What I’ve been up to

Categories: About Me
June 18, 2010

Home staging bookshelves living room

A lot has been going on in our household in the past couple of weeks. You can probably guess that’s is why I haven’t posted, though I really have no excuse because there is always time in the day to pop in for a little hello.
Anyway, this is what I’ve been up to since my last post.

  • We put an offer on a house, and that took a lot of time away from being here.  This was the first time I’ve put an offer on a house and it was an exciting, scary, nerving experience.  We also lost the bid to a couple who didn’t put any conditions in their offer.  I feel an urge to tell the story of this experience and the lessons I learned, so more on that in a future post.
  • In hopes of buying the house, we had to get our condo ready to be sold.  This involved a lot of cleaning, de-cluttering, and staging.  The results were WOW!  Check out our beautiful ‘new’ bookshelves.
  • I finished my first knitting project!  A hat for my newest niece, Quinn, in a lovely violet-coloured bamboo cotton blend.  The problem?  I didn’t check my gauge beforehand and it’s way too small for her…in fact, it wouldn’t fit the head of a cat.   Lesson learned.
  • I’ve started my first sewing project in ages.  A sun cover up shirt by McCalls with this pattern.
  • We’ve been making plans to get away for the week before the G20.  We’re close to the security zone and we have no interest in being around for the disruption, protests, and potential violence in our own backyard.
  • I’ve finished a first draft of Veronica’s gifts.  Still don’t feel comfortable posting it, which is funny because this is a blog about writing, but there you have it.
  • I’m all but finished my blog redesign, you should see it up here in two weeks (this is accounting for the possibility that we’ll be away next week)
  • I’ve been working on some new dialog for Vicki-Lee Victoria, starring the hubby and I on our quest to find a house in our price-range in the city.

Thanks to my loyal readers for their patience since I’ve been away, and continuing patience for abandoning you again next week.

Until next time,


One decorating idea that I won’t let my husband talk me into…

Categories: About Me,Family
May 27, 2010

Dear hubby, we are not putting a lego work-island in our kitchen…sorry.

Lego Island Kitchen Island from Dwell
Lego Kitchen Island from Dwell Magazine

Not that he has tried, but Scott loves lego an awful lot considering he is in his…er, mid to late thirties…so I wouldn’t be suprised if he tried to lego-ize at least one piece of furniture in our ‘future hypothetical dream-house’.

This is pretty cute, but my goodness, considering the cost of lego these days, the price per square foot would be astronomical!

Found via poppytalk, see her fun lego round up here.



Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.  ~Chili Davis


A new member of the family

Categories: About Me,Family
May 17, 2010
Newest member of the family

Newest member of the family - taken by Scott with a Canon Digital Rebel xT

You were born from a very brave mother into the arms of a gentle father.  Let me tell you my little niece, you picked the perfect parents to raise you.  They will give you every opportunity, and the gift of unconditional love.  If your sister and brother are any example, they create really great kids.

You were born the day after your brother’s birthday, so chances are he will think of you as his little gift.  He will protect you…if the size of his feet are any indication, he’s going to be a big strong guy, I am positive that no one will mess with you.  And, if your sister is anything like her mom was with me, she will guide you, teach you, and boss you, like a third parent would.  Be nice to her now, because you will need her for advice on fashion, friends, and boys in the future.

As for your extended family (me included), we are all amazed by how calm you are. You barely peep as you are passed around to your devoted fans.  Around you we talk, we laugh, we play with your brother and sister, and all the while you sleep peacefully.  I have taken to calling you ‘Zen Baby’ because you look like a little Buddha.  Your uncle Scott is moony over you.

Welcome to the family Little Quinn, already you have so many people who love you.

Taken over by the knitting bug

Categories: About Me,Crafty Stuff
April 30, 2010
Pretty yarn and a garter stitch

My first project. Taken with: Nikon Coolpix s710

On Monday I had the urge to knit.  I was on my way home from work and walking through the Yonge-Eglington Centre Mall, and for some inconceivable reason I felt a strong pull to the nearby Mary Maxim yarn shop.  Why this happened is a mystery, because the last time I picked up knitting needles was when I was fourteen and my mom tried to teach how to knit a pot-holder.  I was young and knitting was for old people, and anyway I was way to cool for that.  The potholder never got finished.

Anyway, I ended up at the Mary Maxim and bought myself this lovely ball of pink yarn (acrylic of course, I’m a beginner) and a pair of 6mm needles.  I have been knitting every day since.  I knit while watching TV, on the subway, on the comuter train among business people and their laptops, and at the park.  I don’t know what’ s come over me…I’m channelling my Grandma Stewart..or Martha Stewart…or my MIL Karen.

