Posts made in December, 2012

Reflecting just a little on 2012 (and hoping for an amazing 2013)

Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 in Ramblings... | 0 comments

Exactly one year ago today, I (albeit somewhat timidly) hit the big scary PUBLISH button to send my first post out into the rather intimidating internet-world, thus officially starting this tiny little blog (woo!  Happy bloggiversary to me!)  I started this blog to keep family updated on our various goings-ons (my dad and my father-in-law are my biggest fans) (hi Dad!  Hi Ron!) and to put picture-proof to the multitude of renos that I’m constantly rambling on about to friends (hi friends!)

Now that 2012 is leaving us (can I say good riddance?) (yup – it’s official: I’m saying good riddance)  (I’m more than just a little perturbed at the year 2012 has been) and making way for the fine and outstanding year that 2013 is going to be (I have reallllly high hopes for you, 2013!) I thought that now might be a good time to give thanks for another year.  2012 really hasn’t been the best year (it’s kinda sucked – a lot – at times), but I’m still here and I still have my Sweetie and my family and my cats and my friends, so, in the grander scheme of things, 2012 was ok.  I didn’t win the lottery (I was expecting a massive lottery win in 2012) and I didn’t take that cross-European trip I really wanted (so disappointed that that one didn’t pan out as planned) but all in all, I suppose 2012 wasn’t entirely bad.

So, to 2012, as you leave us (and as I dance my little bon voyage happy dance) I would like to extend my thanks for the following…

I’m thankful for friends.  Both new and old.  Friends who made me laugh.  Ones who kept me going this year with encouragement.  Ones who let me cry.  Ones who let me vent.  Friends who reminded me that eventually everything works out, with a little patience and lots (and lots and lots) (and lots) of perseverance (when the time is right.)

I’m thankful for our snazzy new vacuum, the fabulous Mr D (aka the Dyson DC37) (fur?  What fur?)  And for our new washer and dryer too (dear LG: Love you!)

I’m thankful for two new furbabies who joined our family in May.  I think Jacob is thankful for them too (but he’ll likely never admit to that) (he’s a rather stoic and serious orange cat, you know.)

Orange cat Christmas

I’m thankful for our cozy little 1940s house.  It’s tiny, but it’s more than enough space for Sweetie and me and our three little furry roommates.  I’m pretty sure my house, on the other hand, is thankful for Benjamin Moore.

I’m thankful for family.  My family, Sweetie’s family, extended non-related-but-just-as-loving-and-amazing family.  I’m thankful for long phone chats and Christmas baking with my mom.  For coffee runs and Diners Drive-Ins & Dives marathons with my dad.  I’m thankful for my niece, the sweetest little one year old ever.  I’m thankful for laughter-filled dinners with my in-laws, and long emails from family-like friends.  I’m pretty darn lucky to have so many awesome people in my life.

I’m thankful for wine (the super girly pink stuff, of course) and dill pickle cream cheese and pumpernickel bread and pizza.  And brownies.  But I think we’re all thankful for brownies.

I’m thankful for good health and a creative mind.

And so many other things.

So, as we wish 2012 adieu, I’d like to present the following wish to all my friends and family (found during a random Pinterest patrol via the lovely blog Beige Infection):

2013 please be awesome

…and I think that says it all.  :)

Happy New Year!  May 2013 bring you everything you want and much much much more.  Wishing you good health, great friends, and love.

And lots of brownies.  One can never have too many brownies.  :)

 

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Merry Christmas! (and some very important reminders about sheep and stuff)

Posted by on Dec 24, 2012 in Ramblings... | 0 comments

It’s Christmas Eve today (yay!), which means today is the day that Sweetie and I head home to spend Christmas with my family.  Can’t wait!  My family is a family full of traditions, especially Christmas traditions, and our annual Christmas Eve arrival (followed by Christmas Eve pizza – of course! – and, most importantly, my dad’s reading of a very special story) is something I look forward to every year.

The cats will be alone on Christmas Day, but they’re not overly concerned – we had our own pre-Christmas celebration here at the house this morning and over the weekend.  There were tiny little reindeer antlers.  There were gifts to unwrap and catnip mice.  And they even snuggled up with us for a bit to watch White Christmas (my absolute favourite Christmas movie ever.)

gray and white cat Irwin wearing little knitted Christmas reindeer anters

And, on that note, and in case you’ve never seen White Christmas, I wanted to sign off for the holidays with the lyrics from one of the songs from that movie.  In all honesty, 2012 has been a bit of a bear.  While there have been some really amazing and wonderful moments this year, it’s also been a really hard year for a few of my friends (and, well, for us too at times.)  I think this song is really good advice for us all…

 

Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds

If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep
Counting your blessings

 

That Irving Berlin guy was pretty amazing eh?

