easy peasy

As much as I dislike cheap forms of laminate “wood” flooring (like the kind that looks like a sticker of wood pasted onto plastic) I do still think that our kitchen looked better with the crappy laminate than it did for the past 4-5 months with the super ugly 1990′s floral laminate tiles that were faded yellow and just gross (Steve would beg to disagree ).  I took it upon myself to make an executive decision to paint the tiles a cement grey. I know it is a major painting faux-pas to paint atop plastic tiles as typically it’s difficult for paint to adhere to a surface like laminate, but if the folks at Hindsvik say you can do it, then I believe that it will work!

Ouno Design made it sound soooo easy peasy.  The whole thing although not hard, was quite a process.

1. Empty all furniture from the kitchen

2. Sweep, dust, vacuum floors

3. Wash the walls and baseboards -eww they get so dirty behind fridges and ovens

4.  Wash the floors (2-3 times with just water, 2-3 times with TSP to get rid of the glossy finish)

5.  Sand entire floor & vacuum

6.  Wash floors again

7. Paint first coat

8. Wait 24-48 hrs.

9.  Paint second coat

10.  Wait another 2-3 days before moving any furniture

11. Move all furniture back into kitchen (and start to eat like a normal person who has a functioning kitchen does)

12. Don’t wash floors for 3 weeks!


Hoping to move everything back in tomorrow, and here’s to wishing that the paint sticks to the tiles and doesn’t flake off.  I’m crossing my fingers.

gorilla cheese

I experienced my first Gorilla Cheese grilled cheese the other day and it was delicious!

I heard that the Gorilla Cheese truck was going to be parked across the street from our house so I made extra sure that I would be coming home for lunch that day.  All morning long I was anticipating the cheesy tendrils of this treat, and fantasizing about the gooey melty cheesiness of a real good grilled cheese.

I didn’t think there would be much of a crowd ordering from the truck since our house is located in a weird in between corktown/downtown mixed commercial residential area.  Clearly I was out of touch with just how much daytime commercial population is in the neighbourhood because there was a good solid crowd of 15-20 people waiting for their grilled cheeses!

gorilla cheese, grilled cheese, food truck, hamilton ontario, gourmet, sandwich

Once we got to the truck there was some debate as to which sandwich to get. I hmm’d and haa’d about my selection and was stuck between the OG (Original Gorilla) -better than your momma’s grilled cheese, aged Canadian cheddar on white or multi or the Sarducci -mozzarella, red onion, fresh basil, tomato, balsamic glaze on multi. I eventually settled on the Sarducci for $7.50.

Gorilla Cheese, grilled cheese, food truck, Hamilton, Ontario, gourmet, sandwich

I have to admit that I thought $7.50 was a little steep for just a grilled cheese, however, I was not disappointed. First off the grilled cheese is not just any grilled cheese it’s a Gorilla Cheese and it is huge! I could’ve probably had a meal of just a 1/2 portion. The bread was delicious (crispy and buttery), plus you get a tasty pickle as a side. I swear carrying two grilled cheeses back to our house to eat from fresh off the truck it felt like I had 5 pounds of grilled cheese in my one hot little hungry hand. So in conclusion for $7.50 I don’t think you could have a tastier grilled cheese sandwich. Definitely a special treat that I would pick up again.

Way to go Hamilton for starting a food truck revolution! I missed the food truck rally back at the end of September, but have heard there’s a mini one coming up on Ottawa Street for 3 Fridays starting on December 9th 11:30am-2:30pm with Gorilla Cheese, Cupcake Diner, El Gastronomo, and Bonfire Catering.  My hope is to sample some wood fired pizzas from Bonfire Catering.


I’m always happy to see Zeus play in Hamilton.  Not only do I love their music and think that they are fantastically talented musicians, but they are also some old friends so it is always nice to see them stopping through town on their tours.

zeus, arts and crafts, neil quinn, mike o'brien, carlin nicholson, rob drake

Their debut album Say Us was released in February 2010 by Arts and Crafts and is A-mazing.  At their show last week at the Casbah we got to hear some newer songs that I hadn’t heard yet, and they did not disappoint.  Their next album is set to be released in early 2012 but they have been releasing multiple 7″s throughout the year.  If for some reason you have yet to listen to Zeus you are missing out on something really special. You just need to listen.

zeus, arts and crafts, neil quinn, mike o'brien, carlin nicholson, rob drake

One of my favourite songs off of Say Us is Heavy on Me.  There are instrumental harmonies that climax into an orgy of solid rock godness. If I were in the band I’d feel like a total rockstar playing this song.

zeus, arts and crafts, neil quinn, mike o'brien, carlin nicholson, rob drake

zeus, arts and crafts, rob drake

*The Casbah, 306 King St. West, Hamilton, 905.521.4441

under $5

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 5 months since our renos.  Which means it has also been 5 months of having bare walls. We finally got to hanging a few pieces, and even pulled some artwork from the attic that hadn’t been unbubble-wrapped or seen the light of day since we moved over 2 years ago!  For the most part the artwork had been leaning up against furniture on the floors and collecting dust in our recently demoed attic.

Much of our decor and furniture are found or scavenged items and I can safely say that a large percentage of our art work cost us less than $5.  I luck out a little here since Steve is an artist he does score some great trades (although I didn’t take any photos of those pieces -oops!).

