Road Trip

Road Trip | Sophster-Toaster

For the first time since our first Thanksgiving living together, when we were too poor to travel home, my husband and I spent the holiday weekend with just each other for company. We decided to road trip up to the family cottage to spend a cold and cloudy Thanksgiving cuddled up by the fire together.

We usually try to make the 5-6 hour car + boat ride as efficiently as possible, only stopping for tea, gas or bathroom breaks when we must, but we chose to do things differently this time. With Pepper in tow, and no one to meet at the marina, we decided to take our time and do a little exploring on the way to give Pepper a chance to pee and stretch her legs.

We stopped in Peterborough, ON to visit the highest lift lock in the world. We didn’t really know what to expect. We thought we would walk around and explore a National Historic Site while the weather held out and then hop back in the car once the dog got bored. However, shortly after arriving, we were told a boat would be coming through the lock in just a few minutes! We got to watch the lock work from both the bottom and the top, making for a very exciting stop on our little road trip.

Road Trip | Sophster-ToasterRoad Trip | Sophster-Toaster Road Trip | Sophster-Toaster Road Trip | Sophster-Toaster

Coat ModCloth
Pants ModCloth
Boots L.L.Bean
Bag ModCloth

T-shirt ModCloth
Cardigan Modcloth
Necklace Emery & Opal
Barrette very old
Socks Walmart
Slippers White Noise Maker

Road Trip | Sophster-Toaster

All photos by me and Matt.

Butterscotch & Seed Butter Cookies (Nut Free)

Butterscotch & Seed Butter Cookies (Nut Free) | Sophster-Toaster

When I moved away from home to start college, my mom sent me off with a batch of homemade peanut butter cookies. They provided a comforting taste of home as I was adjusting to my new home, school and city. I think about them often as that was the last time I tasted peanut butter cookies. I started developing a peanut allergy shortly after and haven’t been able to eat any amount of peanuts for the last decade.

I’ve found myself craving peanut butter cookies more and more over the past few months, even though I can’t fully remember what they taste like. I’ve put off trying to replace these cookies – one of my favourites – fearing it was impossible. Then, last week, I found myself longing to have these cookies again and decided to try making them with one of my favourite peanut butter substitutes for baking: sunflower seed butter.

It worked! I can’t say if they taste just like peanut butter cookies, but they’re utterly delicious as they are. The texture is dead on and exactly what I needed. ♥

Butterscotch & Seed Butter Cookies (Nut Free) | Sophster-Toaster Butterscotch & Seed Butter Cookies (Nut Free) | Sophster-Toaster Butterscotch & Seed Butter Cookies (Nut Free) | Sophster-Toaster

Adapted from Joy of Cooking


  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line two sheet pans.
  2. Whisk flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugars together in a large bowl until well blended.
  4. Beat in the egg, sunflower seed butter and vanilla.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture. When almost mixed, stir in the butterscotch chips until everything is well blended.
  6. Shape into balls and arrange 12 to a half sheet pan. Press with a fork to flatten.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Butterscotch & Seed Butter Cookies (Nut Free) | Sophster-Toaster

All photos by me.

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.

The Puppy

It feels like things are just starting to get back to normal since we brought the puppy home just over two months ago. Pepper turns 18 weeks old today and I’m just now able to keep up on orders, make new designs for the shop and create content for the blog like I did before, all while giving her the care and attention she needs. I’ve typed a lot of weird, desperate and frantic questions into google these past two months but the one I searched for the most, and never really found an answer to, was, when do puppies learn to chill.

The Puppy | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I knew bringing a puppy home, especially when I work full time from home, would be a lot of hard work. I did plenty of research leading up to the day – and I’ve raised one puppy and one difficult rescue dog before with my family – but I was not prepared for just how physically and emotionally taxing the first couple of weeks and months can be when you are the adult in charge. I felt like I’d given up my entire life to care for this rambunctious puppy that did nothing but pee on the floor and bite me. I could feel myself falling in love with her, and her bonding with me too, but the emotional strain of working doubly hard all day to get half as much work done and then not being able to relax and unwind at the end of it because she’s still here and still needs me was overwhelming at times. Add to that the constant fear that I’m doing everything wrong and will raise a bad dog and you can see why I really needed to know when this puppy would learn to sit still long enough for me to catch my breath.

I read many discouraging non-answers to this important question, most being:

  1. Small dogs mature more quickly than big dogs. – ok, thanks
  2. The puppy phase generally lasts one year but can vary by size and breed, lasting anywhere from around eight months, to two years. – surely, there has to be some difference between a ten weeks old and ten months old!
  3. Dogs don’t “chill out” until they are one year old; three years old; seven years old; some never do. – I don’t expect a stuffed animal, I just need to know when I can have a second to myself

These answers were very unreassuring to the new owners of an Australian Shepherd, a breed known to be difficult due to it’s high intelligence and high energy levels. I understand where they are coming from, it’s a hard question to answer when every breed, even every dog, is going to be different and you want people to be prepared for the realities of dog ownership before they take it on, but come on! Giving these types of non-answers to such a frantic question can make a person in a normal situation feel hopeless. I desperately needed to know when I would have time to sit down again. I just wanted to know when this puppy would stop needing 100% of me, 100% of the time. When she would sit on the floor and calmly chew a toy instead of trying to bite me all the time. When she could go for a walk without going crazy and having a meltdown in the middle of the street. When she would stop tearing across the yard just to rip my clothes. When my husband could greet her after being at work all day and not have her demand a blood sacrifice. Most importantly, when would life with a dog be at least a little more joyful than it was miserable.

So here’s my answer.

For my dog, who is a medium sized herding breed, spends nap times behind a baby gate but has at least one owner at home 90% of the time, takes three walks a day, and has had consistent, positive reinforcement, “tough love” style training since day one, she has just started to “chill” at four and a half months. What I mean by this is, she still needs constant supervision but is now able to entertain herself with an appropriate activity for a few minutes at a time, she can cuddle on the couch without immediately getting mouthy and we are able to control and deescalate her meltdowns when they happen. She is still very much a puppy and her training is nowhere near over, but she is now a silly, polite and charming puppy more often than she is mean, frustrating and destructive hell-beast. She still has bratty moments and can struggle to control her emotions when she’s tired, but she is starting to become a good dog.

The Puppy | Sophster-Toaster Blog The Puppy | Sophster-Toaster Blog The Puppy | Sophster-Toaster Blog The Puppy | Sophster-Toaster BlogThe Puppy | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Dress Sophster-Toaster
Top H&M
Tights Target
Shoes ModCloth
Necklace Craft Arts Market / Emery & Opal

All photos by me.