Monday, April 20, 2009

To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.- Cicero

I found something that makes me absolutely giddy yesterday! But let’s not begin there. First off, I finished Syrie James’ The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen last week and I really enjoyed it! I’ve never been a fan of those books that continue Jane Austen’s novels and stories, but this was different and highly readable. It was exciting to read what may have been and it was nice to imagine that Austen had a passionate love affair that inspired the emotion in her novels (who knows? It really could be true). I’m currently reading Pride and Prejudice again (after reading James’ book I was in serious need of a Jane Austen fix) and am still reading Elizabeth Waterston’s book whenever the mood strikes. I also picked up a copy of After Green Gables: L.M. Montgomery’s Letter to Ephraim Weber, 1916-1941 by Hildi Froese Tiessen and Paul Gerard Tiessen on Saturday ($4.99 at BMV!) and have been thumbing through that. Why do I persist on reading three or more books at a time?! It’s baffling and I always feel like I’m not making good enough progress through them. Oh well, at least there’s always something around that I want to read when certain moods strike.

Alex and I rented a few movies this weekend and I must say that all of them kept my attention. On Friday night we watched Tropic Thunder; I thought it was really funny and the way that they filmed some of the scenes (especially the ones where they were trying to make it look like a serious movie) were beautiful. I love Ben Stiller and Jack Black and Jay Beruchel (who I’ve adored since I first saw him on Numb3rs; and he’s Canadian!) but Robert Downey Jr. totally stole the movie; he was amazing and hilarious!

Yesterday, we rented Enchanted and Slumdog Millionaire. Enchanted was tons of fun (Disney will always be in my heart); I loved the concept and all of the songs. Even Alex was smiling and laughing through the “That’s How You Know” number in Central Park. I most enjoyed trying to figure out which scenes were based on scenes from Disney animated classics. We watched Slumdog Millionaire last night and it was really well-done. There were definitely some really painful moments, but the whole thing was just superb (story, filming, acting, etc). I don’t want to give anything away as many people may not have had the opportunity to see it yet, but just one last thing: I loved the closing Bollywood dance number!

On Saturday, when Alex was out having dinner with some friends, I watched Penelope again! It is one of my favourite movies and I would really recommend it to everyone. The story is so great, and the colour and creativity of the whole thing are amazing!

Now, on to the good stuff! Yesterday morning Alex and I went to the St. Lawrence Antiques Market (across the street from St. Lawrence Market and happens every Sunday). I really have a good time every time I go; even when I can’t afford to buy some of the things I want, it’s just nice to go and look at everything and dream. I usually go to look for books, and vintage linens and fabric. Literally the first box of books I went through held exactly what has been making me giddy for over 24 hours now. I found a first copy of Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery…and it has its dust jacket! Here’s the front cover:

It’s not in the greatest condition, but the guy sold it to me for $3.00! He said that it wasn’t about the money, he just wanted to make the box lighter. Now that’s my kind of seller! I’m just so happy and even though the dust jacket is a little beat-up, the book itself is tight, and just looking at it makes me smile. Here’s a picture of the frontispiece (see how nice it is!):

I want to see if I can find someone in Toronto who will put the dust jacket into a Mylar cover for me. I’m a little scared to do it myself since there are little pieces trying to come off. It was really hard to take pictures of the cover and frontispiece since the background of both pictures is silver and the flash kept glaring; it wasn’t working out so well when I tried to do it without the flash (and my hands kept shaking too). Maybe I should take some pictures of my 1917 Anne of Avonlea to share with everyone; that could be fun!

I’m just waiting for my shipment of fabric to come from Quilt Home, hopefully it will arrive tonight and then I can share some pictures of that too (oh, and my butterflies from Lolly)! Nothing much more to say really other than that I hope everyone is having a great Monday (even though it is gross, gray, and rainy here). I will be spending the evening with my bestest friend Evan, watching some America’s Next Top Model and eating Chinese (because I am no model)!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.- Pablo Picasso

Last night, Alex and I went to his parents’ house for Passover. The food was great (his Mum can definitely cook!), I especially loved the lamb. We had a good time, but I was very tired by the time we got back to Toronto. We also signed the lease on our new apartment yesterday and we’re both super-excited to move in; I think it will be great. Our apartment is in an old mansion called Chadwick House and I may just have to refer to it as Chadwick House from now on (in lieu of “our apartment”) or maybe I’ll give it a nickname like Chaddy or Wickie. I just love the thought of living in a house that has a name (that may be a little L.M. Montgomery nostalgia).
Tonight we are going out for Lesley's birthday. I bought her a book called The Little Black Dress: How to Make the Perfect One for You by Simon Henry. She's just started taking a sewing class and I wanted to get her a book that would be a source of inspiration.

I also made her a little stuffed chick in honour of her birthday being so close to Easter and will be making her a card tonight. I'm also making my Mum a couple of chicks for Easter and hopefully when they're all done I'll be able post a picture of the happy chick family. I got the free pattern from Jojoebi Designs and am planning on enlarging it for at least one of them.

I stumbled across a very cool blog on Tuesday via Living Locurto; it's called Just Something I Made and it's written by a lady named Cathe Holden. I'm really enjoying her blog so far; she talks quite a bit about crafting in a fun way and is really great at explaining things in her tutorials. One of the things that I really enjoy is her page of free blog gadgets. Three of the gadgets I have on my page were made by her (she's also a graphic designer); those would be the email gadget, the Twitter gadget, and the older posts gadget at the bottom of the page. She has a lot of them in a ton of different styles, and I had a ton of fun deciding which ones to use. I especially love the little email one because it looks like stitching. You should definitely go and check her out, even if you don't need blog gadgets; just go and read her great blog!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Recipe Box Swap: Chicken Cacciatore

swap blogpost

Ya, it's Recipe Box Swap time again! This month's theme is pasta. Many people might consider this recipe I'm sharing to be more of a chicken recipe, but it also has pasta (and the sauce alone without the chicken makes a great accompaniment to pasta). I'm really proud of this recipe; it's one that I came up with myself a couple of years ago and I think it's pretty darn tasty! I usually don't measure when I cook this, so the measurements for the spices, etc. are really just my best guesstimates. Also remember that I'm Canadian, so some of my measurements are metric. Please feel free to let me know if you think I've omitted anything (I just wrote up the recipe this morning). Without further ado, here you go!

Kaye’s Chicken Cacciatore


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
10-15 button mushrooms, quartered (about one cup)
1 medium/large red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 medium green zucchini, roughly chopped
1 28 fl oz can of stewed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ cup red wine (optional)
1 tsp sugar
½ tbsp dried basil
½ tbsp dried oregano
dash of nutmeg
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 900g package of linguine or fettuccine (I usually use whole wheat)

Heat oil in large skillet and brown chicken on all sides (about 10-15 minutes). Remove chicken from skillet and set aside (keep warm if possible, I usually store it in the microwave).

Sauté onions, garlic and mushrooms in the same skillet until onions are tender.

Add all remaining ingredients, except pasta, to skillet, mix well, and bring to a boil, reduce heat. Return chicken to skillet (try to make sure that it’s completely covered by the tomato and vegetable mixture). Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and chicken is heated (and cooked) through. Adjust seasoning to taste. Cook pasta while skillet mixture is simmering.

Serve chicken and vegetable mixture over pasta, serves 4-6 people.

I hope you enjoy!