Tag Archives: Toronto

Redheads Writing in Cafes Unless It’s a Pub

Welcome to this week’s edition of Redheads writing in cafes, except, it was a bar patio and I had cider instead of coffee. For those of you who are judging me right now…

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Many often joke that Canada has two seasons. Winter and patio season but, let’s be honest with ourselves here for a moment, the last couple winters we’ve had, haven’t been all that terrible. Compared to the year of the ice storm, they have been comparatively mild. Complain? We shouldn’t be, but as per standard, we will. It’s now mid-May and as I look around, I see trees filling out, and quite quickly over the last few days, happy people out on leisurely walks, people on bikes whizzing by, skateboarders, motorcycles and people browsing through the various tiny libraries, that are popping up on a steady basis, in my hood. Spring has sprung!

Yesterday and again today, we have been treated to a sneak peek of summer weather. Hot, humid, the threat of a thunderstorm and patios filled to the brim. Yesterday, I took advantage of such and found myself sitting on a patio in the Annex. Paupers Pub is probably one of the most popular patios in the Bloor/Bathurst area, especially now with all of the bars and restaurants of Mirvish Village disappearing due to the upcoming condo, erm…. apartment complex development. Paupers has always been a patio favourite of mine. The staff is a mix of Paupers veterans to university students looking for a quick cashflow to pay the rent.

The afternoon started with a coffee and vegan doughnut at Bloomers with our very own Life With More Cowbell, Cate McKim. Once we satiated our need for caffeine and a sugary, fried delightful treat, we made our way to The Annex. I’m talking about the doughnut you pervs…. Anywhoo… After parting ways, I decided to continue my stroll along Bloor and take the scenic route to my next destination, Paupers patio, where I was planning to do some writing.

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During my wander along Bloor, two odd things happened. I walked into BMV and didn’t buy anything.  I know, weird.  Then…. Then there was the guy wearing the Obama Halloween mask. Living in Toronto, I have seen some very…. odd things. A lot of odd things in fact. Normally I wouldn’t be fazed by the guy in the Obama mask, if it wasn’t for the fact that he passed me three times within a matter of 30 minutes and each time staring me down. I don’t think he was singling me out, I observed him doing this exact same thing to others he passed. I think a normal person may have been creeped out by the guy, I just kept thinking, “Man, that must be really hot under a Halloween mask on a day like today.” Has anyone else seen this guy before?

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I was able to get a couple solid hours of writing in before being joined by October for dinner and more drinks on the patio. I was able to do what I hope was the final edit on a short story that I am looking to submit on Monday to a literary magazine. I’ve been editing the story for two weeks now and feel it’s time to let the baby fly from the nest. I know for artists letting go of your work is hard to do. I always have a hard time with this, not because I’m worried about rejection, but because I want everything to be perfect. If you have the same issue or a solution please let me know. I’d love to hear your story as well.

Now that the weather is warmer, I am hoping to spend more time writing on patios. Sometimes with a coffee and sometimes a cider.

 


Redheads Writing in Cafes #1

***I have added a new page to the blog. It is called Redheads Writing in Cafes. Here is the first entry. 

Redheads Writing in Cafes #1

I’m a full-time writer. I work for myself. I don’t go into a Corporate office space. I create my own content. I work from home. I am my own boss. This is my perfect job. This is my dream. There is, however, one problem.  When you are working at home, there are…. how shall we say, distractions. I don’t mean the television, Netflix, YouTube or other forms of entertainment. I mean laundry, cleaning, washing that sink full of dirty dishes, figuring out what to make for dinner, tidying up, re-organizing. As you look up from your laptop, you see all the things that need to be done. You still get writing done, but between the tasks that are staring you down and when you don’t complete them…. there is that pesky guilt. Now that the weather is nicer, I plan on finding my way outside my home to write.  In the backyard, parks, cafes.

