23 Oct

An Ode to GIMP

It’s Day 23 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Today’s topic is “Favorite instagram editing apps/ or editing tools for your blog.”  So, here is our Ode to GIMP.

While we love playing with the various Instagram filters, there is one editing app that we use more than anything here at Make It Bittersweet and it’s called GIMP.

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program, in case you were wondering about the “interesting” name) is free, open source picture editing software.  Imagine PhotoShop, but free!  We love it here and use it all.  the.  time.

Pictures speak louder than words, right?  To demonstrate the awesome power of GIMP, Mary has used our Angel picture to show you how versatile it can be when you’re editing pictures.

An Ode to GIMP - angel1and2

An Ode to GIMP - angel3

An Ode to GIMP - angel4

An Ode to GIMP - angel5

An Ode to GIMP - angel6

An Ode to GIMP - angel9

What do you think?  Have we convinced you to give GIMP a try?  If you’re interested, you can find out more about it HERE.

The Daily Tay
22 Oct

Your Pet Peeves

We’ve made it to Day 22 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here’s Mary with today’s post of “Your Pet Peeves.”

1. Grooming on public transit

This includes nail clipping,  flossing,  etc.  How gross is this?  It gets me every time.  Take five more minutes in the bathroom people, do not make our commute your bathroom .

2. Not completing “The Cycle”

“The Cycle” is a term I’ve helpfully coined to remind others that when they, for example,  take the ketchup bottle out of the fridge, they should PUT IT BACK IN THERE when they are done with it.  Once the item in question is back in its home,  “The Cycle” is complete.  If you start a cycle, you are responsible for completing it.  Do NOT leave me hanging.

Your Pet Peeves - Mess of Condiments pickles

3.  Leaving traces

My motto for myself and others is generally, “Leave no trace.”  That means, don’t throw trash on the ground, stinky socks on the floor,  dirty dishes in the living room, hair in the drain,  etc.  I understand that we all have to…Function.  But I don’t want to be dealing with your functioning.  Or its vicious aftermath.  Be aware.  Leave no trace.  It’s really much nicer this way,  I promise.

Your Pet Peeves - Mess of Condiments

4.  Puke Surprise

The cat vomits in the night and you pretend that you’re sleeping and you know if I can’t stand knowing that a puddle of vomit is just hanging out so I will have to get up and deal with it and now that I think about it,  I’m the one with the problem…well, maybe I should be the one to get up and clean it if it can’t wait until morning when, inevitably, I will awaken first and step in it,  okay,  never mind…

5.  Disrespect in the Quiet Zone

This one’s gets me all the time.  Quiet.  Zone.  In other words,  close the mouth and stop with the speaking,  for God’s sake people.  Respect the Quiet Zone.  It is sacred.  It is beautiful.  It is….Silent.  And if you want to blab away on your phone or have a loud conversation,  there is the rest of the train.  Go sit there.  No really, GO AWAY.

Your Pet Peeves - Mess of Condiments Mustard

6.  Multi-tasking

Exiting the train while watching a video on your smart phone,  texting or otherwise not looking where you are going or paying attention to what you are doing.  In other words..  WAKE UP!!!  YOU ARE INTERACTING WITH THE WORLD OUT HERE!

Your Pet Peeves - Mess of Condiments with hot sauce

7. And last but not least…  Crap headphones.

I’m looking at you ipod with your wretched white ear buds,  or any other crap headphones that project a nightmarish tinny mockery of whatever wretched thing you call music and are currently sharing with everyone around you.  I actually hate you.  Moderately priced good quality headphones are not rare.  Do not invade my personal auditory space.

Also,  get off my lawn.

The Daily Tay
21 Oct

Dream Vacation

It’s Day 21 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, “Dream Vacation.” 

Dream Vacation - Beach A dream vacation.  Serious…what to choose?   There are so many options, I couldn’t possibly decide.  I’ve never been to Mexico City and would LOVE to see the Pyramid of the Sun.  My husband has never seen Mexico City or Oaxaca…I would love to show him both.  Then there are whole other options…The Azores, Bali, Fiji, all of Europe.  How to decide?

