Tuesday, January 30, 2007

totally exhausted.

So much has been happening in the last couple weeks!
I've got a real program to follow at the Y, my course is keeping me very busy, I just finished a swap and have two more on the go, I'm working on many crafts and my sleepover party went well.

Gah. Photo updates to follow!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

spoiled rotten!

So, my latest swap was geared for the pet lover. We crafted for each others pets.... my partner finished and sent over a week early and we've already got the package!!! She's made some marvelous things for Chloe, the least of which is not a super cosy sweater. First phot is Chloe checking out all her goodies! We got a great crochet bone shaped mat, three soft toys, a Tee for me, some stickers and a dino sweater. Not only do you all wish you had a small dog, but now you all wish you could put your small dog in a small dino sweater. Loves it!!

Monday, January 22, 2007


It's almost time for the themed slumber party weekend!!! I am looking forward to a weekend of drinking, kitchen dance parties, cranium, baking, crafts, food and splendid company, with 3 of my best girlfriends! Yay!

Busy Busy

Yay! I am well underway with my business. I now officially am registered with the province, and am anxiously awaiting the next few steps. (Such as buying my web domain). I have resources to build the webpage, so that's covered, it just the buying a domain thing I need to think about.

Back to work.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Business Research

Market Research Poll
I am gathering research for my new craft-based business. I would love your help answering the following brief questions. You can copy and paste responses as a comment here on my blog, or email me at carabetes@hotmail.com Feel free to add any additional comments after your survey.
Thank you very much for you time and consideration, Cara.

1. How frequently do you purchase stationery products for yourself or as gifts?

2. Where are you likely to purchase stationery and paper products?

3. Rate how important the following characteristics are when choosing stationery?
Very important (2), Somewhat important (1), Not important (0)
Eco-friendly papers?
Standard letter postage sized?
Availability of coordinating accessories?
Products made in Canada?

4. Is a company website an important factor when shopping for or choosing products?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Chloe's new weekender bag

I decided to make Miss Chloe a bag of her own for our weekend trips.

The lining is a fabric I received in my most recent swap, a hawaiian print from Hawaii!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

wedding, revisited.

Today I heard that my Knot wedding bio made the somewhat official knot bio list best bios! Which is totally exciting, I spent many, many, many hours drooling over the pretty weddings on that list when planning. I'm sure it has everything to do with how great my photographer's were, so go check out their site in my links! They work in London and Toronto, and do more than just weddings and engagements.
In fact, I have become good friends with Heather since she shot my wedding. (But it was Dave that knew her first, lucky bastard).

What's really funny is that I wasn't finished editing the bio, and somehow it's busted so I can't fix it. I guess it's good enough though.

For Karma sake I really should go and nominate all the bios I've thought about nominating, some of my fellow knotties had gorgeous bios!

Monday, January 08, 2007


I went on a mini-mission today to one of my favourite shops. About two blocks from here, on the edge of downtown, is a Society of St. Vincent de Paul shop. I haven't been in ages, as Chloe hates when I leave her home alone, and dogs are not permitted in the shop. (I did sneak her in in my purse once to pick up an auction item I'd won, but I hate to push my limits).

I bought a small armload, and happily returned home to my pooppy dog.

The Shipping News, Annie Proulx. I have had this on my list for a while, and nearly bought it at Value Village this past weekend, but set it down when I decided a mini-boycott was in order for their new ghastly pricing. The book was 2.99$ there, I got it at SVDPs super low paperback price, 50 cents. And this one was in better shape.

Dubliners, James Joyce. I read some of his stuff in uni and really liked it.

Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie. I have a mental note somewhere to read this. I think it's because I've always been intrigued by the idea of Midnight's Children.

Catch-22, Joseph Heller. Also something on a mental list. I have nearly bought this a few times, but the covers always seemed to be ruined.... and I couldn't justify near new price for books that were falling apart. I watched the film version this past fall, and was that much more interested in the book, so another exciting purchase today.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard. This has to be my most favourite play EVER. I read this in uni, but lost my copy, then I bought another, which turned out to actually be a dialogue about the play, and I may have bought it again, but at 50 cents I couldn't risk it. One day I'll share my most favourite monologue ever, it's about being dead in a box, and is so dry and witty I well up with tears.

Lastly, I scored a gorgeous embroidered table cloth. I have no idea who throws these thinsg away (not that donating to thrift is throwing away, but still....), seriously. The work put into these embroideries in unreal, and you can't get anywhere near the quality nowadays. This particular one is absolutely stain-free, and maybe even never used. Anything I've bought with stains is being saved for a project my mum and I are working on, the rest find their way into my linen closet.