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As a full-time artist, writing in a cafe every day isn’t great for the change purse… I am considering a Kickstarter to help finance this endeavor. Feed my coffee addiction.  I’m sure others would be willing to give up a coffee a day to support my cup of coffee a day… right? No? Hmmmm….  All kidding aside, many well-known artists have written their novels, screenplays, plays and poems in cafes. There is a wonderful, addictive energy that fills the walls of cafes, not to mention the lovely wafts of fresh ground coffee beans and baked goods. Ok… now, I’m just making myself hungry. Focus. You need to focus.

The point of this new page is to write about what I’m writing about… while I’m in a cafe…. Maybe I could also convince other redheaded writers to guest write or join me in the cafe. I live in a neighbourhood that has cafes a plenty. I am going to try to choose a different one each time I write and let you know a bit about the cafe.

Today, I’m sitting in a cafe near High Park, looking out at the beautiful greenery, dreaming of the 1930s, listening to Edith Piaf’s beautiful voice, flow from the speakers. I am working on my novel as well as researching the 1930s. For some, being in a cafe would distract them. I drink in the energy that surrounds me, which is the complete opposite of when I am at home writing. At home, I need the sounds of televisions and stereos turned off, the windows open, so the sounds of the outside, find their way to my ears.

The cafe I’m in is Hannah’s Cafe and Bakery. They have a really nice dark roast and I’ve had their lattes. The staff is friendly and the cafe itself spacious. Recently we came here for a writing workshop. I’m Vegan and they have soy milk, they have some Vegetarian sandwiches and salads that can be made Vegan, however, the baked goods are not Vegan. Once you are done writing, you can hop across the street to High Park.

I’m lucky to live in such an amazing neighbourhood. I am a brief walk away from the best park in the city, shopping, bars, restaurants and groceries. The hood is also home to literary and art events. There are writers, painters, musicians, visual artists, burlesque dancers, and other artisans who call this area home. Most importantly, there are cafes a plenty and if you get lucky, you may walk into the one with the Redhead.  That might be an idea for a treasure hunt. Find the cafe with the Redhead who’s writing.

Redhead’s writing in cafes.

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The Good, The Bad and The Dead

“Hello.”

“Hi there. This is the ‘local’ town cemetery.”

“Oh geez.”

“Ya. Could you come pick up your daughter? Again.”

This sounds like some type of dialogue from your typical 1980’s, angsty teen flick, however and to the shock of no one, it isn’t. This was me. This was me as a teenager. Yes, I have spent many hours in cemeteries. No, I’m not a grave robber and you can’t prove it. Hold on, that’s an entirely different story — let’s continue this one.

As a teenager, I was often chased out my local cemetery. My reason(s) for being there were innocent enough, I was there to read. Just to read. I didn’t go there to cause issues, it wasn’t out of a reason of morbidity, though many would think my desire to sit in a cemetery to read, was morbid, weird — inappropriate. I didn’t feel what I was doing, was any of those reasons. I went because I felt comfortable, at ease and safe there. Being close to the dead brought me a sense of calm and peace, it still does. However, circumstances weren’t as simple as me wandering into a cemetery one day and discovering this, it was more complicated than that. The journey was much darker, grimmer and yes, this is where the morbid part really fits in. It all started at the age of ten when I was introduced to death. Confused? Intrigued? Stick around, I’ll explain.

The first time I experienced the death of someone I was close to, was when my Great Grandpa Bill ‘passed away’ — died. Before that, the only death I can remember was when my beloved German Shepherd Queenie, ‘went to the farm’. Yes, those are the words I was told. Until my Great Grandfather died, I actually thought she was running around, chasing squirrels in some farmer’s field. After my Great Grandfather’s death, this changed, my life changed.

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I was incredibly close to my Great Grandfather, he was someone who was my best friend and constant companion. He lived with us and I got to see him every day — until he got sick. A mild heart attack lead to a stroke. The stroke caused his death. He had been in the hospital for a few weeks before he died. I, in my ten-year-old head, figured he would eventually get better and come home. He didn’t. I don’t remember how I was told about him dying. I’m not sure why I don’t remember any of that, maybe I wasn’t told. Maybe, I just became part of the process, being swept along with everything that happened up until the part I do remember.