Dream Vacation - Ceviche for Lunch

To be honest, my dream vacation right now is actually being able to go on a vacation.  I made a choice to start working in a small business with my Husband and it’s very hard for us to get away…especially both of us.  Also, my youngest cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes and needs two insulin shots per day.  This makes it difficult to take a day trip, much less a full blown vacation.

Dream Vacation - Beach Food

Still I wouldn’t change it…well, except for my cat having diabetes.  I would totally change that if I could.  In the meantime, I will daydream about vacations and make sure that when we can finally get away, it’s for a crazy, amazing thing.  Since part of the fun for me has always been planning the vacation, I’ll continue to dream right now of the perfect trip.

Dream Vacation - On the Beach

Anyone else in the same boat?  If you are going away on vacation – have an amazing time!

The Daily Tay
20 Oct

Your Biggest Fear

It’s Day 20 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here is Mary with today’s post of “Your biggest fear.”

The Legend of the Octo-Optae
Long ago, when the world was sludge and everything in it mere sludge creatures, a powerful alien race dropped suddenly from the skies to inhabit every corner of the earth. Hither and yon they would crawl on their horrifying legs, creeping into corners, cupboards, under benches and dropping suddenly from above. And they had eight eyes and eight legs and their form was fierce and terrifying.  They were the Octo-Optae.
These horrifying (and evil, way way evil) beasts proceeded to carry out their horrifying (and way evil) plan to conquer humanity by scaring the beejeesus out of them at every turn. Upon seeing a young girl descending innocently into the basement of her childhood home, they converged and attacked, surrounding her and trapping her in the laundry room.
“Beware, beware!” shrieked the young girl’s parental units, “In the basement, the Octo-Optae are many and they will EAT YOU UP and destroy you!”
This same girl they ambushed twice in the doorway of her home. Spreading a cloud of themselves over the doorway and crawling over every part of her body when she unwittingly walked through the cloud. She screamed and tore off her clothes and charged upstairs to the shower, but lo, showers are one of the Octo-Optae’s strongholds and they did not perish.
The young girl was stalked and plagued for years by these evil creatures from outer space.  Wisps and tendrils of web found their way into her face, they would present themselves suddenly at a moment of weakness and take great delight in her terror. When she accepted a position working for a lakeside theatre, she had to walk through a tunnel under the highway and the Octo-Optae were many strong there. Big, chunky jumpers, lurking about in the shadows and great giant webs streaming down the cement walls from the caged light fixtures. They could smell her fear, though they had no noses.
When the young girl grew up, she found that the things with too many eyes were not so terrible and the horrifying legs were just legs.
And she found, at last, that when she accepted that all living things were part of the world she lived in, that there was room enough for the Octo-Optaes too.
The Daily Tay
19 Oct

What Makes You Happy

It’s Day 19 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, “What makes you happy.”

What Makes You Happy - Guachimontones Pyramid

There are a lot of things that make me happy – spending time with my husband, cats and good friends, shopping, eating amazing food, but what really makes me happy?  Exploring.

What Makes You Happy - Rasa in front of Guachimontones Pyramid

I love exploring a new part of my city.  Toronto is great for that…it’s filled with pockets of completely different neighborhoods.  I love finding a new ethnic grocery store somewhere and wandering around in it trying to figure out what I should get to cook.  This is something I do with my Mom all the time.

What Makes You Happy -Guachimontones Pyramid with Tree

I also love exploring new cities when I’m on vacation, but my favourite thing to explore?  It’s always historical sites.  I love trying to reconnect with the past.  How did these people live?  What did they eat?  Every time that we’ve gone to Mexico, I’ve made it a point of searching out a new historical site for us to check out.   The pictures on this post are from Guachimontones , which we visited while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta.

What Makes You Happy - Guachimontones Sign

It was exciting because it was still in the process of being restored, so you could see the newly restored pyramids as well as piles of rocks.  Honestly, it amazes me that the archaeologists can take what looks like a pile of rocks and reconstruct these amazing structures.

