Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Custom T-Shirts in 18 Simple Steps

I'm kind of notorious for making things more difficult than they need to be. Case in point, this past weekend I decided I had had enough of wearing my picketing sign and if the strike was going to continue I was just going to make some shirts instead. Seemed simple enough, especially when everyone said things along the line of "Oh yeah you can totally get shirts made really cheaply".  Nonsense! Why pay someone to make a shirt quickly and professionally when I can DIY that shit?  It's so simple, I'll tell you how!

1. Go in search of printable fabric transfer paper.  
2. Only find paper for inkjet printers, when you own a laser printer. 
3. Give up on the printable transfer idea. 
4. Go to Michaels and grab a random assortment of iron-on letters, paying no attention to what letters you might need. 
5. Buy an assortment of tank tops. 
6. Buy an iron. 
7. Construct a makeshift ironing board on your living room floor. 
8. Cut up the letters and realize you don't really have enough to make the phrases you want. 
9. Begin to combine various sizes and flip letters upside down to try and make the phrases you want.  
10. Realize that the shirts are kind of going to look like ransom notes, but be cool with it. 
11. Begin the process of ironing the letters on. 
12. Realize that you are either not following the directions correctly or the letters are faulty. 
13. Give up on the letters entirely and just take a Sharpie to a white tank. 
14. Try a metallic Sharpie on a black tank and realize that doesn't work super well. 
15. Buy bleach. 
16. Use a paintbrush to paint bleach on the black tank. 
17. Deem your efforts at least satisfactory and decidedly punk rock. 
18. Continue to picket in a lacklustre manner, but now with cool shirts. 

So simple! Anyone can do it! 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Treats of the Week - Not Great, Bob!

So yeah.  Here we are - week six of the strike.  There's not much happening that's positive - no new negotiations at this point after talks came to a conclusion on the weekend.  It's...frustrating, to say the least.  I'm thinking about writing more about the strike later this week, but I'm not sure how much of my thoughts I want out there.  In any event, my general reaction to everything strike related can be summed up in this gif.

Oh, Pete.  One of my favourite moments of yours.  Don't ever change.

But let us not wallow in self pity and picket duty!  Let's marvel at this week's treats, shall we?  Onward, friends.

  • I've been slowly catching up on my backlog of tv shows - this week I finally ploughed through Gotham.  While it almost lost me in the middle, I thought the last four or five episodes were strong enough to lure me back for a second season.  Now I just need to finish up Daredevil and then I'm ready to move on to Arrow!
  • I actually got to pretend that I'm a real grown up this week since I had a French court scheduled for Brantford.  Holy crap, you guys.  I was so excited.  I got to put on a dress and heels and makeup and be in a courtroom again!  It was awesome - I even took full advantage of my lovely day by doing a little mall wandering and trying on some clothes since it felt so nice to be out and about and not be a sweaty disgusting mess from picketing.  It was so nice that I took pictures in the fitting room at Maurices, just for the blog.  Yay for summery plaid dresses!  (Also I bought that black top hanging beside me)

  • It was so wonderful to see the US get on board with marriage for everyone this week - and especially nice to see how celebrated the decision was.  Not to brag or anything, Canada has already been cool with it for a decade, but good job catching up, 'Murica.
  • Jenn and I got ourselves some tickets to go see Kevin Smith in Windsor this August and I could not be more excited!  I've been wanting to see one of his "An Evening With" shows for ages and I'm so glad that I get to do it as a little summer roadtrip with my hetero lifemate!
  • There was a guy on the picket line today who was wearing a shirt that said "Gongshow" and it made me supremely happy since that about sums up the whole strike experience.
  • I got to go swimming this week - always a plus.
  • Mom, Courtney and I took the kids to Glass in Motion in Grand Bend on Sunday where the kids got to make their own suncatchers out of coloured glass.  It was a really fun process and the kids just loved it - perfect rainy day activity!

