Scenes from a Birthday

The Birthday Cake 
{I ate the above birthday cake for breakfast; 3 days in a row!}
Strongpaw the cat loves gift wrap! 
{Strongpaw loves gift opening time!}
birthday lunch at Matsu Sushi 
{the birthday Instax at Matsu Sushi; a tradition! that's Karen & I in the photo!}
birthday lunch at Matsu Sushi
{Mr Kim, owner of Matsu Sushi, singing a boisterous rendition of Happy Birthday!}

{Mel's daughter Azriel loved the desserts as much as I did!}
{from top left: Chantilly & Carly + a bit of Des, cutting the cake, eating the cake, Mel's heart hoots!}
{little girls had many snuggles with Frank the cat! (I did too!)}

There are but a few scenes from my (ongoing) birthday celebrations! Y'know you're having a good year when you're birthday lasts for days! 
I had the most delightful surprise on Monday - my friend Karen picked me up to take me to Matsu Sushi for a birthday lunch date, but told me I was in for a surprise. She also told me to "look pretty". I figured I'd do my best on the pretty part, and then I kept looking over my shoulder for any surprises waiting to jump out at me. Dinner went by with much laughter and good food (cannot go wrong with Matsu Sushi!), but the surprise was still awaiting me. On the way to this surprise, Karen blindfolded me.
She needn't have, as I still had no idea where we were when she took it off of me! We turned up at an unknown house with a pretty blue door. I don't even remember if I opened it or not; all I remember is being in complete shock when I entered the house!
There were so many familiar faces beaming towards me, some saying surprise, some saying happy birthday. I was flabbergasted! I am not sure how long it sunk in that this was a surprise birthday party for me! There was Michele, Astrid, Carly, Chantilly, Elycia, Leigh, Desiree, Mel - and Karen! So many dear souls all in that one house (which turned out to be Chantilly's house!). It was a veritable blogger heaven! I'm still a little overwhelmed by it all. Things like this don't happen to me (parties, surprises, etc.) so I was truly touched by the whole shebang.
Thank you, all you lovely ladies, for making this girl's year! I wish I had taken Polaroids of all of your sweet selves to remember the day by! xox
Tomorrow is yet another day of birthday fun; I go to Astrid's house for cream puffs! This year is starting off to be the sweetest one yet :)
with grateful joy,
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Sunday Smile: Birthday Giveaway!


So, it's my birthday today.. and it's sort of a big one. I am now 40 years old!
(my mama told me it's the flirty & fun forties!)
Because it's my birthday, I wanted to do something special for my sweet chickadees (you!).
drum roll please
I'm doing a Birthday Giveaway that encompass a few of my favourite things!
If you've been following Tea & Chickadees for a while now, then you know I am a big fan of analog photography (lomography & polaroids), that I love kittycats, I have a pretty sweet dog named Grace, I'm a sucker for anything owl shaped, enjoy tea on a regular basis, and am a fan of handmade and vintage.
This happy little package covers all of those things, and one sweet Tea & Chickadees follower will win 'em all!

Take a gander at all the pretty pictures I took of the goodies included:

Here's what's in the Birthday Goody Bag:

little hoots owl earrings by Mel of Needle & Nest Design
teacup & feather tiny framed photography by Erin of Feather + Anchor
a few of my favourite teas: Zen Green Tea, English Breakfast Tea, Echinacea Elder Tea
the sweetest kitten & yarn yellow tin!
a vintage lusterware owl shaker!
a Happy Happy Joy Joy card by luckyjackson
an original polaroid of my dear puppydog Grace
a brand new Olympus Trip 500, a fun little automatic film camera!
{I have this exact same camera & have so much fun with it; some of those photos can be found here}

I had a lot of fun putting this birthday package together, and look forward to giving it to someone who will enjoy all of my favourite things!

{here I am with Gracie as a fresh new 40 year old! huzzah!}

To win this Birthday Giveaway, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (subscribe by feedburner, follow on Bloglovin or  join via GFC) and leave a comment letting me know a few of your favourite things!

