Monday, November 30, 2009

not me monday

— I did not completely forget about my November to do list. It wasn't just pure luck that I happened to complete most of the items. I am organized and follow my lists to the letter.

— I did not miss the bus on Friday and it was not pouring rain. I was definitely wearing appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather, not a cotton dress with tights and flats. I'm not foolish enough to think that I can outrun the bus, and therefore did not run for. six. stops. to catch it. I was perfectly dry, pleasant and fresh looking when I arrived to work. (OK, but at least I was on time!)

— I did not start a batch of chocolate chip cookies and then decide I was just too lazy to cook them. I always finish what I start. I didn't stick the uncooked dough into the fridge and hope for the best. (This entry is to be continued ... does anyone know if this is actually going to work?)

November to dos: the recap

Wow. November flew. I know, I say that every month. But especially on months that I have lengthy to do lists. Let's see what got done.
  • Craft like crazy in preparation for the FemFest Craft Fair, which is taking place on Nov. 29. At the fair, my lovely crafty friend HH and I will have our first table as Magenta Revolution. The fair was on Sunday and went really well. Together, we sold about $100 worth of crafty items and we learned a lot about the whole craft fair culture. We've already got some great ideas cooked up for next time!
  • Run at least 100 km. I know that sounds like a lot, but it really isn't when you're training five days a week. Hmm. I didn't do a very good job of calculating this, but if I'm right, I think we ran about 95 km this month. I'm pretty pleased with that.

  • Paint the candle holder that I blogged about last week and then forgot about. You may have already read the post (click here). This did not turn out so well, but yes, it did get done.
  • Go see New Moon in the theatre. That's right. I said it. Don't judge. Lovely friend A treated me to the movie for my birthday and I really liked it. I won't say I loved it, since I almost always like books better than movie adaptations. Luckily, there won't be another year-long wait, since Eclipse comes out in June!
  • Celebrate my birthday with Husband and lovely friends. I had a very relaxing birthday this year. I'm very grateful for all the fun and generous gifts.
  • Shower sister-in-law A with lots of love at the baby shower that I am co-hosting with sister-in-law C. This was also over the weekend and was a great success. Lots of friends came, lots of pressies were received and it all went off without a hitch. As an added bonus, C and I got to feel our new niece/nephew moving around Saturday night. We're so excited to meet him/her!
  • Take some time to relax and enjoy at least one pumpkin spice latte. I'm not sure I had another pumpkin spice latte in November, but I definitely had several peppermint lattes! Mmmm. I could go for one right now, actually.
  • Take inventory of all Christmas decorations and plan accordingly. Done and done. I have more Christmas decorations this year than ever before. Things are looking very festive .. though not really feeling so festive yet, since it's still 15+ degrees (Celsius) outside.
  • Start working on some handmade holiday gifts. I'd say I earn a 50/50 on this task. I did some knitting, but haven't started any of my bigger projects, which shall remain nameless because of certain individuals who read this blog .. cough .. Mum and Grammie .. cough.
  • Finalize Christmas card list and continue to work on handmade cards. Have all cards ready to mail by the end of the month. Nope. Total fail.
I am genuinely surprised! Without consulting the list once during November, I still managed to get quite a bit completed. Admittedly, things like celebrating my birthday aren't terribly taxing, so I plan to step up my game with tomorrow's to dos for December.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

date night with a twist

Lovely Amy at Rainy Saturday has a great tradition with her new hubby. Once a week, they alternate a special dinner date. On their assigned night, one of them cooks up a new recipe for dinner. It's such a fun idea — combining date night, new homemade recipes and a little quality time during the busy work week.

It's tough sometimes to find the time to sit down to dinner together. Husband and I often eat at separate times due to busy schedules, or we rush through dinner because we have busy evenings ahead. I love it when, on weekends, we have time to sit down at the table together and actually talk while we eat.

So, starting after the holidays (since our schedules are fairly hectic until then), we're going to try this too. One night a week, we'll trade off kitchen duty and have a leisurely meal together.

Consider this our first, official new year's resolution.

Friday, November 27, 2009

i'm dreaming of ...

... a living room big enough for a lovely sectional sofaaa!

Doesn't have the same ring to it as White Christmas, I know, but you wouldn't want me to sing it out loud anyway. Trust me.

When we get to the point when we're actively house shopping, I hope to find one with a living room big enough for a cozy sectional where we could curl up as a family (me, Husband, Ellie and Scarley, that is).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

colour me festive

When it comes to Christmas decor, I'm a purist — it's red and green, gold and silver the whole way.

This is last year's tree. See why I wasn't in love with it? A little sparse.

I've never been able to stray from the traditional colours. In our home, we also celebrate the Baha'i holiday Ayyam-i-ha in February, so we use blue and silver as our primary colours for that time of year.

Blue I can handle. What about pink? I think my lovely friend HH would like some of these ...

Or maybe you use a no holds barred approach when it comes to festive decor?

When it comes to Christmas decor, are you a traditionalist or does anything go?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

try it tuesday: birthday edition

I have always had a strict no-Christmas-before-my-birthday policy. If I start gearing up for Christmas and decorating before November 24th, my celebrations get all mixed up. One thing at a time, people.

