My vintage obsession

Ok, I’m lying in bed, exhausted from my first week back to work after my Christmas vacation. So why am I blogging, you ask? Cause I could be doing other things. Things like sleeping, even. But I’ve decided I should share something with you, gentle readers, before I plain forgot.

Soooooo. . . I just watched the first episode of season 2 of Sherlock (!!!!!!), in which there were some seriously cool vintage-style fashions modeled by the lovely Irene Adler character.

Like this one:

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(Source: Addicted to Media)

Which is apparently the Illusion-Bolero Sheath dress from Alexander McQueen. So 40s and gorgeous. Very Hollywood heyday.

And this one:

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(Source: Fashioned for the Geek)

You can’t see it super-well (or at all. Sorry about that) but that one is a stunner. Modern details with classic silhouettes, how can you go wrong?? It seems to be another take on the classic sheath dress, but with a beautifully detailed neckline. I wish I could find a better picture of it somewhere. . .

But, to get to a point of some sort, this is feeding into a newly revived obsession with vintage, and vintage-style clothing. See, I’m starting to follow sewing blogs (like Adventures in Dressmaking, and A Dress A Day, both of which are awesome! Go to my blog roll if you’re interested in checking them out. Or, just go anyway, cause they’re awesome!!). And since my party dress challenge this fall when I learned that I hadn’t lost my sewing skills, I decided that I will try to start making more clothing for myself. Cause 1) I can choose what fabrics to use, 2) I can choose what patterns to use, and 3) I can alter the pattern during the sewing stage to fit me perfectly (and thus develop a repertoire of patterns I can use multiple times with great ease). Plus, with my love of high quality fabrics and finishing, doing it myself will probably end up costing me a whole lot less than what a ready-made dress of equivalent quality would run. Patterns vary from 4$-50$ (for good condition vintage), you generally use 3-4 yards (or less) of fashion fabric and 2-3 of lining, and you can get some really good deals now with online stores from 3$-20$ a yard, which I think is more than reasonable. Zippers, bias tape, and other notions are generally negligible costs in the long run (I can get 500m spools of Gutenberg thread for a few bucks, and they last for multiple projects). So material costs would generally come under 200$ easily. I won’t get into value of my time, cause hey, I’m getting a fucking dress or whatever out if the deal! How easy do you think it would be to find a well-made vintage (in good wearing condition) or vintage-style dress that would fit a “generous” figure like mine?? And if the vintage is even in my size, what are the odds I’ll find good vintage styles that I’d actually want to wear?? So far I haven’t found any anywhere. There are companies like Bettie Page Clothing that are styling modern clothing on retro styles. But I’d like to choose the styles, not just from the styles someone else has chosen to make. The sheer number of patterns out there means that I can fairly easily find a great pattern that is very close to what I’m looking for.

And, there’s the satisfaction of making your own clothes to consider. Cause it’s quite its own peculiar kind of high – I made this!!! It’s actually very similar to knitting a sweater for me. You slog through the uninteresting process of creation, cause well, it’s not a fun activity in itself for me, and you slog through the problems that inevitably arise, and in the end you have this garment you made that someone can actually wear! How cool is that??!?!!!

Pretty damn cool, I say!

So, an ongoing project for this year is to collect patterns and fabric, and start building my new career-woman wardrobe. Though. Not pants. I’ll continue to leave that one to the professionals. To that end, I’ve begun to search (and order. . .) through McCall’s and Simplicity, et al. for patterns new and vintage reprints, as well as through the vintage sellers, for actual vintage patterns. I might even get into eBay at some point as another vintage pattern search option. And there’s the awesome Vintage Pattern Wiki that is collecting all the different vintage pattern info, for posterity. It is a perfect place to search for styles I like, silhouettes that would be great, all the possibilities!

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be showing off some new awesome threads sometime in the not too distant future. . .

Anyroad. I think, Dear Internet, that it is time to fall asleep. Cause, damn but I’m tired. Maybe I’ll even be able to sleep in past 8. . .

