Oh hey.  It's been a while, sorry about that. 

Life has been a little crazy with school: making cities out of sticks, building tiny structures for the tiniest of people, oh and planning for BRAZIL!!!! (I leave in a week and I'm pretty pysched.)

But anyways, if you haven't seen me since September this will give you a little insight into what I've been doing with my life for the last while.

Our site this term was a magically constructed, precariously balanced structure that I have a rather strong love-hate relationship with (generally leaning more towards the latter.)  The structure was then to evolve into a densely populated, vibrantly inhabited city through each of our interventions.  Starting with nothing, with no site constraints, light patterns, surrounding buildings, etc. was a little difficult for me, sunlight is what I genuinely love, and what has influenced much of my previous projects.

Eventually after much imagining and lots of litte sketches filled with people and trees I got into it and a small little building evolved. 

Sitting atop a mountainous landscape of trusses, 45 metres in the air is a small white observatory.  Constructed around the framing of specific viewpoints of the city it contains multiple rooms with small openings, slanted floors and oddly arranged windows which manipulate what one sees in each space and how they interact with that view. 

With carefully constructed spaces to view the harbour, the divide through the city, the commerical district and the parkland the building also begins to make one aware of the shifting sense of time, measured through the ever-changing light quality that enters through the openings. 

It is a space to sit and look and watch and be enthralled with the amazing quality of sunlight.....and possibly escape from the rest of the city for a while.

the little urban observatory.
view through one of the slits in the harbour room that forces ones gaze downwards to the boats below.
plan of all the white viewing spaces and the outdoor roof areas.

section of the softly slanting floor plane and openings of the harbour room.

section showing city room, centre space and parkland viewing room.

view into the "city."

xo.  Hopefully a few other things will appear on here before I leave!

tiny buildings make me the happiest.

If you're curious as to why you haven't see me since September, here's a little peek. 

It's a tiny coffee shop for our four storey "city", that is all about registering the shift of light and making people aware of the the vast colour range contained within sunlight.  It connects to a larger observatory/library within the city that creates a space for individuals to observe and experience the cloud and atmospheric conditions of the urban city.  The library has all their weather charts.

It's just a little sketch model, but I love imagining into tiny models.  They're super fast and instantly create a small little real world.  And you get to put tiny people in them.  This is a little mini light study of how the sunshine would illuminate the space from east to west throughout the day.  xo.


As I am writing this it's 11:59 p.m.  Actually.  So Happy Halloween, yay! .....and welcome November!

I have no idea where October went.  Somewhere involving lots of pink foam, proscenium designs and questionable structural drawings.

Anyways, I love halloween.  I'm not sure what child didn't like mass amounts of free candy and running crazily down every dark street in their neighbourhood, but I thought it was great.  However, I was never very creative with costumes.  I was a cow once, a spice girl and queen amidala (sp??) but generally I leaned towards princesses, fairies and butterflies.  I have so many princess costumes.

This year I decided I wanted to make my own non-princess costume.  It was the best craft evening.  Regardless of whatever any particular people happen to say, I think one can be a pretty adorable bird without wings...its all about pretty things anyways and I thought my costume was lovely, if not anatomically correct.  Also, its much easier to dance in a dress...and without a beak.

Of course, I was inspired by this.  Typical.  Although I like mine better! 

Oh.  and remember beyblades??  My six year old cousins adore them and I spent a good chunk of saturday afternoon "battling" them.  Needless to say I won almost every time.  and I also now have gigantic cut on my hand, those things are intense.  xo!

french navy.

This has been my favourite song - and video - this entire week.  It has made ridiculously long articles on Italian Masques of the 1600's much happier and is a rather lovely background to figuring out colour theory.

It's like a little trip to Paris and Europe, complete with art nouveau metro stations, adorable outfits and little markets.  So happy - even though the song is perhaps somewhat sad, I still think its adorable, along with pretty much all of Camera Obscura's songs.  xo.

pumpkin picking adventures.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Two posts in a row, I am obviously very much procrastinating from school.  Especially attempting to decipher ridiculous old English books from the 1600's.  But anyways.


My love for them goes without saying.  One of my favourite parts of fall is going to Lockport to pick pumpkins.  We've gone driven out to Lockport to hang out at the Half Moon restaurant and look at old cars every thanksgiving weekend I can remember.  And for the last handful of years, pretty much ever since I began to really love baking, we've stopped at one of the little farms on the highway home to pick out our favourite pumpkins.  They lay them out in pretty little rows in their front yard and you get to meander around and pick the one you love, there are so many kinds!  It used to be a rather small operation, but it appears the secret is out because the highway was lined with cars when we arrived!

So much fun!

and yes, they have a giant cat made out of hay bales in their front yard.