Tweet this giveaway for an extra bonus entry! 
Be sure to include this URL (http://www.teachickadees.com/2012/01/sunday-smile-birthday-giveaway.htmland my twitter name @buttercupcaren.
Remember to leave a 2nd comment to let me know you did the tweet. :)

Contest ends January 31st and the winner will be announced February 1st!
with birthday cake joy,


light it up : vintage camera lamps

I love coming up with random neat stuff to share with you guys, this time in the form of camera lamps! I really wish I was a techie crafty artist who'd come up with these ideas first, 'cause they're all kinds of awesome.
Love the idea of upcycling vintage cameras (ones that are beyond repair, of course!) into something functional. I am also digging making faux cameras, but not just to look at, but to use in the form of a light-maker! Brilliant! (pun intended)

{above: John Hull's fab upcycled vintage camera night lights!}

I'll have to see if I can wield the power of making electricity like these folks do. ;)
with geeked out camera bliss,


chocolate brownie cookies (and a cat who loved them)

the cat and the cookies 

I found this delicious recipe for chocolate brownie cookies over at the equally delicious Please Note blog (one of my new favourites, and not just because of the yummy recipes!).
Of course, I had to make them. One does not ignore a brownie in a cookie form!
My kittycat Strongpaw was greatly enamoured with them. I left a plate full of them on a stool in the living room and the next thing I know, she licked two of them! If I hadn't have caught her when I did, I'm sure there would've been only crumbs left behind. Silly kitty, brownie cookies aren't for you!

brownie cookies in the sunshine melted chocolate yumminess
{melted chocolate & butter sinfulness ... the best kind of sin}

Elizabeth's Aunt Lynnea's Brownie Cookies
6 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate *I ended up using 1 cup of chocolate chips in lieu of semi-sweet squares
4 squares unsweetened chocolate (use Baker's chocolate for both)
3/4 cube of butter *this turned out to be about 1/2 cup
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups toasted chopper walnuts (optional) *I didn't use any walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt the chocolate with the butter and stir until smooth. *I used a double broiler
Stir in the sugar until well blended. *I added the sugar in the pot, then transferred the batter to my mixer
Mix in the eggs and vanilla. 
Mix in the flour, salt, and baking powder.
The dough will be very soft. *I ended up having to add a 1/4 cup more flour to make it the right consistency (i.e. so it didn't just run off of the cookie tray! :)
If adding the chopped walnuts... toast them on a cookie sheet for about 8-10 minutes and add them to the dough now.
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons on to an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes and watch them carefully. *mine only took 10 minutes so please do check the cookies!
Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet and cool completely on wire racks. Be sure and eat these with a big glass of milk... they're rich! *they really are that rich!!

* = my little add-on notes to Elizabeth's recipe

Now, stuff your face with brownie cookies! You won't be sorry.
with joy,


the music & vision of Gotye & Kimbra

this video caught me unawares. i randomly came across it just now, and it struck a cord - visually & lyrically & musically. wow. can i admit i never heard of Gotye before? i feel embarrassed somehow that i didn't. now i want to see him live; i bet he puts on a fabulous show!
i found this video on EST Magazine's blog {see post here}which i found via an awesome blog called Project2012 {i highly recommend you check it out if you're into brand identity, photography & style - specially minimalist black & white Scandinavian style}.

wow, this is a random post isn't it? but, if like me, you like to find out about new cool stuff, then this post is right up your alley! i took some screen captures of the video so you can see just how awesome the visuals are:

the woman in green is Kimbra, another fantastically talented person i had never before heard of.
do i live under a rock?

this video is so candylicious! it's a colourful joyful celebration of awakening. great happy visuals! here's some screen caps i took (i apologize for the black bands; widescreen format video!):

well, there you have it! a visual & audio smorgasbord for you to treat your eyes & ears with!
i find myself quite inspired by both artists, and am so happy to have found their music!
with random joy,


A gathering of handmade & vintage via Etsy

The other week I did a post dedicated to the drool-worthy goodies I found at Chapters-Indigo.
This is a like-minded gathering, but instead of mass-produced, these are handmade by individual artists or unique vintage pieces. More of a one-of-a-kind vibe; an antithesis to the world of retail.