What Makes You Happy - Drink

Anyone else love exploring?

The Daily Tay
18 Oct

Share A Secret About You

It’s Day 18 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here is Mary with today’s post of “Share A Secret About You.”

Share a Secret - Sad Stone Angel Green Here’s my deep, dark secret.  I am probably one of the most sentimental, emotional people you will ever meet, but you will never know it…  I try to keep this side of myself to myself most of the time, but on occasion, the odd thing does slip out.  Like crying at phone commercials, music videos, a sad (or happy) story, movies, magazine articles, bus shelter advertisments… Anytime that some kind of human struggle or emotional moment is taking place my empathy meter goes haywire and the waterworks come on. There’s hardly any way to stop this reaction…you can feel it coming, you know its happening, but your body is in control and it says… Weep fool, weep!

The best thing I’ve found to control it is a combination of 8 count breathing (inhale for 8, hold for 8, exhale for 8, hold for 8, repeat until no longer weeping) and scheduling a time to just let loose and howl.  The GO train is always a nice option, it pretty much guarantees a seat to yourself. My friend once tried a variation of this technique (he added a bible) on a busy Amtrak route and it worked like a charm!
I wasn’t always like this you know. I used to be tough as nails and unsentimental and mock those weepy fools whose paths crossed mine. That I am now one of those same weepy fools is a little something called ‘Karma up and smacking your mouth in this life, bitch’.  It would be slightly more tolerable if I were an attractive cryer. But, no, no Johnny Depp single tear here. Its a full on red eye bulging sloppy and mucousy nightmare wherein I almost always have forgotten to bring along my kleenex.  When I was watching ‘Jurassic Park’ one day and wept at the scene where the old dude gives the scientists the grant, thinking ‘ohhhh its so hard to get grant money these days’ I knew that I was a lost cause.
So, alas and alack, for better or for worse, there it is:  messy, public weeper.  I’m sorry, World. I will try to remember the kleenex.
The Daily Tay
17 Oct

I’m an Expert At

It’s Day 17 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, my attempt at “I’m an Expert At”  

I'm an Expert At - Flat Buckle

I had a hard time with this topic.  What am I really an expert at?  I’m a good cook, but an expert?  I asked Mr. Fox what he thought and without even looking up from his computer, he replied, “Shopping.”

Yeah…I really like to shop and I am a little too good at it.  I can find a deal almost anywhere (or sometimes the most expensive thing in the place.  I’m looking at you, 1920’s Beetle Broach in the muddy field at an auction.)

I'm an Expert At - Belle Since I’m a little too good at finding a deal, I’ve had to make some rules for myself about whether I should buy something.  Namely, do I already have something like it?  If I do, I don’t buy it.   The exception…black booties.

I'm an Expert At - the Collection I wear booties all.  the.  time.  I’m wearing them now!  As you can see from my collection, I have, well, a few pairs.   If I find a great pair of black booties (that fit me…I have size 10 feet), I’ll probably buy them.

I'm an Expert At - Ash

Anyone else a little too good at shopping?  Is it really possible top have too many pairs of black booties??

I'm an Expert At - Newbury

The Daily Tay
16 Oct

Fall Fashion

It’s Day 16 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, my attempt at “Fall Fashion”  

Fall in Toronto is (often) lovely with bright, crisp Autumn days and leaves turning different colours, although it’s also frequently wet, cloudy, dark and cold.   Although, I would LOVE to live somewhere where it’s warm all the time, I live here.  We have 4 very distinct seasons and you really do change the way that you dress for each of them.

Fall Fashion - Knee

Fall is great because you can wear all of the clothes that were too warm to wear in the summer (although this last summer could hardly be considered warm.)  You can also actually show the clothes that your wearing before winter comes and you’re bundled up in the parka that you always wear and the super industrial winter boots that don’t get completely killed by all of the salt.

