Saturday, December 20, 2008

Making a couple of Christmas projects

I'd planned to write about these projects before Christmas, but I didn't want to ruin any Christmas surprises. What's a blogger to do? Also, by the time I had a moment to write about the gift bags and the cookbooks, I realized that a) few people were reading my blog during holiday festivities and b) even if someone did read it and was inspired by one of the projects, that someone wouldn't have time to whip up either project since it was already Christmas Eve. Oops.

So, I'm telling you about these projects on December 30, but I'm changing the official date of the post to December 20, just in case I'm looking for holiday ideas next year.

First up: cloth gift bags. I made five this year, and I plan to make more next year because they are so easy and practical. I sewed the bags from simple squares of fabric, and I finished them with yarn draw strings and cute buttons. My mom made a bunch of these bags out of festive fabrics many years ago, and they are still in rotation. Wrapping gifts with cloth bags is so simple, and the recipient still gets the pleasure of unwrapping something, without all the garbage.

I like using fabic that isn't holiday-specific because then the bags can be used year-round. The fabric I used was intended for a log cabin pillow, but it was the only thing I had on hand. I'll be making a trip to the quilting store in the near future to replenish my supply. For real, this time.

The second holiday project that you should know about is this cute little cookbook initiated by my buddy Sarah. I was one of four contributors, and I'm so happy I stayed the course and typed up some of my favourite wintery recipes. I'll post a couple of those recipes in the new year, but I also have some extra books, so let me know if you'd like a copy.

Keep weathering the winter weather, friends!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays

This is our seventh annual Christmas card. Phew. You can see the previous cards here and here. We didn't get too creative this year because there was no need; this picture does the work for us. If you weren't following our trip in August, you can read about our stay in Paris (including the segway tour) here.

I hope you all enjoy some festivities over the next couple of weeks. I also hope you find some relaxing moments along the way.

If you have some time on your hands, there are a couple of new posts over at Things Worth Making, and I plan to write about a couple of (modest) Christmas projects next week.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Making black bottom cupcakes

Oops. I forgot to tell you that I made cupcakes for one of my many work-related holiday parties. Icing cupcakes didn't appeal to me (iced cupcakes being hard to transport in bulk quantities), so I opted for black bottom cupcakes. The cream cheese topping serves as a built-in icing, so nobody suffered.

This type of cupcake was one of my sister's favourite comfort foods when we lived at home, and for good reason. They're sweet, but not too sweet, and they're good cold or warmed up (the chocolate chips in the cream cheese topping melt when you warm them up).

I got my recipe out of the Joy of Cooking, which is where I believe my mom found the recipe way back when. If you want to follow our lead, Culinate posted the recipe just for you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Room with a view

This is the view from my new office. I have an office. Sure, I share it with another person, but still. It has a door that closes. And windows. With a lovely view.

The other thing to note in this photo is that there is snow on the ground. Even though some of it melted today, I hear we'll be getting more tonight. I love the snow, but this cold snap is a little much. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Making hot toddies

If you're as cold as I am, you should do yourself a favour and make yourself a hot toddy. These instructions also apply if you're sick or if you don't want to get sick. Basically, everyone should drink a hot toddy right now.

I've tried a few hot toddy recipes that vary widely (sort of like sangria recipes), but in the end my mom knows how to make them best, and now you know too!

Combine the following ingredients in your favorite mug and drink up:
- juice from half a lemon
- a heaping teaspoon of honey
- a shot of brandy
- hot water

If your interested, Wikipedia tells me that hot toddies may have originated in the 18th century to make the taste of scotch more palatable to women. And how!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


When I say I wish I was at home in my slippers right now, I really mean it. They came to me all the way from Churchill, Manitoba thanks to Jillian, and they are pure comfort. I even brought them to Portland with me, and I predict I'll bring them to Saskatoon for the holidays.

When I first received them, I thought the polar bears would suit a reenactment of this scene in Me and You and Everyone We Know:

Today, the bears are getting along, but if I wear the slippers on opposite feet (or cross my feet) it's hard to ignore the tension. Anyway. You get the idea.

While I was looking for that movie clip, I found something else to share with you (isn't that always the way?). It's a Blonde Redhead video featuring Miranda July and some high-waisted pants. Can you resist? Can you really?

I have some things to tell you about, including my successful transition to a credit union, so stay tuned in the coming weeks. I promise I'll only get distracted by YouTube a little bit.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fatherhood and Divorce

I've never hidden my love for Alec Baldwin (even though I've only paid him minor tribute on this blog). Still, I never expected that my affection would encourage actual Alec Baldwin gifts (now that I know different I'm going to talk about him even more).

I just recently left one government job for another (which is why I took a little break from writing), and one of my coworkers bought me A Promise to Ourselves as a goodbye present (I owe you a Christmas gift Vitaly. Do you like Alec Baldwin too?).

You should have seen my jaw drop when I opened the gift. I never planned to buy the book (since I'm neither a parent nor a divorcée), so my excitement took me by surprise. I actually have tentative plans to read it (starting with the chapter Leave a message after the tone), but for now I'll just admire the cover. He's really wearing a lot of make-up, isn't he? I prefer his look on 30 Rock.

If you don't buy the book yourself, you can learn why girls like me love Alec by reading this New Yorker article: Why me? Alec Baldwin's disappointment undimmed by success. I just want to give him a hug!