Category Archives: Personal Style

Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies

Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster

I loved this skirt when I made it in velvet for last winter. The fabric was soft, lush and lovely but very thick and heavy. It’s really only wearable for people who live in parts of the world that see long, cold winters. I wanted to bring the design to more seasons, and more people, so I made a lighter version in organic cotton sateen! The fabric is still heavier and more tightly woven than a basic, breezy cotton and has a subtle sheen to it too, giving it just the right amount of warmth and texture for fall layering.

Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-ToasterFall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster  Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster Fall is for Night Skies and Lullabies | Sophster-Toaster

Sweater ModCloth
Skirt Sophster-Toaster
Shoes ModCloth
Earrings Designs by Amber
Button Craft Arts Market

All photos by me.

Changing Seasons

Changing Seasons | Sophster-Toaster

I used to be a typical Canadian who lived for summer and hibernated all winter, dreading the snow and waiting impatiently for the season of outdoor activity to return. I resented being born in a country where I could only enjoy the weather for a few months out of the year. I always wished I could love the colder seasons and not get so down during the long winters but just couldn’t make it work.

Then, one year, I decided there was really no point to putting life on hold just because there is a cold wind blowing and snow on the ground. I bought wool socks, some decent boots, a cute scarf and made a goal to enjoy time outside as far out of summer as I could. I got to about the end of October and slipped back into old habits but I got out again early in the spring and enjoyed that first soft spring sunlight on my face for the first time. Every year, I got a little further into the fall, always commenting to my husband how beautiful our favourite hiking spots must be in the winter where there aren’t any leaves on the trees to obstruct the views.

Changing Seasons | Sophster-Toaster

I would enjoy late fall hikes and walks around town on mild and sunny winter days but never seemed to make it back out for a hike. That was until last year, when we brought our puppy home. She needed to walk everyday, no matter the season. She loved the snow, the dog park and long nature walks. We bought thermal clothing; I got even thicker socks and better boots to keep up with her. Soon, I was taking her to the dog park and playing with her in the snow in January. We were taking her on long hikes in February, when the winter storms let up and the sun started coming out again. In March, we got into a habit of taking her on the hour long round trip walk along a river-side path that leads from our home to a Starbucks, where we would all get a Saturday morning treat.

Last winter was one of the longest I think I’ve ever experienced. It started with big snowstorms at the end of the fall and snowed right up until the last days of April. It was long, and wet, and cold and most people were miserable but the hubs and I couldn’t stop remarking to each other how short winter had felt and how early the first signs of spring seemed to have come this year. We would say things like, “remember when it was -25°C every day? That was weeks ago. It’s so much nicer out now”. We realized that going outside e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y for a bit of exercise with the dog had made the season seem so much shorter and more enjoyable.

Now I find myself looking forward to the leaves changing and falling, the sun growing dim and the forest being quiet and calm under a heavy blanket of snow during every one of our weekend hikes. The season I used to dread has become one of my favourites.

Changing Seasons | Sophster-Toaster Changing Seasons | Sophster-Toaster Changing Seasons | Sophster-Toaster Changing Seasons | Sophster-Toaster Changing Seasons | Sophster-Toaster Changing Seasons | Sophster-Toaster Changing Seasons | Sophster-Toaster

Top L.L.Bean
Pants ModCloth
Necklace gift
Shoes Keds

All photos by me and Matt Harrison.

End of Summer

End of Summer | Sophster-Toaster

We spent all summer working on our new barbecue patio. It took every free weekend from Victoria Day weekend to Labour Day weekend, the entire Canadian summer, to dig out the dirt, sift out all the plastic, broken glass and rusty nails so we could put it back into our gardens, refill it with gravel, and place the flagstone and brick border on the garden side. It’s so nice to now have use of this awkward and uncared for corner of our small backyard for the first time since moving in. Even Pepper likes lounging on the cool gravel on hot afternoons.

The weather turned cold this past weekend, finally ending this year’s summer weather that felt like one long heatwave. We used and enjoyed out new patio as much as we could while the 30 degree days stretched into September and look forward to spending more time outside in our finally fully rehabilitated backyard when the more seasonable early fall weather returns. I know I’m going to spend all winter waiting for the snow to melt and reveal our beautiful pea gravel and flagstones again.

End of Summer | Sophster-Toaster End of Summer | Sophster-Toaster End of Summer | Sophster-Toaster

Dress ModCloth
Belt hand-me-down
Shoes thrifted
Sunglasses ModCloth
Earrings ModCloth

End of Summer | Sophster-Toaster End of Summer | Sophster-Toaster End of Summer | Sophster-Toaster End of Summer | Sophster-Toaster End of Summer | Sophster-Toaster

All photos by me.

Beyonce Beat Me to It

Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster

I love my clothesline. We knew putting one up would be the first improvement we made to any house, years before we even started looking for one, so I we were very excited when the house we ended up buying already had one. I grew up in a small town, on a deep lot with a magnificent clothesline able to hold two full loads of laundry and be pulled up high to dry quickly. I missed it every summer during our decade of apartment living. Now that I’m living the dream, I use my clothesline, exclusively, from when the air is dry enough in mid-spring until the days are too short at the end of fall. If it’s a wet and rainy day, I don’t do laundry. I don’t turn my dryer on for six months. Using the clothesline is better for the clothes, the environment and the budget – and because I take special care when washing my clothes and avoid putting most of them in the dryer anyway, hanging them all up outside takes about as much as time as sorting and then hanging half up in the basement would. I just love everything about it.

That’s probably why every time I hang up a lovely load of dedicates (mostly my personal collection of dresses) I think about how fun it would be to use my clothesline as a backdrop for pictures. I’ve had the idea in the back of my mind for more than a year but couldn’t really imagine how it would work with the angles, since my clothes line hangs high, outside of my yard and over our parking spot.

Then I saw some of the beautifully simple and minimal photos from Beyonce’s appearance in the September 2018 edition of Vogue where she and the creative team use some clothesline backdrops and was inspired to finally make a move and explore my idea.

Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster Beyonce Beat Me to It | Sophster-Toaster

Dress Anthropologie
Sunglasses The Bay
Earrings gift
Ring was given to me as a child by a friend as a spontaneous thank you gift, she probably got it from a gumball machine

All photos by me.