  • A rainy Saturday made for the perfect day to have a games night!  It's always good weather for Catan and Cards Against Humanity!  Plus the Adultrivia game I got at a yard sale for a quarter proved to be quite entertaining!
  • Starbucks shaken black tea and lemonade with a peach flavour shot help get me through a picketing shift - even when they spell my name wrong on the cup.

  • Big Brother is back!  My guiltiest of guilty summer pleasures!
  • I had a whole Saturday daytime with nothing to do.  I should have cleaned the house, but I did manage to get a bit of work done on transcripts and mostly just enjoyed puttering around in my pajamas for most of the day.  It's always such a luxury for me to just be alone in the house in the daytime!
  • I treated myself to a new picketing bag this week.  Since it looks like we're not going to be back to work any time soon I decided I needed to upgrade my standard tote bag.  It's a pain just having something over my shoulder while I walk, so I wanted a nice casual crossbody bag.  I got this one through Chapters/Indigo and I love it!  It's roomy, but not bulky, and perfectly casual.  And I got it just in time for Canada Day this week!

Enjoy the weird week this week, guys!  Having the holiday fall on a Wednesday definitely makes things interesting - and no doubt very unproductive on Thursday and Friday!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Strathroy Antique Mall Wandering

Summertime means lots of wandering for me - I did a tour through the Strathroy Antique Mall the other day, and even though I didn't buy anything I took lots of pictures for you guys!

I already mentioned this vintage tin dollhouse - I'm still thinking about going back for it, it was $45 if I remember correctly.

I have a fondness for Pepsi memorabilia, if only because Coke stuff is so pervasive.  This old fountain machine was pretty awesome - although I'm not sure how functional it would be and it's quite a gamble at $295.

I loved this vintage view of London, but couldn't find a price on it.

Ooh, hello little vintage mailboxes.  You should come home with me, but you were $595 so probably not.

I do love a flamingo, even though they're pretty trendy right now.  I really wanted one of these flamingo things but they were all so pricey for what they were.  The print was $49, which isn't terrible but the colours were too washed out for me.  

Then these little guys were $19 each and I thought they were a little meh for that.

This was pretty exciting - I'd never come across some real Catherineholm cookware and was seriously tempted by this bad boy, but at $79 I couldn't do it.

Now you guys know how I feel about vintage crates, but I had never seen a vintage banana crate before.  This thing was massive - hopefully you can get a sense of scale from the items in front of it.  It looked like it was in really good condition too.  It was $249 though, and I hadn't a clue as to what I might do with it.

Ah the pulldown map.  This was in pretty great condition - and as luck would have it I saw another one just like this at the Forest City Flea.  This one was $95.

I know, again with the crates.  But an explosives case?  Much cooler than my apple crates.  $49 for this one - just for reference, I got 30 of my apple crates for $100.

I know I've taken a picture of this before, but I just can't resist anything that features that Middlesex Courthouse.  Although, now that I look at it, that flagpole seems oddly tall.  I think this one was like $150.

How adorable is this little case?  It has sleeves for the records inside and I just love the graphic on it.  $15 for this, but no idea what I would do with it.  I suppose you could tear out the dividers and use it as a purse if you didn't want to store records in it.

I loved these nursery rhyme prints - they were just so charming and colourful.  They were $20 each, which isn't bad at all, but just not something I could justify for my own amusement.

Full disclosure - I've never been to Mother's Pizza, but I know that people go crazy for it so this crate amused me.  $25 would make it yours.

I was sad that I didn't leave with any new treasures, but sometimes it's just as much fun to take pictures to share with you guys.  Lots of time left this summer for treasure hunting!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Outfit of the Day - Office Iron Man

Hey, remember how I used to have a job?  And I got dressed like a grown-up for that job?  Except for the days when I didn't want to look like a grown-up so I would wear some superhero shirt and throw a cardigan over it and pretend that that made me look like a grownup?  Well I found some old pictures from one such outfit!

