Monday, 2 May 2016

Treats of the Week - Bit of a Break

So, I took a little break there!  I think that might be the first time since my surgery that I actually missed a Treats of the Week post!  My excuse isn't very interesting - I spent most of last weekend curled up and miserable with a stomach bug which put me behind on an already very tight deadline.  So I spent the first part of last week coming home from work, getting Vivian fed and into bed, and then working until midnight.  Probably not my wisest decision, but it's over now until the next crisis.  So let's see what I remember of treats from the past couple of weeks!

  • Last Saturday night was the worst night of the fun little bug I came down with, which meant Sunday was a little rough.  My mom, ever the superhero, came over to take Vivian out for a couple of hours so I could rest and try to do some work and they picked up some groceries for me which was a huge help!  
  • In related "bad idea" news, I decided that I needed to move my china cabinet last night but didn't want to take anything out of it.  Miraculously I managed to move it across the room without breaking anything inside of it, or any part of my person.

  • I cut the grass for the first time of the season on Saturday, and while I was not impressed with all the broken glass I found in my front yard (grrr) it did feel really good to be outside and things always look so much nicer once the grass has been cut.  Per usual there's a bunch of stuff I would like to see done in the yard this year, but who knows if I'll actually get around to any of it.
  • I scored some awesome new pins from Ludlow Luna, but unfortunately they didn't arrive in time for the Retromania screening of Beetlejuice on Friday night.  It was so great to see that movie again - I probably haven't seen in all the way through in 20 years and it really holds up.

  • Also from Ludlow Luna?  This perfect Jawbreaker sticker.  "I killed Liz, I killed the teen dream.  Deal with it."

  • I picked up this letterpress-type tray from Talize a few weeks ago and finally got around to hanging it up.  I knew Vivian would love it for all her little ponies and figures!  It's huge and it was only $6!

  • This weekend was another volume of Kangaroo Variety at Brown & Dickson.  If you're in London you should keep an eye out for this event.  It's a live magazine - so you can expect interviews, storytelling, videos, live food reviews, all manner of things.  It's super hipster but it's a really cool way to learn more about the people working and living in your community.

  • After a small extension (or two) I finally got my final paper of the semester handed in.  I didn't do quite as well as I was hoping (probably because it was due the Friday when I started to get sick and was struggling to be coherent) but I ended up with a grade that I'm pleased with.  Still waiting on the final grade from my other course and then I'm just working on my major paper for the summer.  Is it bad that I'm already researching new programs for the fall?  Probably.
  • If you haven't checked out Chef's Table on Netflix you totally should.  It's a documentary series and it's so oddly compelling.  I mean, cooking shows in general kind of draw you in, but this one delves so much into the philosophies of different chefs and really examines what makes them do what they do with such passion.  I highly recommend it.
  • I just scored tickets for David Cross in Toronto in July and I'm so excited!  I saw he was going on tour a while ago but there weren't any Canadian dates at the time.  So glad I jumped on this presale!
There's probably more, but my brain has been fried lately.  Somehow it's already May, and I'm looking forward to Vivian being done school and having some vacation time this summer.  Daytrips are calling my name.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Making Magnets

I can be weird about stickers.  I'm always reluctant to actually use them because then what?!  Then they're gone forever!  I don't want to put it on a laptop, eventually it will break.  Notebook?  Forget it, I'm still mourning the loss of that Bush X sticker I had on my binder in high school.  Where exactly can an adult put stickers?  Over the years, I have amassed a bit of a collection of stickers.  You know how it goes, they come with albums, they come in the mail when you shop independent artists and retailers, you get them at a merch table.  I had a little pile of stickers, and an irrational crippling fear about using them.  I considered putting them on my mailbox because I thought it would be funny, but then that same fear of "What if?!" came up again.  God forbid I should have to replace a $2 sticker down the road.

Luckily, I have a clever dude around who had a whole bunch of magnetic sheets.  Perfect!  So now my new obsession is turning things into magnets.  I'm positively stuck on the idea.  I've used up all my stickers making fun little magnets and have reached into my collection of odd little cards and papers that I have sitting around too.  It's a great way to display small items like this, but still be able to move them around.  I have some at my desk at work too.