This paint by number came around full circle in the fam.  Steve and his brother and sister used to buy their grandfather paintbynumbers from way back in the day, and in time many if not most of these paintbynumbers are now in our hands.  I especially like this one.  One day we’ll either mount it or get an old frame to put it in.


We had a pretty successful summer harvest of tomatoes this year.  The beefsteaks were so massive and juicy and the romas weren’t bad either.  When there were just too many tomatoes to eat Steve started making some simple tomato sauces and freezing them.  The goal was to eventually get it all into one pot and make one real mean sauce, like one that cooks on the stove for hours and hours.  That is just what we did.

homemade tomato sauce, garden grown tomato sauce, freezer tomato sauce

The sauce was a great success.  I love that as we use it we can add other ingredients to change up the flavours.  Homemade soups are our next venture, and then our freezer will be all set for multiple winter meals.


I love how Speakeasy cafe is tucked so nicely into one of my favourite north end neighbourhoods.  It is a small and inconspicuous coffee shop that is only open on weekends (however they are so much more than a weekend coffee shop -read on!).  They serve a damn fine coffee and modestly do not flaunt that they have won multiple awards and recognition for their beans and roasting.  In fact this year they won the Grand Prize Golden Bean for best new blend at the 2011 International SIAL awards, which means their blend Kochere Gayo was named the best blended coffee in the world!

Stephen Armstrong owner of Speakeasy believes in fair trade quality beans, which he selects and purchases directly from the growers themselves.  He then blends and roasts the beans for some rich and delicious coffee blend creations.  If you have yet to take a visit to this place for a Saturday or Sunday morning coffee you are truly missing out on a Hamilton gem.

To read more about Speakeasy read the Spec article here.

*Speakeasy Cafe, 445 Ferguson Ave. north, 905.521.9667, Open Sat & Sun 8-6pm

crimson and clover

During early September we decided that for next spring we didn’t want to have a barren dirt backyard, and so we thought we would try out a 100% clover ground cover.  It’s actually clover and another plant with little yellow flowers, I forget what it’s called but it doesn’t matter because the clover is basically dominating anyway.  Within a few short days of seeding, tiny clovers started shooting up and within a few weeks we had a full on clover patch!

As the cold and frost are settling in I’m happy to see that the clovers are toughing up.  For a while we avoided stepping on them thinking we’d totally destroy them in their delicate state, but now I think they can withhold a good trampling and will likely last through the winter and develop into some nice plush ground cover come spring.  We may have to add some grass to the mix because I think that 100% clover is hard to maintain.  I was just hoping that we could grow something that wouldn’t ever need mowing.

clover, ground clover, lawn alternative, clover patch

With our new found growth of lush clover, Steve’s art installation from his Zoo exhibit found their way into the patch for a mini photo shoot.

Steve Newberry, art installation, rabbits, clover

devils punchbowl

Although Hamilton is known for being a city of waterfalls (among notably other things) I had only ever been to  Webster’s Falls, and Albion Falls.  I wanted to check out Devil’s Punch Bowl, especially with the backdrop of the changing fall foliage.  So one weekend about a month back we took a little drive to Devil’s Punch Bowl.  It was during one of those unseasonably hot October days, when there hadn’t been any rain for a few weeks, so the waterfall was just a little tiny trickle.  The bowl part was pretty neat (especially if you’re into geology and rock formations).  According to the Hamilton Conservation Authority it is the “only area where one can view such a large vertical display of Ordovician and Silurian stratified rock”.  Wow!  Who knew?

Devils Punch Bowl, Stoney Creek, Fall, escarpment, waterfalls, Hamilton

Just across the way from the fall is a cute little place called the Punch Bowl Country Market. It had a nice spread of baked goods, honey, maple syrup, gourmet mustards, local and seasonal fruit, and prepared homemade food items.  There was also a fine selection of novelty “nostalgic” children’s toys, perfect for a cute little gift. AND they sell my favourite kind of pop; Boylan‘s Black Cherry and Boylan’s birch root soda pop!  It was a perfect little repose from punch bowl viewing before heading back downtown.

Punch Bowl Country Market, 136 Ridge Road, Stoney Creek

gourds, Punch Bowl Country Market, 136 Ridge Road, Stoney Creek

Punch Bowl Country Market, 136 Ridge Road, Stoney Creek, children's toys, nostalgic, vintage, novelty toys

Punch Bowl Country Market, 136 Ridge Road, Stoney Creek, old cash register, antique

boylan's soda pop, Punch Bowl Country Market, 136 Ridge Road, Stoney Creek

*Punch Bowl Country Market, 136 Ridge Road, Stoney Creek, 905.662.1665

miniature view

A couple of months ago I had my second major camera tragedy of the year.  I broke my second and only other lens for my digital SLR.  Cringe. Gawd I know! Who does that? I took this as a sign (ahem or cough-excuse) to get a new camera that was more compact, easy to carry and one of those cool old skool looking, hybrid type blends that has SLR features but isn’t bulky and doesn’t weigh 10 lbs.  I ended up purchasing a Canon Power Shot G12 after my friend Vern’s tried and true recommendation. It has some cool features.  For example the miniature effect, which makes images like the fall Hamilton cityscape below look like a little miniature model of downtown Hamilton.  So cute. A little tiny Hamilton. Who wouldn’t want their own little miniature model Hamilton cityscape for the attic (kinda just like in Beetlejuice)?

Hamilton downtown, fall leaves, foiliage, cityscape,

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