Monday, December 27, 2010

learning to pickle

today i tried my first beet pickle that i pickled myself! earlier this month i was lucky enough to be invited over to shana and glenn's house to spend an afternoon learning how to pickle!


once we trimmed the beets of their greens, we plunked them into 2 big pots and started to boil them. while the beets were cooking, we sat down and enjoyed a beautiful lunch that shana prepared!

beautiful lunch spread


i think the soup that she served me was her famous immune booster soup - so delish!

but uh oh! mr. cooper (not to be confused with this cooper) got into the cookies and ate half of the plate - naughty beagle!

after lunch, while waiting for the beets to cool down, we started cleaning and sanitizing the jars.

jars are all clean

then it was time to hunker down, cut the carrots and beets and then fill the jars!

work in progress

once the jars were filled, shana did some quick math to get the right amount of brine for all the jars we had. then we filled the jars with brine and started to process them.

we processed the jars for about 10-15 min each and once the jars cooled and the lids popped they were ready!

i've given a lot of the jars away as christmas presents and hope to hear back soon about how everybody finds them!

thank you shana for teaching me how to pickle, letting me use your kitchen and your herbs and treating me to a delicious lunch :) maybe next year we can do a pickling session at my house and i can return the favour!

Friday, December 17, 2010

what do to - what to do!

originally when i took this photo in august, i thought it looked very wintery. now that we are in the midst of winter, it feels very summery with all the green leaves

after a super crazy november, i'm now officially off - although i do still have a few projects to wrap up. and what seemed like a nice, long chunk of time off, now seems to be all too short.

a possibly too ambitious list for my 2 weeks off.
  • go to the ROM (to check out the Chopin exhibit)
  • go to the AGO (to check out the Chagall exhibit)
  • blog! i can't wait to get back to blogging again
  • hot yoga
  • enter in all my expenses for 2010 get started on my taxes
  • practice planned departures for the boys - one day hopefully, they can stay home alone outside of their crates without any anxiety!
  • train Duke to shake a paw
  • paint all the baseboards in the basement
  • finish painting the window trim
  • paint the unfinished patch in the living room
  • *gulp* update my outdated portfolio site
  • organize and give away clothes
  • set up guest room

Friday, December 3, 2010

some firsts

holiday card sketches
holiday card sketches

why yes that is a beagle on a bicycle!

i have been insanely busy, in a very, very good way these past several weeks. this has made me feel very productive on the business front, but i am starting to feel a bit burnt out.

so for the first time in the history of freelancing full-time, i'm going to shut down happy D designs for a full two weeks. i'm so excited but i'm also a little nervous to do so.

my clients have been notified and i hope to get some relaxation and rejuvenation time in so that i'm itching and roaring to go in the new year.

until then there are a few big projects to tackle, lots of small jobs to complete, a holiday card to finish, christmas shopping to be done and lots of stuff to be mailed. ... but i'm feeling really good about everything, which is a first during this time of year!

i hope that this momentum continues for me in the new year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ork posters

i finally did it (now that vancouver is part of the ork poster line-up).

an ochre vancouver and a black and white toronto neighbourhood poster are on their way to the hashimoto-yeu residence! aren't they cool?

i like how there is just one designer behind all of these city posters and that she even turned down offers from urban outfitters and macy's to ensure she builds a business and not just sell out. read about designer, jenny beorkrem, in this toronto star article.

once i get them framed, along with my 'there's always room for ice cream' poster, i'll take some photos and post them up. finally, after 2 years, we'll have some artwork on our walls!

Friday, November 12, 2010


throw my ball!

winter is definitely on it's way!

this little hound isn't scared of the cold, though. he revels in it because cool temps means he can play fetch for longer without getting overheated.

... and from the wise words of ross porter, "keep warm, stay cool and take care of the ones you love."

have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


can you guess what i was for halloween?

broken social scene!!!
broken social scene from only 5 feet away

parts and labour
i loved the pendant lamps at the venue

fellow cupcake rider, lee, entered a contest for a trip for two to san francisco. in addition to the trip, the top four contestants were invited to a private, VIP broken social scene concert and they were allowed to bring 11 of their friends!

lucky for andre and i, we were included in lee's group of 11 and had an absolutely amazing night of great food and an open bar. and because the audience was so small, when lee invited me to stand infront of her to get a better view of the band, people saw what she was doing and everyone around her let me sneak past them so that i could be right in front of the stage!

it was a night that i'll never forget.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

more bike riding

i'm so glad andre and i took an afternoon off to bike through the don valley ravine trail two weeks ago. that afternoon was one of the last nice, afternoons where we could take in all the fall colours.

today i drove down the don valley parkway and all the beautiful fall leaves were gone. the weather has turned colder these days too and now biking with gloves is a requirement.

i'm also glad that i lugged my camera around that day to record our epic ride (33kms!) so that during the grey days of winter, i can bring up these photos and remember how nice it used to be.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


homemade canned goodness!

i have a secret to share. i have a strange nickname - it's pickle.

