A Toronto vegan blabs on about crafting, food, and her life in general.

Friday, March 31, 2006

One a day sisterly goodness

Actually, it’s more than just one day. I get to hang out with my sister for 2 whole days :) Tonight, I pick her up from the bus station and bring her home for a few hours of watching 24. The rest of the weekend will be filled with shopping for her Grade 8 Graduation Dress and going to the One of a Kind Spring Show.

I haven’t seen her since Christmas, which makes me very sad. I adore my sister and I wish I had easier access to a car so that I could see her more often.

rocks AND rolls

Rocks: I brought my camera in to work today to take a couple of shots of the necklace I finally made for my boss. I'm quite happy with it. I chose to add a double chain between stones since they were so heavy. It also helped make them less crowded and chokey.

And here is our model wearing her new favourite:

Rolls: I got nothing. I was just desperate for a title.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I am a procrastinator. My boss gave me a pile of polished rocks that used to be a belt. She asked me to make a necklace for her out of these rocks. She did this over a year and a half ago. Probably closer to two years, actually. Something has kept me from doing it and I'm not sure what... the fear of the necklace not turning out? Not sure.

Anway, she brought it up again last Friday and, laughing, said "It's funny - I'm your boss and you won't do this for me! Anyone else would have given me the necklace the next day, but not you! I think that's why I love you."

It helps to be friends with your boss ;)

So, full of guilt and shame, I sat down and finished the necklace on Sunday night. I don't have a photo, and I wish I did. It turned out very nicely. However, I have a few stones left over (above) that she's requested a lariat from, so I'll be sure to take a photo of that one.

Next, I've been knitting a scarf during my subway trips. Surprise! It's black and red! (roll eyes now...) To jazz it up a bit, I am going to make some red flowers to tack on near the ends of the scarf. The pattern is from Stitch'n'Bitch Nation and I already made one on my way in to work. It didn't turn out all that well, but I'll do better on the next one. I've never been one for too many flourishes or details or patterns, but I'm starting to like small hints of decoration like these flowers. As long as they are a solid colour.

Finally, I joined the Sew? I Knit! bag sew-a-long. My twist: I am going to make my bag out of items I already have. The picture is of the bottom of a skirt that got ruined, so I trimmed it into a shorter one. This excess will be perfect to construct a bag from - there are awesome ribbons to use for the strap, a snap-clasp for closure, and plenty of thick material for the bag itself. I also have an idea for the lining, which will be made from an old sheet that has been kicking around the back of the office at work, used recently to move heavy objects. The boss-friend says I can take it. I'll take more shots of the progress.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Mishka's Midweek Munchies

I have vowed to make a point of buying 1 new thing each time I grocery shop, whether it be a fruit, a vegetable or anything else. We went shopping last night (long overdue) and bought only half of what we needed...

for dinner (sloppy joes):
canned tomatoes
red pepper
cremini mushrooms
2 focaccia buns

already had at home:
Nutritional Yeast
Tomato Paste
garlic, onions, spices
vegetables for a side salad

also purchased:
whole wheat tortillas
Amy's Spinach and Cheese Pizza - for him
Amy's Cheeseless Roasted Vegetable Pizza - for me
Amy's Black Bean and Veg Burrito - for him
Amy's Dairy-free Burrito - for me
refried black beans
4 organic bananas
rice stick
frozen organic green beans
wasabi peas (the new thing)
spaghetti sauce
canned black bean soup
canned veg and pasta soup - for him
Special K with berries - for him
Chocolate Smilk

more Midweek Munchies!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Night in The Hammer

the boy and the bro.
somehow the camera got set to "landscape",
but the effect is interesting.

Saturday night, the boy, Claire and I drove to Hamilton (a.k.a. to locals "The Hammer") for a fundraiser. The husband of my brother's (Rob) and SIL's (Nina) friend was killed at work in the winter, leaving her to raise their baby on her own. The fundraiser was planned by my SIL and her cousin and the money is going to Crystal and the baby. Overall, they raised $10,000!

To get an idea of what the night was, think of a rowdy Jack and Jill, but minus the whole wedding thing. It was a night of drinking and dancing, raffles, and more drinking.

