Friday, 29 October 2010

Autumn in Toronto

Autumn is my favourite time of year.  And Toronto is an absolutely beautiful place to live at this time of year.  It definitely takes on a majestic quality, with all the leaves showing off their lovely colours.  Back in the spring, I showed you what High Park looked like with the cherry blossoms in full bloom.  Now here's my neighbourhood in October.


More pics? Right this way!
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Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Morning After Show

So, here's something pretty fun that I can finally share with you guys!  Back in May, I worked on a web series called The Morning After Show.  My producer knew that I enjoy photography, and he asked me if I would be interested in shooting the stills for the show opening.  Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.
Now, the shows have been edited, and they're finally airing (the show is a web companion to the show "The Dating Guy" which airs on Teletoon and HD Net in the USA)

You can watch it here (but be warned, it's 18+ and NSFW, unless you have a cool job)... New episodes come online on Monday, after The Dating Guy airs on Sunday nights...
And the stills are in the slideshow below, or you can click the link to Flickr and see them a bit bigger, there.

You can see them all on Flickr here!
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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Mad about Mad Men

I'm not really sure if I've ever talked about my Mad Men obsession on here... but it is just that.  I am completely obsessed.  Sadly, it is going away for a while, as the season finale airs tonight on AMC.
I may have to start watching from Season One again, just to get through the downtime.

One other thing I did to get through the downtime... I did Mad Men Crafts!  Now I have the most adorable little mini-figs on my fridge!  Here they are, and here's how I did it, just in case you want Don Draper on your fridge too (and really, who wouldn't?)

I also have an obsession with fridge magnets.  I think it has something to do with the fact that we never had magnets on our fridge when I was a kid.  Anyway, I digress.  
First... you'll need to gather your supplies:
  • Dyna Moe's minifigs
  • scissors
  • craft glue
  • magnetic sheet
  • markers (if you're going to colour the minifigs, rather than print them in colour, as I did)
  • Krylon Low Odor Clear Gloss
 Next, you'll need to colour your mini figs and cut them out (easy as pie, right?)
After they're all cut out, arrange them on your magnet sheet.  Try to fit them as close together as possible.  Use your craft glue to glue them down.  Then cut them out from the magnetic sheet.
Arrange your magnets on some scrap paper, newspaper, paper towel, whatever you have lying around.  Hold your can of gloss finish about 20-25cm (about 10 inches or so) away from the magnets, and spray lightly.  Try not to be too forceful, otherwise the ink will run.

Let them dry for at least a half hour, and then they're ready to adorn your fridge!  (This project can obviously, easily be adapted for any sort of printable magnet project - let your imagination run wild!)

Happy Mad Men-watching.  Last week's episode, Don showed us his brilliance.  I wonder what will happen in the finale!
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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Birthday Treats!

So... I'm a pretty big fan of baking - especially when I can bake and bring it into work for my coworkers, so that I don't end up eating the entire batch of whatever I make.  And I think my coworkers enjoy it too ;)  I'm back on Battle of the Blades again this year, so there are plenty of mouths to feed with treats.

This past Saturday was my birthday, and on Blades, we work through the weekend (Saturday is rehearsal day, Sunday and Monday are show days).  I got home early on Friday night, so I decided to whip up a batch of my favourite, and the easiest truffles ever - from the amazing Bakerella website.  I had tried these before, dipped in white chocolate, but I found them too sweet.  So this time, I dipped the truffles in bittersweet chocolate, and I thought they were perfect.

I wanted to make them a little more special, with a bit of character... so I decided to give them a mouse shape.  They have almond ears, and pretzel tails.
I think they're pretty darn cute.  And I got so many compliments on them throughout the day.  I think I made a little more than 50 of them, and they were completely devoured.  Here's the first batch, chilling in the fridge overnight.

There were further birthday treats for me, when my awesome coworkers surprised me with a cake, (and singing!) in the studio by the rink.  I'm not really someone who's easily surprised (I can usually tell when someone is prepping something like this!), so this was definitely one of the best birthday surprises I've ever received. 

So, I have Tuesday off from work, since I work through the entire weekend, and even though it was a full 3 days after my birthday, I couldn't let it go by without a party with my friends.  And, I don't know if this makes me really weird or not, but I decided that I had to bake my own cake.  And further to that, it had to be a super awesome cake.  I decided I had to make myself a castle.  Haha!

Now, keep in mind, I am FAR from a professional baker, and this is my very first layer cake ever... but this is how I did it.  First, I baked.  I decided on vanilla cake, and I made two 8-inch square pans, plus four cupcakes.  I had originally wanted the cupcakes to be the four pillars on each side of the castle, but I thought they looked too big, after I assembled everything.
 - The bottom layer of the cake is just as is.  (I didn't even level it off, because the only serving dish I had was a plate, and I thought turning the cake upside down and letting the dome sit in the curved area of the cake would make it sit a little better)
- The second layer, I levelled and cut about a half inch off each end. 
- The third layer is actually the part that I levelled, cut into quarters and stacked.
- And the top layer is one of the cupcakes.
- For the pillars and door entrance, I used some of the scraps from the second layer.

After assembling all the pieces together, I "glued" them with rainbow-chip frosting and put the cake in the fridge to set a bit.  After about an hour in the fridge, I created a "crumb" layer of vanilla frosting.  It's a thin layer to help seal in all the crumbs that you might get from frosting the cake after it's been cut like this.  And it made me realize how difficult it is to frost around "pillars" ... man this was hard!   So after I finished this layer of frosting, I put it in the fridge to set again.

The next part was my favourite.  The final layer of frosting, and then piping on some details!  I used the same frosting as the crumb layer, and for the piped bit, I just added some food colouring.  I was originally going to do pink, but at the last minute, I decided to do turquoise, to match my apartment! (Yes, I am that much of a geek)  The windows and doors are made of graham crackers, and the little posts are marshmallows.  Here's a look at how the cake turned out:


Again,  not a pro baker here... it may not be the fanciest cake... but it was delicious, and my friends loved it, so that's all that matters, right?! :)
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