andre gave me that nickname because i love pickles. all sorts of pickles.

in japan there are so many different types of pickles and so many different vegetables get pickled. but my love for pickles isn't exclusive to japanese ones, i even love the lightly picked radish and carrots that you get at pho restaurants. that being said, dill pickles are at the top of my list (but only when it's home made - i hate those mushy ones at delis or sandwich shops).

so when shana presented me with her homemade, canned dill pickles in exchange for my crab apples, i could have cried.

my mom used to make homemade dill pickles but for some reason when i got into high school she stopped canning things. shana's pickles remind me of my mom's recipe. yum yum. i've been eating them as a snack these past 2 days.

maybe next year, i can sweet talk my way to get shana to teach me how to pickle!

jars of yum

Monday, October 18, 2010

glorious weekend

cupcake ride!



poutiny - house of poutine

a weekend filled with lots of bike rides, dog walks, fall colours and poutine!

with the super crisp autumn air, it was a perfect fall weekend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ambrosio evolution

my new italian rims


bicycle rim tape
blue rim tape!

i had a sad accident on my bike about a month ago. on my way to my freelance gig, i ran over a huge gap in sewer grate and POP! the rear wheel on my grocery-getter (so christened by andre) went flat. it was partially due to rider error - i should have taken caution to avoid that gap but the rush hour traffic was going fast and close and i didn't want to veer too much to the left - and partially because i didn't have my tires nicely inflated.

and because my tires were under-inflated my alex rim was bent and severely scratched when i hit that sewer grate. so much so that the mechanic at hoopdriver said that there was no way true the wheel. the damage was that bad.

tire lever
removing the tires off of the old rims

continental gatorskins
removing the tube

i was initially sad that i had to shell out money on new rims, but after installing them (with help from andre ... no matter, with more practice i won't have to rely on him for help with my bike) i'm actually happy i made the investment.

when i first started riding with the new rims, it felt like i was pedaling a entirely new bicycle. it was so smooth it felt (and still feels) like butter. the aerodynamics on the rims must be so well designed that it just cuts through the air with little effort.

i love them <3

Saturday, October 9, 2010

happy birthday mr. lennon


it's john lennon's birthday today!

yoko ono is asking, "Let’s tweet a million wishes for peace for John’s birthday, October 9th"

i'm not a big tweeter - in fact i'm kind of perplexed by the whole phenom - but i'll try to think of something to tweet about.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

autumn yummies

candy cane beet

regular beet

yummy salad

as a child, i detested beets. i would describe the taste as the same as eating dirt. to me they were the equivalent of eating a mud pie.

thanks to the good food box, we always get beets in our hampers come late summer and fall...and now as an adult i love them! i feel like i have to make up for lost time and i buy them even when they aren't included in the box!

my fellow beagle friend and blogger shana recommended a citrus beet recipe that i tried earlier this fall. it was delicious.

this week, i made a variation on the shutterbean recipe above. here's my version:

• 5-6 medium sized beets (boiled and then skin removed by just rubbing it off! rubber gloves are recommended. sliced)
• 2 navel oranges (sliced along the boats)
• tons of parsley
• a fresh herb mix (mint, basil, lemon basil, dill)

• 2 tsp honey
• 2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• a pinch of sea salt and pepper

mix together and voila! a yummy salad that will last a week or two thanks to the apple cider vinegar.

fresh herb mix

fresh herb mix

my fresh herb mix was prepackaged. i picked it up from kind organic's booth at the dufferin grove market. the package wasn't labeled so i'm not sure of the exact contents but it was really delicious.

i tasted: basil, lemon basil, mint, a lemony mint (?) and parsley ... but can you identify any of the other leaves?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

finally! a web 2.0-y blog reader/tracker thingy: bloglovin'

i've included aozora: Follow my blog with bloglovin

Monday, September 13, 2010

on a walk with petey

sniff sniff


it was a super humid yet overcast day, but petey was ok with me taking lots of photos.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

more from my little jungle

who knew that 4 little tomato plants would produce so much fruit? i can't imagine how many more tomatoes i would have, if i had spaced them out properly and if the yellow tomato plants received more sunlight.

lately i've been harvesting tomatoes almost every other day. i've frozen a bunch and wanted to try drying them but partially thanks to reading no impact man, i can't get over the amount of energy that is required to oven dry them.

the bottom photo is the result of 1 hour of slicing, carmelizing and 2 hours of baking: heidi swanson's spiced tomato gratin.

i halved the recipe and it still was a lot of gratiny goodness for andre and i to devour over a week. sadly, i thought that by halfing the portion, i could bake for half the time but that was not so.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a small world

when i first moved to toronto, i was trying to get as much info about local printers as i possibly could.

for the longest time i held onto a flyer from pixel print.

then three summers ago i met the girl behind the flyers through my friend the hungarian girl.

for almost all of my printing needs now, i go to pixel print and now she's opened up a store front just 3 blocks away from me!

what's more she's taken over the good food box program, so i get to go to her gorgeous store at least once every two weeks.