So, this was the special tank top that I got for Free Comic Book Day/to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron.  I'm a DC girl through and through, but I wanted something Marvel for that event.  The top is from Her Universe, but I actually got it on Amazon to save on shipping.  I was expecting it to be a little looser, but it still works.

I stuck with my rule that you can dress down a top for work as long as the rest is office appropriate, so a cardigan and skinny black jeans it was!  I went with my gold sandals instead of ballet flats or heels though, because it seemed more Iron Man appropriate.

I wasn't in court that day either, so I felt okay about being a little more dressed down.  Plus, a cardigan makes everything okay.

Top - Her Universe
Cardigan - Old Navy
Jeans - Old Navy
Sandals - Target

Monday, 22 June 2015

Treats of the Week - Choosing Kindness

This is the start of week 5 of the strike, which is officially longer than I was anticipating.  I dunno guys, it's rough out there.  I'm trying to stay positive though - and had a very treat-filled week to help keep me going!

  • Vivian had a field trip this week and a friend of mine was one of the parent chaperones.  She messaged me later asking about Vivian's lunch.  I had sent what has become our standard - a cut up hot dog with a little container of ketchup for dipping, along with various snacks and fruit.  She was so relieved to see that someone else sent their kid to school with just a hot dog instead of some elaborate meal.  That's me, lowering the bar for everyone.
  • I had a great day on the picket line on Friday thanks to visits from three lovely friends.  Jenn and I even got some Stobie's in the park on my break - definitely a great way to start the weekend!

  • The McLobster is one of my great loves.  I mean, I love me some McDonalds in general, but the McLobster holds a special place for me.  I love lobster rolls, and while this one can't quite hold a candle to the ones I've had in New England, it's pretty damned tasty.  Plus I'm a sucker for the whole "limited time only" thing.

  • I got my hair done on Monday thanks to a colour class that my mom was participating in.  I love my new hair - it's much blonder than I typically go, but it works now that I'm all tanned.  My favourite part was walking into the shop and having the woman at the counter immediately recognize me - "You must be Tanya's daughter.  You look and sound just like her!"  

  • It was the dance recital on Saturday for Vivian, Blair and Lucas.  The kids did an amazing job - I'm always blown away by the talent at their recital.  I also managed to get myself roped in as MC for the event, so it was quite the chaotic day.  Between Vivian being in three routines, me dancing in two routines with the other moms (yeah, I got roped into that as well) and handling MC duties it made for quite the long day.  I got exactly zero pictures and videos, but I got to hang out backstage and hug Vivian the second she finished dancing and was told so many times that I did a great job - definitely a good day.

  • I've been posted at City Hall for the past week, and while it has its drawbacks, it also has its benefits.  I've especially enjoyed the walk to City Hall (I park a few blocks away to avoid meters) and being able to check out all the nice houses.  I love that Old North area, and it's so nice to see the houses up close.  I've even been going out of my way on my drive home to check out some of the smaller sidestreets just to see what I can see.
  • I got around to seeing Jurassic World this week, and while it can never come close to the original (Jurassic Park has to be in my top 10 movies of all time) I thought it was pretty fun.  I would say it's exactly what Jurassic Park would have been had it been made today - just a little overblown, and too much product placement.
  • I also got to see Jaws on the big screen for the first time - love that Hyland Cinema!
  • All of Vivian's artwork for the year came home today (and 90% of it went right into the recycling bin) but I loved seeing this composite picture of all the kids and what they want to be when they grow up.  I wasn't sure what Vivian's answer would be, and when I located her on the sheet I was so excited - I must be doing something right.

  • I was pleased to see these little bits of street art stuck to some light standards near City Hall.  Nothing mind blowing, but it made me smile nonetheless, especially on a hot day on the picket line.

  • It was also a great day for treats on the line - Kiwi Kraze dropped off frozen yogurt three times, and that adorable little Starbucks boy was sent over on Friday with some iced tea.  When we asked what he brought he announced, "I don't know, I just finished my WHMIS training, I don't even know how to work this thing."  Luckily for us he managed to figure out the carafe.