AND it was a night that the boy met my father's side of the family. My father didn't show up, but the boy met my brother, sister-in-law, a couple of cousins, aunt, uncle, etc. Basically, people I only met a few years ago myself.

me and my "little brother"

We entered the raffle and put our tickets towards the alcohol prize... and we won! When we got it home, we estimated it to be over $200 of various beer, wine, liquers and spirits. Yay!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Double Happiness

Beautiful Books

My dear friend Trudi has just confirmed plans of her visit to Toronto with her husband in May. Hooray! We met in grade 5 and were inseparable for the next 3 years until her family moved back to Nova Scotia, where she and her husband live now.

Trudi, if you aren't aware, is a Hand-made Japanese Paper Book Goddess. She makes gorgeous books and even supplies a couple of shops in Halifax with her creations. During her visit, we plan to visit shops in Toronto for supplies of paper and ribbon and I'd love any sort of input as to where some of the best suppliers are... Toronto readers? Also any ideas for shops that might be interested in carrying some of her beautiful work are very welcome.

I am very excited to see my friend again, and to meet her husband for the first time! It has been about 3 years since she was in Toronto and I, being the scatter-brain I am, never follow through on my plans to visit her in Nova Scotia. Well, I have talked to the boy about visiting this summer. Since our vacation time is super-limited, it'll have to be over a weekend. Boo for poor vacation time.

And Yay for friends!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

One a day KNITTY goodness

aw, shucks, Amy. So happy I could help bring you, and hopefully many others, some smiles! The logo looks great and I will wear it proudly.

One a day traditional goodness


Is it crazy to want to forget about the sewing machine in favour for good old hand sewing? I love making clothes (though I haven’t done it in a long time) and I like the idea of slow and easy hand sewing, at a relaxing pace. No machinery. Just me, fabric, needle and thread. I am feeling inspired to make my own wardrobe, thanks to Flickr’s Wardrobe Remix so maybe I’ll try something… a skirt… a top… or maybe I’ll just modify something I already own. A bonus: this would be a nice change from the usual knitting I do on the subway. A few sewing supplies wouldn’t take up too much space and I don’t care if people look at me strangely :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

One a day quiet goodness


Sometimes, when I use the washroom at work, I keep the light off. It gets very dark in there and I just sit for a few extra minutes, enjoying the silence.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

March craftiness

beads - March 20 2006, originally uploaded by mishkalee.
edited to add: My hair looks so rock star!

I sat down last night and made a couple of necklaces. I've been told that people want more blue necklaces, which is a colour I don't use very often. So I made this - I like the sea-blue colour of these beads and the large square centre one.

blue glass necklace, up close.

browns and ambers. I still need to add dangles to the 3rd rings.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Super-fantastico Sunday plus plus!

(note: I am in the process of updating my blog colours... do not be alarmed)

This Saturday, I intended to cross #41 off my 43things list and go small gallery hopping. I remember there being galleries in and around Kensington Market, so the boy and I decided to not research anything beforehand and just wing it. However, winging it had to be delayed for a wee bit so we could fill our grumbly tummies. Much to my happiness, he suggested we go to Fressen for their BBQ Tofu Rancheros. The thing is with Fressen is that it is usually a place that we plan an outing to - it is never a spontaneous destination. So, to go there out of the blue for my favourite brunch was BBQ Tofu heaven, topped with kittens and balloons.

On the plate:
BBQ scrambled tofu, tempeh "bacon", avocado cream,
corn-tomato salsa, refried beans, corn tortilla, potatoes,
star fruit, melons and orange.
Oh. My.

After, we walked around Kensington Market. And found no galleries. Since it was too cold to wander too much, we popped on down to Queen Street for a coffee and a quick pop-in to Sanko, where Vania told me they sold tofu pouches for sushi. I hate seaweed, but love the idea of sushi, so we bought a bunch of supplies for dinner on Sunday.

With our hands warmed up a bit, we were able to walk a bit more, west on Queen. Of course, we found where all the galleries were. And, of course, we were cold again and done, done, done. So, we went home. And rented Walk The Line (fabulous) and L4yer Cake (pretty good.)

Waking up on Sunday felt like such a bonus. Since Saturday was so easy-going, we felt like were getting another Sunday. We borrowed an Autoshare car for a quick trip to Ikea, rented Capote (enjoyed it a lot) and made sushi. The results:

all the ingredients to make vegetarian sushi
and miso soup.

all rolled and wrapped, waiting to be sliced.
David's nori rolls turned out much better then mine, so I stuck with filling the pouches.

Part of the spread:
miso soup, fried dumplings, tofu pouch sushi,
steamed asparagus, sticky rice with peanut sauce.

The pretty sushi plates.

The verdict: I hated it.

