Category : found things


Finally my sunflowers are starting to bloom! I desperately want to cut some for home, but there are only a few really open so far and the bees are enjoying them so much that I just can’t take them away.
bee x1beesx2beesx3

On the walk home I started noticing all sorts of white flowers…
white cosmoswhite feverfewwhite alyssumwhite hibiscus
white morning glorywhite floxwhite snapdragonwhite lily
There are also a lot of yellow and orange flowers out now (sunflowers and rudbeckia most notably). I suppose there must be some white-loving and yellow/orange-loving pollinators in full swing about now.

Then there’s this guy/gal, waiting on the porch (just above the railing to which I lock my bike) for food to deliver itself:
5 points if you can identify this little lovely’s taxonomy.

In crafty news, I stopped by MacFab yesterday and after dutifully gathering together a bunch of zippers for UTW, was ambushed by a bin full of samples from discontinued decorating fabrics (you know, that gorgeous Amy Butler type stuff). Now surely you know that it’s nearly impossible to pass up the potential of this sort of bin, so naturally I started rifling through it and, while I did manage to exercise some pretty impressive self restraint, I picked out a few great pieces.
Future Quilt
The plan is to quarter each piece (they’re about 18″ sq. as is) and make a very simple quilt for the Expected One. I figure there’s a nice mix of high contrast stuff for early visual stimulation, plus some more subtle colours for continued interest well past the B&W stage. (Funny how companies are still making all pastel mobiles – and then plonk the little thing in a room with a white ceiling…) I’ll go to VV to see if I can’t find a decent condition sheet (or other plain fabric) for the edge and backing, and hopefully a thin wool blanket for the innards.

I also visited Romni (as how could I not, being already down on Queen W and a hopeless addict) and foraged in the basement for some sale skeins. I did find a few things, but unfortunately none of them match any of the projects on my developing holiday-knitting list. (And of course visiting the website now I realize that by resisting going there during July I missed their 20% off everything sale… curses!) So into the stash it goes. I really do need to take a list when I go there, or else start planning projects based on what I’ve got in the stash already instead of what makes me go “Oooh!” when I see it online.

But why start being wise now…

I like to wander. I like to walk around my neighbourhood (and others) with my camera in hand, with my view tuned to the small details that normally get skipped over in the interest of crossing the street without being hit by a bus, or pondering other complexities of daily life and how to manouevre through them.

It’s kind of meditative, because while my eyes are searching out interesting compositions, odd juxtapositions of colour or texture or other compelling subjects, my brain just sort of follows along for the ride. The usual background chatter fades away as my attention is taken over by just seeing, and that means that there’s mental space for different questions or insights to pop in, spurred by the things I see.

Recently, there were these:
Multicolour Roses
These roses are all on one plant, I assume the different colours indicate the ages of the blossoms. There’s a particular aspect to ikebana which incorporates the way in which the components age, and these roses made me think of that, and the way things age and how we do (and don’t) pay attention to that process.

This is one of my favourite bits of local… graffiti? street art? I don’t know why it’s there, low on an unobtrusive planter at an unassuming minor intersection, but it makes me imagine hundreds of years ago when this city was wilderness, and black bears would have been a respected part of the natural environment. I love that it’s walking away (towards the nearby Christie Pits Park), and that the footprints are on the sidewalk rather than the vertical surface. But I think I love most of all that it’s placed without context or explanation.

Now, I didn’t say my wanderings resulted in brilliant insights, but these days any thoughts that depart from my daily fretting are welcome.

A-Foraging I Go!

I really am a forager. I just can’t help peeking at every pile of belongings (not garbage, mind you) placed on the sidewalk, just beyond ownership of the nearest house. It’s a step below yard sales, but even cheaper (i.e. free!) and you just never know when someone has discarded something that is no longer of any use to them, but fits some little gap in one’s own life just so.