I have a little collection of postcards that I'm thinking might end up being magnetized too - haven't quite decided yet.  I also have a package of button magnets that might just be getting hot glued to some of those pinback buttons I have sitting around too, because I have an obsessive personality like that.
I've officially gotten rid of any not cool magnets and have kept only the ones that are awesome and fun.  The couple that are still uncool but kind of important (like poison control and other "don't die" magnets) are tucked on the side of the fridge.

If you're a weirdo like me who gets way too attached to stickers - magnets are your friend!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Treats of the Week - Feel that sun

HOLY BALLS YOU GUYS IT'S SO NICE OUT.  It's so funny how those first few warm days of the year feel sooooo good.  I know, we barely had winter and we can't complain.  But still, being all "legs bare, don't care" yesterday and today was awesome.  Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy more dresses.  If I play my cards right I may not wear pants again until October.

  • The roof is done and it looks SO GOOD.  I hate having to spend that much money on something, but it had to be done.  I know the picture is terrible and there was no before picture, but trust me, it was in rough shape.  The new roof is more grey so I'm hoping to paint the garage door and maybe do something about the shutters this year to freshen it up a bit.  I'm also always thinking about taking off the storm door, but that's where the mail carrier leaves my packages so...

  • We're doing renos around the office this month which has led to general chaos.  It's a good spring cleaning kind of chaos though, and I took it upon myself to finally organize this drawer.  You don't even understand - this drawer used to be just a jumble of half-filled boxes and loose binding combs and you could never find anything.  I got it all organized and looking pretty and have basically been offering up free tours of it to anyone in my office.  

  • In addition to the roof getting fixed I also got some tasks checked off the old list this week - some I managed to tackle myself and some I had to be bailed out on.  But the point is things are getting done!
  • If there is anything better in the world than having beer and nachos on a patio on a Friday afternoon it would have to be having beer and nachos on a patio on a Saturday afternoon.  These are Friday nachos and they were freaking fantastic.

  • After those delicious nachos, the dude and I headed to see Midnight Special at the Rainbow.  It's a really quietly wonderful movie - I recommend it!
  • It was also dance competition time again this weekend - Vivian and the crew were in Chatham for another competition and they had another fine showing.  It wasn't quite as good as the Grand Bend competition (they placed second overall in their age category and were adjudicated at the Diamond level) but it's still pretty incredible for them being so young.  I think next year we're looking at doing full time competitive for Vivian - she's definitely got the bug now.  She's been spending all her time practicing headstands, cartwheels, and flips.  Yesterday she was even choreographing her own routines on the trampoline.
  • The best part about the dance competition on Saturday?  Coming home and having a heavenly 2 hour nap afterwards.
  • Kimmy Schmidt is back on Netflix!  I love this show so hard - I'm only a couple of episodes in, but I'm heading to bed to watch some more as soon as I finish this off!
  • I also just discovered that is a thing where you can watch thousands of documentaries for free online.  So I may be falling down that rabbit hole for the next little while.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Pin Game

If you have the unfortunate circumstance of being my friend on Facebook or follow me on Instagram then you have no doubt noticed my new obsession with enamel pins.  You guys, enamel pins are THE BEST.  You can find a pin for basically anything you can imagine - from pop culture references to every day items, if you can think of it, there's a pin for it.  Why do I like them so much?  Well, I'm running out of room on my walls for art and this is an easy way to make art a part of my daily life and to support independent artists.

Pins really aren't a new thing, but they seem to be really taking off in a new way right now.  Disney has long had collectable enamel pins, and there's massive selections of vintage pins and buttons out there. 

These new, more modern pins are a real community though.  Everything has a real collector mentality behind it - pins are usually released in limited editions - runs of around 100 pins are common.  The community supports each other in a really wonderful way - once you start following different artists on Instagram, you will often see different artists swapping pins with each other or doing collaborations. 

So how do you get in on this pin game?  I've listed some of my favourite accounts on Instagram at the bottom of this post, and I think that's the best way to get going.  Once you start following a couple of accounts, just pay attention to who gets tagged in other people's posts.  I just keep following tags and hashtags and following new people every day - the list at the bottom isn't even everyone that I currently follow because I'm adding new ones every day.  If you see someone post with a collection of pins, give it a tap to see everyone who was tagged.  It's so easy to find new pins and to click through to buy them on Instagram - it's becoming quite the addiction for me!

There are various kinds, and you start to get an idea of the lingo pretty quickly.  Hard enamel pins are smooth and shiny, and soft enamel pins have raised ridges with more of a 3D effect.  There are different types of backs too - rubber clutches seem to be the most common, but can easily be swapped out for metal or even locking clutches to make things more secure.

