Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crafternoon Guest Posting

Just a quick post to direct you to Bugs and Fishes by Lupin where you will find my first ever guest post!  Topic: Crafternoon and making stuffed owls.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christmas Crafting Has Begun!

I know I'm not the only one who has begun Christmas crafts - I've seen them on blogs like A Spoonful of Sugar, According to Kelly and Sew, Mama, Sew!  I'm starting with a felt ornaments.  I bought a kit from Alicia Paulson last year but it arrived when I was in the midst of a plethora of Christmas crafts & I didn't get to sewing it.  So far I've got one ornament, the cottage, done. 

It was lots of fun - beads and felt and lots of different techniques which I like!  Except a slight slip up at the beginning (of course the back and the front need to be mirror images, not identical Laura!) it went along really well.  Now I'm working on the snowy tree which is almost done.  One of my favourite features of this ornament is the bit of wool roving coming out the chimneys. You can almost smell the wood fire that must be going on inside.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Birthday Day Out

Monday was my birthday and it was as wonderful as you could want any birthday to be.  I was still on a bit of a high from finishing a half marathon the day before and since the race offered discounted hotel rooms to participants my sister & I stayed the night in Toronto.  So on birthday morning once we were up and fed we headed out to shop! Although it doesn't always happen on our actual birthdays it is now our tradition to go birthday shopping rather then give each other gifts. It means we can spend time together and usually we go explore somewhere outside of our city.  This time we headed to Queen St. W in Toronto.

Our first stop was a wonderful bookstore called Type.

The front of the store had all kinds of wonderful journals, stationery, cards, labels, etc. and the back was filled with wonderful books!  My sister bought me a Line a Day 5 Year Journal.  It's similar to the Best of my Days project I have going now only obviously this is for 5 years. There's also room for a bit more then a line each day and there's no pressure that I have to write about the best of each day.  I think it will be an interesting project, especially as it will go from birthday to birthday.  Let's hope I can keep it up for 1826 entries!

I did a quick look through the children's book section but didn't linger as children's books are very dangerous to me my wallet.  I did find a couple things in the adult book section.  Although I would have loved to bring them home the lovely cloth bound copies of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice and Emma (have I ever mentioned I'm a big Jane Austen fan) are getting added to the wish list!

Right next door was the store I came to see - the Paper Place.  I was fortunate to make my first visit there last year on my birthday (a tradition I would be all for continuing!).

Rainbows of paper - do they excite anyone else?

I tried to stay away from large sheets of paper as I still have lots left from my purchases last year.  It was exciting to see Jaime's stamp packs for sale - I bought some more to replenish my stash (it's much easier to use them if you know you have another waiting in your drawer).

I love this little tree.  I think it would be perfect for displaying handmade ornaments.  Unfortunately it wasn't for sale, I'm hoping Etsy & Google will be able to help me out there!

My nose found this little cafe - the smell of fresh baked croissants is very hard to resist!  They were just as delicious as they look.

This yarn store was jam packed with lovely yarns.  I showed great restraint and didn't buy anything!  There's enough yarn in my stash right now.  My sister bought a skein of yarn though, so we didn't leave empty handed.

A quick stop for lunch - Sunday Dinner soup and a London Fog and then back home before rush hour began.

Dinner & games with friends, although not great lighting for photos, was a great way to finish the day.  I may be grown up now but birthdays are still exciting and wonderful!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Toronto Half Marathon

On the weekend I ran in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, definitely my longest race so far.  The only other road race I've done was 5km, a half marathon is 21.1km.  This Sunday that equalled 2 hours, 11 minutes and 41 seconds of run time.  Wow!  If you had told me last year I would run for over 2 hours straight I would have laughed, but this year it seemed completely possible. It was a little chilly - fine once I got going but a tad cold waiting for the race to start.

During the race it was runners as far as I could see - both in front & behind me.  About 20,000 people took part in the marathon, half and 5km events that day and did we ever fill the streets!  It was incredible to be part of such a big event.  Even people who aren't into running knew the marathon was going on (mostly because they had to detour to wherever they were going) and I thought - yep, it was my event that caused that!

At the end everyone got a finishers medal.  I *may* have carried it around in my pocket and whipped it out to show just about anyone - I figure I earned those bragging rights!

Would I do it again?  For sure!  It was a great experience and I'm so proud of myself not only for finishing but also for doing all the training.  Maybe next time it will be a full marathon.  Crazy?  Maybe just a bit!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ready to Run

This past summer I completed the 99/100 run challenge: run 100 miles in 99 days.  Part way through the challenge I signed up for a half marathon and began training for that.  Today I finished the 12 week training plan!!!  

I missed one run out of the 28 that were planned, and two were shortened, but in total I ran 247 km in the last 12 weeks!

And this Sunday I'll be out with 20,000 other runners doing my longest distance yet at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Last Stop - Vancouver

The last stop on our trip was Vancouver; mainly to visit family & friends but we also snuck in a little sight seeing & shopping.  This picture is from the top of Grouse Mountain which is, more or less, in the city.  As far as I can remember this was the first time I've been up Grouse.  This time we took the gondola up but next time I want to hike up the "Grouse Grind".

At the top we saw this grizzly bear!  Safely ensconced in a habitat and happily eating (grass!) away with his friend.  Both the bears were orphaned as cubs and were brought to Grouse Mountain to live.

There was a fair amount of physical activity during the trip and Vancouver was no exception.  My sister & I took some dance classes at Harbour Dance.  My favourite ballet class - I haven't taken one in a few years and it was great to be back at the barre.

I kept up running while I was away.  My favourite run was along the seawall - it was a beautiful run and there was so much to look at the 15 kilometres went by quite quickly.

Still in the sporty theme of things we revisited the Olympic Cauldron.  Not nearly as exciting as 18 months ago when it was lit but you can get a lot closer now!

The final event was a triathlon!  I competed in the Vancouver Triathlon in Stanley Park - sprint distance.  That's 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run.  Because they close the road around the park the race started early - 7:00 which made for a chilly start!  This was my first ocean race and was it chilly!  Even with a wetsuit on.  Some people swam without them and kudos to them I couldn't have done it!

Friends of mine were bike course marshals and happened to get the camera out in time to catch me riding by.

Here I am on the run, at this point my feet had finally thawed from the swim and I was really enjoying the day.

Our last night was spent at the beach eating fish & chips & ice cream with good friends.  Great finale to a great trip.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lake Louise

Need to get this summer vacation series wrapped up since we're now well into fall and there are crafts going on that can be shared!

Did I mention I got an iPhone just before I left?  (And when I say "just" I mean the night before my flight).  I love the Hipstamatic app!  It was fun to play around with and get some different looking tourist photos.

Besides taking photos (something that is very easy to do in Lake Louise as it's so beautiful) one of the most popular activities is hiking.  We spent about 6 hours out on the trail one day.  

Catching glimpses of views like this:

Can you see the tiny dots on the lake?  Those are canoes!  We were just a little bit high up.

This picture makes it look like we were the only ones there, but in reality this was snapped in between groups of tourists.  And I'm sure this same photo was on everyone's camera - such a classic scene!

One more post and then the vacation series will be done.