Friday, December 28, 2012

these two

D & Abs couldn't drive up because of the winter storm that hit the Maritimes last night/today. This means I am without them until Monday when we will meet in Moncton for New Year's Eve. I am enjoying spending time with family but I feel like a part of me is in Nova Scotia. I keep thinking I'm forgetting to take the dog out, but D is being a "single [dog] dad" for now. I keep denying that I treat my dog like my baby, but I think the joke is on me...

My new toy kept me busy this afternoon - I got the Bamboo Create tablet for Christmas. Now I can add my handwriting to my photos. So you can expect to see a sequence of photos with quotes or sayings on them in the future. I'm exploring graphic design with baby steps. There is definitely a steep learning curve, but I can't wait to practice more. The picture you see above is the result of a large number of tries.

I hope you're all doing well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

merry christmas & a virtual hug

I hope Santa found you and that you're all enjoying time with family and loved ones today. We hosted our annual Christmas Eve celebration and are hosting Christmas dinner in about an hour or so. I'm hoping my man and Abby-dog will be able to come up for the weekend, but a storm is brewing. Northern NB always gets hit hard with snow around this time of year, and 30cm is nothing to laugh at. We're trying to work something out so that we can keep our plans to celebrate New Year's Eve in Moncton with some of our closest friends.

Speaking of friends, a big congratulations to my "sucia" Em & her new fiance (!!) on their engagement yesterday. To quote my favorite Christmas movie, love really is all around.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

4 Step DIY Glitter Garland - with no mess!

When I posted my Christmas decor sneak peek a few weeks ago, I had no idea what to do with the supplies. All I had was a colour scheme, paper, some ribbon and a strict budget. Inspired by the image of "c'est noel" posted on someone's front door, I decided to make a glitter garland with the same expression.

I grew up in a French town in New Brunswick and my father's parents are/were Francophone so we have always kept traditions, customs and carols from our French culture. Apparently, my French spelling skills need some practice though, because on my banner the two little dots are supposed to be over the E and not the O. Oops! This year, I decided that I would like to try to work this into our own (me & D's) celebrations and what better place to start, than with decorating? 

The trick to keeping this glitter craft mess-free is to use pre-made glitter paper, instead of gluing loose glitter to plain paper. I bought a large sheet of gold glittery gift wrap (made by the adorable Rifle Paper Co) from my favorite local stationery store Duly Noted. Rifle Paper Co doesn't seem to be carrying any in their online shop at the moment, but you can find some at Paper Source or at your local paper shop. Read on for instructions!

Step 1: Once you've decided on your words or expression, make template letters out of bristol board or cardstock. 

Step 2: Trace templates on the backside of your glitter paper. Remember to place them backwards, so that they read properly when turned around!

Step 3: Glue glittery letters to templates.

Step 4: Measure your ribbon to fit the wall or doorway where you want to hang it. Starting at the center, tape letters to the ribbon.

Hang it up and you're done! I've found that it hangs well if you leave a bit of slack between the letters and while hanging it. The garland may take a bit of time to make, but the best part is that you can use it over and over. In January, I'll pop mine in a Ziplock bag to keep it safe until next Christmas.

If you want to add a 3D star, like I did, this tutorial by Grey Luster Girl is handy. Why buy one when they're so easy to make? I only made one piece and not two, like she did. Just sketch or trace a star on the back of a piece of thick cardstock or heavy paper, then draw a line connecting each point to the opposite side, as if you were going to fold it in half. Then score along the lines you drew on the backside of the paper using a ruler and a butter knife. Then just fold each point individually. I hung mine with fishing line so it looked like it was suspended in thin air. Magic!

Sidenote: After I made my garland, I came across this Lauren Conrad tutorial for a similar one using a different method.

What do you think of the garland phase in the blogworld? Have you ever made one? If so, feel free to link it up in the comments.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

stormed in?

Today was an unexpected day. A big kicker of a storm put a wrench in my travel plans, which meant that I suddenly had an extra day with nothing to do. So, I did stuff. I'm a Maritimer. No storm is going to keep me inside.

