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DIY letter shirts

I’ve never really been a sports fan and I’m almost completely useless in any sports related trivia. However, I’ll take any excuse to get decked out in team colours and cheer.

During summers in Toronto, one of my favourite activities is getting together with a few friends, and buying cheap 500 level tickets to cheer on the Blue Jays. I’m all for foam fingers, face paint, and silly chants. Last friday when we found out that the McMaster Marauders were going to be playing for the Vanier cup at the Rogers Center in Toronto, we jumped at the chance to cheer on our university team (even though I’m really a Waterloo warrior at heart). Getting decked out in maroon was a must, and with 10 of us going, it presented a wonderful opportunity to spell out ‘Marauders’ on our shirts.

I had initially planned on just using fabric paint but then thought, why not use this opportunity to learn something new. Creating a fabric applique makes it easier to have crisp edges, and will survive a little better in the wash. Here are simple step by step instructions on how I added a letter appliqué to my maroon shirt.


You will need a t-shirt, good scissors, either a fabric stiffiner or an iron on adhesive, fabric for your applique, and a print out of the image or letter you want on your shirt.


1. Print out the image or letter you want and cut it out. Place on it your shirt to make sure it’s the perfect size and that you are happy with how it looks. I used the ‘varsity’ style font to give it more of a ‘university’ look. DIY Custom team letter shirts

2. Place your cut out on your stiffiner or iron-on adhesive and trace around it. Then cut this out of the stiffiner leaving a 1 cm border around the original tracing. This margin is optional but helps when you cut out the shape on the fabric. If your image has a hole in the middle of it, you don’t have to cut that part out. It’s easier to just cut it once the adhesive is ironed on to the fabric.


3. Take out your ironing board, and place your fabric that you want to use for the applique with the good side facing down on the the board. Then take your iron-on adhesive and place it on top of your fabric. Make sure the size with the wax is facing down, and the paper side is facing up. With the iron on a low setting (IE. Silk), glide it along the adhesive. Follow the instructions that come with yours. Mine suggested 1-2 seconds.

4. When your adhesive is firmly attached to the fabric, let it cool and cut out the shape using the original tracings. Since you left a 1 cm margin, the stiffness will make it easier to make smooth cuts. Make sure your cut out any circles and shapes in the center of your shapes. I used a ruler and an exacto knife to help keep the edges crisp.


5. You can put the shirt on and mark exactly where you want the letter to sit. A helpful hint to ensure that the letter is right in the middle is to fold your shirt in half, and iron a crease straight down the middle to give you some guidelines.

6. Peel of the paper from the other side of the applique, place it where you want on the shirt, and with the iron still on the low setting, iron on the letter making sure the edges are firmly attached.


7. At this point, the shirt is ready to wear if you want. I personally prefer stitching around the edges just to help it last a little longer.


8. Put your machine in the zigzag stitch mode. The length and width of the stitch depends on the size of your letter and your personal preference.

9. Start the stitch at the bottom and work your way around.

10. TA DA! Now go wear your shirt with pride!704309_10100387169522197_1640974038_o

A night in Bollywood

There ain’t no party like a Bollywood party!

There’s nothing I love more than a good old fashioned theme party!  So I was ecstatic when Yashy from BabyandLife.com asked me photograph her baby girl’s birthday party. The party was beautifully decorated and amazingly executed. I picked up a few tips that might help you set the mood if you’re ever interested in throwing your very own Bollywood party.