Oh, and these are the monster cupcakes my mum made with my cousins yesterday to keep them amused for thanksgiving.  So much sugar.  So much fun. xo.

hearts and fall love.

It's been awhile.  I'm sorry.

Unlike last time I posted, when I only wished it was fall, it is actually fall for real now.  Which means multiple lovely things; like wearing tights and boots and colourful leaves...and that school has started.  Once again I have no life.

But it's been rather wonderful, although it has been rather crazy and now that interm reviews are over, (yay!) I decided that I finally deserved a little break to do something fun, non-structural and incredibly frivolous!

I have been rather obsessed with Elsie's blog at A Beautiful Mess lately.  I love everything about her and her blog, her clothes, her craft projects, her store, her super great tattoos.  I somewhat want her life.  Anyways, all her adorable little projects and brightly coloured outfits inspired me to do something wonderful and lovely with my little bit of free time this week and so this is what resulted!

I had seen little projects for painted tights and jeans before so I thought I would give it a go and see what happened. 

I rather adore them. 

Everyone in my household is incredibly confused as to why I would want hearts on my tights, but they make me the happiest!

So if you happen to also love hearts, craft projects, frivolous things and confusing everyone around you with your choice in outfits, here you go!  Also, we should probably be best friends.

1.  cut out a little template out of card stock, don't make it too big since it will stretch out.   When my tights were lying flat the heart had about 1/2 inch extra fabric on either side and it was the perfect size!   I picked a heart but you could pick anything!

2.  while wearing your tights make a mark in pencil roughly where you want your hearts to be.  I marked off just below the knee and at the ankle.

3.  Trace your template to your heart's desire!  I traced three on each leg.

4.  paint in all your little hearts with fabric paint.  I used a crimson red, flat, flexible fabric paint.  Make sure you put a thin piece of cardboard between the layers of fabric in the tights so that it doesn't bleed through.  I used the piece of cardboard that came in my tights as a template to cut a second piece!

5.  let the paint dry according to manufacturer's directions, mine had to dry for four hours.

6.  your super sweet tights are done, yay!

I'm super happy with how they turned out!  Some white shows through when you wear them because the hearts stretch out, but I'm okay with that.  I like somewhat imperfect, worn things! 

I also got a chance to paint my nails yesterday, so very happy!  You have no idea how big of a deal it is to have this much free time.  Oh, and this is my favourite locket, my grandma "thrifted" it from the house next door before it got condemned.  I love my family.

Happy fall!  Hopefully a few more pictures will appear on here in the next little bit before life is insane again, I still have some summery ones I want to show you.  xo.

pumpkin cake.

Even though it has been incredibly hot the past few days in my mind it's pretty much fall. 

Although I love beaches and being warm all the time I adore fall more.  All the things I do in the summer - bike rides, wandering aimlessly through pretty little neighbourhoods, being outdoors all the time, flowers, pretty little projects, baking - I can do in the fall, but with tights and boots on, which means I can wear way more of the pretty dresses in my closet!  My family also gets visibly less upset when I go to turn the oven on to bake something. 

Both things make me extremely happy.

One of my very favourite fall things is pumpkins.  I love pumpkin.  Pasta, cookies, cupcakes, anything.  And, since I refuse to bake anything with canned pumpkin I get very excited when the little orange squashes start appearing at the farmers market!

Amazingly, when I went this saturday my favourite organic mennonite farmers had boxes and boxes of perfect little baking pumpkins.  Needless to say I was ecstatic. 

Unfortunately, I was so excited to roast the pumpkin and make something delicious that I didn't take a photo.  Visualize the prettiest little 4 lb pumpkin and you'll be on the right track.

roast pumpkin

To roast the pumpkin I cut it in half, scooped out all the seeds (which you can roast later!), cut off the stem and put the halves face down on a baking sheet.  I placed the baking sheet on the highest rack and turned the to high, ie. just below broil.  It took about 45 minutes to roast this 4 lb pumpkin.

The skin will get charred and black, but when you flip it over (let it cool before you do this, since it's crazy hot) the flesh will be lovely golden orange and super soft, it should peel away easily from the skin.  If it isn't soft enough put it back in the oven for a bit.

I usually just scoop out the flesh, mash it with a fork and keep it in the freezer to use whenever!

It isn't a lot of work and leaves you with very delicous, beautiful pumpkin to use for whatever your heart desires.

Doesn't this make you so excited for fall?

What my heart happened to desire on this particular day was cake.  Layer cake with large amounts of frosting.  Not cupcakes with delicate little swirls, but an entire cake that I could frost with an offset spatula and mass quantities of buttercream.  I really wanted to frost something, it's a very calming experience.