For instance: last spring I found a foot stool in the IKEA Poäng style, just a couple of months after I bought my Poäng chair. It needed a new cushion, but I had foam and fabric so voila! new cushion for “new” foot stool:

Then a few months later someone was tossing out some pieces from an Ivar shelving unit. I was seriously in need of something to hide some boxes of event detritus that were befouling my living room, so with the judicious application of some fabric pieces from my stash, I turning the side pieces into a concealing screen (a little funky, yes, but effective). Comme ça:
Hide it!

With summer once again in full swing (despite the lack of hot summery weather), and a moving frenzy coming up soon, there’s lots of stuff up for grabs again. Yesterday I found this little wooden sled:
Wooden Sled
I know, super cute, right? Now, this may be used to pull around a small child, or groceries in the dead of winter, or it may just end up being something fun to set plants on, but at least it’s not rotting in a landfill.

Today was this plant-watering bulb:
I love those, but would never go out of my way to buy one, having so many more pressing things to spend my scarce income on like, say, rent and food.

Now, it’s not as though I head out purposely to bring home other peoples’ trash (and I’m certainly not going about rooting through anyone’s garbage bins). I mean, I don’t really think of myself as needing more stuff, nor am I trying to deal with the garbage strike by hoarding everyone’s disposed items. It’s just that I can’t help but be curious about what people are getting rid of, and I think I have a pretty good knack for sensing potential in objects that have outlived their usefulness in others’ eyes.

Although apparently any object left on city property (e.g. the sidewalk) becomes city property, so technically I suppose I’m a thief. Though what the city would want with an old Ivar shelving piece I can’t imagine; it’s really meant to apply to people who go around scavenging metal to sell for recycling.

So next time you see the unsold stuff from someone’s yard sale or leftovers from moving day set at the side of the road, have a look! You just might find the very thing you’ve been missing.


Oh my, has it really been this long?
Well then, I’ll get right to it.

It’s been an interesting fortnight, for reasons I won’t get into now, but it’s ended well and I’m moving right along.

The finale was a lovely, thoroughly relaxing long weekend in the country with relatives, cats, gardens, a lake and a good book. Not necessarily in order of anything.

I took pictures of the cats and garden, though the cats were less cooperative about sitting for portraits:
Something in the Onion FamilyRu Thinks TwiceMore Interesting Over There

Though they did spend enough time bothering each other to get a few little sequences:
Down Asparagus Ave.
I'm Sleeeeeeping Here

There was a fabulous thunderstorm on Saturday morning, with an encore in the late afternoon, which filled all my mom’s water buckets & barrels quite handily.
Rain, Rain

And of course afterwards everything had that super-fresh just-washed look, particularly nice with the low sunshine.
Tea, Earl Grey, HotRadiant Rudbeckia

There was some wildlife too. Doing… wildlife things.
Left Behind

So, yeah. That’s about it. I’m knitting more summer socks but don’t have a good picture, and the rest is just life.

Garden Glory

Today, being July 2nd, is apparently day 2 of the start of earnest summer vacation/holiday/general laziness.

Not for me, of course. Being self-employed, I started weeks ago.

Back in reality-land though, the latest deck blossom report.

The Calendula continue to provide excellent close-up fodder, particularly with a flattering sprinkling of rain droplets:
A few little droplets

Then there’s the tomatillo; I love the way the flowers sort of hang down like a little skirt which on full opening gets curled back around the legs, like a Latin dancer spinning around..
Tomatillo Skirt Up

And my Black Krim tomatoes are a little strange. The first set of blossoms on each plant is this kind of mutant 3-or-more-blossoms-in-one kind of thing; I’m really not sure what sort of tomato those will produce.
BK Mutant Blossom
The “normal” flowers look pretty cool too:
Bk Normality

So there you go. That’s what I found on my deck this afternoon.

Happy summer.

Yesterday was textures and contrasts thereof.
ThreeWhites2Three More

Oh, and some small beasties on plants.
Green ShinyJumping SpiderFucshia

The (nearly) immeasurable joys of summer

Things I love about having my windows open all the time:

1- the neighbourhood robin whose streetlight-addled brain thinks that 4:30 am is a good time to tell everyone all about his plans for the day. I hope you can only imagine how soothing it is to be serenaded by this on those mornings that I am inexplicably awake at that hour and trying desperately to go back to sleep.