1. Decorating. Find as much fabric as you can. Think bed sheets, pashmina scarves, curtains, throws, etc. Then start draping EVERYTHING! Yashy had everything from the tables, benches, chairs, pillers, and cushions draped in colourful fabrics which set a very cozy and festive atmosphere that suited the theme to perfection. You can also collect a bunch of cushions and lay them down in a corner or area to create a make shift “lounge”.

decorate room at a bollywood party

2. Saris. Lehenga. Dupattas. I learned a lot of new words in my quest to find the perfect outfit. Encouraging guests to borrow or find pieces in their wardrobes that suit the theme really helped pull everything together. For those who live in Toronto, little India on east Gerrard and Coxwell had an abundance of clothing shops. I walked into one and mentioned that I was going to a party and wanted to spend as little as possible. I was advised that a sari, although beautiful and elegant, would be very difficult to pin properly, and would restrict my ability to walk/run. Since I had to be ready and mobile to snap photos, I opted for this forest green 4 piece outfit for $29 (which also included minor alterations!). If you stay minimal on the embellishments, and opt for non-silk fabrics, there are many options for under $50.

3. Party favours/accessories – Head to the dollar store, or any Indian clothing/fabric/accessory store and pick up some bangles  bindis, and stickers. Bangles can be found fairly inexpensively and having a stack of them around your wrist really makes you want to dance and make those bangles jingle.

4. Music. Every party can benefit from a great playlist. I’m not knowledgeable on what songs are popular but I’m sure a quick Google search can help you put together a great medley of songs to help get your guests dancing. Who knows… maybe Songza will put together a “it’s saturday afternoon and I want my guests to shake like they are in bollywood” playlist soon.


5. FOOD FOOD FOOD. Often my parties will just have a few appetizers but since many of the children had early bedtimes, Yashy generously provided dinner. The food was  from Famous Indian Cuisine on Gerrard St in Toronto and it was AMAZING. Their lamb rogan josh may be one of the best pieces of meat I’ve ever put into my mouth.

7. And lastly. Don’t forget to relax and enjoy your party! I know a lot of times, I’m so worried about all the guests and making sure everyone is having a good time that I forget to just enjoy it myself.


The Works

Many of my cube mates were buzzing about the new burger joint that opened down the street. Call me a sheep but I obviously had to go see what all the commotion was about.


What struck me at first was their kind of industrial meets Canadian log cabin themed decor. I loved the way the place looked, right down to their light bulb salt and pepper shakers, to their measuring cups as glasses.



The first time I went to the Works, although my burger was good, I wouldn’t have classified it as being one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.  I ordered a Johnny Be Goat (Beef patty with spinach  red peppers, and goat cheese). It was slightly on the dry side and almost excessively too large. Since it was their opening week, I decided to wait a month before going again to see if things changed once they had some time to settle in. I must say, I was much more impressed by both the service and the quality of the burgers the second time around. I opted for their Downtowner(gouda cheese, bacon and avocado) with chicken breast  and was pleased at how thick, yet moist and juicy it was. The boyfriend choose the ROF beef burger (onion ring, jalapeno, banana and chipotle peppers) and it was as big as mine was the first time, but much more moist.


All in all, it’s a cute place but if you’re going for lunch, make sure you give yourself enough time as it does take 20 mins for the burgers to cook. And if it’s your first time, you’ll be spending at least 5 mins trying to decide from their giant list of burger choices.


The Works

123 Simcoe Street Peterborough
Peterborough, Ontario

Phone: (705) 874-7474


Super heroes party

ngoc nguyen dressed as Thor for Avenger's premiereFor some reason, people assume I’m really into comic books and that fan expo and comic cons are right up my alley. Maybe it’s because I had been looking forward to the Avengers for half a year. Or maybe it’s because I dressed up like Thor to go see it. (I unfortunately couldn’t get tickets to opening night, so had to wear my costume to the Sunday, 3pm showing… someone high five’d me.. which means I was cool… right?). Whatever their reasons are, I always thought the bf knew me better than that. Until I opened up my birthday present to find a Thor hammer and Captain America Shield. At least he was trying to be creative.


Well that’s when the idea of a super hero theme party came about. I mean, I had to find a use for my newly acquired treasures, right?


I love love love theme parties but since I’ve never thrown one for this particular group of friends, I was met with much skepticism. Because of this, I wanted to make sure I set the mood so that the next time I had a theme party, everyone would be pumped instead of weary.