That said, today is my birthday and I am turning 25.

So, to celebrate, Husband and I planned to break out a little bit of Christmas early to savour some delicious candy cane hot chocolate.

But then, work friend JH noted that if, in fact, Husband was supposed to wait on me hand and foot for my birthday, then he should also be responsible for Try It Tuesday, right? What a great idea!

So Husband and lovely friend A took on this recipe, while I sat back and watched tried really hard not to get in the way.

Here is the homemade recipe, courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

10 ounces best-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 quarts milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine chocolate and milk in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until chocolate is melted and milk is very hot and frothy, about 20 minutes.

They chopped that chocolate like pros.

Remove from heat. Add vanilla; pour into a blender, filling halfway.

But this is where things got really interesting ...

Blend, holding lid in place (the hot liquid will expand), until frothy. Serve immediately. Blend remaining milk-and-chocolate mixture.

They snapped the lid on tight and pressed blend — and then they both screamed out words that cannot be repeated on this G rated blog ...

Holy hot chocolate! The hot mixture heated up and softened the plastic of the blender lid, which meant that, even with Husbands hand on top, it didn't exactly stay in place as expected.

Gotta give them credit — they cleaned it up and tried again.

Second time's a charm!

The special twist — add a candy cane for some festive flavour!

Thank for the lovely birthday treat!

But in the name of Try It Tuesday, would we make it again? No. For the cost of the ingredients, the hassle of making it, the time it takes to clean the kitchen when the hot chocolate explodes out of the blender, and the overall taste ... next time, we're going to Starbucks!

Monday, November 23, 2009

romance with novels

Remember these lovely designed Penguin Classics that I blogged about once upon a time?
Well, guess what?! There aren't just 10! There are 20!

I am in love with them!

I may not have mentioned that Husband bought me three of these (Jane Eyre, Great Expectations and Crime and Punishment) for our anniversary — since the traditional first anniversary gift is paper.

And for my birthday, I just ordered these:

I can't wait for them to arrive!

Update: Incase you're interested, these books are available through Chapters online for $14.99 each.

not me monday: birthday eve edition

— I am not now, and have never been, ridiculously excited for my birthday (tomorrow!). I, like all other adults, am completely laid back about it.

— I did not give Husband a list of movies and snacks that I would like to have on hand for my birthday. I did not tell him, in no uncertain terms, that I expect to be waited on hand and foot for the full 24 hours.

— I am not starting to consider anti-aging cream for my face. I am fully aware that age is simply a number.

For more Not Me Monday posts by other bloggers, click here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

25 (almost)

One of the wonderful things about my job is that I get a paid day off for my birthday. One of the wonderful things about my Husband is that he traded his shift so that we could spend the whole day together.

On the agenda — lots of relaxing. In my world, that means movies, board games, delicious food and maybe some crafting.

That means, I have to provide Husband with a list of movies — because the birthday girl gets to pick ALL of the movies!

I'm looking for some suggestions, friends. What are your fave relaxing-around-the-house-on-your-birthday movies?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

try it tuesday

Aren't these cute?

Style Me Pretty recently posted this little pinwheel tutorial for brides-to-be. And I thought, why not for moms-to-be?

Lovely sister-in-law C and I are planning a baby shower for our sister-in-law A, and I thought these would be super cute, and affordable, to add to the decor.

I started this project last night. Folding, folding, folding, while watching Gossip Girl.
The tutorial isn't an exact science — it tells you to "cut 2 strips of paper, equal lengths and equal widths, depending on the size of the pinwheel you want (thicker strips = larger pinwheel)."

So, that's what I did. In retrospect, I should have tried this out on plain paper, rather than risking the pretty paper I had chosen for the finished product. I used scrapbooking paper and cut two strips of equal width. End-to-end the strip measured about 24 inches. My fold were about 1/2 inch each. It all seemed to be working fine, but as I tried to lay them flat .. rippppp. (In my frustration, I failed to take a picture at this interval).

So I put the project aside and gave it a second chance when I got home from work today. I re-read the tutorial instructions as well.

This time, I used cardstock to help prevent rips. I also made the strip longer by combining more lengths of cardstock (= about 36 inches).

Mix of paper = not nearly as cute.

So I decided to give the first one another try. I trimmed off the ripped edges and stuck it together again with extra adhesive.

Et voila:

This Try it Tuesday is a work in progress, but overall, a pretty satisfying project if you can make it work. I'm going to get more paper and try again!

Monday, November 16, 2009

not me monday

— I would not post a Not Me Monday post on Tuesday morning and pretend that I did it on Monday night. I never forget anything. Ever.

— I do not have a cliche, teenage obsession with vampires. I do not get up early on Friday to watch my DVRed episode of Vampire Diaries before work. And I haven't watched the New Moon trailer a few several times in the past week to prepare myself for the premiere.

— I did not do another failed craft project last night. I just caaan't wait to share it with you. You're probably going to stop reading this blog. Why read a blog by a girl who can't craft?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

trial and error

Remember this candle holder I told you about?