Choose to be kind, guys.  Whether it's just being there and visiting a friend or offering a drink or a helping hand.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Strike Life

So I didn't want this to turn into an all-strike blog, but as we enter our fourth week of striking, it's difficult to talk about anything else.  It also seems like people are interested in what's going on, so I'm going to go with it.  I don't want this to be an anti-city or anti-union type of deal though - believe me, I could argue both sides of that.  Instead I'm going to let you in on the secret inside world of the life of a striker.

  • There is a very real hierarchy when it comes to the signs.  At the top are the flags - these bad boys are gold.  They're light and don't get caught in the wind like the heavier signs.  They don't get ruined in the rain, and they actually look kind of nice.  If you get your hands on one of these, you don't let it go.  (Yes, people will steal your signs if you put them down.)  Next best is what I like to call the "fronties".  Nothing fancy - just a bristol board sign hanging around your neck.  They are preferable to the traditional sandwich board signs though since when you have one on your back the wind will blow it around.  The wind still blows the fronties around, but at least you can kind of hug it to yourself.  The worst are the large signs with the wooden handles.  They're unwieldy, they hit people, and you get slivers in your hands.  The worst.
  • The highlight of most shifts is when a dog walks by.  That's about where my life is right now.  It's funny how a baby can go by in a stroller and that's fine.  Whatever, babies are cute.  But a dog comes by and everyone stops what they're doing to ooh and ahh at the dog.  Everyone has their own dog voice too - variations on Lookitdapuppy!  Oh he's so cute!  Out for a walk!  
  • It is a lot of walking.  I'm averaging about 12-15 kilometers in the course of a four hour shift.  I'm not complaining - I know there's lots of people who do much harder work than this for much longer hours.  The monotony is rough though - just back and forth, back and forth.  Now I'm at City Hall, which is nice because at least you can walk all the way around the building.  A circuit, how novel!  Sadly, all of this walking hasn't really resulted in any weight loss.  I definitely feel more muscle definition, but not so much with weight loss.  Of course, that could be because...
  • ...I eat like a hobbit now.  See it used to be that I would have my morning coffee and breakfast, something small at lunch, and then dinner when I got home.  I would try not to snack, but that was about the way things went.  Now on my new shift of 11:30 to 3:30 things seem to go - coffee and breakfast, snack before I leave for shift, break halfway through my shift for another snack, snack when I get home, dinner, bedtime snack.  The whole time I'll be thinking to myself "Why am I hungry?  I'm not usually hungry this late?" but then I remember those 15 kilometers that I walked and figure it all makes sense.
  • Visitors are awesome.  Seriously, anything that breaks up a shift.  Even if you're just walking by and stop by to say hello I seriously appreciate it.
  • You quickly become trained to wave at any vehicles who honk.  It's quite the Pavlovian response - even to the point that it's hard not to wave at a passing fire truck with their lights and sirens activated.
  • I miss my work clothes.  A lot.  I miss my job too - I really do, but I miss getting up and getting dressed for work.  Sure it's nice that I can wear a tank top every day now and that my tan is out of control for my standards, but I miss putting on a nice dress and heels.  So now I just overdress for other occasions.
  • My big attempt at fashion on the picket line?  Right now my biggest decision is which pair of Converse to wear, and which tote bag I should use that day.  Lululemon shopping bag?  Oceanic Airlines tote?  Totes MaGoats?  So many choices.
  • Social plans are a big deal now.  Anything that gets me out of the house for something non-strike related is like an 11 on the Excitement-O-Meter.  I'm overly excitable in the first place, but now even minor plans are as exciting as a weekend away.  Perspective, yo.
  • I don't know how anyone could be on strike without a smartphone.  Being able to track my steps, text with people, read the news online, and listen to music.  Even if I don't have a pocket for it, I'll hold it through my whole shift just to be connected to the outside world.
Hopefully I'll be back to work soon, guys.  I'm not holding my breath just yet though.  If you ever find yourself in a striking position I strongly recommend you stock up your booze reserves before it happens.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Treats of the Week - Days and Nuits

It's been kind of a rough week in Strikeville, sports fans.  Terrible rains on Monday, negotiations that failed spectacularly on Tuesday, members of another union crossing our picket line on Wednesday, shift changes...yeah, it's been a week.  Trying my best not to wallow though - keep my eyes on the prize and treats in my weeks.