My first experience with a corpse was seeing him in his open casket. When I saw him, I was confused. He didn’t look like my Grandfather. He was wearing weird makeup, rouge, and lipstick. He didn’t look real. Everyone kept referring to him, to the man in the casket as Great Grandpa Bill. I couldn’t make the connection. It just didn’t look like him. It wasn’t registering in my adolescent mind. This is when the questions started. About my Great Grandfather, the man in the casket and about death.

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I was a shy, introverted child. I spent my time hidden away in my room or corners, reading, doing art, daydreaming. My Great Grandfather took the time to talk to me, tell me stories, coax me out of my room. We went on adventures together. When he passed away, I became confused, then curious about what had happened to him, why it happened and what would happen to him afterward. At the funeral home, a lot of questions were asked by me. Why was he wearing weird makeup and lipstick? Why didn’t look real? I became upset when no one would answer me. No one would explain. I wasn’t allowed to go to his funeral because of this. My actions were considered inappropriate, I was distracting and likely causing an embarrassment. I was expected to be quiet, well-behaved and sedate. I may have been hushed that day, that however, wasn’t going to stop me from asking questions.

Avoiding a child’s questions and dismissing them will have consequences. They will either stop asking questions altogether or go to the other extreme. The latter happened to me. When my parents didn’t give me the answers I sought, I went elsewhere. I freaked out teachers and librarians. Especially the librarians. They would cringe when they saw me knowing I would ask them to help me find books on death. I’m sure that getting a call from the principal’s office about this, delighted my parents. I became relentless. I wasn’t going to stop until I had an answer, an understanding. I needed to know everything about death. Did it hurt, what happened after you died? Was death final? Was there an afterlife? What happened to your body after you died, after you were buried? What happened if you weren’t dead when they buried you? (thanks urban legends) The questions were endless and I needed to know all of the answers.

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Since that day, I have been death-obsessed. No, I’m not suicidal, I’m not looking for ways to end my life. I just trying to seek all the knowledge I can about death. My childhood death-obsession also lead me down my current path. I’m a writer and performer. I write in the horror genre and am working on a novel that is a semi-biographical ghost story. I have spent many hours researching death rituals of different cultures, past and present. How other societies celebrate it, what their customs are, how they view it. I have spent a lifetime thinking about it, writing about it, obsessing about it, talking about it.

Recently I have been inspired to start openly talking about death again and to more than just two people. I’m sure Sarrah and Zoltan will be relieved about this. After years of being shut down and told that I was being morbid or hearing the standard, ‘Ha ha. Guess that’s why you love horror.’, I’m finally motivated to talk openly about it again. Normally, my outlet has been writing, now I finally feel free enough to talk to many others. You see, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered a channel on YouTube that advocates The Good Death. The channel I am talking about is Caitlin Doughty’s Ask A Mortician. Finding this channel was like reconnecting with a long lost, beloved friend. I found Death again.

More now than ever, I think it’s important to start talking about death. To open up about it.; start the conversation. Recently a cousin of mine died. He was only one year older than me and I was shocked by his death. When someone this young dies, you start to question your own mortality. I’m not afraid of dying or death. Years of trying to learn everything about it, my education, has removed that romantic notion that I will live forever. We all die, there is no way around it. His recent death is just another push to ensure I do all things in life I want to do. Live my dreams. Make every moment count. Don’t let time run out. We all need to start the conversation about our own impending death. The one thing that Caitlin talks about often, is making sure you get the death you want, The Good Death. I’ve started thinking about what I want to be done with my body when I die. I don’t want a funeral, or a casket or an embalmed body that is preserved against what is supposed to happen naturally. I want to be wrapped in a shroud and buried in a shallow grave. A green burial. The perfect end and burial for a horror writer. It’s also an environmentally friendly way to dispose of… erm… bury a body.

