double chocolate chewy cookies

It's New Year's Eve which means it's the last day of 2010, which also means it's soon to be the beginning of a brand-spanking new year. What does all this mean? It means bake cookies. Bake these cookies:

These here are the chocolatiest, chewiest, scrumptiously delicious cookies you'll ever have the pleasure of putting in your mouth. You can even make 'em chocolatier if you want by adding bigger/different chunks of chocolate ... heck, even add white chocolate to the mix to be really extreme.

Here's the recipe I use:
Double Chocolate Chewy Cookies
Cream together:
1 cup & 1/4 cup soft butter (*do not melt the butter - soften by leaving out of fridge overnight, if you can) and 2 cups sugar.
Add 2 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla to above, and mix.

Mix together, then add to the sugar/butter mixture:
2 cups flour
3/4 cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Add 2 cups chocolate chips to the mixture
Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheets
Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degree
DO NOT OVERCOOK! These cookies are meant to be chewy.
Makes 4 dozen (which will not be enough, I warn you!)
Stuff face.

Happy soon-to-be New Year!
cookie pusher Caren


i wish i was an almost 2 year old

The Charley Harper children's book & game were a gift from my mom to her great-granddaughter (my great-niece) Madilyn. Madilyn isn't quite 2 years old, and she is the recipient of much Charley goodness. Me, jealous? Nonsense(Totally)!

When my mom showed me what she was getting Madilyn, I squealed so loudly & did such a silly little happy dance that I think I may have revered to my own 2-year-old self. I covet all things Charley. Hence, I tried to steal the almost-2-year-old's presents.
Gracie was in on the thievery, as well.

Kids get all the cool stuff at Christmas.
~eternal child-at-heart Caren
p.s. cute handmade stuffy sitting with the Charley goodness? that's my gift to Madilyn; made by the talented my girl thursday ... and yes, I wanted to keep it.

here's little Madi with her Charley!


Sunday Smile: the kittens

I got to do a little bit of kitten sitting yesterday and today. Talk about a fabulous Christmas gift! I got to chill out & watch 5 kittens & their little mama cat (appropriately named Minnie).

I brought my Polaroid Spectra with me & snapped the above two photos of these sweet cats, and I love how oh so '70s they turned out. This Spectra is my new favourite camera; and Impossible's Image film my new fav film (that reminds me, must order more before it's all gone!).

So many kittens! After a while, I knew each different one by their different markings. There was one very shy little black female kitten that I named Cricket; she's the one stretching in the photo directly below.

The kittens loved my boots, and at one time or another had their little heads stuck inside them.
They spent time playing with all their toys & then having a wee bath, too. Such well-behaved little kittens.

Oh, and did I mention? They need homes. And are free. And have their first shots, too!
If anyone in the Peterborough Ontario area would like a well adjusted happy little kitten, please do contact me. There are 4 that need homes. 
note: you only have until January 7th to catch one, as they must be moved to a kitty shelter (their caregivers would rather they find homes before then, though, to spare them the life of a shelter cat).

UPDATE: Only 2 kittens remain!! And they need new homes by January 7th.
Cricket got adopted as did one of the black & white girls.


Christmas Morning ♥

A little Christmas cheer in the form of my Christmas Card (and holiday chickadee header!).

From Gracie the pup and I, we wish you much joy today & all days.
May love fill your heart & spill over unto the world!
I hope your Christmas stocking is equally spilling over!
a Christmas hug to you all,


the one with the Orla mugs

I saw these 2 Orla Kiely mugs for sale online,
and immediately snapped them up.
I have longed to add a little Orla into my daily life,
and now, here I am, happy as can be,
with prettypretty green apple & pear mugs to use!
Merry Christmas to me!

Thanks go out to A La Modern, an online vintage shop, for having something I really wanted (which oddly enough was the only non-vintage thing in their shop)! 
p.s. yes, I did the obvious thing of putting a pear in with the mugs. I like the shape of pears.

my pre-Christmas joy.

I was super-stoked about receiving a vintage linen owl calendar tea towel! 
note: In 1986, I was a 14 year old comic-book-geek. Some things never change.

my superhero pose peeks behind Astrid's shot.