Good night, Dear Internet! I hope you have exciting plans you’re working to bring to fruition 🙂 And to help bring sweet dreams to you as you fall asleep, I leave you with this:

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(Source: holligenet.tumbler)

Not as sexy as Irene’s I’m-going-to-be-naked-for-a-whole-effing-scene thing, but vastly more amusing . . . Night night!!

One more things. . .

I almost forgot!!!

I have one more area in which I’d like to resolve to be the best me I can be:

6) Procrastination Issues? What Procrastination Issues??

– try to stop putting things off in the hopes that they will magically do themselves. Cause they end up either getting massively horrible to accomplish, or good opportunities fizzle into nothng. Both of which suck. Massively. So, stop it. Dumbface.

– post to the blog more often. Cause I keep meaning to, but having a nap is so much more enticing.

– be better about finishing projects once started, and starting projects that need to be accomplished in a timely manner

That’s it, for now. Over and out!

Hey 2012, what’s up?

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(Source: Nerd Boyfriend)

So. Do I have your attention now?

No? How about now??

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(Source: Who Is Matt Smith? )

Well, now that sexy men have gotten your attention, Dear Internet, I’ll get to my post. Which doesn’t actually have a whole lot to do with those images. Sexy as they are. . . Though, to be fair, I should probably even things out with some sexy woman action too. Just to be fair.

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(Source: Karen Gillan’s InStyle photoshoot

It’s a new year, and everyone’s getting all revved up about making resolutions and turning over a new leaf. Cause, you know, an arbitrary date management cycle has recommenced? Usually my resolution is that I won’t make any resolutions, cause it’s kind of a sham and hooey and they never get kept cause nobody ever makes really realistic goals for themselves. And then there are the tears and recriminations and apathy, and why start that vicious cycle when I only just jumped off the last one? Not that I’m a cynic or anything. But this year, something’s different. I’m at the cusp of making some changes in my life, and it just so happens that I want to start these changes now, at the turn of a new year. New Year’s Resolutions Bandwagon, you are being jumped upon by me, finally.

Grouped into a few areas, here are my goals for this new year:
1) Manage Money Like an Adult, dumbface
– don’t use the credit card as a crutch, if you can’t afford it, don’t go for it
– pay off the little bit of debt I’ve accumulated
– start actually saving money
– develop a proper budget

I’m planning on finally moving out sometime this year, so I really think I should buckle down and become an adult about money. Like now.

2) Get Healthy.
– start the process to diagnose a potential health issue I’ve been dealing with for the past six months
– develop a regular exercise schedule
– plan on changing some food habits, develop a healthy diet plan (where “diet” = the food I eat, not fad self-denial/starvation plan. Cause that shit won’t work for me)
– hike more. Lots more. And try to be more active in general

As I say above, I’ve been having some minor health issues since I finally got a job last spring. I guess the release of all the pent up stress of the two years previous messed up my system even more than I’d thought. And, having spoken with my doctor briefly about what’s going on, she agreed that we should definitely do some (wheeee. . .) testing and get to the bottom of things. And part of the treatment for the condition I might have developed include diet changes and increased activity. Which I wanted to do anyway. So. Win-win?

Now, what does this mean about my baking obsession?? Well, I’ll probably not change a whole lot, cause the things I bake, I bake them for other people. I’ll just have to pretty much not eat most things. And, I’ll probably start playing with new recipes, to test substitution options, and test the Healthy Baking Waters. But let me reassure you all now, there will still be pounds of butter. Cause, sorry margarine enthusiasts, it’s just better.

3) Make Decisions About Things That Have Been Pissing Me Off (finally)
– specifically, decide what I’m going to do about my choir issues. So there will be much research on choirs going on in the next few months
– find a decent paying Sunday choir gig, if possible. Cause I’m sick and tired of feeling like my opinion is invalid because I’m just-a-volunteer
– think about singing lessons, when I have more money at my disposal

4) Plan the Next Step, Career-wise
– start résumé revisions, cover letter writing, etc. well ahead of my contract ending
– start trolling job listings and job boards soonish
– think about where I really want to end up, and how each job I do apply to will help me achieve my goals in my career