Sending so much love out to my friends and family over the holidays.  I hope the next couple of days are filled with good food, the lively and familiar company of family and friends, and lots of lovely surprises.

Merry Christmas all!  :)

 

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Best/easiest/swirliest chocolate bark ever (all snazzed up with a little pompom prettiness!)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2012 in Recipes we love! | 0 comments

My traditional Christmas gift of choice for friends has always been baked goods of some sort.  Last year I made fancy little chocolate truffles, peanut butter cookie reindeer, and chocolate cookie bark.

I didn’t take any pictures of last year’s treats, but luckily my friend (and happy cookie recipient) Shawn did.

Christmas cookies and treats homemade in tins

And it got Instagram-ed.  :)

(Related confession: I haven’t yet figured out Instagram.  I should probably work on that eh?)

This year, I’m skipping the somewhat time-consuming (yet adorable!) pretzel-antlered cookies, and the crazy delicious (and rather pretty!) chocolate truffle balls, and I’m going straight to the bark.  Partly because it’s everyone’s favourite.  Partly because I haven’t had time yet this year to make multiple Christmas-tin offerings.  (Has the Christmas season been insanely busy for anyone else this year?  Or is it just me?)  (Maybe it’s just me…)

My bark recipe?  It’s Kraft’s.  (Shhhh…  Don’t tell!)  And it’s absolutely delicious.

Kraft’s Chocolate Cookie Bark

In a nutshell, bark-making looks a bit like this:

Melt this…

Baker's chocolate white and semi-sweet

Add this (plus a wee bit of peanut butter)…

Crushed oreo pieces

Drop (or dollop, if you prefer) randomly on wax paper…

Chocolate bark pre-swirl

Make super swirly…

Chocolate cookie bar recipe

Refrigerate and break into pieces.  Poof!  Bark!

The most important component (that isn’t listed in the ingredients?)  LOVE.  And a dash of Christmas cheer. And a pinch of merriness.

(Cheesy?  Yep.  True?  Yep again!)

But, if you ask me, even more important than the bark itself is the bark delivery mechanism.  If I delivered delicious cookie bark in a plastic baggie, would it be just as delicious?  Likely.  Would it be as special?  Absolutely not!

Last year I packaged up my Christmas yumminess in pretty teal canisters.  And they were cute with a capital C.

Christmas baking in teal and red and green tins

(Thank you again to Shawn for immortalizing the pretty multi-tin package I left on his front porch.)  (And yes – I’m a bit of a Christmas cookie drop-and-dash kinda elf.)

This year I’ve moved beyond my tin-lined comfort zone and stepped things up a notch.  I’ve moved on to glass containers.  Fancy eh?  Cue “ooooohs” and “aaaaaahs.”

I found these glass jars at HomeSense for $3.99 each.  $3.99!

Inexpensive glass jars

And with a wee little bit of yarn wrapped around the middle, and a couple of coordinating pompoms attached (I chatted a bit about my pompom obsession HERE), the once rather utilitarian glass jars become cheery bark-ready vessels.

Pompoms and yarn decorating glass jar - easy Christmas project

Cookie containers at Christmas with red and green pompoms and yarn

Easy diy Christmas cookie containers

I think they’re even cuter once filled with super swirly bark…

Glass containers decorated for Christmas with bark

Glass containers Christmas yarn craft

Yep!  I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.  :)

Chocolate bark in lovely containers

So there!  Dear friends, please consider this your 2012 Christmas-baking delivery preview.  Coming shortly to a front porch near you!

Very shortly, in fact.  Only six more days to go!  :)

 

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Pompoms please (my fun little Christmas experiment) (plus a little random Youtube-ness)

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Ramblings... | 0 comments

My newest Christmas obsession?  Pompoms.  Yep!  Cute little fluffy balls of brightly coloured yarn make me happy.  Call it nostalgia for those socks with the little squishy yarn balls at the heel from my childhood.  Call it the world’s easiest little diy project (if you have razor sharp scissors, that is… I figured that part out super quick!)  But I love them.  And I’ve been pompom-making like a little pompom nut around here.

Red and green pompoms diy Christmas

And I’ve been following THIS pompom-making tutorial, courtesy of Bella Dia.