Abby needed to go get a routine "procedure" at the vet, so I called to see if they had an opening and two people had cancelled because of the weather. Around ten, I bundled up, zipped up my rain coat, pulled on my rubber boots and we were on our way through the rain, snow and slush to the vet's. I think it's quite amazing how in the span of ten minutes, the weather in Halifax can pass through almost every type of precipitation/cloud cover. Oh, and top it all off with some heavy winds. It's not so fun to walk through, but I do enjoy listening to a good storm rage while I'm inside under the covers.

Once I was back inside, I took a few photos of myself hoping you would be able to see how cozy I was in my gray sweater, favorite heart shirt and sweats but they turned out blurry. This was the best one. Here's what I look like with my hair up while I'm loungin.

After a bit of blog browsing, I followed through on my plans to bake some cookies. Some to bring to my family's home, some to give to D for his parents. Okay, a lot to bring home - probably about 30 cookies. I made a double batch!

Once all of the cookies had come out of the oven, I set out again to pick up my brother's gift from a local shop. While downtown, I also swung by the library to pick up a few books for the slow moments while at home.

Tonight, once D came back from work, I decided to finish up the rest of my wrapping. I'm happy with how it turned out. We had the snowflake wrap left over from last year and I bought a couple of rolls of kraft paper, some washi tape and some teal ribbon to go with my Christmas colour scheme. I didn't have any gift tags, so I just cut some letters out of card stock and wrote my nickname on them. Done and done!

I tackled my wrapping in three short spurts. Although I confessed to enjoying wrapping last week, it still takes a bit of time to get the packages ready with all the embellishments, tags, bows and ribbon. Time well spent though, it was fun.

What did you guys do today? Any holiday adventures?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Currently | the holiday homestretch

a pic from an october training session

Watching: Nothing right at the moment. I am very much looking forward to watching Dexter later on tonight though. I won't spoil it for you, but the past few episodes have been picking up. Shit is gonna go down very soon and I can't wait to see how it will play out.

I've also started watching the Mindy Project (Canadian friends can watch here!) and am hooked. Mindy Kaling (aka Kelly Kapoor from the Office) plays a bubbly, ditzy private-practice gyno living the single life. To be honest, the first few episodes are not so great. Stick it out though! Episode 4-6 are laugh-out-loud funny - this coming from a girl who rarely laughs during TV shows. I rewound the opening scene of episode 7 an embarrassing amount of times. Even D watched a few episodes with my friend, C & I.

Listening to: All Ellie Goulding, all the time. I can't help myself. Her new album, Halcyon, is really, really good. Figure 8 is the best song on the album, I think, with Hanging On (ft. Tinie Tempah) a close second. I like the tone of her voice and how she uses it as an instrument in many of her songs.

I'm also enjoying Nicki Minaj & Cassie's new collaboration Boys. It makes me want to get my ass back to hip-hop class.

Planning: Christmas gifts! I love shopping for other people, more than I like shopping for myself. Today I took advantage of my lunch break to pick up a few things for my sister downtown. I have my mom & brother left to buy for and then I'm done.

My favorite part of the gift-giving is wrapping. I miss working in retail for that very reason. I once wrapped 100 ornaments in one day - and loved every second of it. Anyone need help wrapping? Haha. This year I'm going to do kraft paper wrap with gold glitter tags & teal ribbon to tie in with my decorations. No one notices these things, but I do it just for myself!

Thinking about: Work stuff. There are some pretty big changes going on right now and I'm trying to tie up loose ends before our last day of 2012. Lots to do, but it makes the days go by quickly. I can't complain.
Reading: In The Falling Snow by Caryl Phillips, a novel on race, family and love set in Britain. I'm not quite a quarter of the way through but I'm invested in the main character already. In the most recent chapter, the protagonist is asked to take a leave of absence from his job in the public sector. He put an end to a romantic fling with one of his employees and as a result, she forwarded all of their personal (ie. explicit) emails to everyone in their department. I now realize that this makes it sound like a cheap romance novel, but it's not at all. The novel serves to examine the complexities of interracial relationships and how they can test familial loyalties.