I ate 2 nori rolls. Blech. And 2 tofu pouches... and they were okay. So I filled up on dumplings and sticky rice. Oh well. I'll try again in a couple of years, because I am determined to like sushi.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

One a day sunshiney goodness

I have to write about this now, before the dreary office atmosphere sucks me into grouchiness.

The sun is shining and makes the chilly March weather more bearable. From all the wind yesterday, the air smells fresh and clean – as though it has been run through a filter. While walking from the subway to the [strikeout: bus] office, I felt more alive than I have in a while. If only I could spend the day out there… or at least near a decent window.

And I’m having a good hair day :) That makes me feel better too. Although, I’m curious as to why I always have good hair on the days I am going to get it cut…

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Li'l pouch

I am knitting a small pouch for my friend's birthday gift (a few of us are giving her cash to help out with her upcoming schooling) and I just need to sew it up. I also want to embroider something on it, though I haven't embroidered since high school. She will be taking a chef training course, so maybe a chef hat? I also thought about "munny 4 skool" and "Fer lurnin'"

all stockinettey and rolly

how it will fold up.
I'm thinking of using a big bead for a clasp, just have to find the right one.

Midweek Munchies & Yoga Soup

This week, I decided I'd post my recipe for Yoga Soup - so named because I eat it after yoga class. It's very fast and filling and (I think) healthy. It is also the only recipe I have submitted to VegWeb...

Yoga Soup
  • 2 vegan broth cubes (veg, mushroom, fake chicken, etc)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup shelled frozen edamame
  • 4-6 vegan frozen Asian dumplings or pot stickers
  • equivalent of 1 cup of rice noodles/rice stick
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • handful of chopped dark greens: spinach, kale, or chard

    Optional additions:
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • hot chili oil, sesame oil
  • lime juice
  • ginger - pureed, thinly sliced or minced

Boil the water on high in a medium sized pot and dissolve the cubes in the water.

Add the edamame and dumplings. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce or tamari and the ginger.

Bring water to boil again. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the broccoli. Cook for another minute at medium heat.

Turn off the heat and add the rice noodles, making sure they are completely covered by liquid. Keep the pot on the burner to keep the soup hot, but not at a boil.

Let the pot sit for about 10 minutes on the burner or until the noodles are fully cooked, adding chopped greens to the pot to steam for the last few minutes.

Ladle into bowls, topping with chili oil, sesame oil and a squeeze of lime juice.

other additions: - thinly sliced or shredded carrot - miso (added to the bowl of soup) - sesame seeds sprinkled on top - chopped scallions - green beans instead of, or in addition to, broccoli

Serves: 2, Preparation time: 15 minutes

More Midweek Munchies>here<


Canknittyan! (you have to say it out loud)

Am I the only one who did not realise that Knitty was a Canadian company? Not only Canadian, but Torontonian! It says it right there on her blog. I feel dumb.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

One a day crafty goodness


I made a necklace on the weekend (my first Craft Month contribution). I’m not sure if I like it, but at least I sat down, pulled out my tools and created something that someone, somewhere, might love.

(anyone noticing the black and red theme I have un/intentionally developed through my photos? Like I said before, you can take the girl out of the 80s... alternative 80s, that is...)

Monday, March 13, 2006

One a day inspirational goodness

Do you ever just google people? People you once knew and wondered how they were getting on in life?

I do that. Sometimes often.

I googled a girl I used to go to high school with. We were maybe 1 step up from acquaintances and, because of a stupid and very high school situation, our demi-friendship became strained.

Sometimes I just take some time to remember her and what a great person she was, and figure she probably still is. A few keystrokes later, I have learned that she is a contributing member of a Montreal crafty, grrly, artsy scene and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She has even co-founded an awesome project called The Blood Sisters. In their own words, they are “girls using [their] own feminine protection to work against the corporate and cultural constructions of menstruation.” I love it.

Sadly, once I got up the nerve to email the group to make contact with her, I got an Undeliverable Error because their mailbox is over-quota. Sigh. I’ll keep trying.

Aimée, if by odd chance you happen upon this entry, Michelle from high school says hello.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Good timing, drinks and the Distillery

Saturday morning, as we began our day, the boy and I compared our tummies. We have both gained weight during our first year together and are planning on incorporating more exercise into our routine. Maybe evening walks, since he has recently messed up his knee playing soccer and can't do anything too vigorous. We live in a nice area, so walking is pretty enjoyable - except it makes me jealous to see all the gorgeous houses in our community and we are a couple of years away from even thinking about buying a home.