5) Take the Time to Art
– use some of my cherished me-time to go back to sketching and painting
– play with new media, and mixing medias
– work on getting my technique back up to snuff, cause I’m feeling a bit rusty
– think about art classes, when I have some income to burn
– play with my craft obsessions and see how far I can push them into my art. Specifically, work on developing my own knitting patterns

During my vacation after Christmas, I worked on my first actual art project in YEARS. A friend of mine, with whom I have been lamenting letting our passion for our arts go in the name of practicality, challenged me to make something for her for Christmas. Well, being one effing-super-busy lady, I couldn’t do it in time for Christmas, so it became a post-Christmas project. And it felt good to be painting again. No, let me rephrase: it felt GREAT!! I’m about half done, so there’s more to do, but I’ve been putting off working on it a little because I don’t want it to be over. I guess I’m starting to realize just how big a whole I’d dug out of my heart when I decided to give all this up. So it’s time to start patching up that gaping hole, I guess.

I wish I could say I know it’ll all work out great. But I’m a confirmed pessimist and I’m not naive. But I can say right now that I am going to put everything into this, which is something I’ve avoided almost my whole life, and that’s both daunting and exhilarating. There are things at stake now!! I guess this is what it feels like to not be depressed? If so, I think I like it!!

I just read a great article about the physiological issues that might be at play in problems with maintaining weight loss. A lot of which makes good sense to me, especially since I watched my mom go through the whole crash-diet-massive-weight-loss-then-incremental-weight-gain thing my whole life. And I guess I could be discouraged since I’m likely to have to work hard at maintaining any weight loss I do accomplish, but it’s really nice to know that at least part of my overweight-ness can potentially be attributable to forces not entirely under my control. It’s kind of freeing, really. I’m also looking at the Mediterranean diet as inspiration for my new food resolutions.

Well. Anyroad, I think I’ve yammered long enough about this. Time to get back to work, Dear Internet!!

Any new resolutions this year for you, Dear Internet??

One last Christmas-related post

Ok. It’s January 3rd. 2012 has officially begun. And I have one more thing to say about Christmas.

Sooooo. You might have noticed my absence the last few weeks, Dear Internet, which was due to my overwhelming schedule. Especially my overwhelming baking schedule. So Imma gonna talk at you about my heaps o cookies!!!

I decided to take the bulk of the week before x-mas off in order to do all that x-mas baking. Cause I wasn’t going to not do my massive x-mas bake-a-thon. No sirree!!

The three days before Christmas I baked 10 kinds of baked good. Ten batches of sweets. !!!!!!!! Cause I’m nuts. I was even planning on down-sizing my baking this year. Apparently not. Also, though I have no photographic evidence currently, I made Christmas cakes with my mom this year. But, like, weeks before Christmas. So for some reason I keep forgetting about them. . .

Let’s get to the crazy then, shall we?

In no particular order:

1) Gingerbread!

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A traditional and perennial favourite!

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2) Traditional shortbread

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With a twist, of course. I used dark brown sugar in this one. Cause it tastes even more awesome. And I used the shortbread mold my dad picked up (sooooooo much easier than rolling out and cutting cookies). Though next time I won’t make such huge bricks of shortbread

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3) Nutmeg Maple Butter cookies (from, where else?, Smitten Kitchen – a new favourite)

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Like, a week before I start my baking I have to come across this post on my most favouritest of blogs. AND I HAD TO HAVE IT!! The Christmas cookie fever was officially upon me. And damn, but these are stupidly tasty cookies. I know everyone hearts the pants off the apple pie cookies from the same (AWESOME) blog, but these are my absolute favourites!!

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4) Toblerone shortbread

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Do I need to justify this for you, Dear Internet? Or can we all just agree that this is necessary?

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Awwwwwww yiiiiiiissssssssssss.

5) Ginger shortbread

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Cause I lurve the ginger. Also, it’s a stupidly simple recipe (from this book) from Donna Hay, the Australian answer to Martha. Definitely recommend this one. And you can flavour it whichever way you like best.

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6) Apple pie cookies

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These were such a hit from my fearless leader’s birthday party, that they had to make a near-immediate reprise. Super-fiddly to make, but oh so worth it!!