However, the dilemma was what cake recipe to use?  Instead of looking for hours through multiple food blogs and getting incredibly distracted I decided to modify a Martha Stewart recipe I had for pumpkin cupcakes.  Like I said, I really wanted to frost something.

The result was pumpkin layer cake with chocolate cinnamon buttercream.  It was rather delicious!


mix your dry ingredients together.  cinammon, ginger and nutmeg make me instantly think of fall.
mix your sugars with your (lake) of melted butter.  add the dry ingredients and mix.
mash the pumpkin and add it to the batter.  it becomes the most beautiful orange colour - and tastes rather delish!
spread the batter evenly into two circular cake pans.  I ran out of flour so I dusted my pan with cocoa.
bake until set and let cool.  because of the pumpkin and whole wheat flour the cakes won't rise very high.
place one cake on a cake stand/plate and frost the top with a good amount of buttercream. 
place the second cake on top.
frost the top and sides with an offset spatula and the remaining frosting.
 As mentioned above this cake recipe was modified from this Martha Stewart cupcake recipe.  I changed around some of the ingredient measurements and also swapped in some whole wheat flour.  I was slightly hesitant that it would make the cake really dense and heavy but it didn't and it slightly balances out the large amont of butter used!

pumpkin layer cake
modified from Martha

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup salted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups pumpkin puree

Whisk together the flours and spices.  Since I was a bit afraid how the whole wheat flour would react I sifted it to remove some of the bran/hull so it would be less dense.

In another bowl whisk together sugars and melted butter.  Add eggs.  Add dry ingredients a little at a time and mix until batter is smooth.

Stir in pumpkin puree.  Batter will be quite thick.  I slowly added small amounts of milk to the batter to bring it more to the consistency of brownie batter.  Start with a tablespoon, mix, add a bit more (I think I used 1/4 cup) and keep going until its not as dense but is nowhere near soupy.

Grease and flour (I used cocoa powder because I was out of all purpose flour) two 8 inch circular pans.  Pour an even amount of batter in each and smooth over.

Place in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or unitl tops of cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 20 minutes and then turn out, running a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the cake.

The cake will be short and dense and kind of sticky from the oil in the pumpkin and the butter but I promise you that its cooked!

Let cool and frost.

chocolate cinnamon frosting - chocolate and cinammon is my favourite combination, and I thought it would go especially well with the flavours in the pumpkin cake.
modified from my favourite frosting recipe.  I use the same base for every buttercream but this time the flour is replaced by cocoa powder.

3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
a lot of cinammon

Mix icing sugar and sifted cocoa powder.  Add butter and beat until it begins to get smooth.  Add milk a little at a time until its thinned out but is still quite stiff, you don't want it running off the cake!  Add the cinammon.  I started with a tablespoon and kept adding more because I really wanted to taste the cinammon.  In the end I probably used 3 tablespoons but definitely start with one and add a bit at a time tasting along the way because it will quickly go from just right to way too much spice!

Frost the cake!  You can leave it in the fridge while your cake cools and let it come to room temperature before frosting.

Slice yourself a lovely little piece, sit in the warm almost-autumn sun and get very excited about the lovely cool weather, leaves and boots that lie ahead!  xo.

summery evenings and exciting engagements.

Happy September! 

Now that work is finished the past week and a half have flown by with getting things together for school, baking, kayaking trips (photos to come!) - and wedding related events.  yes.  weddings.

Last weekend specifically was full of wedding loveliness, with two friends very sweet wedding day in Morden - pictures of which do not exist because I was too busy dancing around with glow sticks.  yes.  mennonites love glowsticks - and then my very beautiful cousin's engagement party the following evening.

It was a gorgeous, sunny evening at Assiniboine park, sitting on a tucked away little patio with family and watching the sun set through the lovely prairie grasses.

It was a delightful, calm summery evening with the best food and cake and a chance to spend time with my lovely girl cousins, who just happen to have matching nose piercings - you can tell we're related!

Needless to say I'm pretty pumped for their wedding.  As a general rule I'm pretty pumped for anything that invovlves pretty things, dresses and dance parties.  I'm quite certain Andrea introduced me to Tyler's parents as "this is my cousin, she's super excited for the wedding."  yep.

So, so very lovely!

They have the sweetest engagement story, something involving surprises, explosions, hills and an inevitable yes!  Although I think it happened a little more gracefully than that all sounds.

And finally, everyone's favourite part, cake!  They did a very lovely job of humouring everyone cutting it, since this will be the only cake photo op!

The cake was amazing - and I have high cake standards - chocolate with raspberry buttercream in towering slices.  So very delightful!

I cannot wait  for their wedding, and all the lovely little things leading up to it.  Next up is the shower, and mass amounts of cupcakes and other treats, perhaps you'll get a peek at it too!  xo.