Ok, I’m not being totally truthful here.  I do know why I started to knit.  A couple of weekends ago we visited Scott’s parents and I happened to pick up At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much by Toronto knitting celebrity Stephanie Pearl-McPhee of the yarn harlot.  I was charmed by her words, and by the prospect of getting zen while doing something productive like making scarves for myself and my loved ones (I’ll graduate to sweaters eventually…after I master the stockinette stitch maybe.)   I was charmed right into my nearest yarn store.

My first project is a scarf from Vogue Knitting on the Go! Beginner Basics, a book someone gave me years ago that I never once opened.  The scarf is just row upon row of garter stitch, basically just practice for getting an even gauge.  And now I’m getting ahead of myself with visions of beautifully knit cardigans, hats, socks, gloves, everything!

I am officially on the bandwagon.

An ode to my husband, and marriage in general.

Categories: About Me,Family,Listening To
April 29, 2010
Toronot Island Excursion

Sorry to embaress you honey... Taken with: Canon Digital Rebel

Last night Scott asked if I was going to write about him again soon in my blog.  How cute is that?

You see, we are still in the newlywed phase of our marriage where we both get a thrill out of calling each other (and being called) ‘husband’, and ‘wife’.  (If you’re married, I’m sure you remember this feeling.)  I think he likes it when I refer to him as my husband on here, and he also likes being portrayed as such a swell guy.

And he is a swell guy, for many reasons, a notable one being that he makes this writing thing possible for me. He has the steady job which supports us, and I have a fledgling writing career which, at the moment, makes negative income (but hey, it has potential).  I couldn’t do any of this if it weren’t for him and his faith in me.

But, this isn’t the point of my story.  I won’t bore you with how very much in love we are (yep, gag).  We’re bad enough PDA’ers as it is in real life (and I quote Scott’s Mom to his Dad: “John, they’re at it again!”).  Taking the public display of affection into the very public blogosphere would be a little excessive, don’t you think?

Anyway, last night we watched Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (I have the amazing soundtrack on repeat this morning.)  Afterward, we lay in bed and rhymed off lines from the movie with our best imitations of a southern drawl.

Him: “Damn, we’re in a tight spot!”

Me: “Well, I don’t want Fop, goddamn it! I’m a Dapper Dan man!”

<giggle giggle>

Him: “They loved him up an’ turned him into a horny-toad!”

Me: “Oh George, not the livestock”

<giggle giggle giggle>

This went on for about twenty minutes or so, though I can’t say for sure because we fell asleep while still talking and laughing.

And that part, the ‘falling asleep talking’ part, is the point of my story.  Please, oh please dear, let’s make this honeymoon phase last forever…

**And now for a clip from my favorite scene in the movie…

“I’ve spoken my piece and counted to three.”
~ Penny Wharvey McGill from Oh Brother, Where art thou

Career Quiz: Your favorite colours say a lot about your future!

Categories: About Me,Quizzes
March 2, 2010

Tori Walker Open Book Colour Career Counseling

If you are curious about your true calling, take this colour test to find out what career you should be in.

This was spooky.  I got “Researcher” and “Organizer”.  At first I was annoyed that I didn’t get “Creative” because that would have tied in nicely here with the writing career, but I realized that one of my favorite parts of writing is the research part.   How did they figure that out?!?

Researcher: Independent, Self-Motivated, Reserved, Introspective, Analytical, and Curious (Wow, spot on)

Organizer: Self-Control, Practical, Self-Contained, Orderly, Systematic, Precise, and Accurate (Clearly they haven’t seen my house or my filing system.)

I actually think that Creative really does fit better as an occupational category for me…

Creative: Nonconforming, Impulsive, Expressive, Romantic, Intuitive, Sensitive, and Emotional.

Let me know how you did!

Found via How About Orange.

Words [I try] to live by…

Categories: About Me,Getting Started,Poetry
February 28, 2010

Tori Walker Open Book My Symphony Post Barn and Flower

To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;

to study hard, think quietly,
talk gently, act frankly;
to listen to stars and birds,
to babes and sages, with open heart;
to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,
await occasions, hurry never.

In a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.

This is to be my symphony.

~William H. Channing

Working on: Veronica’s Gifts

Categories: Children's books,Family,Working on
February 24, 2010

{Disclaimer: Extra-long post}

As I’ve stated just about everywhere on this site, my goal is to become a published author.  I would like to write books for adults, books for children, and articles in magazines.

I have many children’s book ideas in the queue, but the one that I am working on at the moment is based on a story that my Grandmother used to tell me about her childhood.

At the outset, I will tell you that my Grandma now suffers from mid to late stage Alzhiemer’s, but she was an excellent storyteller in her day (she is Irish after all.)  The mischief she got hersef into growing up in Ireland inspired many of the wonderful tales she told to me as a little girl.