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7) Honey Lavender shortbread

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I don’t remember exactly where I got the idea for honey shortbread, but I just had to have some for x-mas! And let me tell you, substituting honey for sugar makes shortbread mighty fine. And lavender? Why not?? It’s floral fragrance works very well with honey. Definitely adding this to the repertoire!

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8) Spitzbuben

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These are straight from my childhood. My mom used to make them, before I stopped letting her do the baking. . . And they’re from her childhood in Germany. It means, from what I understand, “naughty boys”, and they’re delicious sandwich cookies made with lemony shortbready dough and raspberry jam. And you poke out three holes on top to make a screaming face-looking arrangement. Like only the Germans would come up with. Though, what do you expect from a culture that came up with “schadenfreude”?? More awesomeness, that’s what!!

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<eeeeeeeeekkkkkk!!!!!!> and soooooo tasty!

9) Rugalach

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These are from Bonnie Stern‘s Cuisinart cookbook, sadly out of print (or maybe her second Cuisinart cookbook? I forget which. Are there even two of them???). If you’re not Canadian, you probably don’t know who she is, but she was pretty big in the Toronto food scene at least. These have a flaky cream cheese-based dough, tart jam, and a cinnamon/hazelnut/cocoa/brown sugar filling that literally makes the best cinnamon toast EVAR. Cause there are always leftovers. . . And only partly because I make too much in the first place in order to ensure leftovers. Only partly.

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And last, but not least,
10) Mincemeat Tarts

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I make my own mincemeat (of course), from a recipe handed down through my paternal grandmother’s family (I think. It’s definitely from the English side of my family tree), full of raisins, and currents (which technically are just a different kind of raisin. Weird), apple, spices, and, well, beef suet. Not my favourite, but it gets the job done. I make a pâte brisée for the dough (with butter, of course), which is easy to make and work with. And they is tasty. I ran out of mincemeat this Christmas, so next time around I have to make a new batch :D. Some of which I’ve promised to a friend of mine. Can’t wait! I love using the meat grinder!!

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Aside from the massive amount of tasty treats, it was a lovely lovely Christmas this year (despite some minor issues I won’t discuss here) full of family and friends and goodwill towards my fellow man, some of which was contributed to a last-minute getaway to a cottage nicely north of the city. And I hope you had a lovely time too, Dear Internet. Happy New Year!!

Let’s see what 2012 has to dump on our heads. . .

One reason why spinach is AWESOME

In the midst of all the knitting, singing, and preparing for Christmas, I had a cooking (is making a dip cooking??) project: this week it was the Quintet’s turn to provide tasty treats for our after-service wine and cheese shindig. Yay!! We always have fun bringing tasty snacks for everyone to eat 😀

Now, before all you spinach-haters go “Why did you do something with spinach?????” I have to let you know – spinach, it is awesome. It Is super-tasty AND highly nutritious! Both things make my taste buds (and thighs) happy. I know spinach can be a contentious issue, so I just want you to know, Dear Internet, that you’d be crazy to hate spinach. That is all.

Now to my spinach dip!! Ok, so you should know that as much as I lurve the spinach, I usually quite dislike the usual spinach dips you find. You know, the ones that are mostly mayonnaise and effing water chestnuts?? (just so you know, I think water chestnuts are among the most disgusting food items you could stick in your mouth and chew on. . . But I digress) They’re heavy, rich, bland, and above all boring. Also, in about 90% of the recipes I looked at when planning my version, the flavouring consisted of powdered onion or leek soup mix. Powdered. Soup. Mix.

Blech 😛

Now. Back when spinach dip became popular, in the 70s?? maybe??, I’m thinking that these soup mixes might have actually been made of food, originally, before the powdering process. Have you tried one of these things lately??? Cause they gross now. Maybe they always were, don’t really know. It’s nothing but chemically saltiness now. And two things I dislike in my foodstuffs are chemicalliness and saltiness. Just saying. . . So it wasn’t until I found this recipe that I was actually inspired and started really thinking about what I’d like to do for my version.