A rainy Jauary.

It's been unseasonably warm the past few weeks. Dave has yet to use his season's pass at Blue Mountain since they've been closed more than open so far this year. Yesterday was grey and wet and miserable. Not having anything else to do I made a half batch of cupcakes for Dave and I.
I didn't even eat one until well after dinner, by which time it was well deserved as I'd had severe muscle spasms in my neck, and it was locked in place. (It was like throwing out my back, but in my neck.) Two crying fits, some Robax Platinum and a pack of wine gums later I could move enough to reach the cupcakes up on the bookshelf. Dave had to put them there since the dinner dishes took up the counter and we eat from a bar not a dinner table which was also covered in stuff.
The cupcakes were plain dark chocolate, with chocolate frosting. I am still hoping to get a cake decorating set so my cupcakes are frosted fancier... we'll see. I did get a chance to use my mom's set for Brett's Birthday cupcakes and they looked great-Chocolate with pale purple frosting and chocolate sprinkles, and Vanilla with pale pale pale aqua amaretto flavoured frosting with rainbow non pareils. I forgot to take pictures.

random fact: I spent a summer working for a major spice manufacturer, one of my jobs was to package the 5 vial boxes of "decors". It was one of the most fun jobs I've ever had. We filled trays of 300 vials each of sprinkles (chocolate & party mix), coloured sugar (red & green) and non pareils (rainbow), then we used small hammers to put lids in each vial. The next step was filling bins with all 5 varieties, building the small boxes (& dating them), then packing flats of 12, 6 flats to a case. we would spend about 3 days at a time working on decors, and it was a welcome repos from bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. The only hand pack more fun was the day I got to pack saffron. The saffron is shipped in fancy tins worth a thousand dollars each, we repackaged the saffron threads into 1L PET bottles intended for commercial kitchens. Me and one other woman transfered 16 tins into zippered bags, then into the bottles which were cased and sent to be sealed on a line. I even got to keep an empty tin, now home to my favourite notecards.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

about me for swappers

I've seen a few of these blog posts for swappers and have found them very useful, so I'm joining in.
(If you're confused it's because you don't belong to craftster).


Colours I like- red, orange, coral, yellow, yellow-greens, aqua, brown, grey, pale pink.

Colours I dislike- beige, metallics, burgundy, pastels, baby blue, navy blue, royal blue, dark green, jewel tones, neons.

Prints? YES. I am a big fan of prints, as long as they aren't juvenile or folky. I like plaid, gigham, suiting patterns, polka dots, damask, harlequin, houndstooth, toile, florals (botanicals)..... really most anything you'd see in a fantastic vintage wallpaper.

Motifs I like- poodles, pineapples, feathers, silhouettes, flowers, cupcakes, fruits & vegetables, most anything vintage or retro.

Motifs I dislike- angels, fairys, cats, stars, cartoon characters (ie. disney), religious iconography

Collections: hats, fine china tea cups and saucers, tea towels, buttons, vintage embroidery (on linens), metal cookie cutters, lemon juicers, vintage christmas ornaments, magnets, unique illustrated children's books (mostly for inspiration), silver charms (the dangly kind),

Allergies!!!! be aware I have a severe allergy to shellfish and crustaceans, so please don't eat cocktail shrimp while you craft. I cannot wear acrylic next to my skin. I also have sensitivities to perfumes and scents (most noted with lotions, incense, candles and laundry detergents).

More about me: I am vegetarian. I love to cook and especially bake, and more especially bake cupcakes. I sew. I went to school for textile design after art school. I have a tiny toy poodle (Chloe, she is chiuaua sized, and does not wear dresses). I screen print. I sew. I hot glue. I make books. I embroider. I cross stitch. I print. I drink beer. I make wine.

Favourite Artists: Kara Walker, Joseph Cornell, Henri Matisse, Marcel Duchamp, Shomei Tomatsu, Claes Oldenburg, Frida Kahlo, Robert Indiana

Tastes: I have a sweet tooth. I love candy and chocolate. I like black and green teas.

Stuff I'd love to receive:
Tote bags, coin purses, small bags, kitcheny stuff-tea towels, aprons, pot holders, tea cozies, throw pillows, or throw pillow covers, wool or cotton mittens, scarves, wristwarmers, cupwarmers, magnets, veggie friendly recipes, tiny dog accessories (jackets & vests, collars, tags, soft toys), coasters, bookmarks, earrings, necklaces, sewing supplies (buttons, ribbons, fabrics-cotton & wool, other findings), screen-printing inks, illsutrations and prints, pins, pictures, french magazines or books, small tins, anything with a sense of humour or subversion.
Also things that go over well in my home (read-excite my husband), anything German, anything to do with European cars, anything San Francisco. He likes manufacturing and history of manufacturing. Hunter S. Thompson. Bay area Rap. Old NYC punk.