I had a chance to peruse the spray paint aisle at Home Depot this weekend. I picked out a lovely shade of bronze. Ever the voice of reason though, my Mum pointed out that it seemed a little illogical to spend $10 on a can of metallic spray paint to makeover a candle holder that didn't even cost $10 in the first place. Point taken. So I went back to the acrylic paint and sponge brush combo.

I stuck with the dark red, thinking it could become part of my Christmas decor.

Instead, as I continued to paint, the candle holder just looked more and more like it was witness to a very violent crime.

After a tedious crafting session, squishing coat after coat of paint on the wicker, I threw in the sponge brush.

This project earns a fail.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the after: part 1

The first things when we decided about lovely friend T's furniture — it doesn't match. Click here to see the before photos.

In just one afternoon, we sanded and painted all of the aforementioned pieces, plus another end table and a wooden clock. Plus, we did it in the middle of her apartment — no workshop necessary. Just make sure to put down plenty of drop cloths and open windows for ventilation if you plan to try this at home.

Here is part one of the after

And this is just the beginning ... yes, there's more! Stay tuned!

do you modge podge?

Work has been quite crazy lately, and while I swear I'm not complaining, it really does cut into my crafting time. Luckily, I was able to take a break last week and do some much-needed craft shopping with HH.

We visited Fabricville, Michaels and Walmart to stock up on the essentials, but I added one new thing to my cart this time — Modge Podge!

So many ideas, so little time! My immediate plans include affixing some paper to wood. What are your favourite Modge Podge crafts?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

try it tuesday

This week's Try it Tuesday has been ongoing for a couple of months.

In September, my creative partner C and I started a project called Love, Cryndsey .. yes, that is our joined name. Crystal + Lindsey = Cryndsey. Clever, I know.

It started with Here, you create and account and profile, and then the site generates addresses of other PostCrossing members for you to write to. It's pen pals for the 21st century. You write to a different person each time. Then, your address is added to the mix and postcards start coming in, too.

Here are a couple of our cards. Crystal takes our simple Nova Scotian cards and adds a creative twist to the image. I write a note on the back and we send them out.

Here are out stats so far — the cards we've received have come Finland (2), Estonia and China. We've sent cards to Germany, China, Lituania, the U.S. and Canada (sometimes we send cards to our own contacts, too).
We also started a Flickr account, chronicling the Cryndsey Postcard Project. Click here to check it out.

So, try it. Reach out to someone. Whether you get the addresses from a site like, or you simply take out your own address book and start writing. Take the time to connect with someone; you never know how much it will mean to them, and to you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

the before

Back in September, lovely friend T moved into her first one-bedroom place. She purchased some great pieces for her new space — a bone-colour couch and chair set, a dark red leather chair, and a cute dining set for two.

Mixing these modern pieces with some of her old favourites got a little tricky. How do you blend the old with the new and make it all co-exist in one open-concept space?

Here are a few before shots of the pieces she wanted to makeover —

Two barstools:

One bookshelf:

And a small side table (with a hot pink top):

(The leafy print fabric is our makeshift drop cloth)

How do you blend the old with the new in your home?

Check back for part one of the reveal tomorrow!

Friday, November 6, 2009

this is not what i ordered

I love the first snowfall of the year; I really do. There's something so magical about it. But let me clarify, the first snow of the year is supposed to be light, fluffy and romantic. It's supposed to stick to the tree branches for about half a day, promptly melt, and let us resume at least another month of fall.

But ohhhh no. Here in Halifax, we woke up to cold, snow and slush. On Nov. 6. It's just so wrong.

Here are a few photos of our "fall" taken by my friend Mike Postma:


If you had asked me at the end of September, I would've told you that I am not a runner. Not even close. I've completed a few 5k races for various charity fundraisers over the years, but even then, they were run at a snails pace with no advance preparation.

But last week, along with lovely friends A and T, I ran 10 kilometres. 10 consecutive kilometres. And now, I think I finally feel like a runner. It may not seem like much, but the transformation from non-runner to runner happened a lot quicker than I expected. Running the first 10k wasn't easy, but neither were the 5k runs we were doing in September, and those feel like a breeze now.

Yesterday, we registered for the Hypothermic Half. 21k in February. No turning back now. I've surprised myself already and I'm really looking forward to longer runs and bigger goals.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

too close for comfort

It's been a while since I last responded to one of MamaKat's prompts, but this one's just too good to pass up.

Tell me your most humorous wedding experience.

If you know me, you're already well aware that I have a tendency to get a little wound up from time to time. Obviously, our wedding day was no exception.

It was a beautiful day next to Chocolate Lake. As Husband and I often do, we got a little silly while having our photos taken.

And I think I might as well let the photographic evidence speak for itself:

I thought it would be funny to pretend to toss Husband into the lake. And no, we didn't fall in, but we came hilariously close.

And what better way to mark our one-year anniversary, than with a re-enactment? And after putting up with me for a whole year, does it surprise you that it was Husband doing the throwing this time?