  • I did get to check out a couple of movies this week - San Andreas (in D-Box seats, no less!) and Love & Mercy.  Two very different movies - but I really enjoyed both of them!  
  • I was supposed to work a French court in Goderich on Tuesday, but was cancelled at the last minute.  I was pretty disappointed - not only because of the lost money, but I was really looking forward to having a day where I could dress up and pretend that I had a job again.  That same day I got an email from Brantford court asking if I would be interested in typing some transcripts for them though - a very nice chance to bounce back!
  • I went and checked out Nuit Blanche in London for the first time on Saturday.  While I heard that it wasn't as impressive as other years, I really enjoyed it!  It was nice to just wander around downtown on a warm evening and check out the artsy-fartsy stuff the city had to offer, even though I missed my chance to visit the grilled cheese truck.  My favourite part were these large 8-bit works - I've always wanted a giant 8-bit Mario on my wall!

  • It was also Blair's 5th birthday party on Saturday - my sweet little pixie of a niece had a mermaid-themed party.

  • Orange is the New Black has come back for its third season, and even though I'm failing miserably at marathoning it (I'm only on the 5th episode) I'm really enjoying it!  Maybe it will be worthwhile to stretch it out.
  • And advantage to being on strike?  Getting adorable custom cartoons drawn of yourself.

  • I managed to get my hair done today thanks to my mom participating in a colour class.  My head is now looking significantly better than it was this day when I was caught in the rain while picketing.

  • Stumbling upon this section of clearance office supplies at the Superstore was definitely a treat of my week.  I loaded up on pens and markers and dividers - you can't beat getting a pack of 12 pens for 14 cents!

  • I finally received my Jeff Goldblum t-shirt and my dinosaur purse and they're pretty much the cutest things ever.  I wore the shirt out on Saturday to Nuit Blanche and got a lot of comments on it (obviously).  My favourite exchange was late on Saturday evening while waiting for my burrito.  I noticed this dude looking at my shirt, and I knew he was trying to figure out who was on it.  Finally he came up and asked, "Is that Jeff Goldblum on your shirt?"  When I said yes, he clapped insanely loudly (both his girlfriend and I jumped) and yelled, "I KNEW IT!"  When his poor confused girlfriend asked, "Who?"  his obvious reply was, "That's Jeff Goldblum looking sexy as fuck!"  It was hilarious and amazing and I expect all exchanges while I wear this shirt to go in a similar fashion.

  • The owner of this car seems like a real class act.

Fingers crossed for some better work/strike treats this week, guys!  

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Dollhouse

My mom was talking about it just the other day.

"You kids are just all so stubborn.  I don't know where you get it from.  You just all have that impulsive thing where you get an idea in your head and there's no telling you otherwise.  You make up your mind that you want something and you just do it.  It's annoying."

It's true.  I'm stubborn, and often impulsive.  It can work to my benefit, or my detriment.  Such is life.  The latest in my series of impulsive ideas?  Well it starts out where all the best ideas begin - the Internet.

See, it all started with this feature of a time capsule home from Toronto on Retro Renovation.  It's no secret that I love midcentury modern design, and this home is stunning.  What really caught my eye was this shot though - a perfect little vintage midcentury dollhouse.

I loved it, immediately.  I couldn't get it out of my mind and resolved to keep an eye out at antique shops for one similar.