Once you've got a little collection of pins going, it's just a matter of trying to decide which ones to wear!  They're easy to throw on a jacket or make them a part of your outfit.  It isn't typically recommended to use them on purses or other bags because it's easier to lose them that way, but if you have locking clutches you should be good to go.

They're fun just to have displayed too - I've long had a bunch of buttons in a frame on my gallery wall, and have kept an embroidery hoop in my office to hold some pins that I've had for ages.  Now my bedroom also has some cork sections to hold my new ever-expanding collection.

Instagram is definitely my favourite place to shop for pins - it's almost dangerously easy.  Etsy is great too - just start searching around for enamel pins, you never know what's going to pop up.  Seriously I want ALL THE PINS.

You can find my Pinterest board for all things pin/patch/sticker here.

TeeFury is even getting in on the pin game.  Seriously, this shit is blowing up.

Would I ever start making my own pins?  Maybe, I've thought about it.  If I had some extra cash for start up I would love to contact some of my favourite sellers for wholesale pins and have a table at Shock Stock or some of the upcoming local Comicons.  There's so much crossover in those communities, I think it would go over really well.  In a perfect world I could just make pins, buttons, t-shirts, and tote bags all the livelong day.

Here's some of the Instagram accounts I follow - and yes, it took forever to do this which is why this post has been in the works for like a month.

bandofweirdos  prettynobodyco  flowerchainz  midlanderpress  pin_lord  pincommunity  wizardofbarge  printmafiaofficial  gummivenus  squid_lords  pumpfakepins  tattoo_dave  pseudo_ludo  pinoftheday  truemetalworks  pinpostuk  pingame  lapelclub  demonicpinfestation  scumbagsandsuperstars  famtasticapparel  bigbudpress  thesearethings  embiggenpins  couch_gag  simpspins  workclothingbrand  cheatdeathcorp  toughtimespress  theaterofcreeps  atavisticempire  twoghoulspress  donotdisturbstore  blackcloudcompany  lastcraftdesigns  strikegentlyco  infectedresintoys  sickgirlsofficial  nachoscratcho  joeflomontana  madebycooper  quasivisualarts  pollypatch  monsteroutside  sadtruthsupply  stuffscruff  pinpinzny  nodadkids  weirdoweapons  pintoneco  staringyeti  pandemic  redlipco  coldtoes  stuckuppins  stayhomeclubofficial  coldsnappress  feltgoodco  ragamuffpins  spacewaste  nothingpins  spacecadetcollective  bbllowwnn  methsyndicate  ludlowluna  zombiethulu  creepycompany  negamidas  laserkitten  bornwithfangs  slackandmellow  worldfamousoriginal  explorerspress  goodgoodpins  living_collective  nofunpress  scoutdrygoods  strikegentlyco  rosehoundapparel  nostalgiavault  blindheartco  kateandcait  valleycruisepress  shopstrangeways  tuesdaybassen  pinheadcompany  kolorspun  rat_pins  laissezflaire  caittlinnn  penelopegazin  punkypins  kreeplord  robineisenberg  supersecretfunclub  divinespiritcreations  thepinlord  heartificialpins  peskystuff  themidnightsociety  bruisedtongue  jaredstorm  weirdempire  

Monday, 11 April 2016

Treats of the Week - Dancing Queens

Consider, if you will, the following.

You've had a really busy weekend.  Dance competitions and a sick kid.  You've spent most of the weekend with that kid clinging to you, and took a trip to emerg.  Now it's Monday morning and you're feeling under the weather yourself.  Said kid was up three or four times between midnight and 6:00 a.m. and is crying again that her tummy hurts.  It's pretty clear that neither of you are making it very far that day.  Call the daycare, call work, call the school.  Finally get the kid convinced to lay in bed with you and doze to some Netflix.  Get woken up by the kid every time that Netflix times out.  Finally you're both sleeping and hoping to have a quiet, restful day.  Then, the doorbell rings.  Must be a delivery, you don't care.  Then there's a knock on the door.  Ugh, just leave the package.  A second knock on the door.  Fine, drag yourself to answer the door in the lovely state that one can only find themselves in when they're sick and exhausted and in their pajamas.  Oh cool, it's a crew of roofers who want you to move your car so they can spend the day pounding on the roof.  Perfect.