I don’t mind creaminess, in fact it can be amazing, but it needs a balance. For me, food can’t just be creamy, I like some flavour in there too. So aside from creaminess and spinach, what makes a good spinach dip, you ask? Well, there’s a reason they tell you to use those onion soup mixes, you know. So, Wednesday afternoon after I got home from work, I whipped up a batch of some of the tastiest spinach dip I’ve had in ages. And everyone told me how tasty they thought it was, so I think that’s a success for Katie’s mad culinary skillz. Also, I have no photo of this tasty dip, cause it got all eated up, and I didn’t think to snap a few pics while putting it together. Sad face.

So here’s the first recipe I made up to go up here. So excite!!

Katie’s Tasty Tasty Spinach Dip

ingredients
2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, excess water removed (squeeze the spinach in a towel over your sink after it’s been thawed!!)
1 medium avocado, peel and seed removed
1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 or 5 green onions, whites and greens, chopped as finely as you desire
1 clove garlic, minced as finely as possible
3/4 cup light sour cream
3/4 cup Greek-style plain yoghurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise (olive oil mayo works nicely here)
1 package light cream cheese, softened (don’t get the fat free stuff, cause it’s just gross)
Spices and seasoning to taste: Cayenne, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder. Don’t be stingy here – this dip can deal with a LOT of flavour. Start with small amounts and build them up until you have a good balance.
1 large round loaf of either pumpernickel or sour dough, hollowed out into a bowl and the insides cubed
A variety of fresh veggies, for dipping

procedure
Get a nice big bowl and dump your chickpeas and avocado in it. Get a potato masher or fork and go to town until you have a fairly smooth paste. Don’t worry if you think the colour is funny, this gets hidden forthwith. A splash of lemon or lime juice now would work really nicely as well as reduce browning, if you care about that a lot. Next, break up the cream cheese into the bowl and mix it in thoroughly. The mashers does this quite well. If you like a thinner dip, feel free to add only half the package. Add the yoghurt, cream cheese, and mayo and mix all that in. Next go in the onion and garlic and mix this all in well. Add the first wave of spices, and taste how things are going. Adjust balance to your tastes. Now add the spinach and mix it all together. Taste again and add spices until you get a good balance of flavours. I added probably (at least) 2 teaspoons of cayenne (because I wasn’t sure of everyone’s spice tolerances, feel free to add as much as you like!), 3 of the smoked paprika, 2 each of cumin and coriander, and 1-2 of garlic powder. I forget how much freshly cracked black pepper I put in, probably at least a teaspoon.

An now you have a tasty spinach dip to share!!

I hope you enjoy my tasty spinach dip, Dear Internet!!

I hate you, Internet Explorer

I was totally in the middle of writing you an awesome post on my tasty spinach dip, Dear Internet, when my internet totally crapped out on me here.

Ok, I should be working, but still.

So now I’m in a bad mood and you’re going to have to wait for the recipe. . .

Blarg.

Also, the photo uploader went kablooie. The bastard. I was going to show you a picture of a cute puppy. . .

Knitpocalypse

Sooooooooo. . . First off, don’t blame me for the lateness of this blog post, as I did warn you! I’m so busy right now that 6 hours of sleep at a time is an amazing luxury . . . And I still have 8 knitting projects and one embroidery project for Christmas presents, as well as the boatloads of cookies I’m going to be baking next week. And the decorating, and the parties, and the singing, and the sing-along messiah, a crazy-packed weekend coming up, and the fact that I’m going to be at work until next Wednesday. AND ANOTHER DOCTOR WHO MARATHON!!!!!!! Not that I’m excited or anything. . . Though, I finished and packed all my presents bound for Calgary (for the boyfriend’s family) yesterday – just in time to ship them off on the last day that Canada Post will guarantee arrival by Christmas. And I didn’t even have to wait in line! It was surreal.

I just had a full day of software training at work today (so. bored.), and I’m running off to see my fearless leader for our present exchange dinner (at Elle M’a Dit – Alsatian cuisine!!). And I also have a treat to make for the post-service wine and cheese tomorrow. That I’d forgotten about until yesterday. Oops. . . I’m soooooo busy!!