Fall Fashion - Sitting

My fall uniform is generally  a blouse, a pair of jeans that don’t look like jeans and booties.  I love booties!  A fashion blogger, I am not, so these pictures are my sweet husband trying to get me to sit up straight and not laugh or make monster faces at the camera.  There are a lot of pictures like this one and worse:

Fall Fashion Laughing

Anyone else have a uniform for each season?  Assuming that you have seasons where you live…

The Daily Tay


15 Oct

Favourite Quote and Why

It’s Day 15 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here is Mary with today’s post of “Favourite Quote and Why.

Being a literary sort,  I have an awful lot of favorite quotes, from all kinds of different books and poems and articles and songs and plays.  But one of my all time favorites is from a Dylan Thomas poem.

Favourite Quote - Sunset2

I was very little when I started obsessing over my mom’s book of poems by Dylan Thomas, about 7 or 8. I barely understood what I was reading,  and yet the language captivated me.  This wild Welsh man poet and his strangely compelling turns of phrase became something I would come back to again and again and again over the years.  In time I became interested in the poet himself (and his tempestuous relationship with his wife Caitlin) and read a number of biographies over the years.  But I always came back to the poems themselves,  saying them out loud,  trying to understand them,  marvelling at his complete mastery of the language.  I liked how primal they felt to me,  like he had cut them off a stone or discovered them in a storm. I just couldn’t get enough of them.

Favourite Quote - Reaching

Later on,  as I grew and had my own experiences with loss and heartache,  the poems started to resonate even more.  I would turn to the book in a state of emotional turmoil and find an understanding there.  After a particularly harsh series of heartaches,  I took a line from the poem ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’  as a mantra for awhile and eventually I even registered it on a star.  Right up there in the sensitive area below Orion’s belt,  where heartaches belong.

Here’s the quote:

“Though lovers be lost love shall not;
and death shall have no dominion. “

Favourite Quote - Sunset

And please do check out the poem in its entirety,  here:


The Daily Tay
14 Oct

Funniest Memory from Childhood

Day 14 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here is Mary with today’s post of “Funniest memory from childhood.”

Childhood Story - Mary and James

I remember a time when I was 8 years old. We had recently visited “Pioneer Village” and I was fascinated with old wood construction that had survived for all these years. Looking at the carving on some of the desks in the olde timely school-house I was struck by how the graffiti had survived. That someone who had carved their name on their desk had achieved a kind of immortality. And here I was, hundreds of years later, reading that name and participating in their act of impetuous vandalism and self expression.

I immediately resolved to set my own hand to the task of defacing some furniture for the purpose of artistic expression. Back at home, I inspected each surface, looking for the ideal canvas for my future contribution to urban archaeology. My mother’s desk at the time was made of a light soft wood that I concluded, given my extensive knowledge of wood carving, would form the basis for my magnum opus.

Childhood Story - Ballerina Mary  

There was only one problem. I needed to both do the deed and deflect the blame as my mother would no doubt have some words for the errant child who willfully and with malice aforethought had disfigured her work area. Being a budding criminal genius, but not quite yet fully bloomed into my full Super Villian, I hit upon this devious but ultimately flawed plan.

Childhood Story - with goat
Taking my carving implement, I arranged several minutes alone with my target. Painstakingly, and with considerable care, I carved each letter into the perfect, soft wood of the desk top. When I was done, I looked at my work with approval. It was perfect. Now my work would live on for posterity, as no amount of sanding would fix the deep gouges I had inflicted on the hapless furniture. But the best part was the devious way I had thought to evade punishment. You see it was not my name that adorned the desk, but rather my sister’s. Now my mother would ultimately have to agree that my sister was the culprit and I would slip away unpunished to plot my next act of ad hoc wood carving. In my haste and glee at coming up with this plan I had missed one crucial detail.

Once the deed was discovered it was I who was held accountable for the deed. How unfair! It wasn’t even my name! Later, I would have to conclude that I picked the wrong patsy. My sister’s handwriting, and therefore wood carving ability was limited by her being only four years of age.

The Daily Tay
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