Then Retro Renovation did it again when they began a series on the same dollhouse.  Turns out it's from a vintage Betsy McCall Do-It-Yourself Dollhouse pattern.  They acquired a pattern and set about making their own.  I loved the series - they put so much effort and work into every little detail, and somehow made it seem like something I could manage...

By the time Mother's Day weekend rolled around and we stumbled into an adorable little dollhouse shop in Grand Bend, I was pretty sold that I obviously had to break ground on my own miniature midcentury marvel.  Because if I can't have the real thing, why not make myself insane trying to build a miniature version of it?

So I did some Googling and before I knew it I had PayPalled my way into ordering my own vintage pattern.  It's just a photocopy of an original pattern, and the photocopies weren't done on large enough sheets so there was a substantial amount of taping together of things.  Basically I'm already completely overwhelmed and will no doubt end up in tears over the stupid dollhouse.

What have I done with my life?

So yeah.  We will see how this pans out.  I desperately want this dollhouse, but I'm also notoriously bad at following instructions and measuring and taking my time at doing things.  Impulsive and impatient makes for a wonderful combination.

As luck would have it, I came across this vintage tin dollhouse last weekend and was seriously tempted to just buy it and call it a day, but I resisted!

Resisted for now, at least.  I might be singing another tune before too long.

Anybody want to help?

Monday, 8 June 2015

Treats of the Week - Festival Season

Anyone familiar with London knows that it's a city with an odd fascination with patios and festivals.  The summery weather means that both have been in full swing, and there's basically a different festival every weekend from now until the end of the summer.  This weekend saw us taking advantage of lots of those awesome things!

Yes, I'm going to choose to ignore strike stuff this week.

  • We hit up the eagerly anticipated Forest City Flea yesterday and it was a great time!  I didn't walk away with too many treasures, but it was awesome to see so many of my favourite shops out with so many people in attendance!  

  • This kid had a great time - even if I had to tell her to stop touching things constantly.

  • All of the nice weather coupled with some big car shows in the area have meant that pretty cars have been all over the place!  I saw that black Lamborghini again (I have to assume it's the same one and that there aren't two prowling around the London area) and I saw two Teslas in one day.  Yes, I pay attention to these things.
  • I also saw London traffic stop to allow some turkeys to cross the street on Wonderland Road.  As you do.
  • Vivian and Blair got some ridiculous bathing caps from my mom.  It was worth it just for the picture.

  • After a very busy week I had one of those evenings on Saturday where I crashed out on the couch at around 9pm and slept through until 9am.  It was glorious and necessary.
  • I FINALLY got to try the Goodah Gastrotruck at the Forest City Flea.  I do love me a fancy grilled cheese!

  • Vivian graced me with this original work of art on my hand.  It's a cat, possibly one who suffered through some genetic modifications judging by the amount of legs it seems to have.  Maybe she has a future as a tattoo artist?

  • I hit up an awesome yard sale on Saturday - it was pretty stacked.  It was hosted by Kim, who had previously owned Lovesick in London.  By the time I got there, she was already knocking things down to 50% off and I cleaned up!  I got this lovely yellow vintage Samsonite suitcase (now housing Vivian's dressup clothes while the old blue suitcase is now holding her doll clothes)...

  • ...plus I got these two big frames, two vintage aprons, three purses, wall organizer, Hawaiian platter, and Adultrivia game.  Total spent?  $13.

  • Jeff Goldblum is my new wallpaper on my phone.  He's always a good choice.

  • Vivian brought home a pretty deep library book this week - The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth, based on a story by Leo Tolstoy.  It was a beautiful story, and I really enjoyed the art.  I love how children's stories are able to break down complicated messages into concise, simple statements.

  • My Totes MaGoats finally arrived!  It's been put to good use on the picket line - dammit, I mentioned the strike!

  • It's also been quite the week for North Lambton Secondary School alumni!  Not only did I meet up with a former Eagle for some dinner, but I was also recognized on the picket line by another!  It's funny the way things work!
Have a great week, guys!  Hope you have lots of treats!