Yes, that's how I spent my day today.  Luckily, Vivian seems to be feeling better (I hope, she's barely slept all weekend) and I'm not feeling my best but am feeling better than this morning.  The roof is looking great, but my satellite dish was disconnected in the process.  They should be back tomorrow to finish the job, but I'm pretty sure the dish is for me to deal with.  It might just be the motivation I need to just cancel it.

And now, treats.

  • The kids had their first dance competition of the year on Friday and it was amazing.  They did so well - they got a standing ovation, a special award, and placed at the Shining Star Level (the highest level of adjudication).  I cried like a damn fool, I was so proud.  We're heading to Chatham on Saturday to do it all over again.

  • Did I post this last week?  I don't remember, but guys, candy candles (or Candyls, as I prefer to call them) are a thing and I love them.  I'm not even a big candle person, but I went and got this one, a berry Starburst one and a Skittles scented one and I'm all over them.  They were on clearance at the Superstore too!

  • I'm finally done classes for the year - hooray!  I'm not done the program yet - I have a final paper due this week (but I got an extension until next week, whew) and then I set about working on my Major Research Paper which is due by the end of July.  Then I'll be done the Diploma in Public Administration Program.  I was hoping to return in the fall to keep going with the Master of Public Administration but at this point I'm going to wait for a few years until Vivian is a little older and I'm in a better job position.  Instead, there are some other courses that I want to start working on to keep padding my resume until the right position comes along.
  • To celebrate being done classes my dude surprised me with wine, flowers, and a sweet card.  I never get flowers, so it was extra sweet.

  • The holdover of winter weather has made me antsy and I've been checking out thrift stores more frequently on my lunch breaks.  The other day I came across this great record card at Talize for $5.99.  I've always admired them - I have a thing for "single purpose items".  I just find it so amusing when something is made so specifically, like a deviled egg platter.  I don't own any records, but I couldn't leave this behind so it became a nice little present for Jenn.

  • Speaking of which, Jenn and I have had a hard time lately getting our schedules to line up but we finally found some time on Friday to sit down and chat over some pizza and wine.  It was a much-needed catch up and she was the best husband ever for having my wine and pizza waiting at my house when I got home!
  • My office is undergoing some renovations, so everyone is in cleaning mode.  This has worked to my benefit since my boss found this awesome Middlesex County Courthouse paperweight for me, and a beautiful print of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  

  • Speaking of my love of London memorabilia, I was randomly contacted by someone on Facebook this week who had recently purchased a box of old frames.  In that box were six of the CFPL Radio Print Series that I've been collecting.  Turns out I'm missing one from Pioneer Village and Storybook Gardens.  Unfortunately she wasn't willing to part with those ones but it's nice to  know what I'm looking for - and it's always cool when people reach out to me about things they've found on my blog!
  • I got my car back, and even though it pained me to shell out the $500 for the deductible, it is really nice to have it dent-free.  They even cleaned the inside for me, so I'm telling myself the $500 was to having it cleaned and have the rental car for the week.  That makes me feel marginally better.
  • The new Suicide Squad trailer dropped last night and it looks SO GOOD.  Can't wait for those summer movies.
  • I went to leave my house the other morning and noticed that the neighbours had bras all over the place.  You can see one clothesline in this picture, but there was another one closer to the road and some hanging in the tree as well.  I'm assuming that it was for a milestone birthday of some kind?  It made me laugh.

This little sicky is going to get some rest and hope that the other little sicky in the house actually sleeps through the night tonight.  Have a week!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Treats of the Week - I need the treats

Oh man, you guys.  I don't know what I did to piss off the universe but I have had quite the string of bad luck.  On Wednesday I had a presentation at my class at 4:30.  I finish work at 4:00 and see that one of my tires is looking really low.  My car is going to get fixed on Friday (from when it was hit in the parking lot) so I figure I'll just put some air in the tire and make it work until Friday.  I make it to the nearest gas station, and when I get out for the air there was a guy standing there who is like, "Yeah, no.  That tire is flat.  No sense in putting air in it."  Ugh.  So I call roadside, and my prof.  Tell the prof what's up and I'll be there when I get there.  Roadside sends me the world's nicest tow truck driver to come and switch out my tire and I somehow make it to class in time for my presentation.  Maybe I'll end up scoring some sympathy points for the whole thing.  It was another screw in my tire, which means that since I got this car in September I've gotten two screws in tires and someone has hit it.  Foxy never played me like that!

