November Favourites

The last few leaves have brought down by the rain and now litter the lawn. It’s time to get the snow shovels out and put up the Christmas lights. It’s the end of November and here are my favourite things from the past month:

1. Extravagant Pancake Recipes 

November Favourites

Dinner, then Dessert’s Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with Icing

2. Cute Free Printable Gift Tags

November Favourites

Kittenhood’s Free Printable Gift Tags (+ Snowflake Glove DIY!)

3. Warm Socks

November Favourites

Roots’ Squirrel Boot Sock

4. Cozy Clothes to Wear Indoors

Life in the Breakfast Lane T-Shirt

ModCloth’s Life in the Breakfast Lane T-Shirt

5. Subtle Holiday Accessories

November Favourites

Autumn Equinox’s Antler Stud Earrings in 14k Gold Fill

All photos courtesy of retailers/makers.

Winter Mood

Winter Mood | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Winter will be here soon. Although I’m excited to experience the first winter in our first house, I’m also a little worried about how my mood and emotions will fare once the Christmas magic and anticipation have passed. I used to have a really rough time staying upbeat, happy, optimistic and hopeful during the long and cold Canadian winters but I’ve been doing a little better every year since deciding to take preventative action. I’ve developed a few strategies I find helpful for avoiding or coping with winter sadness that I would like to share with you today in hope that you can find something that might work for you.

Winter Mood | Sophster-Toaster Blog

The first big change I made since growing up and not being too cool to wear and hat, scarf and proper boots, was to invest in good, cute and warm outwear. Over the years, I’ve collected a few different high quality coats, boots and accessories so I always have something the works. I have a cute toque for everyday, a gorgeous hand knit headband for when my hair just isn’t right for my tuque, light mittens, warm mittens, a scarves in different colours and styles, a fun coat, a more practical coat, and warm, waterproof boots. Being able to build up layers suitable for any weather, and actually being comfortably warm outside, has made all the difference. It’s no wonder I hated winter when I was standing outsize, freezing in just a coat, mittens and the wrong shoes.

Another important thing I now do during the winter is to go outside and appreciate the sunny, slightly warmer days. Hiding inside all winter just makes me more miserable. Now I try to get out and good for walks, making sure to visit the spots that were summer favourites. I’m always amazed by how beautiful and serene the forest can be on a winter day. Going out and seeing how much activity is still going on in nature, even though all the people have cowered away, can really change the way you think about the season that is supposedly dormant.

Winter Mood | Sophster-Toaster Blog

This time of year can feel like a losing battle when the days are getting shorter by minutes everyday. When all I want to do is put on my pajamas and watch tv from sunset (4:49 pm on the day I am writing this) to bedtime every night, I find it helpful to pick up a hobby to occupy those dark hours. This year I’ve been trying to make fun, healthy, homemade dinners with my husband at least five nights a week. When we put so much focus into preparing a proper meal, it’s easy to forget it’s been dark for two hours before we start eating.

On that note, something I’ve just started doing this year, is trying to keep the kitchen stocked with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. I try to focus on the vegetables that are still in season locally while also mixing in some tropical fruit that is coming into season elsewhere. I ate grapefruit for the first time last week and really enjoyed it! (I know, I assumed I would hate it because I hate grapefruit juice.) I hope to make a habit of grapefruit breakfasts throughout the winter to bring a little bit of summer sunshine to those cold and gloomy days. I hope striving to eat a healthy and colourful diet, while everything outside the dining room window is drab and bleak, will help me stay happy and energetic during the winter.

My last tip seems so simple, but can be one of the hardest to achieve. I find it so crucial to my happiness in the cold months to ignore that desire to hibernate every night and try to get out with friends, family or my husband at least once a week. Just getting out of the house to go huddle with them in theirs – especially if they have a fireplace – and doing the same for them, can make a huge difference to the way I feel. Every year when it starts to get really cold, my husband and I go out to a great, a-little-fancier-than-usual restaurant, just to enjoy the intimate dining room with the huge, beautifully decorated wood-burning fireplace. We look forward to it all year. It gives something special back to the season where it feels like nothing happens after New Year’s Day.

Winter Mood | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Between bundling up properly, and getting excited about it too, getting out to be social or stay active, taking up a hobby, and eating healthy (yay grapefruit!), I hope you can take at least one tip from me and work it into your winter self-care routine!

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Top Oast House Brewers
Jeans GAP
Socks H&M

Winter Mood | Sophster-Toaster Blog

All photos by me.

Vintage Fade

Vintage Fade | Sophster-Toaster Blog

When I first started screen printing, I knew I wanted to work with eco-friendly water based inks. It didn’t take long for me to discover all the limitations and drawbacks of printing with water based inks, but I was determined to stick with the eco-friendly option.

The first time I washed one of my screen printed shirts, I was disappointed to see how much the ink had faded. After working so hard to get a crisp, dark print, my new t-shirt now looked old after one wash. With more practice and with better tools and techniques, I learned how to make better prints, but then, one day, as I was hanging a load of laundry out on the clothesline, I noticed how beautifully the ink had faded on one of the shirts I had made for my husband. The light black ink that said “BEER” in big block letters had blended with the heather grey cotton. The word still stood out but you could see the variegated flecks and bands of grey peeking out from underneath. It was at that moment that I had an idea: to stop fighting with the ink and instead embrace the vintage fade.

Vintage Fade | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I looked for soft, worn-in feeling shirts with character for my fall season print and found the perfect, super soft t-shirts, with matching sweatshirts, in a woven three-tone plum colour. After one wash, the previously opaque ink fades to reveal the colourful character of the fabric beneath. What remains is the permanent, vintage fade look of the print, it won’t fade anymore with the next wash. (And don’t worry, you can wash the shirts regularly with your other clothes, they won’t damage your old favourites.)

I was so pleased with the results, I had to keep a sweatshirt for myself!

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Sweatshirt Sophster-Toaster
Tank Garage
Pants ModCloth
Socks Roots

All photos by me.

Brunch Babe Skirt

Brunch Babe Skirt | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I’m trying something slightly new with the Brunch Babe Skirt. Instead of offering regular, tall or petite sizes directly from the listing, I’m going to make the new pancake print skirt available in two standard lengths – either knee or midi length.

Brunch Babe Skirt | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Really, I couldn’t make up my mind as to whether this print would be better as a knee length or midi length skirt, so I’m making both and letting you decide! Jeans and fancy pants are frequently available with two or more length options so I figured, why not skirts too?

Brunch Babe Skirt | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I’ve had this fruit-topped pancake stack fabric bookmarked for years, waiting for the right time and idea to use it. When another idea for the fall season fell through, I jumped on this echo of inspiration and solidified it into a proper plan. This unique, novelty print by Patty Sloniger of Beck and Lundy is completely gorgeous. I’m so glad I finally got to use it.

Brunch Babe Skirt | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Top Sophster-Toaster
Skirt Sophster-Toaster
Tights ModCloth
Earrings Craft Arts Market / Nicole Gagnon

Tall and petite sizes for either length of this skirt are still available upon request, here, through the shop.

All photos by me.