Neither of us realised how appropriate this tummy-comparing would be. We had tickets to see the opening of Eve Ensler's The Good Body at the newly renovated Danforth Music Hall. There were 6 of us in total and none of us really knew what to expect. I had read the synopsis of the show a couple of months ago but I'd forgotten it all by this time. I'm glad I did forget because it meant I went into the show with no notions of what I was about to see and hear. It was wonderful. It was hard not to compare it to The Vagina Monologues, which I've seen 3 times, because it was performed in very much the same style. This was almost comforting as I knew that, after being pulled into the depths of a traumatic story, we would be immediately relieved by a jolt of humour or a dramatic shift of direction. As Eve Ensler discussed her struggle to accept, irradicate, diminish, and cover up her less-than-flat tummy, I couldn't help smiling at the memory of the boy and I grabbing our protruding bellies earlier.

~~~ The Old Nick ~~~

Saturday night, we met up with the usual group of suspects for drinks and games at The Old Nick on Danforth. The pub is fairly nondescript but cozy. The service is decent and friendly and the food is basic pub stuff. The one interesting thing about the pub is that they have a stack of games that you can play. Claire brought her own - Sequence and Rummy-O (photo) - and we played the 90's edition of Trivial Pursuit. Well, actually, we just took turns reading out questions, which is the fun part anyway. My cousin Jamie and his partner Greg hauled their butts into the city from Milton for the night, which was awesome because I miss my cousin tonnes.

the group.

Chris looking cute.

The boy=ham.

~~~ The Distillery ~~~

Sunday was gorgeous. I'm not sure, but I think it reached about 15 degrees. A beautiful day for taking photos downtown with friends at The Distillery District.

Facing the main entrance of The Distillery.

A shot of a cool rusted old truck.

