a bow-making course one evening – one hit wonders, both of those events.


you have until 1:14 p.m. e.s.t. TODAY to enter the 500th blog post celebration giveaway!


november thankfulness:

(for friday november 11): yesterday i was thankful for remembrance day, and that we take the time to acknowledge those who have fought for our country, and also those who are peacekeepers. i am also thankful to have never had to experience war myself, and for the freedom and peace we enjoy in canada.

new experience #33: decorate for christmas before remembrance day!

at no other time during the year am i as anal hyped about maintaining tradition as i am at christmas. when to decorate, when to send out cards, the way we hand out and open presents at family celebration time, the cookies we mom bakes, putting up window art with the girls, going for a festive walk with bff debbie – you get the picture. i’m pretty hardcore about keeping things the same.

this past weekend, when the jail got a clean-out, a brilliant thought struck me for a new experience…i could decorate for christmas before it’s even remembrance day!! yes! i DO agree with you that it is zany and wayyyy early to put up the red and green…but, after all, if starbucks can do it…

i think s'bux decorated the day after hallowe'en!

and write impressions is ready to go…

the tree got its finishing touches last week...

why not join in the festive fun that is already out in full force?

besides, i  ♥ love ♥ my christmas decorations. and it’s truly sad that they can only be on display for such a short period of time each year.

over many years now, my established tradition (you can read about last year’s decorating extravaganza here) has been to deck my halls the last weekend of november. this year, that weekend is going to be a busy one, though, because dad will be celebrating a special birthday number, and we have a couple of family things already on the schedule.

[i had the great idea all planned out to do a before and after sequence of photos, today…then, in linking back to last year’s post, i see i kinda did the same idea, then…so either don’t read last year’s post, or just humour me with my repetitiveness!].

yesterday morning, i fa-la-la’d around the condo casa. as always, puttering around with my decorating was a time of pure happiness – every year, i am filled with the same gleeful feelings as i go about this favourite tradition.

first, i ran around and took my before photos. as you will see in the series below, i like a clean, minimalist look. but at christmas?? i do a complete 180 – there cannot be too much of a good (christmas) thing!

follow along and we’ll do the before and after tour:


main room windows

ikea couch

dining room table

kitchen (i tidied up a little, haha!)

foyer/front hall

front hall closet

downstairs washroom

stairs going upstairs

that’s the grand tour! i don’t do any xmas decorating upstairs, except for festive towels in the master bath – they’re in last year’s post, if you really want to see ’em!

and now….AFTERS!

the stained glass angel is very special - it was my grandpa c's. i keep it low because it fell off one year! it cracked but did not break!

ceramic tree ('twas grandma c's!) + manger scene + advent calendar - all long-time favourites

cream couch - perfect backdrop for festive colour! i knit the blanket many, many years ago

only the candle is on the table as that is where christmas cards get displayed!

a cookie cutter copy of last year, i do believe!

grandma c gave me that fold out card of the christmas story in 1973!

please don't actually use the hand towels, ok?!

traditional spot for my braided wreath!

not artistic at all, but the jingle bell MUST hang from that door knob!

et c’est tout!

[sidenote: my christmas décor will never make the pages of a stylish home magazine…but sentimental value and fond memories trump grandiosity, in my book].

condo rules dictate that front door wreaths may only be put up after december 1st. so, this photo is a demonstration only!

it's a homespun look for the front door!

is it too early to break out the holiday music?

my christmas cd's - a mix of everything from traditional choral music to a starbucks holiday collection

mom made these felt wiseman when i was a toddler – i want to put them out, but don’t know how to hang them – help!

mom, you were so crafty!

so, i can check “decorate for christmas” off the seasonal to do list! i hope to do another new experience related to the holidays – if time permits!


november thankfulness:

(for tuesday november 8): yesterday i was thankful for a flexible work schedule. i started work at 4 pm which left me oodles of time to indulge in putting out my christmas cheer when i was really in the mood to do so.

when do you decorate for the holidays? while i always get everything up by the end of november, i am adamant about putting everything away again on boxing day. i will stick with that tradition this year!

new experience #32: attend the oktoberfest parade, live

wow and wow.

that’s all there is to say about the weather this thanksgiving weekend. simply spectacular!