So I can’t go swimming until Thursday, mope. Since a bout with the flu a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been pretty terrible about regular workouts. Though, that’s offset by the roughly 5 pounds I lost because of the flu. Which I somehow haven’t gained right back. . .

In the YAY column of life – my concert this past weekend went amazingly well!! Though, coming off the major adrenalin surge I got from that isn’t fun. Headaches and exhaustion and lethargy, oh my! Also awesome are
The sunrises recently – they’ve been so spectacular I haven’t been able to resent being up early enough to see them. Wish I had photos to share, but I was so awestruck I missed my photo opportunity window two days running. . . I do have a couple photos of the spectacular moon the last couple of days though:

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Maybe it’s the excess X-mas spirit I’ve gotten from singing a concert of Christmas carols (and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols!!!), maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s finding someone whose awesome nerdiness rivals even my own, but damn but have I been feeling chipper. Exhausted and chipper, weird combination. Maybe it’s the fact that for the first time in two years I’ve been able to be genuinely happy without stress or excessive pressure on my shoulders. Maybe this is what real happiness feels like. Though, it’d be sad if I can’t recognize pure, unadulterated happiness, wouldn’t it?

Screw it, no introspection for me today. Life is good! It probably won’t stay that way for long, but dammit I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

And seriously – I’m ridiculously excited about my upcoming Doctor Who-a-thon this Friday: awesome show, awesome awesome people to hang out with, awesome Whovian crafts (can’t wait!!), awesome Whovian snacks!!!! This week is going by soooooooooo slowly. . . If only I had a better TARDIS than this one:

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(made by me!)

It would definitely come in handy right about now. . .

And now, back to some knitting. How busy are you this month, Dear Internet?

(and, reading this back to myself, I’m noticing that sleeplessness really doesn’t help in elocution. Sorry about the jumping from topic to topic. . . Maybe I’ll be more lucid after the craziness of Christmas has passed? Not that I was very lucid to begin with. . .)

Bow ties are cool

On my way home from a lovely swim, and in between the vast numbers of knitting projects, I’m going to take a minute to tell you about my AWESOME Saturday. Completely aside from the joy that is returning to Standard Time, this was a weekend to kick other weekends in the ass. Hard.

It became known to me recently that a friend of mine had never seen Doctor Who. Shock, horror!! So her sister and I conspired (along with herself, of course) to make a super-fantastic Doctor Who marathon indoctrination party!! Yay!!

I made myself a fez (cause fezzes are cool), and dressed up as a mashup of the eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond. Cause I’m a redhead. . . I baked a TARDIS cake:

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It’s an applesauce spice cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing (dyed incredibly blue. . . There were many blue tongues), from do-I-need-to-tell-you-where-I-got-the-recipe??

My friend and her sister baked Doctor Who-themed cookies (it was strangely satisfying to eat Daleks), concocted Sonic Screwdrivers (veeeeeeery tasty!), and made a little TARDIS hideout for the cats:

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Super cute!!! And if you loomed over the cat with your arms in the air and hands all clawed threateningly, she’d go hide in the TARDIS. Which was awesome 😀

We also watched a boatload of Doctor Who. Oddly enough. A bit of the 9th, a few of the 10th, and almost all of the 11th’s first season when it was suddenly after 1AM and I had to get going before transit stopped for the night. About 14 hours of Who. I’m still blitzed on the happy from Saturday.

Ever since (all two work days. . .), we’ve been e-mailing each other at work, sending pictures of the Doctors, Doctor memes, amusing pictures of (the amazing) David Tennant with kittens. Good times.

Life is good 🙂

Now all I have to do is make every day that awesome. Doable? I don’t know, but it’d sure be worth the effort.

The rest of the weekend went well too – singing Sunday morning went well (shock, surprise!!) and the boyfriend came over for dinner and we played through the rest of Portal 2. Well, he played, I watched and gave suggestions and helped figure out some of the tough ones. Can’t wait to play through it myself!! Have to finish Portal. . . Wheeee!!!!