Random click facing the south end.

~~~ Odd cat thing ~~~

Tetley does this really weird thing - she sits in front of a mirror I have sitting on my floor (because I haven't decided where to put it yet) and she watches me through it. She had just turned her head when I snapped this, but she faces the mirror and watches me... and creeps me out.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sick Day

I finally took a sick day. I really need it - my cold/flu/? is really getting me down. I'm achey, cranky and emotional. So, now that I have a day to take care of me, what will I do?
  1. stay on the couch all day
  2. watch a movie or two
  3. knit my friend's scarf that I promised her. I am using the same yarn that I used for Oscar and I'm thinking of calling it "A hug from Oscar."
  4. I am blocking my Pixie hat now but I am worried that I did it all wrong. It's very strange looking. See end of post.
  5. sleep, sleep, sleep.

My napping companions today will be played by:

(yes, she's sitting in my pasta bowl. She looks so cute I couldn't make her get out.)

(the suckiest suck that ever sucked. But she's my suck.)

The end of the post. Here is my weird looking, huge Pixie hat, pre-blocking:


Thursday, March 9, 2006

One a day egotistical goodness

Is it bad to take only slightly secretive joy in knowing that my design skills are superior to my super-bitchy co-worker’s skills? It is petty, definitely. But does it make me a bad person?

I mean, if you knew how bitchy she is… sigh… hopefully my cold will go away soon and I'll be able to get back to the goodness. I think I may start a new regular post of "Letting it go..."

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

One a day nostalgic goodness

On the radio right now:
Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush.

I’d forgotten how much I loved her.

One a day diversion goodness


This morning, I felt like having tea on the way into work. I've been congesty for a few days and I hoped the warmth would help loosen the tightness in my chest. This craving struck me about 5 minutes away from the subway station, so I asked the boy if he would mind taking a few extra minutes to stray from our usual path and pop into Café Next Door so that I could buy something.

It was such a beautiful morning – the kind of day that makes you want to skip work and go walking though the city and through some of the beautiful parks in the immediate area.

Alas, we hurried on to work. Late. And with tea in hand (organic bergamot* green and darjeeling tea to be exact.) But I felt all the better for it.

Maybe today will be a good day.

*I've always pronounced this "buhr-ga-moh", but when I look it up, everything says "buhr-ga-maht". Am I so totally wrong? It sounds so harsh to pronounce the "t".

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

My colour profile

I'm not sure if this is pure crap or not. From the Colorgenics website. A lot of it does describe me, both right now and in general; but is it too vague, making it applicable to most people? Hmm... And the "treaded" typo in the 4th paragraph irks me. I am also bothered by the negativity of the description since I'm feeling pretty down today. Blah.

You are a very emotional and sensitive individual. Your life and love of life is dominated by your emotions - you have great feeling towards your fellow man and you are always full of enthusiasm but be careful, you tend to let your heart rule your head and this being so, you could be easily hurt - as perhaps you may have indeed been hurt in the past.

You are full of stress at this time. It would seem that you are having more than your fair share of trials and tribulations and you are looking for a way out. You are not quite sure which way to go but the advice is - 'Stop trying so hard'.

For some time now it would seem that you have been frustrated and emotionally inhibited. The circumstances which appear to be beyond your control are making it very difficult for you to develop the detached emotional attitude that you seek.

You are experiencing considerable stress which is essentially the result of on going rejection and hostility. You are in the unpleasant position where offers of trust, affection and understanding are being withheld and you are being treaded with a degrading lack of consideration. You feel that you are being denied the appreciation that you deserve, which is essential to your well-being and self-esteem, but you have to face up to the situation because as matters stand at this time there is little that you can do about it - you feel that you are getting nowhere and the continuous struggle is a lonely one: all difficulties and no encouragement. Whatever you try to say or do is met with continuous hostility and no matter how much you protest you are consistently misunderstood. You need to escape from the situation but you are so perplexed that you cannot find the strength of mind to make the necessary decision.

You wish to safeguard yourself against criticism or conflict and to embed yourself in a protected situation. You are a difficult person to relate to and very difficult to please.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Weekend meat and greet

The wedding this weekend was beautiful. It was a 50th anniversary re-wed celebration - the boy's step-mom's parents decided they would renew their vows for their 50th anniversary, and they spared no expense. It was a full-on wedding complete with bridesmaids, ceremony, reception, 5 course Brazilian meal, open bar, etc. It was very touching to watch 2 people who married so young (she was 19) renew those vows after 50 years in the presence of their children, grandchildren, other family and friends.

Oscar did me proud and kept my shoulders warm :)

The ceremony was very beautiful, but I was aghast by all the fur. At least every other woman their had either a full fur coat or something with fur trim. And the family is Brazilian, which means a lot of kissing... I was relieved that I didn't have to kiss anyone's cheeks while they had their fur coat on. Blah.

The meal ended up surprisingly well. I spoke to a server beforehand to tell her I was vegan, and she saw to it that I was taken care of. While others ate their steak, I had a lovely stuffed pepper with steamed vegetables. While everyone else had cheesey cannelloni, I was served a nice plate of penne with a marinara sauce. For dessert, I was given extra fruit while the others had fruit and ice cream. I was very impressed and I'm kicking myself for not approaching the kitchen staff to thank them personally.

The next evening, we went to the boy's sister's house to have a meet and greet with *their* wedding party since the boy is the MC for their October wedding. It was such a different crowd - loud, hockey-watching, burger-eating crowd of straight guys and their wives/girlfriends - from what I am used to. As a person whose group of friends is about 95% queer (gay or bi), I was in total culture shock. Especially when they started talking about one of the guys who, in university, did goldfish shots. Sigh. For snackies, I made guacamole and a bean dip and bought a spicy hummus... partly to help contribute to the food and party to ensure I had enough to snack on.

And a party just isn't a party until you've had your Poäng chair destroyed.


Curry in a Hurry

Before leaving for the wedding on Friday, I wanted to eat something substantial, just in case vegan food was scarce. So, I threw together a curry:

1/2 an onion
about 3/4 cup of each: red lentils and french lentils
1 can of tomatoes with 1/2 the liquid drained
2 small potatoes, sliced and some diced
squirt of lemon juice
About 1 cup of water
1/2 cup of edamame
1 cup of frozen broccoli
1 teaspoon of jarred garlic, ginger and chili puree
2 teaspoons of ground cumin

I sautéed the onion and lentils together with some oil until the onion was translucent. Added the tomatoes, water, potatoes, lemon juice and spices. Once the lentils were soft, the broccoli and edamame were added and cooked until done. More water could be added if it dries out too much.

Served over brown basmati.

Loved by me and the boy, with enough leftovers for 1 big or 2 small servings.


Thursday, March 2, 2006

One a day sleep-deprived goodness

Normally, I hate being sleep-deprived. But last night was worth it. Stars concert. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Oscar is complete!

The boy is coding in the background. Notice he doesn't:
1) move
2) realize that I am spinning around like fool