A few tips:

1. I made it a costumes mandatory party. No costumes, no entry. If you are going to enforce this though, be concious of the fact that some people may opt not to come because they are too shy or feel like it’s silly to dress up. I requested at a minimum, people wear a mask or a cape. Give some suggestions of easy costume ideas to help get the creative juices flowing.


2. Advance notice. Let people know well a head of time so that they can go buy or make their costumes. This also prevented people from telling me that they didn’t have “time” to get a costume. I also offered to assist those less creative folk and I had made a few extra masks and capes for those who really struggled.


3. Movie posters. As a photographer, I firmly believe that people love photographs. I googled popular super hero movies and super imposed the faces of the guest list onto the photos (facebook has made it super easy to get photos of your friends). I put up a photo collage right near the entrance so people could have a little chuckle as they entered the party. I must admit, putting my male friend’s faces on beautiful 6 packs was maybe a little bit more enjoyable than it should have been.


4. Photo back drop. I taped craft paper together to form a giant back drop and bought acrylic paint to paint a fun and colourful backdrop. If you are going to do this, make sure you start well in advance as it took a surprisingly long time to paint and to wait for the paint to dry so I could outline all the letters. I also made a mug shot back drop and bought a small white board so people could write down their super hero name to make it look more legit. Guests had a lot of fun posing and acting out fight scenes all night.

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5. Since it was a birthday party, I had to have some themed cupcakes and cakes. This is actually an older cake from a previous birthday but it would have suited this party perfectly. I unfortunately don’t have any photos of the cupcakes from this party.

Transformer cake

The guests all had a great time and I’m confident that they’ll be less weary of dressing up for my next theme party.

Camel Kisses

I’ve always been a fan of doing tourist things in your own city. I’m an even bigger fan when these things are free.

donkey in peterborough zooThat’s how I found myself strutting through the Peterborough Riverview Park and Zoo on a Saturday morning. Open from 8:30am until dusk every day, it’s a great place to bring the family.camelkisses copy

I had expected this to be a tiny park with a few rabbits and turtles but I was pleasently surprised. They had a few felines, otters, giant camels and llammas, and a good variety of other furry friends. There is always a great playground and picnic area for parents to sit and relax while the kids copy the monkeys on the jungle gym. Or splash around in the water park.

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I’ll take 3 of them please. This will guarantee that I have couple dozen by the next day.

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If you find yourself with nothing to do on a sunny day in Peterborough, I’d definitely recommended taking a stroll through this cute zoo. And drop some change in their donation box to help keep it running.

Riverview Park & Zoo 

1230 Water St
Peterborough Ontario

Hot Belly Mamas

Moving to Peterborough and not knowing a single person here has made a table for one become a standard in my life. And I have to say, I kind of love it! Though I do miss sharing plates and being able to try more than just one dish. Alas, one dish is better than none, so off I went to my first stop, Hot Belly Mamas. This restaurant has made leaving Toronto a little less painful.

There eclectic decor is quite a site for the eyes and imagination. Every where you look, there are interesting photos, articles and items. It reminds me of your cool uncle’s basement where there’s a good story behind every piece.

Hot Sauce at Hot belly mamas PeterboroughHotbellymamasCajancatfish-2

The menu includes a mix of southern dishes including po’ boys, blackened chicken, pizzas, and roti. But what keeps me coming back is their cajun catfish. Mildly spicy battered catfish that is oh so perfectly cooked, sweet potato frites, and a salad all for $13.99 makes my belly and wallet happy.


Joined to the Olde Stone Brewing company, you can be sure to have a delicious pint of beer. If you like a full bodied beer, their stout and old wild ale are fragrant and flavourful.  Another thing I loved was how friendly and welcoming the staff are. On my last visit, they gave me a little lesson on the history of Wellington beer.


As much as I try to make an effort to visit new restaurants, I often find myself going back for some delicious New Orleans’ comfort food. If you’re passing by Peterborough, I’d highly recommend making a pit stop here.


Hot Belly Mamas

378 George Street North
Peterborough, ON, K9H 3R3