Something else that has become an important source of support and information is Death Cafes. A Death Cafe is a safe place to talk about death and dying. They have speakers who cover a variety of different topics relating to death. Most cities have them and Toronto has a few every month. I think they are brilliant and I will be going to the next one that is closest to me. Another event that has started to happen around the planet are Death Salons. The idea of holding a Death Salon also intrigues me. I’m thinking about how to put one on. More details on this soon. To find out more on what has inspired me, please click on the following link. https://deathsalon.org/

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Will my obsession with death ever fade? No, if anything it will continue to grow. I will never stop reading about it, researching it, learning. I really wish that I had someone like Caitlin to talk to when I was ten. If I could go back and talk to that ten-year-old me, I’d assure her that it is ok to ask questions and that she should never stop. If your child or any other child asks about death, don’t dismiss them or avoid answering them. If you don’t know the answer, tell them you don’t and then find out the answer! Once you have that answer, go back to that child and have a conversation with them about their questions. Sheltering them from death and dying is not going to help them later in life.

I will always carry the ten-year-old around with me. She will always be there asking questions and expecting answers. I’m glad we live in a world that I can research from the comfort of my own living room. Living in Toronto has also made it easier for me to find the information and resources I need, without being pointed out as that weirdo wanting to talk about death. Let’s talk about it. Let’s start a conversation and keep it going. Don’t let the ten-year-olds, with questions about death, be swept away with the process.


Not Vegan Now Vegan

Recently we had a house party for my boyfriend’s birthday. I made an array of hot h’orrorduerves. The table was filled with many delicious vegan dishes such as loaded nachos, complete with nacho sauce, guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Cauliflower BBQ sauce wings, spring rolls, blue cheese dip, spicy sweet chili pepper sauce, cheese ball with chives, veggies, dips, hummus, cupcakes… all homemade. Did I mention… all vegan? 

The one thing that caught everyone’s attention was the Cauliflower BBQ sauce wings. Everyone thought they were actual non-vegan wings. Even after I let them know they were not, they still tried them. Loved them. You know that you were successful when everything was gobbled up. All of the homemade food was gone, platters cleaned off, with the exception of some dredges of sauce and a wee bit of the cheeseball.  

Quite often I am asked for the recipes for the dishes I make. Either by those who have eaten them or by those who have viewed pictures on my Instagram account. I do often use recipe books or recipes from the YouTube channels or blogs I am subscribed to. More often than naught, I do make things by just tossing ingredients together. This is a skill I learned from my Grandma Betty. A skill that can frustrate others, when you describe a recipe as a handful of that and a pinch of this. It’s definitely time to start writing these things down.

Similar to knitting, I learned to cook when I was ten. Partly out of necessity (to help out my working parents), partly because I loved to experiment with food and cooking was the ultimate experiment. I have always loved cooking and creating recipes. The end results may not always be what was expected and it’s true that our failures, even in the kitchen, teach us to be better at what we are attempting to learn or create.

I was blessed to have two Grandmothers who were amazing cooks. I learned different skills from both of them. Their passion for cooking and baking also became my passion. I learned how to bake bread, tarts, shortbread and pies. I got to watch them smile as they rolled out dough or kneaded bread. Every once in awhile I still get a waft of baking bread and nostalgia.  

A few years ago my Aunt Margie copied Grandma Betty’s cookbook and my mom gave me a copy of Grandma Carrie’s recipes. Over time I have been converting them to Vegan recipes. I think it is time to start sharing these recipes.

As I mentioned above, In the beginning, I didn’t have cookbooks to guide me along. I learned how to cook by watching how others cooked. This was pre-YouTube, pre-internet. I KNOW. A time BEFORE the internet! Once I learned the basics, I needed to know more,  I wanted to expand my knowledge. This is when cookbooks came into my life. Very often, I would borrow cookbooks from the library. Eventually, I started receiving cookbooks for gifts and then began my collection. A collection that continues to grow.

When I was a child, I grew up in an omnivore household. As a teen, I started to experiment with being a vegetarian and became a full vegetarian when I move out at the age of eighteen. Eventually, I became Vegan.  When I did, I purged my cookbooks. I didn’t give them all away and if you looked at my collection, you will still see non-Vegan cookbooks. I still use those cookbooks… and convert recipes to Vegan ones. I have the Betty Crocker Cookbook my mom gave to me when I was a teenager.  I also love to collect vintage cookbooks. These can often be vegan recipe conversion inspiration.

