friday night lights

After the daily renovating Steve and I have been retiring to our backyard, safely away from drywall dust and the smell of paint, home to warm breezes and true summer night feelin’.  Unfortunately we do not have a light in the backyard so hanging out in the dark-yard after dusk can get a little difficult.

hanging up patio lights

On one particularly grueling day of renovating I was shocked to see Steve sill having the energy to drag out the ladder and proceed to hang up lights outside (hammer and all).

Hanging up Christmas lights in July, backyard lights

Christmas in July, backyard lights

The lights created a beautiful warm orange post sunset glow a la Christmas in July.

patio backyard lights

We can now hang out in the backyard after the sun sets to play cards and have our own patio beers to our hearts content!

100 years 100 layers

When we first moved into our house, we gave every wall a coat of fresh paint.  After our paint job, upon closer inspection we noticed a slight soft bulging and straight repetitive vertical lines going across the wall at even spaces, and concluded that it was obvious that wallpaper was underneath what was already several layers of paint.  So for this reno we decided to strip the walls down to the original layer of wall.

stripping wallpaper, 100 year old wallpaper, home renovations

stripping wallpaper, 100 year old wallpaper, home renovations

What an undertaking it has been.  There’s been layer upon layer of wallpaper, telling the story of the decades, from 90′s to the 80′s, 70′s 40′s and down sandwiched amongst varying shades and coats of paint.

stripping wallpaper, 100 year old wallpaper, home renovations

stripping wallpaper, 100 year old wallpaper, home renovations

stripping wallpaper, 100 year old wallpaper, home renovations

The colours of the last 1-2 layers of wallpaper were a soft rose and ghostly grey-blue.  Quite beautiful, but in pretty rough shape and smelling old and musty.

ps i love you

Last Wednesday night we headed to This Ain’t Hollywood to see PS I Love You.  A duo hailing from Kingston, Ontario, they’re signed to Paper Bag Records and have been getting major acclaim from all your indie type music sources such as; Pitchfork, as well as some noted recognition for their Polaris Music Prize nomination.  Their debut album Meet Me at the Muster Station was listed in  Exclaim! for Top Pop & Rock Albums of 2010.

I came across this video a little while back, and loved the gritty lo-fi sound, and catchy guitar hooks.  So when I got wind that they were coming to town I was happy to be able to see yet another fantastic live musical act making a stop in Hamilton.

bass organ foot pedals, PS I Love You, Paul Saulnier, This Ain't Hollywood

I can barely manage to keep a beat and breath at the same time.  Meanwhile Paul Saulnier can rip it up on the guitar like something furious, wail and play the foot-pedal bass organ like a pro all the while keeping pace with the quick and steady licks of drummer Benjamin Nelson.

Paul Saulnier, Benjamin Nelson, PS I Love You, This Ain't Hollywood, Hamilton music shows

For more PS I Love You Videos you can check out Southern Souls acoustic sets of Starfield, Little Spoon, Butterflies and Boners, and Facelove here.  AND if you want to see PS I Love you they’ll be doing another show October 3rd at This Ain’t Hollywood.

An honourable mention goes out to Hamilton’s The Mystics for their mad tambourine playing, and for taking us back to the days of rough edgy rock with their opening set.


out on the line

The days are so hot and dry.  It’s perfect for hanging laundry out on the line.  This load dried in no time flat, and looked so colourful and beautiful blowing in the summer breeze that I just had to take a picture.


drying laundry, on the line, hanging laundry on the line

watching the garden grow

One of our favourite things to do in the evening is to sit out back and watch our garden grown.  It’s amazing to see the fruits of our labour blooming and growing so quickly.  I love picking things fresh from the garden and incorporating them into a meal for that day.

antique metal garden chair, backyard relaxing, red brick wall

potted asian eggplant

homegrown, backyard vegetable garden, tomatoes

kale leaves, backyard vegetable garden

homegrown peppers, backyard vegetable garden

snowpeas, homegrown vegetable garden, backyard vegetable garden

melon plant, backyard garden, baby melon

Check out that little baby melon growing. So cute!

zucchini flowers

I love eating batter fried zucchini flowers. My favourite summer time savoury treat. I make a batter mixture of flour, water, garlic salt, pepper, and some grated cheese of whatever I have lying around. This time I threw in some of the herbs that I've been growing in the herb boxes in the backyard. Then I coated the flowers with the batter mixture, and pan fried them in olive oil on medium heat until golden brown and crispy.

pan fry zucchini blossoms, fried zucchini flowers

panfried zucchini blossoms, zucchini flowers



and the walls came tumbling down

Still in mid renovation.  The walls are down.  The floors are peeled back, and the original ones are exposed.  We are living in a state of civilized chaos.  The demolition proved to be some what of an excavation.  Many layers of paint and wallpaper, a doll arm, 1980′s baseball cards, and a lot of 100 year old dirt, dust and rubble.

100 year old walls, renovation, old wallpaper

renovation, gutting walls


renovation, tearing walls down, demolition

The wall with the bookshelf was was actually a doorway from way back when.  You could see the roughed out frame of the old doorway trim from behind the drywall.  As you can see in the next photo that wall is now gone.