Grandma, around 1926

Grandma, around 1926

Anyway, my Grandmother grew up in Dublin in a neighborhood called Harold’s Cross, which at the time was greatly affected by poverty.  Her mother owned the neighborhood general store, and her father was on disability from the post-office.  Her family lived in the two bedroom apartment above the store, and she shared one of those bedrooms with her brother’s and sisters.  Life was not easy, but her mother (my great-grandmother) was a hard worker and a survivor – they lived modestly but they were far better off than the people around them.

Every year at Christmas, Gran would tell me about what Christmas was like in Harold’s Cross.  Like I said, Gran’s family lived modestly, but they did receive a Christmas gift every year (and by that I mean one, very small, gift.)  Gran always felt badly that none of her friends got a present.  Well, one year (I think she might have been 8 or 9) she got it into her mind to make sure that all the kids in her neighborhood got something on Christmas Day.  So, she and her best friend went around to the neighborhood kids and told them to unlatch their windows on the evening of the 24th.

*To clarify this story for you, I suspect that Gran was a wee bit of a trouble-maker.  In fact, she probably made my great-grandmother’s life much more difficult than it already was (you know, what with raising 6 kids, caring for a disabled husband, running a store, and doing house-cleaning on the side.)  She had skinned knees and dirtied her clothes, she got in trouble at school, but she has always had a big and generous heart.

Anyway, as I was saying…being the trouble-maker that she was, Gran didn’t ask her mother’s help with her Christmas gift scheme.  Instead, she went into the shop after everyone in the house was asleep and took (well, stole) a heapful of penny toys, one for each kid in the neighborhood.  She and her friend then took the toys around to the houses and threw one into every child’s window.

Of course, this didn’t unfold without consequence.  She “Got a licken'” when her mother found out what had happened.  But the spirit of Christmas is nestled right here in the story of my Grandma the thief.  She knew that Christmas wasn’t coming for many of her friends.  In fact, she knew that many of her friends would be hungry or cold that day.  At 9 years old she couldn’t do much to help them with the food problem or light their fires to keep them warm.  But, she could give them a gift (or so she thought), and she did.

This particular story has always stuck with me.  I think of it sometimes when I feel put-upon or unlucky.


Grandma at the cottage, 2008

Gran is turning 90 this April.  She is still a trouble-maker, and she still has a ginormous heart.  She was voted ‘Resident of the Year’ at her Nursing Home this year.

Gran’s dementia is at the stage where she usually doesn’t recognize me.  She also doesn’t remember the stories from her childhood that she told to rapt audiences so long ago (me, my sister, and our friends.)  It breaks my heart that I didn’t pay closer attention, that I don’t remember these stories as completely as I should, and now this big part of my heritage may actually die with her as she slips further and further into the fog.

I don’t mean to be sentimental, but I actually tear up when I think of it.

But, my motto for this year is “It’s never too late”.  And so, I have decided to tell this story about my Grandmother Vera, in the form a children’s book that I hope she will be around long enough to read.  And, I hope she might recognize herself.

Of course, the story itself could use some fleshing out, a little work to make it ready for little one’s to tuck into bed with at night.  I understand that it can’t be just about a mischievous little girl who steals from her mother and gets away with it.  It will need a moral and a lesson.

I will post updates as I go, including some details on the process I’m following (I will be testing out Karen Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days to help me outline the story.)  Here’s hoping I will have this finished in time to give this to her for Christmas this year.

Hello out there…

Categories: About Me,Getting Started
February 19, 2010

I’m Tori. This is my blog.  This is my blog about becoming a published author.

I’ve heard that keeping a blog is equivalent to speaking your intentions to the universe — It helps you get where you want to be. Well, I want to be a published author.  But first, I need a lot of practice.  I didn’t get a BA in English Lit, after all, and the majority of my work experience has been in web design.  So, if you are so obliged to read what I have to say, I’ll test out some of my writing skills on you; try to be inspirational; and share some of my life, goals, and interests with you.

All the while, I will be working toward this goal of becoming published by writing and then (fearlessly, I hope) submitting my work.

Please bear with me, because I will probably make a lot of mistakes (and boy, does it take a lot to allow myself to make mistakes in a public forum.)  I invite your constructive criticism if it will help me to become a better writer.

Okay, I’ll admit that I’m just a touch nervous, and don’t want to jump into the deep end first, so I will start with a few ‘Getting to know you’ posts.  What is easier than talking about myself…everybody’s an expert in that department, right?


“And then the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

~ Anaïs Nin

Hi, I'm Tori, and welcome to my open book. I'm a freelance writer and web designer. This site is my scratch pad for thoughts and ideas, experiences and inspiration. Go ahead, eavesdrop on my life a little bit, you know you want to...