Today's minor disaster was the puddle of water surrounding the fridge.  But I think Vivian left the door open yesterday for quite a bit, so maybe it's from that?  Let's go with that.

Ugh, I need me some treats!

  • Vivian has been obsessed with watching Pee-Wee's Playhouse lately and it's been awesome.  I enjoy watching it with her and it's so funny to hear her wandering around singing "connect the dots, la la la la, connect the dots, la la la la."
  • My grandma is still emailing me, which has been really nice.  I especially like how she starts emails with "Hi Ashlie, it's grandma at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday" as though it was a voicemail and I might not know when she sent it.
  • I was assigned my research advisor for my upcoming MRP and I'm incredibly fortunate to be working with Dr. Andrew Sancton.  He is one of Canada's leading experts on municipal government.  The man is an Oxford-educated Rhodes Scholar, for pete's sake.  It's incredibly intimidating, but such an honour to be able to work with him, especially since he's retiring in January.
  • This was what my Thursday evening looked like, and it was exactly what I needed.

  • Saturday was spent wandering around some shops here in Strathroy, which led to my dude running into a friend he hadn't seen in years.  It worked out that we were all able to go for dinner that night, and I got a new profile picture from the tablecloth doodles!

  • My car is being repaired, so I have a rental for a few days.  It's another Focus, but it's the 2016 with all the bells and whistles.  Oh how I love having a remote starter and satellite radio!
  • My brother is the kind of the ridiculous tattoos, and this is his newest one.  It's hilarious and I love it.

  • In addition to my incredibly sweet nephew Brody, I have this new little nephew!  Officer Terry Turner, reporting for duty.  My brother and my sister in law just picked him up yesterday and he's ridiculously cute.  He's an 8 week old mini dachshund and I don't think there's ever been a dog this cute in the history of the world.

Okay - this week is my LAST WEEK OF CLASSES!  Hooray!  I'll still be working on my paper, of course, but it should loosen up my schedule a little bit.  I have draft blog posts waiting too so I will hopefully be back into the groove of blogging and getting shit done in no time!  Positivity!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Treats of the Week - Ugh

I know what you're thinking.  Typical Ashlie, forgot that yesterday was Monday because of the holiday weekend.  I know, I'm sure you were all quite deprived of my genius.  Truth is, I didn't forget about my Monday blog this time.  Instead, I was stuck in the emergency room with Vivian until about 11:30.  Nothing serious - nothing some antibiotics haven't helped.  She was such a trooper though - didn't complain at all, even though we were about 3 and a half hours.  It was just the capper to a week that included leaks in two spots of the house (ugh) and me getting served a subpoena at work.  (Yeah, that was fun.)  Anyway, it's been quite the week.  I've basically had the same expression as Fender here.

At least tomorrow is Wednesday, so the week is half over.  Right?  Right.

  • When I got home last night from the emergency room, it was about 12:30.  I was exhausted, not only from the late hour and the wait at the hospital, but also because brainiac me parked in the parking garage like I always do.  The problem there is that while we could walk through the hospital to get from Point A to Point B when we arrived, we couldn't do the same when it was time to leave.  So I had to walk all the way around the hospital with Vivian.  So yeah, by the time I got home I was completely done and ready for bed.  And what do I spy hiding behind m Keurig on the chalkboard backsplash?  A sweet little secret note.

  • I found the BEST ceramic tray at the thrift store the other day - it is proudly sitting on my desk at work, holding my paperclips.

  • I saw Batman vs. Superman on Friday, despite my reservations.  It actually isn't as bad as the critics have said.  It has a lot of issues, sure.  But there was also a lot I liked about it.  One thing I really liked?  SO MANY VESTS.  Vulture agrees with me.

  • Easter went really well - Vivian had a great time and didn't end up too spoiled.  It was great to hang out with all the kids in the beautiful weather on Easter Sunday!
  • It was a double dose of movies this weekend since Kimberly and I headed to see Allegiant.  It was decidedly okay, but dinner was awesome and the company was even better!
  • I had my last travelling French court date until June last week.  They always seem to cluster, so it's always a bit of a relief when a blast of them is done.
All right - I'm tapping out.  I have a presentation tomorrow (I should probably start to work on that) and I'm still whipped from yesterday and the long weekend.  Hope the Easter Bunny was good to you guys!