I spent my Eve of Christmas Eve with my dearhearts, the Ackerman's. Astrid is my goddaughter. If you've been following my blog awhile, you'll see her pop up on these pages quite oft!
Much smiling and laughter (and eating) was to be had this joy-filled day!

Astrid has an awesome turntable, and so I gave her The B52s 1979 album. I was delighted to know the album actually worked! (and not just looked way cool)

We got in some instant love photos of ourselves, too. A Polaroid & a Fujifilm Instax. :)

I love watching people unwrap gifts
(above gift was wrapped with a filled-in crossword puzzle newspaper comics page!)
there's dog Max's big head watching Astrid unwrap her gifts!
I have troubles wrapping gifts; never able to get  things to look right.
This year, I opted to use an old (used) sewing pattern to wrap some gifts.
Between that, the newspaper & some lovely tissue paper, I was inspired to do the best job ever!

See the copy of Worn, Fashion Journal, on the table? AWESOME indie mag (gifted it to Astrid).
another joy: seeing how happy your gifts can make someone.
I gifted Astrid with art. Etsy artist art!
luckyjackson (embroidery art, Bat Boy), dollfacelala (polaroid drawing), rosiemusic (girl with pink hair)

My little Gracie dog & Astrid's big dog Max are best friends.

What day is complete without a silly self-portrait shot?

I hope your days are filled with laughter & love this holiday season, and every day thereafter! :)


you look really pretty

{source: Amy Marcella}

a sentiment everyone needs to hear every once in a while.
you look really pretty.


Christmas Cookie Love

My day was spent with cookies & tea.

The squares depicted above is a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Square recipe my mom baked for Christmas. A delightful melody of everything good melts in your mouth when you bite into one. 

The little round balls of buttery & sugary goodness is what I call Russian Tea Cakes. I baked them earlier today.  Here is the recipe for the Cakes, along with a little pictorial:

my messy handwriting, on a well-loved recipe card.
  1. Mix together: 1 cup soft butter, 1/2 cup icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla
  2. Add to butter mixture: 2 1/4 cups flour & 1/4 tsp salt.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup of finely crushed almonds.
  4. Work the mixture into a large ball & cover with wax paper. 
  5. Chill dough (an hour should do it, but you can also leave it overnight).
  6. Roll bits of the mixture into 1" balls & place on cookie sheet. (if you left in fridge overnight, make sure to let the dough thaw a bit)
  7. Bake until set, not brown (when you gently press the tops, they don't cave).
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 400° Celsius for about 10 minutes.
  9. While the balls are still warm, roll in a shallow pan of icing sugar.
  10. After the balls have cooled completely, roll again.
  11. Now take a bite & dream a little dream!

Today was a day spent with cookies.
I finally baked my annual Christmas cookies:
the Russian Tea Cake!
I decided to blog about these little morsels of melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
To spread the joy of butter & icing sugar around the world.

You'll see from the photos above, that I like to bake with the help of friends;
My little brass deer, tiny flocked owl & cheerful ceramic cat to be exact!
I also decided to have a little tea party after all was said and done,
as an excuse to use my (new-to-me) Orla Kiely mugs!
Oh my! What joy!

this is me in my PJs with a puppy crawling up towards where the cookies are.

From a currently slightly cookie comatose girl,

how my dog and cat snuggle

This is as far as my dog & cat will come to snuggling/cuddling.
Strongpaw the cat above the covers.
Gracie the dog hidden underneath.
If only they knew the joys of fur-to-fur cuddles!
They'd never look back.

Silly puppy & kitty.
~cuddly Caren


some instant love

the gorgeous painting you see above the vintage golden chair? that's Jen's work. Isn't it(she) sublime?

I spent some time with a couple of my favourite peoples today: Jen & her little girl Claire (sadly, Claire's sister Ellie was in school during our playtime). Grace hung out with us, making Claire a happy camper!
I had it in my mind to get a portrait of best buds Claire & Grace sitting on Jen's childhood chair.
And so, Jen & I worked hard to do just that. With Claire wanting Grace to sit on her lap, and a puppydog who just wanted treats, it was a real workout! But I finally got the shot!

Here is a sequence of Claire waiting for the Fujifilm Instax photo to emerge:

with the chair, the smocked dress, the instant film look, the vintage vibe is high!