Making me happy: Being cozy. Now is the time of year when I crave comfort. Give me a meatpie & some wool socks and I'm set. I spent last Saturday night curled up on the couch with my Christmas pajamas on, S'mores hot chocolate in a tree mug, a fluffy blanket, my dog at my feet and some candles. It was so relaxing, just what I needed.

There is nothing I love more than coming home on a rainy/snowy blustery night and putting on some warm sweats or leggings and cozying up on the couch. As much as I say summer is my favorite season, I love the Fall/Winter, before it gets too cold. Just chilly enough to make me appreciate my nice, warm bed and a hot drink.

What have you been up to lately? Have you been enjoying any snuggly nights at home?

Thanks to Danielle @ Sometimes Sweet & Megan @ meganislove for the post idea!

Friday, November 30, 2012

decking those halls, baby : sneak peek of my Christmas color scheme!

I have a rule that I cannot listen to seasonal songs until Dec. 1st. The idea stemmed from the thought I had that I will have to listen to Christmas tunes for the rest of my life - the same 30-ish songs, by various artists, year after year, for the rest of my (hopefully!) long life. If you're thinking I don't have to listen to those songs, you would technically be right, however, I do some shopping around this time of year in malls & local shops; places where most managers that seem to think that November is the perfect time to start playing said songs. Okay, so I guess my rule should read: I will not play Christmas music until Dec 1st.

All this to say that tonight, I'm breaking my own scrooge-y tradition.... by one day. Tonight I will twist D's arm into helping me decorate our little apartment with garland, stars and general Christmas cheer.You know I'm going to blast Boney M's famous album while sipping hot tea and dancing around the room. It's going to happen. We are going to be decking these halls alllll night. That doesn't sound right. How about this:

Warm sweaters, hot drinks, cuddles and a dog licking glitter off the floor. 

Here are a few of my inspiration pics from Pinterest:

Flickr via Ticklish From A Distance
From The Right Bank via Apartment Therapy
via Canadian House & Home
via Matchbook Mag blog

Did you decorate your place yet? Leave your links in the comments, I love some holiday eye candy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

you'll love her

I came across this quote in the spring via this tumblr and it immediately became one of my favorites. I've never seen the movie and I don't plan to. These words hold enough meaning to me on their own.

I am not quite ready to share this story here yet, but I can say that there is one person who held on longer than most people would have. And I'm thankful for that. I've got a smile on tonight.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

he[art]ed : collage artist, Patrick Bremer

Two new series in one week. I'm on a roll, guys! This one is called he[art]ed, named for my love of hearts & art. Can we agree to laugh about ignore the fact that it rhymes with farted? Every so often I'll share an artist or designer I admire and then you'll show them some comment/FB/link love if you like their work. I'll try to include a good mix of local and international artists who use a range of media.

FYI - I'm not an art critic and probably will repeat the same adjectives in every post, but I really just love art, find it inspiring & want to share it with you. Simple enough, right?

First up is Patrick Bremer, a collage artist. When I first noticed collage art via Pinterest I was surprised to find that there are many artists who do a wide variety of paper collage/mosaics. Some backstory: about a year and a half ago I started an art project that consisted of me pasting tiny pieces of recycled magazine paper to a large board of masonite in a pattern. Now, I'm wasn't/am not delusional enough to believe that I was the only person to ever think of doing such a thing, but I had no idea that a community of paper collage artists existed. I thought people just decoupaged boxes and bottles and stuff....

But, I was wrong. Oh so wrong. Patrick Bremer is a British artist who draws, paints and creates collages - mostly portraits. My favorite thing about his pieces are that they have such varied textures and colours. I love to scan his collages to find little moments hidden within - words, faces, signs. Here are my 3 favorite works of his:

Artwork Copyright of Patrick Bremer

Artwork Copyright of Patrick Bremer

Artwork Copyright of Patrick Bremer

The Castle is my favorite of the three. I'm amazed that he can capture the emotion on her face using only the paper. His eye is highly trained for detail.

What do you think of Patrick's work? Which piece pulls you in? If you want to see more of his work please pop over to his website or his facebook page. If you want to spread the art love, share this post, like his page or pin your favorite work (remember to credit the artist & link to his website).