{above: egg warmers : vintage owl napkin rings (sadly, they're sold) : knitware porcelain vase}

phew. This gathering took me a long time to put together; I immersed myself in pretty things to find items that reflected the same style as that which I found at a retail chain store. I would always prefer to buy handmade (support the independent artist!) or vintage (recycle, reuse, reduce stylishly!). And yes, I want one (or more) of each of what I picked to showcase here... that's not being greedy, is it?
That isn't to say I won't be buying those white owl bookends I saw at Chapters-Indigo ... there's some things a girl just can't deny herself. Besides, I like having a mix of things in my home - it creates a real eclectic vibe to mix & match!
with much joy,

where insomnia turns into YouTube cat video watching...

why yes, I did lose some time on YouTube watching cat videos.
this one's been viewed a gazillion times, so you've probably seen it already.
I don't go on YouTube very often; only when I'm a really crazy insomniac.
so, you can imagine how entertained I was by this kitten playing in a hamster ball.
I even had to take screen-shots to share. 'cause I'm that (cat)crazy.

the video itself is kind of lame, what with the music dubbing + poor quality, but whatever. it's a kitten in a hamster ball ... 

you're welcome,
*note: this is not my kitten and nor to I endorse this video or YouTube cat videos.
**one more thing: cats really will take over the world one day; we are unsuspecting fools to ever think otherwise.


the one where I go on about Olivia Mew

'buttercup' by olivia mew
{above: my 'buttercup' canvas patch from feverfew}

I bought the above piece of fabric art as soon as I saw it in Olivia Mew's feverfew Etsy shop.
Two things led me to this quick decision: 1. the sweet fox, & 2. the word buttercup!
Okay, and the price was beautifully accessible! I love affordable art!
Thank you Olivia Mew.
When 'buttercup' arrived in the mail yesterday, I fell in love all over again!
Luckily, I had an embroidery hoop that was its exact size. Bonus points for it being a perfect shade of blue!
I'll clean up the edges somehow & will hang it either on my wall of nature, or in my studio space for inspiration. I may even want to use it to create a functional textile piece (a tote, a pillow, etc.).
Heck, I may even do some freehand embroidery or quilting on it to give it some dimension!
ah, inspiration, it's the most wonderful thing to be given.

a few more Mew designs:

{above: "dry your eyes" handkerchief}

{above: "fox club" 8x10 print} 

{above: "tabby" printed silk scarf} - I might have to get one of these for my kitty self!

where to find Olivia Mew on the interwebs:
feverfew (handmade Etsy)
young captive (vintage Etsy)

I hope you enjoyed this little ode to Olivia Mew!
with buttercup joy,


focus on: FruitFly Pie

Since it's quite apparent that I like owls (quelle surprise!), I thought I'd do a Focus On post dedicated to the ones that FruitFly Pie make. If you love the look of vintage, but rather have something freshly made then FruitFly Pie is the place to go! Specially if you dig retro owls. Everything is made with a vintage vibe, either using an actual vintage mold or from the artist's own imagination.

Wendy Alderman, the creative force behind FruitFly Pie, shares her studio space with two potbellied pigs named Sammy & Freddy. You heard that right, potbellied pigs. Which is why you'll find pig shaped ceramics in her shop just as much as owls! There's also ice cream cone & cupcake shaped cookie jars, not to mention a variety of woodland-inspired items. Truly, there is something for everyone!