2 – the two small boys who live next door and seem to spend all day every day playing in their back yard, one (or both, I can’t be sure) of whom sounds eerily like Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons. Since they have a very tall fence surrounding their yard, and I’m not nearly sociable enough to have made any effort whatsoever to get to know our neighbours in the nearly three years we’ve lived here, I have only the vaguest notion of how these boys look. Therefore I have constant images like this flashing through my consciousness all day…

3 – the a**hole down the street with his (I’m assuming it’s a male, I could be wrong but I doubt it) ludicrously souped up some-sort-of-small-Japanese-car, who loves to rev through the laneway behind our house (of which our bedroom windows get excellent acoustics) with his ‘roided out stereo thumping at about 11:30 pm, also known as just about the precise time I’ve managed to fall asleep.

4 – the fact that the aforementioned neighbours had a new a/c unit installed on their roof two years ago, directly opposite our bedroom window. I mean, if you’ve gotta have central a/c, I’m all for rooftop units in general, but could they not have put it ANYWHERE else on the roof? Did they not see the window Right. There. ? Actually it wasn’t that bad the first year, since it is very new, probably expensive and therefore remarkably quiet, as these things go. But last year it developed a rattle. Just a little one, a little cyclical rattle of some little loose piece that they’ll never hear themselves. Of course since I don’t know the neighbours at all (see above), I have forced myself to get used to it and it’s really not that bad. Really. Except when I notice it.

But I still prefer all this to the canned feeling of central air and closed windows. Really. Though I’ll likely say differently in a few weeks when the nighttime temperatures stay in the 20’s and the sleep deprivation turns me into a sweaty, weepy pile of pathos.

I wish I could just lie here all day…

The sky from my deck this morning:
Wispy cloudsWispy smileWispy clouds

You’d think having the sky smile at me in the morning would keep me happy for the day. But instead I seem to have developed a case of a certain type of melancholy that I sometimes get in the summer. It’s a feeling like I should be lying on a dock, listening to the splish-splap of lake water gently kissing the boards and feeling the sun on my skin while reading some kind of serious classic literature about women in big skirts with lots of servants. And drinking iced mint tea.


And the constant remembering that in fact I’m in a big city with constant noise from internal combustion engines, which in this particular case is becoming exceptionally littered with piles of garbage even though it’s only day 2 of the public employees’ strike. Which also means no swimming pools and no ferry to the island, things that might otherwise temporarily quell this feeling.

Again, sigh.

Don’t get me wrong, the self-employed life is pretty darn sweet in regards to leisure time (though currently somewhat lacking on the resources side of the equation, to be frank), and I appreciate pretty much every tasty second of it, but it’s just what summer does to me. At least I have my deck: maybe I should buy a kiddie pool… toss the cats in for amusement.

Speaking of the deck (with apologies to Maggie); a close up of the first bud on my Calendula.
Close Calendula
[Edited to add:
The same flower, late afternoon Close Calendula]

All about the plants

Yesterday’s little harvest from the deck garden:Harvest101
A bunch of herbs and the first radish from one of the tomato pots. Today is just salad greens, which aren’t as pretty, and are likely going to be bitter…

I found this gorgeous peony on the walk home; almost like half chrysanthemum (one of the cool spiky ones, not the pretty-but-plain ones on everyone’s porches in October) inside the outer peony. I couldn’t decide which picture was best, so you get three.
Funky PeonyFunky PeonyFunky Peony

Isn’t that pretty?

In case you’ve ever wondered…

where squirrels sleep?
Sleepy Squirrel

how indoor cats and outdoor cats feel about each other?
You just better stay where you are...

or what a group of teeny tiny dwarven engineers would look like?
Hi-ho, hi-ho.

That’s what I’m here for.

I knew I’d be useful for something one day.