My personal style has usually been a horror-themed dinner party menus. The last few parties we’ve hosted have been less on the ghoulish side and I think I need to get back to being more of the horrific hostess. In my collection of cookbooks, I have horror themed or dark themed cookbooks. My next food related blog post will be of that theme. I have also started a food-related blog. You will find all of my future food-related posts at www.notvegannowvegan.wordpress.com.

Recent Dinner Party Recipes:

Bbq Cauliflower Wings and dip recipe – http://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/2/11/cauliflower-buffalo-wings

Bbq sauce — https://www.mynaturalfamily.com/recipes/paleo-recipes/paleo-bbq-sauce/

Cheeseball — https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/it-doesnt-taste-like-chicken-10448229/cranberry-thyme-vegan-cheese-ball-4676771509

Sweet Chili Sauce recipe (one of those toss items together and see what happens)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup  water
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 garlic (minced)
  • 2 -3 red chili pepper or tsp of chili flakes
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp cornstarch + 1.5 tsp water

In a saucepan add water and sugar. Heat and stir till sugar is dissolved.

Add garlic and chili pepper or flakes.

Add vinegar.

Add cornstarch mixture and stir till thick.

As it cools down it will get thicker.

YouTube Channels:

These are some of the YouTube Channels I watch. It is a beautiful mix of healthy and how to make Vegan junk food.  For those of my readers who are from Toronto, I will note which ones are from Toronto (easier for getting supplies).

Hot For Food (Toronto) 

It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken (Toronto) 

The Edgy Veg (Toronto)

Buddhist Chef (Montreal)

Those Annoying Vegans (the first half of the video is the recipe, second half is about Veganism) 

Cooking with Plants 

Deliciously Ella — (also she’s got a cute British accent) 

Raw Food Not Gross (she isn’t just raw food/she is super kooky and fun) 

and here as well, though her own channel is way more fun 

Vegetarian Baker 

The Vegan Zombie (because Zombies)

Vegan Black Metal Chef (because fun) 

Be Healthy Be Happy 

Sian Brown (A very talented musician)

Cheap Lazy Vegan (Canadian) 

Nikki Limo’s Tasty Tuesday’s  

High Carb Hannah 

Sweet Potato Soul

Websites and bloggers (most of these sites you can also subscribe to their newsletters):

Thug Kitchen — www.thugkitchen.com

Minimalist Baker — http://minimalistbaker.com/

It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken (her website has a tonne of recipes, she only does videos once in awhile —  http://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/  

Chocolate Covered Katie — (her brownies are to die for) http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/

Mary’s Test Kitchen — http://www.marystestkitchen.com  

Pickles ‘n Honey — www.picklesnhoney.com

Avocados and Ales — https://avocadosandales.com/

Oh She Glows — http://ohsheglows.com/

Vegan Richa — www.veganricha.com

Fried Dandelions — http://www.frieddandelions.com/

I’m also on Pinterest and have many recipe boards. In case you needed the extra inspiration. https://www.pinterest.com/lizzieviolet/ 

 


I’m free! FREE!

Now I can officially start writing full-time! So glad jury duty selection is over. It was an interesting experience. Similar to the the first time I was called for jury selection, yet different in many ways. I also found it much more stressful. A combination of sitting for long periods in the court room(s) and not really being able to write or even read for that matter. I had grand plans of getting lots of writing done. That wasn’t going to happen.

The roster was jam-packed for our turn as potential jurors.  On Monday, it seemed as if we were called up as soon as court started and each time we returned to the lounge, called back up again. Tuesday we spent half the day in the courtroom waiting to see if we would be selected for jury duty.  Yesterday was the only day that we spent a long bit of time in the lounge and even then, it was hard to concentrate. Each time a new bailiff, registrar or the manager walked into the room, all eyes were on them. We all wondered if we were about to head to another courtroom. Between that and the loud bantering of the two gentleman behind me, I couldn’t concentrate (which I can do with ease in a noisy coffeeshop). At least I was entertained by their conversation, on their strategy to get out of jury duty, if called up for selection.