As always, thank you for checking out my blog. I appreciate your visits!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

details : from a cozy home in the country

I'm in the country. Today is Remembrance Day and tomorrow is a holiday so we packed up and came to the Musqodoboit Valley for the long weekend. So far we've trudged through the swampy yard (thank goodness my "MIL"reminded me to bring rubber boots!), raked some leaves, watched a raptors game and ate chili.

Here are some details from around their home.

We'll be off soon to visit D's sister. His niece and nephew are so excited to see us that we are heading over around noon instead of supper-time as we originally planned. I've heard I've been promised to his niece to play Just Dance on the Wii. Should be interesting!

I hope you are all having a relaxing weekend. I'm off to let my whiny pup run around in the field.

I've noticed lately that designing or decorating a home is all about the details. More than that though, life is all about the details - the moments. Over the next few months I'm going to test out a series called details. Since I don't have instagram or a smartphone to capture my daily life, I'm going to rely on my trust Sony P&S and will share the photos here. I hope you like it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Trick or Treat: Easy Halloween Craft DIY Gift Bag

Look what I made! I offered to make little gift bags for D's niece and nephew, since he wanted to send them some treats for Halloween in the mail. As I was making them, my friend C showed up, so the cute pumpkin treat bag was made by her.

These are so easy to make. Depending on the detail of your design, these could be ready to go in 15 minutes. I used a template on Homemade Gifts Made Easy for the gift bag and then decorated them with paint, construction paper & a micron pen for the spiderwebs.
To add an element of surprise to my bag I added a piece of folded construction paper to make the door moveable. A spooky silhouette, a cat in the window and a cracked window makes it look more like a haunted house. How sweet is that ribbon bow that C added to her pumpkin? I think it's adorable.

Speaking of Halloween, D & I are working on our costumes tonight and heading out to a party tomorrow. I will be sure to post a recap on Sunday for you to see. What are your plans for Halloween?

xoxo Janelle

I should have styled these photos, but it was nighttime and i was excited (and tired). I'll do better next time!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Baking in a Rental Without Counter Space: Banana Crumble Muffins

For the first month or so of living in our new place (pics soon!) I avoided baking. You see, our apartment's sink is flanked by two laminate counter tops wide enough for one baking sheet on each. Yes, I measure things in baking sheet units. As you can imagine, those counter tops are not clear because we've got the toaster on one side coupled with a few dirty dishes and on the other side we have our knife block and dish rack. Counter space = gone.

I should tell you that this has not stopped me from cooking though, I mean, a girl's gotta eat. I make due with a large wooden cutting board placed over the two burners that aren't in use. it makes for a pretty great prep space, it's cozy and I like it.
When the oven's on (ie. when I'm baking) the cutting board is banished from the stove for obvious reasons.

Our solution to the lack of counterspace was to use a 3-tiered wooden shelf given to us by my grandparents. They found it in the garbage room of their condo, still wrapped in the plastic! It's one of those ones that needs to be drilled together and has the slatted shelves.

For my baking set-up yesterday, I brought the cutting board over to the window and popped it on top of the wooden shelf. I blocked off the entrance to the kitchen with garbage bins to stop our nosy pup from getting in the way/mooching and pushed the microwave into the centre of the room so I could plug it in elsewhere since we blew a fuse last week. I pulled my large bin of baking stuff onto the floor along with the canisters of flour and sugar. I hope you're getting the full visual effect of how ridiculous this whole set-up was. Apron on, flour everywhere, my computer perched on the wooden shelf with two mixing bowls, the oven beeping at me. A pretty, pretty sight. Or a hot mess.

Mess aside, I had fun time baking in my little kitchen. I could hear D's reactions to the Raptors' game he was watching in living room and I could see our little nosy dog peeking her head in, hoping to eye some crumbs for later.

Want to see the Banana Crumble Muffins? Feast your eyes on these babies.

I used this recipe from Amy Allen Clark at MomAdvice. My only change was that I doubled the cinnamon for the topping. This is a great recipe for using up bananas that are starting to turn brown. I usually go to my mom's recipe for banana bread, but decided to change things up a bit. I like the portability of a muffin for work and they are easier to share, too. My two co-workers gave them a thumbs up this morning!