Friday, January 05, 2007


I have finally figured out how to upload part of the wedding video to YouTube. Here are the out-takes in all their glory. (sorry, it's a huge file).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

alternative cleaning methods

A couple years ago I came across this book at Winners; “HOME HINTS & TIPS-The new guide to natural, safe, and healthy living” by Rosamond Richardson, DK Publishing, Inc. NY, NY, ©2003. [ISBN 0-7894-9299-7] Since it’s come up several times recently, I’ll list some of the recipes for homemade cleaning solutions. (All are taken directly from this book).

The book not only offer safer alternative for your health, but ideas for reducing your impact on the planet. At the end I've ranted a bit about reducing waste. What a great entry to start the new year, enjoy!

The Natural Cleaning Cupboard (pg. 47)
Key ingredients for your natural cleaning cupboard:
Pure Soapflakes
Liquid Soap (no additives)
Baking Soda
Table Salt
White Vinegar
Washing Soda
Borax (use sparingly, although natural not entirely biodegradable)
Beeswax Polish
Steel Wool (varying grades, untreated)
Bristle Brush
Cellulose Sponges
Lemon Juice (cut lemons are great for removing coffee, tea and char marks or odorous surfaces)
Essential Oils (tea tree, citrus, thyme, sage & eucalyptus have dissenfectant properties)
Rags (from old garments and sheets)
Silk Cloth (for cleaning delicate finishes like lacquer & gilt)

Air Freshener: 125ml water, 10 drops essential oil in a spray bottle, squirt upward in air.

Windows & Glass: 1 part white vinegar, 1 part water, a few drops of liquid soap.

All-Purpose Baking Soda Paste: 1 part baking soda, 1 part water. Rub with a soft cloth on surface to be cleaned, wipe with a clean cloth. Uses include chrome, aluminum, pots & pans, fridge interiors, faucets, latex paint (leave on stains for 10 minutes), kitchen surfaces, inside the fridge

All-Purpose Surface Cleaner: 500ml vinegar, 250 ml water, 20 drops eucalyptus oil. Pour in that order into a spray bottle. Shake well. No need to rinse. Spray on surface or pour on cloth. This cleaner smells fresh, cleans grease and dirt is cheap and keeps indefinitely. Uses stainless-steel, tiles & wood and plastics.

Oven Cleaner: to clean, rub with steel wool, sprinkle with baking soda and rub clean with a damp cloth.

Brass & Copper Polish: 3 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar with 1 tablespoon of baking soda, rub on and buff to a sheen.

Cleaning Silver: Dip the article in simmering water containing a piece of aluminum foil and 2 teaspoons of washing soda. Buff to a shine. The aluminum attracts the dirt.

Moth deterents: Fill cotton sachets with dried lavender, mixture of rosemary & mint, peppercorns or cedar chips. If you suspect an infestation freeze the item, Moths cannot survive extreme colds or heat.

The biggest things you can do to reduce your eco-footprint is to reduce waste. Choose alternative to disposables.
Canvas or string bags while shopping. (some major grocers even give you a small credit for each of your own bags!)
Choose recycled when you can for toilet paper, garbage bags etc. (look for items with 100% recycled, or a similarly high number, simple saying “recycled” can mean as little as 1%)
Use cotton rags instead of disposable cleaning cloths (read; swiffer). Just drop them in your washer.
Rechargeable batteries. (They’ve come a long way!)
Razors with re-fill blades offer less waste.

Use your purchasing power to choose products with little packaging. Buy in bulk. Avoid buying foods packaged on polystyrene trays, which when solid cannot be recycled. Buy second hand (cars, clothing, furniture, books, cds…. the possibilities are endless).

Be aware of take-back programs for cell-phones, glasses and printer cartridges. These items can be refurbished and re-sold or donated to developing countries.

Re-Use. Mend clothing & toys. Use both sides of paper. Use scraps and used envelopes for lists. Re-label binders and files for a second use. Use food jars as storage for sewing notions or small hardware.

The Naked-Lady Party.
Invite your girlfriends to purge their closets. Everyone brings clothing and accessories they no longer need or use, and create a store where everyone gets a chance to try things on and shop. Cart everything off to charity together after the event. A dear friend of mine coordinated this as part of my bachelorette party last May and we all had a blast “free shopping”.


1. to make more time for my friends
2. to communicate better
3. take, and print, more pictures