Aside from the insane list of things I need to do in the next couple of months, I’m feeling really content about a lot of things. There are things I might be changing in my life in the nearish future, but for right now, things are pretty good.

How’re you feeling about the run-up to the holidays, Dear Internet?

 

Opera, and other stuffs

Ok. So. . . That was an AMAZING opera production. AMAZING!

I must admit to preferring early opera to Romantic or Classical opera. I just like the music better. Don’t get me wrong, I do ocasionally lurve the Mozart, it’s just that well. . . He never really hits my heart the way earlier music does.

That being said – if you’re in Toronto, I HIGHLY!! recommend going to see Opera Atelier’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Guest conductor, Italian Stefano Montanari, is charismatic, expressive and a great leader for the exceptional Tafelmusik Orchestra. He didn’t even let smacking his stand light off at the Concertmaster phase him. Did I mention that he was expressive? Veeeeeeerrrryyyyy expressive. My fearless leader and I could imagine that Mozart would have conducted very similarly to him, which did add quite a lot to our viewing pleasure. I’m only sad that I don’t have several sets of eyes so that I could have watched him throughout the opera as well as the action on stage.

And boy, was there some action on stage, let me tell you.

They definitely played on the Opera Buffa aspects of the piece – there was a certain amount of Ham Acting going on. But it was never too much. They played with that line (between hilarious and tedious) and never crossed it. There was a freshness to the performance that maintained its buoyancy throughout the show. No miscasting either – the stars were definitely suited to their roles.

The sopranos were effervescent, in this soprano-heavy opera. Carla Hutanen as Zerlina, Peggy Kriha Dye as Donna Elvira, and Meghan Lindsay as Donna Anna were all superb. The different colours of their voices suited them particularly well to their respective parts and they are all fabulous singers. Donna Elvira was my favourite, but then I’ve enjoyed Dye’s singing for several seasons of Opera Atelier productions now, and she always delivers the goods. And then some.

On to the basses: Leporello, played by Vasil Garvanliev (who, oddly enough, I have actually sung with. If briefly – he was a member of my Sunday choir for a few months, before he got all famous and stuff) was both buffoonish and endearing. And damn, but he can sing. He is also able to act with his singing voice, which isn’t something everyone can do well. Opera Atelier mainstay Curtis Sullivan (playing both Masetto and the Commendatore) was great as usual. Though, to be frank, he’s got a better baritone range than bass range and for some reason he keeps getting bass-y parts. He can sing the lowest notes, he just doesn’t have the same power on them. Though this was less evident in this performance than in his turn as Sarastro a few years ago (Sarastro’s solos are one of my favourite things, ever, so I must admit to some disappointment there. . .). And finally, Phillip Addis as Don Giovanni himself. Hoo Boy. I’d let him seduce me too. He has a beuatiful, supple bass voice – it just flows over you like silk and cashmere and some smooth alcohol that i can’t think of right now. I definitely came close to jumping out of my seat to jump into his arms. . .

The cast is intentionally young and fresh which adds a believability to the insanity of the story-line: only young people are that dumb about stuff. Also, the chorus and dancers were great. Not to mention the tight pants on the men – Opera Atelier is definitely known for their busts and bulges and this performance was no exception.

And, in the tradition of saving the best for last, the tenor. You thought I’d forgotten about Don Ottavio, didn’t you?! Well, how could I with Lawrence Wiliford playing the part?? I’d seen him previously as Damon in the Opera Atelier production of Acis and Galatea last season. And, forgive me basses (you are my one and only true love, never fear), but holy hells can this man sing. Don Ottavio’s solo brought me to tears. Wiliford, in contrast with the majority of opera singers, has very little vibrato, and sings with a pure tone. And what a pure tone. He also has incredible power and supreme control over his voice that is simply a treat to hear. This guy could sing the highway code at me and I’d swoon. I’m not kidding.

All in all, I’m going to have to say that Opera Aetlier’s Don Giovanni is a masterful production that marries beauty for the eyes and beauty for the ears in one sumptuous spectacle that is not to be missed.

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Now for some life stuffs. . .