I think I'll give in to my want of a Fruity owl one day!
with owl & potbellied pig joy,

my morning, a morning of lattes and stretchy cats

handmade happiness stepanka stretchy cat

this is exactly what my morning looked like today.
the only thing i didn't photograph is the delicious bowlful of oatmeal that kickstarted it all.
but Stepanka mugfulls of latte goodness & stretchy cats were captured!
{i do apologize for the poor photograph quality; crappy lighting makes my camera suck}
i loved how the Stepanka mugs sat at the bottom of a wall of handmade art;
an original painting i bought from Mel to gift to my mom at Christmas
and the sweetly stitched piece by Lucky (of my face!).
original art makes a space more beautiful, more unique, and most of all, more personal.
this space is my mom's, as i continue to live in her space until my apartment is livable again.
i am so blessed to have a mom who puts up with her daughter's mysterious ways! hehe!

i hope you, too, find yourself surrounded by meaningful moments & yummy foodstuff!
with joy,


life is beautiful when you can hold something you love

{sweet vintage postcard found here : ismoyo}

I just came across this sweet vintage postcard whilst perusing Etsy. 
I was struck by its sweetness and wanted to share it with you.
It's as simple as that.

with joy,


what I found at Chapters-Indigo today : owls & Scandinavian-esque style!

I did not anticipate such a plethora of cool stuff when I went to Chapters-Indigo earlier today.
I had to restrain myself from buying 3 of everything.
To help you visual what I saw, I put together little vignettes: 

{above : bird mobile : owl bank}

{above : owl frame : egg cozies : apron}

Most everything that I fell in love with had a distinct Scandinavian aesthetic, which I applauded Chapters-Indigo for duplicating. It seems someone there knows what's going on in the pulse of home style right now; I was impressed. I was drawn towards white & wood. A little gray, and then there's those cute egg cozies! The owl frame is for a baby's room, but hello! I'd use that in my office! Same goes for the owl bank, bunny frame & the bird mobile. Why limit design to a particular room/age?

I want to redecorate my entire apartment to be natural soothing white with bits of wood accent & joyful colour (blue & yellow with bits of orange, please).
But that will be my next incarnation. For now, I have a very loud patterned 1960s couch, a rather large teal chair, a yellow formica diner table, amongst other colourful bits & bobs. I am starting to head towards a distinctly Scandinavian look, though, so perhaps a few years from now I will achieve that "minimalism" look (I use quotes because I will *never* be a true minimalist).

I hope you enjoyed your shopping excursion at Tea & Chickadees! I apologize if I've made you want to spend money.
with abundant joy,
p.s. all I came home with from Chapters-Indigo was a little linen pouch with an owl on it & a bunch of Paris-related books.


Sunday Smile: cookies, cat & dog

cookies & mugs 

My mom baked up a frenzy yesterday, filling her home with the yummiest of smells & tastes!
Oatmeal cookies & molasses sugar snaps. Oh, and chocolate cheesecake brownies!
Since I'm living temporarily in my mom's home whilst my apartment is getting fixed,
I got to be immersed in all the baking goodness! I felt like a kid again :)

the cat & dog competing for sun 
{above: Strongpaw the cat & Gracie the pup seeking the sun ... together! cutes!}
the little painting helper!
{above: the little helper!}

I've been doing a lot of work in my apartment before the big move back in.
The main improvement I'm doing is painting the walls whilst everything is in disarray.
I already painted my beige bathroom a gleaming white, which took DAYS to complete.
Today I tackled an easier job, repainting one big wall the original robin egg's blue colour.
I was only going to do some minor patch work on the big blue wall,
but it turned out I only had a quart of satin finish blue paint in the house
(which I used for shelving, as having a glossy finish makes them more durable)
so I decided to do the entire wall in a shiny finish - and I LOVE it!
It was a quick fix, and really refreshed the space.
Once my place is finished, I'll be sure to share many a photo!
(are you excited? I am!)

There's always something to smile about, and I have to say cookies, kitties & puppies are among the top of the list! A freshly painted wall is lovely, too, but not quite so smile-worthy as it turns out I'm quite allergic to paint.
with joy!