First pompom lesson learned?  Natural does not equal better.  The red “value” yarn I purchased makes far superior poms to the green “au natural and wholesome and good” cotton (it’s the fabric of our lives, you know.)

Apparently Zooey Deschanel agrees.

The red superstar pompom-making yarn?  It’s 100% acrylic.

Random: does anyone else immediately think of Meryn Cadell’s song “The Sweater” whenever the words “100% acrylic” come up?

I do.  Every.  Single.  Time.

My favourite part of the song:

 

Now if the sweater has, like, reindeer on it
or is a funny color like yellow… I’m sorry,
you can’t get away with a sweater like that
Look for brown, or grey, or blue
Anything other than that, and you
know you’re dealing with
someone who’s different
And different is NOT what you’re looking for

 

And yep!  Apparently it’s Youtube Day around here.  Fun, non?  :)

But I digress.  Back to my happy little Christmassy pompoms…

Red and green pompoms by Christmas tree

The red acrylic yarn makes perfect perky and fluffy pompoms.  My green cotton pompoms rather closely resemble miniature Oscar-the-Grouch-es.

Green Christmas DIY pompom project

But, just like my favourite garbage-can dwelling monster, they have a certain cuteness too.  They’ll do.  :)

What am I planning to do with the above-mentioned pompoms?  I have plans.  Don’t you worry about me!  I’m not about to become some strange pompom-obsessed yarn hoarder.  Promise!

And what ARE these plans?  To be announced very very shortly, I hope (since Christmas is only 12 – TWELVE! – days away, and red and green pompoms are pretty holiday-specific, if you ask me.)

Stay tuned!

 

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My bedroom redo preview (inspiration for my wee bedroom makeover)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in Bedroom | 0 comments

While I’m busily painting away at my bedroom (since, having divulged a bit about my rather OCD painting process HERE, it’s pretty obvious that this won’t be a quick little project) let’s take a look at what I’m HOPING my bedroom will look like-ish once it’s all finished up.  :)

First, the colours I did not choose.  Our bedroom at our last house was a lovely shade of blue-gray.  I adored it.  Peaceful and serene and so pretty!  And I totally thought that a blue-gray hue was destined to make another appearance on our bedroom walls here in this house.  In particular, either Coventry Gray (which has always been my all-time favourite gray) or Stonington Gray (which is one shade lighter and beautifully graces the walls of my happy little kitchen.)

But when I tried both colours in large swatches in our bedroom, I wasn’t impressed.

BM Coventry Gray and Stonington Gray

Blah eh?  I mean, I LOVE both colours.  But they just looked a little lackluster in our bedroom.  A wee bit “meh”, perhaps.  I was sad.

But then – THEN! – I remembered Revere Pewter, another colour I’ve been in love with for eons and dying to use somewhere in this house.  And then I got all giddy and went completely insane and threw caution to the wind and hurried out to my nearest Benjamin Moore store for a full gallon of the glorious colour.  Yep.  Buying paint without first testing it on my walls is my definition of living dangerously.  I’m a rebel, I know.

But with a colour so lovely, how could things possibly go wrong?  Famous last words?  Nope!  Fabulous snap decision-making, I hope.  :)

(And, to my dear friends who know how I often agonize over paint colours – yes, that’s you Shawn – you should be rather impressed by my rather uncharacteristically quick paint colour decision making skills.)

I don’t have any in-progress shots to share at the moment, but here is the colour scheme (via Apartment Therapy) I’m going for…

Pretty coral and gray nursery with ruffled curtains

…well, minus the nursery part.  There will be no crib in our room, and Sweetie would likely ixnay the pretty ruffly curtains, but I love the beigey-gray with the coral.

Yep.  That’s right.  I just admitted to loving coral.  Insanity eh?  The 80′s most definitely are back.  Minus the ginormous and absurd shoulder pads.  I hope.

What else do I love?  Coral and navy.  Swoon.  See?

Coral and Navy bedroom

I absolutely adore this bedroom from Centsational Girl.  I’m thinking that by adding navy to the coral, I’m semi-guaranteed that Sweetie will embrace my vision.  Afterall, nothing says “manly” like a little navy, non?

And can I just mention that I’d like these pillows (from Honey & Fitz) please?

Coral and navy and teal pillows

Please please please?  Like, all of them?

So yes!  That’s the overall colour scheme I’m going for.  I think it’ll be pretty and fresh but still subdued enough to be sufficiently bedroom-ish.

Further bedroom-redo updates to follow!  Eventually.  (Since y’all now know how very very slowly I paint.)  ;)

 

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