~lucky Caren

p.s. Gracie ended up having a really bad seizure (which she is prone to having) after this adorable visit; she has been ill all afternoon & night and I am very worried about her. If you could send some good healing thoughts her way, that would be magical. ♥ thank you!
update: Grace is doing better this morning & is in full rest mode (as am I!) - thanks for all the kindness sent our way! xox


the one with the Bargello pillows

I haven't been thrifting a lot these days; finding any shopping during the holiday season to be insurmountably exhausting. However, today was the day I mailed off all of my Christmas cards (and a Secret Santa parcel to an unsuspecting recipient!) and since the Sally Ann is pretty close to my postal outlet I decided to pop in.

I left with the above book - Bargello an Explosion in Color.
I squealed in delight upon seeing it; set askew on the shelf looking discarded & unwanted.
But I wanted it! Oh yes! The colour! The pattern!
But most of all, I wanted it because my grandmother was a Bargello artisan. I have 2 of her Bargello pillows, as seen in the photo above. To be honest, I never knew the handicraft was called Bargello... such an odd term, don't you think? Anyways, when I saw this book, circa early 1970s, I knew I had to have it. I also knew I had to actually attempt making myself a Bargello print pillow. And now I have a how-to book to teach me the ins & outs (we'll see how far I get, as I am easily distracted whilst crafting, hence the fact I have mastered no one craft)!

The above pattern is the one I want to do ... but it seems quite advanced (i.e. scary).

Oh, Bargello. You will be mine. Oh yes, you will be mine.


Sunday Smile: the plump squirrel

This little grey (with just the right amount of peach) squirrel is so delightfully plump! I love watching her bound about in all her squirrelly goodness. She watched me photograph her, and I swear, she was plumping herself up even more to show off her lovely little curves (she reminds me of Mae West in the photo to your right).
It's enough to make a girl smile, and I did. :)
~squirrelly Caren


oh, Christmas Tree!

There she is! My little golden Christmas tree, all decked out in vintage baubles & surrounded  by many a deer. I took a bunch of polaroids of the tree tonight, trying to capture its essence just right. I did finally get The Shot, but it has been sent to The Noisy Plume's Christmas Tree Photo Contest (photos are due by December 20th, so hurry on over & submit yours!), so won't be sharing it here with you quite yet.

The instant photo taken above was not taken with a Polaroid, though! *gasp*! I scored a Fujifilm Instax camera & found some film to go with it; and the above is the first shot I took using that camera.

Gracie got in on the action whilst I was instant imaging! Here's an outtake:
note: her eyes are squeezed shut 'cause of the flash from the Instax!

p.s. here's an oops Polaroid Spectra shot I took ... but I think it's pretty, anyways. :)

Tonight was an excellent night for both A) Christmas tree love and B) instant photography love!
~Polaroid (and now Instax?) Girl, Caren


the little tea zine

I just bought a copy of this little tea zine, and wanted to share its fabulousness with you.
The Etsy shop is called 'Isis'. I found it a few days ago during a random Zine search, and hearted it right away. It wasn't until I saw it in this Etsy Treasury, though, that I decided I better snap up a copy before everyone else gets to it before me.

Can't wait to have this little tea zine in my hand, with a cup of tea in my other hand, nestled on my couch with my (fake) fireplace roaring.


The Vintage Apartment: holidays

{original photo source: GetReadySetGo}

My vintage Etsy shop, The Vintage Apartment, will be closing for 2 weeks for a much needed vacation.
I'm not actually going anywhere, though, so the luggage above might be misleading (I just really like Rachel's Etsy shop, blog & photography).

As for my "vacation", I am needing a little time off to focus on other things (y'know, Life Stuff). Who knows, though? Perhaps I will do a mini getaway, stay at a lovely little retreat somewhere. I would not say no to such an idea.

The Vintage Apartment + Holidays = Wednesday December 15th - Wednesday December 29th
The shelves of TVA continue to be filled for your visual & purchasing pleasure, but I won't be shipping anything until December 30th 2010! :)

Here's a small bit of Etsy goodness that reflect a (warm & happy) vacation mood:

Oh, and my shop may be in vacation mode, but that doesn't mean I can't keep shopping on Etsy.com! You know I will be.