On Wednesday when the manager came in to release us from jury duty selection, he half joked, “See you all in three years.” Personally, I hope that I’m not back there in three, four or even five years. I’ve done jury selection FOUR times now. I think they can remove my name from the pool now. (yes, I could get called again — once you are in the pool they can call you once every three years for as long as they want)

I am in the process of figuring out vlogging on and all the ins and outs of YouTube, so stay tuned for that. I am going to also be blogging a lot more often. Minimally, weekly, but am hoping to blog every other day. AND I can now livestream on Instagram, so I will do live vlogging. I’m incredibly excited to have a killer camera to use for vlogging. Part of figuring out vlogging, will be the how-to’s of software. I currently have iMovie and am also going to check out other options.

Please see all the links below. Please add me on Instagram and subscribe to my Twitter and YouTube channel. 🙂


Oh Hi Gino

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Ladies and Gents. Meet Gino or Steve or Ray or what ever his name is this week. Gino is a pick-up artist. Gino likes to target women over the age of 50.  Gino  is currently looking for an Educated, Activity 50+, Partner Walking, Biking, Dinning & Theatre.  For a good time email gino8@mail.com. If you are into Partner Walking , Dinning and Activity 50+ (what ever those things are), Gino is your guy.

Just when we thought that James Sears political career put Dimitri the Lover in it’s preverbal douche bag grave, when we stopped certain men from coming across the border to run conferences on how to mistreat women, when we finally thought that we could go a summer with out men cat-calling women… along comes Gino.

I’m trying very hard not not email or call Gino to set him up.  Setup a date with him and send him into the middle of nowhere. What I want to do is very immature, so instead I am making everyone aware that yet another pickup artist is on the loose. However, I am not stopping anyone else from doing so.

A month ago my neighbour saw his flyers appearing  on trees and poles in Roncesvalles. Within a couple of days they all disappeared. Then yesterday, we noticed new ones in the High Park area. I’ve noticed there are some blazing differences from his current flyer and the one from a month ago.  The flyer above, he is no longer specifying which gender he is interested in.  Maybe he is all about gender equality when it comes to his doucheness. Maybe he wasn’t having any luck with the ladies and decided to broaden his options?  Maybe he is an equal opportunity douchebag. Gino has also switched from listing his phone number (as you will see in the photo below) to now listing only his email.  Was Gino overwhelmed by all the attention his phone was getting from the ladies?  Was he tired of his phone ringing at 4 am?  Or all of the discouraging texts he was being sent?  Did your dreams not live up to their expectations Gino?  I wonder if his phone number is still in working order?

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(photo credit Valerie Gow)

I don’t understand this mentality.  This desire to treat women like objects rather than human beings. The need to degrade them and treat them like dirt.  Haven’t we moved forward enough as human beings to realize this is wrong? How do men like Gino or Ray or Steve or what ever his name is, still think it is ok to act this way. As a society we should be moving beyond all of this, educating those who still think it is ok, that misogyny is ok. Respecting each other, loving each other. In the year 2016 we should no longer be living in a world that still has to deal with misogyny, rape culture, homophobia or racism. If we could put end to the above mentality, end homophobia and racism, events like Orlando would not be happening.

If you see these types of flyers, tear them down. If you see any type of propaganda that is about misogyny, racist or homophobic in theme, tear them down.  Speak out against it. Complain. Be verbal. Write about it. Educate those around you. Help bring an end to it. We should live in a world that we feel safe in.  Be able to go out at night and not worry about being attacked. Go to school and not worry about being raped. Show public affection and not worry about being beaten up and have derogatory words yelled at us. We shouldn’t be ashamed of the colour of our skin, our religious choices, our gender, our sexual preferences or who we are. People like Gino need to stop disrespecting women. We all need to start respecting each other.

Tear down the flyers, educate, love one another.

 


I Hate Todd’s Zombie Love

It’s HERE Haters!!!!! The release of I Hate Todd’s Zombie Love music video!

I am so proud that I was part of this work of beauty!  Zombie Beauty!!!


Sorauren Park

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Rich Bitch Cooking

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Nourishing Death

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