the view from the condo casa window yesterday morning - the trees in the park are primo right now

i had been on the fence about whether or not i wanted to go to the oktoberfest parade yesterday morning. but when i considered the weather, i realized it could be another 20 years before it would be sunny, warm, clear, wonderful on a thanksgiving monday morning. cuz who wants to stand in rain and wind to watch a parade? not i! so, i decided this was the year. [have to say, the thought that i could include the parade as a new experience was a deciding factor].

picture-perfect morning!

i am a parade fan. every year, dadster and i sit down to watch the rose bowl parade together on new year’s day. i sincerely know of no one else who enjoys parade viewing except for us! i don’t know how you cannot enjoy bands, floats, happy people clapping your hands?!

when i was little, we sometimes went to the santa claus parade. i have a very clear memory of being three years old, and standing with dad outside the mutual life building. the last time i saw the santa parade live and in-person was when an ex-bf and i took little cousins kate and joel to see it. the only thing i remember about that outing was that it was so cold we ended up putting mittens on kate’s feet to help warm her up!

so why have i never gone to the oktoberfest parade? well, growing up, our family was not at all into oktoberfest. back in the 70’s, this bavarian festival was little more than a drunken slosh-fest. we stayed far away. in the ensuing years, the organizers have made oktoberfest increasingly family-friendly. [may i remind you that our oktoberfest is the biggest in north america!].

in the seven years that the condo casa has been home, i’ve never gone to the parade, which is kind of silly since the route is literally three minutes from home. no driving, no parking hassles, it couldn’t get easier. plus, it starts at 8:30 a.m. – perfect for this early bird!

i left home at 8:25 a.m. the parade begins at the corner of king & erb streets – right by the store! i decided to find a spot just past willis way, very near the start.

great sightline! the route was already packed with people on lawnchairs, on blankets...and tons of him horton's coffees and donuts in hand!

i took a shitload ton of photos during the parade. since chances are that you are not a parade fan, i’ve heavily edited my pics, and will share just enough (hopefully) to give you a taste of the fun. [fyi – this parade was also broadcast on ctv – it’s quite a big deal as far as parades go].

and so it begins!...

i appreciated how they had a sign like that one, above, before each float or marching band, to let you know the name of the entry.

marching bands are my favourite - i like the formality of attire, the precision of the stepping, and the upbeat musical 4/4 time!

inflatable onkel hans, the oktoberfest mascot!

[i always think of our friend, brian when i see onkel hans – he used to take on an annual gig of dressing up as onkel hans for public appearances during oktoberfest. we teased him a lot about this since he wasn’t really the ho ho ho, jolly type!].

there’s a contest for the best float – in keeping with the times, you can vote by texting the number that appears on the float.

loved the autumn leaves on this one!

i expected more clowns – guess i was thinking of the santa claus parade…


…not that i mind a lack of clowns – i was scared as a child, and have not been a fan ever since.

the parade route is about 5-6 km long. imagine carrying this…


or this…

string bass

…for that long! i give them credit.

there were local dignitaries:

miss oktoberfest

the mayor of kitchener (i only include him because i went to high school with his daughter - she was a year ahead of me) plus he is of menno background!

in keeping with my photo montages from the jazz and busker festivals…

buddy, can you spare a photo for my blog???

horses were a bit hit with all the kids:

happily, didn't see or smell any plop-plops!


each of the local german clubs was represented…

one of the most established of the clubs

…and participants were decked out in traditional garb:

not sure if this is a true dirndl???

the parade was well thought out with a float then a band then some horses then an inflatable etc.



funny man!

i hadn’t decided if i’d commit to staying to the end or not. but 1.5 hours in, i pretty much had experienced enough…as had many around me. kids were growing whiny, parents impatient (time for more coffee, no doubt). i thought it good timing to leave after this inflatable:

representing the kitchener rangers - yahoo! reminder - i need to get to a game this season!

…and less than five minutes later, i was back at home. i’m really glad i went to the parade – it made thanksgiving monday feel like a true holiday. the overall vibe i walked away with was a real sense of community: seeing the oodles of spectators who came out, the local people on the floats, everyone there for a common purpose and just enjoying the day. it was a good, good new experience.

parades: fan or not? if so, what do you most enjoy seeing? you can be sure i’m jazzed about watching the rose bowl parade again on january 1st!