I think I'm going to start adding some form of crumble to all of my future muffins. Blueberry crumble, apple crumble, raspberry crumble... It gives the muffin a bit more texture, richer taste and a dressier look - great for when you're trying to impress the in-laws. Haha. Beware of the crumble though! It's kind of like glitter in that it tends to get everywhere when removing the muffins and setting them on the cooling rack. I have my pup for crumbs, but you might need a damp cloth.

What are your go-to recipes for bananas past their prime? If you make any crumble muffins, let me know. I'd love to see them!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Halifax Art @ Night: Nocturne 2012 & A Fall Fun List

I'm back with that fall fun list I mentioned in my last post. I tried to branch out a bit from the typical apple picking-scarf-wearing-pumpkin-spiced-latte fall list.

As it turns out, last night I managed to check off one thing. Surprise! It was Nocturne - Art @ Night. Nocturne is an annual one-night art festival held in Halifax. For more info on how it works, check out last year's post. D & I planned our route ahead of time and decided to check out Turnstile Pottery on our way downtown.

My favorite piece was this anchor mug with a slightly speckled finish and a shiny glaze. I wish it could have come home with me.

After browsing all of their cups, dishes and sculptures, we noticed the artists had made a few trees & haunted houses for people to paint. I thought the white-striped snake could use a little something extra, so when the lady next to me suggested polka dots I got busy.

After entering a draw to win one of these masterpieces we flagged down Metro Transit's free bus (shout out to our jolly driver!) and rode it to NSCAD, the local art university. Here we found windows tagged with messages and names. Of course I couldn't resist adding my own touch.

We then went around the corner to Club 1869. D & I were split up and sent to two different rooms. In my room there was an assortment of traditionally female things on podiums: shoes, a large wooden spoon, a baby doll etc. and a bunch of color TVs showing the men's room. Webcams served as the only connection between the two rooms. When we talked about the exhibit afterwards we uncovered the things that were unique to each room, like in the men's "club" the TVs were black & white but ours were in colour. It was a cool concept and was probably our favourite exhibit of the night!

Having worked up an appetite already, we headed to Grand Parade to take in a dance performance and to try to find some food. When we spotted the Nomad Gourmet food truck, we quietly slipped through the crowd to feed our rumbling bellies. 
Twitter had informed me that they made some chili, so I was quick to order. At the Nomad's helpful suggestion, D went with the pulled pork sandwich with bacon jam. Yes, that's right. Jam made of bacon. I only had one heavenly bite but it was enough to decide that next time, it will be mine. This is not to take away from the hot & comforting bowl of chili I hungrily devoured. It had sausage and some type of pulled meat in it. I just kept saying 'so good' between big mouthfuls. My one complaint? Mine could have been warmer, but the chilly chili was probably a result of the cool winds. As you can tell though, I was very impressed and will definitely visit again.

Hint: If you want to check out Nomad Gourmet, they are parked on Argyle near Grand Parade most days. You can also follow them on Twitter for menu updates and location changes.

On our way to see the Halifax Circus performances, we spotted four women in the windows of Serpentine Studios on Barrington. We stood with a group of onlookers and watched them shimmy and shake in the pink-lit windows above. It had a red-light district feel to it but the dancers kept it fun and (thankfully) PG.

We ended our Nocturne experience, the same way we have for 2 out of 3 years, by taking in the sights of the Halifax Circus. The performances were stunning, as usual, with a fire show ablaze outside and three aerial acrobats climbing and stretching inside. All of my photos are blurry, but it was awe-inspiring to see the aerials set up inside the church and the acrobats were talented, as always.

I would count Nocturne 2012 as another success! D & I both had a great time, even if we had to dress in layers upon layers upon layers. Thank you to the amazing group of volunteers, participants and hosting businesses and locations. I'm already looking forward to next year...
What are your plans for Fall? Have you ever been to Nocturne? Does your community host any accessible art events? I'd love to hear in the comments! Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Sunday!