Tonight’s art crawl will feature a super cool exhibit called Zoo at Loose Canon Gallery.  I’m plugging this exhibit not only because Steve has work in this show, but also because there are some sickeningly talented artists that are part of the show too.

zoo art exhibit at Loose Canon Gallery, Hamilton James north art crawl, steve newberry, jacqui oakley, jamie lawson, dushan milic, kyle reed, jen hsieh, dan brandon

Loose Canon, James north art crawl, Hamilton galleries, zoo art show,

Jacqui and Jamie hanging the signage for Zoo at Loose Canon Gallery.

Jacqui Oakley and Jamie Lawson are the curators of this show, and are also unbelievably amazing artists, whose work will be exhibited in this show.

Here’s a little sample of some of their work.

Jonah & The Whale by artist Jamie Lawson, zoo, Hamilton, James north art crawl, Loose Canon gallery

Jonah & The Whale -Jamie Lawson

Image from:

Jacqui Oakley, illustrator

woodpecker illustration -Jacqui Oakley

Image from: This link will take  you Jacqui’s website, where she details some of her processes in doing this beautiful illustration (so much work to do behind the scenes!)


*Loose Canon Gallery, 150 James St. north, Hamilton


Last weekend we visited the Aberfoyle Antique market on a hot and gorgeous summer day.  For the small price of $2 per person we were granted access to more antiques than you could ever dream of.  There were some good bargains, while some vendors were looking to fetch a pretty penny.  We bought some old postcards to add to our growing collection, a steel grate that we will use as our cold air return floor grate (we were happy for the find because old grates are hard to come by), and two steel outdoor chairs that I love.

Aberfoyle Antique Market

blue metal antique chairs, Aberfoyle Antique Market

We picked up these 2 metal chairs for $35 each for our backyard. I love their seafoam bluey green colour.

colourful vintage antique chairs, Aberfoyle Antique Market

antique, vintage knick knacks, figurines, Aberfoyle Antique Market

antique game, Aberfoyle Antique Market

vintage paperback, mystery novel, Fiery Fingers

vintage, antique books, Aberfoyle Antique Market

vintage 60's & 70's casserole dishes, Aberfoyle Antique Market

yellow, red, metal, letters & numbers, Aberfoyle Antique Market

letter press numbers, and letters, Aberfoyle Antique Market

Hamilton antique steel metal plates, Aberfoyle Antique Market

old globes, Aberfoyle Antique Market

vintage pez dispensers, Aberfoyle Antique Market

The Aberfoyle market is open every Sunday 8am-4pm, starting generally from the last Sunday of April to the last Sunday of October, rain or shine.

*Aberfoyle Antique Market, 57 Brock Rd. south, Guelph, 519.763.1077

2 years + lee fields

July 1st is our official 2 year mark of being Hamiltonians.  After the Canada Day fireworks at Bayfront Park we went to This Ain’t Hollywood to check-out the sounds of the one and only Lee Fields and his 7 piece funk/soul band The Expressions.

Bayfront Park fireworks, Canada Day, July 1st 2011, Lee Fields, funk, soul music, This Ain't Hollywood, Hamilton

The show was fantastic.  Lee Fields has clearly been around a while, although this was the first I had heard of him.  His voice is phenomenal, and I would even be so bold as to say he rivals the funk and soul classic Mr. James Brown.

Lee Fields LP, vinyl, record, soul, funk music, Let's Get A Groove On, 1999


*This Ain’t Hollywood,  345 James St. North, Hamilton, 905.529.9500



backyard delights

This weekend I had my ultimate Korean bbq dream come true.  My friend Vern had suggested a Korean bbq themed backyard party at our place.  Such a good idea!

I made Japanese gyoza dumplings of 3 varieties (chive, dill, & garlic scapes).  I picked the  herbs right from our garden to complement the ground pork, chopped cabbage, and crushed garlic gyoza mixture.

 japanese food, homemade gyoza, dill, chives, garlic scapes, pork dumplings

 japanese food, homemade gyoza, dill, chives, garlic scapes, pork dumplings

I gathered this year’s first home grown bouquet for a table centrepiece. I threw in some fresh mint, lavender, and even some little yellow blossoms that came from our bok choys (they’ve already shooted and started running hence the blossoms).  So far I’m loving the early summer harvest of fresh flowers, & delicious herbs.

garden picked fresh flowers, mint, lilis, lavender,

Here’s mine and Vern’s combined spread of a mixture of Japanese homemade tsukemono and Korean pickles and sides, plus the pan fried gyoza, fresh cold tofu with grated ginger, green onions, and soy sauce (super refreshing).  The table was already ram-packed, and the bbq’d meat was still to come!

Korean BBQ side dishes, gyoza, tofu, tsukemono, pickles

Vern brought Kalbi short ribs, that she marinated Korean style for 2 days.  I put together Japanese yakitori chicken sticks, marinated over night in a reduced version of soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and sake.  I saved the left over marinade to glaze on top while bbq’ing.

calbi, short ribs, yaki tori, Korean BBQ

calbi, short ribs, Korean BBQ, fresh garden lettuce

Fresh picked lettuce from the garden to wrap meat in, after dipping in sauces and adding kimchee or pickles.

yakitori, Japanese food, chicken stick, green onions, BBQ

pork belly, Korean BBQ, fresh garden lettuce, kimchee

Homegrown lettuce with samgyupsal (bbq'd pork belly), dipped in a savoury sesame oil sauce, with kimchee, and baby sugared dried anchovies.

Korean BBQ, calbi, side dishes

Hite Korean beer

black sesame, goma, icecream, strawberries, mint, condensed milk, dessert

Dessert black sesame ice-cream with garden fresh mint, strawberries and condensed milk.

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