I can’t wait for work to be done so I can go for a lovely swim. I might be having some sinus troubles that are spreading to my ear canals, but hopefully the Otrivin will offset the water in the ears. I should really invest in some ear plugs for swimming, what with my being prone to ear infections and all . . . But regardless, I’m going to love my swim – it’s been a little bit of an indulgent week so far – Hallowe’en, opera and a lovely meal out, no exercise. . . – that I really need to get back on that horse.

Though, I did do a little hike yesterday afternoon, so my week isn’t a total loss exercise-wise. I had an appointment with my ophthalmologist yesterday for a routine check up. Well, I was supposed to have my check-up, but a lateitude of buses made that unpossible. So I’m going again next week, and this time before work, so I won’t have to deal with afternoon rush hour that somehow starts at 2?? When did that happen??? Well, anyway, I walked home from there – From Weston and Eglinton to Dundas and Islington. If you know that part of the city, you’ll know it’s a bit of a hike – about one and a half hours or so, walking pretty fast. I listened to the Sixteen’s recording of the Missa Papae Marcelli, so I didn’t really notice the time. At all.

And then, after a very satisfying nap (thanks Otrivin!) we sang some beautiful music for the Samhain/All Souls service – which went swimmingly 😀  And there was booze and food after the service (with stupidly tastsy pierogies. mmmmmm pierogies. . .).

To wrap up, I’m just going to let you know, Dear Internet, that my posts will become rather more infrequent in the next little while, as my plate, it is full – I’m almost finished my Christmas shopping, but I’m waiting for my yarn to arrive to start the immensely long to knit list (it’s like externally-enforced procrastination, I prefer internally-enforced myself. . .), I have two belated X-mas present dinners to plan and execute, music to learn for Wednesdays as well as a Carol Concert I’m doing with some friends, baking, preparing a TARDIS cake for a friend’s Dr. Who Indoctrination Marathon this weekend, a cake and a tasty present to bake for my dad’s birthday, more baking, buttloads of knitting, etc. ad infinitum. Not to mention working full time and being desirous of exercising regularly (to offset the extreme amount of eating that will be happening in the next couple of months. . .). I’m tired just thinking about it. . .

Well, I’m really looking forward to the recipe I’m going to be trying out for the TARDIS cake! That’s going to be fun 😉

I hope your holiday-season lead up isn’t super stressful, Dear Internet. I know I’m only doing this to myself, but it isn’t Christmas without several nervous breakdowns, I always say.

p.s. There will be a separate post of some photos regarding Hallowe’en coming your way soonish. . . so stay tuned!!

Let’s hear it for the arts!!

I should be on my way for a lovely swim right now. Tuesday is my swimming day now (and maybe Saturday and/or Sunday if I ever get my act together. . .). But, instead. . . I’m going to meet up with a good friend (my fearless leader, actually) for a lovely dinner and Don Giovanni.

With my good luck for being born in Toronto, I have access to some awesome stuff – Opera Atelier being one of my favourites. Mostly due to the amazing operas they put on. Though, the tights pants worn by the dancers (and stars too. . .) shouldn’t be overlooked. In the spring we’re seeing Lully’s Armide, which I am sooooooooo looking forward to.

Also on the topic of the arts, I went with a couple good friends to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s performance of The Wizard of Oz (with the mobile playing on the big screen). Which was amazing!!!!! We got to dress up in costume (I’ll show a picture of my crazy costume as soon as my friend uploads photos!). And see other people in cool costumes, some of which didn’t have a whole lot to do with the show (pikachu??). Even some of the players in the orchestra dressed up. Which was awesome. My favourite was a bassoonist who dressed up as Dorothy, but kept his beard 😉

Well, I’ll keep it short – I’m almost at the station, and my phone is acting up again. Stupid phone.

Talk to you later, Dear Internet. I’ll let you know how the night went!

Blarg. I was in the middle of an x-mas- themed addendum when my mom called and so the stupid iPhone application thingy deleted everything I’d just written. So I’m too annoyed to rewrite it. I’ll fill you in when I post about the opera in more depth.

Sooo annoyed. Stupid phone.